The Safe Energy Association

Pandora's Failed Promise

Hail Mary launch to save nuclear power falls short. Game over.

By Alan Dechert, Safe Energy Association

3 July 2013

Apparently, some very successful and creative people got together and said, “People are giving up on nuclear power! We need to bring back the magic! Let's make a movie!”

My wife and I went to San Jose Saturday (JUN 29th) to see Pandora's Promise (http://pandoraspromise.com/). On the way over, I asked her, “How many people do you think will be in the audience other than us? I guess three.” She said, “six.”

There were seven. So, I can report that it was a larger-than-expected audience of nine people. It's arousing as much excitement as the proverbial uranium-filled lead balloon. But why?

The movie amounts to One Big Lie. But big lies have been sold before, so I don't take this lightly -- especially one with such weighty backing.

A little background, before the movie

In a nutshell, it's like this: In the 1950s, people who think about such things could see that the age of fossil fuels was going to be brief, historically speaking. They thought nuclear power would be the thing that would replace fossil fuels.

But something went wrong when they went to roll out the magic. More than one thing went wrong. Many things went wrong.

In short, it turned out to be bad magic. The movement for nuclear energy stalled in the 1970s. The oil embargo of 1973 was a turning point.

A new generation of people who think about such things said, “if it's not going to be nuclear, it has to be solar.” Solar and nuclear are the only sources of energy that could potentially power the world's economy past the age of fossil fuels.

So, the transition to solar (or “renewable”) energy began about 40 years ago. Like it or not, we are in year 40 of a 65-year transition to replace non-renewable energy with renewable sources. Nuclear power is at a dead end. Some people understand this, some don't.

The makers of Pandora's Promise don't understand... yet. They don't understand why nuclear failed to live up to the promise, and they don't understand the power behind the renewable energy movement. Partly, they don't see how renewable energy is advancing because it started so small.

Energy from renewable sources has been increasing at more than twenty percent per year for many years. But for most of these 40 years, that amount of energy has seemed small – so small it was hardly noticeable. Not anymore.

In the US, renewable energy sources are currently being added to the grid at a rate greater than adding one nuclear power plant per quarter. Nuclear power is being added to the grid at the rate of zero nuclear power plants per quarter – actually less than zero since existing plants are being retired with no new ones coming on line.

At the current exponential rate of increase, renewable energy will completely replace all forms of energy in the US within about 25 years. Certainly, by 2040, all non-renewable sources should be retired – unless bad magic and/or bad politics gets in the way.

We have seen bad politics damage the renewable energy movement before, and it could happen again. In 1985, the renewable energy movement was slowed by the temporary collapse of oil prices. Purveyors of bad politics said, “Energy crisis? What energy crisis?” So there was no energy crisis in the minds of some, and bad energy policy – very damaging energy policy – was advanced.

We now see a similar danger with the temporary glut of cheap natural gas. Purveyors of bad politics say, “Energy crisis? What energy crisis?”

This is all you really need to know. There are well-meaning but misinformed people trying to help but generating more noise than real information. There are others who are simply greedy and don't want renewable energy because it doesn't fit their money-making models. I believe the makers of Pandora's Promise are in the former category (well-meaning), but their views need to be corrected just as much as the greedy ones and their shills.

Problem: This Movie is a Lie

Now to some of the specifics of what's wrong with Pandora's Promise... the movie so full of red herrings, strawmen and false dichotomies, it takes some patience to wade through it.

The movie is slanted because the only domain experts they have are nuclear partisans. They don't talk to anyone who knows anything about renewable energy. The "environmentalists" are just bloggers, essentially. They have a couple of clips featuring Amory Lovins and Helen Caldicott, but no real discussion of renewable energy -- only unilateral, uninformed dismissals of renewable energy.

The treatment of Lovins is especially bad -- just showing him demonstrating some energy efficient light bulbs.

They give a lot of air time to an air-head dismissing Lovins, but no air time to someone who could counter the air-head's babble.

The premise of the movie is that some very intelligent, thoughtful, caring, environmentalist individuals (including luminaries such as Stewart Brand) took another look at nuclear after decades of being against it, then changed their minds. At the outset, Stewart says, "I'm against nuclear. But what if what I've been thinking all this time was wrong?"

You weren't wrong, Stewart. Forget nuclear.

There are four major holes in the case presented for nuclear. These are not small holes. They are each large enough to drive a nuclear powered submarine through -- no, a fleet of nuclear power submarines on their farewell journey.

  1. The amount of renewable energy is inadequate compared to nuclear
  2. Renewable energy is intermittent so it can't work as well as nuclear, which operates full steam 24/7.
  3. Nuclear power is "cheap" compared to renewable
  4. Health/Safety/Security issues with nuclear are acceptable. Solar is dangerous.

1. Amount of energy available

Energy is absorbed at the earth's surface from the sun at the rate of 89,000 terawatts (TW). To put this into perspective, all of the power from all of the nuclear power plants in the world amounts to around four-tenths of one TW.

All of the power from all the nuclear plants in the US amounts to about one-tenth of one TW. The 89,000 TW from the sun drives the hydrologic cycle, the winds, plant growth ... everything. The 89,000 TW comes to the earth 24/7 and will likely continue for 4 billion years or more. Just how much energy do you think we need?

But how much could we produce and sell? See the 2012 Report published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Renewable Energy Technical Potentials: A GIS Based Analysis.

According to the study, the technical potential of renewable power in the US is roughly 212 TW or more than 2000 times as much as the installed capacity of all the nuclear power plants we now have.

Conservatively, if we install 7 TW of renewable power -- even considering a capacity factor averaging around 30 percent -- it would be more than all the energy we currently consume for all uses including transportation fuels. At 7 TW and 30 percent capacity factor we would average over 2 TW -- that's over 17,000 TWh per year, far more than we now use. This is 2 to 3 percent of the technical potential identified by NREL.

Given where were are now, with something like 65,000 megawatts (65 GW) wind and solar installed, if we increase 20 percent per year, as we have been for quite a few years now, we would reach 9 TW by 2040. There is absolutely no technical barrier to keeping the 20 percent per year increase going.

2013    65,000
2014    78,000
2015    93,600
2016    112,320
2017    134,784
2018    161,741
2019    194,089
2020    232,907
2021    279,488
2022    335,386
2023    402,463
2024    482,955
2025    579,547
2026    695,456
2027    834,547
2028    1,001,456
2029    1,201,748
2030    1,442,097
2031    1,730,517
2032    2,076,620
2033    2,491,944
2034    2,990,333
2035    3,588,399
2036    4,306,079
2037    5,167,295
2038    6,200,754
2039    7,440,905
2040    8,929,086

And this is small compared to what is technically possible. As for the question of industrial capacity to do this ... the task will be nothing compared to what the US accomplished building all ships and planes for WW II -- and that was done over a 5-year period.

Nuclear, on the other hand, has reached almost 100,000 megawatts (100 GW). The most energy ever in one year from nuclear happened a few years ago and is now less as plants are being decommissioned. It will be difficult to install enough nuclear power just to make up for the plants being decommissioned in the coming years, let alone increase production.

Both solar and nuclear face difficult NIMBY issues for increasing production. However, the barrier for nuclear is much higher. Getting approvals for suitable wind and solar sites is difficult, but it is getting done. Practically no sites are opening up for nuclear.

In California, in the 1960s, the utility companies had plans to build scores of nuclear plants -- 100 maybe. Only eight were ever built and only two remain in operation. They need to be near the ocean for cooling water. Try knocking on doors up and down the coast and ask people living there, "Do you mind if we build a nuclear power plant here?"

Forget it. You're out of your freaking mind. It's not happening.

Many attempts to lift the moratorium on nuclear plant construction in California have been attempted. None have come close. After Diablo Canyon closes, the nuclear power being produced in California will drop to zero.

Even if you could miraculously remove the moratorium, existing nuclear technology depends on light water reactors, a very old technology. Breeder reactors could result in large amounts of fuel, if you could build the plants. But breeder technology is unproven. We have no breeders in operation. Renewable energy is growing rapidly on existing technology.

In Pandora's Promise, numerous claims are made about the great magnitude of energy nuclear can deliver. These claims cannot be substantiated. The technology for the nuclear plants of the future has not been demonstrated commercially. On the contrary, the enormous power and unlimited supply from the sun is absolutely known and all the needed technology has been demonstrated commercially.

While nuclear is going away, the largest solar thermal power plant in the world is about to come online in the California desert this year (see http://www.brightsourceenergy.com/ ).

Another solar thermal plant that will be installed next year will include thermal storage so it can continue generating power into the evening. (see http://www.solarreserve.com/ ).

In the California desert, about 40 square kilometers are needed per GW installed capacity. California has over 400,000 square kilometers. One percent of our land with solar thermal power plants would have a capacity of 100 GW.

The notion that we don't have enough renewable energy available or don't have the technology to harvest it is pure baloney.

Additionally, the claim of the large amount of commercially viable nuclear energy is pure fiction. The US doesn't have fuel for nuclear reactors. We have to import it. The technology for breeders -- the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) bragged about in the movie has never worked commercially.

2. Renewable is intermittent or unreliable

Are you surprised when the sun comes up?

There is nothing in the solar system more reliable than the sun. The 89,000 terawatts the sun delivers to the earth comes 24/7. Best estimates are that the sun has been doing the same thing for 4 billion years and will continue the same way for another 4 billion years or so.

There is nothing intermittent about it. Solar and wind power may be locally variable, but they are highly predictable. If you were living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and had no connection to civilization, the local variability of sun and wind might be a big problem for you energy-wise. But in the type of interconnected economic system we have, energy is delivered via pipes and wires, and can be stored in various ways throughout the system.

The variability of supply and demand is managed. The notion that we will suffer when renewable power is not available is pure myth.

On the contrary, a renewable energy based economy will have highly diversified decentralized sources of energy. It will be far more robust and resilient than what we have now -- zero dependency on foreign sources, and wide availability from other sources if one source should have a problem.

Charts from Cal ISO

I cut and pasted charts from the Cal ISO website. Cal ISO is the balancing authority for most of California. They balance supply of power from the various sources minute by minute. I picked a random day in the winter (Jan 29) and show it for 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Notice the following things on the charts: the renewable energy totals, the hourly breakdown, and compare that with nuclear. Renewables, in total, have a steady output. Solar is very small in 2011, but growing rapidly. Since we're starting to see solar thermal come on line, they now have solar broken out to solar PV and solar thermal.

At one point in the movie, one of the so-called environmentalists says, "with renewables, there will be long periods of time where no power is being fed into the grid."

The charts below expose this lie. For example, if you look at the renewable output here in California, at no time in 2013 does it ever drop below the output of our nuclear power generators 24/7, winter and summer.

On the day I saw the movie (see the last chart), output from renewables (new renewables, not even counting large hydro) is approximately 3 times our nuclear power output continuously over the 24 hr period.

Keep in mind that "renewables" in the chart is only new renewables, excluding old hydro plants. If you add the in-state hydro and hydro imports, renewables often exceed 30 percent (and rising rapidly) of power used in California. Hydro can be held back off-peak and released on peak. Overall, there is no intermittency. Renewables are available 24/7.

Also note that as of 2013, renewables exceed nuclear even for this day in January. Notice also that as solar contribution increases, the variability is a positive attribute because we get more energy at the times we need it ... like in the middle of the day.

 

cal iso jan 29

 


Now let's look at Jun 29th for the past few years.

 


 

cal iso jun 29

You can't spot any problem with intermittency or reliability of renewables because there isn't one. This mantra is spewed by renewable energy haters or people too lazy to look at facts.

Notice that solar production nearly doubled from 2011 to 2012. Then it doubled again from 2012 to 2013. I've been talking about an average increase of 20 percent per year. But we see it can go higher... much higher.

As solar increases, the power will be coming when it is needed, near peak times. Solar could be increased another 20,000 megawatts in California without worry about needing to store energy.

However, the newer type of solar thermal plants do store energy as heat and can continue generating well into the night.

If you think about this a little more, you can see the problem here has nothing to do with solar or wind intermittency. The issue here has to do with matching supply to the load. In this regard, nuclear is no better. It's worse! Nuclear cannot follow the load. It can only operate efficiently at the same output all the time.

Also, notice that nuclear is shriveling up compared to renewables. It won't be long before nuclear disappears altogether. Nuclear power is being left in the dust. It won't be missed.

As we move to getting a larger and larger percentage of energy from renewables, we will need to consider more storage technologies. Oil which can be refined into liquid fuel -- including jet fuel -- can be produced from organic matter. Other biofuels obviate the need to store direct solar or wind. Geothermal can provide baseload power, and is doing so already.

In addition, as conventional crude oil and gasoline disappear, we will be moving more to electric vehicles. These can be charged off-peak, and this will help even out the load on the power grid. We simply won't need gasoline for cars and the world will be better off for it.

3.  Nuclear is cheap: Solar expensive

Pandora's Promise handles this issue by ignoring it. One or two times, the phrase "cheap nuclear power" is used, as if we all know nuclear power is cheap.

Problem: Nuclear is not cheap, and new plants will cost a lot more than old plants to install.

Dominion Resources recently shut down its Kewaunee nuclear power plant (Wisconsin) because it was too expensive to operate. Other than that, there was nothing wrong with the plant. It had been operating for many years without incident. Its operating license had been renewed to operate until 2033. No one was interested in buying the plant so they are shutting it down.

Compare this reality with Pandora's Promise. They claim nuclear power has stalled just because of some policy decisions, and public fear, and so on. But there is no such thing with the Kewaunee plant. The people around there wanted the plant to continue. A lot of locals worked there. No one was protesting against nuclear power. The plant was simply uneconomic.

No one would ever have built a civilian nuclear power plant were it not for government subsidies. As more problems are seen with existing plants, new safeguards are designed into newer plants and the cost goes up. Massive cost overruns have been the norm with nuclear plant construction.

The fast breeder reactors Pandora's Promise touts have never been built because they were deemed too expensive (Google Clinch River nuclear) -- not competitive with existing light water reactors ... you know, the ones they're shutting down because they can't be operated economically.

As wind and solar power generating systems are starting to be deployed on a large scale (equivalent energy to adding one nuclear power plant every 3 months currently), costs are dropping.

We are just starting to see big solar thermal plants (concentrating solar or "CSP") begin operation. These types of plants are likely to have higher efficiencies and higher capacity factors than the PV panels that are becoming ubiquitous.

The movie also depicts poor people around the world who need energy in order to advance economically. It's true, but do they need nuclear energy? Would it make sense to build a nuclear power plant in a remote village in Africa?

For developing countries, solar makes sense. Nuclear makes no sense. Around 2000, the country with the most solar-powered homes was Kenya. It happened with no government programs. It was purely organic.

Kenyans in villages with no access to grid power wanted a few things like a light bulb, radio, maybe a small TV. They found they could hook up a 12-volt car battery and run a few things in the evening -- a couple of light bulbs, a radio, and a 13 inch black-and-white TV. This was a big improvement for their quality of life. Cell phone subscriptions grew rapidly too.

An industry developed consisting of a man with a cart going around picking up discharged batteries and returning them a day or two later all charged up. Then someone figured out they could charge the battery with a solar panel, so they wouldn't have to pay the guy the money and wait for the charged battery to be returned.

Solar energy use continues to grow in Kenya, improving lives. They have no nuclear power plants and it would be a mistake for them to get one. They have plenty of renewable energy potential.

A similar scenario exists for many developing countries: they often have tremendous renewable energy potential. They can't afford nuclear power. They can afford solar.

4.   Only minor health/safety/security issues with nuclear: Solar is more dangerous

One of the more remarkable things I heard in the movie is the assertion that if it wasn't for those pesky nuclear bombs, people wouldn't have such bad feelings about nuclear power.

You can also hear a few words about that in the trailer: It started with a bomb, and that put a negative spin on it.

Oh, if we could just start over without the nuclear bombs ... It would have been funny if it wasn't so tragic.

The gist of it is that we should look past this little problem with the nuclear bombs and be happy with nuclear power. Yes, the technology and materials can be applied to making nuclear bombs, but only 9 countries ... or so ... okay, maybe 10 or 11 or so ...  have actually done that. Oh yes, and there might be some non state armed groups trying to get nuclear weapons.

It is well known that al Qaeda has been trying for many years to acquire a nuclear bomb. They would have no qualms about using it on a US city. Nevermind intercontinental ballistic missiles. They'd put it on a boat or smuggle components into the country and assemble it for delivery by truck. A coordinated attack on several cities could be so devastating as to cause complete collapse of the US system of government and economy, along with millions dead or injured.

How far could they be from such capability? Osama Bin Laden, who preached that it was their duty to get the bomb, lived for years in broad daylight near a main military academy in Pakistan for several years -- the very same Pakistan that started their nuclear weapons program very shortly after getting their first peaceful nuclear reactor in operation.

Of course, Pakistan had to get nuclear weapons because soon after India got their first atoms for peace reactor, India built and demonstrated a "peaceful nuclear explosion."

Due the proliferation of our nuclear technology, the US now has the uncomfortable choice of destroying democracy in order to save democracy. Do we want the NSA to capture every communication in the world and continuously sift through them in order to catch any potential nuclear terror plot. Yes! Please do it!! And, also we'd better set up spying and surveillance systems everywhere watching everything anyone says or does just in case the bad guys aren't using cell phones or the Internet.

Another jaw-dropping segment of Pandora's Promise was a visit to Chernobyl, site of the worst nuclear accident in history. It was not so bad, according to promoters. Besides, it wasn't really designed for nuclear power. It was just for making plutonium for bombs. So, I guess it's not relevant?

And they can only confirm a few dozen deaths. We can't really prove anyone else died from radiation exposure. They say the place was abandoned but then people started to return pretty soon. Did they mention that 300,000 people were evacuated? According to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 600,000 workers were used in the cleanup operations.

Again, the movie depicts poor people in developing countries who need electricity. They need electricity from renewable sources, not nuclear. Proliferation of nuclear technology is extremely dangerous. We should not be encouraging this. On the contrary, the safe thing to do is lead the way with renewable energy and ridding the world of nuclear technology beginning at home.... like California is doing.

In Conclusion ...

There are a few things in the movie that are okay. They play an excerpt from a very good speech by Margaret Thatcher from 1989. They go around with their little radiation meters showing there is radiation everywhere, which would be interesting information in case you slept through your science class in junior high school.

The whole of Pandora's Promise can be reduced to one false dichotomy: a choice between global warming and nuclear power. It is absolutely absurd. There is 0.000 chance Nuclear power will be deployed on a scale that will have any mitigating effect on global warming/climate change.

The renewable energy star is rising, and the nuclear power star is falling. That's what is happening now in the real world, and this movie and the Pandora's Promise people can't change that.

I often use California as an example, but every other state in the US has great potential for renewable energy. The numbers would look different, but the principles are the same.

We may not be able to cause the world to unlearn nuclear technology. But we can regain some of our moral authority if we phase out all nuclear technology and make a clear statement that this is not good for humanity, and not good for democracy.

Pandora's Promise is a false promise. Nuclear technology is a cancer on democracy, and has nearly killed it. Our current federal officials, including the NSA, may or may not be sufficiently trustable for us to feel democracy is still alive, but they are building an apparatus would-be dictators are salivating over. Who is the next misanthrope who will lunge for the levers now in place?

We are getting rid of nuclear power in California, and this should happen nationwide.

Becoming nuclear-free will help the United States regain its moral authority, technology leadership, and to become a true champion of democracy. Converting to 100% renewable energy will clear the air from fossil fuel combustion by-products, give us permanent energy independence, and help bring about economic stability.

-- Alan Dechert  alan@safeenergyassociation.org

p.s. I covered a lot of these issues in more depth in my 2010 article (see http://www.safeenergyassociation.org/ad/eroi.pdf ). I stand behind what I wrote then, although it could use refreshing a bit.

p.p.s. I am appending my June 25 article here because it is closely related to the current article

EV Battery Pack Standards Needed

by Alan Dechert, June 25, 2013

What if when you went to buy gasoline you had to find a gasoline station owned and operated by the company that made your car? It would be ridiculous, but this has been the approach of a couple of companies (Better Place and Tesla) trying to make charging stations / battery pack swapping stations for their customers. This concept cannot work on a large scale.

Currently, a gasoline powered car that gets 30 mpg will cost about 13 cents per mile for fuel. An EV of similar size will cost less than 2 cents per mile for fuel -- if charged with off-peak power. This fuel cost benefit can motivate adoption of EVs to great societal benefit.

Fueling an EV, needs to work the same way we buy gasoline. It should not matter what make EV you drive. You should be able to drive into a fuel station (battery swap station) and leave with a full tank (charged battery).

Tesla is building charging stations for their customers, and just demonstrated (JUN 21) fast swapping (90 seconds) capability.
http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/21/autos/tesla-battery-swap/index.html
This is great but it only works for this particular model of Tesla.

Tesla also says it is making "fast" chargers available. Tesla's fast charging concept does not scale. Over 200 million gas cars need to go away and be replaced by EVs. This is clear. However, the fast charger takes 120 kw. If ten percent of 200+ million cars plugged into fast chargers at peak hours, it would require an additional 2,400,000+ megawatts of generating capacity added to the power grid -- more than double current capacity... (like, adding 2400 nuclear power plants) which would cost trillions of dollars in capital costs and trillions more every year for load leveling.

"Fast" charging is a temporary gimmick. If the motorist is given the choice, will they prefer to take 90 seconds for re-fueling or wait around for 30 minutes while the car is charged? It is a no-brainer. And what it the purchase price is reduced by $20,000 because they don't have to buy the battery pack up front?

Battery swap is the way to go. EV battery swap could help rather than exacerbate the grid capacity problem. If EV battery packs could be charged off-peak, it could be a major load leveling factor. The US could potentially switch to EV powered cars without increasing generating capacity at all -- just use off-peak power for charging cars. No more gasoline!

EVs could be sold "batteries not included." Battery packs would be rented based on the size and condition of the battery. The swap station would act as broker between the driver and the battery pack owner (could be anyone ... the car maker, the utility company, the battery pack manufacturer, or anyone else, including you). The battery pack owner would automatically receive a rental fee (when the driver swaps the battery pack). The driver gets a dead weight discount for battery packs less than 100 percent rated capacity. The station owner would receive a fee based on the electricity used and for performing the swap. When battery packs drop below a certain level of health (in maybe ten years), they can be relegated to other uses or recycled. You may not want to drive around with a battery pack that only holds 60 percent of its original capacity, but that 60 percent battery pack might be good enough to power your house off-grid when connected to solar PV panels (60 percent of a 84 kwh Tesla battery pack would hold 50 kwh).

As far as the driver is concerned, it would be no different than paying for gasoline except that it would cost less per mile and the swap would be faster than filling a gasoline tank. EVs would sell a lot faster because the initial cost would be far lower. The battery pack is by far the most expensive component of the EV.

I spent a lot of time a couple of years ago trying to get buy-in. I spoke with all the car companies (including Tesla), utility companies, etc. I even tried to set up a committee to develop standards for EV battery swap. I never got very far.

Here is a typical comment (APR 2011) from a leading expert:

"I already mentioned the reluctance (not to use stronger words) of the automotive industry to the ideas of a) swappable and b) standardized battery solutions."

Notice that Tesla has broken the ice on item "a" (swappable). We applaud them for this. Now, for item "b." Standardization needs to be put into place. Industry often resists standards because they want to protect their proprietary bits. Then it's time for government to step in. Industry screams bloody murder but then they always go along because they have to. Then the world is better because you can get power for your computer from the same outlet for your lamp ... or your toaster, or refrigerator, and so on. And it doesn't matter what brand of computer, lamp, toaster, refrigerator, TV, etc., you have ... they all work with the same outlet.

We need the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to step in and create standards for EV battery swap. Probably there needs to be at least three standard battery packs: one each for small, medium, and large cars. Then maybe two varieties: basic commuter range (100 miles) and long range (200+ miles). So, maybe at least 6 batteries with standard form factors, connectors, and electrical characteristics.

Congress will need to pass a law that EVs sold in the US must meet these standards for battery packs.

-- Alan Dechert  alan@safeenergyassociation.org

 


SALTON SEA NEWS BROADCAST WITH ALAN DECHERT

 


 

 

News Feeds:
Welcome to the Safe Energy Association

Picture Alan Dechert, Founding President Safe Energy Association
Energy Expert, seen on CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and other major TV and radio outlets.

Alan Dechert is the founder and President of the Safe Energy Association as well as the current President and CEO of the Open Voting Consortium. Alan's background in the solar energy market and as a software application developer and computer program test engineer for companies like Borland International and Intel Corporation; provide a sound foundation for dealing with issues related to for energy cost savings for smart buildings, and battery storage for alternative energies; and similarly so for voting machine and electoral tabulation software.

Alan developed the 'Dechert Curve' for which he charted the data that resulted in the curve produced by plotting energy consumption as quadrillions of British Thermal Units (QUADS) expended per Energy Return on Investment or 'EROI' per year October 3, 2010 in an article entitled "What's it going to be like on the downside of the curve?" cited by Gregor MacDonald, respected financial analyst in
Gregor.us. The article has also appeared in numerous respected publications such as in The Smarter Earth, Business Insider, Seeking Alpha, Buzz Box, Investor Village, and in The Oil Drum.

Dechert also helped craft one of the most widely used open source computer programs to remedy the Y2K problem, which was employed by businesses and governments around the world. Alan works to continue to educate the public regarding how technology can be used to democratize systems within the public interest, pressing for the necessary legislation and public policy to do so. Alan holds a Bachelor's degree from University of California Berkeley.


Tim Mayer, Treasurer Safe Energy Association
Efficiency Expert

Tim Mayer is CEO of a business services company in San Francisco.
.
Brent Turner, Secretary
Mr. Turner founded Turner Real Estate, a statewide leader in green building education. Mr. Turner is a graduate from Lincoln Law School, and is also an accomplished musical composer and producer.
 

peak_oil-11February 19, 2011

This measure, sponsored by Safe Energy Association, requests an investigation of the feasibility of an entirely renewable energy based California economy. If determined feasible, the investigators would produce a plan ("roadmap") for the conversion.

We suggest that the study have two phases: Proof and Planning (about 6 months each).

 
25
Jun
2012

 


Solar Plant Renewal

 

 
15
Aug
2011

alt

Dr. Richard Swanson founded Sunpower in the 70s when the price of solar was as high as

MILPITAS, CA National Energy Secretary Steven Chu watched over Governor Jerry Brown’s shoulders as the beloved busy-minded wizard of clean economies poured his signature over SB2X (State Senator Simitian D- Palo Alto). The legislation requires California get 33 percent of its RPS [required portfolio standard] electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Sunpower hosted the signing at its chosen manufacturer Flextronics in Milipitas, CA. The panels built will rival the quality of cheap imported Chinese panels. Sunpower claims it panels will achieve the highest efficiency in the industry at 19%.

Sunpower has created over 1000 jobs for Californians, and roughly 4000 jobs nationwide. The Milpitas location alone will create 100 jobs to manufacture enough solar panels each year to supply 25,000 homes.

Solar Economies of Scale lead to 165% growth in 2010

$70.00 per kWh. That price is now cents on the dollar. The new pricing will allow solar to compete with conventional energy sources for electricity.

Advertisement
 
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