Friday, June 27, 2008

Chemical Fog Keeps Birds Out of Substations

PG&E is using methyl-anthranilate fog to keep nuisance birds away from high-voltage substations. The accumulation of bird excrement on substation equipment presents serious risks to system reliability and under the right conditions can cause a system outage. Cleaning capacitor banks requires their removal from service, which reduces transmission capacity, is time consuming, costly and is a health risk. Utilities have used bird bombs and propane cannons to control nuisance birds.

PG&E uses bird repellent Reje X-it Fog Force Bird Repellent, a food-grade, nonlethal aerosol fog formulation of methyl anthranilate that is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and is registered for use by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. The cost for each capacitor bank is approximately $10,000. (Transmission & Distribution World, Oct 2007)

Florida Buys U.S. Sugar Corp To Preserve Everglades

The State of Florida purchased U.S. Sugar Corporation for $1.75 billion and will turn its 187,000 acres (292 square miles) of farmland south of Lake Okeechobee into reservoirs in an effort to preserve the 1.5 million acre Everglades. There will be a six year transition period for its 1,700 employees to find new employment. USSC produces 700,000 tone of can sugar annually. (The Washington Post 6/15/08)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Squirrels Can 'Short Out' Electricity Systems

Did you know that when a squirrel moves from a power line and touches a tree limb, not only can he or she electrocute him or herself, they can also create a short circuit that shuts down that section of the system. Although this is of more concern to the utility companies, you should look at this information below:

Rauckman Wildlife Shield

3 Sizes, 2 Colors


Comparing Costs of Hybrid Cars

Hybrid cars generally cost more than equivalent gasoline powered cars and the analysis below shows the amount of time it would take a buyer to break even, where fuel savings offset the premium paid for a hybrid model. Estimates are based on a 2008 car driven 15,000 miles annually with gas that costs $4.01 a gallon.

Model--Price--Hybrid Premium**--MPG (city/hwy)--Annual Gas Savings--Yrs Break Even

Toyota Prius -- $22,939 -- $3,708 -- 48/45 -- $1,073 -- 3.5

Nissan Altima* -- 22,666 -- 1,879 -- 35/33 -- 499 -- 3.8

GMC Yukon* -- 47,653 -- 5,680 -- 21/22 -- 1,170 -- 4.9

Toyota Camry -- 25,732 -- 3,046 -- 33/34 -- 562 -- 5.4

Mercury Mariner*--24,946 -- 4,324 -- 34/30 -- 784 -- 5.5

Ford Escape* -- 24,051 -- 4,622 -- 34/30 -- 784 -- 5.9

Honda Civic* -- 21,082 -- 3,601 -- 40/45 -- 587 -- 6.1

* Vehicles w/ available tax credit ** Amount car exceeds cost of comparable gas powered model.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal 6/12/08,

Commercial Airline Engine Washing Saves Jet Fuel

United Technologies Corporation (a unit of Pratt & Whitney) is washing the engines of planes at about 50 airlines because of the maintenance and gas savings benefits. The engine washing system is called EcoPower and now includes about 5,000 such cleanings a year. It is estimated that scrubbing off the caked on grime can reduce fuel consumption by 1.2%. It is also estimated that if all engine in the world were washed the global airline industry could save $1 billion a year in fuel costs and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 3.2 billion pounds.

The washings can lead airlines to avoid costly overhauls for as long as 18 months. Washings take about 90 minutes and cost between $3,000 and $5,000 depending on the size of the engines. During thousands of hours of operation, gunk in the air builds up an oily crust (mixture of soot, dirt, salt, lead and arsenic) that compress intake air before it enters the combustion chamber. EcoPower uses a proprietary system of nozzles to spray atomized water directly into the core of the engine instead of using harsh chemicals and high pressure. (The Wall Street Journal 6/11/08)

Saudi Arabia Wants To Build Nuclear Power Plants

And President Bush wants to help. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently signed an agreement to assist Saudi Arabia with nuclear technology. The agreement also includes training nuclear engineers and constructing nuclear infrastructure. With oil hovering around $130 per barrel, why would they want to burn it in their own power plants instead of selling it to the world?

Critics believe that Saudi Arabia wants to get into the nuclear weapons industry and commercial nuke development is a way to do it. Critics also say that it is hypocritical for America to support the Saudi nuclear development while opposing such development by Iran, even though the USA started that program under the Atoms For Peace during the Shah of Iran's reign.

Yet the critics are wrong. America has offered the same deal to Iran as it did to Saudi Arabia. That is participation in the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) that would provide controls over the uranium fuel. Iran has rejected the offer and Saudi Arabia has accepted it. Simple as that. We support the GNEP program.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Yucca Mountain Application Submitted To Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) submitted its application for licensure of the Yucca Mountain Spent Nuclear Waste Repository to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on June 3, 2008. Yucca Mountain is the site selected to store the nation's spent nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear power plants. In 2002, President Bush and Congress approved the DOE’s proposal of Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The Center was the leading environmental group supporting Yucca Mountain.

The proposal now requires NRC approval. The NRC has principal oversight of the facility and will employ the same license process it uses to regulate nuclear power plants. It will take three to four years to get approval of the application. DOE submitted a 2009 fiscal year budget of $494.5 million for the project. The DOE has already spent over $10 billion conducting scientific evaluations on the feasibility of using the Yucca Mountain site.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

United Nations Considers Offering Climate Bonds

The United Nations is thinking about offering a new type of bond intended to increase the building of clean energy projects. The bonds would be backed by the issuing government and once they mature, investors would receive carbon credits, tradable securities each guaranteeing a metric ton of carbon dioxide reductions were made. Bond investors would not have to get involved in the full complexity of projects.

Clearly the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) wants to enhance the Kyoto Protocol because signatory countries are not meeting their greenhouse gas reduction targets. It expires in 2012 and it does not set reductions targets for developing countries such as India and China. The bonds would help encourage investment in nations struggling to meet their renewable energy targets. (The Washington Times 5/31/08)

T. Boone Pickens Makes Huge Wind Turbine Order

Mesa Power LLP, owned by T. Boone Pickens, has placed the biggest single order for wind turbines with General Electric Company. Mesa will purchase 667 GE 1.5 megawatt wind turbines as the first part of a $2 billion deal. The turbines will be delivered in 2010 and 2011 and are expected to provide the first 1,000 megawatts of Mesa's proposed 4,000 megawatt Pampa Wind Project in Texas. (The Wall Street Journal, 5/16/08)