masters of the universe


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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In other words they try to get out of their obligations by appearing to be generous. No Nuke has been built in the U.S. in 40 years because they are financial death traps. It takes a “modernizing” economy to support such a massive waste of time and money. And of course ignore safety concerns when regulation is lax. Now they want to give away a partially built plant. What the hell is North Carolina gonna do with that?

https://www.postandcourier.com/business/utility-offers-abandoned-s-c-nuclear-site-to-santee-cooper/article_ac93346a-de86-11e7-9805-33c5e015ebec.html

top story

Utility offers abandoned S.C. nuclear site to Santee Cooper

  • Associated Press

COLUMBIA — The parent company of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. is offering the site of a failed nuclear reactor project to the state-owned utility Santee Cooper.

SCANA has proposed giving the Fairfield County site to Santee Cooper so the project could be preserved and perhaps finished at some point in the future, The State newspaper reported.

SCE&G and Santee Cooper abandoned their joint effort July 31 after spending more than $9 billion, both blaming the failure on the bankruptcy by principal contractor Westinghouse. SCE&G customers have been charged nearly $2 billion toward interest on the company’s debt, via a series of rate hikes since 2009, without any power being generated.

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Go there and read the scam. More next week.

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I thought about posting a story about how cheap alternative energy has become, especially wind power. Much cheaper than coal. I also considered posting a story about how Costa Rico ran its entire country on renewable energy for 300 days or even about the energy plight of Puerto Rico. But I fought against the subsidies for Excelon because the nukes are dangerous boondoggles and because the lost jobs could be replaced with renewal energy jobs. This proves that the State of Illinois wasted 285 million dollars on this crap. I am infuriated.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/illinois/investigation-radioactive-leaks-at-illinois-nuclear-plants/article_5afd12ac-e54b-5b20-be98-b72233c1075c.html

Investigation: Radioactive leaks at Illinois nuclear plants

  • By Brett Chase and Madison Hopkins • Better Government Association

Radioactive waste continues to pour from Exelon’s Illinois nuclear power plants more than a decade after the discovery of chronic leaks led to national outrage, a $1.2 million government settlement and a company vow to guard against future accidents, an investigation by a government watchdog group found.

Since 2007, there have been at least 35 reported leaks, spills or other accidental releases in Illinois of water contaminated with radioactive tritium, a byproduct of nuclear power production and a carcinogen at high levels, a Better Government Association review of federal and state records shows.

No fines were issued for the accidents, all of which were self-reported by the company.

The most recent leak of 35,000 gallons occurred over two weeks in May and June at Exelon’s Braidwood plant, southwest of Chicago. The same facility was the focus of a community panic in the mid-2000s after a series of accidents stirred debate over the safety of aging nuclear plants.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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This is a really really long good article. So I am going to shut up and let you read. I have not felt this good in a long time.

https://www.platts.com/latest-news/electric-power/london/feature-china-and-the-new-energy-economy-26831057

Feature: China and the New Energy Economy

London (Platts)–31 Oct 2017 1239 pm EDT/1639 GMT

There is an increasingly inescapable sense that an energy transition of enormous proportions is taking place. The number of ‘bans’ announced on Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles is growing, even if governments are placing them relatively far out on the political horizon.

More and more car manufacturers are taking note and shifting R&D spending into Electric Vehicles (EVs), a move which has profound implications for the development curves, and thus future cost, of EVs versus ICE vehicles.

In October, US automaker General Motors said that it would launch two new pure electric models in 2018 and a further 18 by 2023.

Its competitor Ford announced the creation of a new internal team to “think big and move fast” in order to accelerate the electrification of its auto production. Both are some way behind their European counterparts.

It is not hard to see why such decisions are being made now. While the number of EVs on the road remains just a fraction of the total parc, global sales are growing by about 40% year-on-year, making EVs the biggest growth story in the auto market in decades.

And, if governments are going to regulate against ICE vehicles and subsidize EVs, thereby changing the consumer choices which otherwise might be made, then what other path is there to tread?

CHINESE WHISPERS

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Go there and read. Rejoice. More next week.

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Really? No Bid. Nothing. We had experience in the mountains and no one else wanted the contract. That is all they have to say? A company from the Secretary of Interior’s hometown. Zinke had nothing to do with it? WHAT!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/small-montana-firm-lands-puerto-ricos-biggest-contract-to-get-the-power-back-on/2017/10/23/31cccc3e-b4d6-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html?utm_term=.f40f2a9969f7

Small Montana firm lands Puerto Rico’s biggest contract to get the power back on

October 23

For the sprawling effort to restore Puerto Rico’s crippled electrical grid, the territory’s state-owned utility has turned to a two-year-old company from Montana that had just two full-time employees on the day Hurricane Maria made landfall.

The company, Whitefish Energy, said last week that it had signed a $300 million contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to repair and reconstruct large portions of the island’s electrical infrastructure. The contract is the biggest yet issued in the troubled relief effort.

Whitefish said Monday that it has 280 workers in the territory, using linemen from across the country, most of them as subcontractors, and that the number grows on average from 10 to 20 people a day. It said it was close to completing infrastructure work that will energize some of the key industrial facilities that are critical to restarting the local economy.

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SIGH. Go there and read. More next week.

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The head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, announced in Tennessee that the “War On Coal” was over. This during his announcement that the EPA was with drawing the Clean Power Plan proposed by the Obama Administration. What a joke this administration is. They accuse the former head of the EPA, Gina McCarthy ,  of picking winners and losers. Well guess what? They have already been picked. Coal lost.

http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/editorials/2017/10/09/texas-monticello-power-plant-closes-signaling-undeniable-shift-natural-gas-renewable-energy

Texas’ Monticello power plant closes, signaling the undeniable shift to natural gas and renewable energy

Dallas Morning News Editorial

If there were any remaining doubts, the age of coal is over and the era of natural gas and renewables is officially here.

Luminant’s decision last week to shut its Monticello Power Plant near Mount Pleasant, one of Texas’ largest and dirtiest coal-fired electricity plants, is a prime example of this shift. The plant’s pending closure in January is a win for clean air and the result of the new economics of energy that renders coal-fired power plants like the Monticello facility cost-prohibitive relics.

This is particularly true in Texas: Hydraulic fracturing has made natural gas production cleaner and cheaper than coal.  Each year, electricity from the sun and wind contribute more megawatts to the state’s power grid. The state’s deregulated electricity market increases competition, which leaves costly, emissions belching coal-fired power plants like Monticello on the wrong side of a historic transformation.

We’re pleased that Luminant took this step after a year-long review of its operations. A decade ago, this editorial board helped lead the charge against the former TXU Corp.’s plan to build about a dozen coal-fired power plants in the state.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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This is not CES’ stuff. Sure, I am sure the building is energy efficient and well thought out but, I include this post because I saw the movie. I was so impressed. NASA put her in a building with no “Blacks Only” bathroom. So every day she would have to spend a half hour or more getting to the bathroom and back. Yet she got our white male astronauts to and from the moon with no complaints. WOW is all I can say. Please read the book and see the movie.

NASA Dedicates Building to Hidden Figures Heroine Katherine Johnson

When NASA’s Langley Research Center built its newest, state-of-the-art research facility in Hampton, Va., it was only right that they named it after Katherine Johnson, the NASA engineer and subject of the book and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures.

“You want my honest answer? I think they’re crazy,” the 99-year-old math genius said when she heard about the naming of the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility. The building was dedicated on Sept. 22 in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and students from Black Girls Code and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.

The $23 million, 37,000-square-foot data center is named after Johnson, who broke the glass ceiling for black women in the space program. In 2015 Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work as a trailblazer in the space program.

 

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Go there and read. More next week.

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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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Go there and read. More next week.

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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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Go there and read. More next week.

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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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Go there and read. Think about it. More next week.

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