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On Colorado Gov Signs Renewable Energy Jobs Bill

Osha, you're right, but that's not the same as capacity factor ratings though.  A nuclear plant runs at close to 90% (or higher) of it's rated nameplate electrical capacity.  That's different from the thermal-to-electric efficiency of the plant.  On conversion efficiency of thermal energy (from solar insolation or fission) to electricity, a CSP plant is roughly equivalent to a nuclear plant (or coal plant for that matter), but their capacity factors are still a world apart (maybe 20-40% for a CSP plant with thermal storage, compared to ~90% for a nuclear plant).
March 29, 2010    View Comment    

On Who Killed Cap-and-Trade?

You are right, Dr. Stavins, that cap and trade is far from 'dead,' although I wouldn't place my bets on the passage of whatever Frankenstein concoction Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman manage to cobble together (and dub something other than "cap and trade") this year.

Of course, with public support for climate change action low, the alternative route, at least for now,  could be to fight for action that undeniably helps reduce emissions but is motivated by other concerns - the economic imperative posed by the global clean energy race, for example, or the ever-present motivation to do something about our nation's dependence on oil.  Another potential motivating moment: the $80 billion in clean energy investments under the stimulus act will come to a close shortly.  With thousands upon thousands of real jobs in real Congressional districts now tied to favorable clean energy policies, could the specter of a clean energy boom-and-bust driven by the stimulus clean energy funds, and their expiration, motivated expanded, long-term clean energy policy support?  There are likely multiple routes to meaningful action in the year(s) ahead...
March 28, 2010    View Comment    

On Small Modular Reactors Could Be An American Export - But We Need to Move Faster

Rod, would a DOD-run demonstration program that procured and built the first 10-20 modular reactors (half dozen each of 2-3 designs) and deployed them to power military bases at home or in American territories overseas (e.g. the new Marines base in Guam, etc.) be required to secure NRC licensing to build and operate the plants? Do they have to follow the same guidelines as civilian reactors? Or is there a possible route to expedited demonstration of these designs through DOD.  After all, as you point out so well, the Navy already has plenty of familiarity owning and operating very similar reactor designs...
March 23, 2010    View Comment    

On Growth vs. Emissions

A keen, realistic look at the challenges ahead. Thanks for the post Geoff.  You might enjoy Andy Revkin's talk (video here) that raises similar challenges.  Carbon is not the totality of our energy challenges in a world of 6.7-going-on-9 billion people, so many of whom lack access to basic, modern energy supplies.
March 22, 2010    View Comment    

On Revkin: “The idea that we’re going to fix the climate change problem or solve global warming has always been a fantasy, totally wishful, from my standpoint.”

Revkin has an excellent post up responding to Romm's latest snipe here. I encourage everyone to watch the brief video embeded in that post for a real look at Revkin's views on climate and energy challenges on our 'dot Earth.'
March 22, 2010    View Comment    

On The inside game at Oyster Creek

"Environmental groups" might win, but hard to say that the environment wins if we shut down another GW of zero-carbon power at a time when green groups are also fighting to avert potentially-disastrous climate change.  This reminds me of the debates over breaching Snake River dams in my native Northwest. This kind of thing may have made since for environmentalists 30 years ago, before climate change became as dire a concern.  But until we're shuttering the last coal-fired power plants, you won't find much support from this environmentalist and clean energy advocate for breaching hundreds of MWs of zero-carbon dams or GWs of existing zero-carbon nuclear reactors.  This is foolishness.
March 19, 2010    View Comment    

On Home Star Gets A Hearing: Is It Really A Win-Win-Win?

All a person from my generation is likely to think of when you say "Home Star" is this I'm afraid...
March 11, 2010    View Comment    

On Can we restore U.S. leadership in solar manufacturing?

Dr. Romm continues to say "the only way to win the clean energy race is to pass the clean energy bill." What clean energy bill is that exactly? The House's Waxman-Markey bill was DOA in the Senate. Cantwell-Collins' CLEAR act is a marker bill with little support. Kerry, Lieberman and Graham are now constructing a frankenstein bill cobbling together whatever they think can pass, along with nuclear loan guarantees, offshore drilling and natural gas incentives, and who knows what else. Details are non-existent (which isn't holding back E&E from publishing a stream of speculative 'reporting' pieces). So again, what clean energy bill is that exactly, and how will it secure our clean energy potential against the intense competition of our overseas clean energy competitors, including the rising clean tech tigers in Asia (China, Japan and South Korea)?

Romm seems to insist that a price on carbon - any price at all - will magically secure our clean energy competitiveness (never mind that China, South Korea and Japan are each cleaning our clean tech clock without any carbon price at all). Throw in a renewable electricity standard and Romm seems happy (never mind that neither of the RES versions that have passed the House and the Senate would do little-to-nothing to boost renewable energy deployment above BAU levels). Even Romm's employers, the Center for American Progress, recently released a report calling for a truly comprehensive strategy to secure America's clean energy competitiveness which includes a couple dozen policy priorities, of which a carbon price is just one policy part of just one of the several components of a real clean tech competitiveness plan (spurring market demand).

When will Joe Romm stop using every single data point as an excuse for the passage of any climate bill whatsoever, no matter how watered down? America needs a real clean energy competitiveness strategy, and we need it fast.
March 8, 2010    View Comment    

On Climate debate missing the point

Sounds like we're pretty closely aligned then Barry. Thanks for the post!
March 4, 2010    View Comment    

On A Day Late on the Bloom Box

Pretty much my same reaction as well, and I ran the numbers here showing that this latest "breakthrough" fuel cell is far from revolutionary, either on economics or carbon emissions.  Kleiner-Perkins and the PR team at Bloom deserve some real credit though for kicking up a media storm.
March 2, 2010    View Comment    

On [PODCAST] When the Rubber Meets the Road: Taking Cleantech to Scale

This post from Bryan Walsh at TIME reflecting on the entrance of big corporate players into the cleantech space, with potential for both investment and acquisition of startups, is a good addendum to this podcast discussion.
March 2, 2010    View Comment    

On Climate debate missing the point

BTW, to your point about the unsustainability of permanent subsidies to support clean energy sources, I did a little math the other day and found that if the U.S. decided to subsidize 20% of it's projected electricity demand in 2035 at 2.1 cents/kWh, the same rate as the current production tax credit for wind and geothermal power (today's most cost-effective renewable electricity technologies), it would cost the federal budget roughly $20 billion annually in 2010 dollars.  If we took clean energy sources to 50% subsidized at that same rate, it would cost the taxpayers $50 billion.  I'll leave it up to the readers here to decide if that is a cost that is politically sustainable or not...
March 2, 2010    View Comment