nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Chernobyl – from nuclear wreck to solar power farm

Chernobyl nuclear power plant transformed into a massive solar plant,  http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/chernobyl-nuclear-power-plant-transformed-into-a-massive-solar-plant/news-story/2d8d365ca1a6a7bde0c75c2372e888ed  [excellent graphs and photos] 

IT was the site of the world’s worst ecological disaster, but Chernobyl has risen from the ashes of its nuclear meltdown and is undergoing a massive makeover. News Corp Australia Network JANUARY 15, 2018 AT ground zero of Ukraine’s Chernobyl tragedy, workers in orange vests are busy erecting hundreds of dark-coloured panels as the country gets ready to launch its first solar plant to revive the abandoned territory.

The new one-megawatt power plant is located just a hundred metres from the new “sarcophagus”, a giant metal dome sealing the remains of the 1986 Chernobyl accident, the worst nuclear disaster in the world.

This solar power plant can cover the needs of a medium-sized village”, or about 2,000 flats, Yevgen Varyagin, the head of the Ukrainian-German company Solar Chernobyl which carried out the project, told AFP.

Eventually, the region is to produce 100 times the initial solar power, the company says.

The amount of sunshine “here is the same as in the south of Germany,” says Varyagin.

Ukraine, which has stopped buying natural gas from Russia in the last two years, is seeking to exploit the potential of the Chernobyl uninhabited exclusion zone that surrounds the damaged nuclear power plant and cannot be farmed.

CHERNOBYL EXCLUSION ZONE ‘SUITABLE FOR SCIENCE’

Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl plant exploded April 26, 1986 and the fallout contaminated up to three quarters of Europe, according to some estimates, especially hitting Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

Following the disaster, Soviet authorities evacuated hundreds of thousands of people and this vast territory, over 2,000 square kilometres wide, has remained abandoned.

The plant continued to operate the remaining reactors, the last of which was shut down in 2000, ending industrial activity in the area.

People cannot return to live in the zone for “more than 24,000 years”, according to the Ukrainian authorities, who nevertheless argue that a prudent industrial use can be possible again.

This territory obviously cannot be used for agriculture, but it is quite suitable for innovative and scientific projects,” Ostap Semerak, Ukrainian Minister of the Environment and one of the promoters of placing solar projects in Chernobyl, told AFP in 2016.

The installation of a huge dome above the ruins of the damaged reactor just over a year ago made the realisation of the solar project possible.

Funded by the international community, it covered the old concrete structure which had become cracked and unstable, to ensure greater isolation of the highly radioactive magma in the reactor.

As a result, radiation near the plant plummeted to just one-tenth of previous levels, according to official figures

Even so, precautions are still necessary: the solar panels are fixed onto a base of concrete blocks rather than placed on the ground.

The soil remains contaminated, explains Varyagin, whose group is a joint venture between the Ukrainian firm Rodina Energy Group and Germany’s Enerparc AG.

We can not drill or dig here because of the strict safety rules,” he says.

Last year the consortium completed a 4.2-megawatt solar power plant in the irradiated zone in neighbouring Belarus, not far from Chernobyl.

Ukrainian authorities offered investors nearly 2,500 hectares (25 square kilometres) for potential construction of solar power plants in Chernobyl.

Kiev has received about 60 proposals from foreign companies — including American, Chinese, Danish and French — who are considering participating in future solar developments in the area, according to Olena Kovalchuk, spokeswoman of the State Administration for the zone of Chernobyl.

Investors are attracted by the price that Ukraine has set for solar electricity, which “exceeds on average by 50 per cent of that in Europe”, Oleksandr Kharchenko, executive director of the Energy Industry Research Center, told AFP

He adds that cheap land and the proximity of the power grids makes Chernobyl particularly attractive, though there is still no rush of western investors to the region.

Safety concerns and Ukraine’s notorious bureaucracy and corruption has put some off.

It is very important to have guarantees that working in the Chernobyl zone will be safe for those who will be doing it,” says Anton Usov, adviser to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The bank does not currently foresee any investment to Ukraine in this field.

Advertisements

January 17, 2018 Posted by | renewable, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Renewable energy prices rapidly falling, becoming competitive with traditional fuels

City AM , New York, 13th Jan 2018, Renewable energy to be competitive with fossil fuels by 2020 as prices drop. The cost of generating renewable power is falling at an “unprecedented” rate, and by 2020, all renewable technologies will be price competitive with traditional fossil fuels, a new report says.

Since 2010, the cost of generating power from onshore wind has fallen by around a quarter, while solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity costs have dropped by 73 per cent, according to a report published today by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

Within just two years years, Irena expects solar energy generation costs to halve, and it said the best onshore wind and solar PV projects could be delivering electricity for an equivalent of 3 cents (2 pence) per kilowatt hour (kWh), or less.

The report said the current cost spectrum for fossil fuel power generation ranges from 5 to 17 cents per kWh. In comparison, all current commercial forms of green energy are expected to generate in the range of 3 to 10 cents per kWh by 2020.

“Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now – overwhelmingly – a smart economic one,” said Adnan Amin, Irena’s director general.
http://www.cityam.com/278717/renewable-energy-competitive-fossil-fuels-2020-prices-drop

January 15, 2018 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

China becoming the global leader in renewable energy

Guardian 10th Jan 2018, China is moving towards becoming a global leader in renewable technology as
the US pulls away, a new report has said.

China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases and still invests in coal but in recent years
it has become the largest investor in domestic renewable energy. The
country is now on track to lead international investment in the sector,
according to the report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial
Analysis (IEEFA).

“As the global transition toward renewables gains pace
and as battery storage and electric vehicles technologies pick up momentum,
China is setting itself up to dominate these sectors globally over the next
several dec ades of this century,” said IEEFA. IEEFA identified a record
high spend of more than US$44bn by China on international takeovers and
projects worth more than $1bn – a 38% year-on-year growth.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/10/china-on-track-to-lead-in-renewables-as-us-retreats-report-says

January 12, 2018 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

How tidal energy could help Japan with its nuclear power problem

After the tsunami: how tidal energy could help Japan with its nuclear power problem, The Conversation,  Simon Waldman, Most of the new renewable energy available in 2030 is likely to be solar and wind, along with existing hydropower, but some contribution from the tides is possible. To this end, a zone in the Goto Islands of Nagasaki Prefecture has been designated for tidal energy development, and a cluster of companies plans to install the first turbine in 2019. This project will be of the tidal stream type, where underwater turbines are placed in the free flow without any dam or barrage, similar to the MeyGen projectin Scotland……
If the relatively small-scale development in Goto is a success, it could act as a proving ground and a springboard, leading to the use of tidal energy in other locations all over Japan. And for a country ambivalent about its return to dependence on nuclear power, additional contributions from renewable energy will be welcome. https://theconversation.com/after-the-tsunami-how-tidal-energy-could-help-japan-with-its-nuclear-power-problem-89106

January 12, 2018 Posted by | Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

Technology advances and plunging costs of cheap renewables make base load nuclear power redundant

Cheap renewables undercut nuclear power
The technology advances and plunging costs of cheap renewables make base load nuclear power redundant. Climate News Network, by Paul Brown, LONDON, 29 December, 2017 – Cheap renewables are mounting a serious challenge to nuclear power, which in 2017 has had a difficult year.

Key projects have been abandoned, costs are rising, and politicians in countries which previously championed the industry are withdrawing their support.

Renewables, on the other hand, especially wind and solar power, have continued to expand at an enormous rate. Most importantly, they have got significantly cheaper.

And newer technologies like large-scale battery storage and production of hydrogen are becoming economic, because they harness cheap power from excess renewable capacity.

This latest trend – the production of hydrogen from excess wind and solar power– raises the possibility of replacing natural gas, at least in part, for domestic heating and cooking and for power stations.

The output from renewables can be stored and balanced out. Base load nuclear power is no longer needed

Many existing gas pipelines and domestic networks are equally capable of taking natural gas, biogas and hydrogen, or a mixture of all three.

The speed with which the transition is taking place has exceeded all official estimates. In favourable locations across the world, including the United States, Europe and India, onshore wind and solar farms are the least expensive way of producing electricity.

Even off-shore wind, five years ago more expensive than nuclear power, has developed so quickly that the latest Dutch off-shore farms are to be built without any subsidy at all.

These advances in renewables that are cutting the cost of power are in sharp contrast to continued cost overruns and delays in nuclear power stations.

An analysis of countries’ plans for tackling climate change showed that 108 were looking to expand renewables and just nine wanted to build new nuclear stations.

US blow

The biggest single blow to nuclear power’s expansion came in August: two nuclear reactors under construction in the US state of South Carolina were abandoned when 40% complete. ……

The continued difficulties of nuclear power are reflected in the French government’s declared intention to reduce nuclear’s share in electricity generation from 75% to 50%, by closing old stations and building more renewables.

Long delay

While it will not close old reactors as fast as it originally intended, France does not plan to build any new nuclear plants beyond the one still awaiting completion at Flamanville, which is years late and over budget.

The South Korean government has similarly been promising to halt nuclear expansion and develop more renewables. Japan, still suffering from the after-effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, is abandoning plans to restart some of its older reactors because of public resistance and the expense of upgrading safety.

Even in China and Russia, where state control means market economics have little effect on decision-making, plans to build more nuclear stations appear to be on hold, although no official statements have been made.

This has not stopped the nuclear industries in all these countries trying to export their technologies – notably to the UK, which is inviting all of them except Russia to build their latest nuclear power station design on its shores. If the plans succeed, the UK would have four different designs

The most advanced of these, Hinkley Point C in the west of England, is a set of two reactors of similar design to the badly delayed French reactor at Flamanville. It was originally due to be completed by Christmas 2017, but is now scheduled for 2025, although that is now seen as optimistic……..

The claim to a bright future which the nuclear industry clung to for the last 20 years was that the technology produced large quantities of low carbon electricity at a low price – something that intermittent renewables could not do.

In 2017 it is clear this argument has fallen apart. Nuclear is ever more expensive, and the cost is growing, while renewables are getting cheaper all the time.

But perhaps most important is that, with the development of batteries, biogas and hydrogen, the output from renewables can be stored and balanced out. Base load nuclear power is no longer needed. – Climate News Network https://climatenewsnetwork.net/cheap-renewables-undercut-nuclear-power/

December 30, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

In America Renewable Energy is beating Fossil Fuels

Report: U.S. Renewables Outpace Fossil Fuels, Nuclear, https://solarindustrymag.com/report-u-s-renewables-outpace-fossil-fuels-nuclear, Joseph Bebon, ecember 26, 2017, The amount of U.S. renewable energy grew during the first 10 months of 2017 while electricity generation from fossil fuels and nuclear power declined, according to a new analysis from the SUN DAY Campaign.

Citing the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly” report (with data through Oct. 31), the group says U.S. renewables increased by 14.6% during the first 10 months of this year compared to the same period in 2016 and provided 17.7% of the nation’s electrical generation.

For the first time, solar has topped 2.0% of U.S. electrical output while wind exceeded 6.0%, reaching 6.14%, according to the SUN DAY Campaign. Hydropower accounted for 7.6% of total generation while biomass contributed 1.6% and geothermal 0.4%.

Thus, the group notes, solar and wind combined now account for a greater share of U.S. electrical generation than hydropower.

According to the group, U.S. electrical production by all renewable energy sources grew during the first 10 months of 2017, with solar up by 43.3%, hydroelectric by 13.8%, wind by 12.6%, biomass by 2.2%, and geothermal by 1.9%.

By comparison, electrical generation by oil dropped by 15.9%, natural gas by 9.4%, coal by 2.3%, and nuclear power by 0.6%, the SUN DAY Campaign concludes.

December 27, 2017 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Forget the climate argument: in Central Texas, wind energy means JOBS

In Central Texas Where Wind Power Means Jobs, Climate Talk Is Beside the Point, Wind turbines bring jobs, tax dollars for new schools, income security for farmers and energy independence. To these Texans, climate change has little to do with it. BY MEERA SUBRAMANIAN, INSIDECLIMATE NEWS
DEC 26, 2017 “………..
 Wind’s Ascent

Wind energy development in Nolan County dates back to 2001, when the first wind farmswere constructed in the area. A perfect confluence of events led to the growth of the industry since then.

There was a supportive state government, led by Republicans George W. Bush and then Rick Perry, pushing for wind by putting the regulatory and infrastructure pieces in place to make it successful. The state’s nearly autonomous electric grid meant no troublesome cross-border or federal approval was needed to get wind electricity from places like Sweetwater to the green-leaning urban markets clamoring for renewable energy. And then there were the Texans themselves, ever eager to use their land and diversify their revenue sources, especially as recurring droughts killed off the cotton and the livestock, and oil fields were either going dry or failing to pay for themselves. At the same time, federal incentives came (and went, and came again) in the form of production tax credits that helped the wind industry offset large investment costs.

If Texas were a nation, it would be the sixth-largest wind energy producer in the world. The bulk of that power is coming from the Nolan County region. And so the reddest parts of Texas are responsible for supplying upwards of 12 percent of the state’s energy needs every month with clean, green kilowatts. Occasionally, as happened one day in the blustery month of October this year (a time when those energy-sucking A/C units are switched off and electricity usage is low), it provided more than half of the electricity to the state’s power grid.

The Lure of Wind Industry Jobs

As the wind industry grew through the early 2000s, so did a desperate need for skilled labor. What emerged was the 2008 launch of TSTC’s Wind Energy Technology program, where James enrolled in 2010 and where he returned to teach in 2013 after working in the field for a couple of years.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wind technician is currently the second-fastest growing job in America (beat out only by solar photovoltaic installer). By the end of last year, there were more than 100,000 jobs related to the wind industry nationwide, at least one-fifth of them in Texas. When the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) launched a seal of approval for wind technician programs in 2011, TSTC was one of only three schools in the U.S. to receive it.

The students James teaches are a slice of the next generation of wind workers for an industry that, at least in this part of the country, has already established itself. They include veterans and women, those leaning politically right and left, environmentalists and climate change skeptics, the civically engaged and those who never vote. The clean energycomponent seems to be a bonus for some, but it was not the primary reason they chose this field. There is the laid-off gas worker who noticed all the wind turbines on the horizon and thought there must be an opportunity there. The English major who couldn’t find a job and remembered how much she liked the outdoor work on her family’s farm in the Texas panhandle. The two veterans who liked the element of risk and heights and the sweet spot of job independence and camaraderie………..

wind energy had bolstered the local economy.

“In pre-wind, our county taxable value was $500 million,” Ken explained. “In 2008, it was $2.8 billion,” a five-fold increase that translated to new schools and grand expansions at the local hospital. That’s money for the town, but also a steady income for local landowners, some of whom earn up to $1,000 per month from having a single commercial turbine on their property—and most of the region’s world-class wind farms are dotted across private land. Many say they’re “not sure they’d even have the ranch today if the wind didn’t come on,” Ken told me……..

complementary industries are the ecosystem that wind power belongs to—and its reach is growing. Repowering, which vastly increases efficiency by either replacing old turbines for more powerful ones or upgrading components, means more megawatts with the same footprint. It also means a whole new category of jobs. While I was there, evidence of these peripheral industries was everywhere. I watched 80-foot blades swapped out for ones twice as long. (The production tax credits helped these efforts, too.) I visited Global Fiberglass Solutions of Texas, which was setting up shop in an old aluminum recycling plant to process the decommissioned blades—which were being amassed in a 10-acre field—into building panels and other materials…….

The best places for wind are often the places that are struggling to keep rural communities alive.

What was happening in Nolan County proved that the debate about how we generate our kilowatts doesn’t have to be about climate change. It could be about embracing whatever clean energy options are available to help make small-town America economically viable. In this deeply red place, it was the embodiment of President Barack Obama’s all-of-the-above strategy. At the close of 2016, 86 percent of the country’s onshore wind turbines were located in Republican districts, according to the 2016 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report. Indeed, Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and John Thune of South Dakota were some of the primary advocates responsible for keeping the PTC in place in the final version of the tax overhaul bill, which was signed Dec. 22…….. https://insideclimatenews.org/news/26122017/wind-energy-jobs-booming-texas-clean-renewable-power-climate-change

December 27, 2017 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Survey finds strong support in France for renewable energy, not nuclear

French people support energy transition, survey reveals, Energy Transition by Energiewende Team19 Dec 2017“……… It is often said that the French people strongly support nuclear energy as a jewel of the French industry. However, a survey commissioned by the French office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation and the French Think tank La Fabrique écologique, carried out by the research institute Harris Interactive, shows that the French people would rather like to pull up the anchor and set sail for a new model based on renewable energy.

Indeed, 91 % of interviewees consider the energy transition as “priority issue” (47%) or a “major issue” (44%). 63% see the energy transition as an opportunity rather than as a threat (11 %). But what should energy transition look like, according to them?

A clear preference for the development of renewable energy

The trend is very clear: 83 % of French people think France should prioritize investments in renewable energy. Only 12% of the interviewees prefer that investments go towards the modernization and life extension of nuclear power plants. 66 % of respondents come out against the construction of new nuclear power plants. It shows that the advertising and constantly repeated arguments that nuclear energy – often described as “clean energy” – is the only adequate solution when it comes to fighting climate change is not having the intended effect on French public opinion.

Also surprising is the fact that the actor in which the French people have the most confidence to lead the energy transition is neither the state (trusted by 49% of the interviewees) nor the energy producers and providers like the state owned EDF (trusted by only 46%). Rather, people trust citizen energy cooperatives (trusted by 78%), as well as NGOs and associations (trusted by 66 %).

A positive view of the Energiewende

Another salient point of the survey is the opinion of the French people about the German energy transition. Respondents perceived the German Energiewende much more positively than their economic and political elites……..

Over half of them see the Energiewende as “a good example for the energy transition.” Last but not least, the French people think France should work more closely with Europe (54%) and with Germany (51%) on energy issues……

The complete results of the survey (in French) are available here: Enquête “Le rapport des Francais à l’énergie” – Harris Interactive

In the press :

December 22, 2017 Posted by | France, public opinion, renewable | Leave a comment

For the Philippines the low cost, high-value option is renewable energy

Renewable energy – the low cost, high-value option for the Philippines, Manila BulletinBy Eddie O’Connor, Chairman, Global Wind Energy Council and Mainstream Renewable Power “…..One of the perceptions about renewable energy and the transition to a low-carbon economy is that this technology will impose costs on the Philippines that it cannot afford, particularly in the generation of electricity where coal will have to be replaced by wind and solar power.In fact, renewable energy will save the Philippines money, make its economy more competitive, and boost living standards and consumer purchasing power. At the conference the chairman of the National Renewable Energy Board presented a study by the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation that showed that far from being a burden on the country, the existing renewable energy programme has reduced the overall cost of electricity.

This is because unlike coal or gas power, the variable cost of production for wind or solar energy is zero. This happens because the fuel – the wind and the sun – is free. This electricity is used first to satisfy customer demand, before the system operator brings on more expensive coal power. The overall effect is to depress the wholesale cost of electricity on the spot market.

By using this wind and solar power, the grid operator avoids the cost of operating the more expensive coal and oil plant. Over the three years of the PEMC study from 2014-2017 this avoided cost was 18.7billion pesos; a very significant sum………

n the Philippines all the customer sees on their bill is the cost of the tariff supporting new wind and solar power. What they don’t see is the overall savings accrued through this reduction in the price of electricity.

Knowing that, despite the cost of the tariff, the introduction of wind and solar power onto the system actually saves the customer money, the government in Ireland continues to support renewable energy, and we now have 22% of our electricity capacity from these two sources of generation.

The Philippines can follow this trajectory and aim to have 25% of its electricity capacity supplied by wind and solar energy in the coming decade. The savings that will accrue to the customer will be considerable. Funds that would otherwise be spent on coal or oil can be invested in other infrastructure. Consumers will have additional spending power. The economy will get an extra boost.

Electricity made from wind and solar does not require any fuel to be bought from abroad. The wind and sun belongs to the country. It will be there forever. It doesn’t matter what external price shocks impact on oil or coal, the wind will blow and the sun will shine and their unit cost will remain at zero.

By moving ahead of its regional ASEAN partners and setting ambitious targets for wind and solar power, the Philippines can also attract investment in the supply chain. Early movers into renewable energy like Brazil, Germany, China and Morocco have created new industries and thousands of new jobs. Why should the Philippines subsidise mining jobs in Australia and Indonesia when it could be building the plant that will supply its own clean energy sectors and those across the region?…..https://news.mb.com.ph/2017/12/21/renewable-energy-the-low-cost-high-value-option-for-the-philippines/

December 22, 2017 Posted by | Philippines, renewable | Leave a comment

Australia claims world first: fully solar-powered train

World-first solar train now leaving the platform in Byron Bay with zero emissions, ABC North Coast , By Bruce Mackenzie, 17  Dec 17,  What is claimed to be the world’s first fully solar-powered train is operating on the New South Wales North Coast.

A refurbished 70-year-old ‘red rattler’ is running on a three-kilometre stretch of disused rail line at the popular tourist destination of Byron Bay.

It made its maiden trip yesterday with almost 100 passengers on board.

Electric bus solar system

The $4-million project is the brainchild of multi-millionaire businessman Brian Flannery, who owns a resort in the area.

“Hopefully it attracts people to Byron Bay,” Mr Flannery said.

“I think international tourists will come here to have a look at this world’s first solar train.

“So let’s see, in five years’ time they’ll probably still say I’m mad, but it’s a bit of fun.”

Tim Elderton, from the Lithgow Railway Workshop, was tasked with building curved solar panels and a battery system to power the train.

“Of course the major difference is it’s got solar panels on the roof so it can recharge itself.

“For those cloudy days we’ve also got 30 kilowatts of solar panels in this [station’s] roof here so we can also plug it in.

“On a sunny day like today we can do about four or five trips before we have to plug it in.”……..

Tram infrastructure a possibility

Longer trips than this one — 10 minutes to cover three kilometres or so — would require regular recharging stations along the route, but Mr Flannery said the technology might be suited to inner-city trams.

A lot of the tram networks of course have overhead wires and they’re electric but they’re powered off the grid from overhead,” he said.

“But in a case where you want to build a tramline without that infrastructure, I think you could.

“At various stations you could top the train [or tram] up.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-16/world-first-solar-train-the-brainchild-of-byron-bay-millionaire/9265522

December 18, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes, decentralised, energy storage | Leave a comment

Solar power – now a winner for Chile

FT 7th Dec 2017, About 200 megawatts per hour pulse from Latin America’s largest solar
power station into nearby transmission lines that stretch more than 600km
south to the capital Santiago from its location in the Atacama Desert, one
of the driest and sunniest places on earth.

“This is the face of the future of Chile,” says José Ignacio Escobar, general manager in Latin
America for Spain’s Acciona, which built and operates El Romero. “Chile
may be poor in old energy, but it is very rich in renewables. Can you see a
single cloud?” he asks, gesturing towards the indigo sky that is so clear
that the world’s most powerful telescopes are built in the Atacama.

It is only recently that Chile began to harvest the formidable power of the
Atacama’s sun. Just five years ago, the country produced negligible
amounts of renewable energy and was heavily dependent on imports from its
unreliable neighbours, suffering from blackouts and some of the highest
energy prices in the world. But this shortage of fossil fuels has
stimulated an unprecedented boom in investment in renewable — and
especially solar — energy since then, despite a contraction in investment
in almost all other sectors during a period of economic stagnation at the
end of the commodities boom.
https://www.ft.com/content/f175ba48-d96e-11e7-a039-c64b1c09b482

December 9, 2017 Posted by | renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Solar power to take over, on Chernobyl’s nuclear wasteland

Chernobyl’s nuclear wasteland primed for solar power explosionBellona,  by Charles Digges, Some would be rightly spooked by the idea of electricity produced by a glowing source emanating from Chernobyl, but thanks to a €100 million investment plan, that’s exactly what’s could happen.

It’s not, however, what you think. The electricity will come from a solar park sprouting in the middle of the carcinogenic wastelands surrounding the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster as part of a joint project between a Kiev engineering firm called Rodina Energy Group and Enerparc, a clean energy company based in Hamburg, Germany.

Ukraine’s minister of ecology, Ostap Semerak, announced a plan last July to revitalize the nearly 2000-kilometer swathe of land encircling the plant that gave nuclear disaster its name.

Long lasting radiation in the area makes farming, forestry, hunting, and just about anything else too dangerous, so renewable energy is seen as something productive to do with the huge empty area.

Luckily, all of the transmission lines that were laid to carry electrons from the notorious plant to Ukraine’s major cities – and that helped feed what is now the country’s 50 percent reliance on nuclear energy – remain largely intact.

When it’s done, the solar park could provide half the energy that originally flowed from Chernobyl, marking an inspiring comeback for an area inhabited by dystopian radioactive wild boar……..

the Chernobyl area could end up producing 2.5 gigawatts of solar produced electricity, pumping out half of what Chernobyl uses to produce before it melted down and exploded – with absolutely none of the danger……..

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ­– which financed Chernobyl’s New Containment Structure – is understandably wary of bankrolling projects in a radioactive exclusion zone. The solar farms, after all, are installed and maintained by people.

This poses some very real difficulties. Workers can only spend a limited amount of time in the exclusion zone, so their shifts are short, which means a bigger workforce is required – as is more money to pay them.

Yet they are challenges worth grappling with. If Ukraine manages to create a renewable energy rebirth on the site of the nuclear disaster that helped fell the Soviet Union, it would be a revolution of an altogether different kind.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | renewable, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Armenia considers plan to abandon nuclear power and go for renewables

Armenia Debates Shift Away From Nuclear Power, Eurasia Net  December 6, 2017 – Oksana Musaelyan 

With its aged nuclear power plant scheduled to close in a decade, Armenians are discussing the feasibility of a shift to renewable energy.

A new Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the European Union has helped catalyze the renewables discussion. Metsamor, the only nuclear plant in the Caucasus, provides about one-third of Armenia’s energy needs, but it is already past its original retirement date. As of now it is scheduled to close in 2026.

A provision in the EU partnership document calls for: “the closure and safe decommissioning of Metzamor [sic] nuclear power plant and the early adoption of a road map or action plan to that effect, taking into consideration the need for its replacement with new capacity to ensure the energy security of the Republic of Armenia and conditions for sustainable development.”

Armenia’s Justice Minister Davit Harutyunyan recently raised eyebrows by suggesting, contra previous government assurances, that the country wasn’t necessarily committed to nuclear power………

Advocates of renewable energy say that it is particularly well suited for Armenia because of its particular geopolitical situation: its borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey are closed, and its dependence on natural gas and uranium from Russia has led to an uncomfortable degree of political dependence on Moscow.

Armenia was the first country in the region to easily offer permits to construct small solar, wind, and hydro power generation plants, and today renewable energy accounts for about 12 percent of Armenia’s total power consumption. That’s projected to grow to up to 18 percent in the next two years, according to Astghine Pasoyan, head of the Armenian Foundation to Save Energy.

Most of Armenia’s renewable energy today comes from small hydropower plants; solar and wind represent only a tiny portion of Armenia’s total electricity generation. But that portion is growing: Solar panels with a capacity of 3.5 megawatts have been installed over the last 10 years, with more than two-thirds of that total built only over the last year, Pasoyan said.

Further expansion is in the cards: in May, Armenia’s Energy Ministry issued a tender for a 55 megawatt solar power facility and a contractor, Arpi Solar, said in December that it will start work on the plan “very soon.”
“We started with a very small number and the trend is huge,” Pasoyan said. “I hope that the growth is not just in large-scale generation, but in average individual families, taking control of their energy needs and by doing that also helping the country strengthen its energy security.”

Pending changes in legislation would further liberalize the energy market. “For a lot of local communities and local businesses this will be a good opportunity to invest in renewable energy,” said Alen Amirkhanyan, director of the Acopian Center for the Environment at the American University of Armenia.

Amirkhanyan said that with sufficient investment in renewables, “there will no longer be a rationale for investing in very expensive technology, like building a new power plant.”……… http://www.eurasianet.org/node/86381

December 7, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable | Leave a comment

Surge in USA storage for renewable energy

U.S. Energy Storage Surges 46% Led by Big Project in Windy Texas https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-07/u-s-energy-storage-surges-46-led-by-big-project-in-windy-texas By Brian Eckhouse 

 Power companies and developers added 41.8 megawatts of storage systems, including a 30-megawatt utility-scale project in Texas, according to a report Thursday from GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association. California added 8.4 megawatts of residential and commercial systems. The industry installed 28.6 megawatts in the third quarter of 2016.

Driven by regulatory demands and sharp price declines, energy-storage is becoming more common. Prices for lithium-ion battery packs have fallen 24 percent from 2016 levels, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Utilities including Exelon Corp.Duke Energy Corp. and American Electric Power Co., meanwhile, are increasingly receptive to storage projects, which potentially will facilitate wider adoption of wind and solar power.

 GTM forecasts that 295 megawatts will be in operation in the U.S. by year-end, up 28 percent from 2016. And more is coming. GTM projects the U.S. energy-storage market will be worth $3.1 billion in 2022, a seven-fold increase from this year.
 “Energy storage is increasingly acknowledged in utilities’ long term resource planning across the country,” Ravi Manghani, GTM Research’s director of energy storage, said in a statement.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

UK: Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit calls for windfarms: wind energy now cheapest form of electricity

No new onshore wind projects have been given contracts in the UK since a
change of government in 2015. The few still being built were awarded
contracts beforehand.

Now, an independent think tank — the Energy and
Climate Intelligence Unit — is arguing that construction of new onshore
wind farms could save electricity consumers as much as £1.5 billion
(€1.7 billion/$2 billion) over five years. Onshore wind is now the
cheapest form of electricity generation and can deliver savings even when
taking into account the costs associated with managing variability.

The report notes that a Spanish auction in May 2017 delivered onshore wind at
€43/MWh ($51/MWh) and suggests that around 1GW in the UK could be
delivered by the 15-year contracts for difference (CfD) currently used at
£49.40/MWh ($65/MWh) or less.

This is lower than the current estimate for new gas-fired generation of £66/MWh ($87/MWh). Assuming an average load
factor of 0.31 for onshore wind in the UK, 1GW would deliver 2.7TWh of
energy.

The report estimates the costs of delivering 2.7TWh by other means,
including the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, a recently-contracted
biomass project, offshore wind, combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGT) and
small modular reactors (SMR). The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit
report compares the annual generation costs from these sources.

They rangefrom £166 million in the case of onshore wind and £198 million for
offshore wind, to £271 million for Hinkley Point and £308 million in the
case of the biomass plant. The estimates for wind include an allowance for
an “integration cost” of £10/MWh ($13/MWh). This covers the costs of the
measures needed to cope with variability.
https://www.windpowermonthly.com/article/1451012/wind-economics-uk-consumers-miss-big-savings

December 4, 2017 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment