Thursday, May 31, 2012

Illinois Regulators Reject Ameren Smart Grid Plan

A regulator turns down a smart grid plan that didn't demonstrate a benefit to customers.
It's not everywhere a note from Dalton McGuinty can replace a business plan!

Illinois Regulators Reject Ameren Smart Grid Plan :: POWER Magazine:
"Illinois regulators on Tuesday rejected Ameren Illinois’ $625 million plan to deploy smart grid improvements in its service territory, saying the company not only failed to show it could deliver a cost benefit to customers, but that the deployment plan was “vague and incomplete” and bordered on being more a “general statement of intention to install smart meters in some parts of its service territory.” 

The [UK] energy bill is misleading, manipulative and destructive – and so are Davey's claims

New father George Monbiot (congrats!) isn't saving a lot of patience for dealing with Ed Davey.

The energy bill is misleading, manipulative and destructive – and so are Davey's claims | George Monbiot | Environment |
"On Tuesday, the Guardian published a letter from Davey, in which he claimed that I mistake his "short-term methods" (approving more gas and coal plants) for his "long-term goals" (stopping climate change). It's easy to mix them up, isn't it? Approving more gas and coal plants looks so much like stopping climate change that I'm sure he can understand my confusion.
But the question it raises is what he means by "short-term". As I explained in my column this week, his energy bill allows gas plants to produce more carbon dioxide than they do today, until 2045. It imposes no restrictions at all on coal plants, as long as they undertake that one day in the indeterminate future they will "demonstrate" that carbon capture and storage equipment could reduce an unspecified quantity of their emissions. So the short term, in Davey's view, expires at some time between 2045 and the end of the solar system."
Read the entire column at George Monbiot's blog

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Impossible Dream? Why Renewables Won't Reduce CO2 Emissions by Much

The Impossible Dream? Why Renewables Won't Reduce CO2 Emissions by Much:
"The solution to looming global warming? Easy. Reduce man-made emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by cutting down on the use of fossil fuels -- coal, petroleum and natural gas. Leave them in the ground. The replacement? Renewables such as solar and wind power. If we phase in natural energy sources quickly enough, we may be able to avert catastrophic climate change.
Or so the story goes. But new research shows that it is not quite so simple. As the proportion of renewable energy penetrating the electricity grid grows, the reduction of CO2 emissions drops sharply. By the time wind power (and, by analogy, solar) reaches about 20 percent of the grid, the savings in CO2 emissions are negligible, of the order of a few percent.
The result seems counter-intuitive -- surely the more renewable energy, the greater the reduction of CO2 emissions, and less threat of global warming. But the reason for this finding can be found on the miles per gallon sticker on the windows of new cars."
Read the entire article

Germany's Merkel throws weight behind $24bn grids overhaul

Investment advice form Eddie Albert:  Green Wires is the place to be ....

Germany's Merkel throws weight behind $24bn grids overhaul - Politics - Renewable energy news - Recharge - wind, solar, biomass, wave/tidal/hydro and geothermal:
"Amid signs that Germany’s transition away from nuclear energy toward renewables is stalling, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s four transmission system operators (TSOs) have unveiled a €20bn ($24bn) plan to overhaul the country’s grids."
The plan, which is still at a very early stage, envisages a massive update of the country’s existing grids and the construction of 4,400km of new lines by 2022, particularly in the north.
Germany needs to “catch up on a backlog [of grid connections]”, Merkel acknowledged at a press conference at the Federal Network Agency’s headquarters in Bonn. She was flanked by her new environment minister Peter Altmaier and the heads of Germany’s four TSOs – TenneT, Amprion, 50Hertz and TransnetBW (known as EnBW Transportnetze until March).
Future meetings between the TSOs and government will specify where the new lines will be built, how they will overcome local obstructionism, and how they will be financed.

Spain Ejects Clean-Power Industry With Europe Precedent: Energy

Spain Ejects Clean-Power Industry With Europe Precedent: Energy - Bloomberg:
"Solar energy was the biggest drag on the system, accounting for almost half of the annual 6 billion euros of liabilities and producing just above 2 percent of the power, said Eduardo Tabbush, an analyst in London at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
With peak electricity demand at less than half of capacity, the country doesn’t need more power plants, he said. Spain has a capacity of 99 gigawatts, and peak demand of 44 gigawatts.
Spain’s power-system debt swelled to 23 billion euros as successive governments set electricity prices for consumers that didn’t cover the revenue utilities booked. Even with January’s moratorium, the electricity system racked up another 762 million euros of debt in the first two months of the year, according to the energy regulator."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ontario electricity Pricing Levels Near Highest US Rates

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) released it's latest monthly figures, which are for March.
For all sectors, prices declined slightly from March 2011 (to 9.59 cents/kWh from 9.64), while average residential rates rose slightly to an average of 11.76 cents/kWh.  Prices in 3 of the 4 most expensive states declined.
Ontario does not report the average retail price, as prices very widely.  The EIA data is total bill divided by consumption (metered) ... so ratepayers in Ontario could check their standing by taking their total bill, and dividing by metered usage (with the loss factor adjustment).
For my bill, the March rate is 15.5 cents/kWh, but that includes a 10% discount for the OCEB that comes out of general revenues.  If we take into account somebody is paying for that, the rate is 17.2 cents/kWh

The highest rates in the 48 contiguous states is 17.2 cents/kWh (March 2011 in brackets):
Connecticut       17.18 (17.95)
Vermont            16.90 (16.04)
New York         16.75 (17.63)
New Hampshire 16.35 (16.44)
New Jersey        15.88 (16.36)
Massachusetts    15.83 (14.69)
California           14.90 (14.76)

Gas rebranded as green energy by EU

The Guardian has a couple of articles on the movement to natural gas today, upon the release of the International Energy Agency's "Golden Rules for the Golden Age of Gas" document .
How Green is Gas? is a running commentary - the other article notes EU policy moves occurring due to the promise of abundant gas.

Gas rebranded as green energy by EU | Environment |
"Energy from gas power stations has been rebranded as a green, low-carbon source of power by a €80bn European Union programme, in a triumph of the deep-pocketed fossil fuel industry lobby over renewable forms of power.
In a secret document seen by the Guardian, a large slice of billions of euros of funds that are supposed to be devoted to research and development into renewables such as solar and wave power are likely to be diverted instead to subsidising the development of the well-established fossil fuel.
The news comes as a report from the respected International Energy Agency predicted a "golden age for gas" with global production of "unconventional" sources of gas (notably shale gas extracted by hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking') tripling by 2035."
 Continue reading this article

Monday, May 28, 2012

The truth about Germany's nuclear phase-out | Duncan Clark | Environment |

The truth about Germany's nuclear phase-out | Duncan Clark | Environment |

If you look just at Germany's emissions and you compare "before the nuclear switch off" with "after the nuclear switch off", then you might conclude that turning off atomic plants cut carbon emissions. But that would be the wrong conclusion. For one thing, the carbon savings in Germany were – as Carrington points out – partly or perhaps entirely the result of a mild winter. The obvious point here is that if you'd had the nuclear plants running and a mild winter, emissions would most likely have been lower still.

More importantly, though, in a continent-wide energy market it doesn't make sense to look only at Germany. You also need to consider the implications of the fact that switching off the nuclear plants led to Germany's exports of electricity falling through the floor – by a massive 63 trillion units, according to Carrington.

Unless you think the countries which would have used that power simply turned the lights off, the unavoidable implication is that somewhere a bunch of fossil fuel plants were ramped up to pick up the slack. And not just any fossil fuel plants, but those with available capacity – which will generally mean dirty old ones because the cheaper and more efficient ones, along with all the renewables and nuclear, will already have been working at full capacity.

The core point is this: until we get a 100% decarbonised grid, the marginal impact of turning off any existing low-carbon electricity source – or indeed adding to demand by switching a light on – is virtually always to add more coal to a power station.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

US Electricity Markets May Have Trouble Keeping the Power On

"MISO, PJM, and ERCOT Concerned about Resource Adequacy"
That was the heading on the e-mail sent out by POWER news magazine today.

The title refers to 3 separate system operators.

The reports are important to Ontario for a number of reasons.

  • Both MISO and ERCOT are wind/coal regions, where investments have been made in wind instead of cleaner baseload and intermediate power plants.  The problems should be noted.
  • The is a dearth of personnel, and perhaps engineering competence, to complete generation projects
  • The most complex of the upgrades required to get coal plants to meet new EPA regulations were made, long ago, at Lambton on the currently operating units 3 and 4.
  • Ontario's government has failed to complete the transmission line to increase capacity to the border in the Niagara region.  While the speech is that it is not required, there appears to be a good deal of exporting destined for New York headed through the Michigan interties
  • The fifth is because the big drivers of price inflation, to date, have been low capacity factors at new CCGT plants, and cheap exports.  There seems to be an opening for the second of these issues to lessen the damage of the first - but it requires emissions, including some pollutants, here in order to replace very dirty coal elsewhere.
  • A coherent trade strategy is needed.  Dumping, and protectionist legislation to discourage trade, are harming the ability to alleviate costs in Ontario, and to lessen emissions beyond Ontario.

"What does it cost to turn your favored form of energy into power?"

Andrew Revkin has posted, to his "Dot Earth" blog on the NY Times site, this comment by Dale R. McIntyre

"This primer is named “The Watt” yet it purports to be a primer about energy. The watt is a unit of power. If this primer was really about energy, it should be named “The Joule”.
This is not a picayune point. Everybody talks about energy but what everybody really wants is power.
“I sell, sir, what every man desires to have-power” — Matthew Boulton, 1769 ...
Power is the rate at which work gets done. Energy is the ability, theoretical or actual, to do work. It may be potential or kinetic, stored or chemical. Energy by itself is useless."
But by transforming energy from one form to another we can create power. And do useful work in a thousand forms. And it is power — work done divided by the time it takes to do it — which has raised humankind above the level of the beasts,
turns the wheels,
bakes the cake,
cools the wine,
lights the lights,
and permits this very discussion.
This distinction greatly clarifies the mind and would be a great aid to policy, if only our politicians would grasp it. Never mind that clap trap about “there is enough sunlight (or wind, or wave energy) falling on the U.S. for all our needs.”
What does it cost to turn your favored form of energy into power?
Answer that question and the path forward becomes clear.
If you never ask that question, or never answer it honestly, you get what passes for “energy policy” in the U.S. today.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Munich Ends CO2 Emissions Trading

Excess, fraud, uncertainty, political will and economic factors = The End of CO2 trading.

Munich Stock Exchange to Discontinue Trade with CO2 Emission Certificates « German Energy Blog:
"The Munich Stock Exchange (Bayerische Börse) announced that it is to discontinue trading with CO2 emission certificates on 30 June 2012. Trade volume at the European Stock Exchanges dramatically decreased to almost zero over the previous months, so that there was not enough volume for a functioning, liquid market, Munich Stock Exchange said."
Bayerische Börse pointed out that reasons for the low demand ranged from damage caused to the reputation by the theft of emissions allowances, VAT fraud to the excess of emission allowances allocated free of charge and the resulting pressure on prices.
Google translates the release from the Exchange as:

Germany's Energy Revolution Stalls without Decisiveness and Incentives

Anybody documenting this to reproduce the energy transition technique?

Germany's Energy Revolution Stalls without Decisiveness and Incentives - SPIEGEL ONLINE:
"Germany lacks the power lines it needs to bring electricity from the north to the more industrialized south. It lacks the technologies needed to store renewable energy. And, finally, it lacks power plants to satisfy demand for electricity when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining. The estimated costs of the necessary infrastructure expansions range between €154 billion ($195 billion) in the next 10 years, according to the market research firm Trendresearch, to €335 billion by 2030, according to Bavaria's VBW industry association. Other forecasts are even higher."
Read the entire article at Spiegel Online:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Top Economists Identify the Smartest Investments for Policy-makers and Philanthropists

The Copenhagen Consensus 2012 has arrived at a similar list prioritizing the address of
The press releases (.pdf) 
Copenhagen, Denmark (May 14, 2012) – A year-long project involving more than 65 researchers has culminated with a panel of economists including four Nobel laureates identifying the smartest ways to allocate money to respond to ten of the world’s biggest challenges.
The Copenhagen Consensus 2012 Expert Panel finds that fighting malnourishment should be the top priority for policy-makers and philanthropists.
Nobel laureate economist Vernon Smith said: “One of the most compelling investments is to get nutrients to the world’s undernourished. The benefits from doing so – in terms of increased health, schooling, and productivity – are tremendous.”

Friday, May 18, 2012

Good and Bad News From Bruce Power on the return of nuclear reactor

First the bad news.  There has been a delay in Bruce Power's refurbished Unit 2 connecting to the grid:

Bruce A Operations update | Bruce Power:
"TIVERTON, ON – May 18, 2012 – For the first time in 17 years, the Unit 2 reactor at Bruce A was producing steam and operating as per plan in the lead-up to generating electricity and connecting to Ontario’s electricity grid.
An hour prior to synchronization to the grid last week, an issue was identified within the electrical generator on the non-nuclear side of the plant. The electrical generator protection worked as designed and the approach to connect to the grid was stopped. This generator, common to all power plants, had been upgraded as part of the refurbishment project by Siemens Canada.
Following initial inspections throughout this week, it is clear repairs will need to be made to this electrical generator. Bruce Power has enlisted the expertise of Siemens Canada to assess the situation and then complete repairs as soon as possible. Although the Unit 2 reactor is ready to operate, the repair to this non-nuclear system will have an impact on when Unit 2 will be able to deliver electricity to the grid. "
The full release can be read at the Bruce Power Website

Now the good news.
There has been a delay in Bruce Power's refurbished Unit 2 connecting to the grid:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

While Japan turns away from nuclear power, South Korea sticks to its path | Environment | the post-Fukushima anti-nuclear hysteria continues to drag many countries – from Japan to Germany to Switzerland – back towards the fossil fuels age, South Korea is quietly getting on with reducing its carbon emissions while continuing its growth miracle.
- Mark Lynas

While Japan turns away from nuclear power, South Korea sticks to its path | Environment |
In the same week that Japan mothballed its very last reactor, Korea broke ground on two new-build nuclear power stations – a pair of APR-1400 units now being constructed at Shin Ulchin, on the east coast. They are two of eight new stations planned to add to the country's existing nuclear fleet of 23, currently supplying 45% of the nation's electricity. To mark the occasion the country's president, Lee Myung-bak, paid a visit to the site, praising a "huge milestone" for South Korea's engineers, who had helped the country achieve "the dream of independent nuclear technology".
The entire article can be read at The Guardian website

Japan's Government to Take Over TEPCO

TEPCO's nationalization was expected.
Escalating costs disproportionately to commercial customers shouldn't have been.

Japan\'s Government to Take Over TEPCO :: POWER Magazine:
"Japan's trade minister last week approved a ¥1 trillion ($12.5 billion) capital injection to avert the collapse of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). The move is effectively a nationalization of Japan's largest utility and owner of the crisis-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
But the utility forecasts it will lose only ¥100 billion this fiscal year as a result of electricity rate hikes that could increase revenues, already worth ¥6.025 trillion, by as much as 13%, Despite public pushback, TEPCO increased prices by 17% for commercial customers in April and it plans to hike residential power prices by 10% in July. The higher rates are necessary as TEPCO attempts to close, with expensive fossil fuels, the nuclear gap left by the damaged Fukushima Daiichi units and other nuclear power plants that have been shut down for inspection, the company says.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ontario Paused Residual Stranded Debt Payments for 2 years

The Ontario Government has finally provided an accounting of the stranded debt, but they've titled the release obnoxiously wrong.  The figures in the release show the residual stranded debt as rising from $5.6 billion in 2009 to $5.8 billion in 2011 -- meaning that even as the Liberals were campaigning on the premise that Debt Retirement Charges (DRC) were paying down the residual stranded debt, DRC charges were being made at a rate of roughly $1 billion a year, and the RSD wasn't going down.

Ontario Continues To Reduce Residual Stranded Debt:
"Today the government filed a regulation under the Electricity Act, 1998, to provide transparency and meet reporting requirements on the outstanding amount of residual stranded debt. The new regulation is in response to a recommendation by the Auditor General in his 2011 Annual Report.
Residual stranded debt is calculated by subtracting estimated future payments-in-lieu of taxes (PILs) and other prescribed amounts from the stranded debt. [emphasis added] The residual stranded debt was set out in 1999, when the former government restructured the electricity industry."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

NY Senators try to prevent Quebec transmission line

This article demonstrates how protectionism, including that spurred on by the "green" lobby, is stifling utilization of the most accessible, and cheapest, low emissions supply (including 3000MW bottlenecked in Labrador).
Higher emissions and higher prices are being lobbied for - instead of lower emissions.

Watertown Daily Times | Senators try to prevent Quebec transmission line:
"The senators — led by state Sen. George Maziarz, a Western New York Republican, and joined by state Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton — say upstate jobs are at stake if a $2 billion transmission line proposal is approved because it would squeeze out energy producers in the state, like nuclear power plants, facilities that burn wood to create electricity and wind turbine farms.
“I think this would open up the floodgates. It would be the beginning of the end for generation of energy in New York state,” said Mr. Maziarz, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications."
Read the entire article at the Watertown Daily Times

Monday, May 14, 2012

California Deficit Swells to $16 Billion, Governor Says - Bloomberg

Does governance via Twitter seem cartoonish?

California Deficit Swells to $16 Billion, Governor Says - Bloomberg:
"California’s budget deficit has swelled to $16 billion after tax collections trailed projections amid the tepid economic recovery, Governor Jerry Brown said in a comment on his Twitter post.
“We are still recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s,” Brown said in a YouTube video cited on his Twitter post. “Tax receipts are coming lower than expected and the federal government and the courts have blocked us from making billions of necessary budget reductions. The result is that we are now facing a $16 billion deficit.”
I am unaware of a political leader citing an escalating surplus via Twitter.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Scientists find a way to bring down cost of producing 'artificial leaf'

A report in the Guardian that MT's Danial Norcera is "one step closer to his goal of finding an inexpensive, portable source ofrenewable energy for developing countries."
Maybe for developed countries too?

Scientists find a way to bring down cost of producing 'artificial leaf' | Erin Hale | Environment |
"Artificial leaves – recently profiled by the New Yorker – resemble a thin playing card, described by MIT as a "silicon solar cell with different catalytic materials bonded onto its two sides". Covered with water and placed in sunlight, it splits hydrogen and water, mimicking photosynthesis.
In a real leaf, the hydrogen is then combined with CO2 from the atmosphere to make sugars, cell walls and other organic matter. In the artificial version, scientists use the hydrogen in fuel cells to make electricity or else combine it with CO2 to make fuels such as methanol. This could be used in car engines, much as ethanol biofuels are used today and would provide a carbon-neutral source of power."

Read the full article at the Guardian's Environment Blog

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ban bottled water? Thanks for the suggestion.

I was amazed at the stat early in this quote (I have not verified the claim)

Erich the Green: Ban bottled water? Thanks for the suggestion.:
"The energy to make each bottle, run the plant, ship the bottle, chill it, and recycle it would fill each water bottle ¼ with crude oil. Although if bottles were truly recycled, the old plastic would go into the new bottles, which it doesn’t.
Tap water has fewer bacteria than 70% of bottled water; Canada’s had 29 recalls of 49 bottled water products between 2000 and 2009. And 40% of bottled water is just tap water in a throwaway container.
Why pay 1000 times more for the same thing? "

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bruce Lourie: Canada's Environmental Guru

Bruce Lourie: Canada's Environmental Guru
Parker Gallant, May 9, 2012  

An invitation to receive a $100 rebate in a print ad, simply by bringing an old gas powered mower to Home Depot and purchasing a “Eco-Preferred[1] lawn mower turned into an obsession to find out who was going to pay for that rebate. The ad referred to “Summerhill Impact/A proud partner of The Home Depot”.

It turns out Summerhill Impact (formerly Clean Air Foundation) is a not-for-profit and shares it's name with Summerhill Group a “for profit” and a “charitable” Summerhill Foundation. These three entities are overseen by an “Executive Advisory Board” that includes David O'Brien, retired CEO of Toronto Hydro, Peter Love, Ontario's first Chief Energy Conservation Officer with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and Annette Verschueren, former President of Home Depot Canada. Summerhill Impact lists as partners, these taxpayer funded entities; the Province of Ontario, Health Canada, Environment Canada, Toronto Hydro and the City of Toronto.

Summerhill Impact, or it's predecessor, received funding from Trillium Foundation ($121,000), Toronto Atmospheric Fund ($98,700), Environment Canada ($24,500) and signed a recent contract with Health Canada for $350,000. Without going through the process of a FOI (freedom of information) process one must assume that the Province of Ontario, Toronto Hydro and the City of Toronto have contributed dollars either “in kind” or directly that are somehow connected with that “rebate”.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cliffs picks Sudbury - The Sudbury Star - Ontario, CA

Cliffs picks Sudbury - The Sudbury Star - Ontario, CA:
"Greater Sudbury has been formally selected as the site of Cliffs Natural Resources' prized $1.8-billion ferrochrome smelter, The Sudbury Star has learned.
Announcements that Cliffs has upgraded its massive Ring of Fire project to the feasibility study stage, reached a number of key agreements with the Ontario government and chose Sudbury as the smelter site will be made simultaneously in Sudbury, Thunder Bay and at the company's head office in Cleveland this morning."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New energy rules blunt public scrutiny, critics charge -

Perhaps McGuinty's alliance of 'green' groups is jumping ship to the 'the most anti-nuclear' of them all.
There is a statement about character in these groups showing concern about the same anti-democratic, fiscally irresponsible, methods of the Liberals that they had been cheering as it spread useless wind turbines across unwelcoming rural areas of the province.

New energy rules blunt public scrutiny, critics charge -
"Greenpeace said the new rules allow government too much leeway to act without scrutiny.
“Public review of major projects and the government’s long-term plans will save consumers money,” Greenpeace said in a critique of the legislation. “Bill 75, however, removes this basic protection.”
Mark Winfield of York University’s faculty of environmental studies also said the new legislation is worrying.
“It suggests that we will operate by short term political fiat,” he said, rather
than establishing a planning framework and maintaining a process of independent review for major plans.
Peter Tabuns, energy critic for the New Democrats, said the moves are a “substantial narrowing” of public input.
“I would say the public will find its ability to intervene and protect itself from ministerial whim will be substantially reduced,” he said."

Letters to the Editor ...

I stumbled upon through a google search.  While the content of this letter interests me, it is the site that struck me as good idea for anybody who has invested the time to write editors.  Opinions are frequently rejected due to the editorial direction of the publication, so it' nice to have a vehicle to show what publications reject communicating.

Letters to the Editor sent to LONDON FREE PRESS (ONTARIO) - Green energy act by Dave Griffiths:
"Dear Editor:
To All Ontario Politicians supporting the Green Energy (farce) Act
The whole world is experiencing this debauched wind turbine, green energy fiasco.
• we in rural Ontario are not NIMBY’S
• we do have common sense whether you believe it or not
• we know how to read and learn from the experiences of other countries around the globe"

Friday, May 4, 2012

Gas: Bringing It

Vaclav Smil has an article in The Financial Post today, "Our future is gas."
Natural gas will thus continue its conquest of global and national energy supplies, with five factors behind the rise — discoveries of new large fields, diffusion of shale gas production, expansion of LNG exports, high prices of crude oil, and unrivalled efficiency of gas converters.
Smil's article concludes:
The world should speed up its unfolding transition from coal and crude oil to natural gas by using the fuel not only for heating, electricity generation, and as feedstock for industrial syntheses but also as a transportation fuel. Spending toward that goal would bring faster and more durable gains than subsidizing such dubious conversions as turning corn into ethanol or pouring huge sums into money-losing solar enterprises.
Maybe not to fast.  Judith Curry's  'Climate Etc.' blog carried 2 guest posts this week.  The first
Energy supplies and climate policy | Climate Etc.: The Future of Natural Gas I noted earlier this week. The latest post, Energy supplies and climate policy, is briefer, and deals with the the largest issues, in my opinion.  I would take issue with the assumption that coal is likely to continue being consumed locally, as I suspect the next 10 years will be dominated to declining use of coal in both the United States and Australia, with exports of coal growing to cancel out the reduced consumption at home.
In terms of climate change, that's not going to be much of an accomplishment:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Global Solar Council Calls for free and open trade

The newly formed "Global Solar Council," with members including  Applied Materials, Inc., Dow Corning Corporation , DuPont Company, First Solar, Inc. and Siemens AG, has a brief white paper which, refreshingly, calls free and open trade a requirement for maximizing economic and environment benefits of solar energy.

the Global Solar Council > White Paper:
As a global industry with customers, producers and supply chains around the world, solar PV depends on international trade for its continued success. Accordingly, the Global Solar Council supports a strong, effective, and enforceable international trading system that promotes free and open trade, with all parties acting in line with their commitments and responsibilities. Such a system will allow the solar industry to compete on the basis of quality, technology, and service, delivering consumers clean and affordable energy within a predictable rules-based system that governments have negotiated in bilateral, regional and multilateral settings. In a growing number of countries and regions around the world, however, the growth of solar PV is facing threats from calls for restrictive trade measures that hinder access to markets rather than provide it. For solar to reach its potential as quickly and cost-effectively as possible – thereby providing the maximum economic and environmental benefit – global markets must remain open to fairly traded products. Closing markets will only serve to raise prices, slow the adoption of solar, and fragment the industry, leaving it unable to compete on a global level.

"The GSC believes governments should continue to reduce trade barriers through favorable policy regimes, energy market access, reducing import duties on manufacturing inputs, providing pre-competitive research and development support and other measures that will allow firms to lower their costs and compete at lower prices."

Huffington Post Joins in Greenpeace Canada's Campaign of Deceipt

Adam Scott: Green Energy Prices Aren't High, Its Detractors Are!:
"If you live in Ontario, you know there's an all-out assault on renewable energy like windmills and solar power. What you might not know is that despite all the nay-saying, clean energy is actually responsible for emissions going down, not for prices going up"
So begins a stream of bullshit from another Greenpeace Canada salesman.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Future of Natural Gas | Climate Etc.

The Climate Etc. blog has an entry primarily on natural gas issues in the US, but it can double as a good explanation on why North American electricity prices aren't likely to move higher in the foreseeable future.

The Future of Natural Gas | Climate Etc.:

"In 2009, well before the latest EPA regulations, Colorado was struggling to meet environmental air quality standards. Recognizing the advantages of natural gas over coal, Governor Bill Ritter created a coalition of gas producers, environmental groups, Republican and Democratic legislators, and Xcel Energy, Colorado’s dominant electric utility. Dogs and cats, working together…
After analyzing the costs of retrofitting existing coal plants with stricter pollution controls, the coalition proposed replacing several aging coal plants with natural gas generators. In spite of a $2 million campaign by the coal lobby, the bill passed by overwhelming majorities in Colorado’s Senate and House in a remarkably short 17 days. The net impact on consumer bills is estimated to be less than 2%, but that cost is $225 million less than retrofitting existing coal plants. Since then Xcel has expanded the plan from 3 to 5 plants. Similar opportunities exist in other states, if we can just learn to work together."

The full article can be read at Climate Etc.

Dead for Left: Greenpeace Lies Match Horwath's

Greenpeace's website today has a post titled Nuclear Main Source of Increased Electricity Prices in Ontario.
It's stupid at best, but likely deliberately dishonest.  What's interesting is it's dishonest exactly the same way Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath was dishonest in statements I noted only yesterday.

I hope working people realize the NDP is no longer a social justice party, but a marketing front for dishonest, innumerate, Greenpeace zealots.

The following is my comment the Greenpeace system did not allow on their blog entry:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ontario Electricity Rates Opinions: Horwath Offers a Thing, not a think.

Dishonestly from Ontario's 3rd party.

Ontario electricity rates going up - Ottawa - CBC News:
"In 2010, the government warned that hydro bills would jump 46 per cent over five years and green energy would be responsible for 56 per cent of that increase.
Nuclear power is another reason why hydro rates are going up, according to the New Democrats.
Consumers who are still paying for Ontario's last nuclear build will see prices go up again when the government moves ahead with its $26-billion plan to refurbish its aging nuclear fleet, said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.
"If people think that we're refurbishing Darlington for free, then they have another thing coming," she said.
It's not another 'thing', it's another 'THINK" ... for most people

BPA orders NW wind farms to curtail production

The battle is between the wind industry and public hydroelectric supply, and waterway management, is joined once more in the US Pacific northwest.

BPA orders NW wind farms to curtail production - BusinessWeek:
"The Bonneville Power Administration twice ordered Pacific Northwest wind farms to cut production in recent days because it has a surplus of power from hydroelectric dams.
The agency, which manages much of the power grid in the Northwest, confirmed it issued the orders during the early morning hours of Sunday and Monday, when demand is low.
The action rekindles a dispute from last year, when the agency curtailed wind turbines because the water from a large mountain snowpack left the region with more hydropower than the electrical grid could handle.
Michael Milstein, a BPA spokesman, said spring runoff has picked up in the past month or two. "Originally it wasn't looking like that wet of a year, but that has changed," he said."
Read the entire article at Business Week

Congress Goes Nuclear - Forbes

Congress Goes Nuclear - Forbes:

"So much for the notion that Congress can’t do anything right. The thoughtful and smart actions of Senators Murkowski and Landrieu, working with Senators Feinstein, Alexander and Bingaman, produced a bill out of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee last Tuesday, approved Thursday by the full Committee, that took the first step to solving our nation’s nuclear waste problem...
 After reviewing the last 60 years of frustrated science and policy, in February the BRC released a number of very good recommendations addressing nuclear in general, but three specific ones were critical to actually dealing with high-level nuclear waste and managing spent nuclear fuel for the next hundred years. They were:
  1. executing interim storage for spent nuclear fuel, 
  2. resuming the site selection process for a second repository (Yucca being the first, the massive salts being the best), and 
  3. forming a quasi-government entity, or FedCorp, to execute the program and take control of the Nuclear Waste Fund in order to do so.

Scanner improves odds in fight against cancer, other diseases

At one of my other blogging homes, Wind Concerns Ontario, we've been following the infiltration of the Registered Nurses of Ontario by the non-medical entities.
Escalating electricity expenses for homeowners were disguised for Ontario's 2011 fall election by a $1+ billion a year Ontario Clean Energy Benefit.
I wonder how the RNAO would justify borrowing $1 billion a year to cover the costs of, in part, forcing wind turbines on unwelcoming communities, instead of improving health care with the type of equipment nuclear medicine requires.

Scanner improves odds in fight against cancer, other diseases:
"WINDSOR, Ont. -- Annie Bison had her death sentence — a stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis — proved incorrect by a PET scan, so she was the perfect cheerleader as Windsor’s first PET/CT unit was unveiled Friday.
“I believe the PET scan saved my life and changed my life, and it can help many, many other people,” Bison said at an event packed with local doctors and health care advocates at Precision Diagnostic Imaging, a private clinic started by nuclear medicine specialist Dr. Kevin Tracey.
Tracey, the chief of diagnostic imaging at Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital, has been working for years to bring positron emission tomography, “the future of diagnostic imaging,” to Windsor. He used to send patients to Toronto, Hamilton, London and Detroit, where they often paid thousands.
Rather than spending years trying to convince cash-strapped local hospitals to approve a PET unit, he brought a $3-million unit to his 2462 Howard Ave. centre.
“This is my community, I’ve lived here now as long as I’ve lived in my native Newfoundland, so this is home,” Tracey said"
Read the entire article at The Windsor Star