physics


The news only gets better for renewables. Wind did not keep pace with Solar but wind had a huge head start. Coal is fading in the rear view mirror and natural gas is neck and neck. I think the US is finally catching on, but you can bet the first things Trump will go after will be subsidies and the EPA.

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1108084_more-solar-energy-was-added-in-2016-than-natural-gas-or-wind

More solar energy was added in 2016 than natural gas or wind

Renewable-energy growth has accelerated in 2016, but this may go down as a milestone year for one renewable-energy source in particular.

Together, all renewable-energy sources are expected to account for 8 percent of U.S. electricity-generation capacity in 2017, according to the Department of Energy, and solar energy is responsible for most of that growth.

For the first time ever, new solar-generating capacity is expected to exceed new generating capacity for wind and natural gas.

DON’T MISS: We’re there! Renewables now cheapest unsubsidized electricity in U.S.

The final tally won’t be available until March, but enough new solar installations were expected to be completed in 2016 to outpace wind and natural gas, according to Scientific American.

A total of 9.5 gigawatts of solar-generating capacity were expected to be built in 2016, tripling the amount installed in 2015, the magazine said, citing Energy Department data.

That amount would exceed the anticipated 8.0 GW of natural gas capacity, and 6.8 GW of wind capacity.

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Go there and cheer. More next week.

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Consider me upbeat and sunny about this article that has been reported widely. It has been a long time coming because of home owner protests. But the urgency has finally gotten to even them. Yippee!

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-16/deepwater-nearing-completion-on-first-u-s-offshore-wind-project

America’s First Offshore Wind Farm Is Nearly Ready

Updated on
  • The 30-megwawatt development to go into service in November
  • Europe has more than 10,000 megawatts of offshore wind

Deepwater Wind LLC is on the verge of completing the first offshore wind farm in U.S. waters, a milestone for an industry that has struggled for a more than decade to build in North America.

Workers have installed blades on four of the five 589-foot turbines at the site off the coast of Rhode Island and construction may be complete as early as this week, according to Chief Executive Officer Jeff Grybowski. The 30-megawatt, $300 million project is expected to begin commercial operation in early November.

“We will finish in advance of our original schedule,” Grybowski said in an interview at a dock on Block Island. “And we are in-line with our budget.”

After years of false starts, the offshore wind industry appears to be gaining momentum in the U.S. The federal government has awarded 11 leases to companies to develop projects along the East Coast, off New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia. This month, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill requiring utilities to buy 1,600 megawatts of electricity from offshore wind farms over the next decade. And in the coming weeks, New York State plans to release a long-range plan to develop wind farms off the coast of Long Island.

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Go there and read the good news. More next week.

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This is so outrageous. People in the Nuclear Industry are always saying that their reactors are safe and they are responsible operators. Turns out both of those things are lies.

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/jul/19/san-onofre-reactor-leak-redlining/

Report: San Onofre reactor was pushed too far, leak resulted

Owners of the failed San Onofre nuclear power plant operated the reactor outside the allowable limits for pressure and temperature, causing the radiation leak that shut down the facility for good in 2012, a new report has found.

Citing documents recently obtained from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, former Southern California Edison engineer Vinod Arora issued a report Tuesday laying blame for the breakdown squarely on Edison.

“Higher primary reactor coolant temperatures and higher steam pressure caused tube-to-tube contact resulting in dangerous and potentially deadly tube ruptures,” he said.

Excessive tube wear inside replacement steam generators forced the shutdown in 2012.

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Go there and be very horrified. More next week.

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As this article makes clear, we need dams. In my mind they are a trade off we can live with, and the excuse that it is just unprofitable to repair them is disgusting. Still, there are environmentalists who disagree.

http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/one-of-africas-biggest-dams-is-falling-apart

One of Africa’s Biggest Dams Is Falling Apart

By

The new year has not been kind to the hydroelectric-dam industry. On January 11th, the New York Times reported that Mosul Dam, the largest such structure in Iraq, urgently requires maintenance to prevent its collapse, a disaster that could drown as many as five hundred thousand people downstream and leave a million homeless. Four days earlier, the energy minister of Zambia declared that Kariba Dam, which straddles the border between his country and Zimbabwe, holding back the world’s largest reservoir, was in “dire” condition. An unprecedented drought threatens to shut down the dam’s power production, which supplies nearly half the nation’s electricity.

The news comes as more and more of the biggest hydroelectric-dam projects around the world are being cancelled or postponed. In 2014, researchers at Oxford University reviewed the financial performance of two hundred and forty-five dams and concluded that the “construction costs of large dams are too high to yield a positive return.” Other forms of energy generation—wind, solar, and miniature hydropower units that can be installed inside irrigation canals—are becoming competitive, and they cause far less social and environmental damage. And dams are particularly ill-suited to climate change, which simultaneously requires that they be larger (to accommodate the anticipated floods) and smaller (to be cost-effective during the anticipated droughts).

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Go there and read. More next week.

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They were losing money. Lay offs were coming. At least three plants were going to close. But, then not so much. Maybe they should just close them instead and invest in solar.

http://illinoistimes.com/article-16558-clinton-nuclear-plant-gets-reprieve.html

Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015 12:09 am

Clinton nuclear plant gets reprieve

Exelon won’t close facility for at least a year

Despite years of unfavorable conditions, Exelon thinks next year may be different.

The company announced earlier this year it won’t close the Clinton Nuclear Power Plant, 45 miles east of Springfield, for at least another year in light of potential market reforms in Illinois. The announcement follows similar announcements for two of Exelon’s other Illinois nuclear plants. Meanwhile anti-nuclear groups are calling for the plants to begin shutting down now.

The landscape of the energy market is undergoing major changes as coal plants begin to close, thanks in large part to tightening environmental regulations and a glut of cheap natural gas. Because coal has long been one of the main fuels for electricity production in the U.S., its decline creates a vacuum for other sources of electricity to fill. While environmental groups prefer more solar, wind and hydro electricity, companies which operate nuclear power plants see an opportunity for a larger role.

In Illinois, however, nuclear power has faced a competitive disadvantage since the late 1990s due to the state’s “deregulated” energy market. Illinois law requires a separation between companies that generate electricity and those which transmit electricity to customers. (Springfield’s City Water, Light and Power is allowed to own both generation and transmission assets because it’s a municipal utility.)

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Go there and read. Get some Christmas cheer. More next week.

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How much longer can this comedy of errors go on? Nuclear Power – no way.

http://gizmodo.com/the-fukushima-cleanup-wasted-half-a-billion-dollars-on-1693324714

The Fukushima Cleanup Wasted Half a Billion Dollars on Bad Technology

23,716

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Yesterday 11:30am

The cleanup of Fukushima’s leaking nuclear plant has been long, expensive, and plagued with problems. Now, the AP reports a government audit has found that more than a third of the budget for cleanup was wasted—totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

The previous allegations of incompetence and straight-up lies that surround Tokyo Electric Power Co, or Tepco, the company responsible for the cleanup, might make you wonder if any of those millions were lost to corruption. But the Associated Press says that most of it was wasted because no one really knew how to clean up the site. The company spent millions on systems and machines that theoretically might have worked. But didn’t.

The Ice Wall That Wouldn’t Freeze

Let’s start with what AP calls “the unfrozen trench,” contaminated water leaks into these trenches—tunnels, really—that run alongside the plant, creating a major hazard. Tepco started injecting the water with coolants in an attempt to freeze it, creating an ice wall of sorts as Gizmodo reported. It didn’t work.

Tepco says “it has proved exceptionally difficult” to freeze the trenches completely, according to World Nuclear News. “Tepco subsidiary Tokyo Power Technology even threw in chunks of ice, but eventually had to pour in cement to seal the trench,” says the AP. The project cost $840,000, which is chump change compared to other items on the list.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I saw a story on Digg about a designer (architect?) that got an award for building a house with water walls. But I could not find it again. This piece popped up and uses an older technology but you can get the idea from it.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/build-a-water-wall-home-zmaz83ndzale.aspx

Build a Water-Wall Home

Construct your very own water-wall home and learn about calculating water storage requirements, wall construction and solar basics.

By David Bainbridge
November/December 1983

The Morgan home in Davis, California has 14,000 pounds of thermal mass stored in its water walls, yet the containers blend in so well with the house design that they’re barely visible.

In many ways, passive solar homes are superior to those with active (mechanically assisted) heating and cooling systems. After all, passive solar systems don’t rely on auxiliary energy sources to perform (so they’ll work even when the power is off)… are generally simple and low in cost, combine energy collection and storage functions, have a long life, need little maintenance, and can often be built and installed by the home handy person, without special training or equipment.

But precisely because such “non-moving” systems have no pumps or controls to circulate warm or cool air, they typically rely on one key element: the thermal mass that stores and gives off absorbed heat or cold. A number of different items can be used to provide this energy-holding capacity, but just about the most effective and economical “To a water wall (a term that is a shorthand way of saying “contained water for thermal mass in passive solar homes”).

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Now the hottest things in the energy conservation world  or at least in the lighting world are LED lights. They come in all shapes and sizes. In fact I have one that I use as a flashlight, but it was intended to be a safety head light for my bicycle. It has been amazingly helpful. This is a complex subject so it will take me a few weeks to get it all posted. But here is a start.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-emitting_diode

Light-emitting diode

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a two-lead semiconductor light source. It is a pn-junction diode, which emits light when activated.[6] When a suitable voltage is applied to the leads, electrons are able to recombine with electron holes within the device, releasing energy in the form of photons. This effect is called electroluminescence, and the color of the light (corresponding to the energy of the photon) is determined by the energy band gap of the semiconductor.

An LED is often small in area (less than 1 mm2) and integrated optical components may be used to shape its radiation pattern.[7]

Appearing as practical electronic components in 1962,[8] the earliest LEDs emitted low-intensity infrared light. Infrared LEDs are still frequently used as transmitting elements in remote-control circuits, such as those in remote controls for a wide variety of consumer electronics. The first visible-light LEDs were also of low intensity, and limited to red. Modern LEDs are available across the visible, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths, with very high brightness.

Early LEDs were often used as indicator lamps for electronic devices, replacing small incandescent bulbs. They were soon packaged into numeric readouts in the form of seven-segment displays, and were commonly seen in digital clocks.

Recent developments in LEDs permit them to be used in environmental and task lighting. LEDs have many advantages over incandescent light sources including lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved physical robustness, smaller size, and faster switching. Light-emitting diodes are now used in applications as diverse as aviation lighting, automotive headlamps, advertising, general lighting, traffic signals, and camera flashes. However, LEDs powerful enough for room lighting are still relatively expensive, and require more precise current and heat management than compact fluorescent lamp sources of comparable output.

LEDs have allowed new text, video displays, and sensors to be developed, while their high switching rates are also useful in advanced communications technology.

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Go there and read in an OMG sort of way. More next week.

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Will Chevron have wells in Illinois? Probably not.  They are to busy illegally fracking their wells off of California’s shoreline. But chatting them up can’t hurt.

Day 1 on 11/15/13

Topic: Who can and can’t testify and public hearings when fracking permits are requested. 

 

Go to:   http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/OilandGas/Pages/OnlineCommentSubmittalForm.aspx

Radio Button: Subpart B: Registration and Permitting Procedures (245.200-245.270)

 

Comment: Because air and water travel freely, IDNR should not limit comments during public hearings to individuals living within 1500 feet of wells.  Toxins can travel far beyond 1500 feet via air and water.  Therefore, any person, regardless of where they live, should be allowed to testify.

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Go there and comment. More today.

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This is so big that I just had to find the original source. Once I got to the source the article did not carry the same headline as the inflammatory piece from Washington Blog but in the last paragraph he does imply phasing out the nukes. He also points out that no upgrades have been ordered in response to Fukushima nor included in the new licenses issue. This IS the insanity of Nuclear Generation of electricity.

http://peakoil.com/alternative-energy/former-u-s-nuclear-chief-american-nuclear-plants-should-be-phased-out-cant-guarantee-against-accident-causing-widespread-land-contamination

But this is what the guy really said.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201303140050

 

INTERVIEW: Former U.S. nuke watchdog chair says regulators must stay independent

March 14, 2013

By SHIRO NAMEKATA/ Correspondent

As it is poised to impose strict regulatory measures on the operation of nuclear power plants, the Nuclear Regulation Authority is increasingly met by opposition that it is making the resumption of plants that are currently offline virtually impossible.

In a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun in Washington, Gregory Jaczko, former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), said it is crucial for a nuclear watchdog to stay independent from the nuclear industry.

Jaczko, who, unlike his four colleagues, opposed the first new construction and operation of a nuclear plant in the United States since the 1979 Three Mile Island accident, also discussed the future of nuclear energy. Excerpts from the interview follow:

 

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Go there and read. More next time.

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