GSS Blog 2014–2019‎ > ‎Energy Use‎ > ‎

04. A Power Plant


Field Trip to a Power Plant

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European Deep Thermal Energy Programme

Acid Rain - Effects of Acid Rain: Lakes & Streams (EPA web page)

California Energy Commission   

Geothermal Education Office (GEO) -

Nuclear Energy

  • Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board --
  • Shundahai Network, non-profit organization advocating abolishing all nuclear weapons, ending nuclear testing, phasing out nuclear energy, and ending the transportation and dumping of nuclear waste.
  • Yucca Mountain Project --

Australian Renewable Energy Website

Canadian Renewable Energy Network

Tidal Energy  - Blue Energy Canada -- commercializing the Davis Hydro Turbine, to generate high-density renewable and emission-free electricity from ocean currents and tides.

Wind Energy

This page has articles from 2009–present

2020-11-04. Several U.S. utilities back out of deal to build novel nuclear power plant. By Adrian Cho, Science Magazine. Excerpt: ...Plans to build an innovative new nuclear power plant—and thus revitalize the struggling U.S. nuclear industry—have taken a hit as in recent weeks: Eight of the 36 public utilities that had signed on to help build the plant have backed out of the deal. The withdrawals come just months after the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), which intends to buy the plant containing 12 small modular reactors from NuScale Power, announced that completion of the project would be delayed by 3 years to 2030. It also estimates the cost would climb from $4.2 billion to $6.1 billion. ...critics of the project say the developments underscore that the plant, which is designed by NuScale Power and would be built at the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Idaho National Laboratory, will be untenably expensive.... [

2020-09-29. Can China, the world’s biggest coal consumer, become carbon neutral by 2060? By Dennis Normile, Science | AAAS. Excerpt: China’s surprise pledge last week to cut its net carbon emissions to zero within 40 years has reignited hopes of limiting global climate change to tolerable levels. The country is the world’s largest producer of carbon dioxide (CO2), accounting for 28% of global emissions, and its move may inspire other countries to follow suit. But observers warn that China faces daunting challenges in reaching its goals. Kicking its coal habit will be particularly hard. “We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060,” Chinese President Xi Jinping told the United Nations General Assembly via a video link on 22 September. ...the new targets “won’t likely let us to stop at 1.5° Celsius [of global warming],” the preferred target set in the 2015 Paris agreement. “But below 2° might still be consistent with [Xi’s] announcement.” China’s commitment also “ratchets up pressure on other major emitters” to set more ambitious targets “while further isolating the Trump administration in its climate myopia,” Vance Wagner of Energy Foundation China wrote in a piece published online by the nonprofit China Dialogue. ...China has not yet revealed details of how it will do this. But a research group at Tsinghua University presented a $15 trillion, 30-year road map on 27 September that calls for ending the use of coal for electricity generation around 2050, dramatically increasing nuclear and renewable power generation, and relying on electricity for 80% of China’s energy consumption by 2060.... []  See also New York Times article How Coal-Loving Australia Became the Leader in Rooftop Solar.

2020-06-11. As Energy Prices Tumble, Developing Countries Trim Subsidies. By Clifford Krauss, The New York Times. Excerpt: The coronavirus pandemic has sent economies into recession and reduced government revenue, so some countries are taking a politically perilous path: removing restraints on electricity and petroleum prices. Nigeria and Tunisia have lowered fuel subsidies in recent weeks, and India has raised taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel. Sudanese officials plan to replace some subsidies with direct cash payments to the poor. Venezuela, where the economy was collapsing before the pandemic, has partly reversed decades of gasoline subsidies. And the state-owned electric utility in Dubai is seeking to raise rates for the first time in a generation. In contrast to the recent past, elected leaders are facing little political blowback for taking away subsidies and raising taxes. That’s because the prices of oil, natural gas and other fuels have collapsed in recent months. In addition, driving, flying and industrial activity have dropped off sharply.... []  

2020-06-04. Arctic fuel spill prompts Russia’s Putin to declare emergency and slam slow response. By Isabelle Khurshudyan, The Washington Post. Excerpt: MOSCOW — A major fuel spill in Siberia has prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to declare a state of emergency in an environmentally sensitive Arctic region after publicly scolding local authorities for what he said was a botched response. A fuel tank at a power plant ruptured Friday in Norilsk — above the Arctic Circle in north-central Russia — leaking at least 20,000 tons of diesel fuel into the nearby Ambarnaya River. Satellite images showed large swaths of the waterway contaminated from the spill.... [

2020-05-20. U.S. Department of Energy rushes to build advanced new nuclear reactors. By Adrian Cho, Science Magazine. Excerpt: In the latest effort to revive the United States’s flagging nuclear industry, the Department of Energy (DOE) aims to select and help build two new prototype nuclear reactors within 7 years, the agency announced last week []. The reactors would be the centerpiece of DOE’s new Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, which will receive $230 million this fiscal year. Each would be built as a 50-50 collaboration with an industrial partner and ultimately could receive up to $4 billion in funding from DOE. ...But even some proponents of nuclear power doubt the program will spur construction of new commercial reactors as long as natural gas and renewable energy remain relatively cheap. “New builds can’t compete with renewables,” says Robert Rosner, a physicist at the University of Chicago. “Certainly not now.” Commercial nuclear reactors supply 20% of the United States’s electrical power and 50% of its carbon-free energy. However, the U.S. nuclear industry has struggled for decades. Its fleet now comprises 96 reactors, down from 113 in the early 1990s. More reactors are slated to close and the nuclear industry’s share of the electricity supply is expected to start to fall. In spite of that dreary picture, engineers have continued to develop designs for advance reactors they say would be safer and more efficient.... [

2020-05-13. In a First, Renewable Energy Is Poised to Eclipse Coal in U.S. By Brad Plumer, The New York Times. Excerpt: The United States is on track to produce more electricity this year from renewable power than from coal for the first time on record, new government projections show, a transformation partly driven by the coronavirus pandemic, with profound implications in the fight against climate change. It is a milestone that seemed all but unthinkable a decade ago, when coal was so dominant that it provided nearly half the nation’s electricity. ...powerful economic forces that have led electric utilities to retire hundreds of aging coal plants since 2010 and run their remaining plants less frequently. The cost of building large wind farms has declined more than 40 percent in that time, while solar costs have dropped more than 80 percent. ...As factories, retailers, restaurants and office buildings have shut down nationwide to slow the spread of the coronavirus, demand for electricity has fallen sharply. And, because coal plants often cost more to operate than gas plants or renewables, many utilities are cutting back on coal power first in response. ...The decline of coal has major consequences for climate change. Coal is the dirtiest of all fossil fuels, and its decline has already helped drive down United States carbon dioxide emissions 15 percent since 2005. This year, the agency expects America’s emissions to fall by another 11 percent, the largest drop in at least 70 years. While the pandemic has made these projections uncertain, the decline is expected to come partly because Americans aren’t driving as much, but mainly because coal plants are running less often.... []

2020-03-21. Coming to a Country Near You: A Russian Nuclear Power Plant. By Ivan Nechepurenko and Andrew Higgins, The New York Times. Excerpt: the location of Belarus’s first nuclear power plant — an area of pristine farmland just 40 miles from the capital of neighboring Lithuania — points to calculations that go beyond just kilowatts. .....The facility’s two reactors, set to go into operation soon, will produce far more electricity than Belarus can consume and lie far away from industrial areas eager for cheap power on the other side of the country. ...The plant was built by Rosatom, a state-owned Russian nuclear conglomerate, and financed with a $10 billion credit line from Moscow. ...Russia’s success — it has sold more nuclear technology abroad since Mr. Putin came to power in 1999 than the United States, France, China, South Korea and Japan combined, according to a recent study — is in part commercial, generating lucrative contracts in Europe, Asia and even Africa to sustain Rosatom’s more than 250,000 engineers, researchers, salespeople and other employees.... [

2020-03-17. New Evidence Shows How COVID-19 Has Affected Global Air Pollution. By Jacinta Bowler, Science Alert. Excerpt: The COVID-19 pandemic is getting more overwhelming by the day, with increasing lockdowns, a death toll of more than 7,000 people across the world, and a direct hit to the global economy. But if there's a sliver of good news, it's about how the spread of the new coronavirus has been decreasing air pollution, and possibly even saving lives in the process. ..."Given the huge amount of evidence that breathing dirty air contributes heavily to premature mortality, a natural - if admittedly strange - question is whether the lives saved from this reduction in pollution caused by economic disruption from COVID-19 exceeds the death toll from the virus itself," Burke writes.... [

2019-11-04. E.P.A. Weakens Rules Governing Toxic Water Pollution From Coal Plants. By Lisa Friedman, The New York Times.

2019-10-17. Northeast ‘Bomb Cyclone’: Powerful Winds Knock Out Power to 500,000. By Ellen Barry, The New York Times. 

2019-02-21. Smaller, safer, cheaper: One company aims to reinvent the nuclear reactor and save a warming planet. By Adrian Cho, Science Magazine.

2019-01-24. How Does Your State Make Electricity? By Nadja Popovich, The New York Times.

2019-01-07. For Wales, Nuclear Plant Would Mean New Jobs. For the U.K., It May Mean More.By Stanley Reed, The New York Times.

2018-12-28. New E.P.A. Plan Could Free Coal Plants to Release More Mercury Into the Air. By Lisa Friedman, The New York Times.

2018-11-24. The World Needs to Quit Coal. Why Is It So Hard? By Somini Sengupta, The New York Times.

2018-08-26. The Nuclear Power Plant of the Future May Be Floating Near Russia. By Andrew E. Kramer, The New York Times.

2018-05-22. Closing coal, oil power plants leads to healthier babies. By Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley News.

2018-04-26. Second-largest earthquake in modern South Korean history tied to geothermal plant. By Paul Voosen, Science.

2018-04-13. Diablo Canyon’s dismantling. By David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle.

2018-01-15. Huge Oil Spill Spreads in East China Sea, Stirring Environmental Fears. By Gerry Mullany, The New York Times.

2017-12-21. Georgia, Facing ‘Difficult Dilemma,’ Keeps Nuclear Project Alive. By Brad Plumer, The New York Times.

2017-07-01. As Beijing Joins Climate Fight, Chinese Companies Build Coal Plants. By Hiroko Tabuchi, The New York Times.

2017-05-26. Coal Country’s Power Plants Are Turning Away From Coal. By Diane Cardwell and Clifford Krauss, The New York Times.

2017-05-17. The fight to rethink (and reinvent) nuclear power. By Vox and the Climate Lab of the University of California.

2017-04-05. Coal Is on the Way Out at Electric Utilities, No Matter What Trump Says. By Coral Davenport, The New York Times.

2017-03-09. Radioactive Boars in Fukushima Thwart Residents’ Plans to Return Home. By Kimiko de Freitas-Tamura, The New York Times.

2017-02-07. Offshore Wind Moves Into Energy’s Mainstream. By Stanley Reed, The New York Times.

2017-01-21. Off Long Island, Wind Power Tests the Waters. By Diane Cardwell, The New York Times.

2017-01-17. On Climate Change, Even States in Forefront Are Falling Short. By Eduardo Porter, The New York Times.

2016-12-14. America’s First Offshore Wind Farm Spins to Life. By Tatiana Schlossberg, The New York Times.

2016-11-07. When Bats Look for Meals Near Wind Power, Bats Die. By John Schwartz, The New York Times.

2016-09-11. Utility puts Alabama nuclear plant up for sale. By Associated Press.

2016-08-17. Coal Burning Causes the Most Air Pollution Deaths in China, Study Finds. By Edward Wong, The New York Times.

2016-07-11. Closing Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Will Save Money And Carbon. By Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute.

2016-07-05. Short Answers to Hard Questions About Clean Coal Technology. By Ian Urbina, The New York Times.

2016-07-02. Diablo Canyon closure shows California’s power grid is changing fast. By David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle.

2016-06-21. PG&E to close Diablo Canyon. By David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle.

2016-06-10. Underground injections turn carbon dioxide to stone. By Eli Kintisch, Science.

2016-05-31. Does Geothermal Exploitation Trigger Earthquakes in Tuscany? By Thomas Braun, EoS-Earth & Space News, AGU.

2016-05-31. Nuclear Plants, Despite Safety Concerns, Gain Support as Clean Energy Sources. By Diane Cardwell, The New York Times.

2016-05-20. Unplugging the Colorado River. By Abrahm Lustgarten, The New York Times.

2016-04-26. 30 Years After Chernobyl Disaster, Shelter Nears Completion. By Henry Fountain.

2016-04-11. Controversial Pacts Aim for Dam Removals on Western U.S. River. By Randy Showstack, EoS Earth & Space Science News (AGU).

2016-04-04. Does Nuclear Power Have a Future in America? By Brian Palmer, OnEarth NRDC.

2015-08-03. Fact Sheet: President Obama to Announce Historic Carbon Pollution Standards for Power Plants. The White House.

2015-03-11. New material captures carbon at half the energy cost. By Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley News Center.

2015-01-15. BP faces largest oil pollution penalty in U.S. history as final phase of trial begins. Jennifer Larino, The New York Times.