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The Murky Future of Nuclear Power in the United States

A view into Unit 4 at the Alvin W. Vogtle generating station in Georgia. The complex plans to use AP1000 reactors from Westinghouse. Credit via Georgia Power

Image: A view into Unit 4 at the Alvin W. Vogtle generating station in Georgia. The complex plans to use AP1000 reactors from Westinghouse. Credit via Georgia Power

nytimes.com - February 18th 2017 - Diane Cardwell

This was supposed to be America’s nuclear century.

The Three Mile Island meltdown was two generations ago. Since then, engineers had developed innovative designs to avoid the kinds of failures that devastated Fukushima in Japan. 

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'The Wild West of Wind': Republicans Push Texas as Unlikely Green Energy Leader

           

Wind energy in Sweetwater, Texas. Photograph: Katie Hayes Luke for the Guardian

Climate change in the US: the dangers and the solutions

The most oil-rich and fracking-friendly of states has found itself with the improbable status of being a national leader in a wind energy boom

theguardian.com - by Tom Dart in Sweetwater, Texas, and Oliver Milman in New York - February 20, 2017

Living in New York and Washington, Greg Wortham heard all the grand talk about green energy from liberal politicians. Then he returned to the place where he grew up, a small town that embraced wind power so warmly that within a couple of years of the first turbine turning, it had some of the biggest farms on the planet.

Yet Wortham is not from California, Oregon or New England, but a deeply conservative sector of Texas on the edge of the Permian Basin, one of the most bountiful oil and gas patches in the world.

The welcome sign that greets motorists as they arrive in Sweetwater along Interstate 20, a three-hour drive west of Dallas, is not in the shape of an oil derrick or pumpjack, though: it’s a wind turbine blade bearing the town’s motto, “Life is sweet in Texas”.

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Staff ‘Overwhelmed’ at Nuclear Plant, but U.S. Won’t Shut It

Diane Turco, the director of Cape Downwinders, which is opposed to the Pilgrim nuclear plant, speaking at a public hearing on Tuesday. Credit M. Scott Brauer for The New York TimesImage: Diane Turco, the director of Cape Downwinders, which is opposed to the Pilgrim nuclear plant, speaking at a public hearing on Tuesday. Credit M. Scott Brauer for The New York Times

nytimes.com - February 1st 2017 - Katharine Q. Seelye

One by one, ordinary residents confronted the federal regulators, telling them during a three-hour meeting Tuesday night that the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station here was not safe and should be shut down.

Their chief piece of evidence? An internal email written Dec. 6 by the leader of a federal inspection team and sent accidentally — thanks to autofill in the “to” line — to Diane Turco, a citizen activist opposed to the plant.

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U.S. Grid in ‘Imminent Danger’ From Cyber-Attack, Study Says

           

Photographer: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Threats to U.S. electrical grid are more sophisticated - Increase in smart grid technology increasing vulnerability

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Transforming the Nation’s Electricity System - The Second Installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review - January 2017

bloomberg.com - by Ari Natter and Mark Chediak - January 6, 2017

The U.S. Energy Department says the electricity system "faces imminent danger" from cyber-attacks, which are growing more frequent and sophisticated, but grid operators say they are already on top of the problem.

In the department’s landmark Quadrennial Energy Review, it warned that a widespread power outage caused by a cyber-attack could undermine "critical defense infrastructure" as well as much of the economy and place at risk the health and safety of millions of citizens.

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Weak Federal Powers Could Limit Trump’s Climate-Policy Rollback

A wind farm in Pomeroy, Iowa. The wind power industry is booming in the United States, with wind-farm technician projected to be the country’s fastest-growing occupation over the next decade. Credit Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Image: A wind farm in Pomeroy, Iowa. The wind power industry is booming in the United States, with wind-farm technician projected to be the country’s fastest-growing occupation over the next decade. Credit Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

nytimes.com - January 2nd 2017 - Justin Gillis

With Donald J. Trump about to take control of the White House, it would seem a dark time for the renewable energy industry. After all, Mr. Trump has mocked the science of global warming as a Chinese hoax, threatened to kill a global deal on climate change and promised to restore the coal industry to its former glory.

So consider what happened in the middle of December, after investors had had a month to absorb the implications of Mr. Trump’s victory. 

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World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind

           

Emerging markets are leapfrogging the developed world thanks to cheap panels.

bloomberg.com - by Tom Randall - December 15, 2016

A transformation is happening in global energy markets that’s worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity. 

This has happened in isolated projects in the past: an especially competitive auction in the Middle East, for example, resulting in record-cheap solar costs. But now unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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EPA Finds Fracking Can Impact Drinking Water, Shifts Emphasis from Earlier Report to Focus on Risks

           

A high-pressure gas line spanning a canal in an oil field over the Monterey Shale formation near Lost Hills, Calif., in 2014. Credit David McNew/Getty Images

CLICK HERE - EPA's Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources

cnbc.com - by Robert Ferris | Tom DiChristopher - December 13, 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency's final report on a five-year study finds hydraulic fracturing can in fact contaminate drinking water in some cases.

The EPA's presentation of the final assessment marks a significant change in the way the report was initially presented in 2015. Energy companies seized on that presentation because it said the EPA found no "widespread, systemic impact" on drinking water supplies.

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CLICK HERE - EPA - Executive Summary, Hydraulic Fracturing Study - Final Assessment 2016

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As rooftop solar costs drop, utility attempts to raise barriers may not work

A solar array at Duke Energy Florida's 3.8 megawatt solar array in Osceola County, near St. Cloud. [Times files]

Image: A solar array at Duke Energy Florida's 3.8 megawatt solar array in Osceola County, near St. Cloud. [Times files]

tampabay.com - November 13th 2016 - Mary Ellen Klas

Florida's utility industry steered more than $20 million of their profits into a failed constitutional amendment to impose new barriers to the expansion of rooftop solar energy generation, but developers say that as the cost of installing solar panels drops, the state could quickly become a leader in private solar energy expansion no matter what the energy giants do.

The Florida Solar Energy Industry Association estimates that over the next five years, Florida homeowners, businesses and utilities are projected to take advantage of the falling prices and install 2,315 megawatts of solar electric capacity — 19 times more than the amount of solar installed in the last five years.

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Before the Flood

nationalgeographic.com - October 30, 2016

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens and Academy Award®-winning actor, environmental activist and U.N. Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio, Before the Flood presents a riveting account of the dramatic changes now occurring around the world due to climate change, as well as the actions we as individuals and as a society can take to prevent the disruption of life on our planet.

CLICK HERE - National Geographic - Before the Flood

CLICK HERE - YouTube - Before the Flood

CLICK HERE - About the Film - Before the Flood

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New York Unveils New Way to Price Distributed Energy Resources

microgridknowledge.com - October 28th 2016 - Elisa Wood

New York energy advisors unveiled a new, more granular way to price distributed energy resources and transition away from net metering, in a proposal released yesterday.

The report, issued by the Department of Public Services staff, said that current pricing methods fail to take into account the full value of distributed energy.

State regulators had called for the report as part of Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), New York’s strategy to create a decentralized power grid.

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