The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

From nuclear to solar power in Sacramento County

poster renewables not nuclearFrom nuclear to solar power The two cooling towers of the decommissioned Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Plant continue to stand tall across the eastern Sacramento County skyline.

A symbol of the past, the two towers got some new neighbors yesterday, that look to energize the future, and power some of Sacramento’s most iconic buildings.

With the flip of a switch, the Rancho Seco Solar plant is officially on line.

“This project will serve the two most iconic buildings in Sacramento, the new Golden One Center and the state Capitol, and it’s being done here out at Rancho Seco, one of the most iconic sites in Sacramento, so you’ve got a great juxtaposition of the old and the new here,” SMUD CEO and GM Arlen Orchard said.

The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission decommissioned Rancho Seco in 2009. The process to remove and contain all the radiation from the site took 20 years at a cost of $500 million. In all that time, thankfully no one was injured and that the infrastructure to produce and deliver energy remained intact.

“We have all the infrastructure in place to distribute the energy down into Sacramento, so it really made sense from a space, sun, and infrastructure level,” Orchard said. Over 50 percent of the energy SMUD will create this year is carbon free. The sun shining down on this facility here will generate 11 megawatts, enough electricity to power every state building in Sacramento.

“Having a state capitol that is fully powered by clean renewable energy really fits with Governor Brown’s vision,” Brian Ferguson, California general services, said.

“The Rancho Seco project created more than 200 jobs at peak construction and will provide power not just to the Golden One Center but to all of California’s department of General Services,” Michael Argentine, Lead Project Developer, said.

The solar site around Rancho Seco is currently 62 acres with over 100,000 solar cells. SMUD hopes to double the site in the next couple years as it hopes to reach its energy production goal of 75 percent carbon free sources within the next decade.

September 30, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Ukraine joining the renewable energy revolution

Solar on the steppe: Ukraine embraces renewables revolution  Former Soviet nation bids for independence from Russian fossil fuels. Nature Quirin Schiermeier 28 September 2016 Wind and solar power are wallflowers in oil- and gas-rich Russia. Not so in neighbouring Ukraine. With fears about Russian hegemony at a peak, the former Soviet republic is ready to join the renewables revolution.

“Energy independence has become a matter of national security for Ukraine,” says Sergiy Savchuk, head of the state agency on energy efficiency and energy saving in Kiev. “That’s why renewable-energy development is now a priority issue for the Ukrainian government.”

In July, Ukrainian environment minister Ostap Semerak unveiled plans to build a large solar power plant and a biogas facility in the wasteland around the former Chernobyl reactor.

The announcement came just two weeks after parliament reopened the state-owned exclusion zone around the shuttered nuclear site to development for business and science.

The Chernobyl energy project will cost around US$1.1 billion, a sum that means substantial foreign investment is required. It is part of Ukraine’s broader ambition to step up renewable-energy capacity. According to the National Renewable Energy Action Plan adopted in 2014, the government aims to almost triple capacity for electricity production, transport and heating by 2020 — from its current level of around 9.3 gigawatts to more than 26 gigawatts. Renewables would then supply about 11% of all energy consumed in Ukraine……..

Ukraine has significant untapped renewable-energy potential, finds a 2015 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates — enough to support the 2014 plan. The largest country to lie entirely within Europe (Turkey and Russia are mostly in Asia), it gets more sunshine than Germany, where photo-voltaic solar power now exceeds 40 gigawatts.

Ukraine also has good grid infrastructure, including high-voltage transmission lines between Chernobyl and Kiev, says Dolf Gielen, director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Center in Bonn, Germany……

September 29, 2016 Posted by | renewable, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Nuclear power a drastically wrong answer to climate change. Solar power holds the key

text-relevanta nuclear power plant gives off twice as much energy by way of waste heat than it generates. The environment — whether the atmosphere, oceans, or rivers — would be unable to absorb that much extra heat without drastic climatic consequences

Small Sliver Of Sahara Desert Could Power Entire World With Solar Energy  NYT September 24th, 2016 by   How big of a solar farm would you need to power the entire world with renewable energy? That’s a question addressed recently on Quora, the website that specializes in providing in depth, well researched answers to important questions. Actually, the original question was quite different. The discussion started Solar-Energy-Worldthis way. “Could the world feasibly switch to all-nuclear power generation? If so, would that be a good counter to global warming?” For an answer, Quora turned to Mehran Moalem, PhD, a professor at UC Berkeley and expert on nuclear materials and the nuclear fuel cycle.

Professor Moalem began with this brief biographical information. “I have taught courses in nuclear engineering and a few seminar courses in alternative energies. I also worked for two years starting up six solar factories around the globe. In spite of my personal like for nuclear engineering, I have to admit it is hard to argue for it. Here is the simplified math behind it.”

Moalem then calculated that the world uses approximately 17.3 terawatts of continuous power each year. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Actually it is. But, he says, a solar farm just 43,000 miles square would produce just about that amount of power. Moalem says the Sahara Desert covers 3.6 million square miles. If you’re into math, that means covering just 1.2% of the Sahara with solar power could provide the entire world with all its electrical needs.

It turns out the Sahara is also an ideal site for solar power. Because it is on the Equator, it receives 12 hours of sunlight virtually every day of the year. Also because of its location, that sunlight tends to shine directly down, meaning solar panels located there can be two to three times more efficient than those located in higher latitudes, like Europe and North America.

Moalem puts the price of such a system at $5 trillion dollars. Wow! That’s a lot of money, right? Actually, no it’s not, the professors says. Its less than the US spent to bail out banks 8 years ago. It’s about 10% of world GDP. The cost of building a nuclear power plant with a similar capacity would be more than 10 times as much.

He points out that this is a one time cost. Once such a facility gets built, the energy it produces is free. There are no ongoing costs for fuel, no generators to spin, to boilers to make steam. Moalen thinks that’s a pretty cheap price for something that could replace every other power source on earth, especially those that spew deadly pollution into the air.

Even though he is nuclear power engineer, Moalem says nuclear is not the way to meet world energy needs. One important reason is that a nuclear power plant gives off twice as much energy by way of waste heat than it generates. The environment — whether the atmosphere, oceans, or rivers — would be unable to absorb that much extra heat without drastic climatic consequences…….

September 26, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, renewable | Leave a comment

In last 10 years wind energy growth 23 percent, solar 50 percent – World Energy Council

renewable-energy-world-SmWind and solar power enjoy a decade of massive growth: World Energy Council Anmar Frangoul, 20 Sep 2016 Renewable sources of power including hydroelectric and solar represent around 30 percent of the world’s total capacity and 23 percent of total global electricity production, according to a new report from the World Energy Council (WEC).

 In a news release, WEC said that in the last 10 years wind and solar power had seen “explosive average annual growth” of 23 percent and 50 percent.

The report also said that $286 billion was invested in 154 gigawatts of “new renewables capacity” in 2015, with China’s spending on renewable sources representing 36 percent of global investments.

“The success of both the development of intermittent renewables and their efficient integration in electricity systems fundamentally depends on the right market design and regulatory framework and solid regional planning to avoid bottlenecks,” Christoph Frei, secretary general of the WEC, said in a statement.

The report comes in the wake of last year’s historic COP21 agreement in Paris. There, global leaders agreed to make sure global warming stayed below 2 degrees Celsius and to also pursue efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“We are beyond the tipping point of grand energy transition,” Frei added. “Implementing technically and economically sound, stable policies supported by clear carbon price signals will enable this transition and take us a step closer to meeting the climate aspirations agreed at COP21.”

The report, Variable Renewables Integration in Electricity Systems 2016 – How to get it right, was launched on September 20 and published by the WEC in partnership with CESI S.p.A.

The WEC said that it drew upon 32 country case studies, representing roughly 90 percent of global installed solar and wind capacity.

September 26, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Amazing growth in wind and solar power in USA, and even more to come

Statue-of-Liberty-solarWind and solar get cheaper and better, Energy Transition, 14 Sep 2016   by     Wind and solar power have reached a tipping point in the US, as their prices become competitive with conventional electricity sources. Ben Paulos looks at the leaps and bounds in solar and wind, and what this means for the US energy transition.

In the cornfields of Iowa, thousands of wind turbines are spinning, supplying over 30 percent of the state’s power—the highest percentage of any US state. On especially windy days in the spring, there may be enough wind power to run the whole state.

The state’s largest utility, MidAmerican Energy—partly owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffett—aims to provide 100 per cent renewable energy. And with their plan to add another 2000 MW recently approved, they’ll be getting 85 percent of their power from renewables, mostly wind.

While that number is impressive, even more impressive is the fact that MidAmerican won’t have to raise rates to do it. Thanks to the steady decline in prices and improvement in performance, wind energy is now the cheapest source of new electricity in some parts of the US.

Solar prices, too, are falling rapidly. California is the national leader by far, in both distributed and utility-scale systems. The state is now home to 14,000 MW of solar, including over 4000 MW installed on over 400,000 rooftops. Utilities are signing contracts for solar power for as low as 3 cents per kWh.

Reports released in August by the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, as well as other industry data, are showing that wind and solar prices and performance have reached a tipping point, putting renewable energy squarely in the mainstream.


What has changed? What is driving the growth of wind and solar power?  While the price of wind turbines is certainly important to the cost of wind energy, the biggest price reductions in recent years have come from improved performance……..


Solar power has its own cost drivers, but it is similar to wind in one respect: the cost of the solar panels themselves is no longer the most important aspect.

Because panel prices have fallen so low—only 80 cents per watt—they now make up only one-fifth of the total cost of a residential rooftop system. Some of the costs are in the other hardware, like racks and electronics. But especially expensive are the “soft costs”—all of the other things needed to get those panels on your roof, like marketing, acquiring customers, and getting permits………

Utility-scale solar plants are increasingly using tracking systems that follow the sun across the sky, thus increasing output. Power contracts signed for new systems in 2015 were at or below $ 50 per MWh, with some as low as about $ 30 per MWh.

Overall, the US has 29.3 GW of solar installed, according to GTM Research. Utility-scale solar has been the fastest growing segment for the past few years, accounting for over half of the 7.5 GW installed in 2015.

California continues to dominate the market, with about half of all solar as of the end of 2015. But that share has been falling as other states grow.

Some US neighborhoods are seeing very high levels of saturation. In San Diego County, one in eight single family homes has solar, with some zip codes boasting double that rate. Hawaii, with very high electricity prices and excellent sunshine, has more solar power per capita than any state. In 2014, 6 percent of the state’s power came from the sun, and 17 percent of homes sported solar panels.

While this growth has been impressive, all signs point to even greater growth in coming years. At the end of 2015, there were at least 56.8 GW of utility-scale solar plants waiting to be interconnected across the nation, enough to triple current levels. And wind is expected to see at least 8 GW of growth per year: in the Midwest alone, there are 29 GW of wind projects waiting to be connected. We can expect to see even better, cheaper wind and solar soon.

Bentham Paulos is an energy consultant and writer based in California.

September 26, 2016 Posted by | renewable | Leave a comment

Ambitious solar power plan for 12,000 homes in Saskatchewan

community-solarSaskPower says solar plan to power up to 12,000 homes by 2021
Crown says between 10,000-12,000 Sask. homes will run on solar power within 5 years 
CBC News                   22, 2016  SaskPower says between 10,000-12,000 homes in Saskatchewan will be run on solar power by 2021, from a project aiming to deliver 60 megawatts. Some of that electricity should be reaching the grid by 2018.

The government’s target is to have 50 per cent of its power delivered by renewable sources by 2030.

“So if we think about it, 2000 megawatts would be about fifty per cent of our mix today,” said Guy Bruce, SaskPower’s Vice President of Planning, Environment and Sustainable development. “So it’s a relatively small percentage, but it’s a move in the right direction.”

Three types of solar power providers

The 60-megawatt plan is divided into three types of providers. Twenty megawatts are expected to be provided by community projects, and another 20 from a competitive bidding process with vendors due to begin in September. SaskPower says it’s currently in negotiations with the First Nations Power Authority to provide two more 10-megawatt solar projects. ………

September 26, 2016 Posted by | Canada, decentralised | Leave a comment

Cheap, Portable Solar Panel could transform the solar power industry

sunThis Cheap, Portable Solar Panel Will Be the iPad of Renewables by Good News Network – Sep 24, 2016 A California-based startup unveiled a product this week that aims to disrupt solar power production, much like the iPhone changed communications.

SunCulture Solar Inc. is calling its wire-free SolPad, which resembles a large iPad, the “world’s first integrated solar energy solution.”

It combines batteries, software, inverters and solar panels into one device. Typically, a solar system involves installation of separate parts, increasing costs.  SolPad can be used off grid or tied to the grid, and uses batteries that the company says are safer than traditional lithium-ion ones.

”If the grid goes down, SolPad can keep delivering electricity,” the company said in a video unveiling the device in California this week.

“We’ve transformed solar — much like the smartphone revolutionized the personal computer sector, combining numerous components into a single device that’s significantly less expensive, more powerful and easier to use than conventional systems,” said CEO Christopher Estes.

The company plans to bring the product to market in the second half of next year……..

September 26, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Wind energy getting popular with USA Republicans

Why Republicans support wind energy Tom Kiernan, Roberta Combs, Michele Combs,  Desmoines Register September 20, 2016 Did you know that American wind turbines can now produce as much electricity as 17 typical nuclear power plants or 65 coal plants? That’s how much wind power has grown across the U.S.

Iowans may already know, but many Americans don’t realize how much wind power reliably contributes to U.S. energy independence. And any Republican or Democrat running for election this fall should pay attention to wind’s rapid growth. Especially since recent polling data show that as wind power grows, so does U.S. voter support for it.Strong voter support for wind shouldn’t be surprising when you consider that by tripling in size over the last several years, wind now supports a record-high 88,000 jobs across all 50 states. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also recently reported that wind turbine technician is the fastest growing profession in the U.S. Wind farms also pay $222 million in land lease payments to family farmers, many of whom call wind power their new “drought-resistant cash crop.”

A cleaner energy economy built by growing wind energy benefits both our economy and our health.

Wind energy greatly reduces a variety of health-harming air pollutants, including smog-causing sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Cutting these helps reduce asthma rates and other respiratory illnesses, creating $7.3 billion in avoided health costs last year alone.

Conventional wisdom says Democrats are typically consistent supporters of clean energy, while Republicans aren’t. That notion actually doesn’t match up with reality.

Sen. Chuck Grassley has shown visionary leadership in creating and advocating for the Production Tax Credit, a fundamental part of why we have a modern U.S. wind industry today. This performance-based tax incentive is a big reason why Iowa already generates nearly a third of its electricity using wind, with the 40 percent milestone looming in the near-future. It’s also why wind power’s technology has advanced enough to drop costs by two-thirds over just six years, saving American consumers billions of dollars.

It’s also not widely known that wind power supports well-paying jobs and invests in 75 percent of all Republican districts in the U.S.

Republican-represented districts host 86 percent of the total wind farm fleet in America. That means the majority of wind’s economic benefits — including jobs, billions of dollars in private investment, and added tax revenue for improving local infrastructure — go to rural communities with a strong presence of typically Republican voters……..

September 23, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Why renewable energy is a better deal for Britain than Hinkley nuclear power

Nuclear power is risky and expensive; here’s a better idea

It makes more sense to invest in renewables, efficiency and storage than spending billions on Hinkley Point C, Guardian, , 15 Sept 16, In the 21st century, the UK will have to supply itself with power that is affordable, reliable and clean. But in almost every way, the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station offers only expensive and risky solutions from the 20th century.

A nuclear power station is about as useful in solving the dilemma as a 20th-century nuclear weapon is in ending a 21st-century guerilla insurgency, because a ground-level energy revolution is taking place. The old regime of large, centralised power plants is being replaced a smart, efficient and widely distributed network, powered by increasing amounts of renewable energy.

If that sounds radical, it’s not – it’s just how the internet works to provide fast and reliable communications. If it sounds like a hippy dream, it’s not – New York State’s energy plan has embraced it in order to deliver 50% renewable electricity by 2030 and a 23% cut in energy use by buildings. In the UK, this government aims to improve the energy efficiency of just half the homes retrofitted by the last one.

If you think New York State is alone in its thinking – it’s not. Bodies including the government’s own National Infrastructure Commission(NIC), the National Grid and industry group Energy UK all point to a smart system that is more secure, cheaper and faster to build and they all use the same word: “revolution”, while the International Energy Agency talks of a rapid “transition”.

The momentum behind the revolution is straightforward: cost. While renewable energy and other energy technologies are plummeting in price, nuclear power continues its historical trend of getting ever more expensive. Even if the UK negotiates a sharp cut in the subsidies for Hinkley, it still could not be built before 2026 at the earliest. By then, a capacity crunch will have hit the UK as old power stations close.

Hinkley puts a lot of generation capacity in one plan , which is very risky given the financial, legal and technical obstacles it faces. EDF, the French company leading the project, is taking on considerable financial risk, with Martin Young, an energy analyst at investment bank RBC Capital Markets, saying the project “verges on insanity”.

Court challenges – including from EDF’s own trade unions – abound and the fiendishly complex project has been described by one nuclear engineer as unconstructable. Two attempts to build the same reactor in France and Finland are miles over budget and behind schedule.

In contrast, energy efficiency could deliver six Hinkleys’ worth of electricity by 2030, according to the government’s own research. Four Hinkleys’ worth could be saved by increasing the ability to store electricity and making the grid smarter, with the latter alone likely to save billpayers £8bn a year.

Capturing and storing carbon from fossil fuel plants is also vital, but has received scant attention from the government compared with Hinkley. It would halve the cost of beating global warming, according to government’s own official advisers, but in November ministers abruptly canned its plan. The government will not be able to get out of the Hinkley deal, however. Once signed, the deal with EDF contains a “poison pill” which could leave taxpayers with a £22bn bill if a future UK government shuts down the plant.

The government has remained adamant that Hinkley, which could provide 7% of the UK’s electricity, is a vital part of a secure low-carbon future. But it is not just the idea of EDF’s partner, a Chinese state company, being involved that creates security fears. Nuclear power plants are prone to shutdowns, over safety concerns or even invasions of jellyfish into cooling waters as happened at Torness, in Scotland in 2011.

Closing down such a giant plant at short notice immediately puts the security of the nation’s electricity supply at risk. One back-up option recently favoured by the government is to deploy farms of diesel generators, which emit large volumes of carbon dioxide, ready to start up when needed.

Yet in a smart, distributed system, knocking out one wind turbine or solar panel is barely noticed by the grid.

The risk with Hinkley is that will it bring about the mutually assured destruction of both EDF and UK energy policy, with an expensive, hard-to-build reactor, in which the taxpayer will end up footing the bill.

September 16, 2016 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

World’s first large-scale tidal energy farm launched in Scotland

waveflag-Scotland   All eyes on Scotland as world’s first large-scale tidal energy farm is launched on the Cromarty Firth, Thye National,  SEPTEMBER 13TH, 2016 IT towers 49ft tall, weighs almost 200 tonnes and could mark the moment the tide turns for marine renewables, is is claimed.

The world’s first large-scale tidal energy farm was launched on Scotland’s coast yesterday.

The initial turbine for the MeyGen tidal stream project was unveiled at Nigg Energy Park on the Cromarty Firth, a former production centre for the oil and gas sector.

The massive structure, which will be installed in the Pentland Firth between Caithness and Orkney, has blades measuring 52 feet in diameter and developer Atlantis Resources eventually plans to add 268 others to create enough capacity to power 175,000 homes.

Maf Smith, deputy chief executive of industry body Renewables UK, hailed the development, saying: “New technology like this will be powering our nation for decades to come.”

Meanwhile, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged Westminster to honour a commitment to provide assurances for marine energy in its renewables support scheme or risk “irreparable damage” to the sector.

However, Tim Cornelius, chief executive of Edinburgh-based Atlantis Resources, said the launch was a “significant moment” for the green energy sector the world over…….

September 16, 2016 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Major USA utility sees Renewables and Efficiency as a Better Deal Than Nuclear

poster renewables not nuclearHow a Major Utility Came to See Renewables and Efficiency as a Better Deal Than Nuclear Greeen Tech Media by Tam Hunt  September 14, 2016 Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s biggest utility, made a historic proposal to shut down California’s last nuclear power plant, called Diablo Canyon. PG&E is arguing that replacing Diablo’s output with a mix of energy efficiency and renewables will not only cost less than relicensing Diablo, but will also lead to a more reliable and flexible grid. ……..

The benefits of preferred resources

Energy efficiency and renewables come with none of the downsides of nuclear power. There is no radioactive waste that must be stored for literally thousands of years, there is no terrorist target, there is no ticking time bomb waiting for an earthquake to trigger it. There is a much larger footprint for renewables like solar and wind, but many countries around the world are demonstrating now that these resources can reach high penetration levels without spoiling views, impacting wildlife overly much, or taking up too much land.

Another benefit of shutting down Diablo that PG&E highlights in the joint application is the ability to better absorb increasing amounts of renewable energy. Diablo is a very large non-flexible “baseload” resource. It can’t be turned up or down to accommodate variable renewable resources — it’s either on or off. And as we push toward the current goal of 50 percent renewables by 2030, which is now mandated by law (SB 350), we need more flexible resources to accommodate an ever-increasing share of renewables.

Moreover, having such large, inflexible resources on the grid requires its own share of backup power, because if Diablo experiences a scheduled or unscheduled outage, such an outage will generally require replacement resources to make up for this loss. Renewables like wind and solar get a lot of negative attention for being variable and needing some grid backup, but this problem is actually far worse with very large inflexible generation assets like Diablo. By shutting down Diablo at the end of its current license, system-reserve requirements will actually be reduced.

How to avoid further nuclear boondoggles

The recent shutdown of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in Southern California turned into an extremely contentious battle over a number of issues, but primarily over who should bear the cost of this extremely expensive power plant.

PG&E’s joint application may entail some similar issues, as it requests a full reimbursement of all costs for the plant to date, without specifying exactly what those costs will be. As described above, the net cost of replacing Diablo with preferred resources will be about one-third less than the equivalent cost of relicensing Diablo.

That said, PG&E will need to present more information about the full costs of the shutdown, including the costs of decommissioning. With respect to SONGS, the total shutdown and decommissioning costs became a major issue. To avoid a similar fate, PG&E should be as transparent as possible as early as possible……

September 16, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, ENERGY, USA | Leave a comment

Geothermal power in use in Japan

After Fukushima, Japan turns to geothermal power for energy, By Michiyo Ishida, Japan Bureau Chief, Channel NewsAsia 11 Sep 2016 “…….. Japan’s largest geothermal plant – the Hatchobaru Geothermal Power Station – is located in Oita, southern Japan. Its total output is 110,000 kilowatts, and it powers about 37,000 households.

“Normally, you would utilise the steam straight from the source. But if there is energy left in the hot water, steam is drawn from there and it is used to generate energy. By doing that, we can increase power output by 20 per cent,” said the power station’s Vice-Director, Seiki Kawazoe.

The Kyushu Electric Power Company said this is an original technology known as the double flash system, which helps to raise energy efficiency.

The Hatchobaru plant generates the largest geothermal energy output in Japan, and it is able to do so as it is located in Oita, home to about 4,400 hot springs.

Geothermal energy can provide a stable supply of electric power. Kyushu Electric Power Company said it is still not ready to replace nuclear power altogether. The main constraints are the cost and the time to build the full infrastructure…….

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

Norway’s green energy from hydropower

hydro-powerBeauty and power: how Norway is making green energy look good, , Guardian, 8 Sept 16 
On the edge of a forest in northern Norway, an unusually handsome hydroelectric plant is generating a buzz 
Ovre Forsland is a big departure from the hulking power stations that traditionally served our energy needs. It looks more like an elegant, custom‑built home from TV show Grand Designs.

Located in the Helgeland district in northern Norway, it’s a small hydroelectric power station capable of supplying 1,600 homes with power.

Designed by Norwegian architecture firm Stein Hamre Arkitektkontor, it sits on a riverbed at the edge of a forest, with an exterior that aims to reflect the irregular shapes of the spruce trees forming its backdrop.

“It’s a small plant. The biggest stations in this region were built in the late 50s and 60s to serve industry, but in the last 15 years it has been much smaller projects,” says Torkil Nersund, production manager at the plant’s owner, energy company HelgelandsKraft.

“It’s the perfect place; the environment is fantastic. This region is known for its spectacular nature, so we thought the building should try to live up to the surroundings.”

The station benefits from a 157-metre drop in the Forsland river, and uses two Francis water turbines to turn the flow of water into electricity for the surrounding community. It produces about 30 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of power, with the flexibility of its storage system ensuring it can meet surges in demand.

“Øvre Forsland does not only serve hydropower to people in the region. Its purpose is also to bring attention to hydropower, the history around it and the benefits,” says Nersund.

“You can say that hydropower will play a main role in renewable society in the future, so we want more attention on the hydropower business.”………

September 12, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewable alternatives to Hinkley nuclear power now looking practical and economic

renewable-energy-pictureflag-UKAlternatives to Hinkley , NuClear News No 88 September 16 “……With on-shore wind and solar projects now going ahead at much lower CfD strike prices than that promised for Hinkley, if and when it started up in the mid to late 2020s, the alternative scenarios are beginning to look very attractive, even when the extra cost of grid balancing to deal with the variability of wind and solar is included. And crucially, offshore wind projects are now set to get a lower strike price from 2026 (£85/MWh) than Hinkley would get if it ever starts up- £92.50/MWh. With only 38% of the UK public now supporting nuclear power, and 81% backing renewables, it seems like a rethink is called for, says Professor Dave Elliott. (19)

Dong Energy, the world’s leading developer of offshore wind, says it is ready to offer the UK more offshore wind power should Theresa May scrap Hinkley. Dong’s chief executive officer Henrik Poulsen told Bloomberg “offshore wind could be an economically-viable alternative to nuclear. In contrast to the massive price of building the UK’s next generation of nuclear power stations and the very high strike price for the project, costs in the offshore wind sector are coming down quickly.” (20)

Jeremy Leggett, the founder of solar panel maker Solarcentury, is delighted that others are picking up on arguments he has been making for years. “Finally the message is getting through that Hinkley, and indeed nuclear, make no sense today simply because wind and solar are cheaper. If we accelerate renewables in the UK, we can get to 100% renewable power well before 2050,” he says. “The message is getting through on the feasibility of this too. One thousand cities around the world are committed to 100% renewable supply, some as soon as 2030. More than 60 giant corporations are committed to 100% [low carbon] supply, some as soon as 2020.” The Economist believes improved electricity storage is a key answer to the frequently repeated criticism of wind and solar that it is intermittent, and points out that battery technology is fast improving. The magazine also champions interconnectors, which can link energy-hungry Britain with northern Europe, where there is a wind-energy surplus, or with a country such as Iceland – a centre of geothermal power due to its volcanoes. The Economist concludes: “All of these options would be cheaper than Hinkley, which would take 10 years to get going and represent a huge, continuing cost to bill payers, if it ever worked at all. Such a strategy would also buy time to see what new technologies emerge.” (21)

The government expects solar and wind power to be cheaper than new nuclear power by the time Hinkley Point C is completed, its own projections show. An unpublished report by the energy department shows that it expects onshore wind power and large-scale solar to cost around £50-75 per megawatt hour of power generated in 2025. New nuclear is anticipated to be around £85-125/MWh, in line with the guaranteed price of £92.50/MWh that the government has offered Hinkley’s developer, EDF. On previous forecasts, made in 2010 and 2013, the two renewable technologies were expected to be more expensive than nuclear or around the same cost. This is the first time the government has shown it expects them to be a cheaper option. The figures were revealed in a National Audit Office (NAO) report on nuclear in July. “The [energy] department’s forecasts for the levelised cost of electricity of wind and solar in 2025 have decreased since 2010. The cost forecast for gas has not changed, while for nuclear it has increased,” the NAO said. …..”

September 10, 2016 Posted by | renewable | Leave a comment

Major city bucks the South Korean pro nuclear trend, with Seoul’s success in renewable energy

renewables-not-nukesflag-S-KoreaHow Japan’s Nuclear Disaster Still Haunts South Korea’s Biggest City, Seoul is trying to go green — but not the shade associated with plutonium. Huffington Post, Alexander C. Kaufman 10/09/2016 NEW YORK ― In 2010, South Korea seemed to be all-in on nuclear power. The country had won a landmark bid a year earlier to build nuclear reactors across the Middle East, including a $20.4 billion deal to build four power plants in the United Arab Emirates. A top-ranking minister called for a “renaissance of nuclear energy.” Some 66 percent of South Koreans said they supported building new nuclear plants, more than any other country in a 2010 report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency.
A year later, everything changed. The March 2011 tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in northeast Japan, causing the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

That presented a problem for Park Won-soon, the eco-minded human rights lawyer elected mayor of Seoul eight months after the disaster……..

Nearly a year after the Fukushima disaster, Park unveiled the city’s flagship energy policy, dubbed the “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” initiative. It aimed to reduce overall energy consumption and became the cornerstone of Seoul’s plan to overhaul its power production, in part by encouraging more people to install solar panels on rooftops. Park set a goal of cutting energy use by one nuclear power plant’s output, the equivalent of 2 million tons of burning oil.

It worked. Seoul reached its target in June 2014 ― six months ahead of schedule, according to a government report. Now, as part of the second phase of the plan, Seoul is working to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million tons.

But the plan also highlighted a fissure between the national government and the local leaders of Korea’s capital, a megacity where over half the country’s population lives. The national government has plans to build 11 more plants by 2024.

Seoul also continues to issue feed-in tariffs ― payments to customers who produce their own energy and sell it back to the grid ― to households in hopes of spurring more rooftop solar production, a policy the central government scrapped in 2011.

“We cannot eliminate at once the whole nuclear power [industry],” Park said. “But as an experiment of Seoul, we can, step by step, eliminate [the need for] nuclear power.”

That experiment has yielded some significant progress. A core component of Seoul’s second-phase clean energy plan is electrical “self-reliance.” As part of the plan, the city has invested heavily in solar energy, granting five-year subsidies to small solar plants producing less than 100 kilowatt-hours of energy, according to areport by the consulting giant KPMG.

Just as South Korea has exported its nuclear reactor technology, the country is now becoming a major source of solar energy hardware. Sales of solar panels and other equipment reached $2.01 billion in the first half of this year, a 46.7 percent jump from the same period last year, Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported on Friday.

For the past two years, Seoul has hosted a three-day fair for investors to showcase upcoming clean energy projects. This year’s fair took place last week.

September 10, 2016 Posted by | renewable, South Korea | Leave a comment