Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Germany's Poorly Calculated Gamble on Renewable Energy

The Wall Street Journal has an article today (subscription) which reminded me of an article I'd read last week.
I've altered the WSJ article because I'm a poor gambler who knows some good ones - meaning people who know what facts they can, study the game, control their emotions and play the odds/stats.
Germany didn't gamble like that.

Germany's Expensive Gamble on Renewable Energy: Companies Worry Cost of Plan to Trim Nuclear, Fossil Fuels Will Undermine Competitiveness | Wall Street Journal (subscription)
...many companies, economists and even Germany's neighbors worry that the enormous cost to replace a currently working system will undermine the country's industrial base and weigh on the entire European economy. Germany's second-quarter GDP decline of 0.6%, reported earlier this month, put a damper on overall euro-zone growth, leaving it flat for the quarter.
Average electricity prices for companies have jumped 60% over the past five years because of costs passed along as part of government subsidies of renewable energy producers. Prices are now more than double those in the U.S.

Cooperation deal advances South Korea's fast reactor development

PGSFR = Prototype Generation-IV Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor

Cooperation deal to develop advanced reactor | World Nuclear News:
From source article: "GSFR's reactor system.
It is a pool-type reactor where a small core as well as
the pumps and heat exchangers of the primary
circuit are immersed in a pool of sodium coolant.
A secondary circuit develops steam and drives a
turbine-generator set (Image: KAERI)"
South Korean designers have secured help from Argonne National Laboratory to develop an advanced reactor, which is partly based on America's successful EBR-II prototype. A 150 MWe sodium-cooled demonstration unit is slated for 2028.
The prototype would produce 150 MWe for the grid, but its main purpose is to demonstrate its fuel: PGSFR is to use metal fuel pins composed of low-enriched uranium and zirconium, and it can be subsequently reloaded with fuel that also contains transuranic elements produced in other reactors during power generation and which are usually treated as waste. According to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) datasheet, the objective of the PGSFR project is to test the performance of this fuel, and show PGSFR's ability to transmute the transuranics.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Harmful revisionist narratives emerging for Ontario's electricity policies

I noticed the first revisionist article on August 6th; Daniel Gross' How Ontario Won the War on Coal ("It didn't even need a carbon tax of cap and trade"). Most of the column was innocuous, but I found one statement to be harmfully wrong:
The dominance of a single party dedicated to a legislative goal was the precondition for Ontario to phase out coal.
Ontario did not have a "war" on coal, it had a policy on coal-fired electricity generation.

Ontario did not have only one party dedicated to the legislative goal - in fact it was a recommendation from the final report of an all party "Select committee on Alternative Fuel Sources", in June 2002, during the rule of another party, that, "...the Ontario government shall mandate the closure of all remaining coal or oil-fired generating stations by 2015."

Discarding the reality of consensus with the silly "single party" hero, and "war", narratives, is the opposite of helpful in getting coal-fired generation reduced/eliminated in other jurisdictions.

New England relying more on natural gas along with hydroelectric imports from Canada

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has a quick post today on the displacement of coal and oil-fired generation with natural gas and imports, primarily from Canada.

New England relying more on natural gas along with hydroelectric imports from Canada - Today in Energy - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA):
Electric operators in New England have been both generating more electricity from natural gas and importing more hydroelectric generation from Quebec over the past decade. These two sources of electricity are displacing the use of coal and oil as generation fuels in New England.
Image from

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Greenjacked: environmental action derailed

Geoff Russell has an e-book out, titled, GreenJacked!: The derailing of environmental action on climate change. I'd tweet him (@csiroperfidy), but then he'd just respond he'd prefer I put a review on Amazon. I don't write book reviews, and this one would be rather sycophantic - which I also tend not to write.

image from Wade Allison's Energy Prices, the Climate and the Nuclear Bubble
A very brief review for those who know me well.

I bought the e-book, which itself is like getting blood from a stone.

And the review for those who know me and give me books: I read this one - right until the end.

If you are open to a reasoned argument for why fear of radiation exists, why it is grossly exaggerated, and not virulently opposed to learning some of the many things you do that are far more likely to cause your cancer than radiation, Russell's little book is an accessible entry into the subject.

As a carnivore, I'll suggest you get Joe Jackson's Everything Gives you Cancer going through your head before Russell informs you of some things worse than the radiation levels around, for instance, Fukushima. One example; "wurst is the worst."

Get Greenjacked

Not willing to shed ~$4 for an e-book?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

EPA rule not a boon for nuclear

Details of the U.S. EPA's proposed scheme to reduce emissions from electricity generation are starting to be examined, and the regulations of the United States of America are looking like they are intended to do exactly what regulations written by Natural Resources Defense Council would be expected to - and it isn't to hit carbon targets business as usual looks likely to hit regardless.

EPA rule not such a boon for nuclear after all -- utilities
While the draft rule makes an effort to preserve at-risk nuclear, it merely assumes that new projects that are currently under way will go forward -- baking those reductions in to state targets for Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. Those states all have new nuclear facilities under construction and face tougher standards than are assigned to other states in their region -- 39 percent, 44 percent and 51 percent, respectively, by 2030. 
Diverse policy group. picture from New York Times
At a conference last week in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), Larry Monroe, Southern Co.'s senior vice president of research and environmental affairs, said his company thought it was positioning itself for easier compliance with eventual EPA greenhouse gas standards eight years ago when subsidiary Georgia Power partnered with other Georgia-based utilities on the nation's first new nuclear construction in three decades. 
Instead, EPA simply assigned Georgia a tougher standard that assumed those megawatt-hours were already available -- effectively not giving the state credit for bringing them online. But the state would still have to attain that target if the units were scuttled.
"It did not help us, it actually penalized the state of Georgia," he said."
Read Jean Chemnick's entire article