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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
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Lloyd’s Report Highlights Solar Storm Threat as Emerging Risk

Lloyd’s Report Highlights Solar Storm Threat as Emerging Risk
May 23, 2013

“A large solar storm could leave tens of millions of people in North America without electrical power for several months, if not years, potentially costing trillions of dollars,” according to Lloyd’s latest emerging risks report: “Solar Storm Risk to the North American Electric Grid.”

The report, which is being launched at the Electric Infrastructure Security Summit in London, was produced in co-operation with U.S.-based Atmospheric Environmental Research. It notes that while large geomagnetic storms are relatively rare, they “can create a massive surge of current, potentially overloading the electric grid system and damaging expensive, and critical, transformers.”

According to the report, a large solar storm in 1989 triggered the collapse of Quebec’s electrical power grid, leaving six million Canadians without power for nine hours. A smaller storm in 2003 caused blackouts in Sweden as well as damage to transformers in South Africa (transformers at that latitude were previously thought to be immune from such damage).

...The report describes the Carrington Event of 1859, which is widely regarded as the most extreme space weather event on record. Such an event today would affect between 20-40 million people in the U.S. with power cuts lasting from several weeks to one to two years. The economic costs would be “catastrophic,” according to Lloyd’s – estimated at between $0.6 and $2.6 trillion.

Fortunately, Lloyd’s says, a Carrington-level extreme geomagnetic storm is rare ...


Download report: http://www.lloyds.com/~/media/lloyds/reports/emerging%20risk%20reports/solar%20storm%20risk%20to%20the%20north%20american%20electric%20grid.pdf

Technology Emerging in 2014 with Potential to Reshape the Energy Space

"Instead of viewing renewables as forced into the remaining system without adaptation, the entire electricity system should be perceived as being re-optimized."

Technology Emerging in 2014 with Potential to Reshape the Energy Space
Posted March 14, 2014
Roman Kilisek

Technology is the main driver for change – i.e. optimization, which leads to finding promising technological solutions for pressing global challenges – and for increased productivity in the modern world. However, for mankind to continue along this trajectory, appropriate investment is often dependent on the public’s understanding and awareness of promising technologies’ potential, as well as their application. In order to put promising technological breakthroughs on the public’s radar the World Economic Forum publishes a list of Top 10 Emerging Technologies annually. Among the key trends in technological change identified in the latest World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies report are also technological breakthroughs relevant in the energy realm such as grid-scale electricity storage and nanowire lithium-ion batteries.

In general, modern electric power companies face the challenge to integrate intermittent renewable power sources such as the sun and wind into an existing power grid originally designed for base load fossil-fuel power sources and nuclear. Every time a vast supply of electricity is produced – during peak sun hours – and is met with comparatively little demand to consume this sudden spike in electricity supply, power suppliers not only face the problem of finding buyers for this excess electricity but, most importantly, this also elevates the risk of overwhelming a power grid designed on the traditional premise of predictable and flexible base load fossil-fuel power generation. So, any renewable energy integration into the traditional grid complicates supply and demand balances and constitutes transformation towards a more decentralized power generation system. Picture the spread out individual solar PV-based electricity “producers” – often called distributed generation – feeding their excess power into the grid while simultaneously relying on the grid during times of insufficient solar electricity generation.

Source: Wholesale Solar

The following chart illustrates the above situation; namely, that “Integration means Transformation”. This is one of the main findings in the IEA’s new report titled “The Power of Transformation – Wind, Sun and the Economics of Flexible Power Systems” published in February 2014.

Source: IEA

Instead of viewing renewables as forced into the remaining system without adaptation, the entire electricity system should be perceived as being re-optimized. This is where promising grid-scale electricity storage technology comes into play.

The World Economic Forum describes the technology and its intellectual premise as follows:



Greenpeace Storms EDF Nuclear Power Plant in Eastern France

Source: Bloomberg

Police arrested dozens of anti-nuclear campaigners after they entered France’s oldest atomic plant, operator Electricite de France SA (EDF) said.

More than 60 Greenpeace protesters stormed the site at Fessenheim near the German border before dawn and unfurled a banner that read “Stop Risking Europe,” the organization said. Some used ladders to scale fences. Fifty-seven were arrested.

“The event didn’t have an impact on safety at the installation,” the French atomic-energy regulator Autorite de Surete Nucleaire said in a statement. An EDF spokesman said there was no effect on power production because the intruders didn’t access electricity generating areas.

Greenpeace and EDF are at odds over power output in France, the world’s most nuclear-dependent country. Following security breaches by activists in 2011 and 2012, EDF set aside at least 400 million euros ($556 million) to tighten defenses at its 19 plants including fences, dogs and electronic surveillance.

The incident...

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-18/greenpeace-storms-edf-nuclear-plant-at-fessenheim-in-east-france.html

Renewable energy will not solve climate change

Note this is from ABC Australia.

Renewable energy will not solve climate change
Renewable energy and energy efficiency are not the solutions to climate change. Instead we need to more closely examine carbon capture and storage.

DAVID HONE ABC Environment 10 MAR 2014

WHETHER AT UNITED NATIONS climate change summits or one of the many 'green growth' forums, renewables and energy efficiency are consistently regarded as the solution to global warming. Even the coal industry adopted the efficiency line in its Warsaw Communiqué (pdf), released ahead of the UN's climate change summit last November.

But a closer look at the global energy system, together with a more refined understanding of the emissions challenge, reveals that fossil fuels will likely remain dominant throughout this century — meaning that carbon capture and storage (CCS) may well be the critical technology for mitigating climate change.


"Energy efficiency may drive, not limit, the increase in emissions"


I posted this because it incorporates two themes that are being pushed right now:
1) Renewable energy isn't adequate to serve society's energy needs and
2) "Energy efficiency may drive, not limit, the increase in emissions".

It also clearly shows the "environmental" origins of these themes.
"David Hone is Chief Climate Change Adviser at Royal Dutch Shell."

Note that the line about energy efficiency driving emissions is in quotes and comes shortly after an unrelated remark about the latest IPCC report. The quote is not traceable to any source but it's placement and the font styling is designed to create the false impression that it comes from the IPCC report.

So when you hear this proven false claim about energy efficiency driving consumption, please bear in mind that growth in energy consumption is a central element of the business model that supports the existence of coal/nuclear power generation.

Ice Energy in Connecticut

Thermal Energy Storage, Demand Response Is Put To The Test In Connecticut
by Renew Grid on March 12, 2014

Ice Energy, a provider of distributed thermal energy storage and smart grid solutions, has installed two Ice Bear energy storage systems for Connecticut-based utility United Illuminating Co. (UI) as a pilot project through the Energize Connecticut initiative, which is dedicated to helping citizens of the state make smart energy choices.

According to Ice Energy, the Ice Bears were installed at two commercial businesses located in Orange, Conn. The company says each unit was configured to provide both thermal energy storage and demand response.

At each site, Ice Energy reports that some of the air-conditioning load is permanently shifted from peak to off peak using thermal energy storage, and some of the load is subject to curtailment in an emergency using demand response. The pilot will go through this coming summer.

The company adds that the monitoring and evaluation of the performance of these units is being done in partnership with the University of New Haven's Tagliatela College of Engineering. Ravi Gorthala, a professor of mechanical engineering, and Amy Thompson, a professor of system and industrial engineering, will be providing critical data to determine the impact on the grid and these businesses.

"This pilot study and its results will provide good indicators of the capability of the Ice Bear technology ...


Solar, energy storage can protect cities from power outages, create resilient communities

Solar, energy storage can protect cities from power outages, create resilient communities

Clean Energy Group

To become more resilient in the face of severe weather events, communities should rely on proven distributed energy technologies such as solar with energy storage to protect residents during power outages, according to a new report by the nonprofit Clean Energy Group (CEG).

In a blueprint for how a city could become more power-resilient, the report, “Clean Energy for Resilient Communities,” shows how Baltimore and other cities could use clean energy to create a more reliable electric system that protects vulnerable citizens during power blackouts. The report was written by CEG for The Abell Foundation, a leading private foundation in Baltimore.

“We have entered a new ‘normal’ after Hurricane Sandy, where severe weather events are more frequent, leading to more power outages and increased risk to people and businesses,” said Lewis Milford, president of CEG and co-author of the report. “Last week over a million people in the U.S. lost power during damaging ice storms. Today, due to a record ice storm developing in the southeastern U.S., hundreds of thousands of people have already lost power, with those numbers expected to rise. We need new strategies like distributed solar with energy storage to protect communities against the harmful effects of power outages. Relying only on the utilities to do the job is no longer safe or dependable.”

The report is the first in-depth review of national policies and finance strategies to use solar and energy storage to provide more power protection in an urban setting. The report states that critical public facilities such as hospitals, fire stations, gas stations, community shelters and schools should use more resilient power technologies to protect people during power outages.

The report also recommends ...


Toshiba's Lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage Systems Make Renewable Energy More Practical

Toshiba's Lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage Systems Make Renewable Energy More Practical
Toshiba Delivers Lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage Systems to Remote Islands to Ensure Stable Power Supply

TOKYO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 13, 2014--

Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO:6502) today announced that it has delivered battery energy storage systems integrating the company's SCiB(TM), an innovative lithium-ion secondary battery to Kyushu Electric Power Co., Inc., for a demonstration project to expand introduction of renewable energy sources on remote islands. The systems have been installed in substations on Tanegashima Island and Amamioshima Island, in Kagoshima prefecture, and will be used to demonstrate the integration and optimum control of battery energy storage systems deployed to manage frequency regulation and maintain stable power supply on remote islands, which are increasingly turning to renewable energy sources. The demonstration program will run for three years to fiscal 2016.

When large-scale renewable energy sources such as wind and photovoltaic are integrated into power grids on remote islands, power frequencies tends to fluctuate due to intermittent power outputs from the renewables. Toshiba's battery energy storage systems provide such islands with an excellent solution for efficient and effective frequency regulation.

The maximum output and capacity of the systems Toshiba has delivered are 3,000kW and 1,161kWh for Tanegashima Island and 2,000kW and 774kWh for Amamioshima Island. Both systems integrate Toshiba's SCiB(TM) lithium-ion secondary batteries, which are known for their long-life and excellent performance: support for over 10,000 charge-discharge cycles; rapid charging and discharging; high level reliability and operational safety.

Toshiba is promoting battery energy storage system globally as a support for stable power supply, and is involved in Smart Community projects around the world. In Japan, these include a renewable power supply project in Okinawa and a large-scale urban project serving homes and offices in Yokohama. Overseas, they include a collaborative on-site verification testing program with GAS NATURAL FENOSA, one of Spain's leading natural gas utilities, that uses a transportable battery energy storage system to achieve an efficient, reliable and stable distribution network(*) . In commercial systems, Toshiba has received an order for the battery energy storage system from Rome-based ACEA Distribuzione S.p.A (Gruppo ACEA), one Italy's leading public utilities, and in Japan an order from Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc. for a battery energy storage system with the output of 40MW, the world's highest class.

There is a growing global demand ...


Australia: Solar PV to replace coal as “incumbent” technology

Solar PV to replace coal as “incumbent” technology
By Giles Parkinson on 17 March 2014

Australia is embarking on a radical transformation of its electricity system that will see solar PV transition from being “disruptive” technology to the “incumbent” technology, displacing coal and sparking a radical change in the way that electricity is provided.

David Green webThis is the assessment from Clean Energy Council CEO David Green (pictured), who in a presentation last week said generation will move from its traditional place at the point of supply to at or near the point of use; the primary role of the grid will be converted to that of a back-up “battery”; and consumers will play a key role in a more competitive market.

Green told a Davos Connection conference on infrastructure last week that the core logic behind having large scale generation plants close to their fuel source (coal or hydro) was being challenged by shifts in the basic cost parameters of many sources of energy allow generation (mostly solar) to be built closer to where it is used.

It was clear, he said, that solar PV has been taken up more rapidly in lower-income suburbs than higher income – because of the attraction for lower-income households to get a lower, fixed rate of electricity.

Now, new financing models ...


Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Western Pa. nuclear dump may have more waste than thought

Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Western Pa. nuclear dump may have more waste than thought
By KEVIN BEGOS Associated Press
March 14, 2014 - 3:02 pm

PITTSBURGH — A nuclear dump in western Pennsylvania could contain far more waste than originally thought, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's inspector general said in a new report.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey on Thursday released the report, which found that missing or incomplete records make it impossible to know how much nuclear material is buried at the site about 30 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The NRC said the former president of a company that made nuclear fuel at the site believes that the documents used for the current cleanup plan "grossly underestimate" the material buried there.

Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp., or NUMEC, made nuclear fuel for submarines at a nearby plant and owned the dump site from 1957 until the 1980s. Shallow trenches were used to dispose of radioactive wastes.

Casey said in a statement that the report "raises serious concerns about the NRC's oversight" of the cleanup, and he urged quicker action to finish the project.

The Army Corps of Engineers has been involved in the cleanup since 2002, but it halted work in May 2012 when crews discovered unanticipated amounts of "complex" materials like uranium and plutonium....


It’s Sad Seeing How Much My Hometown Has Changed Since That Level 7 Nuclear Accident

It’s Sad Seeing How Much My Hometown Has Changed Since That Level 7 Nuclear Accident
COMMENTARY • Opinion • ISSUE 50•10 • Mar 11, 2014
By Kevin Demers

As I get older, I become more and more nostalgic for my youth. Times change, people grow up and move on with their lives, and it’s hard not to yearn for the simpler days when you were just a kid without a care in the world. Never do I feel this sentiment more strongly than when I return to the town where I was raised and see just how different it’s become since the level 7 radiological event.

I realize there’s no sense living in the past, but I can’t help but get a little misty-eyed whenever I think about how much the passage of time and a burst of 75 sieverts of ionizing radiation an hour and intense gamma ray exposure can change a place.

It’s hard not to notice every time I go back. As a kid I used to love walking downtown; back then the place positively bustled, full of friendly faces and fun things to do. But these days the sidewalks are mostly empty apart from the teams of contamination specialists in hazmat suits. And even though it doesn’t even feel all that long ago that I was hanging out with friends at Al’s Pizzeria, if you look around now you won’t even find the old red-and-white checkered tablecloths or comfy booths where I spent so many Saturdays and had a number of my childhood birthday parties. Nope, all you’ll find is a charred imprint on the ground and a few melted metal girders due to its proximity to the released core material.

And don’t even get me started on all the changes along Main Street. When I was a boy it was home to so many thriving mom-and-pop shops—a hardware store, a green grocer, a corner pharmacy—but they were replaced long ago by that big ugly Wal-Mart. Which has since been commandeered and occupied by the Nuclear Regulatory Committee response teams following the reactor criticality incident.

Yes, things inside my hometown and the surrounding 35-mile fallout radius ...

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