Friday, June 28, 2013

2 nuclear reactor bids for Ontario; 3 designs in licensing process

Two nuclear companies are submitting competing bids to sell Ontario two reactors as the province struggles to decide how best to provide cheap, clean, reliable power over the next 20 years.
Pittsburgh’s Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC and Mississauga-based Candu Energy Inc. are to provide their proposals Friday outlining their designs, prices and the economic benefits that would flow if they won a contract that would top $10-billion. Ontario Power Generation had set a June 30 deadline for the proposals.
Two bidding in Ontario, but a third reactor is also moving along the licensing path

Canadian regulator issues favourable opinions of EC6, AP1000 and ATMEA1 - Nuclear Engineering International:
The Canadian nuclear regulator CNSC has published three pre-project design reviews of the Candu Energy EC6, Westinghouse AP1000 and AREVA/MHI ATMEA1 reactor designs, concluding that no fundamental barriers to licensing them in Canada have been found.
However, the reports were each at different stages of the voluntary pre-licencing review process, ranging from preliminary (ATMEA1) to advanced (EC6). All three reviews included post-Fukushima lessons.
Continue reading at Nuclear Engineering International:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Candu Energy's Enhanced CANDU 6 Reactor Successfully Completes Final CNSC Pre-Licensing Vendor Design Review

Candu Energy Inc.has issued a press release on the licensing status of its CANDU EC6

Candu Energy's Enhanced CANDU 6 Reactor Successfully Completes Final CNSC Pre-Licensing Vendor Design Review:
MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 26, 2013 /CNW/ - Candu Energy's Enhanced CANDU 6® (EC6®) reactor has successfully completed its third and final pre-licensing vendor design review by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). According to theExecutive Summary released today, the CNSC Pre-Licensing Vendor Design Review confirmed that there are no fundamental barriers to licensing the EC6® design in Canada.
"The EC6 represents the future of nuclear power generation," said Frank Yee, Candu Energy's Chief Nuclear Engineer. "The EC6 design builds on the proven features of the CANDU 6®, with the addition of the latest safety, industry and technological innovations and advancements. The successful completion of the CNSC's review process marks the next chapter of nuclear power in Canada. The EC6® can provide Canadians with safe, reliable power for generations to come."

Monday, June 24, 2013

Energiewende Index: Sentiment Towards Energy Transformation Deteriorates Again

A rare column from Germany indicating sliding confidence in the Energiewende

Energiewende Index: Sentiment Towards Energy Transformation Deteriorates Again « German Energy Blog:
The mood concerning the energy transformation (Energiewende) towards a renewable energy supply has deteriorated again by 1.6 points,compared with the first quarter reaching a new low of 94.2 points (on scale of 0 to 200), the German Energy Agency (dena) says. The agency compiles the quarterly Energiewende Index together with Ernst & Young, polling companies, towns and cities and associations. Especially utilities have falling expectations, while grid operators’ expectations rise against the trend.

1. Less Economic Stimulus Expected by the Energiewende
In particular with regard to the economic stimulus created by the Energiewende, the mood deteriorated, dena says. Expectations concerning job growth were considerably lower, the stakeholders were more reluctant to invest and the concerns about the international competitiveness were increasing.
Continue reading at the German Energy Blog

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Obama to launch climate strategy

“We’ll need scientists to design new fuels, and farmers to grow them”

So says the President of the United States of America as he prepares to launch a "climate" strategy next week.
A 'climate' strategy could entail a political strategy to strengthen the position of the Democratic Party in the sparsely populated farm states where policies to grow fuel could be viewed as policies to purchase votes.

"The report found that several existing tax subsidies have unexpected effects, and others yield little reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of revenue loss. "
Among the measures intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, "those for ethanol and other biofuels may have slightly increased greenhouse gas emissions."
...the modeling rsults and existing literature suggest that, when the renewable fuel standards are in place, the bioifuels provisions to the tax code have a small net effect on global GHG emissions. Although the effects are small, they are likely to increase GHG emissions slightly when key factors such as petroleum substitution and indirect land-use change are taken into account"

Friday, June 21, 2013

Spain's Rajoy Again Targets Energy/Financial Sector to Cut Spain Debt

Businessweek attempts to understand the situation in Spain is reporting on rumoured new actions to reign in a "tariff deficit"

Rajoy Targets Endesa to EDP’s Revenue to Cut Spain Debt: Energy - Businessweek:
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government is preparing to cut the regulated revenue of electric utilities and renewable-energy generators, threatening their profits as it tries to curb the nation’s debt.
Power producers Iberdrola SA (IBE) and Endesa SA (ELE) along with wind-plant owners Acciona SA (ANA), Enel Green Power SpA (EGPW) and EDP Renovaveis SA face an earnings decline should their reimbursements be reduced for selling power below market rates, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley (MS) and Macquarie Bank Ltd. The analysts see solar operators being hit hardest.
Decreasing income for wind- and solar-power plants may undermine some of the 55 billion euros ($73 billion) of loans they’ve taken from banks such as Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA), according to Macquarie. Rajoy’s moves follow concerns among governments from Japan to Germany that the prices paid for clean energy subsidies are too high.

Saving energy is great. But how much is actually possible?

Saving energy is great. But how much is actually possible? | WONKBLOG:
Those engineering studies can’t account for the behavioral changes you might see in response to efficiency improvements,” says MIT’s Christopher Knittel, who also co-directs the E2e project. “People could, for instance, start adjusting their thermostat if it becomes cheaper to cool the house.” (This is known as the “rebound effect.”)

One recent study of Mexico, for instance, found that a government program to help people to upgrade their refrigerators with energy-saving models really did curtail electricity use. However, a similar program for air conditioners had the opposite effect — when people got sleeker A/C units, they used them more often, and energy use went up.

“The point is that policymakers aren’t going to spend an infinite amount of money trying to save energy or reduce greenhouse gases,” Greenstone says. “So the motivation is to find the places where the return is the greatest. If you could reduce a ton of carbon-dioxide for $100 or two tons for $50, you’d choose the latter.
Related: A criticism of the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) is that it morphed from a planning entity to a couponing entity.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ontario Government Reduces commitment to Renewable Energy Supplier

The "Samsung deal" has been significantly rolled back!

The Ontario government is supporting job creation and protecting ratepayers by updating the province's Green Energy Investment Agreement (GEIA) with the Korean Consortium, which includes Samsung C&T Corporation.
... the revised agreement will increase local control over renewable energy projects, create jobs and protect ratepayers by:
  • Extending job commitments from 2015 to 2016. In addition, Samsung will build a fourth manufacturing facility in London by the end of this year, which is expected to create up to 200 additional manufacturing, and research and development jobs.
  • Reducing the total commitment for renewable energy projects from 2,500 megawatts (MW) to 1,369 MW. This represents an estimated $3.7 billion reduction in contract cost, or about $24 per year for the average residential consumer. 
  • Increasing local engagement for all future renewable energy projects under the revised agreement. The Korean Consortium will be required to obtain municipal council support resolutions for new renewable energy projects.
 Read the entire Government of Ontario News Release
Think about the government of Ontario News Release

Nuclear energy is necessary to fight climate change

3 somewhat related news stories - if you are are tired of hearing about Pandora's Promise, please skip to the third, regarding a German science prize losing interest in "nuclear" science

Pandora’s Promise producer: Nuclear energy is necessary to fight climate change. - Slate Magazine:

Image from source article
My film Pandora’s Promise has, not surprisingly, generated a heated debate among my fellow environmentalists. That’s a good thing. But the guardians of environmental orthodoxy are up in arms because my film questions their perceived wisdom about how to tackle the danger of climate change. They don’t want you to see this film.
Whatever your views are about nuclear energy, and mine were very negative for most of my life, we are in desperate need of powerful and scalable clean-energy technologies if we are to avert a climate catastrophe. I made this film to spark a more robust public discourse about possible solutions for climate change, and I believe that critics who would shut down this discussion before it even starts are not serving the public interest. 
Continue reading at Slate Magazine:

Andrew Revkin has now posted a short blog entry with a long embedded video of the discussion between the producer of the film, Stone, and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Monday, June 17, 2013

New Study Indicates Quebec Ratepayers Subsidize Wind Industry $695 Million annually

Image from le journal de montreal
A new study from the Montreal Economic Institute looks at costs of supply, and market value, in Quebec and appears to come ot many of the same conclusions I have reached for Ontario.

le journal de montreal has a story on the report (in French), and the Wall Street Journal site has reproduced the press release:
MONTREAL, June 17, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Invoking "obvious economic reasons," i.e., annual savings of $24 million, the Quebec government cancelled six small hydroelectric power projects this past February. In April, however, it announced new supply contracts for wind power, a sector that is already guaranteed to receive an implicit subsidy of $695 million a year until 2020. For Youri Chassin, economist at the MEI and the author of the Economic Note released today, we have an urgent need for rational decisions based on our actual energy requirements and not on artificial support of various energy sectors.

Holland's CPB says plans for wind turbines can be delayed

CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (aka Central Planning Bureau) has reportedly called for halting the build-out of more electricity generation capacity from wind turbines, until such time as there is a need for more generation capacity.

Brilliant -  the obvious application of basic economics

The plans to put more wind turbines on land can be postponed. The best 5 years This enables the Central Planning Bureau (CPB) Monday that looked at the request of the government to the financial effects of the plans.

According to the CPB is postponing the surgery to achieve 3,500 megawatts of wind power on land the best now during the economic crisis, little demand for energy. There is overcapacity and the prices are so low that any extension of the production loss, according to the planning office indicating that electricity prices will rise as the economy picks up again.
The disadvantage is that it is difficult for the Netherlands to honor agreements that 16 percent of all energy generated sustainably in 2020 and emissions of the greenhouse gas CO2 by 20 percent should be reduced. The delay could result in fines of the European Union, but the goals in the areas such as environment and climate has little effect, according to the CPB
Read the entire article - in Dutch

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Accountability Threat sends Outlaw Wind Industry scurrying to Australia

The Guardian has an article on the outlaw wind industry mobilizing to attack "astroturfing" opponents of wind in Australia, and then expanding the campaign to Britain, and Canada.

Allow me to lay out a welcome mat.

The grinding of teeth is due to the pending Australian election where polls apparently indicate the wind-friendly government of PM Gillard will fall to a coalition mouthing support for existing renewables targets, but not-trusted by the outlaw wind industry.

Here's a point from the Guardian (UK) article I think I have something to offer on, so ...

Turbine company and green groups to fight anti-windfarm campaign | World news |
As Guardian Australia reported last week, the federal Coalition would impose new noise monitoring rules on windfarms, which the industry says will inflict crippling costs. Shadow ministers argue it is the only way windfarms can maintain sufficient public support to continue operating.
The Coalition's policy is to maintain the current target of 20% renewable energy by 2020, but several Coalition MPs who believe new windfarms should be banned and the renewable energy target wound back will attend the rally on Tuesday.
So here's the issue from the perspective of myself - an active anti-wind campaigner in Ontario, Canada.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Exelon blames ‘subsidized’ wind, markets for derailing nuclear projects

Exelon Corp. is scrapping expansion plans at nuclear plants in Illinois and Pennsylvania because of waning demand for electricity and competition with subsidized wind generators.
The country’s largest owner of nuclear reactors announced Wednesday it would sideline plans to add capacity to its LaSalle nuclear plant 75 miles southwest of Chicago and its Limerick plant 20 miles northwest of Philadelphia in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Exelon has added about 1,400 megawatts of power to the grid by conducting “extended power uprates” at its nuclear plants, a process that involves installing larger pumps and valves with greater capacity to increase a reactor’s output by up to 20 percent.
That process at the LaSalle and Limerick plants, however, was derailed by market conditions and cheap wind, and Exelon has instead decided to take a $100 million hit in the second quarter, according to the filing.
Exelon continues to have a strong position in nuclear power, and Elsberg said the company is still on track to add capacity at its Peach Bottom plant in Pennsylvania and its Braidwood plant in Illinois for an additional 200 MW by 2016.
The entire article can be read at Midwest Energy News

Midwest Court Ruling May Ease Energy Sales Into California

This could be an extremely important case.
The article concentrates on one scenario re: California's border areas, but there are others which make the ruling very sane: one project is a billionaire's idea for an enormous wind project in a windy plain state with the output to be wired, on a high voltage direct current line, straight, and exclusively, to California.  The concerpt is due to California committing to a large percentage of it's electricity coming from "renewable" generation.
To date, most such state initiatives stipulate some local production with the idea that jobs will be created by the subidies.  This court ruling, if it stands, would seem to eliminate that argument.

Midwest Court Ruling May Ease Energy Sales Into California | The Grid | ReWire | KCET:
A ruling by a federal court in the Midwest may force California to buy renewable energy from out of state whether it wants to or not, potentially spurring energy development in the desert areas east of the California state line. The decision found that Michigan laws favoring in-state renewable energy generation are unconstitutional.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Coal remains world's fastest growing fossil fuel: BP review - Coal

Coal remains world's fastest growing fossil fuel: BP review - Coal | Platts News Article & Story:
Coal remained the world's fastest-growing fossil fuel in 2012, despite the rate of consumption slipping below the 10-year average of 4.4% during the year, according to the BP 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy released Wednesday.

Total global coal consumption in 2012 rose 2.5% on the year to 3.73 billion mt of oil equivalent.

The Asia-Pacific region accounted for 69.9% of global coal consumption in 2012, burning 2.61 billion mt of oil equivalent.

Despite China's coal consumption growth rate falling to a below-average 6.1%, the country still accounted for all of the net growth in coal burn and accounted for more than half of global coal consumption (50.2 %) for the first time, BP said.
Continue reading at Platts News Article & Story


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A $19 Billion Plan to Fortify New York City Against Climate Change

A $19 Billion Plan to Fortify New York City Against Climate Change - IEEE Spectrum:
In what may some day be termed a landmark speech in modern urban history, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City proposed this afternoon an aggressive, long-term plan to protect the city against the ravages of climate change and forestall a future Hurricane Sandy.
The elaborate climate fortification program, spelled out in a 400-page report, has elements ranging from public assistance to protect buildings and harden critical infrastructure to far-out concepts for construction of both permanent and temporary seawalls to protect both waterfront and the creeks and canals that can be "back door" gateways to flood waters. The total cost of the program comes to about US $19 billion, which is roughly equivalent—perhaps not coincidentally—to the estimated cost of Sandy.
Continue reading at IEEE Spectrum

Monday, June 10, 2013

German drive to green power too costly for consumers-utilities

German drive to green power too costly for consumers-utilities | Reuters:
(Reuters) - Germany's government must curb the costs of its unhindered expansion of subsidised renewable energy, utility industry group BDEW said on Monday, fearing electricity prices risk becoming too burdensome for consumers.
German household power is among the most expensive in Europe, due to fees passed on to enable payments of above-market prices to producers of green power. This is done via feed-in tariffs, the core element of the subsidising law, called EEG.
"We have to find a way with all participants to dampen the overall cost," said BDEW's managing director Hildegard Mueller.
Households face another increase in their power bills for 2014, because the government has postponed the decision to rein in EEG costs until after the election.
The entire article can be read at Reuters

Related original content: Electricity Sector Lessons from Ontario and Germany


Canadian Solar Signs C$310 Million EPC Agreement for the Construction of a 130 MW DC Solar Power Plant in Ontario

Once upon a time, the Ontario government signed an agreement with a Korean Consortium to kick-start a push into renewable energy.
Many years later the KEPCO member of the consortium is never referenced, and it appears increasingly as if all works will be outsourced.

Canadian Solar Signs C$310 Million EPC Agreement for the Construction of a 130 MW DC Solar Power Plant in Ontario -, Albany News, Weather, Sports:
GUELPH, Ontario, June 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) (the "Company", or "Canadian Solar"), one of the world's largest solar power companies, today announced that its subsidiary, Canadian Solar Solutions Inc., has entered into an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) agreement with Grand Renewable Solar LP, a solar energy project developed by Samsung Renewable Energy Inc.for the construction of a 130 MW utility-scale solar power plant. This EPC agreement is expected to generate revenue of approximately C$310 million ($301.1 million) for Canadian Solar. Construction of the solar power plant will begin in the third quarter of 2013, with the facilities expected to be fully operational in 2015.
Continue reading the PR Newswire release

My assumption is this project is the same one that received a renewable energy approval in July 2012 - for only 100MW:

Blown away: NERC and The Economist

The Economist has a column on wind that isn't entirely deceptive, but concludes as if that was the intent

Blown Away: Wind power is doeing well, but it still relies on irregular and short-term subsidies | The Economist
...Concerns about the intermittent supply of energy from wind are dying down. It turns out that with enough wind farms sited in enough places, the supply evens out. The wind is always blowing somewhere. And a solid majority of Americans continue to favour alternative, clean power sources over traditional fossil fuels.
Private insurers say that last year was the second-most-expensive in American history for disasters related to climate change, costing them $139 billion. But private insurance paid only a quarter of these costs, leaving taxpayers to cover the rest. By comparison, funding renewable energy properly seems rather cheap.
Time can be wasted reading the entire article at The Economist

Much of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) statistical feed regurgitated by the Economist is the same data I wrote on some time ago in A(nother) reason to be skeptical about wind energy reducing emissions; I noted that wind was getting constructed where it was particularly windy, and I noted there is yet to be any indication that was a path leading to reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

The implication that insurance costs can drop by feeding money into wind turbines is unsupported by the Economist, and highly questionable.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

San Onofre nuclear to retire, decommission

An interesting article on the factors behind the decision to close the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), and some of the reprecussions of the closure

SONGS to retire, decommission | ANS Nuclear Cafe:
This morning, Edison International, parent company of Southern California Edison, made an announcement that it had decided to permanently retire the two-unit San Onofre
Nuclear Generating Station in California.  Later in the morning, it held a teleconference to expand upon the details provided in the press release.
Edison President Ted Craver made it very clear during the teleconference, when asked about recovery for the project costs and the decision making process that led to this morning’s announcement, that the “definitive” event was the May 13 ruling by the ASLB (Atomic Safety and Licensing Board) that made it clear to the owners that the restart process would be a “long, uncertain” process that was not likely to result in any sort of final go/no-go restart decision potentially for over a year.
My former neighbours in the western suburbs of Toronto might note the comments from the utility regarding options for replacing the power (...but probably won't)
...the “best case” replacement generating capacity would be in the L.A. basin, and would combine natural gas fired combined-cycle base load plants with natural gas peakers and some new transmission line. Should extra generating capacity not be possible in the basin, a good deal of transmission line would have to be built.

Updating Ontario Government Info Laws and IT for Transparency

The most important article Ontarians will have read in quite some time

Creating Gas Busters was my attempt to defeat that strategy by converting the scanned documents into a searchable database. Since completing that work, the scope of work presented on Gas Busters has extended into other areas including Freedom of Information investigations and reporting on the on-going public hearings.
As events have developed, it has become clear that the government’s intent to conceal the truth is not just an administrative exercise. The Information and Privacy Commissioner’s report this week identifies deliberate law breaking at the highest level of the Liberal government. The full scope of that law breaking has yet to be uncovered but the evidence available so far suggests a widespread and planned effort at the highest levels to destroy information and to block information from being created. We are going to learn a lot more as the Information and Privacy Commissioner pursues the FOI adjudications she refers to in her report, one of which has been documented in recent postings on Gas Busters.
The emerging picture is that key officials at the very top of Ontario’s Liberal government were operating like an organized crime group. They weren’t just destroying documents. Cabinet ministers were arranging business deals worth many hundreds of millions of dollars in gangster style meetings with no minutes.
The basic plot line about gas plant scandal — powerful political figures wasting vast public resources for personal political gain and then covering up the facts — has an eternal character about it. Arrogant, power hungry governments abusing the public trust are one of the constants of history. Finding effective means of dealing with this reality is one of humanity’s great projects.
McGuinty and Wynne are sticking to their feeble talking point that the solution for the illegality revealed by the Information and Privacy Commission is better training of underlings. This statement is a nothing more than a denial of accountability.
Replacing the Ontario Liberals is a necessary but insufficient remedy.
Please continue reading at Tom Adams Energy:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

‘Knowledge’ about dangers of nuclear power not based on proper science

Interesting claim from John Gibbons writing in the Irish Times:
"Famed environmentalist Bill McKibben accepts that nuclear must be part of any serious push towards zero-carbon, but admits being reluctant to say so in public as “it would split this movement”"

‘Knowledge’ about dangers of nuclear power not based on proper science - Environmental News | The Irish Times - Thu, Jun 06, 2013:
Having run the numbers, environmentalist Michael Shellenberger said in Pandora’s Promise: “I ended up feeling like a sucker. The idea that we’re going to replace oil and natural gas with solar and wind, and nothing else, is a hallucinatory delusion.”
This position has a powerful ally in Dr James Hansen of Nasa who has consistently urged a radical decarbonisation of global energy supplies as our last shot at averting catastrophic climate change. While strongly supporting renewables, he adds: “It is not feasible in the foreseeable future to phase out coal unless nuclear power is included in the energy mix.”
A Nasa paper published in April pointed out that some 1.8 million lives have already been saved globally in recent decades where nuclear power has replaced fossil fuels. Ironically, fly ash produced by a coal-burning plant like Moneypoint in Co Clare emits some 100 times more radiation than a similar-sized nuclear power plant. Globally, some 3,500 people a day, many aged under five, die as a result of breathing air contaminated by fossil fuel burning.

Gas, Coal, and Climate Change: Reports

A new report has been released by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (successor of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change): Leveraging Natural Gas to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions.  On one blog I follow, John Hanger enthusiastically endorses the report with "two thumbs up."  After noting the strength of the report's section on methane leakage, Hanger states:
The report further points out that gas cuts carbon emissions, when it displaces coal, or oil but does not do so were it to displace nuclear or renewables.
There is a perception in the United States that because wind, solar and natural gas generation have grown over the past years while coal generation has contracted, renewables and natural gas are a tandem replacing coal.

This is not as firm a proposition as it appears.

A new report, originating in Belgium, makes the proposition look particularly suspect: Impact of the German nuclear phase-out on Europe's electricity generation - A Comprehensive Study.  

Skimming the illustrations I was struck by a graphic demonstrating the exceptional peaking depth of lignite based generation (in the graphic, the solid colouring indicates the minimum output when generators are operating, with the shaded area presents the remaining capability - which I refer to as peaking depth).

Sunday, June 2, 2013

More voices on Metrolinx: Land value capture

A comment on revenue source suggestions recently released by the Metrolinx organization for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton, from  former leader on Ontario's Green Party Frank de Jong, provides the viewpoint that is the correct one - based on a view of community and transit that values both and expects the beneficiaries of good transit policy will also bear the cost.

New taxes on sales, gas and HOV lane may be “fair and balanced” but they will be aggressively opposed and politically damaging to any government imposing them.
A far more politically defensible way to finance Toronto transit is Land Value Capture. The Ontario and municipal governments should finance the new transit by collecting the rise in land value that the new projects produce — a process that makes transit self-financing, with no need for other taxes."

Land values are “community created” — without the surrounding community land would have little value. When public infrastructure like transit, hospitals, schools, bridges are built, the quality of life rises and more people want to live there, so land values rise. The community — not the individual land owner — should receive the benefits of publicly-financed projects.

Without land value capture, the benefits of Toronto’s new transit will accrue exclusively to private land owners who live near the infrastructure, but this wealth should rightfully be captured to pay for the projects, In fact, land value capture is not a tax, as it doesn’t “tax” money that people actually earn, it simply returns to the community what the community creates by its collective hard work.
Frank de Jong, President, Earthsharing Canada