self inflicted wounds


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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First Woolsey couldn’t get the location of the well head and the lateral line of drilling correct on their application. Then they got swamped with negative comments from the public. Now the regulatory agency wants more information. This while oil is below 50 $$ per barrel. What is going on here?

http://www.sj-r.com/news/20170815/regulators-seek-more-details-on-states-first-fracking-permit

Regulators seek more details on state’s first fracking permit

Illinois regulators have asked for added information on environmental and other safeguards as a decision nears on the state’s first application for a hydraulic fracturing permit since the law was approved in 2013.

Woolsey Companies Inc., an energy development company based in Wichita, Kansas, seeks to become the first driller approved for the practice of using high pressure water and chemicals to free gas and oil from deep rock formations, also known as fracking.

Illinois regulations were not finalized until 2014.

A notice filed Monday by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources asks for additional information on handling of fracturing fluids, containment measures, traffic management, the effect on fresh water, water source management and operations details at the site near the southeastern Illinois community of Enfield. The department gave the company until Aug. 24 to provide the information in order to meet the Aug. 31 deadline for a decision.

“Failure to respond to this letter in a timely manner may result in your application being rejected or denied,” the notice states.

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While this piece is important, it is also kind of cutsie in the fact that all the nuclear waste mentioned is well taken care of. Still I want to make 2 points.

1, I always thought and still do, that Yucca Mountain is a perfect place to store nuclear waste. I was pissed when Obama tried to call the whole thing off and I am glad that the Trump administration is trying to reopen it. Don’t get me wrong, I do not like much of what Trump has done so far BUT this is just fine.

2, Illinois had the perfect opportunity to be the nations nuclear waste dump for real. Northern Illinois between Chicago and the Mississippi River is virtually earthquake free. Like for 1000s of years. As soon as Obama defunded Yucca Mountain we could have stepped up and said, “We will build it here”. Illinois could have gotten Billions of Dollars and 100s if not a 1000 jobs, and the waste would have had a very short train trip to disposal. They could have even used trucks. Then it would have been up to the rest of the States to figure out how to get their waste here.  But no, that would have been tooo bold, so now we are back to the beginning.

http://nprillinois.org/post/illinois-issues-prairie-states-nuclear-waste-conundrum#stream/0

Illinois Issues: The Prairie State’s Nuclear Waste Conundrum

Jul 20, 2017

The Land of Lincoln is the country’s largest de facto nuclear waste dump.

Under a federal measure passed 30 years ago, the spent fuel from America’s nuclear reactors is supposed to be permanently buried out in the Mojave Desert, tucked deep under a mountain, far from any population center and easily guarded

In reality, though, that radioactive waste – tens of thousands of tons of it – is sitting in temporary storage at dozens of current and former nuclear power sites all over the country, as it has been for decades. The largest portion of it is divided among seven sites that dot the nation’s fifth-largest state: Illinois.

The story of how the Land of Lincoln became the nation’s biggest de facto nuclear waste dump is a tale of public fear, political pragmatism and the power of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).

It’s a story that radiates political irony. Among those responsible for Illinois’ atomic dilemma is the state’s favorite son, Barack Obama, who scuttled a decades-old project that was to have created a national nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

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This was supposed to be the New Dawn of Nuclear Power, but instead it looks like its the resurgence that never was. Talk about dinosaurs.  They even look like something from another age. It is still good money poured down a bad hole. Will they never learn. Large base load is done.

http://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2017/08/02/sc-construction-shutdown-signals-floridas-nuclear-demise-critics-say-113735

South Carolina’s construction shutdown should signal Florida’s nuclear demise, critics say

TALLAHASSEE — The decision by South Carolina utilities to shut down a nuclear plant under construction should send a signal to other states, including Florida, that a supposed nuclear “renaissance” is over, critics said Tuesday.

Florida Power & Light Co. proposed building two new nuclear units at its Turkey Point power plant south of Miami, but the utility told the Public Service Commission in May that it plans to continue a planning “pause” while it seeks to learn from nuclear plants that were being built in South Carolina and Georgia.

The decision by SCE&G and Santee Cooper utilities to abandon construction in South Carolina nine years after starting shows that the Florida project is doomed, critics said. Duke Energy Florida in 2013 abandoned its plans to build a new nuclear plant in Levy County.

“I think for FPL and the people of Florida this is a time to say basically, wait a second what are we doing here?” said Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

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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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Someone has finally applied for a permit to frack an oil well in Illinois. Even though they could not get the exact location of that well right on their application, they still plunge ahead. Even though oil prices are quite low, they want to try. I have a bad feeling about this but we shall see.

https://www.ilnews.org/news/economy/woolsey-companies-first-to-apply-for-illinois-fracking-permit/article_d665515a-5d9a-11e7-906b-af62f5a6edcf.html

Woolsey Companies first to apply for Illinois fracking permit

ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK

Four years after former Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation that cleared the way for fracking in Illinois, the state has received its first application for a drilling permit.

Woolsey Companies Inc. is looking to drill a well near Enfield in southeastern White County. The company is based in Wichita, Kansas.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokesman Tim Schweizer says the original paperwork was received on May 22, but the company is expected to submit an amended application to correct a few problems. That will extend the window for officials to consider the proposal.

“It appears now we’ll have until August 31 to [decide],” Schweizer said. “The Illinois Oil and Gas staff here at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will be reviewing the permit application and will ultimately make the decision on whether it is approved or denied.”

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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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I have always said that the solution to coal and natural gas was to retrain those workers for green technologies and move them on. Here is a perfect example of a culture that controls its resources and could do just that. But they don’t get it. Wake up Navajos!

http://www.utilitydive.com/news/utilities-vote-to-close-2250-mw-navajo-plant-largest-coal-generator-in-we/436222/

Utilities vote to close 2,250 MW Navajo plant, largest coal generator in western US

Dive Brief:

  • Four utilities led by plant operator Salt River Project have decided to shutter the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station (NGS) near Page, Ariz., by 2019. The 2,250 MW plant is the largest coal generator in the western United States.
  • Competition from inexpensive natural gas generators means electricity from NGS is already more expensive than wholesale power prices, the utilities said in a release, a trend that’s not expected to reverse in coming years. The decision is the second major coal shuttering announcement in less than a month.
  • The deal announced this week aims to maintain employment at the plant for almost three years, while also preserving revenues for the Navajo and the Hopi tribes. It also allows the Navajo Nation or others to continue operating the plant beyond 2019, though the current group of owners will not be involved.

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Time and time again experts have said, drilling in subzero weather is dangerous. Here is why. It’s BP. They should know better. Right?

Oil well leaking out of control on Arctic Alaska North Slope

An oil pipeline runs from an on-shore facility. The Caelus Energy Oooguruk Development Project is situated on a six-acre gravel island in the Beaufort Sea that’s home to several producing oil wells, on the North Slope in Harrison Bay, Alaska, on Feb. 17, 2017.
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

By Steven Mufson, The Washington Post

A BP oil and gas production well in Alaska’s North Slope blew out Friday morning, and on Saturday afternoon, the well was still not under control as responders fought subfreezing temperatures and winds gusting up to 38 mph.

Efforts to get the well under control were also being hampered by damage to a well pressure gauge and by indications that the well itself has “jacked up,” or risen three to four feet, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said in a situation report Saturday afternoon.

BP, whose Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico blew out and caused the largest oil spill in U.S. history, has responded to questions about the well, but information was limited and there was no estimate about volumes of natural gas and oil released.

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What I wanted to do today was something positive and warm fuzzy today. BUT Dolt 45 (Donald “he’s not my president” Trump) started signing Executive Orders willy nilly on Monday Boosting Coal, Supporting finding coal on Public Lands, Ordering the review of regulations about Methane production in oil and natural gas production, and last but not least challenging the Clean Power Plan. This man is insane. On the same day that China signals their commitment to renewables, we go the opposite direction. I mean it is so 1950. What is he going to do next? Order us all to smoke cigarettes?

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/legal-battles-trumps-climate-order-21288

Long Legal Battles Ahead Over Trump’s Climate Order

Environmental groups and progressive states are vowing to battle President Trump in court over his push to repeal federal climate protections, and experts are warning that the battles ahead will be slow and protracted.

An executive order on energy regulations signed by Trump on Tuesday takes direct aim at President Obama’s landmark climate rule, the Clean Power Plan, which would limit greenhouse gas pollution from power plants beginning in 2022.

“It’s a more cautious and well thought-out executive order than the ones we’ve seen from Trump so far,” said Michael Wara, an energy and environmental expert at Stanford Law School.

Trump’s order doesn’t eliminate the power plant rules, instead directing the Environmental Protection Agency to review them and suspend or rescind or propose changes to any that “burden” energy production from coal and other fossil fuels. It requires similar reviews of other energy industry rules.

“It doesn’t actually do anything,” Wara said. “What it sets in place is a process to review the rules promulgated by the Obama administration.”

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