Friday Green Numbers round-up for Feb 25th 2011

Green Numbers

And here is a round-up of this week’s Green numbers…

  1. After 50 Years, Nuclear Power is Still Not Viable without Subsidies, New Report Finds

    Since its inception more than 50 years ago, the U.S. nuclear power industry has been propped up by a generous array of government subsidies that have supported its development and operations. Despite that support, the industry is still not economically viable, according to a report released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The report, ?Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable Without Subsidies,? found that more than 30 subsidies have supported every stage of the nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium mining to long-term waste storage. Added together, these subsidies often have exceeded the average market price of the power produced.

    ?Despite the fact that the nuclear power industry has benefited from decades of government support, the technology is still uneconomic, so the industry is demanding a lot more from taxpayers to build new reactors,? said Ellen Vancko, manager of UCS?s Nuclear Energy and Climate Change Project. ?The cost of this technology continues to …

  2. UN reveals $1.3trn green strategy

    A new sustainable strategy by the United Nations proposes to invest 2pc of wealth generated by the global economy, or some $1.3trn annually, in 10 key sectors.

    The new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report that was released yesterday, when more than 100 environment ministers met in Nairobi, underlines a sustainable public policy and investment path that will not only launch the transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient green economy, but will also …

  3. Wind generation is not increasing wholesale electricity prices in Ireland

    The growing levels of wind generation on the Irish electricity network is not increasing wholesale electricity prices, a new study published by EirGrid and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) suggests.

    The report by grid operator EirGrid and the SEAI, employs detailed modelling tools to examine the wholesale prices in the Irish electricity system in 2011, which has a total annual value of an estimated ?2bn.

    The analysis revealed that wind generation lowers wholesale prices by …

  4. 7 Fear Factors That Move Solar Stocks

    Solar companies have seen their stocks head up over the past two months as they?ve been reporting killer sales and profits for 2010 and remain bullish about 2011. Shares of key players, such as SunPower, Suntech Power, First Solar and Trina Solar, all have seen their shares rise about 30 percent or more since the beginning of the year.

    But no stocks can keep climbing forever, and news events that …

  5. OnChip Power, aiming a shrink ray at bulky transformer ‘bricks,’ raises $1.8 million from Venrock

    I am fairly sure that if you manage to raise $1.8 million for your start-up while enrolled in a business school course called “Entrepreneurial Finance,” you are almost guaranteed an A.
    Last week, MIT Sloan student and OnChip Power CEO Vanessa Green was signing the papers on her company’s first round of funding: $1.8 million from Venrock and Arunas Chesonis, chairman of PAETEC Holding and an MIT alumnus.

    OnChip is commercializing new power electronics technology developed at …

  6. Transphorm Unveils Efficient Power Module, $38M From Kleiner, Google Ventures

    Here comes the biggest cleantech startup launch since Bloom Energy: Acompany called Transphorm has emerged from stealth on Wednesday afternoon at Google Venture?s headquarters, touting an energy-efficient power conversion module for power-hungry devices from servers to electric car batteries to solar panels, and an enviable $38 million in venture capital from Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures, Foundation Capital, and Lux Capital.

    Founded in 2007, Transphorm is looking to make power conversion more energy-efficient and reduce the …

  7. Harvard Study Reveals Coal Energy To Be One of the Most Expensive Forms of Power

    Advocates of coal power argue that it is among the cheapest sources of energy in the United States and allows for lower-cost power. But a new Harvard study found that whatever money is saved in operation costs is completely negated by the cost coal plants inadvertently pass on to the American public: $345 billion.

    These hidden expenses are not borne by miners or utilities, but come from the detrimental side affects of coal burning, like health problems in mining communities and pollution around coal plants. The study is the first to look at the entire cost of coal, from extraction to combustion …

  8. Oil surges nears $120 a barrel on Libya and Middle East fears

    Oil prices soared to almost $120 a barrel on Thursday amid fears that the unrest in Libya and Bahrain could spread to other oil-rich countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.

    Brent crude leapt $8.54 to $119.79 a barrel, the highest price since August 2008, and later traded at $113.93 a barrel. It closed at…

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Photo credit Tom Raftery


Friday Green Numbers round-up 04/23/2010

Green numbers

Photo credit Unhindered by Talent

And here is this week’s Green numbers:

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


GreenMonk Energy & Sustainability show – 30th March 09

This is an archive copy of this week’s GreenMonk Energy & Sustainability show and the chat stream is below:

05:31 TomRaftery : Anyone seeing video? Hearing audio?
05:31 paulsavage : I see it
05:31 ustreamer-9468 : not yet tom
05:31 paulsavage : and I hear
05:31 paulsavage : Doing good
05:31 mikeTheBee : Hi tom
05:31 ustreamer-1659 : You’re on for me Tom – john P, Cork
05:31 mikeTheBee : Yep
05:31 ustreamer-9468 : ok starting
05:31 ustreamer-9468 : got ya now
05:31 TomRaftery : ustreamer 9468 not seeing me anyone else having problems?
05:31 ustreamer-9468 : dublin is good!
05:32 TomRaftery : Good, good,
05:32 mikeTheBee : May need to reload
05:33 paulsavage : 8:30 in LA
05:34 TomRaftery :
05:34 mikeTheBee : Like Charcoal
05:38 mikeTheBee : 14 viewers
05:38 ustreamer-9468 : down to african levels …
05:39 mikeTheBee : 15 viewers
05:39 TomRaftery :
05:40 TomRaftery :
05:42 paulsavage : Did you submit any questions ?
05:44 ustreamer-9468 : scary bigtime
05:45 mikeTheBee : There are plenty of deniers in the media
05:46 TomRaftery :
05:48 mikeTheBee : neat if 40% is the figure
05:48 paulsavage : Really smart idea. I guess it’s for electric showers ?
05:48 mikeTheBee : Just have a cold shower
05:48 TomRaftery :
05:49 monkchips : wash less, you’ll even smell green πŸ˜‰
05:49 monkchips : top of the afternoon to ya
05:49 mikeTheBee : 6 Viewers
05:49 mikeTheBee : Correction 16
05:50 TomRaftery :
05:51 mikeTheBee : km
05:51 mikeTheBee : not mph
05:51 paulsavage : 265 km / h ??
05:51 monkchips : yup
05:51 mikeTheBee : wow
05:51 monkchips : love train travel!
05:51 ustreamer-57460 : Me from BCN. Help me a lot. Save money & time!
05:52 monkchips : tom but what about links? its no good if you want to then fly from madrid
05:53 monkchips : train – there are those that would claim otherwise
05:53 divydovy : and key = CO2 emitted at ground level not up in atmosphere
05:53 ustreamer-57460 : waiting for the new basque “Y” trains
05:54 monkchips : the dutch airline VLM claims their fokkers are greener than train engines
05:54 monkchips : the dirty fokkers
05:54 ustreamer-3567 : In Ottawa-Montreal corridor, even without a high speed train, the math still works. And I was able to work with more space too. In Pacific NW of US, we don’t even have that
05:55 ustreamer-1659 : But surely there will be opportunities for may more people on trains than plane capacity …
05:55 divydovy : must be fokking cramped in there
05:55 ustreamer-1659 : Agree Tom…
05:55 mikeTheBee : 8 Viewers
05:55 mikeTheBee : 8 viewers
05:56 mikeTheBee : 8
05:56 paulsavage : if you travel without any extra weigh (baggage) , or filled up with people who are less than 50kgs πŸ˜‰
05:56 mikeTheBee : ighteen
05:56 TomRaftery :
05:56 monkchips : oh yeah- wrong link. here is the trains vs planes argument
05:56 mikeTheBee : Nineteen
05:57 paulsavage : my screen shows 22 views
05:57 paulsavage : viewers*
05:57 ustreamer-25233 : fish – what about hormones in meet
05:57 monkchips : straight
05:57 monkchips : hormones in meat- indeed. my son eats meat and that one drives me nuts
05:58 paulsavage : ryanair would love to do that. πŸ˜‰
05:58 ustreamer-1659 : Ryanair’s next strategy πŸ˜‰
05:58 mikeTheBee : Ryanair does!
05:58 ustreamer-1659 : LOL x 3!
05:58 mikeTheBee : But not your Body, yet
05:59 ustreamer-25233 : flying – most CO2 is created in taxing on run way and circiling over heathrown waiting to land – why cannot they fix that – eg use tow on airstrip to and from gate, and not hang about over London for 30 mins waiting to land
05:59 TomRaftery :
05:59 cgarvey : If it’s cost-based and done fairly, (as an overweight person!), I’d welcome the move
05:59 monkchips : @ustreamer-25233 its one reason i LOVE city airport in london… in and out, no taxi ing or circling
06:00 mikeTheBee : cfl destroy IR remote signals too
06:00 monkchips : tom we don’t need new technology so much as turn the things off when you’re not using them
06:00 monkchips : earth hour we didn’t even make a difference to the grid, but it was a powerful statement
06:01 monkchips : to see the sydney harbour bridge and houses of parliament tower with lights off
06:01 ustreamer-14148 : Have any stats been published on the effect of Earth Hour?
06:01 cgarvey : dimmable, hue/colour/warmth of light, startup time, etc.. all confusing factors of CFL
06:01 ustreamer-25233 : LEDs $120 per bulb according to national geographical march issue. they are potential for future for sure.
06:01 paulsavage : from wiki
06:01 paulsavage : A standard North American 100 watt incandescent light bulb emits 1500Γ’β‚¬β€œ1700 lumens,while a standard European 230 V model emits 1200Γ’β‚¬β€œ1400 lm.
06:01 divydovy : EU project to reduce aircraft emissions (partly through ATC measures):
06:02 mikeTheBee : I Agree Totally
06:03 TomRaftery :
06:03 monkchips : really? WOW
06:03 monkchips : when did that happen?>
06:03 monkchips : missed that link.
06:04 joegarde : new interconnector between Ireland and UK
06:04 TomRaftery :
06:04 mikeTheBee :
06:04 cgarvey : no noticable dip in EirGrid (Irish electrical grid) generation for Earth Hour (week on week, for best comparison)..
06:05 cgarvey : Working link ..
06:05 paulsavage : Trickle power is the term AFAIK
06:05 divydovy : Tom: interesting new lighting technology:
06:05 ustreamer-14148 : Would be nice if they were installed by default in new-build houses.
06:06 ustreamer-3567 : Need to get the electronic manufacturers to take away the need for standby (clocks that don’t retain state when off etc)
06:06 divydovy : Many people are just putting in energy efficient lighting for building regs then replacing it as soon as it’s signed off.
06:06 paulsavage : longer lifetime means less chemicals, or is that just fluff ?
06:07 ustreamer-25233 : ditto with cars – waiting at lights, level crossings etc – cut engine and restart on press of accelerator rather than turning on and off – wish more models would do it
06:08 joegarde : 2012 complete
06:08 cgarvey : Would it not make more sense to expand the existing NI/Scotland one, rather than build the new one to Wales ?
06:10 cgarvey : so NI/Scotland too small to upgrade (financially) (MWs rather than GWs?)
06:10 joegarde : interesting
06:10 mikeTheBee : I believ it needs Eurpean funding approval.
06:10 cgarvey : got it, ta
06:11 ustreamer-25233 : a good tip
06:11 mikeTheBee : No that intelligent obviously
06:12 monkchips : yup
06:12 monkchips : the UK adveristing standars authority
06:12 monkchips : last week ruled
06:12 divydovy : good show Tom, thanks
06:12 joegarde : thanks Tom – great
06:12 cgarvey : Cheers again Tom!
06:12 ustreamer-14148 : Thanks
06:12 monkchips : that greenwashing will get pulled
06:12 ustreamer-25233 : thankS Tom and thanks James for the tip
06:12 ustreamer-1659 : Thanks Tom….
06:12 paulsavage : good show.
06:12 paulsavage : Adios
06:12 TomRaftery : THanks everyone for a great show
06:13 ustreamer-3567 : ciao
06:13 mikeTheBee : Thanks tom, fully packed show today


The financial markets might be in trouble but renewables are seeing boom times!

renewable energy

Photo Credit pseudorlaya

A couple of interesting announcements were made in Ireland in the last week.

On the 8th of Oct., Eirgrid, the Irish grid operator launched their Grid25 strategy (pdf warning). In the strategy document they announced they are spending €4 billion reinforcing the Irish distribution grid in the expectation of a 60% rise in electricity usage.

The Irish Environment Minister, John Gormley in his Carbon Budget announced that the Irish government is going to target that 40% of electricity consumed in Ireland would be from renewable sources by 2020. This is an increase over the previously stated, already ambitious target, of 33% from renewables.

Ireland had an average electrical demand of 3.2GW in 2007. A 60% increase means an average consumption of 5GW by 2025 and an average of 4.5GW in 2020. This is the date the government has set as its target of 40% from renewables.

40% of 4.5GW means that Ireland will average 1.8GW from renewables in 2020. Assuming that this will come from wind (there is no other viable renewable energy source in Ireland), this will require 5.4GW of installed wind capacity.

Ireland currently has 1GW of installed wind capacity so to hit the target it needs 4.4GW of wind farms to be built.

That’s 366MW per annum or just over 1MW every day until 2020! A 1MW wind turbine would be a significant structure costing in excess of €1m.

So the Irish government has set as a target the sourcing of 1MW extra from wind energy every day for the next 12 years?

I also spotted today that StrategyEye in their new quarterly report are reporting that investment in the Cleantech sector is up 50% this quarter, compared to the first quarter of 2008.

The financial markets might be in trouble but renewables are definitely seeing boom times!


Demand response – how to get more wind energy onto the grid

Wind Energy Curtailment

I read a fascinating article in the New York Times yesterday about how the electricity grid in New York can’t always cope with the amount of electricity being produced by the Maple Ridge wind farm and so from time to time the wind farm has to shut down production!

This problem is not unique to New York according to the article:

That is a symptom of a broad national problem. Expansive dreams about renewable energy, like Al Gore’s hope of replacing all fossil fuels in a decade, are bumping up against the reality of a power grid that cannot handle the new demands.

The dirty secret of clean energy is that while generating it is getting easier, moving it to market is not.

This is a problem for the owners/operators of Maple Ridge and similar facilities – how do you get a return on investment if the grid operators can shut you down at a moment’s notice? In fact, how do you get investment in the first place if your income is completely controlled by another company?

Nor is this just an American problem, I heard reports this morning that in the last few days, for the first time ever, Eirgrid (the Irish transmission service operator – grid management company) had curtailed production from Irish wind farms. I contacted Eirgrid’s customer services department and confirmed that this had in fact happened and I will be receiving more information from Eirgrid about this early next week.

Ireland is currently sourcing an average 9% of its energy requirements from wind but has committed to moving to a 33% average from renewables by 2020. If the grid is having difficulties taking in wind energy at 9%, how do they hope to get anywhere near 33%?

Even more insane is the fact that if you are a wind energy producer in Ireland, you have to sign a contract allowing Eirgrid to shut you down up to 17% of the time. Yes, you read that right – at a time when countries are trying to reduce their carbon footprint to comply with Kyoto, the Irish grid operator is dissuading investment in wind energy projects by inserting curtailment clauses and now by going the full hog and shutting down wind farms!

Have Eirgrid not heard of Kyoto? Or CO2 emissions? Or the obvious solution to problems like over capacity from wind – demand response?

The problem Eirgrid have is not an over-supply of energy from wind. It is an over-supply of wind energy when demand for electricity is low (6am on a warm summer weekend morning, for example).

With a proper demand response mechanism in place, if too much electricity is being created by wind, instead of shutting down wind farms and risking future investment in renewables, you simply reduce the price of electricity to the market to stimulate an increase in demand!

The market gets cheaper electricity, from clean sources, investors are less wary of investing in wind so more wind farms are financed, the government stands a better chance of reaching its 33% from renewables by its 2020 target and Eirgrid get a more stable grid (as well as helping the govt reach its target) – win, win, win,win, and win!

Nor is this issue limited to Ireland and the US. Any countries hoping to increase the penetration of renewable (variable) energy supplies will need to initiate a demand response mechanism to manage the demand, thereby stabilising the system and allowing for even greater uptake of renewable energy.

You can be sure I will be putting this to Bill Vogel, CEO of Trilliant, when I am talking to him next week.