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filthy texas seeking to move into wind generation - big-time

Much sane concern is being expressed over attempts to build several more filthy fossil fuel coal generators in the profligate state of Texas.

Texas produces more wind power than any other state.
There are requests to connect 28 gigawatts in place.

1.5gw already installed.
1.5gw to be installed this year.
Shell proposes a 3gw scheme.

“Shell and Dallas-based TXU will also explore the use of combining wind with compressed air storage, in which excess power could be used to pump air underground for later use in generating electricity.” [Quoted from planetark.org]

[Storage is a major barrier to development of ‘alternative’ power.]

It is likely that the article is quoting production capacity rather than probable production - damned incompetent ‘reporters’. Probable production will be below a third of production capacity in most production sites, as the wind is intermittent.

For more background comprehension, start here:
Replacing fossil fuels - the scale of the problem

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy0705.php#texas_wind_310707





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bush and putin offer the world nuclear power

“The United States and Russia on Tuesday pledged to expand nuclear energy cooperation, make nuclear power available to other states and reduce their own strategic nuclear weapons to the lowest possible levels.”

“COOPERATION PLANS

“These included "facilitating the supply of a range of modern, safe and more proliferation resistant nuclear power reactors and research reactors appropriate to meet the varying energy needs of developing and developed countries."

“The United States and Russia will help secure financing, including through international institutions, for new nuclear plants and help states develop necessary regulations, safety standards and training programs, the statement said.

“Nuclear fuel would be provided by a Russian-Khazakhstan uranium enrichment reprocessing center or other leasing arrangements. Solutions will be developed to deal with the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste, Joseph and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak said.

“Kislyak suggested Iran and North Korea could participate but Joseph dismissed that as premature because the two states do not have "good nonproliferation credentials." ”

see also
on the deadly toll of fossil fuel filth - 700,000 deaths a year in china alone

related material
is nuclear power really really dangerous?

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy0705.php#nuclear_power_for_the_world_050707

on the biofuel mirage

“In terms of energy output compared with energy input for ethanol production, the study found that:

  • corn requires 29 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced;
  • switch grass requires 45 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced; and
  • wood biomass requires 57 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced.

“In terms of energy output compared with the energy input for biodiesel production, the study found that:

  • soybean plants requires 27 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced, and
  • sunflower plants requires 118 percent more fossil energy than the fuel produced.

“In assessing inputs, the researchers considered such factors as the energy used in producing the crop (including production of pesticides and fertilizer, running farm machinery and irrigating, grinding and transporting the crop) and in fermenting/distilling the ethanol from the water mix. Although additional costs are incurred, such as federal and state subsidies that are passed on to consumers and the costs associated with environmental pollution or degradation, these figures were not included in the analysis.”

“ "The government spends more than $3 billion a year to subsidize ethanol production when it does not provide a net energy balance or gain, is not a renewable energy source or an economical fuel. Further, its production and use contribute to air, water and soil pollution and global warming," Pimentel says. He points out that the vast majority of the subsidies do not go to farmers but to large ethanol-producing corporations.”

marker at abelard.org

“Recently, Patzek published a fifty-page study on the subject in the journal Critical Reviews in Plant Science. This time, he factored in the myriad energy inputs required by industrial agriculture, from the amount of fuel used to produce fertilizers and corn seeds to the transportation and wastewater disposal costs. All told, he believes that the cumulative energy consumed in corn farming and ethanol production is six times greater than what the end product provides your car engine in terms of power.

“Patzek is also concerned about the sustainability of industrial farming in developing nations where surgarcane and trees are grown as feedstock for ethanol and other biofuels. Using United Nations data, he examined the production cycles of plantations hundreds of billions of tons of raw material.

“ "One farm for the local village probably makes sense," he says. "But if you have a 100,000 acre plantation exporting biomass on contract to Europe , that's a completely different story. From one square meter of land, you can get roughly one watt of energy. The price you pay is that in Brazil alone you annually damage a jungle the size of Greece ." ”[Quoted from coe.berkeley.edu]

for a more in-depth discussion
biofuels briefing document

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy0705.php#biofuel_mirage_250607

the return of nuclear power

“Today, only eight countries are known to have a nuclear weapons capability. By contrast, 56 operate civil research reactors, and 30 have some 435 commercial nuclear power reactors with a total installed capacity of over 370 000 MWe (see table). This is more than three times the total generating capacity of France or Germany from all sources. Some 30 further power reactors are under construction, equivalent to 6% of existing capacity, while over 60 are firmly planned, equivalent to 18% of present capacity.

“Sixteen countries depend on nuclear power for at least a quarter of their electricity. France and Lithuania get around three quarters of their power from nuclear energy, while Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia and Ukraine get one third or more. Japan, Germany and Finland get more than a quarter of their power from nuclear energy, while the USA gets one fifth.”

Looking at the US nuclear power industry:

  • The USA has over 100 nuclear reactors providing almost 20% of its electricity. These have a high level of performance
  • With deregulation, both ownership and operation of these is becoming concentrated.
  • Extension of reactor lifetimes from 40 to 60 years is enhancing the economic competitiveness of plants.
  • The industry envisages substantial new nuclear capacity by 2020 and several regulatory initiatives are preparing the way for new orders.
“After 20 years of steady decline, government R&D funding for nuclear energy is being revived with the objective of rebuilding US leadership in nuclear technology. In 1997 nuclear fission R&D was, at US$ 37 million, lower than in France, South Korea, or Canada - only 2% of total energy R&D, which compared pathetically with 68% (US$ 2537 million) of a much larger budget in Japan. From the 1999 budget, this situation has been turned around with various programs including the flagship Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (NERI) and also Plant Optimisation. The first 45 NERI grants were awarded in 1999, signalling a reinvigoration of the federal role in nuclear research, following successful conclusion of the advanced reactor program in 1998.

“For [financial Year] 2008 (from October 2007) the Department of Energy is seeking $875 million for its nuclear energy programs. The Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative for closing the fuel cycle and supporting the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership would receive $395 million of this and Generation-IV R&D would get $36 million, chiefly for the very high temperature reactor. The Nuclear Power 2010 program aimed at early deployment of advanced reactors would get $114 million. ”

The last linked page has much other information on the history and development of nuclear power in the USA.

related material
Nuclear power - is nuclear power really really dangerous?

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy0705.php#nuclear_return_260507

even the groaniad and the socialist labour party start to bend to reality - nuclear power

“Meanwhile, a greater environmental threat has emerged in the form of manmade carbon dioxide emissions. Nuclear power is hardly a carbon-neutral enterprise, but in terms of energy output, it contributes less to global warming than fossil fuels. For the long-term future, Britain needs consistent investment in truly sustainable energy sources. There is allowance for that in the white paper with an expansion of wind farms. Meanwhile, nuclear is the least worst option.

“And not just for environmental reasons. As existing facilities become obsolete, Britain will become ever more reliant - by up to 90 per cent - on energy imports, mainly from the Gulf states and Russia. That presents an unacceptable risk both in terms of security of supply and foreign policy. The UK government already bends over backwards to appease the Saudi royal family despite its brutal and increasingly tenuous hold on power. Iraq is dangerously unstable. Britain is hardly inclined to go gas shopping in Iran." [Quoted from observer.guardian.co.uk]

marker at abelard.org

"Boosted by a new poll, which shows Brown pulling ahead of David Cameron on the issue of competence to run the country, the Chancellor will signal his support this week for a dramatic renewal of the nuclear power programme that will see the building of up to eight new stations, possibly within 15 years." [Quoted from observer.guardian.co.uk]

Well, it is a start.

related material
Nuclear power - is nuclear power really really dangerous?

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy0705.php#nuclear_britain_230506

energy—the stone age didn’t end because it ran out of stones

Interesting short interview with Daniel Nocera.

“It turns out [that] photosynthesis is one of the most efficient machines in the world for energy conversion. But it's not great for storing energy because that's not what [a plant] was built to do. It was built to live and grow and reproduce.” [Quoted from technologyreview.com, p.1]

marker at abelard.org

“One is that when [photosynthesis] splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, it uses more than one electron. This current that's running is going one electron at a time. But then [the plant] stores them and uses four electrons at once. We don't know how to do multi-electron reactions very well. We don't even have theories to describe them.

“[...] Photosynthesis actually sends not an electron but an atom. And that's even a tougher thing to do because atoms are so much heavier than electrons. So we've gotten down deep into understanding, how do you move atoms [such as hydrogen atoms] around from point A to B so that they can join up with each other? How do you assemble them so they can unite?" [Quoted from technologyreview.com, p.2]

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy0705.php#stone_age_150506

keeping a sense of balance with ‘alternative energy’

When reading about fantabulous alternative energy projects, it is wise to read carefully, to use common sense and to work to comprehend the numbers involved. Both the linked articles contain a lot of detail.

“[...] Once complete, the 40-megawatt Sarnia [photovoltaic] project will be able to supply enough emission-free electricity to power between 10,000 and 15,000 homes on sunny days.”

Note the qualification “on sunny days”!

“[...] Peak electricity consumption in Ontario yesterday was 18,055 megawatts. OptiSolar's farm could at most supply .2 per cent of that power.” [Quoted from thestar.com]

Photovoltaics are the less competitive energy source than wind, as can be seen by the greater subsidies they receive.

marker at abelard.org

“Last year they installed an amazing 62 megawatts of wind power, including one 6 megawatt turbine, the E112.” [Quoted from metaefficient.com]

Of course, the “amazing 62 megawatts” is dependant on the wind blowing. Note that, while these are useful contributions to energy production, they are miniscule related to the energy produced by conventional power stations and the energy usage in society at large.

marker at abelard.org

Here is a graph suggesting the likely contributions from various non-conventional sources to the lowering fossil fuel pollution. There is a 200-page .pdf report on tackling climate change in the U.S. at ases.org, the source of this graph.

On the graph below, EE stands for energy efficiency. If there are no improvements, pollution will increase acccording to the top of the top blue wedge. With efficiencies, the reductions will be as shown by that blue wedge. Further pollution savings are indicated by the other wedges. The two dotted lines show how much contributions must be made to reach those percentage reduction levels.

Likely contributions from various non-convventional energy sources.to reducing CO2 pollution. Image credit: ases.org

Note that the future contributions of nuclear power are not included in the graph. Nuclear power is by far the most promising source of reduced pollution.

 

related material
Replacing fossil fuels: the scale of the problem

the web address for the article above is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy0705.php#sense_of_balance_030507


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