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US may face inevitable nuclear power exit

In the third and final issue in a series focused on nuclear exits, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, published by SAGE, turns its attention to the United States and looks at whether the country's business-as-usual approach may yet lead to a...

Via SustainOurEarth
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Allowing existing reactors to simply run out their licensed lifetimes in the current scenario, nuclear power may simply disappear, he writes. "Absent an extremely large injection of government funding or further life extensions, the reactors currently operating are going to end their licensed lifetimes between now and the late 2050s," Bradford concludes. "They will become part of an economics-driven US nuclear phase-out a couple of decades behind the government-led nuclear exit in Germany."

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China's Switch to LNG From Coal Will Cut Global Pollution

China's Switch to LNG From Coal Will Cut Global Pollution | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it

To many people, natural gas seems to be more of the same, a continuation of the old fossil fuel path that has driven industrialization, air pollution and global warming. 

Duane Tilden's insight:

"> [...] 

China is currently producing twice the greenhouse gases of the United States. And its emissions are growing rapidly. Its emissions surpassed those of the U.S. in 2006, reached double the U.S. in 2014, and are expected to rise by seven per cent per year for the foreseeable future. China obtains 70 per cent of its electricity from burning coal, by far the worst polluter. China has plans for doubling its use of coal in the next 10 to 15 years. Meanwhile, the emissions from the U.S. have stabilized, partly from a slowing economy, but the biggest effect came from a switch from coal to natural gas. If you replace an old coal power plant with a modern natural gas one, you can cut carbon dioxide emissions by a factor of three.

Natural gas doesn’t cut emissions to zero; it is still a fossil fuel. But it obtains much of its energy from hydrogen, an atom that out numbers the carbon atoms in methane (the key component of natural gas) by 4:1. Natural gas can be burned with much higher efficiency than coal, by use of a combined cycle turbine that harnesses both gas and steam power generation.

China wants to move away from coal, to natural gas, nuclear, and solar. Their chief concern is not global warming, but the horrific air pollution that is killing an estimated 4,000 people per day in China, 1.6 million per year. [...]"<



Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Opinion+global+pollution/10950478/story.html#ixzz3WeR8dmxZ

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Woodfibre LNG Plant: Old Technology, Design Flaws and Environmental Issues

Woodfibre LNG Plant:  Old Technology, Design Flaws and Environmental Issues | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
Speakers at a presentation in West Vancouver on the risks associated with the proposed LNG project in Howe Sound voiced concerns, Wednesday, over everything from environmental contamination to the risk of explosions from transporting natural gas.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>"[...] “Canada doesn’t have a whole pile of rules about LNG because it doesn’t have a whole pile of plants,” said Eoin Finn a seasonal resident of Bowyer Island in Howe Sound, and speaker at the event. Finn holds a PhD in physical chemistry and is a close follower of the LNG project.

He said an LNG plant of this size has never before existed in Canada. He has concerns over the country’s lack of environmental regulations in place against this particular resource.

“There are no plants on the West Coast of Canada nor on the U.S. except a tiny one in Alaska but that’s 100 miles from anywhere and it’s about one-tenth (the size of) Woodfibre.”

When it comes to the risks associated with the proposed development, Finn said there are many, including emissions output, the risk of shipping accidents and the plant’s cooling system, which would use seawater.

“One of the big issues is that the plant will be cooled by seawater from the sound. This is pretty old technology that’s been dismissed and refused and abandoned in California and Europe.”

He said that the current proposed cooling system for the plant would suck in 17,000 tonnes of seawater (3.7 million gallons) per hour, and chlorinate it while it circulates through the system, before releasing it back into Howe Sound. 

Finn explained that any such practice would be “extremely damaging” to marine life and that similar systems down the coast in California have been banned.  

Although the plant will be powered by electricity, Finn said it will still produce emissions, including 140,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year.

Among Finn’s other concerns was tanker traffic associated with the project, which would see between six and eight tankers navigating through the sound per month.

He cited a risk of explosions associated with the ships, which could have potential negative effects on area property values. Large waves generated from those vessels could also be a problem for the area, something Finn compared to the BC Ferries Fast Cat situation years before.  [...]

Wade Davis, Bowen Island resident and professor of anthropology, said the issue of whether or not the plant will go in place holds a deeper meaning than simply a local environmental danger.

“This is not simply about a local issue in Howe Sound, this is a metaphor for who we are to be as a people,” he explained to the audience. “If we are actually prepared to invest our lives in this way, the most glorious fjord in the world, what else in our country will be immune to such violations?” he asked.  [...]"<

 

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The 50 Year Underground Coal Mine Fire

The 50 Year Underground Coal Mine Fire | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it

By the early 1980s, the mine fire in Centralia, Pennsylvania was growing worse and increasingly threatening the people who lived there. GAI, Inc., a private geotechnical engineering company, was hired to review the situation and propose a solution to finally contain the fire. What they eventually came up with was so drastic, it might easily have been called Centralia’s “Nuclear Option.”

Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] 

GAI’s review and associated containment plan took months to complete. It analyzed mountains of data about Centralia PA, its abandoned mines, and the geology of the surrounding area. GAI also explored the beginnings of the fire, the current location of the burn, and the previous, failed attempts to stop it.

Finally on July 12, 1983 the findings were announced to the public. At that time, the mine fire was determined to be under 195 acres and burning in the Skidmore, Seven Foot, and Buck Leader coal veins. It was suggested that the fire could eventually grow to a maximum size of 3,700 acres of land.

GAI’s report made it clear that containing the Centralia mine fire would neither be easy nor cheap. The plan to contain the fire would require excavating a trench of massive proportions. This would need to be 3,700 feet long and 450 feet in depth – deep enough to hold a 45 story office building!

Worse yet, the trench would cut through the middle of the town. Although it would eventually be filled in with incombustible material to prevent the mine fire from moving further west, half of the borough of Centralia Pennsylvania would be destroyed while excavating it. The whole project would take years to complete.

If the damage caused by GAI’s plan wasn’t “nuclear” enough, there was always the price tag. GAI estimated it would cost a jaw-dropping $660 million to complete the project. This was over 100 times more expensive than the 1965 rejected plan to contain the mine fire. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, $660 million in 1983 is roughly equivalent to $1.5 billion in 2015. Today these cost estimates are still shocking.

It is no wonder that in August of 1983 the majority of Centralia PA’s residents voted to be relocated. After years of struggling with the mine fire, the “nuclear option” proposed by GAI to stop the fire and level half of the town was more than most could bear."<

  
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Industrial Plant to be Re-Developed into Mega-Indoor Vertical Farm Factory

Industrial Plant to be Re-Developed into Mega-Indoor Vertical Farm Factory | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it

AeroFarms, a leading commercial grower for vertical farming and controlled agriculture, together with property management firm RBH Group, a slew of investment partners along with the City of Newark and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced the intent to redevelop a former industrial site in Newark's Ironbound district into a state-of-the art 69,000 square foot indoor vertical farm.

Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] 

Currently under construction, the first phases will open in the second half of 2015, creating approximately 78 jobs in a local community with an unemployment rate that is twice the national average. Additionally, AeroFarms has partnered with the Ironbound Community Corporation to create a recruiting and job training program targeting local residents.

The building is located on a 3-acre industrial site in the center of the Ironbound community in Newark, NJ. It is adjacent to elevated truck Route 1 and 9, a freight rail right of way, and to other industrial businesses along Rome and Christie Streets. 

When completed, AeroFarms will have the capacity to grow up to 2 million pounds per year of baby leafy greens and herbs in an environmentally controlled, safe, and sanitary facility. It will provide healthy foods to the local community as well as to other markets. AeroFarms is a model for successful, sustainable farming offering 75 times more productivity per square foot annually than a traditional field farm while using no pesticides and consuming over 95% less water. [...]"<

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Geothermal Energy Could Cleanly Power the Planet

Geothermal Energy Could Cleanly Power the Planet | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
The Earth's heat offers a clean and steady source of electricity, though it doesn't come cheap.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] 

An alternative to fossil fuels, geothermal has potential far beyond Indonesia. It could help tame global warming by producing copious amounts of renewable energy. The United Nations estimates global reserves at about 200 gigawatts—double the total capacity of all U.S. nuclear power plants. Yet despite decades of effort, only 6.5 percent of that potential has been tapped.

Indonesia's story explains why.

Volcanoes Offer Peril and Promise

A chain of more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia has dozens of active volcanoes—more than any other country. Those volcanoes offer the nation a potent energy source via deep underground reservoirs of hot water that seeps out of molten rock. Power plants can extract steam from those reservoirs and use it to turn turbines that generate electricity. [...]

Indonesia currently produces the third largest amount of geothermal power, after the U.S. and the Philippines. Still, it's tapping less than 5 percent of its potential 29-gigawatt capacity. It has 62 projects under way, and if all get built, Indonesia could overtake the Philippines by the end of this year and the U.S. in another decade or two, according to a 2015 industry analysis by the Washington-based Geothermal Energy Association. (See related blog post: "Nicaragua Looks to Geothermal for Energy Independence.")

"Its resources are so startlingly good," says Paul Brophy, president of EGS Inc., a California-based firm that recently did consulting work for Indonesia's government on the geothermal industry.

The country, aiming to triple geothermal output from 1.4 to 4.9 gigawatts by 2019and to hit 10 gigawatts by 2025, is trying to fast-track projects.

Last year it amended a law to stop defining geothermal development as "mining" and thus allow work in protected forests, where many resources are located. The revision also shifts project approval from local to federal officials.

"That's critical," Brophy says, noting that the central government has more geothermal expertise.

Implementing the new provisions will take time, says Josh Nordquist of U.S.-based Ormat Technologies, which has invested in geothermal projects in Indonesia. Doing so could be a "real burden" for the government, he says, but adds, "I believe in the end it will work." [...]"<

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BC LNG Project Final Decision Stalled to June

BC LNG Project Final Decision Stalled to June | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
Malaysia’s Petronas expects to make a final investment decision on an US $11-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in British Columbia by the end of June, after postponing the decision...
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Duke's maligned handling of toxic coal ash is claimed typical for industry

Duke's maligned handling of toxic coal ash is claimed typical for industry | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
Over 200 contaminations and spills document water contamination and deformed fish near coal ash sites.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>"

Duke Energy faces criminal charges and a $100 million fine for a 2014 spill of 39,000 tons of coal ash into North Carolina’s Dan River but environmental activists say its mishandling of coal ash waste is not atypical of the coal industry.  [...]EPA released a final ruling on handling coal ash last December but both utility industry and environmental groups were dissatisfied. It creates requirements and standards for the management of coal combustion residuals (CCRs or coal ash) under Subtitle D of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). That subtitle governs solid waste. There is not yet adequate data, the EPA said, to justify managing coal ash under Subtitle C of RCRA, which pertains to hazardous waste.

“Coal ash is a toxic soup of heavy metals,” said NC WARN Energy Expert Nancy LaPlaca. “Pretending it is not hazardous waste is outrageous.”

Utilities are “pleased” that the EPA found it did not have adequate information to regulate coal as hazardous waste, explained Schiff, Hardin Partner/Utilities Counsel Josh More. But “EPA is pretty explicit this is not their final determination.” It failed, he added, because “it is a self-implementing program.”  [...]"<

 
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Plastic Packaging Waste in Food Industry

Plastic Packaging Waste in Food Industry | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
Food packaging today is as wasteful as it was 30 years ago and in some cases, it's worse, a new report by a non-profit group indicates.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" Many people take time to separate recyclables and compostables from the garbage. But according to a new report, the food industry isn't doing enough to help. 

The food we eat is often packaged in unrecyclable or difficult-to-recycle materials, says the report from a non-profit group called As You Sow. The group, which promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility, said only about half of consumer packaging in the U.S. ends up being recycled, and the rest ends up as litter or in a landfill. [...]

As You Sow surveyed 47 fast-food chains, beverage companies, and consumer goods and grocery companies in the U.S. — most of which sell their products in Canada — including McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Domino's pizza and Heineken. It found food packaging today isn't much better than it was 30 years ago. In some cases, it's worse.

Shift from glass to plastic

Report author Conrad MacKerron said there has been a shift away from polystyrene since the '80s, but there has also been a move away from glass, and towards plastic.

"We think it's of particular concern because of the contribution to plastic pollution in the oceans," he said. "Plastic litter from takeout orders ... plastic cups, straws, plates and so forth contribute to plastic litter, but it is all swept off into waterways and oceans, where they degrade and harm marine life."

Plastic is the fastest-growing form of packaging, but only 14 per cent is recycled, the report indicates.

MacKerron said a lot of plastics are recyclable. But some, like black Category 7 plastics, require specialized equipment. And even some of the stuff that should be easily recycled just never is.

"So our major finding is that leading beverage, fast-food and packaged good companies are coming significantly short of where they should be when it comes to addressing the environmental aspects of packaging," MacKerron said.  [...]

The biggest offender might just be your morning cup of coffee. It used to produce zero waste, apart from some ground beans and maybe a compostable paper filter.

These days, millions of households are equipped with single-cup brewing machines. The largest company behind those machines, Keurig, produced 9.8 billion little plastic single-serve coffee pods last year, known as K-Cups.

Mike Hachey, the CEO of Egg Studios, is running a campaign that he's dubbed 'kill the K-Cup', in an effort to curb the rise of the single-serve coffee machine.

"We started out with Keurig machines in our offices... and very quickly realized that this packaging is a problem," he explained.

So while we may be free of the once ubiquitous Styrofoam container, we've grown accustomed to a lot of food packaging that isn't a whole lot better."<

 
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Apple to Invest $2 Billion in Solar Farm Powered Data Center Renovation in Arizona

Apple to Invest $2 Billion in Solar Farm Powered Data Center Renovation in Arizona | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
Apple plans to invest $2 billion to build a data center in Arizona in the location where its failed sapphire manufacturing facility exists, the state announced Monday.
Duane Tilden's insight:

"> [...] The company plans to employ 150 full-time Apple staff at the Mesa, Arizona, facility, which will serve as a command center for its global network of data centers. In addition to the investment for the data center, Apple plans to build a solar farm capable of producing 70-megawatts of energy to power the facility.

Apple’s investment is expected to create up to 500 construction jobs as well, the state said.

Apple said it expects to start construction in 2016 after GT Advanced TechnologiesInc., the company’s sapphire manufacturing partner, clears out of the 1.3 million square foot site. The $2 billion investment is in addition to the $1 billion that Apple had earmarked to build scratch-resistant sapphire screens at the same location.

The investment comes a few months after GTAT filed for bankruptcy protection in October, citing problems with the Arizona facility. Shortly after its bankruptcy filing, GTAT said it planned to lay off more than 700 employees in Arizona.

In October 2013, Apple had agreed to build a sapphire factory in Mesa that GTAT was going to operate. At the time, Apple had said the new factory was going to create 2,000 jobs and move an important part of its supply chain to the U.S.

However, the project struggled to produce a consistent level of sapphire at the quality demanded by Apple. In the end, Apple did not use sapphire from the facility for its latest iPhones. After GTAT’s bankruptcy, Apple has said it was seeking ways to preserve the jobs lost at the Mesa facility.

Arizona’s governor said the state did not provide additional financial incentives to keep Apple in the state. For the original investment in 2013, Arizona provided $10 million to Apple to sweeten the deal for the company."<

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Power plant closures quench demand for Pennsylvania’s coal

Power plant closures quench demand for Pennsylvania’s coal | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
More than 100 coal-fired power plants nationwide either plan to shut down or already closed their doors in 2014, as the market responds to stricter environmental regulations, cheap natural gas and lackluster electricity demand growth, according to a survey done by the Energy Information Administration. Behind all those closures sit coal mines — many of them in Appalachia — coping with the loss of customers for the fuel that reigned supreme for many decades. Click the image above for a more detai
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] More than 17 million tons of coal from Appalachia went to plants slated to shut down in 2013 alone, the latest full year for which such data are available. And the impact is likely to be even bigger, since the EIA’s list of recent or coming closures doesn’t include generators planning a transition from burning coal to burning natural gas.

Companies have been bracing for this change for years, but many have indicated that it’s coming faster and blunter than expected, driven in part by a slew of environmental regulations.

“That’s an unprecedented change to America’s power system in what constitutes the blink of an eye in energy markets — creating enormous potential for market disruptions, supply shortages and rate spikes,” Deck Slone, senior vice president of strategy and public policy at St. Louis-based Arch Coal, wrote in December.

Like its peers, Arch’s stock price reflects the gloom. At $1.30 per share, Tuesday’s closing price represented a one-year low. Virginia-based coal producer Alpha Natural Resources’ also saw its 52-week bottom at $1.13.  [...]

Central Appalachian coal mines stand to be big losers in the transition away from coal, Mr. Cosgrove wrote in November. That includes the historically prolific supplies in Virginia, southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky.

“Falling demand may hasten mine closings in the region, where coal production has dropped 32 percent since 2009,” he wrote.

Some companies have been bracing for the fall for years.  [...]

Between 2012 and 2014, Alpha idled 64 mines, reduced its shipments in the eastern part of the country by 28 percent and got rid of more than 4,000 employees.  [...]

The situation looks worse for suppliers such as Virginia-based James River Coal Co., which is in the middle of a restructuring, and Virginia-based James C. Justice Co., which has shed a significant portion of its mine portfolio in recent years. The producers stand to lose 28 percent and 48 percent of shipments, respectively, from mines serving affected plants.

For decades, contracts between coal companies and utilities have included force majeure clauses, according to Mr. Cardwell, who has reviewed hundreds of contracts and negotiated dozens during his 18-year tenure as a coal buyer for a Kentucky utility.

Such clauses typically protect power plants from having to take delivery of coal they no longer need if the power plant is prevented from running by some new environmental regulation or another unforeseen circumstance.

Yet lawsuits seem inevitable following current and projected mine closures. “I have a feeling that there’s going to be pretty significant litigation in the future,” Mr. Cardwell said.

One issue that may arise as power plants claim that environmental regulations pushed them out of business is how much of a role competition from cheap natural gas played in their decision either to shut down or use a different fuel.

Gas is all the rage at the moment. The commodity is trading at around $3 per million British thermal units, or Btus, down from more than $13 in the summer of 2008, towards the beginning of the shale revolution in Appalachia.

That’s why some operators, like Consol Energy, now boast flexibility in their contracts with utilities. Consol has refocused its company on a growing shale gas business, retaining only a handful of coal mines.

According to James McCaffrey, senior vice president of marketing at Consol, who spoke at Platts’ Coal Marketing Days in Downtown in September, “Customers want to flip between coal and gas.”

He said the company was actively negotiating a deal where a utility could choose its fuel depending on its preference.

“That’s a good marketing approach: ‘I’ll give you Btus, you tell me how you want them,’ ” Mr. Cardwell said. [...]"<

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Renewable Energy Provides Half of New US Generating Capacity in 2014

Renewable Energy Provides Half of New US Generating Capacity in 2014 | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it

According to the latest "Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, wind) provided nearly half (49.81 percent - 7,663 MW) of new electrical generation brought into service during 2014 while natural gas accounted for 48.65 percent (7,485 MW).


Image source:  http://usncre.org/

Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] By comparison, in 2013, natural gas accounted for 46.44 percent (7,378 MW) of new electrical generating capacity while renewables accounted for 43.03 percent (6,837 MW). New renewable energy capacity in 2014 is 12.08 percent more than that added in 2013.

New wind energy facilities accounted for over a quarter (26.52 percent) of added capacity (4,080 MW) in 2014 while solar power provided 20.40% (3,139 MW). Other renewables — biomass (254 MW), hydropower (158 MW), and geothermal (32 MW) — accounted for an additional 2.89 percent.

For the year, just a single coal facility (106 MW) came on-line; nuclear power expanded by a mere 71MW due to a plant upgrade; and only 15 small "units" of oil, totaling 47 MW, were added.

Thus, new capacity from renewable energy sources in 2014 is 34 times that from coal, nuclear and oil combined — or 72 times that from coal, 108 times that from nuclear, and 163 times that from oil.  

Renewable energy sources now account for 16.63 percent of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.: water - 8.42 percent, wind - 5.54 percent, biomass - 1.38 percent, solar - 0.96 percent, and geothermal steam - 0.33 percent.  Renewable energy capacity is now greater than that of nuclear (9.14 percent) and oil (3.94 percent) combined. 

Note that generating capacity is not the same as actual generation. Generation per MW of capacity (i.e., capacity factor) for renewables is often lower than that for fossil fuels and nuclear power. According to the most recent data (i.e., as of November 2014) provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, actual net electrical generation from renewable energy sources now totals a bit more than 13.1 percent of total U.S. electrical production; however, this figure almost certainly understates renewables' actual contribution significantly because EIA does not fully account for all electricity generated by distributed renewable energy sources (e.g., rooftop solar).

Can there any longer be doubt about the emerging trends in new U.S. electrical capacity? Coal, oil, and nuclear have become historical relics and it is now a race between renewable sources and natural gas with renewables taking the lead."<

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Crude Oil Spills From Pipeline Into Yellowstone River, Montana

Crude Oil Spills From Pipeline Into Yellowstone River, Montana | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
Residents have reportedly smelled and tasted oil in their drinking water downstream from the spill, and the city's water plant has stopped drawing from the river.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] On Saturday morning, a pipeline in Montana spilled up to 50,000 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone River, the pipeline’s operator confirmed Sunday night. [...]

The 12-inch diameter steel pipe breached and spilled anywhere from 12,600 to 50,000 gallons of oil nine miles upriver from the town of Glendive, with an unknown amount of it spilling into the partially frozen river, according to a statement from Bridger Pipeline LLC. The company said the spill occurred at 10 a.m. and they “shut in” the flow of oil just before 11 a.m. — meaning that though the pipeline section could still empty itself of its contents, no new addition oil would flow into the spilled area.

 

“Oil has made it into the river,” Bridger spokesperson Bill Salvin confirmed to the AP on Monday. “We do not know how much at this point.” Observers spotted oil, some of which was trapped under the ice, up to 60 miles downstream from Glendive. Paul Peronard, the EPA’s on-scene coordinator, said crews were attempting to use booms to prevent the spill from spreading further but the ice on top of the river was forcing them to “hunt and peck” through it.  [...] 


“We think it was caught pretty quick, and it was shut down,” said Montana Governor Steve Bullock spokesperson Dave Parker, noting that the river was frozen over near the spill, which could help isolate the spill.

Parker told MTN News that “the Governor is committed to ensuring that the river is completely cleaned up and the folks responsible are held accountable.”

In 2011, an Exxon Mobil pipeline spilled 63,000 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone near Laurel, Montana. Days after the spill, goat rancher Alexis Bonogofsky was hospitalized for acute hydrocarbon exposure after noticing oil slicks along the riverbank abutting her ranch. She lived far enough downstream that any evacuation order missed her, she said. There was concern then that the cause of the spill was related to climate-change-influenced raging floodwaters that exposed the normally deeply-buried pipe to damaging debris.

Even two years later, the state was still fighting with Exxon over damages to the area from the spill and the clean-up process, leaving fish, birds, and wildlife dead or injured and interrupting environmental studies, recreation, and fishing.

Bridger’s pipeline runs from the Canadian border down through Montana across the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers and east into North Dakota, dubbed the Poplar System. It is on the opposite side of Wyoming from, and downstream of, Yellowstone National Park, but the river empties into the Missouri River.

The proposed — and controversial — northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline would bethree times the diameter of the breached Bridger pipeline, and pump more than 34 million gallons of oil per day through the Dakotas down into Nebraska and into the southern leg in Oklahoma and Texas. Many landowners and local residents are concerned about what a potential spill would mean for critical watersheds and aquifers — not to mention what subsequent increased tar sands oil production means for Canadian watersheds."<

 
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Madrid upgrades with World's largest street lighting project

Madrid upgrades with World's  largest street lighting project | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it

To support its ambition of becoming a Smart City, the Spanish capital, Madrid, is embarking on the world’s largest street lighting upgrade project. Philips is providing the city’s government with 225,000 new energy-efficient lights for the renewal of the entire street lighting system.


Via ecoInsight
Duane Tilden's insight:

>"The products, which deliver 44% in energy savings, will finance the cost of the technology upgrade, providing Madrid with the best quality of street lighting for a brighter, safer and ‘smarter’ city at no additional cost to its citizens. The project has been conducted in collaboration with ESCO energy service companies hired by the Madrid city council through a public bidding process. [...]"<

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Russian Energy Producer Rosneft LNG Plant Reported Delayed for Two to Five Years

Russian Energy Producer Rosneft LNG Plant Reported Delayed for Two to Five Years | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian energy producer Rosneft may have to delay development of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on the Pacific island of Sakhalin for at least two years, sources said, after prices fell and financing all but dried up due to Western sanctions.

 
Duane Tilden's insight:

>"[...] Rosneft, which has spearheaded President Vladimir Putin's drive to increase oil and gas output and secure Russia's energy dominance, signed an agreement with Exxon in 2013 that aimed at starting production of 5 million tonnes per year of LNG from 2018 at Sakhalin.

Russia is the world's largest exporter of natural gas but mostly exports it by pipeline to customers in Europe. Once liquefied, natural gas can be transported by ship to customers in Asia, helping fulfill the Kremlin's goal of finding new markets.

Two sources with direct knowledge of the project said the 2018 target was no longer realistic.

A source at Rosneft, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the plant would most probably "be postponed for three to five years because of lack of funds and low fuel prices".

A second source said it could be delayed for two years.

"This is not a surprise," the source said. "The year 2018 had never been seen as the final deadline. All the stuff that's happening - a decline in LNG prices, a slump in demand, the economic crisis - only confirms that."

A Rosneft company spokesman said there had been no change to the project's timeline: "Rosneft has not revised the terms for the implementation of the far east LNG project."

Exxon's Moscow office declined to comment. A spokesman at Exxon's headquarters in Texas also declined to comment.

In May 2014, Rosneft and Exxon signed a deal to continue work on the LNG plant, which will be partly fed from gas produced at Sakhalin-1, an oil and gas project in which Exxon is a major investor. [...]"<

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UK Green Investment Bank Raises £463m on its planned £1bn Offshore Wind Farm Fund

UK Green Investment Bank Raises £463m on its planned £1bn Offshore Wind Farm Fund | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
The UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB) has announced that its FCA regulated subsidiary, UK Green Investment Bank Financial Services Limited (GIBFS), has reached first close on commitments of £463m on its planned £1bn fund to invest in operating offshore wind farms in the UK.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] 

£463m of capital raised at first close, to be invested in UK offshore wind projects.Investors include UK pension funds and a sovereign wealth fund.Innovative transaction creating the world’s first dedicated offshore wind fund.This is the first fund raised by the GIB group, a first move into asset management and the first time it has managed private capital since its formation.This announcement marks the end of GIB’s financial year. It committed £723m to 22 green energy projects across the UK in 2014/15. GIB has now backed 46 UK projects with a total value of almost £7bn. 

The UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB) has announced that its FCA regulated subsidiary, UK Green Investment Bank Financial Services Limited (GIBFS), has reached first close on commitments of £463m on its planned £1bn fund to invest in operating offshore wind farms in the UK.

First close marks the completion of the first stage of fundraising and is triggered by the commitment of an initial group of investors.

The initial investors comprise UK-based pension funds and a major sovereign wealth fund. GIB is also investing £200m in the fund. Fundraising continues and GIBFS expects to raise additional funds from other investors to reach the £1bn target.

In addition to the £463m of fund commitments raised, an additional significant amount of investor capital is available to co-invest into projects alongside the fund.

The fund is an innovative, first-of-a-kind transaction. It is the world’s first fund dedicated to investments in offshore wind power generation and, once fully subscribed, will be the largest renewables fund in the UK. The fund has an expected life of 25 years, allowing a new class of long-term investor to enter the sector.

This is the first fund raised by the GIB group and its first step into asset management. It is also the first private capital to be managed by the GIB group. It will be managed by a new FCA-regulated and authorised subsidiary called UK Green Investment Bank Financial Services Limited which is staffed by a dedicated team.

GIB has now transferred its investments in two operating assets into the fund, which will produce immediate cash yield for investors. They include:

Rhyl Flats. A 90 MW, 25 turbine wind farm operated by RWE Innogy UK off the coast of North Wales. It has been operational since December 2009. GIB has sold its full 24.95% equity stake in the project to the Fund.Sheringham Shoal. A 317 MW, 88 turbine wind farm operated by Statkraft and located in the Greater Wash area off the coast of Norfolk. It has been operational since October 2012. GIB has sold its full 20% equity stake in the project to the fund.

These two offshore wind farms are able to produce 1,290 GWh of renewable energy annually, enough to power 305,000 UK homes. The fund also has a strong pipeline of future investment opportunities.

Evercore Private Funds Group is acting as advisor and exclusive global placement agent for the fundraise and King & Wood Mallesons is acting as legal counsel to the fund. [...]"<

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China's Capital City to Shut Major Coal Power Plants due to Excessive Pollution

China's Capital City to Shut Major Coal Power Plants due to Excessive Pollution | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it

(Bloomberg) -- Beijing, where pollution averaged more than twice China’s national standard last year, will close the last of its four major coal-fired power plants next year.

Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] 

The capital city will shutter China Huaneng Group Corp.’s 845-megawatt power plant in 2016, after last week closing plants owned by Guohua Electric Power Corp. and Beijing Energy Investment Holding Co., according to a statement Monday on the website of the city’s economic planning agency. A fourth major power plant, owned by China Datang Corp., was shut last year.

The facilities will be replaced by four gas-fired stations with capacity to supply 2.6 times more electricity than the coal plants.

 

The closures are part of a broader trend in China, which is the world’s biggest carbon emitter. Facing pressure at home and abroad, policy makers are racing to address the environmental damage seen as a byproduct of breakneck economic growth. Beijing plans to cut annual coal consumption by 13 million metric tons by 2017 from the 2012 level in a bid to slash the concentration of pollutants.

Shutting all the major coal power plants in the city, equivalent to reducing annual coal use by 9.2 million metric tons, is estimated to cut carbon emissions of about 30 million tons, said Tian Miao, a Beijing-based analyst at North Square Blue Oak Ltd., a London-based research company with a focus on China.  [...]


Closing coal-fired power plants is seen as a critical step in addressing pollution in China, which gets about 64 percent of the primary energy it uses from the fossil fuel. Coal accounts for about 30 percent of the U.S.’s electricity mix, while gas comprises 42 percent, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data.  [...]

 

Air pollution has attracted more public attention in the past few years as heavy smog envelops swathes of the nation including Beijing and Shanghai. About 90 percent of the 161 cities whose air quality was monitored in 2014 failed to meet official standards, according to a report by China’s National Bureau of Statistics earlier this month.

The level of PM2.5, the small particles that pose the greatest risk to human health, averaged 85.9 micrograms per cubic meter last year in the capital, compared with the national standard of 35.

The city also aims to take other measures such as closing polluted companies and cutting cement production capacity to clear the air this year, according to the Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau. [...]"<

 
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Heating and Cooling of Buildings EU Energy Debate

Heating and Cooling of Buildings EU Energy Debate | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
The significance of heating and cooling technologies for Europe was again underlined at a major conference on district energy in Brussels. Miquel Arias Caňete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, was among a number of speakers who addressed the Heating and Cooling in the European Energy Transition Conference last week. Nearly half of Europe’s energy consumption flows into the heating of buildings and industrial processes. Some 15% of this energy is coming from renewables, suc
Duane Tilden's insight:

>"[...] 

Nearly half of Europe’s energy consumption flows into the heating of buildings and industrial processes. Some 15% of this energy is coming from renewables, such as biomass and solar panels. Around 1 billion Euro per day is needed to pay for fuel imports.

In his opening address, Caňete stressed that heating and cooling is a sector that deserves maximum attention because of its high share in using fossil energy. He referred to the sector as “the missing piece in the energy and emissions debate”.

A large proportion of buildings have poor energy performance and without specific action, he said it will be a long time before the situation improves. In industry, he advocated more synergy is needed between industry and the heating of buildings with waste energy.

“Next to that, electricity and heat supply has to be integrated. In times of excess renewable electricity, it should be used for heating purposes. This is especially the case since heat use in the EU is energy wise about 2.5 times higher than electricity use.  Under European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), some €38 billion has now been allocated by Member States for energy efficiency, local renewable energy and local transport.”

Pieter Liese, MEP, said that a EUR1bn payment for energy per day is sent from the EU to countries with a doubtful regime such as Russia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia. He pleaded for a common European policy and approach. He stated that although politicians like to talk about electricity, it is clear that improving heating and cooling processes is a more sensible subject. 

According to Ulrich Schmidt, chairman of the European Heating Industry, 75% of Europe’s housing stock are energy inefficient and 65% of gas boilers are old and inefficient while 40 % of homes date back to before 1960. 

“Owners of existing equipment are reluctant to replace their appliances since the pay-back time from the benefit of less fuel consumption is too long. Moreover, old-fashioned boilers are considered by consumers to be more reliable than modern ones.”

Ligia Noronha, Director of Technology, Industry and Economics, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), stated that energy efficiency is a key component of the EU energy transition. She highlighted the Global District Energy in Cities Initiative. It is an analysis of 45 leading cities. District heating is seen as a major instrument in improving energy utilisation. By 2050, Europe could meet 50% of its heat demand via district heating. 

 John Dulac from the IEA said that as much heat is thrown away by inefficient processes as what is needed in the EU. 

“‘SILO’ thinking is the big problem. The share of cogeneration in electricity production has to increase drastically. Moreover, electricity production and heat/chill production have to be integrated. “

Paul Voss, Managing Director of Euroheat & Power, warned that if the EU failed to integrate its heating and cooling potential and the current trend in emissions reduction continues, only 60% of the overall reduction target will be reached by 2050.

Three workshops were also part of the itinerary of the day, with Professor Hans-Martin Henning, Deputy Director for solar energy systems at the Fraunhofer Institute outlining a vision for the sector for 2050.

He said heat demand in buildings can be reduced from 30% to 50% by 2050 and added that solar thermal heating, biomass and CHP can play a major role in reducing CO2 emissions of buildings.  

Henning also showed the audience how storing energy as heat is much cheaper than other ways of storing energy. 

“Germany needs 700 GWh of heat storage, 60 GWh of pumped hydro and 24 GWh of batteries. CHP has excellent possibilities of storing heat and is very suitable for balancing renewable electricity,” he said.

"<

 

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LA's Urban Heat Island Effect Alters Weather

LA's Urban Heat Island Effect Alters Weather | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
Over the last 60 years urban areas of Southern California have lost significant amounts of fog due to the heat created by paved roads and buildings.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" A new study reports that coastal fog in Southern California is on the decline, especially in heavily urbanized areas.

In particular, Los Angeles saw a 63 percent decrease over the last 60 years.

You can blame the heat island effect created by city streets and buildings, said the study's author Park Williams of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York.

Fog may be a nuisance for drivers, but according to Williams, it also plays a crucial role in hydrating many costal ecosystems.

These include mountains with coastal forests and hillsides covered in chaparral, which easily burns when conditions are too dry.

"They all receive water directly from fog and benefit from the shading of these clouds," Williams said.

In fact, he noted that in some parts of Southern California, fog may provide plants with almost as much water as rain does. Williams says this loss of coastal fog could impact the regional environment.

Fog typically forms when the air is cool enough for clouds to condense close to ground level. This often happens at night and in the early morning.

However, Williams said this process is being upset by all the concrete in urban areas, which absorbs heat in the day and slowly releases it over night, raising temperatures.

"When you increase the temperature of the surface of the Earth, then you essentially need to go higher up into the atmosphere before [it] is cool enough to promote condensation," Williams explained.

The end result is that as cities heat up, clouds rise and fog disappears.

Data for the study came from the detailed logs of the 24 coastal airports between Santa Barbara and San Diego.

"Of course airports have been collecting really good data on clouds because the presence of clouds and their hight in the atmosphere really affects air travel," he said.

Many of these logs had hourly updates on cloud height, some dating back to the 1940s.

Using this information, Williams and his colleagues determined that the greatest loss of fog occurred in Ontario where there was a nearly 90% decrease over the last 60 years.

Other airports such as LAX, Burbank's Bob Hope, Long Beach Airport and John Wayne Airport in Orange County also saw a considerable decrease in the average amount of fog.

However, less urban areas like Santa Barbara and the undeveloped the Channel Islands remained quite misty.

Williams says this trend is concerning because man-made climate change is expected to heat things up even more in the future.

Coastal fog can help cool an area down but as cities continue to bake, they will gather and emit even more heat, driving away even more fog.

"That can then feedback until the cloud layer is eaten away entirely in the daytime," he said.

Soon, Williams hopes to explore how much water fog provides Southern California in general to see whether the continued loss of these low clouds could dry out the region even more.

His current paper appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters."<

 

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Spiking gas prices in Vancouver are highest in North America

Spiking gas prices in Vancouver are highest in North America | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
Vancouver gas prices topped $1.30 per litre Tuesday, more than $0.15 higher than next most expensive city.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" [...] 

After dipping below a dollar per litre earlier this year, gas prices in Vancouver are now the highest in North America.

Fuel costs tipped the scales at more than $1.30 per litre Tuesday morning, nearly 16 cents per litre higher than Quebec City, the second-most expensive Canadian city for gas, according to GasBuddy.com.

Since then, a shortage of gasoline coupled with higher demand has contributed to the spike.

Last month, an Exxon Mobile oil refinery in California exploded, while Shell’s Puget Sound refinery in Washington State went down for maintenance.

Experts say brutal winter weather has also increased demand for gasoline in eastern Canada and the U.S.

CTV News spoke with some Vancouver drivers who say they’re exhausted from the up-and-down costs.

“We pay the most for gas, we pay the most for houses, we pay the most taxes. What’s up?” asked Jeremy Wilson. “I pity the people in the Mercedes and the Beamers, how can they afford it?”

Josh Sharber, who uses his truck for work, said it now costs him around $130 to fill up his tank.

“I basically work two days a week just to keep my truck running,” he said. “It’s pretty much all you can do. No gas, can’t get to work.”

Elsewhere in the Lower Mainland Tuesday, gas prices in Abbotsford topped $1.19 per litre, while Chilliwack, where prices are traditionally low, hovered around $1.21 per litre.

That’s still higher than other major North American cities, including Toronto ($1.07 per litre), Los Angeles ($0.93 USD per litre) and Edmonton ($0.91 per litre)."<

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Comments on Improving EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan

Comments on Improving EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
The summer deadline is approaching for finalizing the Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever limits on dangerous carbon pollution from the nation's power plants, and opponents are ratcheting up their complaints....
Duane Tilden's insight:

"> [...] Some 1500 mostly coal- and gas-fired power plants spew out more than two billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide each year -- 40 percent of the nation's total. The vast majority of the millions of public comments submitted last fall express strong support for the Clean Power Plan, which as proposed last June starts in 2020 and ramps emissions down gradually over the next decade.

But big coal polluters and their political allies have big megaphones.

Many hope to kill the proposal outright. But for others the back-up agenda is to get the standards weakened and delayed past 2020. Their comments and speeches read like Armageddon is coming if power plants have to start limiting their carbon pollution in 2020 -- five years from now. Republican members of the Senate environment committee banged that drum over and over at a hearing last week. As on so many issues, they hope endless repetition will make their story seem true.

The truth is that the standards and timeline EPA proposed last June are quite modest and readily achievable. They can be met without any threat to the reliability of electric power. A new report from the highly respected Brattle Group shows that states can meet the EPA's proposal "while maintaining the high level of electric reliability enjoyed by U.S. electricity customers." [...]

The plan as proposed in June sets state-by-state targets that, on an overall national basis, would cut power plants' carbon pollution by 26 percent by 2020 and 30 percent by 2030, when compared to 2005 levels.

We found that with three specific improvements - I'll describe them below - the plan could achieve 50 percent more carbon pollution reductions (36 percent by 2020 and 44 percent by 2030).

Here are the three factors:

First, the costs of clean energy are falling dramatically, and EPA's June proposal was based on out of date cost and performance data for renewable electricity and efficiency energy. An NRDC issue brief published last fall details how sharply the cost and performance of energy efficiency and renewable energy have improved. When we factored in up-to-date data, our analysis shows that the Clean Power Plan's state-by-state targets as proposed in June 2014 can be met at a net savings to Americans of $1.8-4.3 billion in 2020 and $6.4-9.4 billion in 2030. More reliance on energy efficiency and renewables will also create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobsthat can't be shipped overseas.

The lower cost of clean energy technologies opens the door to getting substantially more carbon pollution reductions from the nation's largest emitters.

We also took two other specific improvements into account:

In an October 2014 notice seeking further public comment, EPA explained that the formula it had used to calculate state targets in the June 2014 proposal did not correctly account for the emission reductions made by renewables and energy efficiency. The formula did not fully account for the reduction in generation at coal and gas power plants that occurs when additional renewables are added to the grid and when businesses and homeowners reduce how much electricity they need by improving the efficiency of our buildings, appliances, and other electricity-using equipment. NRDC corrected the formula in our updated analysis to capture the full emission reduction associated with ramping up renewables and efficiency.EPA also asked for comment on an approach to better balancing state targets by adopting a minimum rate of transition from older high-emitting generation to lower-emitting sources. NRDC analyzed state targets that include conversion of 20 percent of coal generation in 2012 to natural gas generation over the period between 2020 and 2029.

These three factors -- updating the cost and performance data for renewables and efficiency, correcting the target-setting formula, and including a minimum rate of transition from higher- to lower-emitting plants -- produce the substantial additional carbon pollution reductions in our analysis, all at very reasonable costs. [...]"<

 

See EPA's Clean Power Plan:  http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/clean-power-plan-proposed-rule

 

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US Utilities #1 Priority is to Replace and Modernize Old Grid Infrastructure

US Utilities #1 Priority is to Replace and Modernize Old Grid Infrastructure | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
The State of the Electric Utility 2015 survey revealed that aging infrastructure is what troubles industry players most.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>" 

Utility executives identified aging infrastructure as the number one challenge facing the electric industry, [...] easily topping an aging workforce, regulatory models and stagnant load growth. In response, the industry is spending hundreds of billions to replace and upgrade infrastructure, rushing to meet consumer demand for higher quality power enabled by construction of a more modern grid.

"The last few years there's been more of an emphasis on transmission and distribution, and the driver there has been the advent of all these new technologies that are trying to connect with the grid," said Richard McMahon, Jr., vice president of energy supply and finance for the Edison Electric Institute, the electric utility trade organization. "There are also a lot of customer-driven desires utilities are trying to facilitate. There's a lot of spending on metering automation, as well as at the distribution level, distribution transformers to accommodate distributed generation."

Today’s grid may not be up to the task of reliably integrating high levels of renewables, distributed energy resources, and smart grid technologies, Utility Dive found. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave U.S. energy infrastructure a barely passing grade of D+ in 2013, at stark odds with the sophisticated grid management required by the rapid acceleration of utility-scale renewables, distributed resources and two-way devices.

"Distributed energy cannot be a profit center without the modernized grid infrastructure that’s needed for grid integration," Utility Dive concluded in the report. [...]

Outages on the rise

The American Society of Civil Engineers report that gave U.S. infrastructure a barely-passing grade pointed out that aging equipment "has resulted in an increasing number of intermittent power disruptions, as well as vulnerability to cyber attacks."

Significant power outages rose to more than 300 in 2011, up from about 75 in 2007, and the report found many transmission and distribution outages have been attributed to system operations failures, though from 2007 to 2012 water was the primary cause of major outages.

"While 2011 had more weather-related events that disrupted power, overall there was a slightly improved performance from the previous years," the report said. "Reliability issues are also emerging due to the complex process of rotating in new energy sources and 'retiring' older infrastructure. 

ASCE said that for now, the United States has sufficient capacity to meet demands, but from 2011 through 2020 demand for electricity in all regions is expected to increase 8% or 9%. The report forecasts that the U.S. will add 108 GW of generation by 2016.

"After 2020, capacity expansion is forecast to be a greater problem, particularly with regard to generation, regardless of the energy resource mix," the report said. "Excess capacity, known as planning reserve margin, is expected to decline in a majority of regions, and generation supply could dip below resource requirements by 2040 in every area except the Southwest without prudent investments." [...]"<

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North Dakota Bill Introduced to Minimize Natural Gas Waste from Oil Wells

North Dakota Bill Introduced to Minimize Natural Gas Waste from Oil Wells | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
North Dakota's Senate is considering legislation that would drastically cut the time oil companies can burn off and waste natural gas from an oil well. 
Duane Tilden's insight:

>"[...] Democratic Sen. Connie Triplett is sponsoring the bill that would require companies to begin paying royalties and taxes on natural gas within 14 days after an oil well begins production. Companies are given a year at present.

Triplett and others told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Friday that mineral owners and the state are being shortchanged because revenue on the wasted gas is not immediately being collected.

North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness says the industry has invested $13 billion to capture the gas. But he says there is still a challenge obtaining permission to place gas pipelines in some areas."<

  
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Michigan's Consumers Energy to retire 9 coal plants by 2016

Michigan's Consumers Energy to retire 9 coal plants by 2016 | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
New EPA regulations are an opportunity to modernize the generating fleet, according to a Consumers Energy official.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>"[...] 

Consumers Energy will shutter nine coal plants in Michigan as EPA air pollution regulations make them unprofitable to operate, MLive reports. And the Michigan utility won't be the only one. A wave of coal retirements will roll across the Midwest by early 2016, shuttering more than 60 generating plants, a Consumers official told the "Greening of the Great Lakes" weekly radio program.In addition to the regulations under the Clean Power Plan and other EPA programs, Consumers says many of the nine coal plants were built in the 1950s and are simply at the end of their productive lives.

[...] 

Last year Consumers Energy announced it had selected AMEC to run the utility's decommissioning program for the planned retirement of seven operating units at the utility’s three oldest coal-fired generating plants. Though there is still uncertainty over just what impact a slate of EPA regulations will have, Consumers last year said the power plants being decommissioned have an average operating life-span of more than 60 years and collectively represented approximately 950 MW of electric capacity.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, but as it stands the regulations could apply to 1,400 generators at more than 600 of the nation's largest power plants.

Federal regulators believe the tighter controls could prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths each year by limiting mercury, particulate matter, and other harmful pollutants it says are hazardous to public health."<

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CanGEA Report Claims Geothermal Creates more Jobs than Site C Dam

CanGEA Report Claims Geothermal Creates more Jobs than Site C Dam | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
a recent report by a canadian industry group that is promoting geothermal energy, thermal energy generated and stored in the earth, says geothermal operations can create more permanent jobs than the site c dam in northeastern b.c.
Duane Tilden's insight:

>"According to Geothermal Energy: The Renewable and Cost Effective Alternative to Site C, 1,100 megawatts – the same amount as Site C – of geothermal power projects would create more sustainable employment for surrounding communities.

"While Site C promises only 160 permanent jobs, U.S. Department of Energy

statistics indicate that the equivalent amount of geothermal energy would produce 1,870 permanent jobs. This does not include jobs that result from the direct use of geothermal heat, which are also significant."

However, said Alison Thompson, managing director of Canadian Geothermal Energy Association  (CanGEA), which published the report, geothermal projects would result in fewer construction jobs than the Site C dam.

"Geothermal projects would be spread around the province, not all on one site," she said. "And, unlike Site C, they would not be built all at once. They would be staggered, with construction beginning in the highest-priority regions first."

According to Dave Conway, a Site C spokesman, the $7.9 billion project will create about 10,000 person-years of direct construction employment, and 33,000 person-years of total employment during development and construction.

Construction will take about eight years.

This includes seven years for  the construction itself and one year for commissioning, site reclamation and demobilization.

Thompson said geothermal energy has other advantages over hydro.

"For example, geothermal power has a lower unit energy cost and capital cost," she said.

"And, the physical and environmental footprint of geothermal is small."

The CanGEA report says the "strategic dispersion" of geothermal projects will have lower transmission costs than Site C.

"There is every reason to believe that, given the thoughtful and (methodical) development of B.C.'s geothermal potential, geothermal power could provide all of B.C.'s future power requirements at a lower cost to ratepayers than the proposed Site C project." [...]

 

"For the most part, Canada's geothermal power sector lay dormant for the following two decades while interest in the industry continued to grow outside of Canada's borders." [...]"<

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Energy Efficiency, the Invisible fuel

Energy Efficiency, the Invisible fuel | Green & Sustainable News | Scoop.it
THE CHEAPEST AND cleanest energy choice of all is not to waste it. Progress on this has been striking yet the potential is still vast. Improvements in energy...
Duane Tilden's insight:

>"[...] The “fifth fuel”, as energy efficiency is sometimes called, is the cheapest of all. A report by ACEEE, an American energy-efficiency group, reckons that the average cost of saving a kilowatt hour is 2.8 cents; the typical retail cost of one in America is 10 cents. In the electricity-using sector, saving a kilowatt hour can cost as little as one-sixth of a cent, says Mr Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute, so payback can be measured in months, not years.

The largest single chunk of final energy consumption, 31%, is in buildings, chiefly heating and cooling. Much of that is wasted, not least because in the past architects have paid little attention to details such as the design of pipework (long, narrow pipes with lots of right angles are far more wasteful than short, fat and straight ones). Energy efficiency has been nobody’s priority: it takes time and money that architects, builders, landlords and tenants would rather spend on other things.

In countries with no tradition of thrifty energy use, the skills needed are in short supply, too. Even the wealthy, knowledgeable and determined Mr Liebreich had trouble getting the builders who worked on his energy-saving house to take his instructions seriously. Painstakingly taping the joins in insulating boards, and the gaps around them, seems unnecessary unless you understand the physics behind it: it is plugging the last few leaks that brings the biggest benefits. Builders are trained to worry about adequate ventilation, but not many know about the marvels of heat exchangers set in chimney stacks. [...] 

One answer to this market failure is to bring in mandatory standards for landlords and those selling properties. Another involves energy-service companies, known as ESCOs, which guarantee lower bills in exchange for modernisation. The company can develop economies of scale and tap financial markets for the upfront costs. The savings are shared with owners and occupiers. ESCOs are already a $6.5 billion-a-year industry in America and a $12 billion one in China. Both are dwarfed by Europe, with €41 billion ($56 billion) last year. Navigant Research, the consultancy, expects this to double by 2023.

That highlights one of the biggest reasons for optimism about the future of energy. Capital markets, frozen into caution after the financial crash of 2008, are now doing again what they are supposed to do: financing investments on the basis of future revenues. The growth of a bond market to pay for energy-efficiency projects was an encouraging sign in 2014, when $30 billion-40 billion were issued; this year’s total is likely to be $100 billion.

"The price of fossil fuels will always fluctuate. Solar is bound to get cheaper"

Solar energy is now a predictable income stream drawing in serious money. A rooftop lease can finance an investment of $15,000-20,000 with monthly payments that are lower than the customer’s current utility bill. SolarCity, an American company, has financed $5 billion in new solar capacity, raising money initially from institutional investors, including Goldman Sachs and Google, but now from individual private investors—who also become what the company calls “brand ambassadors”, encouraging friends and colleagues to install solar panels too.

The model is simple: SolarCity pays for the installation, then bundles the revenues and sells a bond based on the expected future income stream. Maturities range from one to seven years. The upshot is that the cost of capital for the solar industry is 200-300 basis points lower than that for utilities. [...]"<

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