Tuesday, May 26, 2015

2014 a record production year for the world's CANDU reactors

I saw this information posted by Morgan Brown of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories.
Data definitions move around from source to source, with different treatments of unit capacity and output. Brown has a preference for gross output and original gross capacity, which are not the metrics commonly seen by non-technical observers.

The conclusion, based on 2014 performance data for 19 operating CANDUs in Canada, and 12 international units, is a record for production from CANada Deuterium Uranium reactors (CANDU).

Here's how Ontario got down to 7 Mt CO2e in 2014 (see pg 8) from 154 TWh of generation.
2014 CANDU performance 
Only net output data is available from Bruce Power, so it was converted to gross power by an estimated net:gross conversion ration of 94.3%. All data below is gross TWhe, and the capacity factors are based on as-built capacity. 
An earlier graphic from Morgan Brown (data to 2013)
2014 saw an increase in the total output from Canadian power reactors, to the second-highest annual production of 104.6 TWhe, from 18 reactors operating in Ontario and one in New Brunswick. 
The 12 CANDUs at Bruce B, Darlington and Pickering B produced 70.54 TWhe in 2014, equivalent to a capacity factor (based on the original non-derated ratings) of 84.2%, down from the record high of 74.06 TWhe in 2012 (88.2%). These 12 reactors have been in operation together since June 1993, when the last Darlington unit was declared commercial. To Dec 31 2014 they are an average of 27.3 years old (21.5 to 31.6 years in commercial service); Bruce 5 is the top ranked CANDU for total commercial output, at 193.7 TWhe in its 28.7 year life. The total Ont generation was 99.52 TWhe, up from 95.79 TWhe in 2013. This is the highest ever Ontario generation (99.29 TWhe was the previous record, set in 1994).

Thursday, May 21, 2015

sunset on solar?

"Guidance for Q1, coupled with past performance indicates the Company may have entered a death spiral."
I don't want to be an alarmist, but I don't mind being a non-conformist and it's hard not to notice stories on producers of solar panels coming in clumps, so...

Yingli Solar Drops A Bombshell | Seeking Alpha | May 17, 2015:
...given the size of Yingli's debt, the Company is likely to spend all of 2015 in whittling down its debt to more manageable levels. Due to this reason, we find it unlikely that the Company can keep up with its peer group in terms of cost reductions, sales growth or project build out.
Also, more significantly, the Company will be unable to invest in new off-China manufacturing capacity to avoid U.S. tariffs. With JinkoSolar, Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL), and JA Solar (NASDAQ:JASO) set to embark on new tariff-free capacity, we believe that there is a high chance that the Company will be routed from the U.S. market in the second half of the year.
All of these developments look grimmer now in the context of the 20-F filing...
Given, the weak situation that the Company is already in, Yingli, in its current form, seems to have entered a death spiral. The Company may survive for the benefits of debt holders and controlling shareholders, but the most common stockholders and ADS holders will likely be wiped out soon.
In December Forbes showed Yingli as the #2 solar equipment maker in the world.
These things happens in competitive industries, but Yingli's is not the only solar valuation story in the news lately.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The weak in Climate Change Policy:part too provincial

The previous post looked at emissions news from Canada's federal government - but most of my original data work, and writing, is on my province of Ontario which is making all sorts of announcements and rash moves lately.
The commentary around actions related to climate change is often ridiculous -in places not noted for being so.

Mark Jaccard is on the Globe and Mail site misinforming the Premier-elect of Alberta in A note for Rachel Notley: A carbon tax is not political suicide:
The carbon tax would work best if complemented by a second policy that requires the Alberta electricity sector to reduce its emissions by 80 per cent over the next decade, in line with what Ontario achieved from 2004 to 2014. Focused on coal-fired power plants, this regulation would be slightly more stringent (but less complicated) than the one President Barack Obama is implementing in the United States. In one decade, Alberta’s coal-fired power plants would have to retrofit to capture carbon emissions, like Saskatchewan’s Boundary Dam power plant, or shift to wind and other renewables backed by natural gas, as Ontario did. Thanks to the falling costs of wind and natural gas, the effect on electricity prices would be negligible over the decade.
Jaccard should know better, by now.
The star of Ontario's coal phase-out is nuclear.

  • In 2000, according to Ontario generation in Canada's National Inventory (NIR) reporting, the province generated 40.8 terawatt-hour (TWh) with coal (the province's peak coal year); for 2014 the system operator (IESO) had it at 0.1 TWh (40.7 TWh down)
  • Natural gas generation was 10.2 TWh (NIR) and the IESO had it up to 14.8 TWh in 2014 (4.6 TWh up)
  • "Other Renewables" were just 1.22 TWh in 2000 (NIR) - in 2014 (IESO) 7.1 TWh (5.9 TWh up)
  • Nuclear 59.4 in 2000 (NIR), 94.9 TWh in 2014 (35.5 TWh up).

Coal down 40.7, nuclear up 35.5.
This isn't a hard association for an honest man to make.

The weak in Climate Change policy: part 1

With the Canadian government releasing new targets for emissions I feel compelled to write on emissions reductions - or at least on the politics of pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Government of Canada announces 2030 emissions target:
Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced today that Canada plans to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.
This is a fair and ambitious target that is in line with other major industrialized countries and reflects our national circumstances, including Canada's position as a world leader in clean electricity generation.   - continue reading
It's an announcement that targets (but doesn't commit to) a level of reduction other countries target (but don't commit to). To put the Canadian target in perspective:
Graphic from Canada's GHG Inventory 1990-2002 Report - the year KP ratified by Parliament
  • Kyoto commitment was 6% below 1990 levels (now reported as 613 mega-tonnes CO2 equivalent - MtCO2e), or ~576 MtCO2e during the period 2008 to 2012.
  • Canada didn't do that, but did withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol (KP) before the end of 2012 - avoiding penalties.
  • Canada's sort-of Copenhagen Accord target (not commitment) in 2009 was 17% below 2005 levels (749 MtCO2e) by 2020 - which would now be about 622 MTCO2e but at the time would have been 607 MTCO2e, the difference being a rise of 2005 emissions between reporting in 2009 and reporting in 2015.
  • 30% below the currently reported 2005 level (the new target for 2030) is 524 MtCO2e.
Seems silly to believe the targets - or the measurements.

But it's not silly to search for the political messaging in targets - and measurements.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Tesla product announcement powers disconnected dreams

I've been reading a lot about last week's product announcement from Tesla's Elon Musk; batteries.
As the week progressed I increasingly felt a dark side to the excitement, related to an issue I've written on discretely in the past, which I'll include here less discretely after citing articles I feel notable following Tesla's announcement.

image from uncrate
from Brad Plumer in Vox, Elon Musk wants to revolutionize our energy system — with batteries:
Most people think of Tesla as a company that builds flashy — and expensive — luxury electric cars.
But now Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has even bigger plans than vehicles. He wants to make batteries a core part of Tesla's business, with the not-so-modest goal of transforming the world's electricity system.
There's a certain logic to this idea: Tesla is already making batteries for its electric cars. But batteries could potentially have broader applications, too. They could help homes and utilities make better use of solar power, charging up when the sun's out and saving power for when it's needed later. They could help supply electricity to areas far from the grid. They could bolster the grid against outages. And so on.
This isn't a brand-new type of battery. Rather, it's an effort to make home battery systems more widely popular. "The issue with existing batteries is that they suck," Musk said. "They are expensive, unreliable, and bad in every way." Tesla wants to change that by nudging down battery prices — making use of its new $5 billion GigaFactory in Nevada — and integrating them with existing solar-power systems.

It's an audacious plan, and it raises some hard questions: Why would anyone buy these expensive batteries?                 -[emphasis added]
There's a dream of independence coupled with an Apple-like brand promising the future.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Canada eyes more nuclear cooperation with S. Korea

"Korea would be an ideal market in which to use recycled uranium in its Candu fleet..."
The statement is particularly noteworthy as it comes from Ontario MPP Reza Moridi, Ontario's Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, during a just completed trade mission to South Korea.

(Yonhap Interview) Canada eyes more nuclear cooperation with S. Korea: minister:
SEOUL, May 3 (Yonhap) - Canada wants to step up cooperation with South Korea in the nuclear energy industry as a bilateral free trade deal and Seoul's revised nuclear agreement with the United States provide more room for advanced projects, a senior Canadian official said Sunday.
Reza Moridi, head of Ontario's Ministry of Research and Innovation, said South Korea has made "landmark technological achievements" since importing four Candu reactors from Canada four decades ago and is getting ready to team up with Canadian partners to tap into the global market.
Korea has played a strong role in the development of nuclear science and technology. I am encouraging Korea and the Ontario Candu energy sector to work together in terms of new reactors and services, as well as various other nuclear technologies in the world," Moridi said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.
Minister Moridi's focus on the promise of recycled uranium is one I share, although the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCI) official news release following the trade mission describes collaboration flourishing in many areas, with South Korea, China and India.