U.S. Nuclear Power Closures Signal Wider Problems for Industry

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

A string of plant closures, project cancellations and other setbacks has raised new doubts about the future of nuclear power in the United States, but there’s disagreement about whether the retrenchment will be limited and temporary or the…

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The blows to nuclear power’s prospects have come on many fronts, but it was the surprising spurt of plant closures that laid bare the industry’s worsening plight. The plant shutdowns are the first to hit the U.S. nuclear power market in 15 years, and the retirements don’t bode well for many of the nation’s 99 remaining power reactors.

Analysts say economic woes make at least 10 other plants vulnerable enough to follow suit. Almost all of those are among the nation’s 47 “merchant” nuclear plants, which, unlike regulated plants, operate in open markets and have to beat out other power suppliers to win customers and long-term supply contracts. The especially vulnerable facilities cited by analysts are at greater risk for closure because their power is too expensive to sell profitably in wholesale markets or because their output is too small or too unreliable to support rising operating and retrofit costs.<

See on insideclimatenews.org

Robotic Technologies Applied to Solar Energy Market – Installation and Maintenance

See on Scoop.itGreen Building Design – Architecture & Engineering

Mountain View CA (SPX) Sep 20, 2013 – … robotic technologies deliver revolutionary installation and cleaning services at highly competitive prices … for building and maintenance of utility-scale solar plants..

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The typical installation process for utility-scale projects is similar to that of a small-scale, 20-panel, residential installation. Despite incremental improvements to the process, a 200,000-panel installation has retained many of the characteristics of a 20-panel installation.

They are both labor-intensive, and require repetitive bolt-tightening and glass-hauling. While these are minor flaws in a 20-panel system, they create significant inefficiencies in 20,000- or 200,000-panel systems.

Alion Energy has plugged the shortcomings of the current installation methods by changing the materials and design used in the mounting structure as well as by automating the installation. By combining robotic installation technology with established construction practices, Alion Energy has built a system twice as fast and 75 percent more labor-efficient that lowers solar electricity’s levelized cost of energy (LCOE) to compete with traditional energy sources.<

See on www.solardaily.com

World Record Solar Cell with 44.7 Percent Efficiency (news)

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Freiburg, Germany – The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Soitec, CEA-Leti and the Helmholtz Center Berlin jointly announced on late Monday having achieved a new world record for the conversion of sunlight into electricity using a new solar cell structure with four solar subcells. …

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>These solar cells are used in concentrator photovoltaics (CPV), a technology which achieves more than twice the efficiency of conventional PV power plants in sun-rich locations. The terrestrial use of so-called III-V multi-junction solar cells, which originally came from space technology, has prevailed to realize highest efficiencies for the conversion of sunlight to electricity. In this multi-junction solar cell, several cells made out of different III-V semiconductor materials are stacked on top of each other. The single subcells absorb different wavelength ranges of the solar spectrum.<

See on renewable-energy-industry.com

Solar Power distributed energy storage boldly projected to rise to 2.3 GW by 2017

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Global installations of photovoltaic (PV) storage systems for commercial use, currently the smallest part of the global solar energy storage business, are projected to expand by a factor of 700 in the coming years and become the largest market…

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>“Just last year, commercial was the smallest market for PV storage systems, far behind the residential and utility-scale segments,” said Abigail Ward, PV analyst at IHS. “However, facing rising energy prices and the growing need for backup power supplies, commercial enterprises are turning to PV storage solutions that work in concert with their solar-power systems. This will allow commercial to surge past residential and utility to become the largest market for PV storage in just four years.”

 

The commercial solar market consists of PV systems installed in businesses, including factories, offices and other enterprises.  The major reason a commercial enterprise installs an energy storage solution is the desire to intelligently manage the use of PV energy to reduce electricity cost.

 

“Utilities increasingly are imposing both peak demand charges and time-of-use fees on their commercial customers,” Ward said. “These costs can be minimized by using a PV energy storage solution.”<

See on www.renewableenergyfocus.com

EPA sets terms for New Power Plant carbon emissions

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Frances Beinecke: We’re already paying the costs of climate change. The new power plant emissions standards could not be more timely

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The carbon standards announced Friday by Gina McCarthy, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, will set reasonable limits on carbon pollution from the power plants of tomorrow, those that are yet to be built.<

See on www.theguardian.com

State’s First Fracking Regulation Will Go Into Effect Next Year

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept 20 (Reuters) – California’s first regulations on fracking and related oil production practices will go into effect next year in the most populous U.S.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>State Senator Fran Pavely, a Democrat who represents the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills and was the author of the new law, said the regulations would stop oil companies from fracking in the state without full disclosure of their methods.

“Oil companies will not be allowed to frack or acidize in California unless they test the groundwater, notify neighbors and list each and every chemical on the Internet,” Pavely said. “This is a first step toward greater transparency, accountability and protection of the public and the environment.”

Opposing the measure along with the environmentalists was the oil industry, which said the new law could make it difficult for California to reap the benefits offered by development of the Monterey Shale, including thousands of new jobs, increased tax revenue, and higher incomes for residents.

The law “could create conditions that will make it difficult to continue to provide a reliable supply of domestic petroleum energy for California,” said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western State Petroleum Association, which represents oil companies in California.<

See on www.huffingtonpost.com

Ex-Halliburton Official Charged With Destroying Evidence In Gulf Oil Spill Disaster

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

The the latest twist in an ongoing legal battle following the explosion that killed 11 people and resulted in the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement: “Halliburton and one of its managers have now been held criminally accountable for their misconduct, underscoring our continued commitment to ensuring that the victims of this tragedy obtain justice, and to safeguarding the integrity of relevant evidence.”

U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana also noted that Halliburton self-reported the misconduct and cooperated with the investigation. Badalamenti was charged with a “bill of information,” which often means that the defendant is cooperating with prosecutors.

Rig owner Transocean and BP were both criminally charged for the disaster, but Halliburton was not — these charges are just related to the post-spill review.

Even though the spill happened more than three years ago, residents in the area still feel the effects. The 170,000 workers hired to help clean up the oil spill are at an increased risk of getting cancer, leukemia, and other serious illnesses. And on Thursday, BP sued the state of Louisiana to block its order to remove abandoned anchors the company used to deploy oil spill booms during cleanup efforts.<

See on thinkprogress.org

Climate change & Global warming: IPCC issues warning to Governments

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Call to ‘stop dithering about fossil fuel cuts’ as expert panel warns entire globe is affected

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The scientists’ warning – the most comprehensive and convincing yet produced by climate scientists – comes at a time when growing numbers of people are doubting the reality of global warming. Last week, the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) published a survey showing that the proportion of British people who do not think the world’s climate is changing has almost quadrupled since 2005.

Asked if they thought Earth’s climate was changing, 5% of respondents said “no” in 2005, a figure that rose to 11% last year and reached 19% this year.

But as the IPCC report underlines, scientists are becoming more and more certain that climate change poses a real danger to the planet.

Many believe the disconnection between popular belief and scientific analysis has been engineered by “deniers” explicitly opposed to the lifestyle changes – including restrictions on fossil fuel burning – that might be introduced in the near future.

“There are attempts by some politicians and lobbyists to confuse and mislead the public about the scientific evidence that human activities are driving climate change and creating huge risks,” said Stern.

“But the public should be wary of those who claim they know for certain that unmanaged climate change would not be dangerous. For they are not only denying 200 years of strong scientific evidence – the overwhelming view of the world’s scientific academies and over 95% of scientific papers on the subject – but they are often harbouring vested interests or rigid ideologies as well.”

The report will be discussed this week by political leaders meeting in Stockholm. The study – the work of more than 200 scientists – outlines the physical changes that are likely to affect Earth’s climate this century.<

See on www.theguardian.com

India’s First LEED’s Green Building targets “Net Zero” with High Efficiency Solar Power

See on Scoop.itGreen Building Design – Architecture & Engineering

New Delhi, India (SPX) Sep 19, 2013 – SunPower has announced that Swadeshi Civil Infrastructure has completed the installation of a 930-kilowatt (kW) SunPower solar system on the rooftop of the Indira Paryavaran Bhavan building…

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The state-of-the art landmark will be India’s first net zero energy building. Its design emphasizes conservation featuring trees to reduce adverse environmental impact, adequate natural light and shaded landscaped areas to reduce ambient temperature.

The building is targeted to achieve Platinum from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system, known as LEED INDIA. It also is expected to receive a five star Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment from the rating system developed by the Energy and Resource Institute and supported by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the nodal ministry of Indian government.<

See on www.solardaily.com

DOE awards $30M to develop utility cybersecurity tools

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

The Department of Energy today awarded $30 million to a 11 security vendors to develop technology the agency says will better protect nation’s electric grid, oil and gas infrastructure from cyber-attack.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The projects, which will combine power system engineering and cybersecurity, will include testing of the new products to demonstrate their effectiveness and interoperability, the DOE said. […]

While the DOE’s investment is welcomed, a survey of U.S. utilities in May shows what many utilities are up against. That survey called “Electric Grid Vulnerability,” said more than a dozen utilities said cyberattacks were daily or constant. The survey was commissioned by U.S. Democratic Representatives Edward J. Markey and Henry A. Waxman who are members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee.<

See on www.computerworld.com