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On New Jersey: 80 Percent by 2050

Denmark has Norwegian and Swedish hydropower.

March 31, 2014    View Comment    

On Radiation: The Facts

"Radiation dose is the energy transferred from radiation to body tissue. A one-millisievert (mSv) dose is 0.001 watt-second of energy per kilogram of tissue (x20 for alpha particles). ..."

You're skipping maybe half a step here. 1 joule/kg of radiation is a dose of 1 gray. That gets converted into the effective dose in sieverts, depending on the type of radiation (alpha particle vs. neutron, beta or gamma) and type of tissue exposed.

March 4, 2014    View Comment    

On Texas: The Most Remarkable Republican Energy State in the US

40% is only slightly above the national average for reliance on coal. I suspect

  • In 2011, Texas's 27 petroleum refineries had a capacity of over 4.7 million barrels of crude oil per day and accounted for 27 percent of total U.S. refining capacity.
  • Texas accounted for 28 percent of U.S. marketed natural gas production in 2011, making it the leading natural gas producer among the States.

have more to do with it. I.e., it gets counted for a lot of emissions for a lot of energy ultimately consumed in other states.

February 24, 2014    View Comment    

On Is the Solar Energy Industry Shifting from Big Solar to Rooftops?

BrightSource uses water as its working fluid. Storing large amounts of very hot water is problematic, since it's also at very high pressure. I believe the projects with storage all use oil or molten salts for heat collection, using that to produce steam just in front of the turbine.

February 20, 2014    View Comment    

On Is the Solar Energy Industry Shifting from Big Solar to Rooftops?

Other CSP projects, such as Crescent Dunes and Solana, have storage, but Ivanpah doesn't.

February 18, 2014    View Comment    

On Interpreting the State Department's Latest Assessment of the Keystone XL Pipeline

"The southern segment of the pipeline, from Cushing to the Gulf Coast, is already in operation, because it didn't require a permit to cross an international border."

What's stopping them from further splitting up the project, into a Canadian pipeline to a railhead on one side of the border, an American pipeline to a railhead on the other side of the border, and a proposed segment connecting them ('Keystone XS')?

February 7, 2014    View Comment    

On China's Solar Market Beat All Expectations For 2013

With luck, the Chinese will be able to increase panel exports, so they won't have to eat so much of their surplus production.

February 2, 2014    View Comment    

On Converting Coal to Synthetic Natural Gas in China

"Synthetic natural gas" is a bit of an oxymoron.  Burnable gas taken out of the ground was called 'natural' in the first place to distinguish it from gas made from coal ("town gas", "coal gas", etc.).

January 22, 2014    View Comment    

On What's Behind the 2013 Decline in Renewable Energy Investment?

Huh -- perhaps that 60 Minutes story wasn't so far off the mark after all.

"The first half of 2013 saw twice as much solar installed in Japan as in all of 2013."

should be "... in all of 2012."

January 20, 2014    View Comment    

On Is the Wind Energy Tax Credit About to Expire for Good?

Subsidies for nuclear in 2010: $2.5 B

With nuclear generating about 800 TW-h, that comes to about 3.2 $/MW-h.

The subsidy in Price-Anderson depends on your estimate of the frequency of multibillion-dollar catastrophes. In 2008, the CBO figured it at $600,000 per reactor-year. (But other estimates put it several times higher.) With 100 reactors in the fleet, that comes to about 0.1 $/MW-h. Meanwhile, the NRC is charging an annual licensing fee of $4.8 million per reactor.

The loan guarantee program was designed to *not* subsidize nuclear. The Vogtle deal has been hanging fire for years because the government and the owners haven't agreed on how big a fee to charge to cancel out the subsidy. (For the solar and wind loan guarantees, the government ate the fee.)

December 20, 2013    View Comment    

On Is the Wind Energy Tax Credit About to Expire for Good?

"... the US oil and gas industry benefits from deductions and tax credits in the federal tax code to the tune of around $4.3 billion per year, based on figures in the latest White House budget."

For what it's worth, the OECD's list of US subsidies for fossil fuels added up to about $13 billion for 2011:
Coal: $2.0 B
Oil: $6.0 B
Gas: $5.2 B (including $1.7B for the low-income assistance program)

Not small numbers in absolute terms, but not much per unit of energy.
Coal: $0.5 per ton
Oil: $1.2 per barrel
Gas: $0.23 per thousand ft3

Ultimately, $2.4 per tonne of CO2 released.

December 19, 2013    View Comment    

On Can the American Wind Energy Industry Survive Without the PTC?

Under the new rule, does the PTC run ten years from the start of construction this year, or from the eventual completion?

December 19, 2013    View Comment