FirstEnergy Cries For Help – Oh Daddy big government please help little me

This is what happens in a transitional economy. All the big brave tough bullies, Captains of Industry, turn into silly whiny little sissies begging for handouts. Isn’t life interesting. And no, this is not an April Fools Joke.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/04/coal-nuclear-plant-operator-files-for-bankruptcy-asks-trump-for-a-bailout/

business cycles —

Coal, nuclear plant operator files for bankruptcy, asks Trump for a bailout

FirstEnergy’s request comes after regulator struck down an industry-wide bailout plan.

On Saturday, power corporation FirstEnergy placed its coal and nuclear generation units under chapter 11 bankruptcy. Although coal and nuclear plants across the country have struggled to compete with the low prices of natural gas, FirstEnergy’s filing is unique because it stands to take on a political dimension. Just two days before FirstEnergy’s bankruptcy filing, the company petitioned the Department of Energy (DOE) for an emergency bailout, citing concerns about reliability.

The petition could reinvigorate a debate started by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who proposed a rule last year to change how coal and nuclear plants are compensated for their power. The rule was denied by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which said that there was not enough evidence to justify changing how coal and nuclear are compensated.

FirstEnergy disparaged FERC’s decision in its Thursday petition (PDF), claiming that “as a result of FERC’s and the RTO’s [Regional Transmission Organization’s] failure to address this crisis, swift and decisive action is needed now to address this imminent loss of nuclear and coal-fired baseload generation and the threat to the electric grid that this loss poses” (emphasis FirstEnergy’s).

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Go there and laugh your asses off. More next week.

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Electric Utilities May Be Doomed – If they haven’t invested in renewables they better start

The real important point from this article for me is that, ‘The die was cast around 1998, when GDP growth and electricity demand growth became “decoupled”’. In other words, for the last 2o years the utilities should have been investing in renewables and they did not. The point being that renewables are easier to turn “off” when you do not need them. If the utilities start investing heavily now in renewables they may survive. It is a horse race at this point.

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/energy-and-environment/2018/2/27/17052488/electricity-demand-utilities

The US electricity sector is in a period of unprecedented change and turmoil. Renewable energy prices are falling like crazy. Natural gas production continues its extraordinary surge. Coal, the golden child of the current administration, is headed down the tubes.

In all that bedlam, it’s easy to lose sight of an equally important (if less sexy) trend: Demand for electricity is stagnant.

Thanks to a combination of greater energy efficiency, outsourcing of heavy industry, and customers generating their own power on site, demand for utility power has been flat for 10 years, and most forecasts expect it to stay that way. The die was cast around 1998, when GDP growth and electricity demand growth became “decoupled”:

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Go there and read gleefully. More next week.

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Are We Going To Die Of Thirst – Two views presented

I do not usually put up two opinions in one post. These are timely articles so I think it is important to hear both sides. One side basically says we are going to die. The other side says we will have to move ourselves or large amounts of water. You decide.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-42982959

The 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water – like Cape Town

  • 11 February 2018

Cape Town is in the unenviable situation of being the first major city in the modern era to face the threat of running out of drinking water.

However, the plight of the drought-hit South African city is just one extreme example of a problem that experts have long been warning about – water scarcity.

Despite covering about 70% of the Earth’s surface, water, especially drinking water, is not as plentiful as one might think. Only 3% of it is fresh.

Over one billion people lack access to water and another 2.7 billion find it scarce for at least one month of the year. A 2014 survey of the world’s 500 largest cities estimates that one in four are in a situation of “water stress”

According to UN-endorsed projections, global demand for fresh water will exceed supply by 40% in 2030, thanks to a combination of climate change, human action and population growth.

http://www.straitstimes.com/world/water-why-the-taps-run-dry

Severe water shortages around the world: Why the taps run dry

Published

Feb 13, 2018, 7:30 pm SGT

PARIS (AFP) – The world has abundant freshwater but it is unevenly distributed and under increasing pressure, UN agencies say, as highlighted by the severe shortages in Cape Town.

WATER, WATER ‘EVERYWHERE’

More than 97 per cent of the planet’s water is salty, most of it in the oceans and seas, but there is also a good supply of freshwater.

Every year around 42.8 trillion cubic metres of renewable freshwater circulates as rain, surface water or groundwater, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

This equals 16,216 litres per person per day – four times the amount required in the United States, for example, for personal and domestic consumption, industry and agriculture.

Depending on diet and lifestyle, a person needs between 2,000 and 5,000 litres of water a day to produce their food and meet their drinking and sanitation requirements, the FAO says.

About 60 per cent of the planet’s freshwater reserves is locked in the Antarctic.

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They don’t even agree on how much water we have. Go there and read a lot. More next week.

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Solar That Comes With Batteries – What a thought

Let me say, right off the bat, there are other better storage mechanisms then batteries. But if this becomes a market trend, well then whatever.

http://energy.sandia.gov/installation-of-new-englands-largest-battery-energy-storage-system-is-underway/

Installation of New England’s Largest Battery Energy Storage System is Underway

NEC Energy Solutions has begun the installation and commissioning of a 2 MW, 3.9MWh GSS® grid energy storage solution for the Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD) in Sterling, Massachusetts. Once complete in December 2016, it will be the largest system of its kind installed in New England and the first utility scale project in the State. In the event of an extended grid outage due to a natural disaster, this utility scale Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) can be used to power local emergency response facilities using power generated from two nearby solar plants. The system will also provide enhanced clean energy usage and cost savings to the town of Sterling.

Sandia provided SMLD with analysis to identify the optimal deployment site, amount, and installation type of energy storage within budgetary limits. Sandia also assisted with crafting a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the BESS system, vetting bids, and installing and dispatching the system. “Sandia was instrumental in helping us pull that together. We had developed a minor RFP and they brought in the technical support that we needed to get this done right. Working with Dan Borneo and Ray Byrne on this project has been very valuable to us,” said Sean Hamilton, General Manager of SMLD.

Going forward, Sandia will help SMLD oversee the operation of the BESS to optimally maximize economic returns while safeguarding SMLD’s ability to provide resilient power; monitor BESS operations; and collect operational data for one-year post-commissioning. The data will be used to further the U.S. Department of Energy’s/Sandia’s understanding of the benefits and applications of battery storage in the utility context and provide a number of important battery use cases in resiliency, cost savings, and revenues that can be adopted by numerous municipal utilities and vertically integrated utilities.

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Go there and read. But there ain’t much more. More next week.

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Big Just Got Bigger – The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument just got twice as big

This is a happy fuzzy story, that i normally wouldn’t post. But here is the thing, as fun as it is, I dare you to say the name of the monument. Can you huh huh huh?

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/08/obama-creates-world-s-largest-park-off-hawaii/

The Power of Parks

Hawaii Is Now Home to an Ocean Reserve Twice the Size of Texas

A 583,000-square-mile “no-take” zone: President Obama just quadrupled the size of a national marine monument off northwestern Hawaii.

Capping a week of 100th anniversary celebrations for the National Park Service, President Barack Obama on Friday turned to the ocean to create the largest protected area anywhere on Earth—a half-million-square-mile arc of remote Pacific waters known for both exceptional marine life and importance to native Hawaiian culture.

The Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument, established in 2006 by President George W. Bush, already covered 140,000 square miles of ocean around the uninhabited northwestern islands of Hawaii, Obama’s home state. (Learn about the name and how to pronounce it.)

Obama more than quadrupled Papah?naumoku?kea’s size, to 582,578 square miles, an area larger than all the national parks combined. Using his executive authority under the U.S. Antiquities Act, he extended most of the monument’s boundary—and its prohibition of commercial fishing—out to the 200-mile limit of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).(Read about a monument established this week in the Maine woods.)

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Go there and read in wonderment. More next week.

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Better Battery Storage – Once you make electricity you have to put it somewhere

I have written so much about generation lately, that I forgot to say anything about storage. At least in awhile. The article below describes some progress being made on this front.

http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/13/12166824/facecbook-smartphone-testing-lab-battery-life-prineville-data-center

Inside the secret lab where Facebook tries to save your battery life

Deep inside Facebook’s very first data center, located in a sprawling facility in the hills of Prineville, OR, lies a series of about 60 server racks. Each one houses 32 smartphones, all of which are running a version of one of Facebook’s many mobile apps. The company calls this setup the Mobile Device Lab, and it’s designed to test Facebook’s software on older phones to discover whether any bit of a new code, no matter how minor, results in a dip in performance or poorer battery life. For those smartphone owners who tote around a two- or even three-year-old device — and users in developing countries purchasing lower-cost devices for the first time — the lab is the very reason Facebook is still a viable home screen staple.

Antoine Reversat, part of Facebook’s production engineering team, opens one of the racks for a group of reporters during its first Oregon data center tour in almost three years this week. Behind a large black metal door sit 32 iPhone 5C devices all in the process of either scrolling through the News Feed, testing various operations’ lag on battery consumption, or rebooting to resume an identical state before running yet another test. In each server row sits more than a dozen racks, some holding devices as old as the iPhone 4 and others housing newer Google Nexus 5s. In total, Facebook has almost 2,000 handsets used to tell developers when they’ve screwed something up, and whether that degradation is only noticeable on an older phone.

With Facebook serving more than 1.65 billion users around the world, taking into account every variation in device type, mobile operating system, and network condition has become an increasingly complex operation. Entire companies have built robust operations around testing mobile software in similar fashion, and some of those startups have been scooped up by big-name competitors. In 2014, Google bought San Francisco-based mobile app tester Appurify. Facebook’s engineers, on the other hand, figured the company could do the job itself, especially considering it had the computing power and server rack space at its expansive Oregon data center.

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Go there and read. It is a highly technical article and did i say long. More next week.

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Recycling For Kids – Though it is funny that they call garbage rubbish

So, right off the bat I have to say that this is a for profit business in the waste handling business. The part of their website about recycling is excellent. There business practices may not be. I have never been to Britain and I do not intend to start. Readers will have to judge for themselves. I f they are really bad folks or really good folks let me know.

http://www.kenburn.co.uk/recycling-for-kids/

Recycling for Kids

Did you know that recycling helps save the planet from things like global warming and rubbish? That’s right, by recycling things such as food packets and old toys, you are reducing the amount that gets put into the rubbish bin. This is a very good thing, because rubbish is full of nasty bugs that spread diseases and gases that increase global warming.

But what is recycling? How are things recycled? And what can you do to get more people to recycle?

Read through this leaflet, and by the end of it you will be able to teach your parents a thing or 2 about recycling.

 

What is Recycling?

bin3Fun Fact: If we took all of the UK’s rubbish and put it in its biggest lake, it would take 8 months to fill it!

Recycling means making rubbish into something new. Every time you throw something away it gets sent to a landfill. More and more rubbish is piled on top until it is too big and the landfill has to be closed.

The great thing is that most things can be recycled. Every day, clever scientists come up with new ways to make use of things we usually consider rubbish. But what exactly do they do with the recycling?

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Tear Down That Wall Mr. President – From the flood plains of the Mississippi

To the deserts of Texas, there are so many places that humans want to live in the United States  that they should not. In particular where they could not under normal circumstances build houses. Especially someplace like Las Vegas.

So I think that most of Southern California should be torn down. You say, are you crazy? That is one of the nicest places to live on the planet. But it is not if you have to live on the resources available directly in the area. By that I mean Energy and Water.

Lawn Dude was unveiled Thursday by the Southern California Water Committee, a nonprofit advocacy group, and Clear Channel Outdoor CCO +0.80% as part of a campaign to get southern Californians to conserve water during the state’s protracted drought.

The new mascot will be popping up on billboards donated by Clear Channel Outdoor across the parched region, spouting catchphrases like “Don’t hose me man!” as reminders to refrain from overwatering lawns. On another billboard, Lawn Dude carries a martini glass holding a daisy and says, “I only drink 2 days a week”—a nod to limits on outdoor irrigation to twice a week in some communities.

Lawn Dude’s debut came two days after California’s emergency restrictions on residential water use went into effect Tuesday—the same day, incidentally, that a water main burst on Sunset Boulevard here, gushing 20 million gallons of the precious resource into city streets and flooding much of the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles. City officials said the wasted water represented 4% of the city’s daily use.

The new restrictions ban residents from washing off driveways and sidewalks, and from watering landscapes or lawns in a way that causes “excess runoff.” Rule-breakers could be fined up to $500 a day.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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If We Are Setting Record Oil Production Levels – Why are prices so fracking high

I get this question all the time. The argument is always the trade off argument. We get jobs and cheap fossil fuels but  the environment is degraded. And boy and how. Destroyed is more like it but we do not even get the results that the fracking industry promised. Did I mention it is cold outside?

http://www.startribune.com/business/241382091.html

Record high prices for propane, natural gas in some markets as cold snap saps fuel supplies

  • Article by: JONATHAN FAHEY , Associated Press
  • Updated: January 21, 2014 – 6:12 PM

NEW YORK — A second fierce blast of winter weather is sapping fuel supplies in many regions and sending prices for propane and natural gas to record highs.

Higher natural gas prices are also leading to sharply higher wholesale electricity prices as power utilities snap up gas at almost any price to run power plants to meet higher-than-normal winter demand.

Propane users will get pinched the most. Those who find themselves suddenly needing to fill their tanks could be paying $100 to $200 more per fill up than a month ago. Homeowners who use natural gas and electricity will see higher heating bills because they’ll use more fuel. But prices won’t rise dramatically because utilities only buy a small portion of the fuel at the elevated prices.

A swirling storm with the potential for more than a foot of snow clobbered the mid-Atlantic and the urban Northeast on Tuesday. The snowstorm will be followed by bitter cold as arctic air from Canada streams in, causing homeowners to crank up the thermostat.

Record high prices for propane, natural gas in some markets as cold snap saps fuel supplies

  • Article by: JONATHAN FAHEY , Associated Press
  • Updated: January 21, 2014 – 6:12 PM

NEW YORK — A second fierce blast of winter weather is sapping fuel supplies in many regions and sending prices for propane and natural gas to record highs.

Higher natural gas prices are also leading to sharply higher wholesale electricity prices as power utilities snap up gas at almost any price to run power plants to meet higher-than-normal winter demand.

Propane users will get pinched the most. Those who find themselves suddenly needing to fill their tanks could be paying $100 to $200 more per fill up than a month ago. Homeowners who use natural gas and electricity will see higher heating bills because they’ll use more fuel. But prices won’t rise dramatically because utilities only buy a small portion of the fuel at the elevated prices.

A swirling storm with the potential for more than a foot of snow clobbered the mid-Atlantic and the urban Northeast on Tuesday. The snowstorm will be followed by bitter cold as arctic air from Canada streams in, causing homeowners to crank up the thermostat.

Michael McCafferty, a propane expert at Platts, an energy information provider, said the wholesale spot price of propane rose 70 percent between Friday and Tuesday to a record $2.45 per gallon. Both the size of the jump and the price itself he called “unprecedented.”

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Go there and read. More next week.

 

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Frackers Must Pay For Our Lawyers – In our dreams

This probably will not happen, but it can’t hurt to ask.

Here we are at Day 47 (12/31/2013) of the IDNR Comment Period as we close out 2013.   We anticipate hand-delivering 20,000 hard-copy comments to IDNR on either Thursday or Friday afternoon of this week–just trying to firm up the date and time.  We will have a date and time locked in by tomorrow. Thank you, all of you, who have participated in writing comments.  We couldn’t have done this without you.

Today’s Topic: Recouping Attorney Fees

  • Go to: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/OilandGas/Pages/OnlineCommentSubmittalForm.aspx
  • Click the button:  Subpart C: Permit Decisions (245.300-245.360)
  • In the “Section” dropdown box, click:  245.310 Permit Denial
  • Submit your comment/s (below)
  • Click “Submit”

Comment:

DNR’s rules should include a provision that would authorize the recovery of attorney fees for those who successfully challenge a permit application.

The Statutes:

Section 1-102(c) of the Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act (225 ILCS 752/1-102(c)) allows a circuit court to award attorney fees where a person successfully sues to enforce compliance with the Act:

   “(c) The court, in issuing any final order in any action brought under this Section, may award costs of litigation (including attorney and expert witness fees) to any party, on the basis of the importance of the proceeding and the participation of the parties to the efficient and effective enforcement of this Act.”

Also, section 10-55(c) of the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act (5 ILCS 100/10-55(c)) allows a circuit court to award attorney fees to a party who successfully challenges a DNR rule in court:

   “(c) In any case in which a party has any administrative rule invalidated by a court for any reason, including but not limited to the agency’s exceeding its statutory authority or the agency’s failure to follow statutory procedures in the adoption of the rule, the court shall award the party bringing the action the reasonable expenses of the litigation, including reasonable attorney’s fees.”

The Rules:

But DNR’s proposed rules do not allow for an award of attorney fees for an interested person who hires an attorney and successfully challenges a permit application.  Given the typical situation–a vast disparity in financial resources between the typical industry applicant, on the one hand, and an adversely affected individual landowner or other interested person on the other, the ability to hire and pay for an attorney will be essential to ensuring a fair hearing on a contested permit application.

Needed Revision:

Section 245.310 should be revised to include a provision for the reimbursement of attorney fees to a person who successfully challenges a permit application.

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Go there and comment. More and the last Friday.

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