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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
Number of posts: 29,798

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Digging into ALEC's attack on solar and net metering

Net Metering 2014: North Carolina’s Duke Energy Plans Attack on Solar

Part One

In a sign it will seek to maintain its monopolistic control of North Carolina’s energy generation, Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good criticized solar net metering in a meeting with local reporters on January 22. According to the Charlotte News & Observer’s John Murawski, the utility will push for “reducing how much North Carolina households are paid for generating electricity from solar panels.”

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recently released a model resolution calling for the weakening of solar net metering policies that threaten the traditional utility industry business model. ALEC is one front group that the utility industry is using to push for changes to net metering policies—a valuable ally for the utilities to lobby state legislators from across the country. Duke Energy is a member of ALEC.

Good claimed that the company was supportive of solar power and wanted it to be a part of the portfolio. In reality, Duke Energy Carolinas generates approximately 57% of its electricity from coal and natural gas plants, another 26% from nuclear power plants, and only .04% from solar. The reality is that solar is less part of the utility’s portfolio and more of an afterthought.

TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar Won’t Be Killed) has launched a new ad highlighting Duke’s attacks on solar and emphasizing that Lynn Good was looking out for Duke’s stock price by “ensuring we get paid.” In a press release last week, the NC Sustainable Energy Association said, “Utilities are attacking net metering and rooftop solar to protect their bottom line and monopoly control, plain and simple.”

Duke recently issued a request for proposals...


Have you heard about the (deliberate?) Morwell coal seam fire in Australia?

...the open cut coal mine that provides fuel to the power station is burning; a slow, intense fire that sits at the coal seam face. The fires, suspected to have been deliberately lit, eject plumes of smoke into Morwell, a town of 14,005 residents, a stone’s throw away from the smouldering seam....

Title of article is The cost of coal puts renewable myths in perspective
By Ketan Joshi on 3 March 2014


Musk Says Renewable Energy Shift to Bring ‘Strife’ for Utilities

Musk Says Renewable Energy Shift to Bring ‘Strife’ for Utilities

...Tesla, the electric-car maker, based in Palo Alto, California, said yesterday it plans to invest as much as $5 billion to build the world’s largest battery factory. The company is seeking to drive down the cost of lithium-ion batteries used in its cars by at least 30 percent. Tesla also has developed a battery that could be used to provide backup power to homes, commercial sites and utilities, according to a regulatory filing yesterday.

Tesla is “working to create stationary battery packs that last long, are super safe and are compact,” Musk said.

“When you have a game-changing technology, those in the game don’t want to change,” Rive said. “They like the existing game, the sole source, cost-plus model.”

Rive said it now takes eight months for utilities in California to connect a SolarCity solar and energy storage system to the grid....

Other companies are starting to provide similar products ...


Another very good write up on this topic is here:
Tesla Motors Inc and the Home Energy Storage Business

Would Going Green Reduce French Militarism?

PressTV - French waiting to see if Hollande goes green

French voters are still waiting to see if President Francois Hollande will keep his election promise about halving the country’s nuclear energy use due to aging facilities, Press TV reports.

France is the world’s biggest user of atomic energy, with 75 percent of the nation’s electricity currently being derived from nuclear power.

...A decision to go green could reduce the militarism in France's foreign policy, but it could hurt its long-stagnant economy as well.

Many believe that despite the claims of humanitarian intervention, French wars in Mali and the Central African Republic are to safeguard the region’s uranium deposits.

Some argue that a switch to renewable energies...


Japan blocked presentations on nuclear effects at 1955 U.N. confab

Japan blocked presentations on nuclear effects at 1955 U.N. confab

The Japanese government, facing U.S. pressure, moved to block presentations by Japanese scientists about the effects of radioactivity at a U.N. conference on atomic energy in 1955 in Geneva, according to declassified U.S. documents.

The documents highlight the U.S. readiness to promote the "peaceful use" of nuclear power and Japan's stance to toe the U.S. line on the matter despite mounting concern in Japan about radioactivity's possible impact on humans.

Calls were growing in Japan at that time for a ban on atomic and hydrogen bombs following the exposure of a Japanese trawler, the Fukuryu Maru No. 5, to radioactive fallout from a U.S. hydrogen bomb test on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific in 1954. One crew member died later that year.

"The United States was fearful that presentations on nuclear damage would develop into a debate on banning nuclear tests and nuclear weapons use," said Toshihiro Higuchi, an associate lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who found the documents at the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States.

The case concerned the first meeting of the U.N.-sponsored International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in Geneva in August 1955...


Advances in Thermal Energy Storage and Boat Propulsion

Advances in Thermal Energy Storage and Boat Propulsion
February 28, 2014

Historical records indicate that the first powered submarines of the late 19th century used steam-thermal energy storage to power a piston engine and drive the propeller. For several decades between the late 19th to mid/late 20th centuries, several short line railways operated shunting locomotives that stored saturated water in high-pressure, insulated tanks. During that period, several efforts aimed at extending the operating range of such locomotives involved using heat-of-fusion thermal energy storage technology, using molten caustic soda that melted at about 320ºC (600ºF).

Ongoing developments in the concentrated-solar thermal power industry led to developments in grid-scale thermal energy storage technology that could storage enough heat to generate superheated steam that would drive steam turbines and electrical generators. During the early to mid 20th century, the premium steam powered passenger ships such as the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth used steam turbines to generate electric power to drive multiple propellers. Boats and ships that sailed short voyages burned coal and/or wood fuel to raise steam that drove triple-expansion steam piston engines.

The rising price of oil has encouraged various segments of the maritime industry to explore possibilities of using alternative, lower-costing fuel energy for propulsion. One sector uses trains of kites that fly in the powerful trade winds that blow at elevations of between 1,000 and 3,000-feet, to pull maritime craft that sail parallel to the prevailing winds. The higher price of fuel has also sparked renewed interest in steam power and the development of boilers capable of generating steam in excess of 600ºC (1100ºF) and steam piston engines that use steam injectors able to deliver steam at over 4,000-psi (275-atmospheres).

The combination of new developments in thermal storage technology for solar-steam power and renewed interest in steam power by the maritime sector has prompted interest in adapting thermal storage technology for short-distance maritime propulsion. Once branch of the solar-thermal power sector uses a mixture of sodium nitrate and potassium nitrate that both occur naturally and melts at some 500ºC (950ºF) to store some 80-KJ/Kg (36-BTU/lb) of thermal energy. Ongoing research has identified other materials that can store many times that amount of thermal energy on a per-unit-weight basis.

Heat-of-Fusion Storage:
A mixture of 80% lithium hydroxide and 20% lithium fluoride (by molecular weight) ...




A groundbreaking new standard to limit carbon pollution from new power plants help ensure a safer, cleaner, and healthier future has been proposed by the EPA.

Tell the EPA we need to make carbon pollution history:

Dear Environmental Protection Agency,

I’m writing to support the carbon pollution standards for new power plants.

Carbon pollution is being dumped into our atmosphere at unprecedented and unregulated rates, and it’s costing us. We’re paying in dollars, in lives, in jobs, in lifestyles -- truly in every way imaginable.

Because of this unchecked carbon pollution, I’m living in a world of extreme, erratic weather. In 2013 alone our precious planet was subject to biblical flooding, unprecedented wildfire, crippling drought, devastating super storms, and so much more. I don’t want to leave that behind for future generations.

If carbon pollution continues unchecked, my children face a future of extreme weather, worsening health, food insecurity, and a bleak economy. I refuse to sacrifice their future when clean, renewable alternatives are readily available.

Today, power plants have limits on emissions of mercury, sulfur, arsenic, cyanide, soot, and lead, but there are no federal limits on carbon pollution that is responsible for climate change. This must end, and your limits on carbon pollution from new power plants are an important first step.

Thank you for recognizing the cost we’re all paying for carbon pollution, and for taking necessary steps to protect future generations of Americans, and people just like me.


Go here to sign petition:

Newsweek uncovers “Kentucky-Fried Politics”

Newsweek uncovers “Kentucky-Fried Politics”

We missed this when it came out, probably because we haven’t paid much attention to Newsweek since it became a digital-only publication. But with stories like this one, we’ll have to think about taking a look at Newsweek more regularly. And just because we missed it in late January doesn’t mean you should miss it now. Kentucky-Fried Politics is the story of how two powerful U.S. Senators, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and tea party advocate Rand Paul, teamed up to scam ratepayers in the Northwest by forcing Energy Northwest, part of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), to pay $700 million for enriched uranium–that BPA didn’t even need–that could have been purchased on the open market for $450 million. And if that weren’t bad enough, details hidden in the contracts could cause BPA to end up paying well over $1 Billion for the uranium.

This was all done to benefit the near-bankrupt U.S. Enrichment Corporation, which has closed its enrichment facility in Paducah, Kentucky. It not coincidentally kept about 1,000 workers on the payroll through the 2012 Congressional elections, though many lost their jobs shortly afterwards when the plant shut down. It also indirectly benefited another entity important to Kentucky, the Tennessee Valley Authority, which sold electricity to the Paducah plant–a very large (and very inefficient) user of electricity.



Link to Newsweek article:

(13) Workers at Nuclear Waste Site in New Mexico Inhaled Radioactive Materials

Workers at Nuclear Waste Site in New Mexico Inhaled Radioactive Materials

WASHINGTON — Thirteen employees who worked the night shift at a nuclear waste burial site in New Mexico after an underground leak are carrying radioactive materials in their bodies, but it is too soon to say how much health risk this poses, Energy Department officials said on Thursday.

The workers inhaled plutonium and americium, which if lodged in the body bombards internal organs with subatomic particles for the rest of the person’s lifetime. The dose calculation is a bit arcane because the dose in such cases will be delivered over many years.

Calculating a lifetime dose will require several urine and fecal samples, taken over time, to determine the rate at which the body is eliminating the materials, said Joe Franco, manager of the Energy Department’s Carlsbad, N.M., field office, which oversees operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, where bomb wastes are buried in an ancient salt bed deep beneath the desert.

“Right now we have one single data point; there was one reading,” Mr. Franco said at a news conference in Carlsbad, explaining that more readings were necessary. Sensors in the salt mine detected a leak at about 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 14. At that hour, no one was in the mine, and automatic systems reduced the ventilation and ran the exhaust through high efficiency particulate filters, officials said, minimizing the flow of materials to the surface.

The next morning, after officials realized that the surface was contaminated...


(Japan) anonymous insider reveals further collusion between politicians and nuclear industry

Anti-nuclear novel by anonymous insider reveals further collusion between politicians, nuclear industry via JDP
The mysterious author of the controversial anti-nuclear novel Genpatsu Whiteout (“Nuclear power plant whiteout”) may be using a pseudonym right now, but for those who have read the book, it seems like someone who knows the ins and outs of the nuclear industry in Japan. The fictional story exposes the mutually beneficial relationship between regulators and the government, which many believe contributed to the eventual nuclear accident in Fukushima in 2011 during the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

Retsu Wakasugi is the pseudonym used by the author of the book, published by Kodansha Ltd in September 2013. It is a fictional story, but it may sound familiar to most Japanese people: it’s about the rush to restart the country’s nuclear facilities and how the “monster system” of collusion between the government and other sectors to keep nuclear power alive has led to vulnerability of the power plants to terrorist attacks.

Many suspect that Wakasugi is someone who works inside that system, as the details he includes in the book can only be known by an insider. The Asahi Shimbun newspaper managed to get an interview with the author late last year on the condition that his identity would still be protected. He describes a “nuclear village,” which includes the utilities, politicians, government bureaucrats, academics and others with vested interests, that are involved in the prototype Monju fast-breed reactor project in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture. This site has been mothballed due to various safety issues, but continues to be a main pillar of the nuclear recycling system of Japan. Government officials call it a “doodlebug,” meaning it is a money pit.

In the book, an official from the Nuclear Regulation Authority was quoted as saying, “If we continue to operate conventional nuclear power plants, the byproduct will be nuclear waste that will emit radiation for 100,000 years. That is why Monju is so important.”...

If you don't know the history of the Monju breeder reactor, you might want to read this:
Japanese government website https://www.jaea.go.jp/04/monju/EnglishSite/contents01.html

Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monju_Nuclear_Power_Plant

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