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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 01:20 AM
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Ford Survey Finds 90% Of Electric Car Owners Plan To Stick With Electric Drive

Ford Survey Finds 90% Of Electric Car Owners Plan To Stick With Electric Drive
August 13th, 2015 by Steve Hanley

A new survey of plug-in hybrid and electric car drivers by Ford Motor Company finds that 90% of the 10,000 people surveyed like driving a plug in hybrid or electric car and have no plans to go back to driving a gasoline-powered car in the future.

Most of those who participated in the survey said that driving an electric car was just a nicer experience that driving a gasoline vehicle. Some of the reasons why this is so include that electric cars are quieter than their gasoline cousins. That seems to lead people to believe they have a smoother, more comfortable ride. Many respondents also singled out environment benefits as a primary motivator for their decision to drive an electric car.

Stephanie Janczak, Ford’s manager of electric vehicle infrastructure and technology, said in a recent interview with CleanTechnica that most all-electric drivers say they would stay with that type of car in the future while plug-in hybrid owners were more inclined to consider switching to an all-electric vehicle for their next vehicle. The driving experience and an appreciation of clean technology were cited by many as the main reasons for staying electric, she said.

The survey also found a strong correlation between electric car ownership and renewable energy use. Ford says 83% of drivers surveyed either would consider installing solar panels at their homes or already have them. Using a home solar array to charge an electric car helps further reduce its carbon footprint, by limiting reliance on non-renewable grid sources used to power it. The state of California was one of the first to identify a clear relationship between electric-car ownership and home-solar use in a 2012 survey of electric car drivers that found 39% had solar power

Smartphone apps can also be an important part of electric-car ownership...

Wind blows away coal's market share in Iowa

Short story: 2010-2015 Coal's contribution dropped from 70% yo 50% while wind's contribution rose from 17% - 36%.

Wind blows away coal's market share in Iowa
By Charlotte Cox
Last Updated: 8/12/2015

Iowa's reliance on coal for power generation is quickly eroding, and Alliant Energy Corp. subsidiary Interstate Power & Light Co.'s settlement with the U.S. EPA will accelerate the shift in the state's generation portfolio.

Coal fired half of the state's net generation in May, a marked decrease from the 70% it provided during the same month five years earlier. Now, coal-fired generation only surpasses the 3,500 GWh mark during the peak summer months in July and August. Meanwhile, wind's share of the state's net generation has grown immensely, powering 36% in May, up from a 17% share in the same month in 2010.

According to calculations by the EPA, Iowa's CO2 emissions rate in 2012 was 2,195 lbs/MWh. The EPA projects that the state will emit CO2 at a rate of 1,456 lbs/MWh in 2020 without the Clean Power Plan, and the state has a final goal of 1,283 lbs/MWh by 2030 and beyond. Currently, Iowa about 6,300 MW of operating coal capacity, which will decrease with upcoming retirements and conversions. IPL's settlement, announced July 15, will see the utility close several coal plants or convert some of them to natural gas by 2025.

The state also has almost 5,700 MW of operating wind capacity and an additional 700 MW of wind capacity currently in advanced development or under construction. Projects in advanced development are further along the development pipeline and more likely to continue through to completion, and the status indicates that the project has satisfied two of the following five criteria: financing is in place; a power purchase agreement is signed; turbines are secured; required permits are approved; or a contractor has signed on to the project.

Although gas fueled just 3% of Iowa's net generation in May, decreased reliance on coal may lead to an increased reliance on gas....

Bankruptcy 101: a primer for U.S. coal markets

"The goal is to produce a plan that shows the business can be sustainable. If it's approved by the judge, the firm can re-emerge from bankruptcy. If no plan is approved, the firm may be sold or just go extinct."

Bankruptcy 101: a primer for U.S. coal markets
Saqib Rahim, E&E reporter
EnergyWire: Tuesday, August 11, 2015

...The many maladies of the U.S. coal industry have forced dozens of coal firms into business purgatory: Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code. Alpha, the United States' second-largest publicly listed coal business, followed in the footsteps of Walter Energy Inc., Patriot Coal Corp., James River Coal Co. and dozens of smaller players that have filed in the last two years.

Two of Alpha's rivals, Peabody Energy Corp. and Arch Coal Inc., are still standing, but their financial fragility means bankruptcy can't be ruled out.

Companies that go through a Chapter 11 "restructuring" will have to take a hard look -- with their investors, and in front of a judge -- at what their businesses can be in the future. It will not be an easy question to answer.

"It's very hard for people to produce a reliable forecast that says, 'Here's where the bottom is,'" said Stephen Arbogast, a finance professor at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School. "So it's an extraordinarily open and painful restructuring that's going to be a combination of consolidation through Chapter 11 and outright liquidation. Because nobody can see any growth and nobody knows where the bottom is."...

More at http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060023244

(Coal Company CEO) Blankenship repeats request to keep UBB disaster out of trial

Blankenship repeats request to keep UBB disaster out of trial
by Ken Ward Jr., Staff writer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Defense lawyers for former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship this week are again insisting that evidence about the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster be kept from the jury when the criminal case against Blankenship goes to trial in October.

In a new court filing, Blankenship’s attorneys argue that evidence about the April 5, 2010, explosion that killed 29 miners “is not relevant to any of the offenses” alleged in a three-count felony indictment against Blankenship.

Blankenship’s defense team filed their 12-page legal brief late Monday, in reply to a response in which prosecutors argued against Blankenship’s initial motion to prevent any evidence about the mine disaster from being considered by the jury.


Blankenship faces three felony counts alleging that he conspired to violate federal mine safety standards, worked to thwart U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration inspectors and lied to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and to the investing public, about Massey’s safety practices. Blankenship says he is innocent.

While the indictment does not specifically...

Dominion admits cost of North Anna 3 (nuclear reactor) will top $19 billion

Dominion admits cost of North Anna 3 will top $19 billion
August 10, 2015 by Ivy Main

Dominion Virginia Power is projecting that the capital cost of a third nuclear reactor at its North Anna facility will total over $19 billion, according to filings in its 2015 biennial review before the State Corporation Commission (PUE-2015-00027).

This works out to over $13,000 per installed kilowatt, according to the testimony of Scott Norwood, an energy consultant hired by the Attorney General’s Department of Consumer Counsel to analyze Dominion’s earnings evaluations. He notes that this capital cost is “approximately ten times the capital cost of the Company’s new Brunswick combined cycle unit,” which will burn natural gas.

As a result of this high capital cost, the “total delivered cost of power from NA3 is more than $190 per MWh in 2028.” That translates into 19 cents per kilowatt-hour.

By comparison, in 2014 the average wholesale price of electricity in the PJM region (which includes Virginia) was 5.3 cents per kWh. Dominion currently sells electricity to its customers at retail for between 5.5 and 11 cents/kWh.

In other words, NA3 is ridiculously expensive...

See also: Study Finds … Price of Wind Energy in the United States is at an All-time Low (avg. < 2.5 ¢/kWh)

Court accuses EPA of ‘filibustering’ on pesticide safety

Court accuses EPA of ‘filibustering’ on pesticide safety
By Timothy Cama - 08/11/15 11:24 AM EDT

Getty Images

A federal court scolded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for continually delaying a formal response to a request that it restrict a pesticide’s use.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA late Monday to either issue a new regulation concerning the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos or issue some other complete, formal response to the request by the end of October, more than eight years after conservation groups first filed the petition.

“Although filibustering may be a venerable tradition in the United States Senate, it is frowned upon in administrative agencies tasked with protecting human health,” the court wrote in its opinion.
“We recognize the scientific complexity inherent in evaluating the safety of pesticides and the competing interests that the agency must juggle,” the judges said. “However, EPA’s ambiguous plan to possibly issue a proposed rule nearly nine years after receiving the administrative petition is too little, too late.”

The court ruled that the EPA’s continued delays are “egregious,” and granted requests from the Pesticide Action Network North America and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to force the EPA to act...

EIA Analysis: Wind Energy Is The Lowest-Cost Option For Reducing Carbon Emissions

EIA Analysis: Wind Energy Is The Lowest-Cost Option For Reducing Carbon Emissions
in News Departments > Policy Watch
by Michael Goggin on Thursday 28 May 2015
(Editor's note: The following article was reprinted with permission by the American Wind Energy Association.)

Low-cost, zero-emission wind energy will become even more valuable as states and utilities develop plans to cost-effectively reduce carbon pollution to comply with Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan, according to new economic analysis from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), a nonpartisan branch of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

EIA's analysis modeled a range of options for complying with EPA's proposed rule across a variety of scenarios, and wind energy consistently emerged as the lowest-cost option for reducing emissions.

World Resources Institute (WRI) also released analysis that looked at all economy-wide options for reducing carbon pollution and found that, thanks to recent cost declines, renewable energy is poised to make the largest contributions to emissions reductions. In WRI's optimal energy mix scenarios, renewable energy grew to provide 27% - 28% of electricity in 2030 and 36% - 38% in 2040.


EIA's analysis shows that states and utilities can cost-effectively achieve the Clean Power Plan, particularly if wind energy provides a large share of the pollution reductions. As a result, states and grid operators should begin planning today for the policies and transmission upgrades that will enable them to make full use of their best wind energy resources.

Thanks to its combination of low cost and zero emissions, wind energy played a dominant role in complying with the Clean Power Plan in EIA's analysis...

China Advised to Double Solar Goal to Fill Nuclear, Hydro

China Advised to Double Solar Goal to Fill Nuclear, Hydro
August 11, 2015

China is being encouraged by three industry groups to double the nation’s solar-power goal for 2020 to fill a gap forecast to emerge because nuclear and hydropower are due to fall short of targets.

The world’s biggest solar market needs 200 gigawatts of such capacity by then, according to a document seen by Bloomberg.

China Photovoltaic Industry Association, Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association and China Renewable Energy Society, which act as conduits between the government and industry, jointly wrote the document and advised the energy authority in the State Council.

The advice, if accepted, would boost solar installations sixfold, spurring demand for manufacturers including Trina Solar Ltd. and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. China had about 33 gigawatts of solar power at the end of 2014, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data.

The nation intends to get 15 percent of all energy from renewables and nuclear power by 2020, up from 11 percent last year....

Deconstructing the nuclear industry

(Independent) World Nuclear Industry Status Report
Full report here: http://www.worldnuclearreport.org/The-World-Nuclear-Industry-Status-Report-2015.html

Author's Overview published in The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Deconstructing the nuclear industry
Mycle Schneider, Antony Froggatt

Released on July 15, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015 (WNISR 2015) is the latest independent assessment of nuclear energy trends in a series first published in 1992. This year’s report comes at a time when most energy and environmental experts shy away from the words “nuclear renaissance” but some view nuclear power as an indispensable substitute for fossil fuels in global efforts to combat climate change. Current trends, however, suggest that a rapid ramp-up of nuclear power is unlikely, and that renewable energy is surging past nuclear power in many countries. Here are a few of the report’s key findings:

Nuclear electricity generation. By mid-2015, 30 countries were generating electricity from nuclear power. Nuclear plants generated 2,410 net terawatt-hours of electricity last year, a 2.2 percent increase over the previous year but close to 10 percent below the 2006 historic peak—by comparison, solar power surged by 38 percent and wind by 10 percent. A surprising eight countries (China, Hungary, India, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, and Taiwan) achieved their greatest nuclear production in 2014, but of these countries only China and Russia started up new reactors during the year. The gains in other countries were essentially a result of uprating or better management at existing power plants.

Although nuclear electricity generation increased last year, nuclear energy’s share of global commercial electricity generation has changed little over the past three years. In 2014, nuclear power was 10.8 percent of the global mix. As in previous years, the “big five” countries—the United States, France, Russia, South Korea, and China—generated more than two-thirds of all nuclear electricity in the world. The United States and France accounted for half of all global nuclear production, and France alone generated half of the European Union's nuclear power.

Construction starts and delays. WNISR 2015 goes further and deeper than previous reports in analyzing the pace of nuclear power plant construction: the length of the process, the reasons for delays, the number of projects that have been cancelled or suspended, and how construction trends vary from country to country. These are limiting factors in any plan for a global scale-up of nuclear power.

The average construction time of the 40 units that started up in nine countries since 2005—all but one (in Argentina) in Asia or Eastern Europe—was 9.4 years, with a large range from 4 to 36 years. Construction starts plunged from 15 in 2010 to three in 2014. There are currently 62 reactors under construction, five fewer than a year ago, and at least three-quarters of these projects are facing delays. In 10 of 14 countries that are building new reactors, all projects are delayed, many by years. Five reactors that are “under construction” are projects that began more than 30 years ago.

For the first time, this year’s report devotes a full chapter to Generation III+ reactors ...



(APN) ATLANTA — Plant Vogtle’s proposed nuclear expansion with new units 3 and 4 will cost an estimated 65 billion dollars, former Georgia Public Service (PSC) Commissioner Bobbie Baker says, based on his analysis of information he received when cross-examining the PSC staff witness at the June 23, 2015 PSC hearing.


Baker wrote that the current “total revenue” requirement for the Project is approximately 65 billion dollars.


The total revenue number will increase as the two million dollar a day delays continue to add up. Unless the PSC or Legislature changes course, Georgia Power’s share of the 65 billion cost will come out of the ratepayers’, not stockholders’, pockets.


Hayet testified that the 39 month delay in construction would add 319 dollars or $6.26 per month to the average (1,000 kilowatts hours per month) residential ratepayer bill. The increase will be greater for business owners and customers who use more electricity....

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