Tag Archives: carbon bubble

Time to call it: Carbon Crash, Solar Dawn

Another observer gets it that green solar power is winning. Letting a fracking deliver company turn us into “stakeholders” in a white elephant methane pipeline would be an even huger waste after the pipeline stopped being used in a decade or so because sun, wind, and water power everything by then, winning like the Internet did.

Paul Gilding wrote on his blog 19 March 2013, Carbon Crash Solar Dawn,

I think it’s time to call it. Renewables and associated storage, transport and digital technologies are so rapidly disrupting whole industries’ business models they are pushing the fossil fuel industry towards inevitable collapse.

Some of you will struggle with that statement. Most people accept the idea that fossil fuels are all powerful — that the industry controls governments and it will take many decades to force them out of our economy. Fortunately, the fossil fuel industry suffers the same delusion.

In fact, probably the main benefit of the US shale gas and oil “revolution” is that it’s keeping the fossil fuel industry and it’s cheer squad distracted while renewables, electric cars and associated technologies build the momentum needed to make their takeover unstoppable — even by the most powerful industry in the world.

Why are the fossil fuel companies still pushing, then? Continue reading

Review of the misleading movie Pandora’s Promise

Here’s a trailer for the “documentary” pro-nuke film that comes out today, Pandora’s Promise. The film discounts solar and wind energy because its makers don’t understand the exponential decrease in solar prices or the night backup power ability of wind connected with a smart grid. The vast majority of the American people already are demanding those real renewables instead of nuclear or coal, and the economics of wind and solar are also rapidly beating natural gas.

Atom Ecology’s promotional writeup 7 June 2013, Pandora’s Promise – Anti-Nuclear Mob Burns Environment In Coal Fired Forges Of Industry For 30 Years begins,

A new documentary film that reveals how opposition to and voting against nuclear power turned into massive increases in coal burning power plants. The far worse outcome for the environment as coal has filled energy demand is the story just coming to theatres.

The tiny germ of truth in that ten years ago is just plain wrong now that coal is not the alternative because solar has reached grid parity with nuclear, coal, and natural gas.

The movie plays up Stewart Brand’s conservationist credentials and his conversion to pro-nuke. Not in that movie, but in this TED talk, you can see Stewart Brand lose a debate with Mark Z. Jacobson, who argued we can power the whole world with sun, wind, and water. Jacobson’s summary: Continue reading

Electric utiltiies know about Moore’s Law for solar power

And they know compound annual growth, even at a low 22% rate, is going to cause them a heap of trouble.

More from the Edison Electric Institute January 2013 report, Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business,

The decline in the price of PV panels from $3.80/watt in 2008 to $0.86/watt in mid-20121. While some will question the sustainability of cost-curve trends experienced, it is expected that PV panel costs will not increase (or not increase meaningfully) even as the current supply glut is resolved. As a result, the all-in cost of PV solar installation approximates $5/watt, with expectations of the cost declining further as scale is realized;

Sure, costs won’t continue to drop forever, but Continue reading

Nukes economically hard to justify —GE CEO Immelt

The CEO of General Electric, the company that designed the reactors at Fukushima and Hatch 1 and 2, said nukes are economically hard to justify. And that was back in July, before the first new nukes permitted in 30 years, at Plant Vogtle on the Savannah River, slipped 15 months. What’s winning? Shale gas, temporarily, but that’s just a bump in the road on the way to wind and solar power.

Pilita Clark wrote for Financial Times 30 July 2012, Nuclear ‘hard to justify’, says GE chief,

Nuclear power is so expensive compared with other forms of energy that it has become “really hard” to justify, according to the chief executive of General Electric, one of the world’s largest suppliers of atomic equipment.

“It’s really a gas and wind world today,” said Jeff Immelt, referring to two sources of electricity he said most countries are shifting towards as natural gas becomes “permanently cheap”.

“When I talk to the guys who run the oil companies they say look, they’re finding more gas all the time. It’s just hard to justify nuclear, really hard. Gas is so cheap and at some point, really, economics rule,” Mr Immelt told the Financial Times in an interview in London at the weekend. “So I think some combination of gas, and either wind or solar … that’s where we see most countries around the world going.”

GE CEO Immelt may also want to talk to GE’s own research director Continue reading

Substandard fire protection at nuclear Plant Hatch?

Does Hatch nuclear Unit 1 have substandard fire protection, like many reactors built before 1975? Protection against fires that the NRC says cause about half the core damage risk, such as at Fukushima, which is the same design as Hatch?

According to Simplyfy.org 2 Jan 2012, Fire Risk At Older Japan Reactors Shows Potential Worldwide Problem,

The [Japanese Nuclear Regulatory Authority] NRA announced recently that reactors built before 1975 likely have sub standard fire protection designs. This includes having important cables coated in fire resistant insulation, isolating and protecting cables and creating barriers to prevent fires from spreading to other areas of critical equipment.

Source: The Mainichi, 1 Jan 2013, Over 10 nuclear plants in Japan have flawed fire-prevention equipment: sources.

What else was built before 1975? Plant Hatch Unit 1 “Operating License: Issued – 10/13/1974”, according to the U.S. NRC. 100 miles from here, and the same design as Fukushima.

DOE also instituted upgrades and changes to their reactor facilities which included facility modifications as a result of Browns Ferry fire. Private sector nuclear power reactors in the US are not all fully up to the newer rules. The NRC has issued a number of exemptions that watchdog groups have criticized as being unsafe. Browns Ferry still does not meet the NRC fire rules for cables. 47 of 52 reactors in the US still do not comply with the 1980 fire regulations.

Plant Hatch is privately owned and operated. Has it been upgraded? Continue reading

Carbon bubble? Solar and wind erode coal, gas, and biomass credit quality —Moody’s

In Europe it’s already happening: solar and wind are causing bond-rater Moody’s to warn of downgrades of energy companies that depend on heat from burning coal, gas, or biomass. Moody’s earlier even warned the Bank of England of a potential carbon bubble developing. If combustion energy plants are affected like this, the credit effects will be even bigger on even-more-expensive nuclear plants, which Moody’s called a bet-the-farm risk way back in 2009.

James Murray wrote for businessGreen 6 Nov 2012, Moody’s: Renewables boom poses credit risk for coal and gas power plants: Credit ratings agency warns increases in renewable power have had ‘a profound negative impact’ on the competitiveness of thermal generation companies,

“Large increases in renewables have had a profound negative impact on power prices and the competitiveness of thermal generation companies in Europe,” said Scott Phillips, an assistant vice president and analyst at Moody’s Infrastructure Finance Group, in a statement.

“What were once considered stable companies have seen their business models severely disrupted and we expect steadily rising levels of renewable energy output to further affect European utilities’ creditworthiness.”

And not just rising, rising increasingly Continue reading