Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 11:55 PM
Number of posts: 22,421
Number of posts: 22,421
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How The IEA Underestimates The Solar Industry
By Terje Osmundsen.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) consistently entertains much too pessimistic assumptions about the growth potential and cost development of solar power, writes Terje Osmundsen, Senior Vice President of the Norwegian-based international solar power company Scatec Solar. According to Osmundsen, the cost assumptions used by the IEA are 100% higher than even current market prices. He notes that as a result of the IEA’s misleading information, policymakers are under the false impression that the spread of solar power will require huge subsidies. He calls on the IEA to get together with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to conduct a joint study on the real economics of solar power.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), probably the most influential energy think tank in the world, is not an overt enemy of renewable energy. The IEA often has nice words to say about the importance of renewables. Yet its flagship publication, the World Energy Outlook (WEO), foresees only rather moderate progress of renewables – and of solar power in particular. But how reliable is the WEO’s assessment?
What went wrong?
When I first wrote a commentary on IEA’s WEO in 2012, I questioned why IEA did not publish the underlying assumptions behind the modelling (Osmundsen 2012). This year IEA deserves credit for having done so. The document “WEO 2013 PG Assumptions”, available on the IEA website, sheds light on the divergences.
IEA and IRENA should join forces
I think there’s a good chance IEA will review its model before next year’s Outlook. The main reason for my optimism is that now also government-related agencies and energy experts are beginning to paint a quite different picture than the mainstream view we are used to from the IEA. In January this year, the government-sponsored International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) published its first comprehensive REmap 2030, based on an in-depth review of 26 countries which account for 74% of projected global total final energy consumption in 2030 (IRENA 2014).
Posted by bananas | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 02:14 PM (0 replies)
OpenKnit: Open source 3D knitter lets you digitally fabricate your clothes (Video)
Design / Sustainable Product Design
March 7, 2014
For those of us who have no desire to learn how to knit (despite its noted health benefits) and want to add an element of tinkering and tech, there's OpenKnit, an open-source, do-it-yourself 3D printer for clothing that can be digitally fabricate garments from a computer file in about an hour. Created by Spanish designer Gerard Rubio, the OpenKnit project is purportedly the world's first open source 3D knitter and came about as part of Rubio's university experiments in synthesizing 3D printing technologies with textiles.
Rubio has now made the instructions to build your own 3D knitting machine available online (approximate cost is USD $757), in addition to building an "open source knitting" community where 3D knitters can showcase and share their creations. The OpenKnit printer runs on open source software Knitic, which will further evolve as more and more people tinker with it, says Rubio on Ecouterre:
We're eager to see the impact that small-scale projects such as this in empowering the individual maker and DIY communities, rather than remaining reliant on big, unaccountable companies. More over at Ecouterre and OpenKnit.
Posted by bananas | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 01:00 PM (0 replies)
Source: Asahi Shimbun
Stress-related deaths have exceeded the death toll of those directly killed by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima Prefecture, as Asahi Shimbun survey showed.
As of the end of January, in the three hardest-hit prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, 2,973 people had died from physical and psychological fatigue since the disaster struck on March 11, 2011, the survey showed.
Fukushima Prefecture, which hosts the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, accounted for 1,660 of those deaths, compared with 1,607 deaths directly caused by the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami.
In Fukushima Prefecture, more than 130,000 people have been evacuated because of the nuclear accident, and the emotional strain from living away from home is taking a toll.
Read more: http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/life_and_death/AJ201403070057
Posted by bananas | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 12:14 PM (0 replies)
United States puts MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility on cold standby
By Pavel Podvig on March 5, 2014
The FY2015 budget proposal released by the U.S. administration, will effectively terminate the construction of the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) in Savannah River:
Following a year-long review of the plutonium disposition program, the Budget provides funding to place the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility in South Carolina into cold-standby. NNSA is evaluating alternative plutonium disposition technologies to MOX that will achieve a safe and secure solution more quickly and cost effectively. The Administration remains committed to the U.S.-Russia Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement, and will work with its Russian partners to achieve the goals of the agreement in a mutually beneficial manner.
Earlier, the Department of Energy estimated that construction of the facility would cost about $10 billion and the total cost of the plutonium disposition program via MOX route could reach $34 billion. About $3.9 billion has been spent so far and the facility is reported to be about 60 percent complete. The press quoted Anne Harrington, the deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, as saying that
"What we mean by (cold standby) is that we would perform activities associated with protecting the facility and equipment from elements and ensuring they are maintained. ... We will protect the investment should the project be restarted or used for something different."
It is unlikely, however, that the MOX project will resume. The process of evaluating alternative routes could take about 12-18 months.
Posted by bananas | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 02:30 AM (0 replies)
Marine life revival off San Onofre's shores
By Morgan Lee 7:30 p.m. March 6, 2014
Before a small radiation leak shut down the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in early 2012, ocean pipes drew in 2.4 billion gallons of water a day to cool twin nuclear reactors, sucking in and killing fish, larvae and eggs by the tons.
Casualties each year included dozens of sea lions and harbor seals.
Water leaving the plant kicked up a turbid plume of sediment that blocked sunlight from the adjacent San Onofre kelp forest, once habitat for a rich assortment of sea life.
As a result, marine scientists suspect an ecological revival is under way just below the ocean’s surface. The reduced demand for cooling water means vastly fewer organisms are being pinned against filtering screens or killed as they are swept through the plant.
An ambitious 1989 study of impacts by the California Coastal Commission found that stocks of Queenfish, a major coastal food source for commercial and sport-fish species, had an estimated 13 percent decline across the bight.
Posted by bananas | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 11:09 PM (1 replies)
We're nuclear engineers and a prize-winning journalist who recently wrote a book on Fukushima and nuclear power. Ask us anything!
submitted 11 hours ago* by ConcernedScientists Union of Concerned Scientists
Hi Reddit! We recently published Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster, a book which chronicles the events before, during, and after Fukushima. We're experts in nuclear technology and nuclear safety issues.
Since there are three of us, we've enlisted a helper to collate our answers, but we'll leave initials so you know who's talking
Dave Lochbaum is a nuclear engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Before UCS, he worked in the nuclear power industry for 17 years until blowing the whistle on unsafe practices. He has also worked at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and has testified before Congress multiple times.
Edwin Lyman is an internationally-recognized expert on nuclear terrorism and nuclear safety. He also works at UCS, has written in Science and many other publications, and like Dave has testified in front of Congress many times. He earned a doctorate degree in physics from Cornell University in 1992.
Susan Q. Stranahan is an award-winning journalist who has written on energy and the environment for over 30 years. She was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the Three Mile Island accident.
Check out the book here!
Ask us anything! We'll start posting answers around 2pm eastern.
Edit: Thanks for all the awesome questions—we'll start answering now (1:45ish) through the next few hours. Dave's answers are signed DL; Ed's are EL; Susan's are SS.
Second edit: Thanks again for all the questions and debate. We're signing off now (4:05), but thoroughly enjoyed this. Cheers!
Posted by bananas | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:45 PM (0 replies)
Source: Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
An extensively updated and expanded version of the Independent Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident report published in English by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) cautions that Japan has not yet fully learned the lessons of the Fukushima reactor disaster, particularly the several ways in which the “human factor” played a major role paving the way for the crisis and worsening its aftermath.
Concluding with the warning that “Fukushima must never be forgotten,” the new book – “The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Disaster: Investigating the Myth and Reality” will be issued on March 11, 2014, the third anniversary of the Fukushima disaster.
In March 2011, the Tohoku earthquake and ensuing tsunami triggered a total loss of electrical power that caused the first Level 7 nuclear accident since Chernobyl, making it among the largest-scale nuclear accidents in history. At the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, reactor cores in units 1, 2, and 3 suffered meltdowns; unit 4’s reactor building was largely destroyed; and the area around the spent fuel pool was damaged, while hydrogen explosions punctuated the disaster as it unfolded. Radioactive elements blanketed the area. Three years later—more than 140,000 people continue to live as refugees from radioactive contamination. On top of this, many hundreds of thousands of people in Japan live with daily anxiety over the unknown effects, both today and long into the future, of radioactive contamination.
Dr. Yoichi Funabashi, chairman, Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation and report co-author, said: “Three years after March 11, 2011, this crisis has not ended, because of the unsolved issue of the contaminated water and the fact that there has been little change in the human side of the equation: the whole system of Japan’s governance and leadership on nuclear matters. Putting aside the question of the issues with nuclear technology, the human factor that led up to the Fukushima crisis must remain a major concern. We need to learn the Fukushima lessons more seriously in pursuing a new way of decision-making, a new way of crisis management, a new form of governance and leadership. Otherwise, we run the risk of an even more disastrous situation in which Japan would have gained little in terms of wisdom from the Fukushima experience.”
Read more: http://thebulletin.org/press-release/updated-fukushima-civilian-panel-report-highlights-largely-unaddressed-%E2%80%9Chuman-factors%E2%80%9D
Posted by bananas | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 07:23 PM (2 replies)
AES Corp. (AES), the biggest operator of electricity-storage systems, is now seeking to sell batteries big enough to substitute for power plants.
The Advancion systems will cost from $10 million to $500 million, depending on size, and will be offered to utilities and renewable-energy developers in arrays as large as 500 megawatts, said Chris Shelton, president of Arlington, Virginia-based AES’s energy storage unit. The company has operated its own battery systems as large as 64 megawatts, enough to supply 51,000 average U.S. homes, in the U.S. and Chile for more than two years.
The batteries will store power when its cheap and abundant and then feed it to the grid during periods of high demand. They may replace so-called peaking plants that typically are fueled by natural gas and are costly to build and run because they sometimes operate only a few hours a year. The systems also can compensate for the intermittent output from wind and solar farms, according to a statement today.
“We’re competitive with power plants,” Shelton said in a telephone interview. “People are really seeing that this could be part of comprehensive future planning for the utility sector.”
Advancion systems, which can supply power for as long as four hours, will cost about $1,000 a kilowatt, compared to about $1,350 a kilowatt for a recently built gas peaker plant, he said.
Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-06/aes-seeks-to-replace-gas-power-plants-with-big-batteries.html
Posted by bananas | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:45 PM (11 replies)
The Grist article has a photo, and the CBC article has a video, for those brave enough to look.
“Rock snot” is the grossest climate change effect we’ve ever seen
By Holly Richmond
6 Mar 2014
Look away if you’re eating, because this is truly disgusting. Didymo (code name: rock snot) is an algae bloom that looks like barf mixed with mucus. When it first showed up in eastern Canada in 2006, people assumed it was an invasive species, BECAUSE IT IS SO TERRIFYING. (Conventional wisdom was that fishers were accidentally spreading it by tromping around with their dirty boots.)
Nope! Turns out it’s native — it was just sleeping all this time, and climate change woke it up!
Writes CBC News:
The algae is a concern for fish populations such as Atlantic salmon, as it lines river bottoms, hiding food and making it more difficult for some species to forage.
Rock snot is actually much older than everyone thought. It’s been found in soil samples as far back as 1896. But because lakes were cooler back then, nature’s boogers stayed up its nose (if you will). Now Canada needs one hell of a hanky.
'Rock snot' found to be native algae species in N.B., CBC News
Posted by bananas | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:30 PM (6 replies)
Oxytocin Boosts Placebo Effect
By Jane Collingwood Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on March 5, 2014
New findings from trials of pain medication suggest that the hormone oxytocin can boost the so-called “placebo effect.”
They said, “Placebo responses have been shown to contribute to clinical treatment outcomes. The pharmacological enhancement of placebo responses therefore has the potential to increase treatment benefits.
“To our knowledge, our study provides the first experimental evidence that placebo responses can be pharmacologically enhanced by the application of intranasal oxytocin. Further studies are needed to replicate our findings in larger clinical populations, identify the underlying mechanisms, and explore moderating variables such as gender or aspects of patient-physician communication.”
A Second Study
A separate study investigated brain activity when the placebo effect is underway, using patients with irritable bowel syndrome. The researchers, from the University of Florida, carried out fMRI brain scans during tests involving 20 seconds of rectal distension.
Kessner, S., Sprenger, C., Wrobel, N., Wiech, K., Bingel, U. Effect of Oxytocin on Placebo Analgesia: A Randomized Study. JAMA, 23 October 2013 doi:10.l001/jama.2013.277446
Craggs, J. G., Price, D.D., Robinson, M.E. Enhancing the placebo response: fMRI Evidence of Memory and Semantic Processing in Placebo Analgesia. The Journal of Pain, 9 January 2014 doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2013.12.009
Colloca, L., Klinger R., Flor, H., Bingel, U. Placebo analgesia: psychological and neurobiological mechanisms. Pain, April 2013 doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2013.02.002
Posted by bananas | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 06:18 PM (5 replies)