Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

An alternative Long-Term Energy Plan for Ontario - Greenhouse gas-free electricity by 2045

By: Donald Jones, P.Eng., retired nuclear industry engineer.

The present Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) for Ontario, from 2010 to 2030, does not look far enough ahead. Instead, Ontario should be asking the question, what should the generation supply mix be after 2045 and what is the roadmap to get to that mix? 2045, and up to 2050, because that's when our 10,000 MW of "to be refurbished" nuclear will be decommissioned and new generation would have to be ready to take its place. Greenhouse gas emissions, possible climate change effect on hydro generation, and the decline in economic reserves of fossil fuels dictate that there must be an increase in nuclear capacity. Nuclear would supply around 80 percent of generation, up from the around 50 percent at present, with hydro supplying the balance. To be completely greenhouse gas-free there would have to be enough nuclear and hydro capacity to meet the maximum instantaneous demands on the system, allowing for any dispatchable demand response loads. This would make Ontario independent of outside jurisdictions, including long costly and unreliable transmission lines, and give it a clean reliable power supply at stable prices well into the future. Until then every effort should be made to reduce the amount of natural gas used for electricity generation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve it for future generations.

Cap-And-Trade Attacks, from the Left

After Cap-and-Trade Challenge, Unclear Course on Emissions - NYTimes.com

Environmental justice groups had sued to block the cap-and-trade program. The crux of their argument was that in focusing strictly on climate-warming gases that are dispersed high in the atmosphere, California’s plan could overlook or indirectly abet the release of conventional pollutants that mainly harm low-income communities, like carbon monoxide or deadly fine particles from oil refineries.
And a group of states and Canadian provinces, known as the Western Climate Initiative, has effectively been abandoned for the time being by every state but California. (British Columbia and Ontario are still on track to begin their own emissions-trading programs next year, and Quebec could soon follow.)

This article is not particularly informative - aside from noting the WCI is in trouble in every state, and the implementation on the east coast isn't thriving either.
My understanding is that the challenge in California is that cap-and-trade would allow filthy production in poor neighbourhoods, with credits funding nice clean projects in nice clean wealthy neighbourhoods.
One alternative is standards - everywhere.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nuclear Power and climate Change - What Now?

Nuclear power and climate change – what now? « BraveNewClimate

"A golf ball of uranium would provide more than enough energy for your entire lifetime, including electricity for homes, vehicles and mobile devices, synthetic fuels for vehicles (including tractors to produce your food and jet fuel for your flights). Your legacy? A soda can of fission product was, that would be less radioactive than natural uranium ore in 300 years."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Jersey pulling out of Regional cap-and-trade group

Gov. Christie announces N.J. pulling out of regional environmental initiative | NJ.com

"This program is not effective in reducing greenhouse gases and is unlikely to be in the future," Christie said at a press conference in the Statehouse.

CO2 Avoidance Costs With Wind Energy

An interesting article, primarily focused on Australia and wind's capability to reduce CO2 emissions, is followed by some interesting comments.

My thoughts on the commentary attached to the article:

I assume Australia will be an interesting Guinea Pig because, I assume, it would have littleconnection to adjacent grids, and most wind jurisdictions handle the variable output through increased exports.  One notable exception would be Texas, as ERCOT largely isolates itself for protectionist reasons, so I'd suggest Australians look to Texas for comparisons first.
If they do, they'll see the problems with Mr. Goggins's assumptions that many of us have spotted before.

The first is the coincidence is not causation issue, which is a matter of control groups.  The US EIA data shows dropping emissions, from electricity generation, and my amateur's review shows the states with over 1000MW of wind capacity performing worse than other states in reducing emissions.  http://morecoldair.blogspot.com/2011/03/green-shoots-green-does-not-score.html.  Specific to the AWEA position, my review of IESO stats show CO2 reductions, between 2005 and 2009, of 6% in Colorado, 7% in Texas, and 11% in the entire country ( http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/emission_state.xls)

Mr. Goggins' argument that wind forces utilities to replace coal with gas is strange.   Aside from the fact that states without wind generation are doing better at reducing emissions than those with wind, there's also the issue that, at least in North America, natural gas is currently so cheap it is changing the industry all by itself, as demonstrated in this speech by the head of, if I recall correctly, the USA's largest private generation company: http://www.exeloncorp.com/assets/newsroom/speeches/docs/spch_Rowe_AEI2011.pdf

The one article based on the experience in Denmark those in Australia probably should review is http://pfbach.dk/firma_pfb/wind_power_variations_2010_03_05.pdf  - this references a broadly cited CEPOS study and a CEESA response to it.  From the conclusions of that report: "Based on these observations it could be said that Germany and Denmark together have solved the integration problems for about 7% wind energy, but only due to the common access to the regulation capabilities of the other Nordic countries, notably hydro power in Norway."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

IESO's Lastest 18-Month Outlook Emphasizes Exports

Media Desk News Release

"Exports have played a significant role in managing Surplus Baseload Generation (SBG) conditions in the past and the IESO will continue to utilize exports and other available options to address the SBG that is expected over the 18-month period," said Bruce Campbell, Vice President of Resource Integration. "The IESO's priority is to integrate renewables into its dispatch processes and maintain efficient and reliable scheduling and commitment of Ontario's generation resources."
Surplus baseload generation (SBG) remains an ongoing concern for the IESO. As expected, the balancing of supply and demand during low load periods is a very fluid environment, with volatility in SBG amounts driven in large extent by the demand for electricity, the ability to export the surplus electricity and varying wind production.

My most recent blog entry reviews several weeks of hourly generation data to illustrate how the IESO has been coping with surplus baseload supply.  The supply mix changes over the next 18 months will exacerbate the issue, as another 2100MW of supply that cannot be matched to demand is added to the system.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Germany copes without bulk of nuclear power | Reuters

Germany copes without bulk of nuclear power | Reuters

China’s Utilities Cut Energy Production, Defying Beijing - NYTimes.com

China’s Utilities Cut Energy Production, Defying Beijing - NYTimes.com

Where Did Europe's Subsidies Create Solar Production?

China tops solar cell production
Greater China manufactured nearly 60 per cent of the worldwide solar cells in 2010 and exported more than 90 per cent

One solar blog reports April was not a good month for solar:
Gintech Energy, Neo Solar Power, Solartech Energy, DelSolar and E-Ton Solar Tech, five Taiwan-based first-tier makers of crystalline silicon solar cells, had April 2011 revenues dropping on month by 24.31-58.51%, according to the companies.
Mainly because of slow demand in Europe

The Myth of Green Energy Security

The Myth of Green Energy Security

Bjorn Lomberg's article includes:
"An analysis of the costs and benefits of the policy in 2010 by climate economist Richard Tol showed that the annual price tag would be around €210 billion. Running the policy through the RICE climate-economic model reveals that by the end of this century, it will reduce temperature rises by just 0.05°C (0.1ºF)."
"The researchers find that the full 20-20-20 plan would actually mean “increased energy imports as well as increased price risks” – mainly because the tax imposed on electricity to achieve the efficiency target of the 20-20-20 plan will affect nuclear power the most. In other words, the very policy that was supposed to achieve greater energy security is in fact likely to hike prices and lead to greater reliance on foreign energy imports."

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Senate seems an appropriate place to talk about ‘Big Wind.’

A couple of others:

...if we are to compare the subsidy per unit of energy, the estimated federal support per million BTUs [or British Thermal Units] of fossil fuels was 4 cents, while support for renewables was $1.97 per million BTUs.”

If wind has all these drawbacks, is a mature technology, and receives subsidies greater than any other form of energy per unit of actual energy produced, why are we subsidizing it with billions of dollars and not including it in this debate? Why are we talking about Big Oil and not talking about Big Wind?”

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ontario PC Party Announces Energy Promises For Upcoming Campaign


An Ontario PC government will provide Ontario families with real, permanent household relief by:

  • Removing the HST from residential hydro bills. The HST has made life unaffordable for many families. Combine that with expensive energy experiments and hydro bills are soaring.
  • Removing the HST from residential home heating bills (natural gas and other fuels). We live in Canada where heating our homes isn’t a luxury. Increasing the cost with a tax increase is unfair.
  • Removing the Debt Retirement Charge from residential hydro bills. We will remove the so-called “Debt Retirement Charge” from your hydro bills. The full amount had been collected as of 2010 – yet the McGuinty government extended it to 2018.

Taken together, these three steps will give a typical Ontario household $275 in immediate relief from rising energy bills.

They don't say much about what they'd remove, such as the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit (OCEB).
Ontario has become rather ridiculous in charging 0.7 cents/kWh as a debt retirement charges while public generation assets get 2 cents/kWh less than Ontarian's are charged in order to pay private 'clean' sources far more under ludicrously expensive 20-year contracts - and then we got a credit of 10% (about double the debt retirement charge), presumably because contracting is so much more expensive than building it yourself (and acquiring debt)
The consumption taxes on electricity is wrong (so is the debt retirement charge and the OCEB), but I don't agree the consumption tax on natural gas is wrong.

Perhaps the NDP will address the ownership issue, with the costs of contracts compared to the costs of debt.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Finally, an Idiotic Blog Entry at the Guardian

Will the real Renewable Energy Foundation please stand up? | Leo Hickman | Environment | guardian.co.uk

So big wind, which RBS claims is its new single largest source of winds - cheered on by Goldman Sachs looking for any trading scheme that doesn't actually have any product attached (cap-and-trade) - is lilly-white while a group that produces the data that shows the stupidity of the wind policies is offside because it receives funding from those with property being devalued by big Wind.

That's nutters.

Not to be condescending from over here in Ontario - where the Ontario Clean Air Alliance opposes nuclear in order to push more gas on us every single day.

Come to thiink of it - I guess I am condescending.  If this is supposed to indicate the U.K.'s worst case of a misleading organization, it's pretty pathetic compared to Ontario's schemers.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cape Wind Fails to secure loan guarantee

Cape Wind"s Federal loan guarantee "on hold" indefinitely - - The Cape Codder

I think there's some excellent language here that could be applied to many situations.

For instance, Premier Hudak could lift this for a memo to the Korean Syndicate;
"To be clear, your project is not being terminated; it is being put on hold ... If in the future, [there are] sufficient budget resources, we would be pleased to continue our evaluation of your project (but) there is no is no assurance that we will ever be in a position to continue our evaluation of your project.”

The Carbon Costs of Imports

Carbon Trust maps emissions 'flow' of traded goods | Duncan Clark | Environment | guardian.co.uk

"There aren't any huge surprises in the global overview, which largely confirm the conclusions of last month's report: around one-quarter of the world's emissions are now released during the production of goods for export; China's emissions are dwarfed by those of the US once imports and exports are taken into account; flows of finished goods have become just as significant as flows of commodities; and the UK's footprint shoots up by around one-third when international trade is taken into consideration."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Is Water and Methane a Power Drink?

Study Links Flammable Gas in Water and Nearby Drilling - NYTimes.com

Energy Costs Having Serious Impact on the North's Economy

wawa-news.com - FONOM - Energy Costs Having Serious Impact on the North's Economy

"Spacek then quoted a report done by the Northern Ontario Large Urban Mayors (NOLUM) that states “The energy intensity of business in Northern Ontario is significant: 10 – 40% of operating costs. Further, the overall consumption of electricity in Northern Ontario is 80% business and 20% consumers. Therefore, Northern energy costs and the energy economy are much more significant than in Southern Ontario.”

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wilkinson's Dishonourable Answers

Mr. John Yakabuski: My question is for the Minister of the Environment. Your ministry has received 750 complaints about wind turbines in just two years. That’s more than one complaint a day. This should come as no surprise. Every member in this House has received complaints about the siting of wind turbines. You claim to have rules regulating the placement of wind turbines, but by your own admission you’re doing absolutely nothing about non-compliance. Companies are in the business of making a profit. If your ministry issues no fines and issues no orders to comply, you are giving them your tacit approval to ignore the rules.
Why have you abandoned your responsibility as a government to set the rules and to also make sure that they are followed?

Clueless In Toronto

Wind versus nuclear - the debate - thestar.com

It's not very complicated.

Nuclear is purchased by the system operator at less than Ontarians pay to consume it.
Wind, solar and natural gas are purchased by the system operator at far more than Ontarians pay to consume them.

Mr. Spears' deliberate obfuscation adds nothing to Bruce Sharp's calculations.

More Monbiot - With More Notable Quotes

"The problem we face is not that we have too little fossil fuel, but too much."
 One interesting point made in, "Let's face it: none of our environmental fixes break the planet-wrecking project."

The excellent column was followed closely by an excellent post at his blog; "The green problem: how do we fight without losing what we're fighting for?"

1. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions means increasing electricity production. It is hard to see a way around this. Because low-carbon electricity is the best means of replacing the fossil fuels used for heating and transport, electricity generation will rise, even if we manage to engineer a massive reduction in overall energy consumption. The Zero Carbon Britain report published by the Centre for Alternative Technology envisages a 55% cut in overall energy demand by 2030 – and a near-doubling of electricity production.

Mallick - didn't she use to be somebody?

Canada's cold new dawn | Heather Mallick | Comment is free | The Guardian

I particularly enjoyed the description of Prime Minister Harper as, "a Canadian version of George W Bush, minus the warmth and intellect, is now prime minister."

To steal from Prime Minister Trudeau, I'm sure Harper has been called far worse things by far better people.
Publish Post

Sunday, May 1, 2011

one fish, two fish, true-ish ...

Scientists Spar Over Fish Populations - NYTimes.com

It's a little obscure - but I found it interesting:

“I have no argument with the point that with stocks that are well managed you can have sustainable fisheries ...”

Study Forecasts Economic Harm to Ohio from Energy Mandates

Study: Ohio’s Alternative Energy Mandates Will Keep Its Economy in a Slump

A quote from the full study:
"Not unlike taxes, higher electricity prices produce negative effects on economic activity, since one is paying a higher price for electricity without an increase in the value of that electricity."