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Japanese bishop warns government against nuclear power – Warning issued on eve of premier Abe’s meeting with pope!

<p>Picture: Vatican Insider/La Stampa</p>

Picture: Vatican Insider/La Stampa
Paolo Affotato for Vatican Insider/La Stampa
Japan June 6, 2014

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“We are asking prime minister Shinzo Abe to abandon the way of nuclear energy. But in order to really choose an alternative route to renewable energy our people must be ready to change their lifestyle. Otherwise it is just hypocrisy”. The Japanese bishop Isao Kikuchi touches upon a very sensitive point and denounces the risk of a purely ideological approach to the nuclear issue.
A Divine Word Missionary, 56 year-old Kikuchi is the bishop of Niigata and the president of the Japanese Caritas agency, which has assumed an increasing role and prestige in the country of the Rising Sun thanks to its efforts during the last three years after the earthquake, tsunami and disaster at the Fukushima power plant. Approximately 267 thousand people are living in temporary shelters in the affected areas, and Caritas continues its laudable work of aid, rehabilitation of displaced persons and reconstruction, and has just announced that its support will continue for another three years.
On the eve of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s arrival at the Vatican, in an exclusive conversation with Vatican Insider bishop Kikuchi intervenes in the ongoing countrywide debate in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster which, three years from that fateful March 11th, 2011, has once again returned to centre stage. Also on account of the about-face by the Tokyo-based government; on the emotional wave of the damage caused by the Daiichi plant, the executive branch –then led by Naoto Kan– publicly announced the abandonment of nuclear energy and the launch of a plan for the conversion to renewable energy sources.
A year and a half after his rise to power, his successor Abe has clarified the vague promise of “rethinking the national energy policy in the post-Fukushima era”. In the new Basic Energy Plan, presented in February 2014, nuclear power is defined as “an important source of electricity” also for the long term, and the reactivation of a dozen of the 50 nuclear reactors still shut down for upcoming renovations is planned. Already in November 2011 the Japanese Bishops officially asked for “the immediate abolishment of all the [nuclear] power plants in Japan” and to “invest in alternative energy sources”.
Today, faced with the blatant reversal and the nuclear choice of the Abe government, they confirm their position, without hiding perplexity and dissent. “The national debate was serious and in depth”, recalls Kikuchi, “and it involved all segments of society.
The Christian Bishops and the leaders of other religious communities expressed strong support in the choice of alternative energy sources, to protect humans and the environment. Promoting renewable energy sources is the only choice we have and it is the only responsible path to follow for the good of new generations in Japan”. Furthermore, “this idea”, he explains, “must go hand in hand with the reform of our lifestyle” in order to not remain a mere declaration of principle. “If we continue to maintain the current lifestyle, with a very high energy consumption, the promotion of alternative energy sources seems to me quite hypocritical. Each person must be truly willing to give up something for the common good of humans, their children and of all of God’s creatures”.
Full Story: Japan, the bishops to the government: it is wrong to return to nuclear power Source: Vatican Insider/La Stampa

June 6, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Corrosion of Fukushima’s melted nuclear cores is releasing more plutonium

Study: Water helps dissolve Fukushima’s melted nuclear cores, accelerates FUKUSHIMA-2013corrosion — Plutonium concentrates on outer edge of fuel — Poses “a much longer environmental threat” than initial releases — Transport of nuclear material into environment to continue for many years if not isolated

‘Nuclear Fuel in a Reactor Accident
 — Peter Burns, Rodney Ewing, Alexandra Navrotsky, 2012: Seawater was injected into the three active reactors […] large amounts of salt may have deposited in the reactor cores. […] Nonuniform burn-up in a fuel pellet gives higher concentrations of 239Pu near the pellet edge […] the major potential pathway for continued release of radionuclides is through flowing water. […] Many radionuclides form aqueous complexes that are soluble in water. Furthermore, water promotes dissolution of the rod/fuel matrix, which releases radionuclides [that] pose a much longer environmental hazard […] The radiolytic breakdown of water creates oxidants (e.g., hydrogen peroxide) that can accelerate the oxidative corrosion of fuel […] If the water is alkaline, soluble nanoscale uranyl peroxo cage clusters are likely to form and persist in solution. […] there is no reliable way of predicting dissolution rates of damaged fuel in water under the conditions of a nuclear accident, especially one like Fukushima Daiichi in which fuel is exposed to hot or boiling seawater […] an understanding of the factors that determine radionuclide release is central to taking appropriate and timely action in order to minimize impacts on the environment and human health. […] Water that interacts with damaged fuel will transport radionuclides that present both short-term and longer-term environmental risk […] potentially continuing for many years if the damaged fuel is not adequately isolated […]

AAAS Science Podcast interview with Peter Burns about study:[…] it’s the interaction of the water and the air with that that is going to control the release of radioactivity to the environment […] what’s different about Fukushima relative to the earlier events is the vast quantities of water that were pumped into the reactor cores […] that created a whole new release pathway for radionuclides out of the reactors into the environment. We don’t know how much radioactivity was released through the water flow, and we don’t know very much about how the water interacted with the fuel and other structure materials. […] we need to take very seriously the development of knowledge about how […] melted nuclear fuel […] interacts with the environment, especially water that we might use in an emergency to cool it. Studies that have been done to date really haven’t looked at the longer-term interactions of water and the atmosphere with these damaged materials. […] as it interacts with water or whatever over time – [fuel] has a potential to release radionuclides that have much longer half-lives and they pose a much longer environmental threat.

Full interview with Burns available here

See also: Fukushima Nuclear Chief after 3/11: It will be like ‘China Syndrome’ film, fuel to melt away — “We’re imagining collapse of eastern Japan… going to be more than Chernobyl” — “Could be Plutonium… all substances from fuel are going to be released”

June 6, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Americas neo con hawks keen to provoke a nuclear war with Russia?




provoking a nuclear war is a crazy idea, and will kill us all

The Crazed in Washington  (about the author) How should one characterize President Obama’s trip to Poland yesterday? He pledged a new $1 billion security plan for Central and Eastern Europe to stand against Russian “aggression”. He reassured the old Warsaw Pact counties of Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, now all NATO members that the US in his words, “the security of our allies in Central and Eastern Europe is a cornerstone of our own security and it is sacrosanct. As friends and as allies, we stand united, together and forever”. So maybe it was “coach” Obama attempting to reassure his “players”.

You’d never know it though considering all the perceived (contrived?) jitters of the leaders of those countries in attendance who display seemingly in unison-since the Russian annexation of Crimea in March with all dismissing the popular referendum as illegitimate even after the people voted overwhelmingly to join the Russian Federation-the dread Russian President Vladimir Putin was ready to pounce, waiting for the right time to invade one or all their countries-as a sort of replay of the USSR’s crackdown in Hungary in 1956 and Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1968. Such is their fantasy which has no basis in fact.

The idea of Putin invading a NATO country is patently absurd. He even realizes sending Russian troops into Eastern Ukraine is a fools errand, though the ethnic Russian speaking people there would like him to do just that.

But that would be the “provocation” the US would like Putin to act on and be the pretext for NATO-aka the US-to initiate a war with Russia. Continue reading

June 6, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK government’s secret list of ‘probable nuclear targets’

Atomic-Bomb-Smflag-UKUK government 1970s made a list of 106 cities, towns and military bases thought to be at risk of attack contained in documents shared by National Archives    The GuardianFriday 6 June 2014  The UK government drew up a top secret list of 106 cities, towns and bases across the country seen as “probable nuclear targets” in the early 1970s, according to documents released by the National Archives.

During the cold war, a list of the places thought likely to come under nuclear attack by the Soviet Union was agreed by military commanders, the intelligence services and the Cabinet Office under Conservative prime minister Edward Heath………
London was expected to be devastated by two to four bombs of up to five megatons each exploding over the city. Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester were each said to be in line for one or two “airbursts” of up to five megatons. That’s 333 times more powerful than the 15-kiloton US nuclear bomb that flattened the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945, killing 140,000 people…….
Another target was Orford Ness on the Suffolk coast, which was involved in an experimental US radar system known as Cobra Mist and is now a nature reserve. Nuclear submarine bases on the Clyde near Glasgow were on the list, along with nuclear airfields like those at Greenham Common in Berkshire and Machrihanish on the Mull of Kintyre.

Other high-level memos from 1971 said that the target list was drawn up for military planning purposes and to help “contingency planning particularly in the field of home defence”. Home defence meant protect and survive measures such as shelters to help civilians under nuclear attack.

But according to the researcher who found the documents, formernuclear weapons design engineer Brian Burnell, the real aim was not to defend civilian targets. Military planners wanted to try to ensure that UK-based nuclear bombers survived to launch a counter-attack against the Soviet Union, he said……..


June 6, 2014 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Carolina site now to get nuclear trash from Germany?




it is crazy to keep on making nuclear waste

wastes-1German nuclear waste may be dumped at US site Charleston – The US department of energy said on Wednesday it will study the environmental risk of importing spent nuclear fuel from Germany that contains highly enriched uranium, a move believed to be the first for the United States.

The department said it is considering a plan to ship the nuclear waste from Germany to the Savannah River Site, a federal facility in South Carolina. The 125Ha site already holds millions of gallons of high-level nuclear waste in tanks. The waste came from reactors in South Carolina that produced plutonium for nuclear weapons from 1953 to 1989.

The Energy Department said it wants to remove 900kg of uranium the United States sold to Germany years ago and render it safe under US nuclear non-proliferation treaties.

A technique for the three-year process of extracting the uranium, which is contained in graphite balls, is being developed at the site in South Carolina, according to the Energy Department.

Some critics question whether the department has fully developed a clear plan to dispose of the radioactive waste.
“They’re proposing to extract the uranium and reuse it as fuel by a process that has never been done before”, said Tom Clements, president of SRS Watch, a nuclear watchdog group in South Carolina.

“There’s no place to take high level waste in the US”, he said. “Uranium that is turned into commercial fuel is not contained inside nuclear waste. It’s pure material.”
A public environmental meeting on the proposed project will be held 24 June in North Augusta, South Carolina.

Clements said shipping the uranium to South Carolina would only add more nuclear waste to the Savannah River Site.

German and US officials signed a statement of intent for the import in March and April. A feasibility study is under way, the Energy Department said.

“The Germans couldn’t quite figure out what to do with it”, Clements said.

German officials have been embroiled in a fight over who will pay for clean-up of nuclear waste from nine remaining decommissioned nuclear plants.

Sources told Reuters in May that German utilities were in talks with the government about setting up a “bad bank” for nuclear plants, in response to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to close them all by 2022 after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster.

June 6, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

$1billion Liability Limit for Canada’s Nuclear Industry

scrutiny-on-costsflag-canadaCanadian Nuclear Industry Accepts $1 Billion Liability Limit OTTAWA, June 5, 2014 /CNW/ – The Canadian nuclear industry told a parliamentary committee today that it accepts a proposed $1 billion liability limit for nuclear accidents.

“The $1 billion limit balances the nuclear industry’s operational needs and the public’s need for an effective liability regime,” Dr. John Barrett, the President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association, told the Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources.

The $1 billion limit would take effect if Bill C-22, the proposed Energy Safety and Security Act, becomes law. The bill would replace the 1976 Nuclear Liability Act (NLA) with a Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act, and ratify an international treaty providing additional coverage for foreign damage caused by Canadian nuclear operators…

…..  the bill’s treaty provisions would enable industry members to operate in other countries, and increase the industry’s economic contributions to Canada…… f Parliament passes Bill C-22, the nuclear industry would encourage the government to increase the number of insurance companies eligible to provide nuclear liability insurance.

Bill C-22 would allow nuclear operators to provide insurance alternatives for up to 50 per cent of their liability.

June 6, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, Canada, politics | Leave a comment

The inevitable renewable energy revolution will transform society

sunNo wonder Wall Street is cheering. Hailing the ‘Age of Renewables’, Citi thinks solar will soon be the cheapest electricity in many markets, even without government incentives.

Electricity’s inevitable renewables revolution, Eco Business, 5 June 14  Due to different factors and advancing technologies, the ‘Age of Renewables’ has come and it will transform not only industries but also society. 

Renewable electricity development is going to accelerate over the next few years because of trends in water, population and technology. A successful turnout in the 2015 climate talks in Paris can also be a game-changer in the demand for renewable electricity.

This position was made clear by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in April and more starkly in May by the International Energy Agency (IEA), which called for an “active transformation” through “radical action”.

To tackle climate change, most of the 4.2 terawatts of coal, gas and oil power plants – about 80 per cent of world’s electricity generating capacity – must be replaced with generators using clean energy well before 2050.

Revolutionary forces However, if climate talks should fail, as many expect given the current sorry state of affairs, there are several intensifying and complementary factors that could drive the rapid growth of renewable electricity in the years to come.

Continue reading

June 6, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Destruction of the human race – a nuclear war would do it

atomic-bomb-lThe Lethality of Nuclear Weapons: Nuclear War has No Winner By Steven Starr Global Research, June 05, 2014 30 May 2014 Paul Craig Roberts held top security clearances. He has repeatedly warned that a US-Russian nuclear war would wipe out the human race, along with all other complex forms of life. As a scientist with expert knowledge, I wish to echo and explain his warning.

Nuclear war has no winner. Beginning in 2006, several of the world’s leading climatologists (at Rutgers, UCLA, John Hopkins University, and the University of Colorado-Boulder) published a series of studies that evaluated the long-term environmental consequences of a nuclear war, including baseline scenarios fought with merely 1% of the explosive power in the US and/or Russian launch-ready nuclear arsenals. They concluded that the consequences of even a “small” nuclear war would include catastrophic disruptions of global climate[i] and massive destruction of Earth’s protective ozone layer[ii]. These and more recent studies predict that global agriculture would be so negatively affected by such a war, a global famine would result, which would cause up to 2 billion people to starve to death. [iii]These peer-reviewed studies – which were analyzed by the best scientists in the world and found to be without error – also predict that a war fought with less than half of US or Russian strategic nuclear weapons would destroy the human race.[iv] In other words, a US-Russian nuclear war would create such extreme long-term damage to the global environment that it would leave the Earth uninhabitable for humans and most animal forms of life.

A recent article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “Self-assured destruction: The climate impacts of nuclear war”,[v] begins by stating:

“A nuclear war between Russia and the United States, even after the arsenal reductions planned under New START, could produce a nuclear winter. Hence, an attack by either side could be suicidal, resulting in self-assured destruction.”………

we find ourselves in a situation in which those who are in charge of our nuclear arsenal seem not to understand that they can end human history if they choose to push the button. Most of the American public also remains completely unaware of this deadly threat. The uninformed are leading the uninformed toward the abyss of extinction……

neoconservative ideology has kept the US at war during the entire 21st century. It has led to the expansion of US/NATO forces to the very borders of Russia, a huge mistake that has consequently revived the Cold War. A hallmark of neconservatism is that America is the “indispensable nation”, as evidenced by the neoconservative belief in “American exceptionalism”, which essentially asserts that Americans are superior to all other peoples, that American interests and values should reign supreme in the world…….

The need is dire for the president of the US, Russia, or China to state in a highly public forum that the existence of nuclear weapons creates the possibility of their use and that their use in war would likely mean human extinction. As nuclear war has no winners, the weapons should be banned and destroyed before they destroy all of us.

Steven Starr is the Senior Scientist for Physicians for Social Responsibility ( and Director of the Clinical Laboratory Science Program at the University of Missouri. Starr has published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the Strategic Arms Reduction (STAR) website of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. He has a website on the environmental consequences of nuclear war ( ).




June 6, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

West Michigan citizens tell NRC chair of problems with nuclear power plants

safety-symbol-SmFlag-USANuclear Regulatory Chair Hears Concerns About Plants in West Michigan, by Paul Chicchini Fox 17  BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (June 5, 2014) – A group of concerned citizens and environmental groups met today with the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to discuss two plants in west Michigan.

The closed-door meeting was held at the Courtyard Marriott in Benton Harbor with Chairman Allison MacFarlane.

The conversation focused on the Donald C. Cook site in Bridgman and the Palisades Plant in Covert Township.

Palisades has been in the spotlight since its 2007 purchase by Entergy because of several problems.

Bette Pierman, a Democratic candidate for Michigan’s 21st District Senate seat, told FOX 17 she had concerns about the Palisades facility.

“There are failing infrastructure problems right now,” said Pierman. “There’s leaks that have been going on. Some of them since 2007 – recorded and reported.”

The most recent reported leak at the plant involved 70 gallons of oil, which officials said did not pose a threat to any bodies of water.

During a planned refueling outage between January and March, workers discovered a piece of metal – an impeller blade – lodged in a reactor vessel. It was determined the object wasn’t a hazard.

“That’s not the issue,” Pierman said. “The issue is that they’ve got failing equipment that continues to fail and they’re not taking care of the problem.”………

June 6, 2014 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Need for inquiry into cancer rates near Oyster Creek Nuclear Power PLant

Activists seek radiation study at Oyster Creek, Asbury Park Press, Kirk Moore, @KirkMooreAPP  TOMS RIVER – Ocean County activists said Wednesday night that they want researchers to take a close look at historic radiation releases from the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant.

In particular, they want a review of 1979, when the plant in Lacey had high atmospheric emissions in the same year when a near-accident dropped reactor water levels dangerously low.

“The data was extremely hard to find,” activist Janet Tauro told a panel of cancer experts and epidemiologists working with a National Academy of Sciences’ pilot study of cancer rates around Oyster Creek and six other nuclear plants.

During five weeks, Tauro said, citizen researchers found records of large releases at Oyster Creek from 1974 to 1985.

“They appear to be staggering, and we never knew,” she said during a public comment session in Toms River on Wednesday night.At the request of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the NAS is conducting the study of cancer rates around nuclear plants to determine if a much broader, multi-year study is warranted. The public hearing in Toms River was one of a series where investigators are taking comments and suggestions.

An Ocean County activist group, Grandmothers, Mothers and More for Energy Safety, along with Clean Water Action obtained a 1995 report by the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, that summarized airborne and liquid effluent releases from U.S. nuclear plants from 1974 to 1992. Those numbers showed a peak in atmospheric emissions at Oyster Creek in 1979. In those years, the plant was operated by Jersey Central Power & Light.

“In 1972 and ’73 they had some pretty high releases, and again in 1978 and ’79,” said David Lochbaum, director of the nuclear safety program at the Union of Concerned Scientists and a nuclear engineer who worked on boiling water reactors like Oyster Creek.

“What we’re asking for is NAS to look into this more closely,” said Paul Gunter of the anti-nuclear group Beyond Nuclear, which helped the Ocean County activists with documents. The 1979 atmospheric emissions of 1.01 million curies “was not the biggest release (from a plant) but that’s a very large release,” he said……….

While admitting he’s just a medical doctor and not an epidemiologist, Joseph Sauer said his review of public health databases in Illinois showed higher rates of cancers in areas close to the Dresden and Braidwood plants owned by Exelon, which now operates the Oyster Creek reactor…..

June 6, 2014 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

China’s nuclear plants face safety challenges (Is near enough good enough?)

flag-ChinaChina’s nuclear power plants “generally safe”: watchdog
Xinhua)    20:34, June 04, 2014 BEIJING, June 4

China’s operating nuclear power units enjoy a relatively good safety record, and the quality of the units under construction has been well controlled, said the head of China’s nuclear watchdog on Wednesday…

.. However, Li said maintaining safety in this area is a challenging task,
as it concerns state security. He admitted that loopholes and problems, both in supervision and the whole nuclear industry, still exist.

The vice minister vowed to strengthen supervision with a well-established institution, a perfected legal system, as well as more capable personnel.

June 6, 2014 Posted by | China, safety | Leave a comment

With renewable energy storage, conventional utilities face a difficult future

Electricity’s inevitable renewables revolution, Eco Business, 5 June 14 “…..Disruption in store Storage multiplies the value of renewable electricity thereby increasing demand, which in turn will create a positive feedback for more storage. Disruption of incumbent business models and energy markets is likely to increase as innovation drives down storage costs. Widespread storage, such as batteries, will transform renewable electricity in two ways. One, allow consumers to use renewable electricity power when they need it most, not just when the sun shines or the wind blows. Two, provide consumers and entrepreneurs with the capability to make and trade electricity without conventional utilities. Storage highlights the profound physical differences between renewable energy and conventional energy. To simplify, conventional energy, be it ore, oil or gas, is a concentrated finite stock flowing at a rate set by how much we spend on digging and drilling. Renewable energy, like solar radiation and wind, streams freely and diffuses at variable rates ultimately set by the sun. Those characteristics mean swapping out gas-turbine generators for solar modules or wind turbines watt-for-watt would result in lower electricity output. Thus, to replace 4.2 terawatts of carbon power plants, and meet rising electricity demand, will take several times as much capacity in terms of generators using solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources. However, capital costs, which as noted are falling, for renewables are offset by zero fuel costs over the operating lifetime and zero emissions which avoid social costs of harm to health, climate and ecosystems. Such costs are harming households and firms alike, triggering shifts in perceptions which favour the characteristics of renewable electricity and distributed generation. Already, the increasing competitiveness and preference for renewable energy has hit conventional utilities, contributing to losses of €500 billion in Europe in recent years. David Crane, chief executive of America’s top power producer NRG, warns conventional utilities face irrelevance. Their future looks difficult. They must switch to renewable energy and simultaneously compete against the expanding army of millions of people turning their homes and firms into power producers. Civic groups and cooperatives are acting locally to bankroll renewable power or take over grids in communities across Europe and the US.

June 6, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, energy storage | Leave a comment

Uranium companies in a turmoil as analysts forecast prices staying low

fearuranium-oreUranium stocks tumble after RBC takes axe to price forecasts,Financial Post  Peter Koven | June 5, 2014 Uranium miners have offered a very consistent message to investors over the past couple of years: The short-term outlook is bad, but don’t worry, a lot more uranium is going to be needed down the road.

RBC Capital Markets Analysts agree. Only they think it will be a much longer road than most.

Analysts Fraser Phillips and Patrick Morton on Thursday sent shudders through the industry as they took an axe to their uranium price forecasts. They cut their 2014 spot price forecast to US$31.50 a pound, down from US$45. And it got worse from there. The 2015 target was cut to US$40 (from US$60), and targets for the 2016 to 2018 period fell to just US$40-US$45 from US$75-US$80. Not surprisingly, shares of every significant uranium company (including Cameco Corp., Paladin Energy Ltd. and Denison Mines Corp.) tumbled on Thursday.

The analysts believe the uranium market is going to be in surplus until 2021, which is far longer than most insiders expect. They blame continuing oversupply in the market.

“Active annual supply exceeds demand by a significant margin, and on top of that, significant excess inventories have been and continue to be accumulated post the Fukushima disaster, particularly in Japan,” they said in a note. It is no secret the uranium market is under pressure. The sector is still reeling from the Fukushima disaster in 2011, and approvals for Japanese reactor restarts are taking longer than expected. The spot uranium price recently fell below US$30 a pound for the first time since 2005…….

The RBC analysts pointed out that mine production has continued to grow during the past two years despite low prices, and that the Japanese restart process has stalled. They believe only four Japanese reactors will restart this year, and just 28 (out of 50) will be online by 2018…….

June 6, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

Warren Buffett backs revolutionary development in renewable energy

Buffett,WarrenBuffett’s $28 billion winning bet on clean energy, SMH, June 5, 2014 Warren Buffett’s $US26 billion (A$28 billion) bet on western US power plants, transmission lines and wind farms is poised to pay off.

The energy unit of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, with the help of California’s grid operator, is moving to unite the holdings under a single market capable of dispatching power across seven states every five minutes. The system, designed to handle sudden swings in supply and demand, would revolutionise the markets from Oregon to Nevada, where 38 transmission operators manually balance their territories on an hourly basis.

The move would be a game-changer for the renewables that Berkshire Hathaway Energy has accumulated over the past decade, including two of the world’s largest solar farms, and for other clean-power producers, according to those who trade in the region’s markets. Berkshire’s plants stand to run for longer periods of time, and its NV Energy and PacifiCorp utilities will save as much as $US63.9 million annually by 2017, Energy and Environmental Economics reports show.

“It would be huge if all 38 balancing authorities joined,” Sean Breiner, a market design analyst for energy trader Viasyn, said by telephone June 2. “Instead of having these balkanised regions, you’d have resources from Idaho to Wyoming all flowing into one kind of large spot market.”

Green power……

California has a goal of securing 33 per cent of power from clean energy by 2020. By next year, the California Independent System Operator Corp. expects renewables to meet almost a quarter of demand. In the Northwest, renewables are nearly 7 per cent of total supply, excluding hydropower.

The market, scheduled to start Oct. 1 pending approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, would use hourly bids from generators to match the cheapest resources with supply, demand and transmission changes every five minutes. It would initially include the territories of the California ISO and PacifiCorp — spanning 42,200 miles of transmission lines in six states from California to Wyoming, extend to NV Energy’s Nevada network a year later and could accommodate all operators in the region…….

Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s spending in the western states included $US10.7 billion to acquire PacifiCorp and NV Energy, $US8.7 billion in renewable investments, a $US6 billion Northwest transmission project and at least $US568 million on the Lake Side natural gas-fired power plant being completed this year in Utah, according to company filings.

Power generators and transmission operators in other parts of the US already participate in real-time markets run by grid operators from the Northeast to Texas. California runs a five-minute market within its own territory. Should all the authorities in the western US join the new system, it would become the nation’s largest geographically.

Analyses prepared by San Francisco-based Energy and Environmental Economics show the real-time market would save the California ISO area as much as $US74.3 million, PacifiCorp $US54.4 million and NV $US9.5 million in the year 2017………..

June 6, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Conventional electricity utilities fighting a losing battle against renewables

Electricity’s inevitable renewables revolution, Eco Business, 5 June 14 Light ahead Resistance for conventional utilities is probably futile and moreover unnecessary given innovative models of firms willing to apply fresh thinking. New Zealand’s Vector, Britain’s Ovo Energy, and America’s Sunverge show how aggregators can partner with prosumers to improve efficiency and increase returns. Together, consumers and communities, entrepreneurs and investors are figuring out ways to drive the great transformation of electricity called for by the IPCC and IEA. We can expect much more as policies are rewritten to make markets reflect the true costs of energy for the climate, ecosystems and health. Considered carefully, there is much to inspire policymaking, fuel economic development and enhance sustainability in Asia. A transformation of global electricity at this scale and speed, while meeting the aspirations of billions for the magic of electricity, will create many jobs, just as the car industry did, and great wealth, perhaps on par with information technology. It should therefore be little surprise if transforming electricity turns out to be one of the greatest business opportunities of the century. David Fullbrook, an ecological economist, is a senior consultant with DNV GL Energy, a renewables strategy and policy global practise in Singapore, writing in a personal capacity.

June 6, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment