Tag Archives: Germany

The shift has come: GE, Siemens massive job losses as fossil fuels crash and the sun rises

The carbon bubble is bursting, as jobs fly from some of the biggest companies in the world, because solar and wind power are taking over right now. It’s too late to bet on the wrong nuclear horse or the wrong pipelnie snake. Get out of fossil fuels now: the sun is rising.

Tiffany Hsu and Clifford Krauss, New York Times, 7 December 2017, G.E. Cuts Jobs as It Navigates a Shifting Energy Market,

General Electric, whose new leadership is moving to eliminate bloat and grapple with the fallout from earlier, ill-timed decisions, is taking drastic steps to keep pace with seismic shifts in the global energy industry.

GE ranks first in 2017 downsizing after 12,000 more jobs: Brandon Kochkodin, Bloomberg, 7 December 2017
Brandon Kochkodin, Bloomberg, 7 December 2017, GE Ranks First in 2017 Downsizing After 12,000 More Job Cuts.

The company said on Thursday that it would cut 12,000 jobs in its power division, reducing the size of the unit’s work force by 18 percent as part of a push to compete with international rivals in a saturated natural gas market, adjust to “softening” in the oil and gas sectors and stay abreast of the growing demand for renewable energy.

Solar and wind energy technology is increasingly being deployed Continue reading

European utilities scared of renewable energy

Another reason Southern Company needs to get on with a smart grid, using its biggest private R&D outfit in the U.S. Now that solar has reached grid parity with everything including natural gas (and years since it passed nuclear), if the utilities don’t get out in front, they’re going to be left behind.

Derek Mead wrote for Motherboard yesterday, European Utilities Say They Can’t Make Money Because There’s Too Much Renewable Energy,

Renewable energy has been on a tear the past few years, with growth in many countries spurred by subsidies for wind and solar power. Now the heads of 10 European utility companies say EU subsidies should end, because they've got more renewable energy than they know what to do with.

The 10 CEOs in question, who refer to themselves as the Magritte group because they first met in an art gallery, represent companies that control about half the power capacity of Europe. The group gave a press conference today— Reuters says that 10 such executives giving a joint public statement is “unprecedented”—to hammer home a message they’ve been trumpeting ahead of an EU energy summit in 2014: There’s too much energy capacity, which has driven prices down so far that they can’t make any money.

As long as there are nukes or coal plants, there’s too much capacity. European utilities need to get on with things like Continue reading

Nuclear an economic boon despite high costs –Tim Echols

Some of the “stuff” that happened before and after GA PSC Tim Echols cheered nuclear Friday.

GA Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols wrote in the Athens Banner-Herald Friday Echols: Nuclear power can be economic boon to Southeast,

Just when we thought nuclear power might be on a comeback, well, stuff happened. Only time will tell if Georgia and South Carolina can “jump-start” a nuclear renaissance. Let’s hope we can, because low-cost base-load energy — the amount of electricity available 24 hours a day — is a key to economic growth.

Stuff like this happened:

German wind overpowering?

The biggest wind problem in Germany is it produces too much power? Fortunately there are two well-known simple solutions to this problem raised by GA Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols in a comment yesterday. I do want to thank him for engaging in dialog with the public.

Tim Echols wrote:

eeX DE wind 2013-07-20 We need nuclear, coal and gas as our baseload power. Germany is doing the opposite and they are in trouble. Their people pay triple what we pay for power, and when the wind is blowing at night or on the weekend, the Germans have to pay Poland to take their excess power. All of that primarily because the German people hate nuclear power. In Georgia, we are leading the nation, and I am fine with that. I just want to make sure our ratepayers are protected and not paying for the learning curve of new nuclear.

As FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghof has been pointing out for years, baseload is the problem. The baseload ideology stands in the way of the distributed solar power the vast majority of the American people want, and in the way of wind power.

Regarding German power costs to customers, Germany is far north of here, with far less sun, and Germany has depended heavily on Feed-In Tariffs, which may or may not be what we need in Georgia. Meanwhile, what’s been hiking power rates in Georgia is not solar or wind power, it’s nuclear and natural gas. And not for Feed-In Tariffs, either, which are only charged on actual energy production. The Georgia legislature approved Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) for nuclear, and GA PSC has raised rates to pay for natural gas plant construction, which amounts to the same thing. If we want to save ratepayers money, we should get on with solar and wind power.

Now to the problem with two well-known solutions: Continue reading

Re-evaluate Plant Vogtle and move to wind and solar power –Courtney Hanson @ GA PSC 2013-06-18

Re-evaluate Plant Vogtle, especially its water use, and move to efficiency, wind, and solar power instead, said Courtney Hanson of Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions (GA WAND) at the Georgia Public Service Commission meeting Tuesday 18 June 2013.

She reminded GA PSC Plant Vogtle 3 and 4 are late and over budget, and then:

I want to add my voice to the chorus of folks here who are concerned about water issues. We know that Vogtle 3 and 4 will require an additional withdrawal of as much as 74 million gallons a day from the Savannah River and most of that water will not be returned. We know that the central Savannah River area where Vogtle is located is already very prone to droughts and the plant has been close to shutting down several times due to drought conditions. Georgia is also already struggling to supply enough water for our homes, businesses, industries, and farms.

In addition, the Savannah River is Continue reading

It is not enough to add a little solar and wind on top of fossil and fission fuels –a German @ GA PSC 2013-06-18

A German national residing in Georgia asked for a serious effort on energy efficiency and conservation while switching to real renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels and nuclear, at the Georgia Public Service Commission meeting Tuesday 18 June 2013.

She said increasing fires and floods were part of climate change, and we need to do something about it.

I always hear this phrase “growing energy demand” as if it’s something, some matter of fact. A growing economy means growing energy demand, and that means consequently growing waste, growing pollution, growing inequity, and so on. Any thinking person should notice that we need to find a way out. For anyone concerned about our future, business as usual is no longer acceptable. We need drastic changes in our energy supply. We need to use less.

Only a month earlier, Tom Fanning, CEO of Georgia Power’s parent company Southern Company reemphasized yet again that

To us, growing the economy is how we’re going to make profit.

Yet GA PSC could do something about that antique attitude, as this speaker pointed out: Continue reading

Coal and natural gas cost effective vs. energy efficiency, wind, and solar power? –Stephanie Coffin @ SO 2013-05-22

SO CEO Tom Fanning is a true believer in “all of the above”, yet a skeptic about natural gas. However, he really doesn’t have much faith in renewables, as he indicated at the 22 May 2013 Southern Company Stockholder Meeting and even more strongly in the Wall Street Journal.

retirees and stockholders in the room wonder about the $13 million salary --Stephanie Coffin This question is from Stephanie Coffin of Atlanta, Georgia, and she holds 18 shares of stock.

TF: Hello, Stephanie.

SC: How are you, Tom?

TF: Dynamite. How are you?

your income --Stephanie Coffin SC: Last year, I came to this meeting to ask a question and to listen to the Southern Company reports. And so before I came I got to thinking about what has changed since the last meeting. I think two things, and then I’ll ask my question.

The first is the chairperson’s salary increased 34 percent, over $13 million a year. I’m sure the retirees and stockholders in the room wonder about the $13 million salary and see that as negative PR in the face of continuing recession. $13 million a year, most of us are on fixed income. I mean, your income My income --Stephanie Coffin is fixed, too, but it’s very high. Mine is pretty low and we all have to pay electric bills.

The second change, and then I’ll ask my question, is that now 70 — 97 percent of all scientists believe that climate change — that is, global warming — is real and caused by human activity and this is a big shift. Last year we were the climate deniers, we’re in control, and now 97 percent of all scientists say it’s real, it’s coming, you better get ready. In the face of this scientific consensus the Southern Company has maintained its reliance on fossil fuels, mountaintop coal, old coal plants and pushing nuclear power with huge wattage demands and the dangers of nuclear wastes.

While I applaud the Southern Company’s baby steps Continue reading

Why are you gambling on nuclear instead of solar? –Gloria Tatum @ SO 2013-05-22

Why is SO gambling our health and dollars on Plant Vogtle when Georgia Power could be getting on with solar power? SO CEO Tom Fanning avoided the first part of Gloria Tatum’s question by simply denying it, and danced around the second part by saying the rate hike for Plant Vogtle’s cost overruns would only be 6 to 8 percent, not 12 percent. Do you want to pay 6 or 8 percent more for a radioactive white elephant when you could be getting power from the sun for less?

The floor person at the 22 May 2013 Southern Company Stockholder Meeting introduced Gloria Tatum with 164 shares, representing Nuclear Watch South, and the SO CEO insisted

TF: Call me Tom. Gee whiz.

Gloria Tatum GT: Tom. Hi,Tom. It’s great to be here on this beautiful day.

TF: Thank you. Yes ma’am.

GT: And I know Southern Company’s done many wonderful things, but I want to point out a few things to you today.

First, you know, after the Fukushima meltdown, TEPCO’s $50 billion nuclear complex became a worthless liability. The deadly radiation still circles the planet, polluting the earth and increasing cancer. Other countries have abandoned their nuclear and they’re looking to renewable, but Southern Company’s affiliate, Georgia Power, continues construction on two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. Now Shell Bluff is a community down the stream from Plant Vogtle and it has experienced a 25 percent increase in cancer since Vogtle 1 and 2 have been built.

Another problem with Vogtle Continue reading

Twice French GDP and soil contamination as big as France plus Germany: the real cost of a bad French nuclear accident

Sixty hurricane Katrinas or 112 Sandys is the cost EDF, the French company that wants to build a new nuke at Calvert Cliffs in Maryland, avoided revealing through “fabricated” reports that “very seriously underestimated the costs of” a potential serious nuclear accident in France. The real cost would range from 0.76 trillion to 5.8 trillion euros ($1 trillion to $7.62 trillion dollars). For comparison, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of France is about 2.11 trillion euros, according to the World Bank. So a Chernobyl- or Fukushima-style accident in France would cost ⅓ to 2¾ times French GDP. No country can afford that.

Not even the U.S., whose GDP is $14.99 trillion or $11.41 euros, so such an accident, esp. if it happened in the densely populated eastern U.S., as for example in Maryland, could cost half the GDP of the United States. That’s way beyond the $68 billion cost of Hurricane Sandy or $125 billion for Hurricane Katrina. One nuclear accident could cost more than twice the $4 to $6 trillion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.

Wolf Richter wrote for Business Insider 14 March 2013, French Nuclear Disaster Scenario Was So Bad The Government Kept It Secret,

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French, German, and Spanish nukes unreliable in heat

Invest in nukes for hot water in rivers damaging plants and animals while there’s less water for agriculture and cities and droughts and summer heat waves cause power shortages. That’s Europe’s experience. Or we could profit by their experience and get on with reliable renewable solar and wind power.

The Guardian, 12 August 2003, Heatwave hits French power production,

France has shut down the equivalent of four nuclear power stations as the heatwave eats into the country’s electricity generating capacities. With temperatures in French rivers hitting record highs, some power plants relying on river water to cool their reactors have been forced to scale back production.

Julio Godoy wrote for OneWorld.net 28 July 2006, European Heat Wave Shows Limits of Nuclear Energy,

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