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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Dubious future for nuclear plants like Palisades, as renewabl energy becomes ever cheaper

With renewable energy growing and coal shrinking, what’s the future of nuclear plants like Palisades? Michigan Live, By Julie Mack | jmack1@mlive.com  on August 28, 2014 KALAMAZOO, MI “…..The jury is still very much out on how nuclear power fits into the picture, which leaves the long-term viability of Palisades Nuclear Plant near South Haven in question……. very possible the supply glut of natural gas and the increasing focus on renewables means those sectors will edge out nuclear as the go-to options for new power production.

Mark Cooper, an analyst for the Institute for Energy and the Environment at the Vermont Law School, maintains the proposed federal clean-energy standards won’t help the financial viability of the U.S. nuclear industry, which last opened a plant in 1989……

“Old nuclear reactors suffer from the fact that they’re not particularly efficient,” he said.  “The day after the (clean-energy) announcement, those old plants were just as inefficient as the day before.

“In the dynamic state of the energy markets, if you’re not growing, you’re dying,” Cooper said. “And nuclear is not growing. … It’s going extinct.”…..

Meanwhile, renewable energy in Michigan is getting a boost from a 2008 state law that requires Michigan-based utilities to have renewables as 10 percent of their power production by the end of 2015.

“The cost of renewables will drop like a rock once they reach economies of scale,” Cooper said. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy is projecting that wind-generated power will be more cost-efficient than coal and nuclear and even some types of natural gas plants by 2019……..

wind-nuclear- While solar power remains on the high end, wind is more economical than coal and nuclear, and some types of natural-gas plants.

Wind provided 2.4 percent of Michigan’s electricity in 2013, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That’s up from 1 percent in 2012, and is enough electricity to power 300,000 Michigan households, the AWEA says.

The AWEA estimates Michigan has the potential to produce about 59,000 megawatt hours of electricity through wind power. That’s more than half of the state’s current consumption of electricity.

Shift at Consumers Energy

Consumers Energy, the dominant provider of electrical power in Southwest Michigan, seems to be casting its lot with natural gas and renewables…….. http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2014/08/pros_and_cons_of_electrical_po.html

August 29, 2014 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

SunFarmer shows the way, with off grid electricity powering health clinics

More Than A Light Bulb: How Clean Energy Is Powering Health Clinics Beyond The Grid http://cleantechnica.com/2014/08/26/light-bulb-clean-energy-powering-health-clinics-beyond-tthe-grid/August 26th, 2014 by   It is hard to overstate the effect that access to reliable electricity can have on people’s lives in rural communities worldwide.

That’s why we are so supportive of interventions like off-grid clean energy that not only put power directly in people’s hands, but do it in a time frame that matters: now, not decades from now. That’s something traditional grid extension and centralized power plants simply can’t do. Despite the important leg up off-grid clean energy provides these communities, we’ve heard some concerns that these interventions can only be used to provide lighting and supplies like light bulbs. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

To help us understand what kinds of resources these companies are powering with clean energy, we turned to SunFarmer, a US- and Canada-based non-profit organization, to learn more about off-grid companies powering health clinics.

Sun-Farmer-Nepal

SunFarmer is a pretty unique organization. As a non-profit, it has learned important lessons all off-grid companies should live by, including not to give things away for free. That’s why SunFarmer employs a rent-to-own business model that specifically seeks to empower local companies to deliver clean energy services to hospitals and health clinics. SunFarmer’s value to these companies is simple, but big: it unlocks crucial financing. Given how hard financing is to come by in this market, that’s incredibly important.

In addition, SunFarmer provides ever critical after-sales service in the form of technical assistance, quality assurance, and system maintenance — while local partners lead on project management. SunFarmer is also developing a monitoring and control platform to track the levels of energy production, observe the system’s battery performance, and communicate any issues (including energy theft) to health clinic staff. All of these critical data points prove that the next big frontier for these markets is data analytics.

But why should SunFarmer target large consumers, like health clinics, when most organizations working in this clean energy market start with small household needs — including lighting and mobile phone charging?

The answer is simple: the founders of SunFarmer were moved by the negative effect unreliable power has on 300,000 healthcare facilities worldwide. These critical public health care providers suffered from hours of power shortages and cuts that were keeping them from doing their job — saving lives.

When hospitals or health clinics lack reliable power, they can’t refrigerate vaccines. They can’t perform surgeries. Babies are delivered by flashlights or candlelight. Health clinic staff with SunFarmer projects have described the difference between delivering babies in darkness versus light, noting, “Previously, delivery was difficult using flashlights held in the mouth as they could neither see clearly nor could give instructions.” Continue reading

August 27, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decentralised | 1 Comment

Solar power increase at California’s State owned facilities

sunFlag-USAMore State-Owned Facilities In California Going Solar http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4458 25 Aug 14 Two solar power installations totaling 3.22 megawatts have recently been completed at a state prison and state hospital in California.

The Department of General Services (DGS) managed systems are installed at Pleasant Valley State Prison (1.22MW) and Coalinga State Hospital (2MW).

“State agencies manage approximately 1,700 facilities that use about $200 million worth of electricity and natural gas every year,” said DGS Director Fred Klass. “Efficient operation of state facilities, including on-site renewable energy generation, is critical to achieving Governor Brown’s climate goals.”

In 2012, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued a sweeping executive order directing state agencies to slash their greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by 2015 and 20% by 2020, as measured against a 2010 baseline.

The order calls upon state government to slash mains-grid energy purchases for state-owned buildings by at least 20 percent by 2018.

The order also directs new State buildings and major renovations beginning design after 2025 be constructed as Zero Net Energy facilities; with an interim target for 50% of new facilities beginning design after 2020 to be Zero Net Energy.

Pleasant Valley State Prison is one of a dozen jails in California now using solar power. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says its use of solar will avoid an estimated 61,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions this year and will save taxpayers approximately $78 million in electricity costs over the next two decades.

The DSH-Coalinga array is expected to generate 24 percent of the hospital’s electricity requirements during its first year.

Both projects have been executed under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Under a PPA, a solar provider installs the system via third party financing and the electricity generated by the array is sold to the host facility at a competitive rate. The host facility is not required to pay any up-front costs.

DSG says state agencies will have around 38MW of installed solar capacity by the end of this year.

August 25, 2014 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

UN and Denmark help boost Renewable Energy Technology Transfer between China and Ghana and Zambia

renewable-energy-world-SmNew initiative boosts Renewable Energy Technology Transfer between China and Ghana and Zambia with UNDP and Danish Development Assistance as catalysts Jakarta Post  BEIJING, Aug. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — A milestone partnership was forged today inBeijing between China, Denmark, Ghana, Zambia and UNDP with the signing of a project agreement for Renewable Energy Technology Transfer.

This project is one of the first examples of triangular South-South cooperation betweenChina and Africa with support from a donor. Its objective is to ensure that Chinese renewable energy technologies are optimally responding to priorities and needs inGhana and Zambia, and critical skills are also transferred and developed to make the technologies actually work on the ground. This approach will have a tremendous impact on increasing access to energy for the rural poor in the two countries, and for other developing countries interested in such cooperation withChina in the future.
The project is part of the UNDP-China agreement for Strengthened Partnership signed in 2010 to promote South-South cooperation through innovative programmes. “UNDP is pleased to embark on this cooperation and is committed to making projects more impactful and more sustainable by providing ‘software’ support with the transfer of renewable energy technologies, rather than just relying on the traditional hardware of equipment or infrastructure,” said Xu Haoliang, UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Director of the Regional Bureau ofAsia and Pacific
The Government of Denmark provided funding for the initial formulation of the project and a contribution of29.25 million DKK, equivalent of US$ 5.4 million, to UNDP for its implementation inGhana and Zambia. This implementation will be led by the Government of the two countries with the Ministry of Sciences and Technology as the Chinese counterpart institution, and support from the UNDP offices inBeijing, Accra and Lusaka……..

The project will help with achieving the objective of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) of the UN Secretary- GeneralBan Ki-Moon by increasing access to energy through off-grid and community-based electrification. Support will not be in the form of hardware transfer but instead will focus on creating conditions required to make adoption of renewable energy technologies more effective, removing barriers and strengthening local capacities to respond to national priorities and meet local needs.  ……

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.www.undp.org    http://prnw.cbe.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/new-initiative-boosts-renewable-energy-technology-transfer-between-china-and-ghana-and-zambia-with-undp-and-danish-development-assistance-as-catalysts.html

August 25, 2014 Posted by | AFRICA, renewable | Leave a comment

Wind energy shown to be much more scalable than nuclear energy.

wind-nuclear-Which Is More Scalable, Nuclear Energy Or Wind Energy? Forbes, 22 Aug 14 Answer by Mike Barnard, Senior Fellow – Wind, E&PI,on Quora, 

 Summary: Empirically, wind energy is much more scalable than nuclear energy.

China is the true experiment for maximum scalability of nuclear vs wind. It has a tremendous gap between demand and generation. It can mostly ignore democracy and social license for nuclear. It is building both wind and nuclear as rapidly as possible. It has been on a crash course for both for about the same period of time. It has bypassed most of the regulatory red tape for nuclear.
So how is it doing?

  • China turned on just over 16 GW of nameplate capacity of wind generation in 2013 according to the Global Wind Energy Council.
  • Over the four years of 2010 to 2014, China managed to put 4.7 GW of nuclear intooperation at the Qinshan Phase II, Ling Ao Phase II, Ningde, Hongyanhe and Yangjiang plants. This is not their stated plans for nuclear, which had them building almost double this in 2013 alone and around 28 GW by 2015, but the actual plants put into production. The variance between the nuclear roadmap and nuclear reality in China is following the trajectory of nuclear buildout worldwide: delays, cost overruns, and unmet expectations.
  • Modern wind turbines have a median 40.35% capacity factor and exceed 50% in the best wind resources according to the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) who track the actuals on this sort of thing.
  • Taking similarly sourced numbers for nuclear capacity factor from the Nuclear Energy Institute, we see 90.9% capacity factors for nuclear reactors. These are apples-to-apples statistics from the same country.

Running the math, that’s about 6.5 GW of real capacity of wind energy in one year vs 4.3 GW of real capacity for nuclear over four years. That’s roughly six times more real wind energy capacity than nuclear per year. 2014 might be better than average as perhaps 2 GW have been made operational this year. We’ll see what reality brings as wind energy is being expanded rapidly as well. So far nuclear is losing the race badly.

No other geography is capable of building as much nuclear per capita as China is. In the most pro-nuclear geography in the world with the most relaxed regulatory regime, the nuclear industry is being outstripped by the wind industry…………http://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2014/08/22/which-is-more-scalable-nuclear-energy-or-wind-energy/

August 23, 2014 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

Wind energy takes over, as 4 nuclear power plants shut down

wind-nuclear-4 Nuclear Power Plants Shut Down; Wind Power Steps In Clean Technica August 16th, 2014 by   Wind power in the UK is helping to fill the void left by the shuttering of four nuclear reactors. One reactor was found with a defect on its boiler spine, so EDF Energy decided to shut it down, along with three others. It is expected they will be offline for about two months. (EDF is a French utility responsible for managing many nuclear reactors. It stands for Electricity de France.) The reactor with the potential boiler spine issue is at Heysham-1 plant in Lancashire. Another was shut down at Heysham as well. The remaining two that were taken offline are at Hartlepool. The UK energy supply should not suffer from the nuclear shut downs.

“Demand is low at this time of year, and a lot of wind power is being generated right now,” explained National Grid. In fact, the UK just set a new summer record for wind powergeneration, “According to figures from trade association RenewableUK, wind reached its maximum output at 10pm on Sunday night, delivering an average of  5.0GW of power over the hour and meeting 17 per cent of national demand.”…….

One of the small ironies about wind power filling in somewhat for nuclear reactors is that wind is criticized for being intermittent.

This is a very minor point, but there seems to be some slight discrepancies in the reporting about the reactor shut downs. The UK-based Financial Times reported that all four were shut down.  The UK-based Guardian say they were to be shut down. The New York Timesreported that one was shut down in June, and that it had recently been decided by EDF to shut down three more. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/08/16/4-nuclear-power-plants-shut-wind-power-steps/

August 18, 2014 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Storage for renewable energy is not a big problem, as pro-nukes claim it is

Is Storage Necessary for Renewable Energy? (includes videos) Engineering .com Tom Lombardo August 17, 2014  Physicist and energy expert Amory Lovins, chief scientist at The Rocky Mountain Institute, recently released a video in which he claims that renewable energy can meet all of our energy needs without the need for a fossil fuel or nuclear baseload generation. There’s nothing unusual about that – many people have made that claim – but he also suggests that this can be done without a lot of grid-level storage. Instead, Lovins describes a “choreography” between supply and demand, using predictive computer models models to anticipate production and consumption, and intelligent routing to deliver power where it’s needed. This “energy dance,” combined with advances in energy efficiency, will allow us to meet all of our energy needs without sacrificing reliability.

Okay, so there is a little storage involved: ice-storage air conditioning and smart charging of electric vehicles. But where others, including myself, have assumed that large storage devices will need to be added to the grid, Lovins thinks that massive storage facilities are unnecessary, and he presents compelling evidence to support his claim, including actual data from Europe and computer models from NREL……….
There will always be a need for storage since many applications are off grid. Obviously storage is needed in order to electrify transportation. So I agree that dynamic routing is the best long term solution for the grid, but we still need to invest in storage technologies. The good thing is that both storage and smart routing can be implemented together, a little at a time, and scaled up gradually. http://www.engineering.com/ElectronicsDesign/ElectronicsDesignArticles/ArticleID/8272/Is-Storage-Necessary-for-Renewable-Energy.aspx

August 18, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, energy storage | Leave a comment

Report highlights rapid increase in solar energy systems

sunSolar System Installations Increasing Fast   Clean Technica August 4th, 2014 by   Originally published on Worldwatch Institute.

New analysis by the Worldwatch Institute examines global trends in the solar power sector

Washington, D.C.—The year 2013 saw record-breaking growth for solar electricity generation as the photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) markets continued to grow. With over 39 gigawatts installed worldwide, the PV solar market represented one-third of all newly-added renewable energy capacity, write Worldwatch’s Max Lander and Climate and Energy Intern Xiangyu Wu in the Worldwatch Institute’s latest Vital Signs Online trend (www.worldwatch.org).

Solar PV installations nearly matched those of hydropower and, for the first time, outpaced wind additions. Even though photovoltaic systems continue to dwarf CSP capacity, the CSP market also had another year of impressive growth. By the end of 2013, a total of 19 countries had CSP plants installed or under construction.

Consumption of power from PV and CSP plants increased by 30 percent globally in 2013 to reach 124.8 terawatt-hours. Europe accounted for the majority of global solar power consumption (67 percent), followed by Asia (23.9 percent) and North America (8.1 percent). Worldwide, solar consumption equalled 0.5 percent of electricity generation from all sources……….

Country Highlights from the Report:

  • China installed 12.9 gigawatts of PV, the most ever installed in one year by any country. The country’s momentous expansion was fueled largely by its feed-in tariff (FIT) program, which supports large, grid-connected utility-scale projects as well as distributed generation projects. However, grid connections are struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of China’s PV deployment.
  • Europe installed close to 11 GW of PV. This represented the second annual decline in installations after peaking at 22.3 GW in 2011. In Germany, a reduction of FIT rates and an increase in regulations for utility-scale projects contributed to the fall in installations.
  • North America added 5.2 GW of PV. The United States installed the third most PV worldwide, with 4.8 GW.
  • In Central and South America, solar development has been sluggish. Despite power consumption more than doubling in 2013, the region still accounts for a small fraction of the world’s solar power.
  • The Middle East and Africa had little PV activity, with the exception of Israel and South Africa, which added 420 MW and 75 MW, respectively. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/08/04/solar-system-installations-increase-significantly/

August 8, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewable enegy already viable – and the myth of storage necessity

We Don’t Need a Huge Breakthrough to Make Renewable Energy Viable—It Already Is The idea that renewable energy can’t handle the load is a myth, says Amory Lovins http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/we-dont-need-huge-breakthrough-make-renewable-energy-viable-it-already-180952254/?no-ist  By Colin Schultz August 5, 2014 From the windy plains to the sunny southwest, energy companies around the U.S. are investing heavily in renewable energy production. More than half of the energy production equipment being planned for installation in the next few years is renewable. Yet despite the environmental and economic sense of renewable energy, the public conception still lingers that wind and solar and other renewable tech will never be able to quite handle the job. After all, do we expect factories and homes to go dark when the sun sets or the wind falters?

The storage necessity myth: how to choreograph high-renewables electricity systems

 

In the video above, physicist and environmentalist Amory Lovins explains how renewable energy should be able to keep the electricity flowing just fine. We won’t need any big technological breakthroughs in batteries or storage technology, he says, or any other huge breakthroughs. All we’ll really need is good management and a diverse array of renewable energy production equipment.

Amory Lovins is the co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, a think tank working on energy and resource use issues. This video was based on a presentation Lovins gave at the 2014 TED conference.

August 7, 2014 Posted by | renewable, Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Wind power – te renewable solution for energy needs in dry Jordan

Jordan turns to wind power in search of renewable energy, Al Monitor, 5 Aug 14  Jordan is carrying out a project to use wind power in Tafila province in the south of the country. The project’s energy production is around 117 megawatts per hour, generating 400 gigawatt hours yearly. The Jordan Wind Project Company (JWPC) will provide the necessary supply for the Jordan Electric Power Company (JEPCO) to carry out the project’s commercial execution in mid-2015, with an estimated cost of around $285 million. JWPC is a joint project between InfraMed (50%), Masdar in Abu Dhabi, UAE (31%) and EP Global Energy (19%). The cost of generating electricity from wind power is estimated at around $120 for every megawatt hour, which is significantly lower than conventional sources of electric power………

The Tafila wind farm project is the first of its kind in Jordan and the region in which a private company uses wind power to generate energy. The project includes installing 38 turbines (3 MW per turbine). The strategy adopted by the energy sector of Jordan aims at having renewable energy rise to 10% of the total energy and reach 8%-10% of the consumed electricity in Jordan by 2020. The Tafila wind farm is expected to generate electricity with a cost 25% lower than thermal energy, which would lower CO2 emissions by 40,000 tons per year.

Cracked earth marks a dried-up area near a wind turbine used to generate electricity at a wind farm in Guazhou, 950km (590 miles) northwest of Lanzhou, Gansu Province

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is working on launching a second wind-power project. Last week, the ministry signed a contract with the Spanish company Elecnor for a project designed to generate wind-power energy in Maan [south of the capital, Amman.] The available information shows that this project is going to be funded by the Gulf grant program, Kuwait Fund for Economic Development. On this project as well, the Arab funds create a transparency for contracting and covering expenses……http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/business/2014/08/jordan-wind-power-project-energy-consumption.html#

August 7, 2014 Posted by | Jordan, renewable | Leave a comment

Germany reaches record in share of renewable energy

logo-EnergiewendeRenewable energy share reaches record high in Germany, PV Magazine 31. JULY 2014 New installations coupled with favorable climatic conditions helped boost the share of renewables to a record 28.5% in the first half of 2014. The share of renewable energy in gross domestic energy consumption is expected to rise to a record high of 28.5% in the first half of 2014, according to a preliminary survey by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW).

The construction of new renewable installations coupled with favorable climatic conditions helped boost the share of renewables to record levels by mid-year. In the first half of 2013, the renewables share of gross domestic energy consumption was at 24.6%.

Producing 18.3 billion kilowatt hours, photovoltaic power generation increased by 27.3%, while wind grew by 21.4% to 31 billion kilowatt hours. Biomass energy generation increased 5.2% to 22 billion kilowatt hours in the period……..

Energy generation by conventional plants on decline

The production by conventional power plants is declining significantly, BDEW reported……..

Gas and electricity consumption saw a general decline in the period: Natural gas consumption amounted to 445.7 billion kilowatt hours, down some 20% from 555.5 billion. The BDEW attributed the drop to significantly warmer weather in 2014, which lowered overall heating demand, especially compared to the very cold first half of 2013. A decline in production in Germany’s chemical industry likewise contributed to lower gas use. Adjusted for temperature, natural gas consumption still fell nearly 7%.

Electricity consumption in the period dropped 5% to 268 billion kilowatt hours, down from 282 billion a year ago, due mainly to the mild weather.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

UK has record year for renewable energy

renewable_energyflag-UKRecord year for UK renewables  http://renews.biz/71533/uk-renewables-output-hits-18-1twh/  Renewables claimed a record 14.9% of the UK generation mix in 2013, figures from DECC reveal.Some 53% of this came from onshore (32%) and offshore wind (21%), accounting for 7.9% of the nation’s electricity. Offshore wind generation surged by 52% and onshore by 40%. Overall renewables output was up 30% on 2012.

Meanwhile, figures for the first quarter of 2014 showed a renewables share of 19.4%, up 43% to 18.1TWh on the 12.7TWh in the first quarter of 2013.

Onshore wind rocketed 62% in the quarter, from 4.1TWh to 6.6TWh, as a result of “much increased capacity and high wind speeds”. Offshore wind was up 53% from 2.9TWh to 4.4TWh.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said: “The government’s investment in renewable energy is paying off. Renewable electricity has more than doubled in just four years.

“Having a strong UK renewable sector helps to reduce our foreign imports of energy, improving our energy security as well as helping us tackle climate change and creating hi-tech green jobs. A green energy future that once seemed impossible for Britain is fast becoming a reality.”

RenewableUK welcomed the figures, which it said should “make those in government who have failed to support wind energy sit up and take notice”.

R-UK director of policy Gordon Edge said: “More than half of Britain’s clean electricity now comes from onshore and offshore wind. We’re now on course to hit 10% of electricity from wind alone this year.

“That’s why it’s particularly puzzling to see some politicians fail to back the cheapest and most successful renewable technology, onshore wind, at a time when a majority of voters from all the main parties are telling them to support it.”

Installed renewables capacity in the UK increased by 27% (4.2GW) to 19.7GW in 2013, due mainly to a 27% increase in onshore wind capacity and a 23% increase in offshore wind capacity. For the first time, more than 5% of the total energy supply, covering electricity, heat and fuel for transport, came from renewables, up from 4.2% in 2012 to 5.2% in 2013. The UK needs to meet a legally binding target of 15% of all energy from renewables by 2020.

Meanwhile, figures for the first three months of 2014 showed high rainfall in Scotland led to hydro output increasing by 78% to a record quarterly level of 2.2TWh.

Renewable electricity capacity was 20.8GW at the end of the period, a 15% increase on the corresponding window in 2013 and a 5.4% increase on the previous quarter.

Some 145MW of capacity joined the feed-in tariff scheme, increasing the total to 2386MW or 11% of all installed renewable capacity. Solar PV contributed 107MW, wind 13MW and anaerobic digestion 7MW.

Overall UK electricity generation for the quarter was 93.3TWh, a dip of 8.2% on a year ago due to the warmest first three months seven years.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Denmark’s wind power soon to be half the cost of fossil fuel energy

wind-nuclear-In Two Years, Denmark’s Wind Power Will Be Half the Cost of Fossil Fuels http://motherboard.vice.com/en_au/read/in-two-years-wind-power-will-be-half-the-cost-of-fossil-fuels-in-denmark  BRIAN MERCHANT  SENIOR EDITOR  July 30, 2014 Wind power is officially the cheapest source of energy in Denmark, according to the nation’s government—and by 2016, it claims the electricity whipped up by its newest turbines will be half the price of fossil fuels like coal and natural gas.

Denmark’s Energy Association (everything about Scandinavia is friendlier, even its DEA) announced the news last week, and it’s an achievement worth highlighting. Wind and solar are achieving grid parity with fossil fuels—that is, it’s just as cheap—in many places around the world. Even without the tax breaks, declining manufacturing costs and growing scale have rendered wind power just as cheap as natural gas in many states right here in the gas-rich US. And at least one analyst determined that this is the “beginning of the grid parity era” for solar, worldwide.

But Denmark is blowing past grid parity and towards a scenario in which clean energy is actually much, much cheaper: When its two massive offshore wind farms come online, they’ll be the nation’s most inexpensive energy source by a wide margin, analysts say.

“Electricity from two new onshore wind power facilities set to begin operating in 2016 will cost around 5 euro cents per kilowatt-hour,” Yale 360 explains. “Wind power would remain the cheapest energy option even if interest rates on wind power projects were to increase by 10 percent, the report found.”

That’s good news for a nation that’s hoping to get 50 percent of its power from wind turbines by 2050. Right now, the nation already boasts an impressive clean energy mix of 43 percent. “Wind power today is cheaper than other forms of energy, not least because of a big commitment and professionalism in the field,” Rasmus Peterson, Denmark’s energy minister, said at a press conference. “This is true for researchers, companies and politicians. We need a long-term and stable energy policy to ensure that renewable energy, both today and in the future, is the obvious choice.”

Importantly, the DEA’s analysis “was not based on a full cost-benefit assessment of different technologies that included an assessment of environmental benefits, taxes or subsidies.” That is, the agency did not factor in the health and environmental costs of burning fossil fuels—which are considerable—and instead looked directly at the market forces in the country.

Natural gas and coal are much more expensive in Denmark than it is in the US, which helps make wind such an economic bargain, and the nation has explicitly pursued wind power for decades. But improving technology, falling costs, and the strong, consistently blowing offshore winds that will turn the new turbines are making the case airtight.

Yesterday brought the good news that Germany was meeting a full 28.5 percent of its energy needs with clean sources. Now Denmark is proving that running your nation on clean energy can be cheaper than we possibly could have imagined, even ten years ago.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | Denmark, renewable | Leave a comment

For mitigation of climate change, wind power leaves nuclear and carbon capture way behind

Wind Energy Beats Nuclear & Carbon Capture For Global Warming Mitigation Clean Technica July 29th, 2014 by   There’s an enduring myth related to wind energy and nuclear energy that needs to be put to bed. That myth is that only nuclear can be scaled to sufficient capacity to reduce the impacts of global warming, and that wind energy is much less scalable so it should be ignored.

Most recently, this appeared as a broad generalization without any supporting evidence in a pro-carbon capture series by a CCS researcher on the Siemens-sponsored Energy Collective, which features this particular myth regularly, being a bit of an echo chamber for it.  Of course the nuclear industry’s PR professionals love this line as well.

And there’s another myth related to carbon capture and sequestration being more significant than renewables that has to be assessed as well.

China is the true test bed for maximum scalability of nuclear vs wind. It has a tremendous gap between demand and generation. It can mostly ignore lack of social license for nuclear. It is building both wind and nuclear as rapidly as possible. It has been on a crash course for both for about the same period of time. It has bypassed most of the regulatory red tape for nuclear which sensibly exists elsewhere given concerns about economic fallout of Fukushima-scale disasters, nuclear proliferation and terrorism. And in four years it has built significantly less nuclear generation capacity than it built of wind generation capacity in 2013 alone…….

Where does this leave the claims about nuclear and CCS?

Nuclear isn’t more scalable than wind or other renewables, in fact it’s going in reverse while renewables are being expanded rapidly. And CCS won’t dodge more climate change than renewables because wind and solar are being built in production rapidly and CCS isn’t and won’t be in comparable scales because the economics don’t support it. Both are busted myths.

Wind energy isn’t the only answer. It is likely to reach a maximum of 30% to 40% of supply in a century worldwide. That’s impressive and amazing, but far from the only tool necessary to deal with climate change. Solar will be in the same range. Storage will likely be necessary somewhere from 15% to 20% and grid interconnections will improve substantially. Biomass and geothermal will add their bits, as will tidal possibly. And demand for electricity will go up a lot as countries become richer and transportation and other forms of energy usage become electrified. It’s a complex space, and CCS has an important if smaller and only bridging role to play in it. Nuclear is useful as well, although diminishing as a percentage of total worldwide generation.

But the heavy lifting will be done by displacing fossil fuel generation with renewables, not trying to mitigate the extraordinary problems with burning fossil fuels or building nuclear generation. That’s what the empirical data tells us………. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/07/29/wind-energy-beats-nuclear-carbon-capture-global-warming-mitigation/

July 30, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, renewable | Leave a comment

China is developing wind energy much more than nuclear energy

Wind Energy Beats Nuclear & Carbon Capture For Global Warming Mitigation Clean Technica July 29th, 2014 by   “……….

What is the reality of nuclear vs wind built out?

  • flag-ChinaChina turned on just over 16 GW of nameplate capacity of wind generation in 2013 according to the Global Wind Energy Council.
  • Over the four years of 2010 to 2014 China managed to put 4.7 GW of nuclear into operation. This is not their stated plan for nuclear which is much higher, but the actual generation capacity put into production.
  • Modern wind turbines have a median 40.35% capacity factor and exceed 50% in the best wind resources according to the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) who track the actuals on this sort of thing.
  • Taking similarly sourced numbers for nuclear capacity factor from the Nuclear Energy Institute, we see 90.9% capacity factors for nuclear reactors. These are apples-to-apples statistics from the same country.

Running the math, that’s about 6.5 GW of real capacity of wind energy in one year vs 4.3 GW of real capacity for nuclear over four years. That’s roughly six times more real wind energy capacity than nuclear per year. 2014 might be better than average as perhaps 2 GW have been made operational this year. We’ll see what reality brings as wind energy is being expanded rapidly as well.

Comparing 2013 only we see over six times as much real capacity from wind energy as from nuclear. There’s no reason to believe that this will change significantly as years slide by, as China is well below projections for new nuclear generation in operation, much like most jurisdictions’ experiences with the realities of getting nuclear to work.

No other geography is capable of building as much nuclear per capita as China is. India’s track record as the next biggest source of nuclear growth is poor as well, as they’ve only managed to build 4.2 GW in several decades.

Globally nuclear capacity has diminished and is expected to continue to diminish over the next few years as France shuts off 33% of its fleet in favour of mostly wind energy, Germany shuts off its fleet, Ontario intends to move from 55% to 42% supply from nuclear according to its draft long term energy plan and aging reactors globally reach end-of-life with no economic refurbishment possible. In empirical terms it doesn’t matter what anybody claims is possible: wind energy is growing rapidly while nuclear is going backwards. That’s reality.

Meanwhile, most geographies are perfectly capable of building wind farms and are, with utility-scale wind generation in 100 countries so far. For the past five years wind energy has averaged 40 GW of new operational nameplate capacity according to GWEC or 16 GW of median capacity and that is expected to grow………. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/07/29/wind-energy-beats-nuclear-carbon-capture-global-warming-mitigation/

 

 

July 30, 2014 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

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