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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
Number of posts: 29,122

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UK Hinkley nuclear plant estimate skyrockets $30 billion in past year.

Estimated cost of Hinkley Point C nuclear plant rises to £37bn
Critics point to volatility of scheme but energy department says price ‘will not affect bill payers’

Terry Macalister Energy editor Thursday 7 July 2016 15.57 EDT

The total lifetime cost of the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant could be as high as £37bn, according to an assessment published by the UK government. The figure was described as shocking by critics of the scheme, who said it showed just how volatile and uncertain the project had become, given that the same energy department’s estimate 12 months earlier had been £14bn.

The latest prediction comes amid increasing speculation about the future of the controversial project in Somerset, whose existence has been put in further doubt by post-Brexit financial jitters.

Hinkley has been a flagship energy project for the British government and in particular for the chancellor, George Osborne, who lobbied hard and successfully for China to take a stake in the scheme.


... experts said the extra money, if the cost did remain at £37bn, would have to come from somewhere – probably the taxpayer – or be shaved off other DECC budgets available for different energy projects, such as windfarms and solar arrays. “This whole-life cost of £37bn is a truly shocking figure. It is an extraordinary ramp-up from last year’s figure, and just underlines how hard it is to get a real handle on the long-term cost of Hinkley,” said Paul Dorfman, senior research fellow at the Energy Institute, University College London...


Lithium-ion prices down 70%, opening up storage market opportunities

Stem: Lithium-ion prices down 70%, opening up storage market opportunities
By Robert Walton | June 30, 2016

Dive Brief:

- Greentech Media spoke with Stem Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Larsh Johnson, who revealed the company has seen a 70% decline in lithium-ion battery prices in the last year and a half, helping to open up new markets for storage that were inaccessible at higher price points.
- Stem has now installed 68 MWh of commercial and industrial (C&I) energy storage, as improvements to energy density and discharge have attracted attention for their potential in providing grid services.
- GTM Research predicts average li-ion costs to decline to $217/KWh by 2020, but some battery makers are already below those prices, analysts say.

Dive Insight:
A decline in storage prices is expected to set off a boom similar to the solar industry, as panel costs fell, but several key companies are already finding lower prices and more opportunity as the technology advances.

"It’s happening. The capacity is out there," Stem CTO Larsh Johnson told GTM. Prices are down 70% in the last 18 months, and "the momentum continues...There are new markets opening up because of what we've seen in battery pricing."....


Real estate values increase near wind farm, Colorado assessor finds

Real estate values increase near wind farm, Colorado assessor finds
By Peter Maloney | June 27, 2016

Dive Brief:
- New data out of Colorado claims the real estate values in areas close to a large wind farm have risen, Fox 21 News reports.

- The data, from El Paso, Colorado County Assessor Steve Schleiker, tracked 931 single family residential sales with an assessed value of $173.8 million that sold for an aggregate $239.1 million.

- El Paso County is home to NextEra Energy’s 249 MW Golden West wind farm that began operation in October 2015 and earlier this year was the target of complaints from nearby residents concerned that the turbines were making them sick.

Dive Insight:
Concerns about wind power are often focused on the intermittent nature of the electricity they produce, but some critics say that wind farms can cause health problems that can prompt people to sell their houses and move, thus lowering property values. The phenomena has engendered a several reports.

The latest data in that debate comes from El Paso County, Colorado, where County Assessor Steve Schleiker has studied the results of recent home sales....

'Something's got to give': Why Wall St is uneasy with the renewable energy boom

In 2015 solar power projects came to $6.8B, while wind power came in around $6.4 billion.

'Something's got to give': Why Wall St is uneasy with the renewable energy boom
By Peter Maloney | June 29, 2016

Financiers and CEOs see a strong year ahead for renewable energy deals, but they also see challenges stemming from that growth.

“The market will be similar in size and scope to last year” when $13 billion of renewable energy deals closed, John Eber, managing director of energy investment at J.P. Morgan, said at the 13th annual Renewable Energy Finance Forum in New York.


Patrick Woodson, chairman of E.ON North America, sees the industry heading into a period of “massive growth” with 50 GW of renewable resources being built over the next four years.


Declining costs were cited several times as one of the key drivers for the sector. Michael Polsky, president and CEO of Invenergy, went as far as saying the Environmental Protection Agency’s stalled Clean Power Plan is “irrelevant” to the growth prospects of renewable energy.

“Growth will be driven by cost declines,” he said.

“The business proposition for renewable energy is so compelling” it is becoming mainstream, especially compared with other alternatives, Polsky said. New nuclear and coal-fired plants are not viable options and, although there is still room for natural gas-fired plants, he said a lot of people still remember how volatile gas prices can be, strengthening the case for renewables....


Let’s Upgrade Bill Gates’ Climate Reading List

Let’s Upgrade Bill Gates’ Climate Reading List
Andrew Beebe

Gates gave a detailed, powerful, talk about climate change at the TED conference. His explanations were clear, fun and focused. It was the kind of talk you want to bookmark and share with relatives and skeptics who might call on you to “explain this whole climate thing.” Nailed it. What’s not to love?

Gates did a great job explaining that dirty energy got us into this mess, and clean energy solutions are the core to getting us out. Well, the bummer was that despite the great explanation of our challenges, Gates missed it on the solutions message.


Unfortunately, Gates’ headline message continues to communicate that we can’t get there with today’s solutions, and therefore we need to wait for magical solutions (miracles) to be completed by others.


Gates has specifically referenced Vaclav Smil as one of his most respected energy advisors and writers. He has sung his praises repeatedly, and others are listening. Gates’ reading list is very popular, and now people like Mark Zuckerberg reference Smil as someone they turn to as well.


Vaclav Smil is clearly a smart man. However, his book, which appears to be the ten commandments of clean energy skepticism for Gates, is filled with significant errors. Gates appears to accept these errors as truisms: “Smil ends by listing a number of lessons that come out of the mistaken predictions of the past, all of which I agree with.”(2)

Fortunately, now that the work is somewhat dated, it’s easy to show the errors in his ways. Let’s review....
Philosophizing aside, what’s most disconcerting is when a data-driven thesis is based on false data. In analyzing solar cost data, Smil describes a seemingly asymptotic decline in the costs of solar “cells”:
“Undoubtedly, PV cells have been getting cheaper. Modules cost more than $20 per peak watt in 1980, about $10 by 1985, and around $5 a decade later; but the price was still close to $4.50 at the end of 2009.” (9)

Giving him the benefit of the doubt here, Smil must have confused “PV cell” costs with “total installed cost per watt of a solar system.” In 2009, PV module prices were below $2/Wp and dropping fast. Of course PV cells, a component of a module, were much less in cost per watt ($1.05/Wp)(10). More importantly, the cost reduction was not asymptotic. On the contrary, the costs plummeted further in the following years, and have dropped nearly another 75%(10). This is an important transgression, since he would have a point if he were talking about cells at this $4.50 price level, and we’d all be the worse for it. However, since the truth is quite different, his data has served to confuse and mislead people like Mr. Gates.

Smil again used false (and this time unattributed) data when referencing solar modules....


Newsflash for some DUers: US Conservative economic policy is called "Economic Liberalism"

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the school of international relations, see Neoliberalism (international relations).

Neoliberalism (or sometimes neo-liberalism) is a term which has been used since 1938, but became more prevalent in its current meaning in the 1970s and '80s by scholars in a wide variety of social sciences and critics primarily in reference to the resurgence of 19th century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism. Its advocates avoid the term "neoliberal"; they support extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy.The implementation of neoliberal policies and the acceptance of neoliberal economic theories in the 1970s are seen by some academics as the root of financialization, with the financial crisis of 2007–08 as one of the ultimate results.

The definition and usage of the term has changed over time. It was originally an economic philosophy that emerged among European liberal scholars in the 1930s in an attempt to trace a so-called 'Third' or 'Middle Way' between the conflicting philosophies of classical liberalism and socialist planning.:14-5 The impetus for this development arose from a desire to avoid repeating the economic failures of the early 1930s, which were mostly blamed by neoliberals on the economic policy of classical liberalism. In the decades that followed, the use of the term neoliberal tended to refer to theories at variance with the more laissez-faire doctrine of classical liberalism, and promoted instead a market economy under the guidance and rules of a strong state, a model which came to be known as the social market economy.

In the 1960s, usage of the term "neoliberal" heavily declined. When the term was reintroduced in the 1980s in connection with Augusto Pinochet's economic reforms in Chile, the usage of the term had shifted. It had not only become a term with negative connotations employed principally by critics of market reform, but it also had shifted in meaning from a moderate form of liberalism to a more radical and laissez-faire capitalist set of ideas. Scholars now tended to associate it with the theories of economists Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. Once the new meaning of neoliberalism was established as a common usage among Spanish-speaking scholars, it diffused into the English-language study of political economy. Scholarship on the phenomenon of neoliberalism has been growing. The impact of the global 2008-09 crisis has also given rise to new scholarship that critiques neoliberalism and seeks developmental alternatives....


What is Neoliberalism?
A Brief Definition for Activists

by Elizabeth Martinez and Arnoldo Garcia, National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

"Neo-liberalism" is a set of economic policies that have become widespread during the last 25 years or so. Although the word is rarely heard in the United States, you can clearly see the effects of neo-liberalism here as the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer.

"Liberalism" can refer to political, economic, or even religious ideas. In the U.S. political liberalism has been a strategy to prevent social conflict. It is presented to poor and working people as progressive compared to conservative or Rightwing. Economic liberalism is different. Conservative politicians who say they hate "liberals" -- meaning the political type -- have no real problem with economic liberalism, including neoliberalism.

"Neo" means we are talking about a new kind of liberalism. So what was the old kind? The liberal school of economics became famous in Europe when Adam Smith, an Scottish economist, published a book in 1776 called THE WEALTH OF NATIONS. He and others advocated the abolition of government intervention in economic matters. No restrictions on manufacturing, no barriers to commerce, no tariffs, he said; free trade was the best way for a nation's economy to develop. Such ideas were "liberal" in the sense of no controls. This application of individualism encouraged "free" enterprise," "free" competition -- which came to mean, free for the capitalists to make huge profits as they wished.


A memorable definition of this process came from Subcomandante Marcos at the Zapatista-sponsored Encuentro Intercontinental por la Humanidad y contra el Neo-liberalismo (Inter-continental Encounter for Humanity and Against Neo-liberalism) of August 1996 in Chiapas when he said: "what the Right offers is to turn the world into one big mall where they can buy Indians here, women there ...." and he might have added, children, immigrants, workers or even a whole country like Mexico."

The main points of neo-liberalism include:

THE RULE OF THE MARKET. Liberating "free" enterprise or private enterprise from any bonds imposed by the government (the state) no matter how much social damage this causes. Greater openness to international trade and investment, as in NAFTA. Reduce wages by de-unionizing workers and eliminating workers' rights that had been won over many years of struggle. No more price controls. All in all, total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services. To convince us this is good for us, they say "an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth, which will ultimately benefit everyone." It's like Reagan's "supply-side" and "trickle-down" economics -- but somehow the wealth didn't trickle down very much.

CUTTING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES like education and health care. REDUCING THE SAFETY-NET FOR THE POOR, and even maintenance of roads, bridges, water supply -- again in the name of reducing government's role. Of course, they don't oppose government subsidies and tax benefits for business.

DEREGULATION. Reduce government regulation of everything that could diminsh profits, including protecting the environmentand safety on the job.

PRIVATIZATION. Sell state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. This includes banks, key industries, railroads, toll highways, electricity, schools, hospitals and even fresh water. Although usually done in the name of greater efficiency, which is often needed, privatization has mainly had the effect of concentrating wealth even more in a few hands and making the public pay even more for its needs.

ELIMINATING THE CONCEPT OF "THE PUBLIC GOOD" or "COMMUNITY" and replacing it with "individual responsibility." Pressuring the poorest people in a society to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social security all by themselves -- then blaming them, if they fail, as "lazy."

Around the world, neo-liberalism has been imposed by powerful financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. It is raging all over Latin America. The first clear example of neo-liberalism at work came in Chile (with thanks to University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman), after the CIA-supported coup against the popularly elected Allende regime in 1973. Other countries followed, with some of the worst effects in Mexico where wages declined 40 to 50% in the first year of NAFTA while the cost of living rose by 80%. Over 20,000 small and medium businesses have failed and more than 1,000 state-owned enterprises have been privatized in Mexico. As one scholar said, "Neoliberalism means the neo-colonization of Latin America."

In the United States neo-liberalism is destroying welfare programs; attacking the rights of labor (including all immigrant workers); and cutbacking social programs. The Republican "Contract" on America is pure neo-liberalism. Its supporters are working hard to deny protection to children, youth, women, the planet itself -- and trying to trick us into acceptance by saying this will "get government off my back." The beneficiaries of neo-liberalism are a minority of the world's people. For the vast majority it brings even more suffering than before: suffering without the small, hard-won gains of the last 60 years, suffering without end.


Hope that helps the confused few who are pushing the TPP based on the false premise that including the word "liberalism" in "neoliberalism" somehow means the policies involved are worthy of support by FDR Democrats.

In spite of Right Wing propaganda claims - "The Sierra Club Still Opposes Nuclear Power"

The Sierra Club Still Opposes Nuclear Power
It is categorically incorrect to suggest that the Sierra Club considers nuclear power a “bridge” to clean energy.

June 23, 2016 5:28 p.m. ET

“Green Groups Ease Opposition to Nuclear Power” (Business & Tech, June 17) gets it wrong. The Sierra Club remains in firm opposition to dangerous nuclear power. The article reflects wishful thinking on the part of the nuclear industry but doesn’t accurately represent the position of the Sierra Club.

It is categorically incorrect to suggest that the Sierra Club considers nuclear power a “bridge” to clean energy. Nuclear power, much like coal, oil and gas, is a bridge to nowhere. In Illinois the Sierra Club is part of a coalition to increase renewable energy and energy efficiency, not preserve nuclear reactors. America’s energy future must be powered by 100% clean, renewable energy like wind and solar—and nuclear in no way meets this requirement.

The Sierra Club’s successful work to stop and retire coal and gas operations has never precluded our efforts to oppose nuclear power, nor will it ever. Decades of evidence around the world clearly demonstrates that nuclear power remains a dirty and extremely dangerous energy source, and we will continue our efforts to block new reactors from being built and replace existing ones with 100% clean, renewable energy.

Michael Brune

Executive Director

The Sierra Club

Oakland, Calif.


California - Hyperloop Transportation says it cracked 760mph travel with magnets

Hyperloop Transportation says it cracked 760mph travel with magnets

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) had some big news to share on Monday. The firm, one of several working on the ultra-fast rail system, says it found a way to safely travel at the insane speed of 760 miles per hour using a “passive levitation system,” CNBC reports.

The technology is similar to the Maglev train systems used in Asia, but should be cheaper to install and safer to operate. HTT says it plans to use aluminum tracks instead of the more expensive copper coils included in Maglev. The company also claims its system will charge each pod automatically as it decelerates by harnessing the energy caused by breaking.

“Utilizing a passive levitation system will eliminate the need for power stations along the Hyperloop track, which makes this system the most suitable for the application and will keep construction costs low,” said Bibop Gresta, HTT’s chief operating officer. He also noted that, even in a power failure, the pods will stay safely levitated until they slow down thanks to the magnetic system....


What bothered me most was the smirk.

Whenever she pulled one of her pre-planted smears (ex NYDN interview interpretations) she would smirk in a way that I've only seen one other pol do - yes, that's the Smirking Chimp himself.

I didn't like him, his policies, nor his dishonest method of governing. I think a Hillary administration would be at least as bad and for exactly the same reasons. Dishonest, bad judgement, and violently churning the people of the world to keep the economic cream on the top.

Bernie 2016 - please.

Global Warming Has Been on the Oil Industry's Radar Since the 1960s Xpost fm EE

CO2's Role in Global Warming Has Been on the Oil Industry's Radar Since the 1960s
Historical records reveal early industry concern with air pollutants, including smog and CO2, and unwanted regulation.

APR 13, 2016

The oil industry's leading pollution-control consultants advised the American Petroleum Institute in 1968 that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels deserved as much concern as the smog and soot that had commanded attention for decades.

Carbon dioxide was "the only air pollutant which has been proven to be of global importance to man's environment on the basis of a long period of scientific investigation," two scientists from the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) told the API.

This paper, along with scores of other publications, shows that the risks of climate change were being discussed in the inner circles of the oil industry earlier than previously documented. The records, unearthed from archives by a Washington, D.C. environmental law organization, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), reveal that the carbon dioxide question—an obscure corner of research for much of the 20th century—had been closely studied since the 1950s by some oil company researchers.

By the 1960s, the CO2 problem was gaining wider scientific recognition, especially as President Lyndon B. Johnson's science advisers and leading experts brought it to the attention of the White House in 1965.

"If CO2 levels continue to rise at present rates, it is likely that noticeable increases in temperature could occur," SRI scientists Elmer Robinson and R.C. Robbins wrote in their 1968 paper to API....


Library of documents from the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

This is a story about how the world’s most powerful industry used science, communications, and consumer psychology to shape the public debate over climate change. And it begins earlier—decades earlier—than anyone suspected.

Explore our documents and discover what they knew, when they knew it, and how they collaborated to confuse the public, promote scientific theories that contradicted their own best information, and block action on the most important challenge of our time.

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