Blowout week 34

I had only 5 stories this week, but luckily Roger dug up another 26 cracking stories in this bumper issue of Blowout with 31 stories below the fold.

BBC: Glacier-like hazards found on Ben Nevis

Hazards common in arctic and alpine areas but described as “extremely unusual” in the UK during the summer have been found on Ben Nevis.

A team of climbers and scientists investigating the mountain’s North Face said snowfields remained in many gullies and upper scree slopes.

On these fields, they have come across compacted, dense, ice hard snow call neve.

Neve is the first stage in the formation of glaciers, the team said.

HT Wattsupwiththat

Does this fate await Spean Bridge at the foot of Ben Nevis? Scientists say that the advance of the Rhone Glacier in 1890 to 1900 was down to natural causes but that its subsequent melting back to prior levels is down to man made global warming.

KTH: Cracking in the concrete foundation for hydropower generators: Part II

During inspection, cracks were discovered in the concrete foundation, near the stator and rotor spider supports, at some hydropower stations in Sweden. The cracks were believed to be related to new patterns for generator operation, thereby changing the dynamic loading of the stator and rotor spider supports. Previously the generators ran continuously, while nowadays there are an increased number of stops and starts, sometimes even several times during one day.

Guardian: Wood’s North Sea downgrade forecast is dismissed by Oil & Gas UK

Oil billionaire Wood has claimed the figure of 24 billion barrels is 45-60% too high and no more than 35 years of oil and gas production remain, without any major discoveries.

Guardian: Npower chief blames high prices on Labour’s threatened energy price freeze

The chief executive of one of the UK’s biggest energy companies has said his firm has not reduced fuel bills because of the Labour party’s threat to freeze prices.

BBC: Workshop to discuss west of Scotland oil and gas prospects

The Scottish government is to team up with industry and academics to examine the potential for oil and gas discoveries in under-explored offshore areas to the west of Scotland.

A workshop on the subject will be co-hosted by the Scottish government and Heriot-Watt University later this year.

Roger is on vacation from his retirement but sent me this link list before he left:

IEEE Spectrum: Mexico Opens Its Grid to Competition

As part of a wider reform of its energy market, Mexico is privatizing its energy regulator and will begin allowing private companies to sell energy to, and add capacity to, its electricity grid.

Space Ref: Ozone-Depleting Compound Persists, NASA Research Shows

NASA research shows Earth’s atmosphere contains an unexpectedly large amount of an ozone-depleting compound from an unknown source decades after the compound was banned worldwide.

Uo Southampton: Increase in reported flooding a result of higher exposure

A rise in the number of reported floods in the UK over the past 129 years can be related to increased exposure, resulting from urban expansion and population growth, according to new research by the University of Southampton.

In one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, scientists have discovered that although the number of reported floods has gone up during the 20th and 21st Century, this trend disappears when the figures are adjusted to reflect population growth and increased building numbers over the same period.

CBC News: Oregon Department of State Lands denies Ambre Energy coal terminal permit

Oregon’s Department of State Lands on Monday dealt a serious blow to Ambre Energy’s proposed coal export project, denying a key permit needed for construction in the Columbia River.

The state agency, which inadvertently posted the news in a fact sheet online, hasn’t formally announced yet why it denied the permit for the project that could send 8.8 million tons of coal annually to Asia.

Telegraph: Oil industry on borrowed time as switch to gas and solar accelerates

The props beneath the global oil industry are slowly decaying. The big traded energy companies resemble the telecom giants of the late 1990s, heavily leveraged to a business model already threatened by fast-moving technology.

Before it’s news: All is fair in love and renewables

In any ecosystem, the survival of two similar carnivorous species depend on at least two fundamentals, food and space. If food is plentiful but space is at a premium, then conflict between the two species is inevitable. The same applies to always hungry and fast spreading renewable energy developers.

Sydney Morning Herald: Claims of Australia’s biggest oil discovery in 30 years

US oil and player Apache has made what is being feted by some as potentially Australia’s largest oil discovery in the last 30 years, fuelling hopes of a new oil province located off the north-west coast.
The field found by the Phoenix South-1 well, which was targeting gas rather than oil, could have potentially up to 300 million barrels of oil in place, according to Apache. Only a portion of that volume, however, would be recoverable, analysts said.

Guardian: UK oil and gas forecasts ‘incredibly pessimistic’, says Scotland

Forecasts of future revenues from North Sea oil and gas by an economics watchdog have been described as “incredibly pessimistic” and could be six times lower than the actual levels, according to a report.

The Telegraph: Sir Ian Wood: 15 years of oil left before independent Scotland spending cuts

The North Sea most eminent oil and gas tycoon has delivered a devastating blow to Alex Salmond’s independence campaign by warning there are only 15 years of reserves left before its decline starts wreaking major damage on the Scottish economy.

Reuters:  Britain’s gas trading crown at risk as euro boosts Dutch appeal

Britain’s dominance in European natural gas trading is under threat from a Dutch trading hub where volumes are soaring, buoyed in part by Europe’s utility companies who prefer to hedge their deals in euros.

Reuters: Oil Companies Turning Away From The Middle East

The violence and cutthroat politics of the Middle East, combined with declining oil and gas production levels, has triggered a subtle but significant shift away from what has long been the center of the energy industry to other regions around the world.

ITAR TASS: Ukrainian coal industry loses $23 million over war in east Ukraine

Ukraine’s coal industry lost $22.84 million in July over the continued military operations in the country’s east, First Deputy Energy and Coal Minister Yuriy Zyukov said on Wednesday.

Reuters: Japan may guarantee price for nuclear power to prop up industry

Japan will consider guaranteeing prices for electricity generated by nuclear plants to help the country’s struggling utilities, which have lost about $35 billion in the three years since the Fukushima disaster saddled them with extra costs.

Japan’s nuclear plants are in shutdown with no schedule for restarts after the meltdown at Fukushima in 2011, leading the country’s utilities to turn to expensive fossil fuel imports.

Channel 4: How ‘nuclear-free’ would an independent Scotland really be?

The Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has privately told the boss of the energy giant EDF not to worry about the future of its two nuclear power stations – Torness and Hunterston B.

That’s despite the SNP’s public commitment to phase out nuclear power, and the claim that a “nuclear-free Scotland” is one of the major environmental reasons for voting Yes in next month’s referendum on independence.

Telegraph: EU rules against powerful vacuum cleaners ban ‘best’ models, Which? warns

Many of the best vacuum cleaners for sale in the UK will be banned as a result of new EU energy efficiency rules that come into force next month, consumer group Which? has warned.
Households wanting to buy a powerful model have been told they will need to “act quickly” before they sell out, as from September 1 companies will be prohibited from manufacturing or importing any vacuums with motors above 1,600 watts.

Telegraph: Nobel economists say policy blunders pushing Europe into depression

An array of Nobel economists have launched a blistering attack on the eurozone’s economic strategy, warning that contractionary policies risk years of depression and a fresh eruption of the debt crisis.

OGJ: Western gulf lease sale attracts $110 million in high bids

Gulf of Mexico western planning area Lease Sale 238 drew 93 bids from 14 companies over 81 blocks covering 433,823 acres, totaling $109,951,644 in apparent high bids, reported the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which held the event on Aug. 20 in New Orleans.
Although the total bids were more than the 61 received in last year’s western gulf lease sale, the total value in apparent high bids was just modestly higher than last year’s $102,351,712 received from 12 companies (OGJ Online, Aug. 28, 2013).

Guardian: Tony Abbott expected to sign uranium deal with India on visit next month

Tony Abbott is expected to sign a deal to sell uranium to India during a visit to the country next month.

The Australian prime minister’s scheduled visit follows the completion of negotiations surrounding arrangements for the export of uranium, according to multiple news reports.

Industrial Minerals: Hawaiian island to run on lithium-ion batteries

French battery maker Saft has won a contract to supply Kauai, Hawaii’s fourth most populous island, with a Li-ion energy storage system that will regulate electricity supply from renewable sources. According to Saft, such solutions are likely to become the norm for island communities, which is positive news for suppliers of graphite and lithium raw materials.

Irish Times: Trump on collision course with Co Clare wind farm company

US billionaire Donald Trump is in dispute with a firm that is planning to erect a wind farm near his Doonbeg golf club on the Co Clare coast. Clare Coastal Windpower Ltd has lodged fresh plans with Clare County Council for a nine-turbine wind farm 2km from Doonbeg village and 4km from the the Greg Norman-designed links course.

Fortune: Solar panel shortage looms even as manufacturers invest in production

Shortage follows years of high inventories, which have pushed prices down and encouraged installations.

The solar industry is bracing for a global drought in photovoltaic panels after a series of high supply years that pushed prices to all-time lows and encouraged installations.

BBC: Global warming slowdown ‘could last another decade’

The hiatus in the rise in global temperatures could last for another 10 years, according to new research.

Scientists have struggled to explain the so-called pause that began in 1999, despite ever increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The latest theory says that a naturally occurring 30-year cycle in the Atlantic Ocean is behind the slowdown.

Guardian: Global warming is moistening the atmosphere

We have long suspected that greenhouse gases which cause the Earth to warm would lead to a wetter atmosphere. The latest research published by Eul-Seok Chung, Brian Soden, and colleagues provides new insight into what was thought to be an old problem. In doing so, they experimentally verified what climate models have been predicting. The models got it right… again.

Forbes: Declining Humidity Is Defying Global Warming Models

Relative humidity has substantially declined in recent decades, defying global warming computer models predicting higher amounts of atmospheric water vapor that will exacerbate global warming. The decline in relative humidity indicates global warming will be much more moderate than claimed by global warming activists.

Rewire: Ivanpah Solar Plant Owners Want To Burn a Lot More Natural Gas

It’s been lauded as the world’s largest solar power plant, but the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System could also be called the world’s largest gas-fired power plant (largest as in physical size, not gas consumption). Each of the 4,000-acre facility’s three units has gas-fired boilers used to warm up the fluid in the turbines in the early morning, to keep that fluid at an optimum temperature through the night, and to boost production during the day when the sun goes behind a cloud.

Luis de Sousa At The Edge of Time has his usual round up of stories from Russia-Ukraine and MENA plus lots more this week.

This entry was posted in Blowout and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Blowout week 34

  1. A C Osborn says:

    Perhaps you would like to include the story of the overnight lowest ever August Temperature in Ireland the other night, the story was on the BBC, but has not appeared in a single Newspaper to my knowledge.
    Or you could include the Record breaking Low temperatures being set in the USA

    Or the fact that the Australian BOM has been caught tampering with their historical Temperature data as the US are doing with theirs.

  2. Glen Mcmillian says:

    This link is not directly related to any particular story today but it nicely illustrates my concerns regarding energy security and the wisdom of having some local renewable power or at least power imported from very friendly allies.

  3. Luís says:

    Thanks for linking Euan, it is always nice.

    A story that is developing but is still a bit green is the overhaul of renewable energy legislation in Portugal. Auto-consumption will become legal from September and the solar companies are sharpening their teeth. One of the interesting tips they are floating is the cost of the battery pack: 10%-15% of the total cost, or about half the cost of the panels themselves. Since you like renewables so much you might wish to keep an eye on this story.


Comments are closed.