masters of the universe


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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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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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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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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It is true. He killed more people than Son of Sam and the Zodiac Killer and he got a year in jail. Why? Because he is a rich white and the death resulted from “mine safety violations”. So, you know, he never had a “direct hand” in their deaths. What a joke. He claims he lives in Las Vegas now, so I hope he wonders off in the desert and suffers a horrible death.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-mine-blast-ex-coal-ceo-blankenship-at-end-of-prison-term/

US mine blast: Ex-coal CEO Blankenship at end of prison term

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is finishing up a one-year federal prison sentence arising from the deadliest U.S. mine explosion in four decades.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons website, Blankenship was set to be released Wednesday from a halfway house in Phoenix, Arizona. He must serve one year of supervised release.

“I’m glad he had time to reflect on the pain he caused,” former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, whose office in Charleston prosecuted the case, said in a text message to The Associated Press ahead of Blankenship’s release. “I hope he used it wisely and will come out of prison ready to make amends.”

It wasn’t immediately clear where Blankenship will serve his supervised release. After his indictment, federal prosecutors indicated Blankenship owned homes in several states, and Blankenship said he lived in Las Vegas. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Charleston referred questions to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

A bureau spokesman and Blankenship’s attorney, William Taylor, didn’t return requests for comment

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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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I have said for awhile that the US would survive the Trump Era. Apparently it is going to be expensive for us and the planet. Hopefully this will limit Trump to one term.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2017/03/06/rolling-back-fuel-efficiency-standards-would-cost-americans-800-billion-add-six-billion-tons-co2/#54beb2e33642

Rolling Back Fuel Efficiency Standards Would Cost Americans $800 Billion, Add Six Billion Tons CO2

The Trump Administration has signaled its intent to roll back existing federal fuel efficiency targets of 54.5 miles per gallon for model year 2022-2025 cars and light trucks, a move endorsed by U.S. auto dealers and auto manufacturers. But going in reverse on fuel efficiency would be a terrible deal for American drivers that would cost the economy approximately $800 billion while adding nearly six billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2050.

Energy Innovation utilized the Energy Policy Simulator (EPS) to analyze the effects of lowering U.S. fuel efficiency standards. The open-source computer model estimates economic and emissions impacts of various energy and environmental policy combinations using non-partisan, published data. It is freely available for public use through a user-friendly web interface or by downloading the full model and input dataset.

Our analysis compared a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario (based on existing policies as of mid-to-late 2016, including the existing fuel efficiency standards) to a scenario that freezes fuel efficiency for new passenger cars at 2017 levels

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