Op-Ed: ‘The South’s Legacy of Abandoned Nuclear Reactors’

first_imgOp-Ed: ‘The South’s Legacy of Abandoned Nuclear Reactors’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The (Columbia, S.C.) State:The South’s long, messy nuclear history is a catalog of modest successes and epic failures.Sadly, the V.C. Summer project shutdown is nothing new for the South. It has happened at least 22 times since the 1970s. Some plants existed merely as blueprints, while others were canceled mid-construction. Across the region, half-finished projects stand as emblems of bungled industry efforts. At its core, this history has been defined by secrecy, miscalculations and decisions made by the few at the expense of ordinary people.In the 1950s and 1960s, Southern politicians envisioned regional transformation through atomic energy; the South would become an “energy breadbasket.” A network of elected officials, utility companies and industry lobbyists sold these projects as job creators, an endless source of cheap energy and boons to the rural communities located near reactors. This building spree resulted in more than 40 commercial nuclear reactors operating at 23 sites and earned the South industry admiration for its “nuclear friendly citizenry.” Yet those reactors represent only a fraction of what could have been; approximately 35 additional reactors were proposed for Southern states, including a half-dozen where construction had started and billions of dollars were spent on the nuclear road to nowhere.So what happened to those ill-fated reactors? By the late 1970s, projections for energy demands declined, construction costs didn’t match initial projections, and the accident at Three Mile Island soured public opinion. Local concerns mattered too.In South Carolina, the failed nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Barnwell County, along with the staggering influx of radioactive waste, helped spawn the South’s largest anti-nuclear protest. Protestors flocked to Barnwell denouncing South Carolina’s role as the nation’s trash can.In Mississippi, infuriated ratepayers gathered outside the Grand Gulf nuclear plant and burned their utility bills. Other plants were plagued with serious safety issues and community opposition, like the now-operating Waterford 3 reactor in Louisiana.The most notorious episode occurred with the Tennessee Valley Authority, where a corporation fought landowners in Hartsville, Tenn., to build the “world’s largest nuclear plant” — only to pull the plug. What remains in this bucolic setting are half-finished remnants and a lone cooling tower, fittingly called a “used beer can” by residents. TVA ultimately canceled 10 reactors after spending billions, which tarnished its legacy, permanently marred local landscapes and exacerbated a climate of distrust.Despite industry reforms since the 1970s, V.C. Summer’s collapse sounds familiar to those well-acquainted with the region’s nuclear past. Bad legislation, the Base Load Review Act of 2007, placed the cost burden upon the ratepayers and limited SCE&G and SCANA’s accountability. A secret report, along with internal emails between SCE&G and state-owned Santee Cooper, reveal a troubling array of warning signs and uncorrected problems.While it’s true that there were new problems here, such as the Westinghouse bankruptcy, the broad outlines of the V.C. Summer fiasco could have been ripped from any headline in the late 1970s. In the case of those canceled projects, no genuine attempt at restitution was made. Those abandoned plants offer guidance for today.Legislators and public service commissions must prioritize ratepayers first, better understand the risks involved in large-scale reactor projects and let history inform their decisions as well. If the industry wants to retain the South’s “nuclear-friendly citizenry,” it, too, must confront the nuclear ghosts of its past, and reject the hubris, secrecy and overblown projections that have doomed so many plans and, in some cases, left Southerners with little more than nuclear ruins.More: The South’s legacy of abandoned nuclear reactorslast_img read more

France aims to boost wind, solar to 40% of energy mix by 2030

first_imgFrance aims to boost wind, solar to 40% of energy mix by 2030 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:France plans to triple its onshore wind power capacity by 2030 and multiply by five its solar power generation, enabling it to boost the share of renewables in its energy mix to 40 percent, according to the energy plan presented on Tuesday.French President Emmanuel Macron said the government would increase spending on renewables development to 8 billion euros ($9.05 billion) annually from 5 billion to take total spending to 71 billion euros between 2019 to 2028.Nuclear-dependent France has lagged behind other European nations with only around 20 percent of electricity consumption coming from renewablesFrance is on track to meet its target of 15 gigawatt of installed wind power capacity by the end of the year, but installation of solar panels would likely fall short of the 10.2 GW target by the end of the year.Macron said the government would make sure power prices from renewables projects are kept low for consumers while developing more power interconnectors with European neighbors so as to always benefit from the least-cost power.More: France plans to triple wind power capacity by 2030last_img read more

TVA board votes to close Paradise, Bull Run coal plants

first_imgTVA board votes to close Paradise, Bull Run coal plants FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:The Tennessee Valley Authority voted on Thursday to close two aging coal-fired power plants, including one supplied by a company led by a major supporter of President Donald Trump, who had urged the U.S.-owned utility to keep it open.“It is not about coal. This decision is about economics,” said President and Chief Executive Bill Johnson, who is retiring from the TVA. “It’s about keeping rates as low as feasible.” Ahead of the vote, Johnson had said the plants, which only operated sporadically in recent years, had become too expensive to operate.The board voted 5-2 to approve the closures. The members who voted to keep them open were both appointed by President Trump.The 870-megawatt Bull Run coal plant in Tennessee will close by December 2023 and the 971-MW Paradise 3 plant in Kentucky will be shut by December 2020. Both are about 50 years old.In total, more than 23,400 MW of coal-fired generation were shut in 2017-2018 versus 14,900 MW in 2009-2012, according to data from Reuters and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).On Tuesday, the EIA said it expected coal’s contribution to the U.S. power mix to keep falling in coming years. This year, it should average 26 percent of U.S. generation, down from 28 percent in 2018, and set to fall to 24 percent by 2020. By contrast, natural gas-fired power plants will account for 36 percent and 37 percent of that generation respectively in 2019 and 2020, up from 35 percent last year.More: U.S. utility TVA votes to close two coal power plants, in blow to Trumplast_img read more

S&P: Coal demand could drop more than 200 million tons by 2022

first_imgS&P: Coal demand could drop more than 200 million tons by 2022 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):For the four weeks ending May 25, coal shipments averaged 13.9 million tons, modestly lower than the same period in 2018. Overall tonnage is back on track after a slow start to the quarter, driven by stable export markets and low fleet inventories. Compared to forecasts from earlier this year, higher bituminous demand has offset lower western and subbituminous demand.Electric-sector demand is now projected to decline from 631 million tons in 2018 to 558 million tons in 2019 before coming under further pressure through 2022. Announced coal retirements over the next four years combined with lower natural gas prices are projected to push coal generation demand to a low point of 424 million tons per year. The overall coal market (domestic demand and exports) is projected to decline by 237 million tons from 2018-2022. While coal retirements create a ceiling on domestic steam coal demand, potential displacement by natural gas creates year-over-year variability in demand. The persistence of low natural gas prices creates a constant threat of coal displacement, but higher natural gas prices could conversely preserve 60 million to 100 million tons of demand lost at current price projections. As noted previously, firmer crude oil prices have worked to maintain high levels of associated natural gas supply, depressing natural gas spot prices through spring.S&P Global Market Intelligence forecasts production for 2019 at 304 million tons for Northern and Southern PRB, a decline of 28 million tons compared to 2018. Retirement of coal generation in the Midwest and Texas, along with lower natural gas prices, is projected to shrink the market to 237 million tons through 2022. Modest growth opportunities include displacement of smaller western coal producers and expansion in export markets.Lower production for export from the Illinois Basin during the first quarter has been offset by the restart of key mines that were closed due to operational issues in 2018. However, as in other coal regions, natural gas prices are expected to move further downward through 2020, with shale gas deliverability into the Midwest pressuring Illinois Basin coal volumes. Illinois Basin production is projected to fall to 103 million tons per year in 2019 and reach a low of 87 million tons in 2022.Appalachian basin coal production has increasingly shifted to metallurgical and export steam markets, with long-haul thermal domestic markets continuing to erode. While export markets are projected to ease, strong seaborne pricing into 2019 is likely to support exports through the first half. Many coal plants are expected to retire in 2019, and more appear under pressure due to the competitive price of natural gas. S&P Global Market Intelligence estimates total 2019 production at 193 million tons, down by 8 million tons from 2018. Production is forecast to decline by an additional 39 million tons in 2020.More ($): U.S. coal price discounting extends into late springlast_img read more

Two New York utilities seek proposals for 310MW of energy storage

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:Consolidated Edison (ConEd) and its subsidiary Orange and Rockland Utilities (O&R) on July 15 issued a joint request for proposals (RFP) to procure at least 310 MW of bulk storage — 300 MW from Con Edison and 10 MW from O&R. The projects must be operational by Dec. 31, 2022 and eligible for a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority incentive according to the RFP.In December 2018, the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) formally adopted Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s target, which calls for 1,500 MW of storage by 2025 and 3,000 MW by 2030. New York’s ambitious energy storage target is pushing utilities to procure significant amounts of storage over the next decade.In December, the NYPSC ordered all New York utilities to procure at least 10 MW of energy storage, with the exception of ConEd, which was ordered to procure at least 300 MW.In addition to ConEd and O&R, Avangrid subsidiaries, New York Electric & Gas and Rochester Gas & Electric, National Grid’s subsidiary, Niagara Mohawk Power, and Central Hudson Gas & Electric were required to lay out plans for direct procurement to deploy at least 10 MW of energy storage each by the end of 2022.A recent study by the New York Department of Public Services showed that at least 275 MW of peaking units, or about 6% of the total rated capacity of New York’s peaking fleet, were identified as potential candidates for replacement with six‐hour energy storage.More: ConEd, O&R seek to add at least 310 MW of bulk storage in pursuit of New York’s 3 GW target Two New York utilities seek proposals for 310MW of energy storagelast_img read more

Coal’s demise quickens in Europe

first_imgCoal’s demise quickens in Europe FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Commodity markets are stripping away the case for coal in Europe, moving quicker than government efforts to close the most polluting power plants.A plunge in natural gas prices along with an increase in the cost of releasing carbon dioxide emissions shifted the profitability of generating electricity away from burning coal, according to data compiled by BloombergNEF. The trend is evident in Italy, Spain, Germany and the U.K., each of which have cut the proportion of coal in their power mixes this year.Shifting economics in the power business are complementing the efforts of the European Union to slash greenhouse gases and make good on commitments in the Paris Agreement on climate change. It’s made utilities from RWE AG in Germany and Italy’s Enel SpA change their calculations about the pace the region will be able to reduce carbon pollution.“It’s a magical alignment that’s igniting and accelerating a transition that, without the economics, would be much harder,” said Antonello Cammisecra, who is in charge of Enel’s gas, coal, oil and green power generation worldwide. “We have an alignment of economics, of saying switch to gas and most importantly switch to renewables because it’s cheaper, safer and easier.”More: Coal’s Demise Quickens in Europe as Market Shift Idles Plantslast_img read more

Shell, Eneco to build 759MW, subsidy-free hybrid offshore wind project in the Netherlands

first_imgShell, Eneco to build 759MW, subsidy-free hybrid offshore wind project in the Netherlands FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Oil major Shell and Dutch utility Eneco will build a super-hybrid offshore wind farm, having won the latest Dutch tender.The pair’s CrossWind consortium was revealed on Wednesday as the winner of the subsidy-free auction for the Hollandse Kust (noord) project. CrossWind plans to have the 759-megawatt offshore wind farm up and running in 2023 with solar, storage and hydrogen elements thrown into the mix. Both companies confirmed that the final investment decision on the project has already been made.The tender for Hollandse Kust (noord) encouraged participants to incorporate green hydrogen plans. But Shell and Eneco have gone several steps further. In a statement, CrossWind said it would incorporate five technology demonstrations that could be implemented at full scale in the future, combining the various technologies to provide continuous power, regardless of whether the wind is blowing.The wind farm will be paired with a floating solar facility and a short-duration battery. It will also generate green hydrogen via an electrolyzer that CrossWind says will be used as a “further storage technique.”Shell said in May that it hopes to use Hollandse Kust (noord) to power a 200-megawatt electrolyzer for one of its own refineries. Other details on the size of the solar and battery components were not immediately available.The final innovation at Hollandse Kust (noord) will see turbines being “tuned” to ensure that they minimize the wake effects — that is, the impact of one turbine on those behind it, which ultimately reduces power generation. Ørsted last year cut its expected returns on some of its offshore projects because the wake effect had been underestimated in its models. [John Parnell]More: Super-Hybrid: Dutch offshore wind farm to include floating solar, batteries and hydrogenlast_img read more

Lloyd’s of London to stop issuing new insurance for coal projects, oil sands and Arctic energy exploration

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Lloyd’s of London is scaling back its exposure to coal and oil sands, the commercial insurance market said in its first sustainability report on Wednesday, in a reversal of its traditional hands-off approach to climate change strategy.Lloyd’s acts as regulator for around 100 syndicate members, and leaves decisions on underwriting and investment strategy to them. But other regulatory bodies, such as the Bank of England, have stressed the risks of climate change for financial institutions.Lloyd’s has come under fire from activists because its members have insured controversial projects such as Adani Enterprises’ Carmichael thermal coal mine in Australia and the Canadian government’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline.European insurers like AXA and Zurich have already pulled back from underwriting fossil fuels such as coal and oil sands, though U.S. and Asian insurers have mainly retained their exposure.The Lloyd’s Corporation and its members will end new investment in thermal coal-fired power plants, thermal coal mines, oil sands and new Arctic energy exploration activities from Jan. 1, 2022, Lloyd’s said in a statement.It would phase out existing investment in companies which derive 30% or more of their revenues from those sectors by the end of 2025. Lloyd’s also said it was asking members to stop providing new insurance cover for thermal coal, oil sands, or new Arctic energy exploration from Jan. 1, 2022, with a target date of Jan. 1, 2030 to phase out the renewal of existing cover.[Carolyn Cohn]More: Lloyd’s of London steps back from coal in first climate change policy Lloyd’s of London to stop issuing new insurance for coal projects, oil sands and Arctic energy explorationlast_img read more

Life as a US Soccer Fan during the Cup

first_imgLast week my brother went to work with an Uncle Sam hat to express his excitement for the World Cup. He also bought a portable TV so he could watch the game with Algeria while driving. His loyalty knows no end. His enthusiasm is limitless, and contagious. And I get the impression that my brother is not alone.Brett ready to sell carsWith our economy in the pooper, men and women still in need of work, an oil spill ravaging our coasts, I understand the draw to the World Cup. Something pure, and good and based on skill, mixed with good old fashion National pride and competition.At the end of the US win this week against Algeria, friends were posting congratulations on Facebook, Twitter. Apparently, everyone had watched.My brother sent me a simple text message. It read simply, “Next dog I get I will name Donovan.” A suitable salute to the US Men’s team I think. Perhaps by the end of the Cup, my brother, the die-hard soccer fan will also have named his future children as well. The Gainesville Rattlers, 7 and under rec. soccer team lost every game they played in the summer of 1986. I recall one game where the entire team was on one end of the field, and my brother and I were oddly standing near the goalie, alone.Why? I think we honestly didn’t know what else to do but stand and wait. Soccer was new to our lives and we had yet to fully grasp the rules and certainly did not understand positions.When the coach yelled run, we did. When he said nothing, we did nothing. And so went our glorious season under the shadow of white metal goals and bright orange nets.Although this was not the last time my brother played soccer, it was the last time he was on a soccer team by choice. My twin brother’s heart has always belonged to baseball, well, that was until a few years ago.In or around 2006, my brother started paying attention to English football, or what we across the pond call soccer. The introduction was an easy one. He loves all things British, music, food, history and naturally began to express his Anglophilia by watching British football. He picked a club as all good football fans do, followed their scores, and picked a favorite player.As you may know, many of these guys playing in the Premier League are Americans. As Brett cheered and yelled at refs, pint in hand, he started to cheer for one American in particular, Clint Dempsey. He admires Dempsey’s grit, his enthusiasm for the game, but also, his humanity. And so began my brother’s love of US Men’s soccer.  It started in England, with one ex-pat, and naturally lead back across the Atlantic.In 2009 – 2010, my brother followed the US Men’s team across the United States to watch exhibition games. He dragged his girlfriend, recruited friends and family to join in, and scheduled time with family such that he would not miss a televised game.Brett, Andy, Belinda and Nicholas in PAHe even named his first dog after his favorite player. Meet Dempsey, the Beagle puppy.last_img read more

Trauma Tuesday: Fireworks Fail Edition

first_imgSince last week’s video did not contain any trauma, and the annual American exercise in eat, drink, blow stuff up, repeat, aka the 4th of July Celebration is on Thursday, we’ll skip the outdoors action on today’s Trauma Tuesday. That’s not exactly true, as you can see most of the fireworks fail action in this video does occur outside, however there are no actual sports involved, unless you consider running for your life and laughing at your idiot friends a sport – which some do. Although the actions in the above video can be equal parts hilarious and traumatizing, let this also be a friendly BRO reminder that fireworks – or anything that explodes really, whether it be recreational or professional in use – are not a toy, and should be used with care. That means you Drunk Dad; c’mon, try to set a good example.But in all seriousness, we at BRO encourage you to obey local laws, follow safety guidelines, and not blow yourself up on this Independence Day.WARNING: Some not safe for work language toward the end…but that’s to be expected right?last_img read more