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   PoliticsRat's Nest - Chronicles of Collapse

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From: Wharf Rat2/15/2024 1:05:22 AM
2 Recommendations   of 23979

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From: Wharf Rat2/15/2024 9:42:03 PM
2 Recommendations   of 23979
Your Key to Debunking Clean Energy Misinformation – This is Not Cool (

USA Today had a decent fact check of Clean Energy nonsense.

Above, brain scrambled disinformer in Chief gives a horrifying glimpse into the jumbled mind of the anti-Clean Energy tribe.


Alan Anderson heads the energy practice with the law firm of Polsinelli and says when he hears arguments against wind and solar, he thinks of bears and Bigfoot.

“Bears are real – if you have a bear in your campsite, that’s not good,” the Kansas City, Missouri-based attorney said. “But if someone says there’s a Bigfoot in their campsite, it’s not real.

“We’re burdened by having to give factual information that’s backed by science and engineering, whereas the other side’s not. So we’re at a disadvantage,” he said.

The issue: Do wind turbines kill birds and bats? The short answer: Yes, wind turbines can kill both bats and birds. But the more important question is how many they kill compared with other sources.

Buildings are estimated to kill up to 988 million birds a year and outdoor cats are an enormous danger to birds. By one estimate, free-ranging domestic cats kill between 1.3 billion and 4 billion birds each year.

A study to be published in 2024 found that wind farms had no statistically significant effect on bird counts. But another kind of energy did. Fracking reduced the total number of birds counted in near shale and oil production sites by 15%.

And all of that is separate from considering the impact of climate change.

The National Audubon Society has estimated that as many as two-thirds of North American bird species – 398 species – are at risk of extinction due to changes in habitat caused by global warming.

The issue: Are solar farms dangerous for birds? The answer: Some water birds can mistake a large solar farm for a body of water and attempt to land on it, which can harm the birds. However, according to the National Audubon Society, some developers are adding special patterns to panels or using other strategies to minimize the risk of crash landings. Audubon also notes that many states require solar developers to grow native plants in and among solar farms, benefiting birds and other pollinators.

The issue: Power produced by wind and solar is just exported to people in other areas. Why should we have to produce it here? The answer: Agricultural communities have always exported what they produce, whether it’s crops or livestock. “The beef and potatoes that ranchers and dairymen produce in Idaho don’t all stay in Idaho,” said John Robison, public lands director for the Idaho Conservation League.

People in those communities see wheat and corn and soy being grown, see combines and grain bins, and know there’s money for farmers and taxes for their communities. Solar advocates and energy developers say their task is to persuade people living near turbines or solar farms to look at them and realize it means jobs and better-funded schools and repaired roads.

The issue: Will worn-out solar panels overwhelm dumps with waste? The answer: Improved standards for solar panels and wind turbines mean both have much longer lifespans today than they did a decade ago. Panels typically last 30 to 35 years while turbines have a lifespan of about 30 years.

At that point, it’s true: They must be decommissioned and disposed of. But the trash this will eventually produce pales in comparison to that produced by households, coal ash and plastic waste.

Globally, municipal waste is expected to reach 70 billion metric tons by 2050, coal ash (the byproduct of burning coal) more than 45 billion metric tons and plastic waste 12 billion metric tons, a study published in the journal Nature Physics in October 2023 found.

In comparison, even in the worst-case scenario, waste from solar panels is expected to reach 160 million metric tons globally by 2050.

Most solar zoning codes require that the companies post bonds for decommissioning them at the end of their lifespans so that counties don’t have to deal with disposal.

*I will add that the solar developers I know assume and plan for solar recycling at end of life, and every solar ordinance I am aware of requires a bond be posted sufficient to pay for decommissioning at end of life of a project, to be reviewed every 3-5 years and adjusted for inflation.
My recent interviews with experts Henry Hieslemair and Heather Mirletz addressed this issue as well.

The issue: Do solar panels contain toxic materials such as arsenic, cadmium and gallium? Will that leach out of them in the rain?

The answer: There are a couple different issues here, including questions of what’s really in the panels and also whether any of that stuff is actually risky. Here’s the breakdown.

Solar panels are mostly made of glass, aluminum and silicon – 77%, 10% and 3%, respectively. It’s true that trace elements are added to make them better conductors of electricity, usually cadmium and copper.

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From: Wharf Rat2/17/2024 10:30:31 PM
1 Recommendation   of 23979
New report shows incredible success of grid in one state: ‘[This] proved the only tool ready to … avoid grid outages’ (

Story by Leo Collis • 12h

New report shows incredible success of grid in one state: ‘[This] proved the only tool ready to … avoid grid outages’© Provided by The Cool Down

Solar battery capacity in California has been increasing at an impressive rate in the last four years, and data from the California Independent System Operator has detailed just how much clean power the technology is providing to the state’s grid.

In 2020, battery capacity was providing 500 megawatts of power to the grid from solar sources, but the increase since is remarkable. In May 2023, 5,000 megawatts of clean power was available to use.

Photo Credit: Canary Media© Provided by The Cool Down

Photo Credit: Canary Media© Provided by The Cool Down

In addition to providing pollution-free power, the batteries were able to shoulder the burden of power supply in evening hours during the September 2022 heat wave, according to Canary Media.

The CAISO report revealed that battery storage in California is “coming online faster than any other sort of power plant,” as Canary Media observed, and the publication noted that an order for utility companies to install more energy storage in 2010 has helped the Golden State make significant strides in capacity.

Doing so proved helpful quickly, with the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility leak in 2015 necessitating assistance from the grid to avoid blackouts.

“Battery storage proved the only tool ready to deploy fast enough to avoid grid outages,” the Canary Media report said.

As the Aliso Canyon incident proved, the need to move away from dirty fuel is so important for the health of the planet. The leak was the largest release of natural gas in United States history, with around 100,000 tons of methane released, as NBC Los Angeles reported in 2022.

Methane remains in the atmosphere and traps heat. The United Nations Environment Programme said it can be 80 times more harmful in terms of planet-warming potential than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.

The Copernicus climate report confirmed that 2023 was the hottest year on record since 1850, so slowing down the rate of global heating — which increases the chance of extreme weather and has serious health implications — is essential.

Relying less on natural gas and other dirty fuel sources can reduce the instances of such damage to the environment. A great alternative is solar power, a non-polluting, sustainable source of energy.

Storing that energy is crucial, though, as solar energy cannot be created overnight, but California has obviously seen the benefits that encouraging vast battery capacity can bring.

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From: Wharf Rat2/17/2024 10:53:17 PM
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Make way for more microgrids: SDG&E adds 4 in these neighborhoods (

Story by Rob Nikolewski, The San Diego Union-Tribune • 3d

San Diego Gas & Electric's 10-megawatt Paradise Microgrid project is one of a growing number of facilities that can operate independently or in tandem with the regional electric grid.© Rob Nikolewski/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

Micro is quickly becoming macro.

San Diego Gas & Electric has unveiled four new microgrids that will go online within the next 90 days, boosting the number in its service territory to eight — and the utility has plans to build at least three more in the next two years.

Growing in popularity in California, microgrids essentially act as mini-electric grids that can supply power to a defined area while operating independently of the conventional electric power system for hours at a time during emergencies, such as power outages or when the state's electric grid is under stress.

The new microgrids are in Clairemont, Tierrasanta, Paradise Hills and the East County town of Boulevard.

The facilities are connected by circuit to substations in their respective sites, and can operate remotely or in tandem with the larger regional grid.

The systems are powered by energy storage batteries. There have been instances of batteries catching fire, but the four SDG&E sites are powered by lithium iron phosphate battery cells that are considered safer, with less risk of fire.

"Safety-wise, this is probably the most-state-of-the-art as it comes right now," said Don Balfour, SDG&E's project manager for clean technology. "You have gas detection, fire detection, smoke detection. All of that's embedded inside now."

The four microgrids offer combined storage capacity of 39 megawatts and 180 megawatt-hours. SDG&E officials say that's enough to supply power to about 26,000 homes for four or more hours when needed.

The 10-megawatt Paradise Microgrid has the ability to power the Southeast Division Police Department, Fire Stations 51 and 32, one middle school and three elementary schools in the area. The energy storage system is connected to SDG&E's Paradise Substation next door.

Adjacent to SDG&E's Elliott Substation, the 10-megawatt microgrid in Tierrasanta has capacity to power Fire Station 39, the area's medical center, the Tierrasanta Public Library and Cool Zone during heat waves, one middle school, two elementary schools and Canyon Hills High School.

The Clairemont microgrid can serve Fire Station 36, the Balboa Branch Library and Cool Zone. two elementary schools, a middle school and Madison High School with 9 megawatts of capacity. The microgrid is connected to SDG&E's Clairemont Substation near Derrick Drive.

Linked to an SDG&E substation, the 10-megawatt microgrid in Boulevard serves as many as nine facilities that include three fire stations, three tribal offices and health care facilities, the Boulevard Border Patrol Station and the town's post office.

"These collaborations ensure that our communities have the necessary resources and infrastructure needed as we strive to meet our climate goals," said Miguel Romero, SDG&E vice president of energy innovation.

California policymakers intend to derive 60 percent of the state's electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent from carbon-free sources by 2045.

With those renewable energy targets in mind, legislation out of Sacramento and mandates from the California Public Utilities Commission have ordered investor-owned utilities such as SDG&E to add microgrids and energy storage facilities to their power portfolios.

The projects can also help the California Independent System Operator maintain the state's electric grid.

Solar production during the day is abundant but virtually disappears after the sun sets, which drains the power system of valuable megawatts of clean energy — especially on hot days when consumers use their air conditioners into the early evening hours.

Batteries can help solve the problem by storing the excess during the day and then deploying those molecules at the same time solar production wanes each evening.

But the costs of storage and microgrid projects are folded into the rates utility customers pay in their ever-increasing monthly bills.

As per California Public Utilities Commission rules, the costs of the four new microgrid projects will be kept confidential for at least three years. But SDG&E officials say constructing the facilities next to existing substations helps defray costs that get passed onto ratepayers.

"We just came through very severe storms," Romero said of the recent dumping of rainfall that flooded some areas of San Diego, "and from an outage standpoint, this will be able to protect you from that. But ultimately, this asset is providing further benefits to the region and to the state of California in meeting its renewable supply needs."

SDG&E has four other microgrid projects that are already up and running — an 8-megawatt facility in Borrego Springs, 2 megawatts at the Miguel Substation in Bonita, 1 megawatt in Carmel Valley and a one-half megawatt facility in Ramona.

Besides utilities, community choice energy programs such as San Diego Community Power and the Clean Energy Alliance are looking into microgrid projects. Municipalities are getting into the act, too.

Last summer, the city of San Diego unveiled the first of at least eight microgrids that will be built at city facilities.

This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune.

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From: Wharf Rat2/18/2024 1:43:39 PM
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Developers plan to build a first-of-its-kind energy storage system that will set global records: ‘The expansion of energy storage infrastructure is key’ (

Story by Jeremiah Budin • 6d

This project will be the largest energy storage system of its kind in the world.© Provided by The Cool Down

Afirst-of-its-kind project for the United States has received a grant of up to $30 million from the government, the project’s developers announced.

Alliant Energy and WEC Energy Group, co-owners of Wisconsin’s Columbia Energy Center, will use the funding from the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations to create the country’s first compressed carbon dioxide long-duration energy storage system.

The idea of the system is that it can turn carbon dioxide gas into a liquid for easier storage when energy is abundant. When energy is needed, it turns the carbon dioxide back into gas, which then powers an electricity-generating turbine.

Crucially, the setup operates as a closed-loop system, meaning that it should release no carbon dioxide and require no additional carbon dioxide after it is built out.

In addition to being first in the U.S., the Columbia Energy Storage Project will be the largest compressed carbon dioxide long-duration energy storage system in the world. A much smaller version of the same project is already operational in Sardinia, Italy. The two projects were designed by the same company, Energy Dome, which is based in Italy.

The Sardinia system has achieved an enviable 75% efficiency rate — which the much larger Wisconsin one will hope to match.

Currently, the Columbia Energy Center is Wisconsin’s largest remaining coal plant. It was supposed to be retired in 2024, but that date was pushed back to mid-2026. Its eventual transition into a much more sustainable battery storage system is good news for Wisconsinites and the planet.

“The expansion of energy storage infrastructure is key to accelerating the transition to cleaner, more sustainable renewable energy,” a spokesperson for Alliant said. “As we retire older fossil fuel facilities and add additional renewable resources to our generation portfolio, energy storage solutions help to ensure system reliability and meet customer needs.”

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From: Wharf Rat2/20/2024 12:43:18 PM
   of 23979
OPEC Update, February 2024 – Peak Oil Barrel
02/19/2024 D Coyne

The OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) for February 2024 was published recently. The last month reported in most of the OPEC charts that follow is January 2024 and output reported for OPEC nations is crude oil output in thousands of barrels per day (kb/d). In the OPEC charts that follow the blue line with markers is monthly output and the thin red line is the centered twelve month average (CTMA) output.


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From: Wharf Rat2/20/2024 11:35:14 PM
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Company breaks ground on game-changing technology that turns waste into energy: ‘It’s just such a win’ (

Story by Susan Elizabeth Turek • 30m

Company breaks ground on game-changing technology that turns waste into energy: ‘It’s just such a win’© Provided by The Cool Down

It appears we are one step closer to the large-scale adoption of green hydrogen thanks to one company’s game-changing technology that repurposes metal waste.

Fuel Cell Works reported that GenHydro broke ground on Dec. 6 for a pilot project that will bring renewable electricity to Burle Business Park, which is located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and has more than 40 commercial and industrial tenants.

“Today marks a significant milestone for GenHydro and the advancement of renewable energy. We have taken another large step forward, driving progress towards a more sustainable and economically viable future,” GenHydro founder and CEO Eric Schraud said in a statement.

To generate the fuel from its GenHydro GH-1 Reactor, GenHydro says that it uses a chemical promoter, high pressure, and high heat. This frees hydrogen gas from “micron-sized particles” of aluminum wast e, which will be provided by partner Evergreen Alumina.

“To use things that already exist and otherwise would have filled landfills, it’s just such a win,” Burle Business Park senior vice president Althea Ramsay Carrigan said in a statement published by Fuel Cell Works.

Steam that is left over from the process is then recycled to continue the pollution-free reaction.

Governments around the world have already begun ramping up their clean-energy grids with great success, with solar and wind power rightfully receiving a significant amount of attention.

As the Columbia Climate School detailed, though, “most experts” believe that green hydrogen will be an essential tool in limiting the rise of global temperatures by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels.

Getting there hasn’t come without its challenges. Even though hydrogen is abundant in the universe, the process of separating it from other elements on Earth can be energy-intensive.

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From: Wharf Rat2/21/2024 6:56:01 PM
   of 23979
Scientists say they can use AI to solve a key problem in the quest for near-limitless clean energy (
Story by By Angela Dewan, CNN • 1h

Scientists pursuing fusion energy say they have found a way to overcome one of their biggest challenges to date — by using artificial intelligence.

Nuclear fusion has for decades been hailed as a near-limitless source of clean energy, in what would be a game-changing solution to the climate crisis. But experts have only achieved and sustained fusion energy for a few seconds, and many obstacles remain, including instabilities in the highly complex process.

There are several ways to achieve fusion energy, but the most common involves using hydrogen variants as an input fuel and raising temperatures to extraordinarily high levels in a donut-shaped machine, known as a tokamak, to create a plasma, a soup-like state of matter.

But that plasma needs to be controlled and is highly susceptible to “tearing” and escaping the machine’s powerful magnetic fields that are designed to keep the plasma contained.

On Wednesday, researchers from Princeton University and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory reported in the journal Nature they found a way to use AI to forecast these potential instabilities and prevent them from happening in real time.

The team carried out their experiments at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego, and found that their AI controller could forecast potential plasma tearing up to 300 milliseconds in advance. Without that intervention, the fusion reaction would have ended suddenly.

“The experiments provide a foundation for using AI to solve a broad range of plasma instabilities, which have long hindered fusion energy,” a Princeton spokesperson said.

The findings are “definitely” a step forward for nuclear fusion, said Egemen Kolemen, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University and an author on the study.

“This is one of the big roadblocks — disruptions — and you want any reactor to be operating 24/7 for years without any problem,” Kolemen told CNN. “And these type disruption and instabilities would be very problematic, so developing solutions like this increase their confidence that we can run these machines without any issues.”

Fusion energy is the process that powers the sun and other stars, and experts have been trying for decades to master it on Earth. It is achieved when two atoms that usually repel are forced to fuse together. It’s the opposite of nuclear fission — the type widely used today — which relies on splitting atoms.

Scientists and engineers near the English city of Oxford earlier this month set a new nuclear fusion energy record, sustaining 69 megajoules of fusion energy for five seconds, using just 0.2 milligrams of fuel. That’s enough to power roughly 12,000 households for the same amount of time.

But that experiment still used more energy as input than it generated. Another team in California, however, managed to produce a net amount of fusion energy in December 2022, in a process called “ignition.” They have replicated ignition three times since.

Despite the promising progress, fusion energy is a long way from becoming commercially available – well beyond the years that deep, sustained cuts to planet-warming pollution are required to stave off worsening impacts of the climate crisis.

Scientists say those pollution cuts are required this decade.

CNN’s Rachel Ramirez contributed to this report.

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From: Wharf Rat2/21/2024 7:01:12 PM
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Gold hydrogen: a near limitless supply of clean fuel? (

Story by Chas Newkey-Burden, The Week UK • 1d

The perpetual flames of Turkey’s Mount Chimaera is caused by the release of natural hydrogen© imageBROKER/Shutterstock

Start-ups are scrambling to discover sources of so-called "gold hydrogen" after experts said the low-cost, low-impact energy could be an environmentally friendly game-changer.

A recent discovery means that the planet could contain "near-limitless clean fuel", said New Scientist, but experts are also urging caution as the hype builds.

So what is gold hydrogen, how much of it could be under our feet and is it really as useful as has been claimed?

How is hydrogen currently obtained? Hydrogen will be an "essential fuel in years to come", said the BBC, because it does not produce CO2 when used as a fuel or in industrial processes. But the "big drawback", according to the Carbon Trust, is that less than 1% of current global hydrogen production is emissions-free.

Currently, we have to make hydrogen ourselves, which involves using energy and producing pollution. Grey and blue hydrogen are produced by splitting methane into carbon dioxide and hydrogen, with the CO2 captured and stored in the latter case. Black hydrogen is produced by partially burning coal and there's also pink hydrogen, made using nuclear energy.

Green hydrogen, "that elusive 1%", said the BBC, is created through the electrolysis of water into oxygen and hydrogen, but it is "relatively expensive and in short supply". So this is where gold hydrogen could come in.

GM & Honda are fueling change with hydrogen fuel cells

What is gold hydrogen?New geological research suggests that "cheap and plentiful supplies" of naturally occurring hydrogen could be "found right under our feet", wrote David Waltham, a geophysics professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, on The Conversation.

Gold hydrogen, also sometimes known as white hydrogen, is a naturally occurring gas trapped in pockets under the ground – in much the same way as oil and natural gas.

It is produced when the gas occurs naturally deep underground and can be harvested through drilling, with no need to expend energy on synthesis.

It is "colourless and odourless", explained New Scientist, and has "good environmental credentials" because it "burns cleanly, producing nothing but water".

Where has it been found?In October 2023, researchers at the French National Centre of Scientific Research discovered a "particularly large reservoir" of natural hydrogen in northeastern France’s Lorraine coal basin, wrote Waltham.

The reservoir may contain 250 million tonnes of naturally occurring hydrogen – enough to provide almost as much energy as the UK's largest oil field. It may represent the largest naturally occurring deposit of the gas ever found, enough to meet current global demand for more than two years.

Other, smaller reservoirs have been found in Spain and across Europe, as well as in Mali, Namibia, Brazil and the US. None has been discovered in the UK but experts are actively considering whether to search.

Ultimately, according to modelling by the US Geological Survey, there could be trillions of tonnes available, and if just a fraction of that could be recovered, it would be enough to meet our projected hydrogen demand for many centuries to come.

'Wait-and-see' attitudeDespite the exciting possibilities, there are "reasons to be cautious", said New Scientist, because "the true amount of hydrogen the planet contains, as well as how much might be feasible to extract, remains uncertain".

The gas is found in large volumes, so it needs to be compressed or converted into other chemicals, such as liquid ammonia, before it can be easily moved. This process could require the construction of new pipelines, which is a significant undertaking.

That's why experts are still debating whether gold hydrogen will turn out to be an over-hyped fad or a potentially game-changing discovery.

"So far," said the BBC, "the major energy players are holding back", with just start-ups getting involved. Oil giants are "very interested" but they're "currently sitting on the sidelines, watching, taking a bit of a wait-and-see attitude", Geoffrey Ellis, from the US Geological Survey, told the broadcaster.

There is also the danger that exploiting natural hydrogen deposits "could be used as an excuse to foot-drag" on the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions immediately, said Waltham. So there's a "long way to go" before we can say for sure how useful these stores will be.

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From: Wharf Rat2/23/2024 5:02:17 PM
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Aerial photo captures visual proof of massive US high-speed rail project construction underway: ‘It was very cool to see’ (

High-speed rail is supposed to be coming to California, and an image recently shared to social media indicates that the promising initiative isn’t just a pipe dream.

In the subreddit r/trains, a Redditor posted a screenshot of a Google Earth map in which the high-speed rail row was visible.

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