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May 31, 2013

Energy News: The Week in Review (May 20, 2013)


Here’s a cross-section of the energy conversations that took center stage last week:

AutoblogGreen reported that Nissan is collaborating with CarCharging Group to deploy more quick chargers in the most LEAF-heavy parts of the United States.

From New York to San Diego, Grist reported on the ten U.S. cities that will be hardest hit by climate change.

Greentech Media reported that AT&T is getting into the smart grid business, hopefully allowing smaller utilities and electric cooperatives access to smart grid services.

Cleantechnica, citing a Lux Research report, described how the PV market is expected to grow to a $155 billion industry by 2018.

Greenbiz reported on a how wireless navigation technology helps a bus company in New Hampshire control its fleet emissions.

Science Daily reported on a cheaper way to remove carbon from the atmosphere using ammonium salts through carbon mineralization.

Renew Economy displayed a graph of the 102 countries where solar PV has reached grid parity.

Greentech Media explored whether the assertion that wind power reduces grid prices and grid reliability is fact or fiction.

Cleantechnica reported that the 2013 Nissan LEAF received a “Top Safety Pick” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported that California’s largest utility, PG&E, activated its second energy storage project, with 4 megawatts of battery storage capacity.

Treehuggershared how a Swedish architecture firm is proposing that hairy buildings, using energy-collecting piezo-electric straws, could become the next urban power plants.

Greentech Media described, in the first of a series of articles, how grid-scale energy storage has taken a noticeable step forward this year as evidenced in the Energy Storage Association meeting.

BuildingGreen described the features of what it considers to be America’s greenest office building, the Bullitt Center in Seattle.

AutoblogGreen reported that Washington State is 75 percent behind on the EV public charging station goal it set for the end of 2011.

Renew Economy reported that China is proposing to set a cap on greenhouse gas emissions that would divorce the growth on emissions from growth in the economy, and will set a peak in its overall emissions in 2025.

Solarbuzz reported that the number of mid-scale PV projects in the U.S. developed and owned by a third party are growing and leading to an emergence of community-based solar.

Science Daily explored how wind energy in the U.S. Northwest can be stored in porous rocks through two different compressed air storage methods.

The Energy Collective reported that China is ramping up energy efficiency retrofits, with a plan to retrofit 4 million square meters of nonresidential building space in ten cities, reducing each building’s average energy consumption 20 to 30 percent.

The Solar Tribune reported that eight more Walmart stores have gone solar, producing 2.8 million kWh of electricity per year.

Bloomberg (and many others) reported on how German Chancellor Merkel is trying to resolve the European Union’s solar panel trade dispute with China.

Renew Economy displayed a graphic depicting the impact of electric vehicles, including number of vehicles in use, government spending, cost predictions, and environmental savings.

Windpower Monthly, citing the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, reported that the U.S. could add as much as 20 GW of new wind power projects by 2016.

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Image courtesy of shutterstock.com


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June 6, 2013


As you may know, there will be a movie in theaters this month, Pandora's Promise, explaining the benefits of nuclear power as a way to diminish greenhouse gasses and produce energy without causing global warming. It will be playing in Denver beginning on June 14, and I encourage you to see it regardless of your hostility to any energy source containing the word "nuclear". One link is here:


At some point in the future, it will be realized by even the most ardent and devout environmentalists, that renewables, although being a positive step, cannot possibly replace our dependence on fossil fuels. Only nuclear power, in particular, the latest generation of fast neutron reactors, breeder reactors, liquid fluorine thorium reactors, etc, can answer that crucial need.

I share your negative view of the usual water-moderated slow-neutron reactors with their unsustainable creation of spent fuel, aka "nuclear waste". The fact that a great deal of such nuclear waste already exists throughout the world, makes the use of fast-neutron & breeder reactors all the more necessary. That is the huge problem with renewables, they offer no solution to the problem of nuclear waste, but fast neutron reactors do. They can use it as fuel and thus reduce it's toxicity to a few hundred years as opposed to millions (essentially forever) if burial is the only option. In addition, fast neutron reactors have the ability to convert bomb-grade U-235 as well as "depleted" uranium (U-238) into usable energy without any greenhouse gasses or million-year-toxic nuclear waste. As such, they make any additional mining of uranium unnecessary. There is already enough nuclear waste, depleted and bomb grade uranium in existence to provide an energy abundant future for hundreds of years.

Rich Clark -=- Berkeley, California -=- rrich.clark@gmail.com

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