Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Other CANDU News Is ...

Bruce Power Begins Loading Fuel Bundles into Unit 2

"Pending further regulatory approvals, Unit 2 is expected to synchronize with the province's electrical grid by the end of the year, followed by Unit 1 early next year. Once restarted, Units 1 and 2 at Bruce A will produce 1,500 megawatts of cost-effective, safe and reliable nuclear power. The reactors have been undergoing a first-of-a-kind refurbishment and the project has represented the largest investment in CANDU technology in a generation by Bruce Power. "

UK substituting coal for gas in electricity production

Electricity companies switch from gas to coal | Business | The Guardian

"Statistics from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) show power providers used 8% more coal for electricity production in the first quarter of this year and 21% less gas."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Google's Green Energy Wish List - Energy Policy For Dummies

Google's Green Energy Wish List -

An interesting article in the New York times, but it is also interesting that the article is already behind the times, and is dishonest.

Here's why.
The Google tool noted in the article is a poor imitation of a tool calculating emissions reductions on the Guardian website last year, which demonstrated how immensely difficult the task was.
Similarly, the article indicates a very dumbed down version of portions of what was recently covered at the Equinox Summit - the presentations from that summit are accessible at the Waterloo Global Science Initiative's website.

Here's the healthy take -aways from the NY Times report on Google's initiative:
"At the top of Google’s list was better electric cars and gas-electric hybrids because they could create large savings by 2030. While big advances in clean energy generation could have big benefits by 2050, in 2030 these would not show major financial benefits when compared with electricity from coal and natural gas, the study predicted."
"If batteries could be sold at a cost of $100 per kilowatt-hour of storage, then pure electric cars, hybrid electrics like the Toyota Prius and plug-in electrics like the Chevy Volt could capture 90 percent of the vehicle market, the study said. "

And here's a good point followed by a blind stupidity:
"...the study found that in the absence of a shift in government policy, improvements in energy storage might end up simply allowing greater use of coal. “Basically it’ll allow you to run the cheapest thing you’ve got, more’’ said Bill Weihl, whose title at Google is green energy czar. "

It's nice to see that somebody acknowledges that storage would allow cheaper generation to be stored, and shouldn't be made to service the ridiculous stuff - it would be nicer to see acknowledgement that plants, of all flavours, running in baseload mode are far cleaner than peaking plants, and cleaner than intermittent plants, but it's a start.

The Guardian tool was honest, and included nuclear as an option. As millions used it, and challenged it, the people who did the math on both the enormity of the task in reducing emissions, and the technologies that might help, gravitated to nuclear generation - and that's been true from George Monbiot and Mark Lynas through to the attendees that drafted the communique from the WGSI conference.

The google project takes elements of science and twists them with a consultant's tool to steer people away from planning a future with more wealth for more people with much fewer GHG emissions - and towards carbon taxes to fund the flavour of the day as determined by Google and McKinsey and Company.

There's no attempt to be fair in presenting the options - and there's really no attempt to seriously address GHG emissions because of it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sustainable Energy Sources for the The 21st Century: From Barry Brooks

AWARE Simcoe - Elect to Protect! - ‘Bad thing happen when good people are silent’

AWARE Simcoe - Elect to Protect! - ‘Bad thing happen when good people are silent’

Farmers David Vander Zaag and Norm Wolfson described key aspects of the huge project – 2,400 acres (an area the size of Orangeville), 240 feet deep (a greater drop than Niagara Falls), the management of 600 million litres of water a day in perpetuity (removal to allow extraction and then return to the watercourses at a different temperature and with surface contaminants), 300 trucks an hour.


What question is mega quarry an answer to?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another Country, Another Gas Industry Demand For Subsidies To Back-Up Wind

Energy giants want billions for back-up to windfarms | This is Money

'The building of new gas-fired capacity must be incentivised so that gas can fulfil its role as a bridging fuel.'
To that end, energy companies are asking the Government for 'capacity payments'. This ensures firms are paid a fee all year round for keeping a plant on standby.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Very Dishonest Defence Of Ontario's Solar Programs

This is a disturbingly poor letter, from Manish Nayar, described as a managing partner at OYA Solar, that the Windsor Star chose to publish on it's website.

Manish mistakenly states, “... many of us don't realize that our peak electricity demands are sometimes bought on the spot market for prices in excess of $2/kWh.”

We don't realize that because it is false. There are 3 hours since the IESO files begin, in 2002, when the market price exceeded $1/kWh, which is $1000/MW (you move the decimal point 3 places over because Mega is 1000 times more the kilo).

Manish also says, “Last week, the IESO paid $2.78/kWh for peak electricity demand.”

Actually, the amount of $278.13/MWh equates to 27.8 cents/kWh. That price occurred while demand was at a relatively moderate level (<20,000MW).  Demand is only one driver of price; another is supply.
For examples of how erratic supply can impact pricing, see my Wind Jerks piece.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wind Supply Issues in US Northwest Indicative of Problems everywhere

A recent presentation was put on the web:  Wind Energy Development in the Pacific Northwest: Checking Facts, Connecting Dots

Wind isn't expected to be useful there, and it might harm their valuable hydro equipment.

Canada 1 Step Closer to Paying For McGuinty's FIT program

ICTSD • WTO Dispute Roundup: Environment Issues Taking Centre Stage

The Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, in a 1 June press release on the dispute, cited concern over the “possible proliferation of such protectionist measures all over the world” as their motivation for seeking the WTO’s assistance on this matter. They noted that their consultations with Canada in October did not provide them with the intended result, given that Canada “raised a local content requirement from 50 percent to 60 percent on 1 January 2011.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Opinions on where to Spend on Electricity

Solution to Canada’s power deficit ain’t blowing in the wind | iPolitics

“We shouldn’t be putting a disproportionate emphasis on subsidies that develop technologies that are going to answer two to five percent of our problem, when we have available, in terms of hydro, in terms of gas — the potential to fill the need in a much more cost-efficient way,” Burney continued.

Newer Ways to Determine Value

A More Accurate Way to Calculate the Cost of Electricity :: POWER Magazine :: Page 1 of 2

"The expected increased use of CC plants in the future will place a premium on units that can be heavily cycled and quickly started. By adding these effects to the familiar COE equation, we get a new formulation that can be easily used to perform screening studies to determine the value of a plant more comprehensively.
In most applications, significant life-cycle cost savings are possible for plants that can operate at part load with improved efficiency or that can start and reach baseload faster than conventional plants. Now you have a screening tool to estimate the value of those operational improvements."
­— S. Can Gülen, PhD, PE ( is a principal engineer with GE Energy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What is going on with Niagara hydroelectic generation

Tunnel will increase Canada's power generation capacity - Business - The Buffalo News

The most recent project has been sold as increasing clean hydro output - but this article makes it appear as if it is really transferring output for the US side to the Canadian side.

"Up to 1.6 million gallons per second would flow over the falls if they were untouched, said John Kangas, chairman of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In the non-tourist season, only about 375,000 gallons per second, or less than a quarter of the total flow, goes over the falls.
The new tunnel will not change that amount, because the U.S. has been drawing off whatever amount of water Canada could not handle, up to the treaty limit. The U.S. used the water to generate power, and then sent half of it back to Canada, Kangas said. The rest of that power was taken by the U.S. as a rental fee. "The U.S. has had more capability to produce energy, but now with the new tunnel they (Ontario Power Generation) have the capacity to process that water," Kangas said."

The original link to the Buffalo News article no longer functions, but the same content is repeated here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hydro Projects Rolled Back In Ontario

OPG hopes cost-cutting will help hydroelectric project move forward -

Cutting back on public hydro (which has been selling at under $40/MWh), as we borrow to pay over $600/MWh for private solar ...

I just have this weird hunch something isn't right.

Tyler Hamilton Sings For Samsung

Honesty, It's Such a Lonely Word.

In another apologist piece in The Toronto Star, Mr. Hamilton stumbles over some facts.

For instance:
  • Samsung hasn't received any of the money because they haven't produced and power.
  • Samsung's adder is over 1 billion dollars (the $427 million term put that amount, paid out over 20 year FIT contracts, in 2010 dollar values). It the FIT price did decline in the future, the adder would become relatively even more discriminatory in favouring the Korean syndicate.  Maybe - it's not like citizens have a right to know what the actual contract is.
  • Samsung hired a firm (Pattern Energy) to purchase existing projects in Ontario - whatever the signed deal is, it devalued projects already in planning by giving not only transmission preference to the Korean syndicate, but also pays out more per unit generated
  • Samsung struck deals with CS Wind and Siemens to avoid doing the intellectual work in Ontairo. We are paying top dollars only to fund bodies at the end of screwdrivers.
Europe has had multiple changes, unilaterally, to 'green' energy subsidies.   The racist implication that Ontario's opposition are acting worse than Africans is a new low.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Proposal for Correcting The Imbalance of Great Lake Water Levels

Lakes rise but concerns remain - Owen Sound Sun Times - Ontario, CA

Options include submerged turbines that would also generate electricity, inflatable or rock-filled weirs and similar obstacles to slow down the water.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Another Reason to Cancel Your Cable

Dracula Lurks in Your Set-Top Box -

"With 160 million such set-top boxes in use in the country today, the power wasted is equivalent to what is produced annually by six coal burning power plants and is responsible for the release of 11 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. "

"Ask a stupid question ..."

What Italy's nuclear referendum means for climate change | Mark Lynas | Environment |

"As a lifelong environmentalist, and author of a 2009 book which laid out the terrifying prospects of uncontrolled global warming, I cannot help but feel that the decisions of the German and Swiss governments rank among the worst climate-related policies of recent years. Carbon emissions cannot do anything other than rise as a result of phasing out the continent's largest source of zero-carbon power – and doing this just a week after the International Energy Agency reported that 2010 carbon emissions rose to the highest levels ever is little short of criminal."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Political Volleys Over Nuclear Waste -

Political Volleys Over Nuclear Waste -

The utilities that make nuclear waste signed contracts with the Energy Department in the 1980s requiring them to pay a fee for each kilowatt-hour their reactors generated and for the government to start accepting the waste in 1998; now the government anticipates paying the utilities billions of dollars in damages because it has no place to put the waste, it was noted.

Aldyen Donnelly's Latest at Energy Probe

Aldyen Donnelly: BCAA’s conclusions about hybrid vehicles | Energy Probe

Interestingly enough, if you go back to your Econ 300 micro and macro economic textbooks, you might discover that the economic theory we were taught a few decades ago actually suggest the same thing.  The older textbooks ... suggest that for a tax/price increase to effectively and efficiently impact consumer demand, the tax/price impact has to be revealed to/experienced by the consumer at a point of a “primary” consumption decision, not a “secondary” or derived consumption decision.  Most fuel/energy purchases by non-industrial consumers are secondary or derived from their decisions to locate their home and the vehicles they buy.  So even the traditional general economic theorists told us, so many years ago, that if we want to change energy demand in as economically efficient a fashion as possible, we likely would need to tax (to the extent this is the policy mechanism of choice) home and car purchases (primary capital expenditure decisions) and not energy/fuel purchases (secondary, variable, operating costs).

Don't Give Up on us NIMBY's

 Don’t give in to energy NIMBYs -

"It wasn’t supposed to be this way. In 2009 the premier boldly declared that “NIMBYism will no longer prevail.” ...
In Mississauga local activists again appear to hold the high cards. Their inspiration is the successful termination of a 900-megawatt gas-fired plant proposed for neighbouring Oakville. Affluent opponents of that $1.2-billion initiative used petitions, mass demonstrations, sympathetic celebrities (including a paid appearance by environmental crusader Erin Brockovich) and prominent local politicians to crush the project."

Nope.  The fight was being fought years before a plant for Oakville was even proposed.
Years before 2009 too.
The City of Mississauga had fought it all the way to the OMB prior to the Oakville plant being announced.

The Star's editorial writers don't seem to read the Star...
or newspapers.
Apologies to David Soul

California Takes Another Look at Emission Reduction Mechanisms

California Revises Its Greenhouse Gas Analysis -

"The staff’s final judgment was that a market-based approach easily outdistanced a direct emissions tax or fee. Even the unpopular option of direct regulation of refineries or power plants or other major emitters penciled out better than the carbon tax in the new analysis of the regulatory board."

For policy wonks interested in the comparison of cap-and-trad and carbon taxes, the article noted provided this link.

Monday, June 13, 2011

EPA Delays Power Plant Emission Rules

E.P.A. Delays Rule on Power Plant Emissions -

Scott Segal, a utility industry lobbyist in Washington, said that the E.P.A.’s caution signaled an understanding that the new rule will have a profound impact on the price, supply and reliability of the electricity by forcing extensive modifications to or the shutdown of dozens of older power plants.

Innovative Pumped Storage Project Proposed In Ontario

New life for closed mine? - Belleville Intelligencer - Ontario, CA

I think the reporter might investigate where the power to pump the water up comes from (the grid; during off-peak hours of excess production), but aside from the perpetual motion machine suggestion ...

The pumped storage facility would generate about 400 megawatts of electricity by allowing water to flow through a turbine system from the reservoir to the open-pit mine, and, vice-versa, use power generated by the down flow to pump the water back up to the reservoir to be reused and recycled through the system.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Solar Industry In Ontario is Considering a Media Campaign

Solar industry ponders Ontario media campaign -

The article notes 2 groups that would be targeted:
“The first one is women 25 to 65, who are very, very supportive of renewable energy and the environmental impact, but know very little.”

“The second would be men over 35 who are very concerned about money, but don’t understand actually how things work, etcetera,” she said.

Targeting folks who "know very little" and people who "don't understand actually how things work" doesn't indicate a huge confidence in their value proposition.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

6 Priority Actions To Responsibly Address Future Energy Needs

The Equinox Summit hosted by the Waterloo Global Science Initiative released a Communiqué noting actions that could “catalyse change on a global scale, from the the cities of the developed world, to the billions of people who live in towns and villages that lack adequate access to electricity.

Replacing Coal for Baseload power is tasked to:
Geothermal Power (Deep)
Renewables Enabled By Storage
Advanced Nuclear Power To Close the Fuel Cycle

Added to the important baseload sources, other areas singled out area;
Urban Electric Mobility
Making Cities Energy-Smart
Rural Electrification With Flexible Solar Cells

The summit does have some videos online, as well as some of the presentation materials (Powerpoints) covered in the lectures.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mining Guru?

Now get in there and work really hard?

Sounds like a little league coach - nothing about a coherent electricity policy, nothing about a coherent transportation policy.

If you want this, you are going to have to work for it ...

Ontario's top Ring of Fire mining guru says Timmins still has a chance for a smelter - Timmins Times - Ontario, CA

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Brazil Approves Amazon Dam

Brazil, After a Long Battle, Approves an Amazon Dam -

Brazil’s environmental agency gave final approval on Wednesday for a giant hydroelectric power plant in the Amazon rain forest that has been at the center of a protracted battle between the government and environmentalists over the fate of indigenous people.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Japan Escalates WTO dispute re: Ontario FIT

Japan takes Canada to WTO over green-power rules | Canada | Reuters

"Consultations failed to resolve the dispute. As a result, Japan respectfully requests that a panel be established to examine this matter," Ambassador Yoichi Otabe wrote.