February 2014


So a closer analysis leads to some doubts. First and foremost it takes “tens of thousands” of turbines to do it. That is A LOT of turbines. Second, the placement and the impact of that many turbines is not really considered nor what to do with the electricity generated. As the engineer said in the article building that many turbines is not feasible now. But it is a pretty exciting thought experiment.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/26/offshore-wind-farms-tame-hurricanes/5813425/

Offshore wind farms can tame hurricanes, study finds

Offshore wind farms can tame hurricanes rather than be destroyed by them, says ground-breaking research led by Stanford University that touts the benefits of wind power.

Billions of dollars in U.S. damage from mega-storms Katrina and Sandy might have been avoided with a perhaps surprising device — wind turbines.

That’s the finding of a ground-breaking study today that says mammoth offshore wind farms can tame hurricanes rather than be destroyed by them. It says a phalanx of tens of thousands of turbines can lower a hurricane’s wind speed up to 92 mph and reduce its storm surge up to 79%.

Unlike sea walls, which protect cities from storm surges, wind farms pay for themselves by generating pollution-free electricity, says lead author Mark Jacobson, an engineering professor at Stanford University. “The additional hurricane (protection) benefit is free.”

No offshore wind farms currently operate in the United States, although 11 are under development — mostly off the East and Texas coasts. Most of the world’s offshore turbines are in northwestern Europe, but China is ramping up its capacity.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I have a saying. If you can’t make it work under capitalism and socialism is already leaving you voluntarily then you are pretty much done for this world. It looks like coals time has come and gone and it is the same with nuclear power too. Thank the gods that be. Now the question is, is it too late? We are walking a tight rope on that one. If we can come up with some remediations we just might pull out of this very steep climate dive. It is going to be close.

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/flurry-of-coal-power-plant-shutdowns-expected-by-2016-17086

Flurry of Coal Power Plant Shutdowns Expected by 2016

A flurry of coal-fired power plants — major sources of climate change-fueling carbon dioxide emissions — could be closed by 2016, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts.

New emissions regulations and low natural gas prices, partly because of the fracking boom throughout the U.S., are leading utilities to shut down coal-fired power plants and open new ones that burn natural gas. With new Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards limiting mercury, acid gases and toxic metals from coal-fired power plants taking effect in 2015, there is even more impetus for utilities to retire older coal plants, according to the EIA.

Because of those new standards, the EIA forecasts that 90 percent of the power plants expected to shut down by 2020 will actually be shut down by 2016. Those new standards include coal-fired power plants likely having to install flue gas desulfurization equipment, or “scrubbers,” which cost hundreds of millions of dollars each, depending on the size of the plant.

Utilities may decide to shutter a coal-fired power plant if coal prices, wholesale electricity prices and the costs of installing scrubbers do not make economic sense, according to the EIA.

Coal-fired power plants are feeling the heat about carbon emissions, too. Concern about coal plants’ carbon emission contributing to climate change are driving the EPA to write new carbon emissions rules unrelated to the new mercury standards. The EPA has proposed new regulations aiming to curb carbon emissions from future coal-fired power plants and is in the process of proposing similar regulations governing existing coal power plants.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I asked the question last week about how these recent river pollutions reflect on the “environment be damned” attitude that you find in much of the South East. I mean really everyone in the world knows that America is one of the great violators of the environment worldwide. But hell, it is not like the other major countries care. Russia and China are nothing but open sores on the Earths skin and they have been at it longer than we have. Still, when you have the interface between a major polluter and local government like North Carolina then bad things are bound to happen.

http://grist.org/business-technology/ash-decisions-north-carolina-helped-river-ruining-duke-energy-duck-pollution-complaints/

 

Ash decisions: North Carolina helped river-ruining Duke Energy duck pollution complaints

coal-ash-river-north-carolina
Duke Energy

Last year, North Carolina’s top environmental regulators thwarted three separate Clean Water Act lawsuits aimed at forcing Duke Energy, the largest electricity company in the country, to clean up its toxic coal ash pits in the state. That June, the state went even further, saying it would handle environmental enforcement at every one of Duke’s 31 coal ash storage ponds in the state — an act that protected the company from further federal lawsuits. Last week, one of those coal ash storage ponds ruptured, belching more than 80,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River.

Now, environmental groups and former regulators are charging that North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who worked for Duke for 30 years, has created an atmosphere where the penalties for polluting the environment are low.

The Associated Press reports that McCrory’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources blocked three federal Clean Water Act suits in 2013 by stepping in with its own enforcement authority “at the last minute.” This protected Duke from the kinds of stiff fines and penalties that can result from federal lawsuits. Instead, state regulators arranged settlements that carried miniscule financial penalties and did not require Duke to change how it stores the toxic byproducts of its coal-fired power plants. After blocking the first three suits, which were brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center, the state filed notices saying that it would handle environmental enforcement at every one of Duke’s remaining North Carolina coal ash storage sites, protecting the company from Clean Water Act lawsuits linked to its coal waste once and for all.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I know this area is where the mantra – Government is BAD was born. Mainly because of integration and the regulation of tobacco (not to mention the moonshiners). This attack on all things paid for by taxes has continued unabated for the last 60 years. But really, 2 major rivers have suffer significant contamination in the past month and nothing has been done? Nothing. West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and now North Carolina and Virginia, and no legislation has been proposed. We do not even have testing to find out what these contaminates really are. And in the second case no studies into MGHM to say even what the chemical does. Really?

http://news.yahoo.com/nc-river-turns-gray-sludge-coal-ash-spill-024204513.html

NC river turns to gray sludge after coal ash spill

Associated Press

ON THE DAN RIVER, N.C. (AP) — Canoe guide Brian Williams dipped his paddle downstream from where thousands of tons of coal ash has been spewing for days into the Dan River, turning the wooden blade flat to bring up a lump of gray sludge.

On the riverbank, hundreds of workers at a Duke Energy power plant in North Carolina scrambled to plug a hole in a pipe at the bottom of a 27-acre pond where the toxic ash was stored.

Since the leak was first discovered by a security guard Sunday afternoon, Duke estimates up to 82,000 tons of ash mixed with 27 million gallons of contaminated water has spilled into the river. Officials at the nation’s largest electricity provider say they cannot provide a timetable for when the leak will be fully contained, though the flow has lessened significantly as the pond has emptied.

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And earlier this was West Virginia.

Federal grand jury investigates West Virginia chemical spill

By Drew Griffin. David Fitzpatrick and Patricia DiCarlo CNN

(CNN) — A federal grand jury investigation has been launched into the West Virginia chemical spill that left 300,000 people unable to use their water supply, CNN learned Tuesday.

Sources familiar with the grand jury’s activities tell CNN that subpoenas have been issued requiring testimony for what one federal official confirms is a criminal investigation.

Meanwhile, an independent water test conducted at CNN’s request has found trace levels of the chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or MCHM, remain in both untreated river water and tap water from two homes in Charleston.

The results by TestAmerica found the chemical is within the safe level of 1 part per million set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; whether that level is safe is disputed

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Go there and read. More next week.

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