Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 01:20 AM
Number of posts: 21,560
Number of posts: 21,560
REN21 Renewables Global Futures Report (GFR)
The REN21 Renewables Global Futures Report (GFR) is a pioneering publication that provides access to the range of credible possibilities on the future of renewable energy. The report is based on interviews with over 170 leading experts around the world and the projections of 50 recently published scenarios. The report can serve as a tool for dialogue and discussion on future options, and compliments well the REN21 Renewables Global Status Report.
Released in January 2013, the report was authored by Dr. Eric Martinot and was the product of a unique collaboration between REN21 and the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP) during 2011-2012.
Now, here is what sets it apart. They have unintentionally accomplished a report card, of sorts, for the agencies and organizations that crafted the scenarios they used.
Detractors of Renewable Energy and Future OutlooksBox 1, pg 11 REN21 2013
Renewable energy has historically had many detractors. “Renewable energy is too expensive,” many have said over the years. “Increasing amounts of public subsidies will be required for a long time,” many have also said, or its variation, “renewable energy is only developing because there is policy support.” And many have considered renewable energy technologies relatively immature and requiring further research.
Such views persist today in the energy industry. For example, ExxonMobil, in its 2012 Outlook for Energy to 2040, said, “advances in technology will be necessary to make fuels more practical and economic ... geothermal and solar will remain relatively expensive.” ENI noted, “the technologies pres- ently available only allow for limited production of energy at high prices.” And Chevron said, “because of major technical hurdles— such as scalability, performance, and costs—as well as market- based barriers, broader adoption can’t happen overnight.”
Renewables advocates reply that conventional cost comparisons are unfair for a host of reasons, including existing public sub- sidies for fossil fuels and nuclear, the failure to properly incor- porate future fuel-price risks in comparisons, and the failure to adequately count environmental costs. (See “Great Debate 1” on next page.) They also say that some renewable technologies are already fully competitive, and that for others, policy support will not be necessary in the long run, as rapid evolution in markets, technologies, and costs, driven by past policies, are making more renewable technologies fully competitive more quickly. Most scenario projections of renewable energy show lower renewables costs in the coming decade and beyond. (Some do not, however. ExxonMobil (2012) forecasts that the price of electricity gener- ated from renewables will be higher than the price of conven- tional electricity even in 2030, with the exception of onshore wind power.) (See Chapter 6.)
The range of contemporary thinking by experts, industry players, published scenarios, and many energy companies themselves, as portrayed throughout this report, is mostly at odds with the above thinking of detractors. Although it was not the purpose of this report to directly refute such viewpoints, one cannot help but see, after reading the entire report, that such viewpoints face diminishing validity in the future.
Posted by kristopher | Thu May 23, 2013, 06:48 PM (0 replies)
Countdown to Nuclear Ruin at Paducah May 22, 2013
By Geoffrey Sea
Disaster is about to strike in western Kentucky, a full-blown nuclear catastrophe involving hundreds of tons of enriched uranium tainted with plutonium, technetium, arsenic, beryllium and a toxic chemical brew. But this nuke calamity will be no fluke. It’s been foreseen, planned, even programmed, the result of an atomic extortion game played out between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the most failed American experiment in privatization, the company that has run the Paducah plant into the poisoned ground, USEC Inc.
As now scheduled, main power to the gargantuan gaseous diffusion uranium plant at Paducah, Kentucky, will be cut at midnight on May 31, just nine days from now—cut because USEC has terminated its power contract with TVA as of that time and because DOE can’t pick up the bill.
DOE is five months away from the start of 2014 spending authority, needed to fund clean power-down at Paducah. Meanwhile, USEC’s total market capitalization has declined to about $45 million, not enough to meet minimum listing requirements for the New York Stock Exchange, pay off the company’s staggering debts or retain its operating licenses under financial capacity requirements of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The Paducah plant cannot legally stay open, and it can’t safely be shut down—a lovely metaphor for the end of the Atomic Age and a perfect nightmare for the people of Kentucky....
More at: http://ecowatch.com/2013/countdown-to-nuclear-ruin-at-paducah/
Posted by kristopher | Thu May 23, 2013, 02:45 PM (4 replies)
PGE's nuclear unit in corruption scandal
The company's president might have been involved
22nd May 2013
The Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) says it suspects large-scale corruption in PGE EJ 1, the subsidiary of Poland's largest utility PGE, responsible for its nuclear energy program. CBA has reported the case to the prosecutor's office.
CBA suspects irregularities in two agreements worth a total of zł.11 million. The investigation was carried out in connection with PGE EJ 1's activities in 2010-2011. Alleged corruption activities are linked to people then holding the posts of CEO and deputy CEO.
CBA said the alleged crimes involve, “mismanagement to a considerable extent” by the CEO and deputy CEOs at the time. The company has refused to comment on the matter, since it says it does not know the contents of the notice sent to prosecutors...
Posted by kristopher | Thu May 23, 2013, 02:31 PM (0 replies)
If anyone knows how to get the embed link from Guardian to work, please let me know.
Part 3 is coming soon.
Posted by kristopher | Thu May 23, 2013, 08:49 AM (0 replies)
There is no shortage of lunatic interpretations of bibilcal writings. Go to nearly any evangelical church and start interviewing someone at random and you'll find ideas that deserve the label 'wild eyed and crazy'. What binds them however, is that their faith is based on a Core Belief that the bible is the true and literal word of god. This creates the mental conditions for what amounts to a form of psychosis where reality inevitably has to be rejected if the Core Belief is to be maintained. The more this belief is challenged with reality based evidence, the further from reality the Believer is required to remove him/herself in order to maintain the structure that their world view is build upon.
That anti-science predilection is a condition that is tailor made for exploitation by economic interests that are threatened by science based knowledge. The range of nuttery is so broad that one need not look very far at all to find a fully developed mental architecture (in this case Armstrong's) that will carry a message for rallying public sentiment in the direction desired. In this case - Germany moving to renewables is evil.
Posted by kristopher | Thu May 23, 2013, 05:08 AM (1 replies)
They are at least now headed in the right direction.
Growth in China Wind Energy Production Exceeds Coal For First Time Ever
By Li Shuo
Amid all the news about coal and pollution problems in China you might have missed this one: According to new statistics from the China Electricity Council, China’s wind power production actually increased more than coal power production for the first time ever in 2012.
Thermal power use, which is predominantly coal, grew by only about 0.3 percent in China during 2012, an addition of roughly 12 terawatt hours (TWh) more electricity. In contrast, wind power production expanded by about 26 TWh. This rapid expansion brings the total amount of wind power production in China to 100 TWh, surpassing China’s 98 TWh of nuclear power. The biggest increase, however, occurred in hydro power, where output grew by 196 TWh, bringing total hydro production to 864 TWh, due favorable conditions for hydro last year and increased hydro capacity. In addition, the growth of power consumption slowed down — in Chinese terms a modest increase of 5.5 percent — influenced by slower economic growth, and possibly the energy use targets for provinces set by the Chinese central government.
Coal still accounts for 79 percent of electricity production in China, but fortunately that dominance is increasingly challenged by competition from cleaner energy, as well as government policies and public concerns about air pollution. The Chinese government’s 12th five year energy plan (2011-2015) aims for coal to be reduced from 70 percent to 65 percent of energy production by 2015. In contrast, the Chinese government has ambitious targets for wind, solar, and hydro, and plans to increase the share of non-fossil fuels to 30 percent of installed electricity generating capacity by the end of 2015.
Expansion of the coal industry does not have many friends in China anymore. Major increases of coal power in recent years have created not only record climate emissions, but an unprecedented problem of air pollution and water overuse, triggering increased concern among the Chinese urban population and the central government. The record air pollution in January this year has changed the discussion about coal, and now prominent policymakers and opinion leaders, even vice-ministers, call for capping coal use, especially in the eastern populated and industrial areas of China. The air quality targets the government set for 2016 will require cutting coal pollution. Already last year the government set new strict standards for coal power emissions, requiring costly investments in filters. This year the government set new water use targets for provinces, which do not give much room for increased use of water for coal use in key provinces. Now the discussion is around controlling the total consumption of coal, in addition to emissions trading and resource taxes. The coal industry is surrounded by challenges.
There is another, very sobering side to the story, though: ...
Posted by kristopher | Wed May 22, 2013, 07:02 PM (1 replies)
JAEA president resigns over insufficient safety at Monju reactor
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
The president of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency that operates the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, resigned on May 17 apparently to take responsibility for its insufficient safety management system.
Atsuyuki Suzuki submitted his resignation to the education ministry, which supervises the agency, on May 16. The ministry accepted the resignation.
The JAEA has been found to have skipped inspections of nearly 10,000 pieces of equipment for Monju since 2010. As a result, the agency is scheduled to receive a business improvement order from the Nuclear Regulation Authority.
“Based on the NRA’s strict evaluations and the education ministry’s demand for (sufficient safety) measures, the (JAEA) president considered his options seriously and concluded that he should resign. We decided to take the conclusion seriously and accept (his letter of resignation),” education minister Hakubun Shimomura said on May 17 in a news conference held after a Cabinet meeting.
EDITORIAL: Monju fast-breeder reactor program should be terminated
The agency’s negligence reflects the grim reality of the nuclear fuel recycling program. The program aimed to establish a system to extract plutonium from spent nuclear fuel for reuse in reactors, but it has clearly run into a brick wall.
A fast-breeder reactor, which produces more plutonium than it consumes, was once touted as a “dream reactor.” But most of the countries that embarked on developing fast-breeder reactor technology abandoned their projects mainly because of the high cost versus economic benefits.
The Monju reactor started operation in 1994, but it has been out of service most of the time due to a series of problems, including a serious accident in 1995 in which a massive leak of liquid sodium caused a fire. Still, the government continues to spend some 20 billion yen ($197 million) annually to keep the program alive through measures like heating and circulating sodium.
The Japan Atomic Energy Agency, which operates the plant in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, has refused to give up bringing the reactor back on line. In 2009, the agency created an inspection plan to restart the reactor. But it began to skip necessary inspections the following year...
Shut Monju down permanently
MAY 18, 2013
The Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday decided to order the Japan Atomic Energy Agency to not engage in further preparatory work to restart the trouble-plagued Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor until the operator improves its safety management to prevent a recurrence of trouble. Monju, located in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, is a core component of Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle project along with the spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture.
Monju has been inoperative for most of the past 19 years while Rokkasho reprocessing plant’s full operation has been postponed 19 times due to a series of problems. Given this troubling history and the JAEA’s slipshod safety management, the logical conclusion should be to decommission the Monju reactor and end the nuclear fuel cycle project. The NRA should unambiguously order the JAEA not to restart Monju.
The NRA pointed out that the JAEA had made light of the need to ensure safety at Monju and failed to inspect nearly 10,000 reactor components in an after 2010. Making matters worse, JAEA head Mr. Atsuyuki Suzuki, who resigned Friday, said that the failure to inspect the components was only a procedural matter and did not cause safety problems. Yet among the components are more than 50 parts vital for the safety of the reactor, including a neutron detector that reveals radiation leaks. His attitude is deplorable.
NRA head Mr. Shunichi Tanaka said that the JAEA lacks a basic understanding of safety. Clearly the JAEA has learned nothing from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, which was caused in part by lax management...
Posted by kristopher | Wed May 22, 2013, 05:44 PM (0 replies)
"... a proposed amendment is dampening enthusiasm for the bill over at the U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC), the organization responsible for the popular LEED rating system for green buildings.
Sources say that Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) may introduce an amendment in the bill that would prevent the General Services Administration (GSA) from using green building rating systems that are not certified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Because LEED is not ANSI-certified, the bill would effectively ban the system from the federal procurement process. The GSA manages nearly 10,000 federal buildings and is one of the primary drivers of energy efficiency in the federal government.
ANSI standards create a "consensus-based" process for developing rating systems. Many of the industries impacted by green building standards -- chemicals, plastics and lumber, for example -- prefer a consensus-based approach that is more likely to establish friendlier standards.
The LEED system is different, but also democratic. When crafting new standards, the USGBC records all public comments. And when it's time to vote, the 13,000 member companies and organizations all get an individual say. A super-majority of 66 percent is required to create or change a standard, and there must be a 50 percent approval in three related sub-categories. However, some industry organizations worry that the LEED system is too strict and are pushing for alternative rating systems that would give them a stronger voice -- hence the amendment in the Shaheen-Portman bill now on the table...."
Posted by kristopher | Wed May 22, 2013, 05:29 PM (0 replies)
Cesium levels in water, plankton baffle scientists
BY MIZUHO AOKI
MAY 23, 2013
Plankton and seawater sampled at 10 points less than a year after the Fukushima meltdowns found concentrations of radioactive cesium were highest at different (than expected-k) locations in the Pacific, puzzling scientists.
The group collected zooplankton and surface seawater at 10 points between Hokkaido and Guam, 500 to 2,100 km from the crippled power plant, between Jan. 14 and Feb. 5, 2012.
Cesium 134, with a half-life of two years, and cesium 137, with a half-life of 30 years, were detected in plankton and seawater at all 10 locations, according to their report. Plankton with the highest concentrations of cesium 134, at 10.5 becquerels per kilogram, and cesium 137, at 14.9 becquerels, were found around 25 degrees north latitude and 150 degrees east longitude, the report said. The samples were taken from the surface to a depth of 200 meters.
“Plankton are thought to play a key role in the dispersion of the cesium because they are eaten by bigger fish. We want to study further what is influencing the accumulation of radioactive cesium,” said Minoru Kitamura, a marine ecologist and senior researcher at the Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology, who led the group.
The plankton could have been contaminated by eating even smaller plankton and ...
Posted by kristopher | Wed May 22, 2013, 05:08 PM (7 replies)
Masturbation Is at the Root of the Culture Wars
"Tell me how you really feel about masturbation, and I can more or less predict how you'll feel about the more frequently debated 'sex war' issues."
HUGO SCHWYZERMAY 22 2013, 9:28 AM ET
When we think of the culture wars, we tend to think of sex. And when we think of the most contentious political fronts in the sex wars, we usually think of gay marriage, abortion rights, and pornography. As divisive as those issues remain, a universal human activity may lie at the heart of these contemporary struggles: masturbation. The questions that self-pleasure raises are foundational: to whom do our bodies belong? What is sex for? Tell me how you really feel about masturbation, and I can more or less predict how you'll feel about the more frequently debated "sex war" issues.
Masturbation is almost certainly the most common human sexual practice. Though statistics about private sexual behavior vary widely, there's little dispute that the vast majority of both men and women will masturbate over the course of their lifetimes. Perhaps nothing so universal is discussed with greater embarrassment (or denied with greater frequency). That enduring shame and silence is one reason behind National Masturbation Month, which comes (sorry) to an end next week. First organized by the pioneering sex shop Good Vibrations in 1995 to protest the firing of Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders (who had dared suggest that teaching young people to masturbate could have a place in sex education), the month's events include innumerable education events across the country—and a Masturbate-a-Thon in San Francisco that raises money for charity. The month serves, as Good Vibrations announced in its annual press release, as "a necessary reminder that self-satisfaction is a healthy, accessible form of pleasure engaged in by almost everyone."
The view of masturbation as benign and beneficial is a new one. The Judeo-Christian tradition has long been hostile towards self-pleasure, at least for men. The Talmud compares spilling seed to spilling blood; the Zohar (the central work of Kabbalah) calls it the most evil act a man can commit. The traditional Christian view was no more tolerant; Catholic and Protestant authorities framed masturbation as a deeply sinful (though forgivable) waste of precious semen. Women were left out of these prohibitions for the obvious reason that most male religious authorities didn't consider the possibility that women were capable of or interested in giving themselves orgasms.
The campaign against masturbation became medicalized in the middle of the 19th century. Health reformers like Sylvester Graham (of the cracker) and John Harvey Kellogg (of the cereal) warned against the feminizing and enervating effects of male masturbation, describing it not as a sin but as a habit that could rob boys of their vital life force. At the same time, doctors began to warn of something theologians either hadn't considered or dared to mention: the dangers of female self-pleasure. Beginning in 1858, Dr. Isaac Baker-Brown—the president of the Medical Society of London—began to encourage surgical clitoridectomies to prevent hysteria, epilepsy, mania and even death that would surely follow as a consequence of the stimulation of the clitoris.
Other Victorian-era doctors took a seemingly more enlightened attitude...
Posted by kristopher | Wed May 22, 2013, 10:01 AM (13 replies)