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China suspends permits for new coal plants

China suspends permits for new coal plants as overcapacity policy bites, Energy Desk, May 16, 2017 by Zachary Davies Boren  @zdboren The Chinese government has ordered the vast majority of its provinces to stop permitting new coal power projects.

According to a statement from the National Energy Administration (NEA), 28 of China’s 31 mainland provinces do not currently have the right financial or environmental conditions to build new coal capacity.

This represents an update to the government’s ‘traffic light’ system, designed to tackle the country’s coal overcapacity crisis — that we reported on last year.

What is China’s coal ‘traffic light’ policy?

Last year the National Energy Administration kicked off a new scheme to determine whether provinces should build new coal- fired power stations.

The system, created so that the country would stop adding to its overcapacity crisis, assigns each province a colour to signify the viability of its coal pipeline — based on profitability, existing capacity and ‘resource constraints’ such as air pollution and water.

Red means no new coal projects should be permitted. Orange indicates local governments and coal companies should tread carefully. And green says that there is plenty space for new coal power.

24 provinces were issued red lights, 4 earned the orange light (which recommends not adding coal in much stronger language than last year) while only two were given the green light……..

We reported earlier this year that the permits for new coal plants in 2016 have declined 85% compared to 2015, but that the new permits are concentrated in areas of high water stress.

Data from the last two quarters (the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017) show this trend continues.

Over 70% of the projects in the permitting pipeline are in extremely water stressed areas, so-called overwithdrawal zones, where the water withdrawn from a basin exceeds its capability to renew. http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2017/05/16/china-coal-overcapacity-policy-hits-provinces/

June 2, 2017 Posted by | China, climate change | Leave a comment

Manufacturing and energy to information technology businesses concerned at Trump’s climate pullout

FT 1st June 2017 US companies in industries from manufacturing and energy to information technology have reacted with dismay to the prospect of President Donald Trump withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, warning that pulling out of the accord would hit jobs and investment.

Businesses have raised concerns about the impact on markets for products that can help cut greenhouse gas emissions, and warned that countries remaining in the accord could impose retaliatory tariffs on American goods.

However, some groups have said they will press ahead with investments in emissions-reducing technologies, saying they expect continued long-term growth in demand despite the lack of support from the US administration. Leading US
companies including Apple, Facebook, Google, Intel and Microsoft have taken out an advertisement in US newspapers on Thursday with an open letter to Mr Trump arguing that the Paris agreement generates jobs and economic growth
by expanding the markets for innovative environmentally friendly technologies. It warns that withdrawal would limit US access to those markets.   https://www.ft.com/content/5f2b6e06-4663-11e7-8519-9f94ee97d996

June 2, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Toshiba to present UNAUDITEDaccounts at the company’s AGM next month

Carlisle News & Star 31st May 2017 Toshiba, the key backer of Cumbria’s proposed nuclear new build, is to present unaudited accounts to its shareholders at the company’s AGM next month. The troubled Japanese giant – which has a 60 per cent stake in NuGen, which has plans for a power plant at Moorside, near Sellafield, and is taking on full ownership – has not been able to submit detailed results to officials in Japan because of ongoing discussions with its auditors over its American nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse Electric.

Toshiba is forecast to make a £6.5bn loss for the last year of business and its woes stem mainly from Westinghouse, which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the USA, which may have overpaid – by several billion dollars – for another
nuclear construction and services business.    http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/business/Moorside-nuclear-backer-Toshiba-to-present-unaudited-accounts-to-shareholders-0b3b0a0e-d673-4d1d-afda-7171325aaa68-ds

June 2, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Free program to train coal miners as wind farm technicians

Ecowatch 30th May 2017. Despite President Donald Trump’s pledge to bring back U.S. coal jobs, hundreds of laid off miners in Wyoming—the nation’s largest coal-producing state—are still seeking work.

But these ex-miners might find hope with a most unlikely employer: a wind power company. The American arm of Goldwind, a Chinese wind turbine maker, has announced a free program to retrain miners to become wind farm technicians, The New York Times reported. https://www.ecowatch.com/wind-jobs-coal-miners-goldwind-2426715170.html

June 2, 2017 Posted by | employment, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

On costs of decommissioning Fort Calhoun nuclear plant, and on security

Q&A session on Fort Calhoun nuclear plant focuses on cost of decommissioning, security, By Cole Epley / Omaha World-Herald staff writer, Jun 1, 2017 

OPPD’s plan to fund dismantling and cleanup of its Fort Calhoun nuclear plant is expected to be sufficient to cover the cost, and the now-closed plant will retain its 24-hour armed security force even after the last building is no longer needed.

That was the message from federal regulators to Omaha Public Power District ratepayers and members of the public Wednesday night at a meeting on decommissioning the reactor. The plant, which closed in October, is 20 miles north of Omaha.

Questions about security — both in terms of armed guards and spent nuclear fuel left on site — and the cost of tearing down and cleaning up the plant were among issues addressed during a question-and-answer session at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Omaha.

 Representatives from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and OPPD fielded questions for about an hour following a general overview of the decommissioning process……

Decommissioning the plant is expected to cost about $1.5 billion in 2016 dollars. By the time the work is completed in some 60 years, the inflation-adjusted cost is expected to be roughly $3 billion…….

Within five years, OPPD will be pulling spent fuel from the storage pool inside one of the buildings and putting it in concrete casks on site. Because the U.S. has no functioning long-term storage site for spent nuclear fuel, the Fort Calhoun site will hold spent fuel in the above-ground casks indefinitely. At least as long as the fuel is there, security guards will be there, the public was told Wednesday.

Significant demolition isn’t expected until the 2050s, once much of the radioactivity at the site has decayed.

Doug Broaddus, head of the NRC branch that oversees plants like Fort Calhoun that are transitioning from operating to decommissioning, said utilities that fall short of the money needed to close their plants generally look to the same place.

June 2, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Norway’s rapid take-up of electric cars

The Country Adopting Electric Vehicles Faster Than Anywhere Else, Fueled by cheap power and government subsidies, Norway is racing to ditch the “fossil car.”Bloomberg by

Matthew Campbell June 1, 2017,  “….Starting this month, electric car owners will be able to drive down a narrow ramp between rough-hewn rock walls dripping with condensation and plug in at one of 86 charging stations—for free.
The facility will get plenty of use as Norwegians switch to electric vehicles faster than anyone else on the planet. More than a third of all new cars are either fully electric or plug-in hybrids, well over 10 times the proportion in the U.S. With about 100,000 electrics on the road, Norway (population 5 million) trails only the U.S., China, and Japan in absolute numbers. By 2025, the government has suggested, there may be no gasoline- or diesel-powered cars sold in the country. “It’s safe to say that Norway is the first mass market for EVs,” says Sture Portvik, the city official overseeing the Akershus garage……https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-01/the-country-adopting-electric-vehicles-faster-than-anywhere-else 

June 2, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment