QUICK NEWS, 10-27: CLIMATE DIVIDES TEA PARTY & INDIES; OREGON TO VOTE ON WIND; CONNECTING SUN; GREEN TRAINS
CLIMATE DIVIDES TEA PARTY & INDIES
2010 Election Survey: tea party, independent voters differ significantly on climate and clean energy issues
October 26, 2010 (Civil Society Institute)
"Candidates in 2010 who assume that Tea Party supporters and Independents will respond to the same messages on climate and clean energy issues appear to be mistaken, according to a major new survey…[W]hile the views of Americans on climate science issues are now divided sharply along partisan lines, there remains strong support for "concrete" action focused on protecting clean air and clean water…Key findings include… 2 percent of Americans say they are "an active member of the Tea Party movement," 23 percent support the Tea Party, 36 percent have no view about the Tea Party, and 28 percent oppose the Tea Party…
"… Independents are more than twice as likely as Tea Party supporters (62 percent versus 27 percent) to see global warming as a problem in need of a solution, compared to 39 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats. Overall, more than three out of five Americans agree that "(g)lobal warming and climate change are already a big problem and we should be leading the world in solutions," compared to about a quarter (27 percent) who think "(g)lobal warming may or may not be happening. We should let other countries act first while the science sorts itself out.""
click thru for complete findings
"… Tea Party supporters are more than twice as likely as Independents (34 percent versus 15 percent) to see no need for leadership on global warming, compared to 29 percent of Republicans and 8 percent of Democrats. Overall, only 17 percent of Americans see no need for "national OR grassroots leadership on global warming." Another 12 percent think no federal leadership on energy policy is needed "since some grassroots officials are taking actions," compared to 61 percent who think "(w)e need leadership on energy policy from Washington, D.C., because it is a national problem that will require national solutions."
"… [Just over three out of four (76 percent) Americans think that…"(w)ater shortages and clean drinking water are real concerns. America should put the emphasis on first developing new energy sources that require the least water and have minimal water pollution." Only 13 percent agreed with this statement: "Energy supply needs should override concerns about water shortages and water pollution. America should proceed first with developing energy sources [like natural gas, coal, tar sands, nuclear and biofuels] even if they may have significant water pollution and water shortage downsides." Supporters of putting the primary emphasis on clean water include 68 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of Independents, 81 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Tea Party supporters…"
click thru for complete findings
"… Only 42 percent of Tea Party supporters, but 75 percent of Independents, agree with the following statement: "Smarter energy choices are the key to creating new jobs and a future that is healthy and safe because fossil fuels mean toxic wastes that are a threat to our health and safety." That compares to 72 percent of all respondents, 58 percent of Republicans, and 82 percent of Democrats…
"… Over half of all Americans (56 percent) – including 61 percent of Independents, but only 31 percent of Tea Party backers -- favor the use of "federal dollars to either directly support or to guarantee loans for the development of energy sources" -- if the energy in question is "renewable energy, such as wind and solar." Fewer than one in four (23 percent) would pick nuclear for such support, compared to only 5 percent for coal, and 8 percent would favor no such support being provided. Supporters of backing for renewable energy include 42 percent of Republicans and 65 percent of Democrats…"
OREGON TO VOTE ON WIND
Vote In Northeast Oregon Gauges Love-Hate For Wind Energy Expansion
Tom Banse, October 26, 2010 (KUOW Radio)
"…[V]oters in northeast Oregon will test just how much support there is for wind energy in the region. A Texas company wants to build a large wind farm near Union, Oregon. Unhappy neighbors have forced the first public vote on a wind development in the West. The spirited campaigns on both sides reflect the increasing difficulty of siting alternative energy facilities – even in our supposedly “green” Northwest…
"Earlier this year, Union County commissioners were barraged by complaints about how 164 proposed wind turbines would “industrialize” the postcard pretty Western landscape. So the county placed an unusual question on the general election ballot. It asks voters in this corner of eastern Oregon whether they support or oppose a big new wind farm called Antelope Ridge…"
Oregon had wind AND transmission. (click to enlarge)
"…[I]t’s turning into one of the hottest items on the November ballot here. Farmer Doug Lewis grows wheat, peppermint and organic potatoes about 5 miles away from the proposed wind farm. He’s voting in favor of it…In the distance, Lewis can see the spinning blades of the valley’s first wind farm. He disagrees with those locals who consider it a blight or a threat to property values…
"The countywide vote on wind power is advisory only. Authority over large energy projects actually rests with state government in Oregon and Washington. In Salem, a spokeswoman for Oregon’s permitting agency says the election outcome will be treated like a public comment. The wind farm developer is not casting the fate of its project to the political winds. Texas-based Horizon Wind Energy has bankrolled a vigorous 'yes' campaign…"
Oregon could generate more than all its electricity from wind (click to enlarge)
"On the other hand if the winds change and people vote no, the message would also reverberate regionally and nationally. So says opposition organizer Dennis Wilkinson…
"A senior analyst at the Northwest Power and Conservation Council doesn’t see the region bailing on wind. But Jeff King says there clearly are problems when developers move into more scenic areas or now into forestland…King says no matter what happens in Union County, he foresees wind power continuing to expand in our region, but mainly in those places where the aesthetic or ecological impacts are the smallest."
Crossed wires: Securing CSP grid connection
Bob Moser, 21 October 2010 (CSP Today)
"…[T]ransmission is one of the most important aspects to making sure a project's time line keeps on track…[C]onsultants [work] to quell transmission doubts before signing that all-important lease agreement. Is access likely with major network upgrades? Are right-of-way issues resolved? Will any transmission issues crop up later due to environmental concerns? These often hidden questions can sink a CSP project if left unexplored…
"Even with all their ducks in a row, many CSP projects may not gain grid access in the Western US because…[t]here are more than 6,000 MW of interconnection requests in the southwestern United States, but there isn't 6,000 MW of energy demand – 6,000 MW is nearly the peak load…The energy storage option is emerging as a key factor for CSP proposals…[A]dding energy storage capacity, even just a few hours, adds real value to CSP as a capacity resource…"
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"…Storing energy in liquid molten salt is currently the state of the art in low-cost energy storage…Other storage materials like ceramic chips, synthetic oils, cobblestone, gravel and materials which change phase or chemistry via temperature continue to be tested by various companies, but none have proven as cost-efficient as liquid molten salt…The biggest advantage liquid molten salt gives a CSP project today is it's unbeatable low cost, but it also has been applied in several trough and tower plants, and has gained commercial reliability and predictability…
"The knock on steam is that it requires an expensive, thick-walled pressure vessel to house it. Even then, the amount of energy that can be stored is limited because steam takes up a lot of space per BTU. Conveying heat into solids like concrete or ceramics has been tried, but while those materials are cheap, the container they sit in and the fluid to transfer the heat jacks up the overall cost…"
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"Traditional CSP plants feature trough systems without storage. Heat transfer fluid is stored in a network of pipes that snake throughout the collector field, with no storage tanks for the Therminol oil. To add energy storage to a plant like this, developers must add salt tanks, salt pumps, salt piping, tonnes of salt and oil-to-salt exchangers…With a CSP tower plant, the inherent design already has tanks, pumps, piping and salt. Adding energy storage to a CSP plant like this would only require adding more salt inventory.
"The difference in initial cost between a tower plant with and without storage is less than 5% of the capital cost…The cost to add salt inventory to a tower plant with the necessary equipment in place is about US$15 per Kwh, compared to the cost of US$100-120/Kwh in capital costs for adding new storage equipment to a CSP plant with nothing in place…[The therminol] energy loss is around 7% of all the energy stored - a huge efficiency loss over time. Studies are underway testing the heat storage capabilities of stone and oil combinations, but molten salt is an industrially proven technique, a key for investors…"
Hybrid Locomotives; Technology Innovations and Demand Drivers for Diesel and All-Electric Locomotives, Genset Locomotives, and Hybrid Locomotives: Market Analysis and Forecasts
Dave Hurst and Clint Wheelock, 4Q 2010 (Pike Research)
"…[F]our main types of locomotives are in use today: long-line road, regional or local freight, switching (or shunter, in Europe), and passenger locomotives…This report focuses on the market for new and remanufactured vehicles.
"Almost all locomotives used today are powered by electricity. This electricity is either generated onboard the vehicle through a diesel engine or it is provided through a connection to the electric grid (third rails or overhead lines). All-electric trains require this electrical connection, and these trains can serve both passenger and freight transport purposes. Western Europe and Japan have a high mix of electrified tracks (52% and 61%,respectively). In other parts of the world, diesel is the dominant source of electricity generation on trains."
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"Growth in hybrid locomotives faces several key challenges. In Europe, track electrification will eliminate the need for battery storage in many areas. In North America, a high-profile hybrid locomotive concept [called the Green Goat] faced a setback in the mid-2000s that still haunts the manufacturers and railroad companies today. The market for hybrid locomotives faces stiff competition from newer fuel-efficient locomotives…[and] from traditional locomotives. A new generation of locomotives has emerged in the last decade called generator set (or genset) locomotives. These switching locomotives have two or three generator diesel engines…
"Hybrid locomotives are expected to have a strong return on investment (ROI), as a result of the ability to use low-cost batteries. Weight on locomotives is often helpful …to help increase the friction between the wheel and the track (adhesion) during acceleration. Lead acid batteries cost less, weigh more, and will be used in many of the first hybrid locomotive applications. The passenger locomotives that have less space available…are more likely to take advantage of lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries’ size and storage capacity. Advanced lead acid batteries will make inroads as well. General Electric (GE) has built a plant to manufacture sodium metal halide batteries, and is showing a prototype…Nickel metal hydride (NiMH)…is unlikely to move into the locomotive space…"
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"The market for hybrid locomotives is likely to get a boost from two important forces. First, in the middle of the decade, new rules regarding diesel locomotive emissions…[that] will require substantial changes…This will help drive interest in having hybrids…Additionally, railroad infrastructure is growing rapidly in India and China. Brazil and Russia (the other two “BRIC” countries) are not seeing as rapid development of infrastructure, largely due to the cost, but they do have strong governmental support for improving their rail capacity. These countries are expected to help drive the demand for locomotives…China is expected to have strong hybrid locomotives growth…
"Overall, hybrid locomotives will be seen over the next 3 to 5 years, mostly as demonstration and prototype projects. The sales of these vehicles will likely begin middecade in Western Europe and North America…[T]heir respective compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is 17.2% and 13.5% between 2015 and 2020). China is expected to be a source for strong sales growth (a CAGR of 22.2% between 2015 and 2020)…Worldwide, Pike Research anticipates that the hybrid locomotive market will reach between 109 and 174 vehicles by 2020, for a CAGR of 19.4% to 25.4% between 2015 and 2020. This will translate into a need for storage of 116.4 MWh of energy in 2020."