penetrating ideas


This is startling and disturbing. Are these people crazy?

Florida Nuke Plant Did Not Meet Fed Safety Guidelines as Irma Roared

Update | Operators of a nuclear power plant in the path of Hurricane Irma kept one reactor operating during the cyclone, although the plant had not finished meeting stricter federal safety requirements implemented after Japan’s Fukushima accident.

The Turkey Point nuclear plant in Homestead, along the southeast Florida coast, experienced an unrelated failure in one reactor’s cooling system during the storm. A part called the steam generator’s feed regulating valve failed on Sunday night, prompting engineers to shut down the reactor.

The cooling system malfunction did not cause any radiation leakage, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The failure of the valve at Turkey Point was unrelated to larger, federally mandated improvements that are still pending, including improving seals on exterior doors and improving floodwater drainage mechanisms near “key” cooling pumps, according to a flood- and hurricane-preparedness report the power plant sent to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in June — a requirement of post-Fukushima regulations.

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Go there and get sick. I mean read. More next week.

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Let me say right off the bat that there is a “down side” to this program in that ownership is never transferred to the tenants. In other words, in most leasing arrangements after a number of years the tenants take ownership of the solar panels. Under this program it appears that the “leasing arrangement” lasts forever. Still I would definitely participate if given the opportunity. The Dutch are really smart folks.

Press Release: Foreign investment to help tenants save up to £192M a year in energy bills

2nd September 2017

  • Department for International Trade helps secure £160 million of capital expenditure into UK renewable energy backed by Dutch investors
  • Investment will unlock £1 billion solar panel installation programme that will result in annual energy savings of up to £192m for 800,000 households

International Trade Minister Greg Hands today welcomed £160 million of capital expenditure into UK renewable energy backed by Dutch investors, the first step in a £1 billion programme to give over 800,000 poorer households access to cheap solar electricity.

The investment from Maas Capital (part of the ABN AMRO Bank), secured thanks to Department for International Trade (DIT) support, will help fund solar panels from UK firm Solarplicity to produce electricity for affordable housing across England and Wales.

The scheme will see Solarplicity partner with social housing providers to install panels on their housing stock, creating a Community Energy Scheme where tenants benefit from long-term guaranteed discounts on their bills. Around 100,000 households will receive panels in the next 18 months, and 800,000 in the next five years.

The panels will be free to social housing tenants, reducing their energy bills by an average of £240 a year, saving up to £192 million in total, with 100% renewable electricity.

The deal will also create over 1,000 new jobs to install and maintain the panels. Many of these jobs will go to veterans from the armed forces, as Solarplicity helps re-train them into new maintenance careers.

Speaking from a social housing development in Ealing, West London, where new solar panels are being installed, Minister Hands said:

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Coal is no longer economical. That says it all.

Xcel Energy plans to retire two coal-fired plants in Pueblo, increase renewables

Xcel Energy plans to retire two coal-fired plants in Pueblo, increase renewables

Consumers should come out ahead long term, utility says

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

Xcel Energy on Tuesday continued its shift away from coal, announcing an agreement to retire two of its three coal-burning units at the Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo while adding substantially more wind, solar and natural gas generation.

Xcel Energy will request competitive bids before the end of the year for 1,000 megawatts of additional wind, 700 megawatts of solar and 700 megawatts of natural gas power generation under its “Colorado Energy Plan.”

The state’s largest utility also said it will retire 660 megawatts of coal-generated power from Comanche Unit 1, built in 1973, and Comanche Unit 2, built in 1975. It will continue to operate the newer and cleaner coal-fired Unit 3, which came online in 2010 and has a capacity of 750 megawatts.

“It is really about the economics,” David Eves, president for Xcel Energy in Colorado, said of the retirements, which will take place before the end of 2022 and 2025. “From the company’s perspective, this plan is a response to our customers”

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Of course Illinois has already gone for wind in a big way so I should not complain. Well I could complain about Sangamon County because of its stupid rules about wind turbines. That is for another time. For now, how glorious it would have been talking offshore wind farms in New Orleans? Over beignets no less.

Why Oil-Loving Louisiana Should Embrace America’s Coming Offshore Wind Boom

Why Oil-Loving Louisiana Should Embrace America’s Coming Offshore Wind Boom

The budding wind power industry is rich in jobs, and the people of south Louisiana are ready for clean energy.

Justin Nobel | Longreads | July 2017 | 16 minutes (4,000 words)

If you’re visiting New Orleans and want to see something truly amazing, take your beer or daiquiri to-go and walk a few blocks past the Superdome—you’ll find a school being constructed on an old waste dump.

“All the toxic chemicals from the landfill are still there,” says toxicologist Wilma Subra. This includes lead, mercury, and arsenic, exposure to which can lead to reproductive damage, and skin and lung cancer. Even more astonishing, Subra says hundreds of schools across Louisiana have been built on waste dumps. Why? Dumps represent cheap land often already owned by a cash-strapped town or city, plus serve as rare high ground in a flood-prone state. And this is just the beginning of Louisiana’s nightmare.

The risk of cancer in Reserve, a community founded by freed slaves, is 800 times the national average, making the community, by one EPA metric, the most carcinogenic census tract in America—the cause is a DuPont/Denka chemical plant adjacent to the town that annually spews 250,000 pounds of the likely carcinogen chloroprene into the air. If you think the situation in Flint is bad, there are approximately 400 public water systems in Louisiana with lead or other hazardous substances leaching into the drinking water. Meanwhile, hundreds of petrochemical plants peppered across the state’s lush swampy interior freely emit carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and neurotoxins into the air and water, as well as inject them deep into the earth.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that Louisiana is ranked, according to different surveys, 47th in environmental quality, third in poverty, and 49th in education. Are you still gushing about your latest trip to New Orleans for Jazz Fest Presented by Shell, or French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron? “New Orleans is the best,” one visitor recently wrote to me, “you are so smart to live there!” But how smart is it to allow children to attend school built on toxin-laced waste? How smart is it to allow a community’s cancer rates to shoot off the charts? Louisiana is rich in culture, spirit, and faith, yet what type of state knowingly poisons its own people? What type of country stands by and allows it to happen?

While it is fashionable to critique President Trump for his scientific ignorance, science was misdirected long before Trump laid hands on it. It is time to open our eyes and see what is really going on in this world, to critique our society’s dinosaur methods, then step back and imagine what a new path forward might look like. It is with this aim that I begin a science column for Longreads. In my first story I’ll tour us through a land America should have never allowed to materialize—it’s what I’m calling the Louisiana Environmental Apocalypse Road Trip. As the Trump administration chucks environmental science out the window, evaporates industry regulations, and cripples agencies charged with protecting the environment, this tale is relevant for all Americans, because the poisoning happening in Louisiana could happen in your state too—in fact, it is probably already happening.

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The technology of the Technology is just starting to come in. Who could have imagines huge wind turbines that float, let alone at sea. I mean, this is really amazing. I am pretty sure they can do this in the Great Lakes. I even hear a rumor that they are going to try to do this in Coos Bay in Oregon. Way to go people!

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-40699979

World’s first floating wind farm emerges off coast of Scotland

  • 23 July 2017
  • From the section Business

The revolutionary technology will allow wind power to be harvested in waters too deep for the current conventional bottom-standing turbines.

The Peterhead wind farm, known as Hywind, is a trial which will bring power to 20,000 homes.

Manufacturer Statoil says output from the turbines is expected to equal or surpass generation from current ones.

It hopes to cash in on a boom in the technology, especially in Japan and the west coast of the US, where waters are deep.

“This is a tech development project to ensure it’s working in open sea conditions. It’s a game-changer for floating wind power and we are sure it will help bring costs down,” said Leif Delp, project director for Hywind.

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I will say this once and only once. If nukes are a really bad idea on the Earth, then they are  a really really bad idea for Mars. They are only on or off. That is functional or not, and if it is NOT you are dead. If they go out of control no good can come of it. The first and foremost reason has always been, What do you do with the waste?.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/nasa-seeks-nuclear-power-for-mars/

Purch
Space

NASA Seeks Nuclear Power for Mars

 After a half-century hiatus, the agency is reviving its reactor development with a test later this summer

As NASA makes plans to one day send humans to Mars, one of the key technical gaps the agency is working to fill is how to provide enough power on the Red Planet’s surface for fuel production, habitats and other equipment. One option: small nuclear fission reactors, which work by splitting uranium atoms to generate heat, which is then converted into electric power.

NASA’s technology development branch has been funding a project called Kilopower for three years, with the aim of demonstrating the system at the Nevada National Security Site near Las Vegas. Testing is due to start in September and end in January 2018.

The last time NASA tested a fission reactor was during the 1960s’ Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power, or SNAP, program, which developed two types of nuclear power systems. The first system — radioisotope thermoelectric generators, or RTGs — taps heat released from the natural decay of a radioactive element, such as plutonium. RTGs have powered dozens of space probes over the years, including the Curiosity rover currently exploring Mars. [Nuclear Generators Power NASA Deep Space Probes (Infographic)]

The second technology developed under SNAP was an atom-splitting fission reactor. SNAP-10A was the first — and so far, only — U.S. nuclear power plant to operate in space.

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I must say that the general public is slanted against comedians. First, they think comedy is easy. It is not. It is very hard and mentally challenging. Second, they assume that acomedian could never be a good politician. I think Al Franken proves them wrong on both counts. I think he is an excellent comedian and a politician. About the environment he is spot on.

https://thinkprogress.org/al-franken-strategy-for-trump-climate-deniers-fd9a6502f9cb

Al Franken’s devastating strategy for taking on Trump’s team of climate science deniers

Knowledge of climate science plus mastery of storytelling is a rare combination.

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has emerged as one of Congress’ most devastating questioners of the myriad climate science deniers who fill President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

And it’s largely because the comedian turned Senator combines two abilities rarely seen together?—?actual knowledge of climate science and genuine communications chops. Franken knows how to tell a good story, and as the best science communicators will tell you, the best messaging requires storytelling.

Just last week Franken dismantled Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in one hearing, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry in another. And by dismantled, I mean his doggedness drove Zinke to spout nonsense answers that a top climatologist called “stupid and ignorant,” while it drove Perry to simply lose his cool?—?a take-down that has since gone viral.

Let’s see how Franken does it. Here he is with Zinke on Tuesday:

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Go there and read. Go there and play videos. More next week.

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Pop the corks, light the fireworks and kick up your heels. Yah, but that is not what happened. Maybe they celebrated on the west coast, but here in the midwest, there was a huge yawn. People are just not excited about saving their own lives and the only planet we have. As dolt 45 would say, so SAD.

http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/State-breaks-another-renewable-energy-record-11156443.php

California grid sets record, with 67% of power from renewables

Updated 5:10 pm, Thursday, May 18, 2017

A stretch of sunny, windy days, combined with brimming reservoirs at hydroelectric plants across the state, helped California reach a renewable energy milestone last weekend.

Early Saturday afternoon, renewable sources produced a record 67.2 percent of the electricity on the portion of the state’s power grid controlled by the California Independent System Operator. That figure does not include large hydropower facilities, which added another 13.5 percent. Based in Folsom, the ISO runs 80 percent of the state’s grid.

More than half of the renewable energy flowing across the grid at that moment on Saturday came from large solar facilities and wind farms. The ISO’s numbers do not even account for electricity from rooftop solar arrays.

Overall, renewables accounted for 42 percent of the California grid’s power on Saturday, not counting the large hydropower plants.

“The fact that the grid can handle 67 percent renewable power from multiple sources — it’s a great moment, and it shows the potential we have,” said Sachu Constantine, the director of policy at the Center for Sustainable Energy, a nonprofit clean energy advisory firm in Berkeley.

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Norway has a very different approach to the environment then Donald Trump ( I prefer to call dolt 45). They are plunging headlong into a green energy future and I hope the rest of the world follows.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/norways-government-made-electric-cars-irresistible/

How Norway’s government made electric cars irresistible

May 29, 2017 at 6:35 PM EDT

In Scandinavia, which is a world leader in green technology, politicians and environmentalists want the president to follow their lead, and increase investment in environmentally friendly technologies like electric cars.

Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports from Norway, the world’s fastest growing electric car market.

MALCOLM BRABANT: Norway prides itself on being one of the world’s most pristine countries. Yet, amid the stunning scenery, there are reminders that its vast wealth comes from decades of gas and oil production.

But Norwegians are turning their backs on fossil fuels and embracing electric cars like nowhere else.

Ann Kunish, who moved from Wisconsin 30 years ago, is one of the new converts.

ANN KUNISH, Music Librarian: This car is a no-brainer. There’s no question about it. It’s very, very easy to choose electric cars. The Norwegian government has made it much more financially feasible to buy them. They don’t have the same fees, free parking in municipal spots. More and more charging stations are being built, lower yearly fee to use the roads, no tolls.

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I was going to write about Germany making 85 percent of its power with renewables on a particular day. As fun as that is this is better. Egypt is going to invest billions of dollars in solar (and wind?). That is so exciting. I hope the rest of the countries of the Middle East follow suit.

http://www.upi.com/Energy-News/2017/05/15/Egypt-looks-to-the-future-with-renewable-energy-plan/3111494858225/

 

Egypt looks to the future with renewable energy plan

By Ahmed Megahid, The Arab Weekly   |   May 15, 2017 at 10:33 AM

CAIRO, May 15 (UPI) — The vista in the central province of Minya is as empty as far as the eye can see except for rows and rows of solar panels and the blue sky above.

The panels are helping Amr al-Saad’s 8-month-old power sta­tion address the worsening issue of brownouts and blackouts in the area.

“A few years ago, power supply was intermittent, which made the life of the residents of the province very tough,” he said. “That is why I decided to establish my project where it is most needed.”

After generating electricity, Saad’s station feeds it into the na­tional grid where it is used to power houses, farms and workshops in Minya’s villages.

Saad’s project, which cost $100,000 and produces 650 kilo­watts of electricity each month, is part of a national drive to reduce Egypt’s dependence on fossil fuels by shifting to renewable energy. Egypt plans to produce 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2022 and 37 percent by 2035. It is an ambitious plan given that just 3 percent of electricity produced annually in Egypt today is from renewable sources.

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