July 2012


I think somewhere the God’s are laughing at me. Really, I keep trying to post stories about large solar facilites and the news gets in the road. I mean this is actually a huge story. I can not remember a time that this many people who had electricity lost it.

http://www.startribune.com/business/164247506.html?refer=y

Power grids across northern and eastern India fail in massive, cascading blackout

Article by: RAVI NESSMAN , Associated Press

NEW DELHI – India’s energy crisis cascaded over half the country Tuesday when three of its regional grids collapsed, leaving more than 600 million people without government-supplied electricity in one of the world’s biggest-ever blackouts.

Hundreds of trains stalled across the country and traffic lights went out, causing widespread traffic jams in New Delhi. Electric crematoria stopped operating, some with bodies half burnt, power officials said.

The massive failure — a day after a similar, but smaller power failure — has raised serious concerns about India’s outdated infrastructure and the government’s inability to meet its huge appetite for energy as the country aspires to become a regional economic superpower.

Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde blamed the new collapse on states taking more than their allotted share of electricity.

“Everyone overdraws from the grid. Just this morning I held a meeting with power officials from the states and I gave directions that states that overdraw should be punished. We have given instructions that their power supply could be cut,” he told reporters.

The new power failure affected people across more than a dozen states — more than the entire population of the European Union. The blackout was unusual in its reach, although its impact was softened by Indians’ familiarity with frequent blackouts and the widespread of backup generators for major businesses.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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That is the bitch about science. Over time it is always right. The Catholic Church was very slow to get this. RJ Reynolds eventually got it but it cost it billions. All of the asbestos people eventually got it too. But the Koch Brothers were just gona prove them wrong. I do not know whether it is endemic  to capitalism but this “prove them wrong” phase is what the space exploration crowd is experiencing right now. Call it the Buck Rogers phenomena but private companies will fail to develop space much like Climate Change needed to stop 30 years ago.  30 years from now the space people are going to be wondering what happened to their dreams…if any of us are still left alive.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/07/29/koch-funded-climate-scientist-i-was-wrong-humans-are-to-blame/

Koch-funded climate scientist: I was wrong, humans are to blame

By Jonathan Terbush
Sunday, July 29, 2012 14:16 EDT

The founder and director of a climate change study project funded heavily by the Koch brothers, who last year reversed course and said he believed global warming was real, has gone one step further, writing in a weekend op-ed in the New York Times that he is now convinced the phenomenon is caused by humans.

In a piece titled, “The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic,” Richard A. Muller, a University of California, Berkley physicist who founded the Berkley Earth Surface Temperature study (BEST) wrote that his, “total turnaround, in such a short time,” was driven by a new report from the group that concluded for the first time that global warming is a man-made problem. That revelation brings Muller essentially full circle from his stance a few years ago, when he criticized other global warming studies as flawed and questioned whether the Earth was even warming abnormally, dangerously fast at all.

“Science is that narrow realm of knowledge that, in principle, is universally accepted,” Muller wrote. “I embarked on this analysis to answer questions that, to my mind, had not been answered. I hope that the Berkeley Earth analysis will help settle the scientific debate regarding global warming and its human causes.”

The BEST study, he wrote, found that the Earth had warmed by about two and a half degrees over the past 250 years, with the bulk of that spike occurring in the past 50 years. Moreover, he found that, “essentially all of this increase” was likely due to greenhouse gas emissions, a point climate change believers have accepted as fact for years.

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Go there and crow. More tomorrow.

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falls mainly on the plain. But really it is the sun casting photons from afar that has the biggest impact.

http://www.solarserver.com/solar-magazine/solar-news/current/abengoa-solar-inaugurates-second-generation-high-temperature-solar-power-tower.html

Abengoa Solar inaugurates second-generation high-temperature solar power tower

Abengoa Solar’s (Seville, Spain) first high-temperature power tower, dubbed “Eureka,” was unveiled on June 19th, 2009 by Martín Soler Márquez, Director of Innovation, Science and Enterprise for the Andalusian Regional Government, the company reports in a press release. According to the press release, this power tower is intended to test a new type of receiver on an experimental basis and it is expected that the receiver can achieve the higher temperatures needed for higher-efficiency thermodynamic power cycles. The aim of this new technology is to increase plant performance, thereby reducing generating costs as well as the area of the solar field, Abengoa reports.

The new experimental plant occupies a 16,000-squarefoot portion of the Solúcar Platform and uses 35 heliostats and a 164-foot tower which houses the experimental superheating receiver. The capacity of the experimental plant which features a thermal energy storage system is estimated to be about 2 megawatts (MW).

Solúcar Platform solar thermal and PV installation complex to offset 185,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

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Go there and see the pretty picture. More next week.

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I have included a picture here because it is a small one and the plant will not be operational until next year.

http://www.renewablesinternational.net/esolars-chinese-partner-makes-a-successful-bid-for-solar-thermal-project-in-fuxin-city/150/510/30493/

eSolar’s Chinese partner makes a successful bid for solar thermal project in Fuxin City

Just three months ago, California CSP manufacturer eSolar licesed its power tower technology to China’s Pengai Electric – the partnership has born fruit. The partnership has announced its second CSP project in northern China.

 - eSolar's Sierra SunTower in Lancaster, CA has been delivering power to the grid since mid-2009

eSolar’s Sierra SunTower in Lancaster, CA has been delivering power to the grid since mid-2009
Source: eSolar

Shandong Penglai Electric Power Equipment Manufacturing (SPEPEMC), the Chinese partner company of Pasadena power tower developer eSolar, signed a cooperation agreement in mid-March with the City of Fuxin, Liaoning Province to build the Fuxin Solar Thermal Power Project. Pengai Electric will build the plant in three phases. When complete the solar thermal power station will have a generation capacity of 300 MW. The Fuxin project is the second for Penglai Electric since the privately-owned power company signed a licensing agreement with California company eSolar last January. Under the terms of the agreement, the Chinese company comitted to building 2 GW of solar thermal power stations in China by 2021 using eSolar’s power-tower technology. The first plant slated for construction is a 92 MW CSP plant to be located at the 66-square-mile Yulin Energy Park in the Mongolian desert.

In eSolar’s power towers, flat mirrors focused on two recievers at the top of a tower heat water directly to produce steam and drive the plant’s turbine. The Chinese plants will combine the eSolar technology with biomass-fired power plants to produce electricity in poor weather conditions and after sundown.

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Go there and see. More tomorrow.

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I Keep trying to put posts about large solar facilities up here in one meditation, but then I see something really interesting and I want to post it before I forget it. In this case it is related however.

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ngreene/first_us_tidal_power_project_l.html

Nathanael Greene’s Blog

First U.S. Tidal Power Project Readies for Launch in Maine

Posted July 24, 2012 in Solving Global Warming

The ocean is a tremendous bank of energy. Covering more than two-thirds of our planet, the amount of energy embodied in the ocean’s tides, currents, and waves, not to mention temperature and salinity gradients, could power the world—if we were able to commercialize the technology to harness its renewable power.

While technologies harnessing energy from tides and currents have been domestically discussed for decades, no project has ever reached commercial development, and been connected to the grid in the United States. In Eastport, Maine, however, that changed today that will change around mid-August with the launch of the Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) TidGen Cobscook Bay tidal energy project. Harnessing the power of the massive tidal shifts in Cobscook Bay, an inlet connected to the much larger Bay of Fundy, the project is the first in the U.S. to receive a FERC license, negotiate a power purchase agreement, and install and operate a power-producing tidal generator.

As clean energy advocates, we are excited to highlight new, innovative projects that inject clean power and jobs into communities, deploy American ingenuity and know-how and utilize smart clean energy policies. The DOE invested $10 million in the project as part of its larger water power program that aims to better understand the environmental impacts that come with harnessing ocean energy, as well as refine, and make more cost-effective, the technologies that do so.

In addition to harnessing local sources of energy, the project apparently:

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Go there and read. Back to solar tomorrow I hope.

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This was proposed in 2009 so I imagine it is operational by now. I found this amazing document that I need to look at more, but it is a listing of all the large solar facilities maybe in the world? Anyway if you want to see cool photos go to the site because pictures are a pain.

http://www.energy.ca.gov/sitingcases/abengoa/

General Description of Project

On August 10, 2009, Abengoa Solar Inc., the sole member of Mojave Solar LLC, filed an Application For Certification (AFC) for its Abengoa Mojave Solar Project. The proposed project is a nominal 250 megawatt (MW) solar electric generating facility to be located near Harper Dry Lake in an unincorporated area of San Bernardino County. The project would be located approximately halfway between Barstow, CA and Kramer Junction, CA, and is approximately nine miles northwest of Hinkley, CA.

The project will implement well-established parabolic trough technology to solar heat a heat transfer fluid (HTF). This hot HTF will generate steam in solar steam generators, which will expand through a steam turbine generator to produce electrical power from twin, independently-operable solar fields, each feeding a 125-MW power island. The sun will provide 100 percent of the power supplied to the project through solar-thermal collectors; no supplementary fossil-based energy source (like natural gas) is proposed for electrical power production.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Now that we know that humans are going to be in pretty bad shape because of climate change, let’s go back to the meditation on what could have saved us if we would have started building them sooner. Large Solar Power Plants. I am not posting any pretty pictures, just the test.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39836641/ns/us_news-environment/t/worlds-largest-solar-plant-gets-us-ok/#.UA2duaCkNyU

World’s largest solar plant gets U.S. OK

$6 billion project in Calif. aims to power at least 300,000 homes

msnbc.com staff and news service reports

updated 10/25/2010 6:07:03 PM ET

WASHINGTON — Calling it a major milestone, the Obama administration on Monday approved what investors say will be the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant and one that more than doubles all of U.S. solar output and can power at least 300,000 homes.

The project in the Mojave Desert near Blythe, Calif., is the sixth solar venture authorized on federal lands within the last month. All are in desert areas.

“The Blythe Solar Power Project is a major milestone in our nation’s renewable energy economy and shows that the United States intends to compete and lead in the technologies of the future,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in announcing the approval.

Construction on the $6 billion plant is expected to start by the end of 2010, with production starting in 2013. Developer Solar Millennium, a company based in Germany, says the plant will generate 1,066 construction jobs and 295 permanent jobs.

The project had run into opposition by some environmentalists due to wildlife concerns.

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Go there see the pictures and read. More tomorrow.

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And in away this is a solar earth issue, just not one that involves pollution free power generation. It has always amazed me how good a source of news Rolling Stone has become. It was the home of Hunter S. Thompson too.

http://digg.com/newsbar/topnews/3_215_high_temperature_records_broken_or_tied_in_the_us

Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math

Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe – and that make clear who the real enemy is

July 19, 2012 9:35 AM ET

If the pictures of those towering wildfires in Colorado haven’t convinced you, or the size of your AC bill this summer, here are some hard numbers about climate change: June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.

Meteorologists reported that this spring was the warmest ever recorded for our nation – in fact, it crushed the old record by so much that it represented the “largest temperature departure from average of any season on record.” The same week, Saudi authorities reported that it had rained in Mecca despite a temperature of 109 degrees, the hottest downpour in the planet’s history.

Not that our leaders seemed to notice. Last month the world’s nations, meeting in Rio for the 20th-anniversary reprise of a massive 1992 environmental summit, accomplished nothing. Unlike George H.W. Bush, who flew in for the first conclave, Barack Obama didn’t even attend. It was “a ghost of the glad, confident meeting 20 years ago,” the British journalist George Monbiot wrote; no one paid it much attention, footsteps echoing through the halls “once thronged by multitudes.” Since I wrote one of the first books for a general audience about global warming way back in 1989, and since I’ve spent the intervening decades working ineffectively to slow that warming, I can say with some confidence that we’re losing the fight, badly and quickly – losing it because, most of all, we remain in denial about the peril that human civilization is in.

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Go there and read. More next week.
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This is just such a beautiful installation. It takes up too much bandwidth to show pictures but here is a written description.

http://www.torresolenergy.com/TORRESOL/gemasolar-plant/en

Gemasolar is the first commercial-scale plant in the world to apply central tower receiver and molten salt heat storage technology. The relevance of this plant lies in its technological uniqueness, since it opens up the way for new thermosolar electrical generation technology.

Characteristics of Gemasolar:

  • Rated electrical power: 19.9 MW
  • Net electrical production expected: 110 GWh/year
  • Solar field: 2,650 heliostats on 185 hectares
  • Heat storage system: the molten salt storage tank permits independent electrical generation for up to 15 hours without any solar feed.

The prolongation of the plant’s operating time in the absence of solar radiation and the improvement in efficiency of the use of the heat from the sun makes Gemasolar’s output much higher than that which is delivered by other technologies in a facility with the same power.

The notable increase in the plant’s power efficiency guarantees electrical production for 6,500 hours a year, 1.5 to 3 times more than other renewable energies. The plant will thus supply clean, safe power to 25,000 homes and reduce atmospheric CO2 emissions by more than 30,000 tons a year.

The power generated by Gemasolar will be sent through a high-tension line to the substation of Villanueva del Rey (Andalusia, Spain), where it will be injected into the grid.

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Go there, read and see the pretty pictures. More tomorrow.

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People are always playing out this dystopian vision of what the world will look like if there is a sharp break in the availability of fossil fuels. Most people imagine guys with guns will control their chunk of the world and abuse everyone in it for the own good. Or that we will break into semi-dead towns and farm life like 200 years ago. But, I usually say, what if it is slower than that and what if people cooperate instead of foolishly compete. Then life might look like this, which sounds kinda fun.

http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/07/ithaca-ecovillage-forges-a-path-to-sustainable-living/

Ithaca Ecovillage Forges a Path to Sustainable Living

By Coralie Tripier

ITHACA, New York, Jul 16 2012 (IPS) – Ecovillage at Ithaca (EVI), located in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, is an intentional community of 160 people striving for greater sustainability, a better quality of life, and perhaps even a new model for urban planners the world over.

Enjoying breathtaking surroundings, residents wander around the village on pedestrian-only streets, swim in the pond, share meals in the common house, and spend a small amount of their time working together for their community.

EVI’s residents have to volunteer for two hours every week in one of the six work teams – the cooking team, the dishwashing team, the common house cleanup team, the outdoor maintenance team, the regular maintenance team, or the finance team.

“If you had a house, you would have to do that anyway, so why not do it for the broader community and make friends at the same time,” Ashley Click, a young mother and new resident at EVI, told IPS.

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Go there and read about a grand life. More tomorrow.

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