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kristopher

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

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NRAs Wayne LaPierre calls Bernie Sanders a dangerous political predator

NRA’s Wayne LaPierre calls Bernie Sanders a dangerous ‘political predator’ at Friday rally with Trump
David Ferguson
28 APR 2017 AT 15:03 ET

In his speech opening the National Rifle Association (NRA)’s 2017 Leadership Conference in Atlanta, the organization’s president Wayne LaPierre attacked Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, calling the former presidential candidate a kind of Pied Piper — a “political predator” who lures young Americans astray.

TheHill.com reported on the Friday afternoon speech, in which LaPierre said, “Bernie Sanders was not a movement, as a fawning media called his campaign. Bernie is a political predator of young voters who were lied to by school teachers and college professors.”...


http://www.rawstory.com/2017/04/nras-wayne-lapierre-calls-bernie-sanders-a-dangerous-political-predator-at-friday-rally-with-trump/

Three studies: solar-plus-storage ... the technology will disrupt the power sector

Is grid defection still a threat to the utility business model?
Three studies debate solar-plus-storage economics, but all agree the technology will disrupt the power sector


Peter Maloney@TopFloorPower
April 18, 2017

Grid defection has become a much discussed topic in the energy storage world. It has been the subject of academic papers, including a recent paper by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and another paper by researchers from the Rochester Institute of Technology, that examined the economics of combining energy storage with rooftop solar panels.

Those papers referenced an earlier 2014 paper on the Economics of Grid Defection by analysts at the Rocky Mountain Institute. The key points of the RMI paper were that solar-plus-storage technology has reached grid parity in some locations and continued technology cost declines will lead to wider adoption and, as a result, further utility “revenue decay” as customers reduce their reliance on the grid.

These changes are all happening within most utilities’ 30-year planning horizon, RMI said, and, therefore, grid defection could disrupt their business models and leave them with stranded investments in outdated assets.

... more at http://www.utilitydive.com/news/is-grid-defection-still-a-threat-to-the-utility-business-model/440272/

CRS: Westinghouse Bankruptcy Filing Could Put New U.S. Nuclear Projects at Risk

Westinghouse Bankruptcy Filing Could Put New U.S. Nuclear Projects at Risk
April 19, 2017 (IN10689)

Mark Holt, Congressional Research Service
Specialist in Energy Policy (mholt@crs.loc.gov, 7-1704)

Westinghouse Electric Company, a major nuclear technology firm that supplied nearly half of the 99 currently operating U.S. commercial reactors, filed for bankruptcy reorganization on March 29, 2017. The bankruptcy filing raised fundamental questions about the future of the U.S. nuclear power industry, and particularly whether four new reactors that Westinghouse is constructing for electric utilities in Georgia and South Carolina will be completed. The four reactors are the first to begin construction in the United States since the mid-1970s, and the nuclear industry had hoped they would pave the way for many more.

Because the Georgia two-reactor project, whose lead owner is Georgia Power, received $8.3 billion in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy (DOE), concerns have also been raised about potential federal liability should the borrowers default. The South Carolina project, with lead owner South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G), did not receive DOE loan guarantees.

The Japanese industrial conglomerate Toshiba Corporation bought the majority of Westinghouse in 2006. In 2008, Westinghouse signed fixed-price contracts to build two 1,150 megawatt AP1000 reactors at the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia and two more at the V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina. The fixed-price nature of the contracts meant that Westinghouse and Toshiba were to bear most of the risk for schedule delays and cost overruns. The four reactors were originally scheduled to be completed by 2016-2018 at a cost (excluding interest) of about $4.8 billion per unit at Vogtle, according to Georgia Power's most recent progress report, and $5.7 billion for each of the new Summer units, according to a recent SCE&G regulatory filing. (Cost estimates by the two states differ in scope and methodology.)

Schedule delays and rising costs occurred at both plants soon after major construction began. Resulting lawsuits were settled at the end of 2015 with the utilities agreeing to pay for some of the rising costs but with Westinghouse and Toshiba agreeing to pay for any future delays and cost overruns. Toshiba announced February 14, 2017, that the cost estimates for completing the four units had risen another $6.1 billion since the 2015 settlements. Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy six weeks later. In a statement released with the bankruptcy filing, Toshiba said total debt accrued to Westinghouse and related companies was $9.8 billion, including the nuclear cost overruns...


Full 3 page report here: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/IN10689.pdf

Almost everything you know about climate change solutions is probably outdated

#1
Almost Everything You Know About Climate Change Solutions Is Outdated

Almost everything you know about climate change solutions is outdated, for several reasons.

First, climate science and climate politics have been moving unexpectedly quickly toward a broad consensus that we need to keep total human-caused global warming as far as possible below 2°C (3.6°F) — and ideally to no more than 1.5°C. This has truly revolutionary implications for climate solutions policy.

Second, key climate solutions — renewables, efficiency, electric cars, and storage — have been advancing considerably faster than anyone expected, much faster than the academic literature anticipated. The synergistic effect of all these light-speed changes is only now beginning to become clear (see, for instance, my recent post, “Why The Renewables Revolution Is Now Unstoppable”.

Third, the media and commentariat have simply not kept up with all these changes and their utterly game-changing implications. As a result we end up with recent articles in such prestige publications as Foreign Affairs and the New York Times that are literally out-of-date the instant they are published, as I’ll discuss below.

That’s why ClimateProgress is committed to staying ahead of this rapidly-moving subject and a key reason why I have begun writing more about climate solutions, the area in which I have the most personal experience and expertise. Indeed, now that there is basically a high-level political consensus around the globe about what the science says should be our temperature target, the need to move quickly on solutions has never been clearer...

https://thinkprogress.org/almost-everything-you-know-about-climate-change-solutions-is-outdated-part-1-84aefadbad3d



#2
We Can Stop Searching For The Clean Energy Miracle. It’s Already Here.

Key climate solutions have been advancing considerably faster than anyone expected just a few years ago thanks to aggressive market-based deployment efforts around the globe. These solutions include such core enabling technologies for a low-carbon world as solar, wind, efficiency, electric cars, and battery storage.

That’s a key reason almost everything you know about climate change solutions is probably outdated. In Part 1 of this series, I discussed other reasons. For instance, climate science and climate politics have moved unexpectedly quickly toward a broad understanding that we need to keep total human-caused global warming as far as possible below 2°C (3.6°F) — and ideally to no more than 1.5°C. But the media and commentariat generally have not kept up with the science or solutions and their utterly game-changing implications.

This post will focus on the light-speed changes in clean energy technology that have left even the most informed journalists and experts behind, which in turn means the public and policy-makers are receiving outdated information.

The Clean Energy Miracle Is Already Here
Consider solar power. In recent days, both the Council on Foreign Affairs and the New York Times have published claims that were literally out-of-date the instant they were put on the internet....

https://thinkprogress.org/we-can-stop-searching-for-the-clean-energy-miracle-its-already-here-fcf5ec3b355f

http://preview.tinyurl.com/lo8fbvy


See also:
The adoption curve

When an innovation is introduced into a market, it takes a number of year to ‘diffuse’ and penetrate the market. The adoption typically looks like an S-curve as shown in the following chart. The adoption curve provides a useful way to break down customers in five segment: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, laggards.


Adoption curve

Innovators are the first to adopt new products and services. They are technology freaks par excellence, and like experimenting and playing around to find out what they can do with their new toys. Innovators typically represent a few percent of the target user base.

Early adopters also invest early on in new technologies, not as technologists, but to address their concrete problems.

- They typically represent about 10% of the target population.
- In companies, early adopters are opinion influencers. Often they will not be decision makers themselves, but are key to convince others. Early adopters are usually at the centre of extensive communication networks, for instance internal management circles, industry fora, or are very sociable individuals in their private sphere.
- When a critical mass of early adopters has developed, the process of technology diffusion becomes self-sustaining and like a snow-ball effect, it spills over to the early majority. On the other hand, competing and incompatible standards slow down the rate of adoption and the transition from early adopters to the early majority.

more at: http://www.business-planning-for-managers.com/main-courses/marketing-sales/marketing/the-adoption-curve/

Nuclear construction shutdown among options amid bankruptcy

Nuclear construction shutdown among options amid bankruptcy

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The head of a utility that's building two of the country's newest nuclear reactors told South Carolina regulators on Wednesday that abandoning the project is an option under consideration.

...Westinghouse, the U.S. nuclear unit of Japan's Toshiba Corp., filed for bankruptcy protection last month, calling into question the future of a number of multibillion-dollar nuclear projects, including the South Carolina site and a similar project at Plant Vogtle in eastern Georgia.

...SCANA's electric utility component, South Carolina Electric & Gas Co., owns 55 percent of the plant. For years, its customers have funded the reactor project through a series of rate hikes approved by state regulators. The state-owned utility Santee Cooper owns the other 45 percent, and it's unknown how ratepayers will be impacted by the Westinghouse bankruptcy.

...SCE&G has raised electric prices on its customers nearly 20 percent since 2009 to pay for the project, which is behind schedule and over the original projected cost....

https://apnews.com/d7e9f22936bb404287f8b883968a5867/Nuclear-construction-shutdown-among-options-amid-bankruptcy


See also: GA nuke plant soaking ratepayers - may never come online
https://www.democraticunderground.com/1127109633

GA nuke plant soaking ratepayers - may never come online

The money quote:
“If the cost of completing the facility can no longer be accurately predicted the project should be closely and thoroughly reevaluated to reflect market conditions before more ratepayer money is committed to the high-risk project,” Smith said. “(I)f the companies choose to build an electric generation facility with unknown costs to complete and unknown schedules, they should have their shareholders carry the risk not the ratepayers in the area.”"


Troubled nuclear plant costs rising for Savannah residents

Vogtle construction now $3 billion over budget, three years behind schedule


... ratepayers are already paying for the two new nuclear reactors, both of which may never produce a watt of electricity. How much have customers already dished out? For southside Savannah customer Cornelia Stumpf, the Vogtle bills already total more than $500.

...

Stumpf’s situation reflects that of many Savannah area residents. She lives in a 1,900-square-foot midcentury modern house in Magnolia Park, running her marketing and public relations business from a separate 300-square-foot office in the yard for a total of about 2,200 square feet of conditioned space. A pool in the side yard requires a pump that eats up electricity but her heater runs on natural gas, so her overall usage is typical for Savannah. Her winter bills dip to about 1200 kilowatt hours. Summer zooms to nearly double that amount.

Georgia Power started charging residential customers the nuclear construction cost in 2011 after lawmakers gave the monopoly utility the go-ahead to charge ratepayers for the multi-billion dollar project as it was being built, and before it produces its first kilowatt hour of juice. The amount appears as a line item of the monthly bill under “Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery.”

“It’s a chunk of money,” said Stumpf...

More detail at: http://savannahnow.com/news/2017-04-08/troubled-nuclear-plant-costs-rising-savannah-residents
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