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I've been a bit slack on posting things here on LJ and have been posting most things on Facebook.   Since I like having them in an archivable form and I know some folks like reading them here on LJ, I decided to do some cut-and-paste business to sync the two sites a bit.  It's a long list so I've put it all behind a cut for those who might not be so interested.

Ag Chairman Peterson interviewed on cap-and-trade. Another argument for killing the whole thing and letting the scientists at EPA run the show, imo. MP3s. http://tinyurl.com/lbtktg http://tinyurl.com/mc433z

POWER POINTS: Cost Concerns Loom Over US Nuclear Revival - CNNMoney - 01 Jul 09

"Early reports predicted that the [new nuclear] plants would cost about 7 cents a kilowatt-hour, but 12 to 20 cents a kilowatt-hour now seems more likely, Cooper said."

Electric Cars Seen as Killer App for Smart Grid - CNET - 20 Jun 09

"Car batteries can provide a buffer to lighten the load on the grid during peak times and potentially provide back-up power to homeowners. Down the line, old plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) batteries could be recycled as storage devices, they said.

'I think PHEVs will be the killer application for the smart grid,' said David Mohler, the chief technology officer of Duke Energy. 'They are able to both consume and provide energy like no other device can and can really change storage.'  A number of plug-in electric vehicles aimed at mainstream buyers will become available over the next two years. Although there's no standard storage capacity, Mohler estimated that four of them could power a house, at least for a short time."

Wood Gas Truck - YouTube - 23 Jun 07

Watch Inge start, drive and stop his wood-powered 1941 era Volvo truck.

New Offshore Wind Farms Could Power Every UK Home - The Ecologist - 26 Jun 09

"Capitalising on its reputation as the windiest country in Europe, the UK is to adopt a plan that could see the energy output from offshore wind farms more than triple.

The findings of a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) on offshore energy suggest that UK waters can accommodate enough turbines to genearte a further 25 gigwatts (GW) of power on top of the 8GW already built or planned – enough to theoretically power every household in the UK.  Energy minister Lord Hunt made the announcement at the British Wind Energy Association Offshore Wind Conference in Westminster yesterday, saying that the expansion could provide the UK with 700,000 new jobs and £8 billion in annual revenue."

"The energy potential of land-based wind power has also been underlined by new research from the US, where scientists have calculated that a global network of 2.5MW turbines could comfortably meet the world’s energy needs – even if operating at 20 per cent of their capacity.  The team from Harvard divided the world into areas of 3,300 square kilometres, identified suitable areas outside urban centres and factored in variables such as the spacing of turbines, rotor size, wind speed and air density.

‘The analysis suggests that a network of land-based 2.5 megawatt turbines operating at as little as 20 per cent of rated capacity, confined to non-forested, ice-free regions would be more than sufficient to account for total current and anticipated future global demand for electricity,’ said lead researcher Professor Michael McElroy. ‘The potential for the contiguous US could amount to more than 16 times current consumption. Important additional sources of electricity could be obtained by deploying wind farms in near-shore shallow water environments.’

Meanwhile the timetable and costs of wind expansion have been laid out in two new reports from the BWEA. UK Offshore Wind: Staying on track, and Offshore Wind: Charting the right course, were launched at the Offshore 09 conference in Westminster."

Moody's May Turn More Negative On US Nuclear-Power Development - Nasdaq.com - 02 Jul 09

"Moody's Investors Service said Thursday it may take a more negative view of power companies looking to build new nuclear-power plants.

The credit-ratings firm in a report said companies developing new reactors haven't taken steps to strengthen their balance sheets ahead of the massive projects. Although federal loan guarantees will provide low-cost financing, they only 'modestly' reduce the risk plant developers face.  'It has become increasingly likely that the pursuit of new nuclear power projects will lead to some near-term rating actions or outlook changes,' Moody's said.

Several U.S. power companies are pursuing nuclear projects for the first time in two decades. But the plants are expected to take years to build, and cost estimates range from $5 billion to $12 billion. They also are relying on favorable state regulations, which Moody's warns that while positive now, could change over the lengthy construction period."

Wind with CAES Power Plant Model: Base Load Capacity Option by James Mason - Renewable Energy Research Institute - 28 May 09

"While the capital cost of optimized base load wind with CAES plant capacity is 35% greater than that of the wind with backup natural gas plant capacity, the retail price of electricity is 25% less for the wind with CAES model. The lower electricity price translates into annual consumer saving of $32 billion in terms of consumer spending on wind electricity at the 20% wind penetration level, which is 800 TWh of electricity. The savings will pay the total cost of the wind-CAES system in twelve years. Over a thirty year operating life, the total savings are $960 billion. Also, carbon dioxide emissions are 64% less for the wind with CAES plant model compared with those for the wind with backup natural gas plant model.

Hence, this study seriously calls into question the economic feasibility of employing backup natural gas combustion turbine power plant to balance and firm intermittent wind power supply. Also, the wind with CAES power plant model increases the reliability of the electricity distribution grid and creates a less complex and more efficient electricity production and distribution system.

Most importantly, the wind with CAES plant model minimizes retail electricity price. The wind with CAES plant model reduces both natural gas consumption and CO2 emissions by 64% compared with the wind with backup natural gas plant model. On a final note, the wind with CAES plant model reduces CO2 emissions by over 90% compared with the CO2 emissions of a base load coal plant. In the future, CAES plants will develop a heat capture and storage system for compression heat, which will completely eliminate the need for natural gas and create a truly zero CO2 emissions power generation path."

Land Purchase Advances Plans for Underground Energy Storage - Des Moines Register - 17 Jun 09

"The directors of the Iowa Stored Energy Park voted Tuesday to pay a Dallas County homeowner $195,000 for his house and acre of land to dig the first well for what could be the world's third underground electricity storage system.  Compressed air would be stored in a network of 13 wells 3,000 feet deep and then released at strategic times to turn the turbines on two 134-megawatt electricity generators.  The stored energy project is promoted as not only a source of non-fossil-fuel energy but also a way to store some of the surplus electricity generated during nonpeak hours by Iowa's wind turbine farms."

Sizewell Nuclear Disaster Averted by Dirty Laundry, Says Official Report - Guardian (UK) - 11 Jun 09

"A nuclear leak, which could have caused a major disaster, was only averted by a chance decision to wash some dirty clothes, according to a newly obtained official report.  On the morning of Sunday 7 January 2007, one of the contractors working on decommissioning the Sizewell A nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast was in the laundry room when he noticed cooling water leaking on to the floor from the pond that holds the reactor's highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel.

As much as 40,000 gallons of radioactive water spilled out of a 15ft long split in a pipe, some leaking into the North Sea. The pond water level had dropped by more than a foot (330mm) – yet none of the sophisticated alarms in the plant sounded in the main control room.  By the time of the next scheduled safety patrol, the pond level would have dipped far enough to expose the nuclear fuel rods – potentially causing them to overheat and catch fire sending a plume of radioactive contamination along the coastline."

Denmark to Power Electric Cars by Wind in Vehicle-To-Grid Experiment - Guardian (UK) - 19 Jun 09

"Currently 20% of the island's electricity comes from wind, even though it has enough turbines installed to meet 40% of its needs. The reason it cannot use the entire capacity is the intermittency of the wind: many turbines are needed to harness sufficient power in breezes, but when gales blow the grid would overload, so some turbines are disconnected.

So the aim of the awkwardly named Electric Vehicles in a Distributed and Integrated Market using Sustainable Energy and Open Networks Project – Edison for short – is to use V2G to allow more turbines to be built and provide up to 50% of the island's supply without making the grid crash.

Each electric vehicle will have battery capacity reserved to store wind power for the island rather than for travelling. This means it acts like a buffer, says Dieter Gantenbein, a researcher at IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory. IBM is developing the software needed for the island's smart grid, and will showcase its work next week. When the cars are plugged in and charging their batteries, they will absorb any additional load the grid cannot cope with and then feed it back to power homes when needed, he says."

Locking Down the NPT - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - 17 Jun 09

"Article Highlights

 * The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is no longer adequate to stop member countries from pursuing nuclear weapons.
 * One of the treaty's more distressing inadequacies--it's too easy for countries who signed the NPT to leave it, a la North Korea.
 * As a way of strengthening the NPT, the United States must insist that North Korea is still obligated by the treaty, same for Iran if Tehran attempts to leave the NPT."


E-Ship 1 with Sailing Rotors to Reduce Fuel Costs and to Reduce Emissions - MarineBuzz.com - 08 Aug 08

"Thanks to increasing oil prices! Here comes E-Ship 1 from ‘Enercon’, one of the world’s leading companies in the wind energy sector from Germany. E-Ship 1 uses wind energy to cut down fuel costs and also helps to reduce emissions. Unlike Beluga Skysail which uses a huge parasail, E-Ship 1 uses four giant 25 metre high, 4 metre in diameter, rotating, vertical metal sailing rotors positioned two fore and two aft to harness wind energy. The sailing rotors are also called as Flettner rotors."

Not So Windy: Research Suggests Winds Dying Down - AP - 10 Jun 09

"But a first-of-its-kind study suggests that average and peak wind speeds have been noticeably slowing since 1973, especially in the Midwest and the East.  'It's a very large effect,' said study co-author Eugene Takle, a professor of atmospheric science at Iowa State University. In some places in the Midwest, the trend shows a 10 percent drop or more over a decade. That adds up when the average wind speed in the region is about 10 to 12 miles per hour.  There's been a jump in the number of low or no wind days in the Midwest, said the study's lead author, Sara Pryor, an atmospheric scientist at Indiana University."

US Nuclear Industry Tries to Hijack Obama's Climate Change Bill - Guardian (UK) - 11 Jun 09

"Republicans in the House of Representatives produced a spoiler version of the Democrats' climate change bill this week, calling for a doubling of the number of nuclear reactors in the US by 2030. The 152-page Republican bill contains just one reference to climate change, and proposes easing controls for new nuclear plants.

In the Senate, Republican leaders, including the former presidential candidate John McCain, also called this week for loan guarantees for building new reactors to rise from $18.5bn (£11.2bn) to $38bn. Other Republicans have called on the administration to underwrite the $122bn start-up costs of 19 nuclear reactors, whose applications are now under review by the department of energy.  'If you care about climate change ... 100 new nuclear power plants is the place to start,' said Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee who is the strongest proponent of nuclear power in the Senate.

Another crucial element of the Republicans' "nuclear renaissance" are two rival proposals for a "clean energy bank" now before Congress. One version, under consideration by the Senate, envisages almost unlimited federal loan guarantees to encourage wind and solar power and, nuclear proponents hope, new reactors.  Ellen Vancko, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said: 'The nuclear industry would like to be able to finance the next generation of nuclear reactors using the faith and credit of the US taxpayer to underwrite the expansion. They don't want to be responsible for any risk of financing these plants and neither do their lenders.'"

Professor Jesse C. Donaldson Playing with Children with his New Type of Kite - Getty Images

Jesse Donaldson is also known for having developed a Darrieus wind turbine that had articulated blades driven by a tail vane.  In this instance, the kite is a form of Savonius rotor with end plates to keep the wind from spilling off it.

A Time Comes: The Story of the Kingsnorth Six (Video) - Greenpeace

Greenpeace activists climb and shut down Kingsnorth Six coal-fired power plant.  Win in court using a "necessity defense" not unlike one would not be tried for breaking and entering if you broke into a burning house to save a child who was inside.

Vermont FITs Become Law: The Mouse That Roared - Renewable Energy World - 01 June 09

"Vermont's feed-in tariff legislation became law at the end of business on May 27, 2009. H. 446 is the first legislation calling for a full system of advanced renewable tariffs in the US to pass the legislature and become law. The bill includes changes to Vermont's Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development Program (SPEED) that would implement a pilot feed-in tariff policy.

Vermont's action follows closely on that of the Ontario provincial legislature's groundbreaking Green Energy Act and with several states considering similar legislation, the Green Mountain state could be the tipping point for a rapid succession of feed-in tariff policies across the continent."

"One unique feature in the Vermont program not found in Ontario is a specific tariff for small wind turbines, those less than 15 kW. Though several bills have contained proposed tariffs for small wind turbines, Vermont's legislation is the first to become law with long term contracts. The tariff of $0.20/kWh is the highest in North America.

Though it has a low program cap of only 50 MW, Vermont's feed-in tariff policy is a serious commitment by a state of its size. Vermont has a population of little more than 600,000."

In India, Bucking The 'Revolution' By Going Organic - NPR - 01 Jun 09

"Sharma's soil was deteriorating, so he had to buy more and more fertilizer every year to grow the same amount of crops. No matter how much pesticide he sprayed, insects still destroyed large portions of his crops. Sharma says he "realized the vicious circle in which we were stuck."

In 2005, Sharma kicked the chemical habit.

Environmental groups in India estimate that more than 300,000 farmers like Sharma have switched to organic growing methods in recent years, or have started the transition from conventional to organic farming. Comparisons between India and the U.S. are difficult because their economies and cultures are so different. But consider this: India has about three times the population of the U.S., but 30 times more organic farmers than the U.S."

Key Senator Calls for 100 New Reactors in 20 Years - AP via Arizona Daily Star - 28 May 09

"Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander called Wednesday for doubling the number of nuclear reactors nationwide, a potentially $700 billion proposal that calls for building 100 more over 20 years.  'It is an aggressive goal, but with presidential leadership it could happen,' the third-ranking Senate Republican told an economic and technology conference at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge.  'I am convinced it should happen because conservation and nuclear power are the only real alternatives we have today to produce enough low-cost, reliable, clean energy to clean the air, deal with climate change and keep good jobs from going overseas.'"

Bugs Break Wind for Energy Storage - Wired - 18 May 09

"How can tiny bug farts solve our energy problems? It turns out that when a large collection of single celled organisms (known as a culture) containing mainly Methanobacterium palustre live on the positive electrode of a battery, they use the plentiful supply of electrons to convert carbon dioxide into methane. The methane produced can be collected and stored and when further juice is required by the grid, it can be burned to produce electricity in much the same way as a conventional power plant.

Wait though – won’t the burning of the methane produce carbon dioxide, the same nasty gas we are trying to get rid of by using the renewable energy in the first place? It sure will, but the Methanobacterium palustre consume carbon dioxide to produce methane, so the process could be effectively carbon neutral."

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