advanced energy structures


This is what happens in a transitional economy. All the big brave tough bullies, Captains of Industry, turn into silly whiny little sissies begging for handouts. Isn’t life interesting. And no, this is not an April Fools Joke.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/04/coal-nuclear-plant-operator-files-for-bankruptcy-asks-trump-for-a-bailout/

business cycles —

Coal, nuclear plant operator files for bankruptcy, asks Trump for a bailout

FirstEnergy’s request comes after regulator struck down an industry-wide bailout plan.

On Saturday, power corporation FirstEnergy placed its coal and nuclear generation units under chapter 11 bankruptcy. Although coal and nuclear plants across the country have struggled to compete with the low prices of natural gas, FirstEnergy’s filing is unique because it stands to take on a political dimension. Just two days before FirstEnergy’s bankruptcy filing, the company petitioned the Department of Energy (DOE) for an emergency bailout, citing concerns about reliability.

The petition could reinvigorate a debate started by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who proposed a rule last year to change how coal and nuclear plants are compensated for their power. The rule was denied by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which said that there was not enough evidence to justify changing how coal and nuclear are compensated.

FirstEnergy disparaged FERC’s decision in its Thursday petition (PDF), claiming that “as a result of FERC’s and the RTO’s [Regional Transmission Organization’s] failure to address this crisis, swift and decisive action is needed now to address this imminent loss of nuclear and coal-fired baseload generation and the threat to the electric grid that this loss poses” (emphasis FirstEnergy’s).

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Go there and laugh your asses off. More next week.

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In Florida no less. I could hype this piece up, but why? They do such a good job. The place even has its own website.

Home

So here is one version of the story.

https://www.planetizen.com/news/2018/01/96772-residents-move-americas-first-solar-powered-town

Residents Move Into America’s First Solar Powered Town

Residents will live in solar powered homes and ride around the community in self-driving, solar-powered shuttles. Babcock Ranch outside of Fort Myers, Florida, has been in the making since 2005. A city of 50,000 is forecast.
January 18, 2018, 1pm PST | Irvin Dawid

“Families are starting to move into what is being called America’s first solar-powered town,” announces John Dickerson for CBS This Morning on Jan. 16. “Babcock Ranch, about half an hour northeast of Fort Myers, Florida, is supposed to produce more energy than it consumes once it’s finished.”

Developer Syd Kitson is building 20,000 homes for a projected 50,000 people, states Dickerson in the newscast video accompanying the article.

There are more than 300,000 solar panels spread across 440 acres there, producing enough electricity not only for the town, but also the surrounding areas, reports CBS News’ Manuel Bojorquez.

One critical energy element lacking in the solar-powered community will be adequate energy storage to allow the city to be truly self-powered:

The town doesn’t run on solar power all the time. At night, when the sun is down, it has to draw from the traditional electrical grid. Kitson says the technology for storing all that surplus energy the solar cells generate during the day is still too costly.

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Go There. I mean literally go there if you can. If not go there and read. More next week.

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Once renewables get a bite of the apple eating it down to the core does not take long. I know that is a really bad metaphor, but right now besides doing my happy dance it is the best I can come up with.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/03/renewables-conservation-start-pushing-fossil-fuels-off-the-us-grid/?comments=1&post=35009197

US electricity use drops, renewables push fossil fuels out of the mix

2017 saw both coal and natural gas use decline.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney once said that “Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.” But in the US, increased energy efficiency has helped drive a drop in total electricity use. That, combined with the rise of renewable power, caused the use of both coal and natural gas to decline last year.

The changes, according to the Energy Information Agency, are relatively small. Total electric generation last year was down 1.5 percent compared to the year before, a drop of 105,000 GigaWatt-hours. But both coal and natural gas saw declines that were even larger. Coal use was down by 2.5 percent, a smaller decline than it has seen in many recent years. But the numbers for its future aren’t promising; no new coal plants were opened, and 6.3 Gigawatts of coal capacity were retired in 2017.

Continuing recent trends, 9.3GW of natural gas capacity were brought online, although that was partly offset by the retirement of 4.0GW of older gas plants. Despite the additional capacity, however, natural gas use was also down, dropping by nearly 8 percent.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I have said for 30 years, storing nuclear waste onsite is dumb and dangerous. Especially at nuclear power plants. Yes the waste is dangerous and proper precautions must be taken. YES accidents will happen. But how many Fukushimas do you want to see. Melt downs and other disasters are really really bad, but how much worse are they with 1000s of tons of radioactive waste present. Yes, I think they should open Yucca Mountain as well.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2018/03/06/will-we-actually-get-a-place-to-store-our-nuclear-waste/#283213a023a0

 

Will We Actually Get A Place To Store Our Nuclear Waste?

, I write about nuclear, energy and the environment

It certainly looks like it. At the end of February, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted Holtec International’s license application for its proposed consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel, called HI-STORE CIS.

To be located in southeastern New Mexico near Carlsbad, the facility would store spent nuclear fuel, which is better referred to as slightly used nuclear fuel, until a final disposal facility is built or until we build our new fast reactors that will burn it, or we recycle it into new fuel.

Reactor fuel usually spends five years in the reactor, after which about 5% of the energy in the fuel is used, but fission products of the reactions have built-up to the point where the fuel must be replaced. After leaving the reactor, the spent fuel usually spends about 5 years in spent fuel pools of water, until heat and radiation have decreased sufficiently to allow the fuel to be passively cooled in a dry cask (see 1,2,3).

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I am so amazed by this, that I do not know what to say. I wish these type projects had started 30 years ago. You would say, impossible. I would say the technology would have been different and the work harder, but it could have been done. Still I am so proud of Renault and I hope more companies try this out. GO Renault!

https://www.engadget.com/2018/02/21/renault-ev-second-life-batteries-smart-island/

Renault’s ‘smart island’ runs on wind power and recycled batteries

The experiment in Portugal aims to prove you can live without fossil fuels.

Renault has launched a “smart island” in Portugal that uses its Zoe electric vehicle, home batteries, smart charging and vehicle-to-grid (V2E) energy storage to run without fossil fuels. The idea is to make the Madeira island of Porto Santo energy independent and stimulate renewable energy production. “[We want] to build a model that can be carried over to other islands and cities,” Renault Electric Vehicle Director Eric Feunteun told Engadget.

Unlike Tesla’s massive Powerpack installation, the Renault project is more of a community endeavor on the small (16 square mile) and sparsely populated (5,483 inhabitants), tourism-oriented island. It will unroll in three phases: In the first, 20 fortunate Porto Santo volunteers will get 14 Zoes and six Kango Z.E. utility vans to use every day. They’ll benefit from 40 new connected public and private charging stations set up by Renault and local utility Empresa de Electricitade da Madeira (EEM).

“Let’s say you come home from work at 7 PM with a decent charge left, and only need two to three hours of charging,” said Feunteun. “The smart charging system we’re testing will decide when the best time to do that is, based on usage, energy availability and other factors. Then, it can charge up to eight times a day in chunks as small as 15 minutes.”

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Go there and read every glorious word. More next week.

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I do not usually put up two opinions in one post. These are timely articles so I think it is important to hear both sides. One side basically says we are going to die. The other side says we will have to move ourselves or large amounts of water. You decide.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-42982959

The 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water – like Cape Town

  • 11 February 2018

Cape Town is in the unenviable situation of being the first major city in the modern era to face the threat of running out of drinking water.

However, the plight of the drought-hit South African city is just one extreme example of a problem that experts have long been warning about – water scarcity.

Despite covering about 70% of the Earth’s surface, water, especially drinking water, is not as plentiful as one might think. Only 3% of it is fresh.

Over one billion people lack access to water and another 2.7 billion find it scarce for at least one month of the year. A 2014 survey of the world’s 500 largest cities estimates that one in four are in a situation of “water stress”

According to UN-endorsed projections, global demand for fresh water will exceed supply by 40% in 2030, thanks to a combination of climate change, human action and population growth.

http://www.straitstimes.com/world/water-why-the-taps-run-dry

Severe water shortages around the world: Why the taps run dry

Published

Feb 13, 2018, 7:30 pm SGT

PARIS (AFP) – The world has abundant freshwater but it is unevenly distributed and under increasing pressure, UN agencies say, as highlighted by the severe shortages in Cape Town.

WATER, WATER ‘EVERYWHERE’

More than 97 per cent of the planet’s water is salty, most of it in the oceans and seas, but there is also a good supply of freshwater.

Every year around 42.8 trillion cubic metres of renewable freshwater circulates as rain, surface water or groundwater, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

This equals 16,216 litres per person per day – four times the amount required in the United States, for example, for personal and domestic consumption, industry and agriculture.

Depending on diet and lifestyle, a person needs between 2,000 and 5,000 litres of water a day to produce their food and meet their drinking and sanitation requirements, the FAO says.

About 60 per cent of the planet’s freshwater reserves is locked in the Antarctic.

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They don’t even agree on how much water we have. Go there and read a lot. More next week.

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This is a short article, but when you consider his company launched Heavy Falcon this week as well, it has been a very good year for Elon. It is just getting started.

https://www.techspot.com/news/73140-tesla-massive-100mw-south-australian-battery-putting-big.html

Tesla’s massive 100MW South Australian battery is putting a big dent in ‘gas cartel’ profits

Tesla’s battery is significantly undercutting traditional ‘gas cartel’ energy charges

By

Back in March, Tesla boss Elon Musk promised to provide South Australia with a 100MW battery to help the state make the switch to more affordable, renewable energy. At the time, he promised to get the project done in under 100 days or give it to them for free – more than living up to his promise, Tesla finished the battery installation in only 63 days.

After officially being switched on in December, the battery has gone on to save South Australia millions of dollars. It’s accomplished this by easing some of the burden associated with high FCAS costs.

For the unaware, FCAS (frequency control and ancillary services) charges are costs the Australian Energy Market Operator must pay when they ask energy companies to contribute some of their network services to the government in the case of scheduled maintenance or energy system faults.

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Go there and read. I did say it was a short article. More next week.

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I am a graduate of Sangamon State University. What is now University of Illinois Springfield. They just build a Student Union and I am so proud of it. It could be LEED certified and it is student centered. Our Student Union was in a temporary building 0n the temporary campus “down the hill”. This is just so cool.

Strategic Design of the UIS Student Union

This is the part I like:

Environmentally Excellent

UIS is seeking a LEED Gold certificate (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council), both for the sake of the environment and in order to take advantage of energy saving measures. For this reason, the building will have a green, or “living,” roof with vegetation and a growing medium over a sloped membrane. This roof will provide insulation, help to lower air temperatures, and last much longer than other roofs—50 to 60 years rather than the 20 to 30 years most roofs last. The vegetation will most likely include wildflowers that will change throughout the growing season, adding to the building’s beauty.

To reduce storm runoff and eliminate water irrigation, the Student Union will have a rainwater reclamation system that takes advantage of the roof’s slope. Also in consideration of LEED approvals, lighting will be designed to meet the USGBC’s very stringent requirements.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I have to admit I love European design and innovation. They seem to want what is best for human kind in a stylish sort of way. Still this is big for even the Dutch who always dream big.

The Dutch plan to build an artificial island to support the world’s largest wind farm

ICE-AGE DREAMS

The Dutch plan to build an artificial island to support the world’s largest wind farm

Wind farms need a lot of space—not something the world has much to spare. That’s why they’re being pushed out into the sea.

TenneT, the operator of the Netherlands’ electric grid, has come up with an ambitious plan to build an artificial island in the middle of the North Sea that on completion would support the world’s largest wind farm.

The location for the artificial island is a region called the Dogger Bank, about 100 km (60 miles) off the coast of Yorkshire in the UK. During the last Ice Age some 20,000 years ago, when sea levels were 100 meters lower than today, Dogger Bank was actually a landmass called Doggerland, which connected mainland Europe to the British isles. The bank’s shallowness means it won’t require ungodly amounts of sand to build the island, and it will be able to support the thousands of wind turbines that need to be tethered to the sea floor. Its location also puts any electricity generated from the farm within reach of five countries.

Wind power generators are searching for better locations because wind farms are a much less dense form of electricity generation compared to fossil-fuel power or nuclear power. A nuclear power plant can generate 400 times as much energy per unit of area compared to a wind farm.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Sorry this is so late but the Christmas Season collided with my volunteering at Dana Thomas House which collided with the death of my dear friend Bob Paddack. Plus my car developed a penchant for flat tires. So I have been breathless. I could have ended on a downer note by posting about dumbass 45’s attempts to repeal regulations put in place after the Deep Water Horizon’s humongous oil spill, but that is insane so without further ado.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/switzerland-giant-new-machine-sucking-carbon-directly-air

In Switzerland, a giant new machine is sucking carbon directly from the air

Originally published by E&E News

The world’s first commercial plant for capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air opened yesterday, refueling a debate about whether the technology can truly play a significant role in removing greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.

The Climeworks AG facility near Zurich becomes the first ever to capture CO2 at industrial scale from air and sell it directly to a buyer

Developers say the plant will capture about 900 tons of CO2 annually — or the approximate level released from 200 cars — and pipe the gas to help grow vegetables.

While the amount of CO2 is a small fraction of what firms and climate advocates hope to trap at large fossil fuel plants, Climeworks says its venture is a first step in their goal to capture 1 percent of the world’s global CO2 emissions with similar technology. To do so, there would need to be about 250,000 similar plants, the company says.

“Highly scalable negative emission technologies are crucial if we are to stay below the 2-degree target [for global temperature rise] of the international community,” said Christoph Gebald, co-founder and managing director of Climework

 

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Happy New Year everyone. Go there and read. More next week.

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