Friday, January 25, 2013
Monday, January 21, 2013
Abu Dhabi, UAE- A new report released on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit here today, shows that even if all electricity is to be generated through renewable energy (RE) sources, and with solar photovoltaics (PV) alone, it would take up only an insignificant amount of total land area, contrary to common perception.
The report, Solar PV Atlas: solar power in harmony with nature, shows through seven cases- six countries and one region- less than 1% of the total land mass would be required to meet 100% of projected electricity demand in 2050, if generating electricity only with solar PV .
WWF teamed up with First Solar, 3TIER and Fresh Generation to develop the report. It looks at Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, South Africa, Turkey, and the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
The regions represent diverse geographies, demographics, natural environments, economies and political structures. They receive different but good average levels of sunshine, and all show vast potential for widespread development of solar PV, a well-established, commercially available and reliable technology today.
The report illustrates that PV technology, when well-planned, does not conflict with conservation goals and clarifies that no country or region must choose between solar PV and space for humans and nature.
”Research has found that PV power plants provide considerable environmental benefits, including a low carbon footprint and a short energy pay-back time.
Replacing existing grid electricity with PV arrays significantly reduces greenhouse gas and heavy metal emissions as well water usage,” says Lettemieke Mulder, First Solar vice president for Sustainability.
This new report supports WWF’s vision of 100% RE by 2050. “We are actively promoting investments and measures in Renewable Energy technologies that help to make this happen,” according to Jean-Philippe Denruyter, WWF’s manager Global Renewable Energy Policy. More
A top French minister and the chief executives of French utility EDF and reactor builder Areva are visiting Saudi Arabia this weekend to build a case for selling French nuclear reactors to the oil-rich country.
Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg will meet with Saudi officials and with representatives of EDF and Areva, who opened a joint office in Riyadh six months ago to lay the groundwork for a French nuclear offer.
Montebourg will build on a November 4 visit by French President Francois Hollande to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and a 2011 agreement between France and Saudi Arabia that offered the Saudis atomic know-how and training for local staff.
The kingdom has not yet launched a formal tender offer but is widely expected to do so, and nuclear equipment vendors worldwide are gearing up for when it does.
"We are still in a very early stage of the game in Saudi Arabia," an EDF spokeswoman told Reuters.
Eager to reduce domestic consumption of oil and diversify its energy mix, Saudi Arabia is considering building 17 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2032, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) says on its website.
That is the equivalent of about 17 standard nuclear reactors, or about 10 of the 1600 megawatt European Pressurised Reactors (EPR) that Areva sells.
EDF CEO Henri Proglio and Areva CEO Luc Oursel will accompany Montebourg, putting up a united front despite years of acrimony between the two state-owned companies.
France plays a strong hand in Saudi Arabia, which has no nuclear capabilities of its own but has deep pockets and wants to acquire the most modern technology.
"Saudi Arabia will only deploy the most advanced and thoroughly tested technologies, paying maximum attention to safety, security and safeguards of the highest international standards," KACARE said on its website.
The third-generation EPR is one of the most modern reactors on the market. Conceived following the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, it has a double containment wall, a "core catcher" to contain core meltdown and multiple backup and cooling systems.
Unlike other suppliers, Areva also sells uranium, offering utilities long-term supply contracts.
EDF positions itself as the only utility company that can lead the complex civil engineering project involved in building a nuclear power plant and can also offer help with operating the plants. More
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Toxic pollutants released by oil sands mining operations are accumulating in freshwater ecosystems, research by Canadian scientists suggests.
A study of sediment in nearby lakes showed the level of pollutants, known as PAHs, had risen since the 1960s when oil sands development began.
However, the researchers added that PAH concentrations were still lower than those found in urban lakes.
The findings appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
PAH refers to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons - a group of chemicals that have been shown to affect aquatic organisms and birds. PAHs have also been described as being responsible for damaging food crops.
The chemicals occur naturally in coal, crude oil, and petroleum; they are also present in products made from fossil fuels, such as creosote and asphalt.
PAHs also can be released into the air during the burning of fossil fuels and organic matter - the less efficient the burning process, the more PAHs are given off. Forest fires and volcanoes produce PAHs naturally.
Digging the dirt
Using sediment cores from five lakes within a 35km (22-mile) radius of major oil sands facilities and one remote lake (90km/56 miles from the facilities), the researchers assessed the ecological impact of oil sands developments on freshwater ecosystems.
Analysis of the samples showed that PAH levels were now 2.5-23 times greater than levels from about 1960. More