California surfers pulled a baby great white shark from the ocean, removed an embedded fish hook from its mouth, and then helped the shark back into the water. It was a dangerous move that could have cost one of the surfers their hands, but fear of the shark's demise, meant they were willing to take the risk.
When a fishermen realized he had accidentally hooked a shark on his line, fellow fishermen and surfers alike pulled the shark to shore to save its life.
"Anytime you're around the mouth of any shark, it's a very dangerous situation," Peter Wallerstein from the group Marine Animal Rescue said to NBC Los Angeles. "They could have lost their hand, trying to do what they did."Video above: Los Angels NBC affiliate footage of surfers and shark. From original article. .
SUBHEAD: Marine doctors worry about cruelty to animals in training for combat wounds. What about cruelty to the soldiers?
By Audrey McAvoy on 30 September 2011 in West Hawaii Today-
Image above: "Combat medic training evolves to save lives." Here realistic combat zone employing simulated wounded soldiers. From (http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=51980).
Two former military doctors have asked Hawaii-based Marines not to operate on pigs and goats during combat trauma training next week. The doctors wrote Marine Corps Base Hawaii commander Col. Jeffrey Woods on Thursday asking that Marines at his base use simulator suits that mimic the human body instead.
“While the purpose of next week’s course is to train those medical personnel to respond to battlefield injuries and prevent fatalities, the use of animals is cruel and unnecessary,” said the letter signed by Dr. Douglas Bell and Dr. Robert Lucius.
The animals are made unconscious before the training. Then, according to the letter, training participants cut into the animals’ legs, slice open their throats and insert tubes and needles into their chests and abdomens.
The animals are euthanized afterward. Bell, who is a retired Honolulu internist and was an Army doctor stationed in South Korea from 1956 and 1958, said it would be better to use simulators instead of needlessly sacrificing animals. Bell is a member of the group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a Washington, D.C.-based group that has been campaigning against the use of live animals in medical training.
Lucius is a retired Marine lieutenant colonel and doctor in Pacific Grove, California. Base spokesman Maj. Alan Crouch said the training will be conducted in accordance with Marine policy and in line with the Animal Welfare Act and other laws.
“This invaluable training is a vital part of the units’ preparation for combat deployment,” Crouch said in an emailed statement. Another group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has also urged the military to avoid using live animals in training. Bell, 81, said he had to practice on animals when he went to medical school at the University of Rochester.
“I can remember very well, going in physiology and having to do this to animals,” he said Friday. Bell says he was just a medical student and didn’t object, though in retrospect probably should have. “It always seemed to me a little wasteful to pester and torture these poor animals,” he said.
[Source Noted: If you don't laugh you'll go insane.]
By John Laumer on 1 October 2011 for TreeHugger -
Image above: The TExas Pride Barbecue Restaurant. From original article.
Where I live in Southeastern Pennsylvania garden vegetables lie unharvested, rotting in the mud. Lancaster farmers will be hard pressed to harvest their corn and uncovered firewood piles are ornamented with white fungus. We have it good compared to Texas, though. Farmers and wildlife in the Lone Star State face a bleak future brought on by sustained, extreme drought.
Texas Governor Rick Perry is more focused on fanning the flames of climate denial than addressing the loss and misery. No matter that the shadow of extreme drought roughly outlines his State's shape (see graphic below). Interviewers and presidential debate hosts dare not raise the obvious irony , lest they lower ad revenues by appearing to take the side of science and rational inquiry.
Image above: Map show all of Texas as the center of a large, long term drought. From (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/).
LA Times covered Perry's climate change double-down.
"Great," replied Perry, strolling with a hand-held microphone in front of a crowd at the Adams Memorial Opera House in Derry, N.H. "I'm ready for you this time."
Perry said that "just within the last couple of weeks, a renowned Nobel laureate" had said that it was "not correct" to say that there was "incontrovertible" evidence that global warming is man's fault. "There are scientists all across this country who are saying that," Perry said, adding to that his own conclusion that climate change science "frankly is not proven."
The scientist, whom Perry never named, is Norwegian physicist Ivar Giaever, a 1973 Nobel laureate for work involving superconductors. A longtime skeptic of global warming, which he has described as "a new religion," Giaever resigned recently from the American Physical Society after it issued a policy statement that "evidence is incontrovertible: global warming is occurring."
Giaever told the London Sunday Telegraph, "Incontrovertible is not a scientific word. Nothing is incontrovertible in science."
Echoing those words, Perry told the town-hall questioner: "He said there is not incontrovertible evidence, and here's my point. The climate has been changing ... for thousands of years, and for us to take a snapshot in time and say...'The climate change that is going on is man's fault, and we need to jeopardize America's economy [to fix it.]' I'm a skeptic about that."Perry is doing what his campaign contributors want. Only the broadcast media editors and executives can be blamed full on. It is they who let it go unchallenged, preferring the role of circus ring master for their on air staff. I want Walter Cronkite back.
"The devastation extends worldwide. The great euphorbia trees of southern Africa are succumbing to heat and water stress. So are the Atlas cedars of northern Algeria. Fires fed by hot, dry weather are killing enormous stretches of Siberian forest. Eucalyptus trees are succumbing on a large scale to a heat blast in Australia, and the Amazon recently suffered two "once a century" droughts just five years apart, killing many large trees.
Experts are scrambling to understand the situation, and to predict how serious it may become.
Scientists say the future habitability of the Earth might well depend on the answer. For, while a majority of the world's people now live in cities, they depend more than ever on forests, in a way that few of them understand."
The situation with the planet's forests makes it more important than ever that the world's governments come together to finally agree to a deal to protect forests, which absorb as much as 25 percent of our carbon emissions. On the table is a UN framework called Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, known as REDD. The system would create a mechanism for rich countries to pay poorer forested countries such as Indonesia to protect their forests. Right now, they have an incentive to destroy forests to sell the timber and to make room for commodities like soy and cattle.
Governments have stumbled over the specifics of REDD for years, but they will yet another chance to strike a deal in November at the Durban climate talks. Let's hope the negotiators read Gillis' story and realize that we don't have a minute to waste.Video above: Greenpeace - Saving Sumatra's Peatland Forests From original article (http://youtu.be/piCZc9wYQLU). .
“I felt liberated, I felt free for the first time,” Mr. Mavridis said in a recent interview at a cafe in this port city in central Greece. “I instinctively reached into my pocket, but there was no need to.”
Mr. Mavridis is a co-founder of a growing network here in Volos that uses a so-called Local Alternative Unit, or TEM in Greek, to exchange goods and services — language classes, baby-sitting, computer support, home-cooked meals — and to receive discounts at some local businesses.
Part alternative currency, part barter system, part open-air market, the Volos network has grown exponentially in the past year, from 50 to 400 members. It is one of several such groups cropping up around the country, as Greeks squeezed by large wage cuts, tax increases and growing fears about whether they will continue to use the euro have looked for creative ways to cope with a radically changing economic landscape.
“Ever since the crisis there’s been a boom in such networks all over Greece,” said George Stathakis, a professor of political economy and vice chancellor of the University of Crete. In spite of the large public sector in Greece, which employs one in five workers, the country’s social services often are not up to the task of helping people in need, he added. “There are so many huge gaps that have to be filled by new kinds of networks,” he said.
Even the government is taking notice. Last week, Parliament passed a law sponsored by the Labor Ministry to encourage the creation of “alternative forms of entrepreneurship and local development,” including networks based on an exchange of goods and services. The law for the first time fills in a regulatory gray area, giving such groups nonprofit status.
Here in Volos, the group’s founders are adamant that they work in parallel to the regular economy, inspired more by a need for solidarity in rough times than a political push for Greece to leave the euro zone and return to the drachma.
“We’re not revolutionaries or tax evaders,” said Maria Houpis, a retired teacher at a technical high school and one of the group’s six co-founders. “We accept things as they are.”
Still, she added, if Greece does take a turn for the worse and eventually does stop using the euro, networks like hers are prepared to step into the breach. “In an imaginary scenario — and I stress imaginary — we would be ready for it.”
The group’s concept is simple. People sign up online and get access to a database that is kind of like a members-only Craigslist. One unit of TEM is equal in value to one euro, and it can be used to exchange good and services. Members start their accounts with zero, and they accrue credit by offering goods and services. They can borrow up to 300 TEMs, but they are expected to repay the loan within a fixed period of time.
Members also receive books of vouchers of the alternative currency itself, which look like gift certificates and are printed with a special seal that makes it difficult to counterfeit. Those vouchers can be used like checks. Several businesspeople in Volos, including a veterinarian, an optician and a seamstress, accept the alternative currency in exchange for a discount on the price in euros.
A recent glimpse of the database revealed people offering guitar and English lessons, bookkeeping services, computer technical support, discounts at hairdressers and the use of their yards for parties. There is a system of ratings so that people can describe their experiences, in order to keep transparent quality control.
(The network uses open-source software and is hosted on a Dutch server, cyclos.org, which offers low hosting fees.)
The group also holds a monthly open-air market that is like a cross between a garage sale and a farmers’ market, where Mr. Mavridis used his TEM credit to buy the milk, eggs and jam. Those goods came from local farmers who are also involved in the project.“We’re still at the beginning,” said Mr. Mavridis, who lost his job as an electrician at a factory last year. In the coming months, the group hopes to have a borrowed office space where people without computers can join the network more easily, he said.
For Ms. Houpis, the network has a psychological dimension. “The most exciting thing you feel when you start is this sense of contribution,” she said. “You have much more than your bank account says. You have your mind and your hands.”
As she bustled around her sewing table in her small shop in downtown Volos, Angeliki Ioanniti, 63, said she gave discounts for sewing to members of the network, and she has also exchanged clothing alterations for help with her computer. “Being a small city helps, because there’s trust,” she said.
In exchange for euros and alternative currency, she also sells olive oil, olives and homemade bergamot-scented soap prepared by her daughter, who lives in the countryside outside Volos.
In her family’s optical shop, Klita Dimitriadis, 64, offers discounts to customers using alternative currency, but she said the network had not really gained momentum yet or brought in much business. “It’s helpful, but now it doesn’t work very much because everybody is discounting,” she said.
In an e-mail, the mayor of Volos, Panos Skotiniotis, said the city was following the alternative currency network with interest and was generally supportive of local development initiatives. He added that the city was looking at other ways of navigating the economic situation, including by setting aside public land for a municipal urban farm where citizens could grow produce for their own use or to sell.
After years of rampant consumerism and easy credit, such nascent initiatives speak to the new mood in Greece, where imposed austerity has caused people to come together — not only to protest en masse, but also to help one another.
Similar initiatives have been cropping up elsewhere in Greece. In Patras, in the Peloponnese, a network called Ovolos, named after an ancient Greek means of currency, was founded in 2009 and includes a local exchange currency, a barter system and a so-called time bank, in which members swap services like medical care and language classes. The group has about 100 transactions a week, and volunteers monitor for illegal services, said Nikos Bogonikolos, the president and a founding member.
Greece has long had other exchange networks, particularly among farmers. Since 1995, a group called Peliti has collected, preserved and distributed seeds from local varietals to growers free, and since 2002 it has operated as an exchange network throughout the country.
Beyond exchanges, there are newer signs of cooperation from the ground up. When bus and subway workers in Athens went on strike two weeks ago, Athenians flooded Twitter looking for carpools, using an account founded in 2009 to raise awareness of transportation issues in Athens. The outpouring made headlines, as a sign of something unthinkable before the crisis hit.
With unemployment rising above 16 percent and the economy still shrinking, many Greeks are preparing for the worst. “Things will turn very bad in the next year,” said Mr. Stathakis, the political economics professor.
Christos Papaioannou, 37, who runs the Web site for the network in Volos, said, “We’re in an uncharted area,” and hopes the group expands. “There’s going to be a lot of change. Maybe it’s the beginning of the future.”.
Tour Inside Occupy Wall Street By Juan Gonzalez on 30 September 2011 for Democracy Now! - (http://www.democracynow.org/2011/9/30/inside_occupy_wall_st_a_tour)
JUAN GONZALES: Here in New York, protesters continue to camp out in a park in the Financial District as part of an action called, Occupy Wall Street. Democracy Now!’s Mike Burke was at the protest encampment last night and filed this report.
MIKE BURKE: We’re just blocks from Wall Street and the former World Trade Center. We’re in a park called Liberty Plaza. For the past 13 days, thousands of protesters have gathered and hundreds of slept here over night for an unprecedented protest, for an action called Occupy Wall Street. Behind us now is the General Assembly, and nightly meeting where the protesters gathered to decide what action should come next. Moments ago, we spoke to some of the organizers behind Occupy Wall Street.
PATRICK BYRNE: My name is Patrick Byrne. I am 23 years old. I’m from Tucson, Arizona although I live in Bed-Stuy until I can’t pay for it anymore, which is next month and then I’m officially moved in here. I’m on the Press Relations Working Group right here at Occupy Wall Street. I think there is a very real sense in this country, and there has been for a long time, that things are not working. We have right now an 80% of the country thinks we’re on the wrong track. We have only a 15% approval rating of Congress. Those numbers aren’t acceptable. People are coming out here to voice their disapproval with the system and to voice themselves in a direct, democratic fashion. It is really refreshing for people to have a voice, and it’s really refreshing for people to think they can affect change in this system that essentially has made it so only 1% of the population are citizens.
MARISA HOLMES: My name is Marisa Holmes and I have been with the New York General Assembly from the beginning. Basically, every night we have an occupation here of 200 to 300 people a night sleeping and organizing themselves. We have a Food Committee, Medic Team, Legal Team—a couple of different Media Teams working. Really it is about self organization, participation, and democratic process.
MIKE BURKE: What keeps you coming back every single night?
MARISA HOLMES: Incredible momentum and support I’ve been getting from around the world. We have an Occupy Chicago, an Occupy L.A., an Occupy Milwaukee, an Occupy Atlanta, an Occupy Tampa. It is crazy. We have international support from Spain, Greece, Egypt, Tunisia. So, hearing all of their stories and their actions, and realizing that this is a global movement keeps me coming back.
MIKE BURKE: The protest movement and Occupy Wall Street received a significant boost this week when one of the city’s major unions voted to endorse the occupation.
JACKIE DI SALVO: My name is Jackie Di Salvo. I am an English professor at the City University of New York at Baruch College in the Graduate Center. The Transit Workers Union, which is the most militant public-sector union in this city, which is the one union that has had the guts to break the Taylor Law, which is an anti-strike law and strike, and suffered great penalties for it, they endorsed Occupy Wall Street today. Tomorrow at 5:30, there is a rally at one Police Plaza organized by many rank-and-file trade unionists from my union, the Professional Staff Congress, to condemn the police brutality and harassment. At the end of that rally, they’re going to march to Occupy Wall Street. I have to say that this is a working class group, by and large. They’re describe as middle-class in the press, but a lot of these young people are unemployed, underemployed, underpaid, working a couple of part-time jobs, so they identify very easily with the labor movement. Many of them wish they had a union.
MIKE BURKE: Let’s take a quick tour of Liberty Plaza, the home of the Occupy Wall Street movement. For the past two weeks, the media center here at Occupy Wall Street has been the way the protesters have gotten word out to the rest of the country and the world. Over here is the food area. Hundreds of people here have been eating donated food every day: muffins, apples, power bars. They have been serving three meals a day to the hundreds of protesters who have been camping out here. Tents are spread throughout this part of Liberty Plaza. Protesters are preparing to spend another night, the 13th night in a row inside this park, as part of Occupy Wall Street. The Police have barred the use of tents, but it has not stopped protesters from staying here even in the rain and the cold. On the northern end of Liberty Plaza space has been set aside for protesters to make homemade posters. Some of them read: "You are the 99%,” “System Change. Not Climate Change,” “Wall Street Bonuses = Money From Crime.”
THEO VINCENT: My name is Theo Vincent. I am an artist, dancer, actor, model, songwriter, singer. You name it; I do it. I’m basically here because I am fighting for my family and my friends, I’m fighting for everybody who’s going through the same thing we have gone through over the last couple of years. There’s a certain 1% that has taken everything from us. They’re not even looking out for us. They’re supporting our politicians; our politicians support them. There has to be an end. There has to be restrictions on these lobbyists that buy out campaigns. It is causing us to go to war, and to still be in wars that we should not be fighting. It’s causing us to lose our homes and mortgages to go up. That is what our message is…
MIKE BURKE: Here in the western part of Liberty Plaza, the space has largely been used for small gatherings, for classes, for teach-ins. On Wednesday we observed a class on direct democracy, another one on how to facilitate a meeting. Just hours ago, we caught up with one local professor who just returned from Spain. He was talking about how Occupy Wall Street fits into the global movement.
GERARDO RENIQUE: My name is Gerardo Renique. I’m a professor of history, Latin-American history in the City University of New York. As a historian I see the current crisis and events of the last two decades from a long-term perspective. What we’re going to—I think it is—the consolidation of a particular economic model that it is grounded in the financial sector and a sort of casino capitalism. I do not see in the near future an economic structure that will be creating enough jobs to absorb the number of young people graduating out of high schools and universities. One of the questions that this type of demonstration raises, is the fact that we need to start thinking of a new alternative, one: to come out of the crisis, and I would say an alternative model of civilization.
MIKE BURKE: While the Occupy Wall Street protest has been festive and peaceful, the New York police have arrested dozens of protesters over the past week. In at least two instances senior police official pepper sprayed peaceful protesters. The official, Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, is now under investigation.
MICHAEL TRACEY: My name is Michael Tracey. I am a journalist. I created a flyer that depicts Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna on Saturday in a video I think surfaced two days ago, pepper spraying protesters unprovoked after they had actually been given an order by him and were complying with it. He is standing on the sidewalk near Union Square, and the protesters that he had instructed to vacate were doing so. Even then, as there were walking away, he indiscriminately started spraying them with pepper spray. This was caught on video. After the first video, which had surfaced a few days earlier, depicted him just spraying women in the face with pepper spray. When I looked this image I just saw the rage in his face. What really came to my mind is that we can do better than this collectively. Protesters deserve respect from officers and officers deserve respect from protesters. This image belies the mutual respect that should be afforded.
MIKE BURKE: I caught up with one of the victims that was pepper sprayed by Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna last Saturday. I asked her to describe what happened.
YELL: My name is Yell. I was standing on the sidewalk watching someone gets thrown into the street and brutally attacked and arrested as I was waving a peace sign saying, “What are you doing?” We were remaining peaceful. That is what I was doing. I was not being aggressive. I was not being violent in any way. I was not given a warning that I was about to be pepper sprayed. I did not even get to see him come at me. I turned my head and it happened. It took 45 seconds to even realize I had been pepper sprayed. It was very scary.
MIKE BURKE: Are you afraid to keep coming to the protests after that?
YELL: It takes a lot more to scare me. I’m definitely not scared. It gives me more reason to want to be out there now, to participate in every march, and every general assembly. I want to be more active. I want to be more a part of it because people out there have seen what happened and they want us to keep going, and I’m going to keep going. I see no ending for me in the future. I’m going to keep fighting.
MIKE BURKE: This Saturday will mark the beginning of the third week of the Occupy Wall Street protest. A major demonstration is scheduled here in the Financial District and lower Manhattan. Protesters say they’re planning to stay here indefinitely and hope that Occupy Wall Street inspires similar protests across the country.
FRANCES FOX PIVEN: I teach at the Graduate School of the City University of New York. I am here because I am so enthusiastic about the possibilities of this sit-in, over the marches that are occurring over postal worker issues, the sister demonstrations that are starting in Chicago and Los Angeles, and maybe in Boston. I think we desperately need a popular uprising in the United States. None of us know. I study movements. None of us know the exact formula for when those movements erupt, but it could be. And if that is true, then these people who are here are really wonderful. I would do anything to help them.
MIKE BURKE: For Democracy Now! this is Mike Burke with Hany Massoud and
JUAN GONZALEZ: That’s it for Democracy Now!. I’m Juan Gonzalez.
By Kari Lundgren on 30 September 2011 for Bloomberg News -
Image above: Wind turbines operate on EDF Energies Nouvelles SA's 87-megawatt Salles-Curan wind farm in the department of l'Aveyron, France. From original article.
The 15 mile-per-hour winds that buffeted northern Germany on July 24 caused the nation’s 21,600 windmills to generate so much power that utilities such as EON AG and RWE AG had to pay consumers to take it off the grid. Rather than an anomaly, the event marked the 31st hour this year when power companies lost money on their electricity in the intraday market because of a torrent of supply from wind and solar parks. The phenomenon was unheard of five years ago. With Europe’s wind and solar farms set to triple by 2020, utilities investing in new coal and gas-fired power stations no longer face stable returns.
As more renewables come on line, a gas plant owned by RWE or EON that may cost $1 billion to build will be stopped more often from running at full capacity. It may only pay for itself on days like Jan. 31, when clouds and still weather pushed an hour of power on the same-day market above 162 ($220) euros a megawatt-hour after dusk, in peak demand time. “You’re looking at a future where on a sunny day in Germany, you’ll have negative prices,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance chief solar analyst Jenny Chase said about power rates in wholesale trading. “And a lot of the other markets are heading the same way.”
Europe’s biggest power markets give preference to renewable energy including forcing some utilities to use their fossil-fuel plants less. That cuts into profit, complicating investment decisions as the companies try to meet emission targets and replace older plants and networks that Citigroup Inc. estimates will cost them more than 900 billion euros by 2020.
Northern Europe’s renewable-energy goals call for about 200 gigawatts of solar and wind capacity by 2020, or almost a third of the current installed base, compared with about 70 gigawatts today, according to the Finnish energy consultant Poyry. Even by 2014, gross profit from burning coal in Germany may skid by as much as 41 percent, according to Barclays Plc. The gross margin at a coal power plant after deducting fuel and emission permit costs, the so-called clean dark spread, may “collapse” to as low at 3.50 euros a megawatt-hour, Barclays analysts including Peter Bisztyga said in a Sept. 1 report.
The spread was at 6.15 euros today, Bloomberg data show. Narrower margins mean it will take longer for companies to pay off building new gas- and coal-fired facilities. Those plants are needed. They can run around the clock, preventing blackouts when the sun sets or the wind dies as European power demand grows 5 percent through 2015 compared with 2010, according to Paris-based bank Societe Generale SA’s forecast.
“The more intermittent technology like renewables, the more baseload generation will be squeezed out,” Volker Beckers, chief executive officer of RWE’s U.K. Npower unit, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s London bureau. Npower’s plants are largely coal- and gas-fired, or baseload, meaning they can run around the clock. Electricite de France SA is spending 6 billion euros on its new 1,650-megawatt nuclear reactor at Flamanville in Normandy.
Dong Energy A/S, Denmark’s biggest utility, inaugurated its first power station in the U.K. in February, an 824-megawatt combined-cycle gas turbine plant for 600 million pounds. Europe’s main utilities index has fallen 15 percent this year. RWE shares have retreated 44 percent since January and traded at 27.76 euros at 4:16 p.m. in Frankfurt. EON has slumped 28 percent since January and announced plans last month to cut 10 percent of its workforce and reduce dividends.
EON will miss its 2015 forecast by about 3 percent for earnings of 13.3 billion euros to 13.8 billion euros before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization if average power prices are 57.30 euros a megawatt-hour, below EON’s forecast of 60 to 62 euros, UniCredit analyst Lueder Schumacher said. At 58.50 euros, RWE’s recurring net income will be 2.2 billion euros in 2013, compared with the German utility’s forecast of 2.5 billion, he estimated. “Too much wind can depress power prices, but then there are times when very little wind is blowing,” Poyry Director Phil Hare said in a telephone interview. Based on weather patterns over the past 10 years, there’s a 72-hour period each year when a wind farm would produce less than 5 percent of its potential output, Hare said. “Some other plant has to be there, but the company has to make the return on its investment in just those 72 hours over 10 years.”
Hedging Power Output
Germany’s renewable energy boom will make hedging the power output for utilities’ coal and natural-gas plants “more and more difficult,” according to an executive at Edison Trading SpA speaking at a conference in London. The country’s renewable energy output may rise to 200 terawatt-hours in 2020 from 120 terawatt-hours last year, Andrea Siri, Edison’s head of continental power and origination, said yesterday, citing a regulatory forecast.
Solar plants in Germany generated as little as 23.8 megawatts at 7 a.m. Berlin time yesterday compared with 11,570 megawatts at 1:30 p.m., according to a European Energy Exchange AG’s website, tracking power capacity. A steady supply of 1,000 megawatts is enough for about 2 million homes in Germany. Power prices on the Epex Spot SE exchange in Paris that handles German and French supply vary hour-by-hour depending on how available capacity is. At times they can become negative when renewable energy peaks and there’s a surplus of power.
Take Renewable Output
At such times, generators or the grid operator pay consumers to take their electricity if they aren’t able to reduce output or hedge it. Grid operators in Germany, Europe’s biggest power market, are also required to take renewable output if it is available, just as in Spain and France. The highest-ever hourly price in the combined German-French intraday market was 162.06 euros a megawatt-hour for delivery between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Germany on Jan. 31, while the lowest was minus 55.11 euros for 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 6, data from the exchange showed. The negative German prices on July 24 occurred on a day when winds averaged 15 mph in the northern state of Mecklenburg- Western Pomerania, home to many wind farms, Bloomberg weather data show. Germany’s same-day electricity price was below zero for nine hours on that windy day on July 24, with negative prices for a total of 31 hours so far in 2011, according to Epex data. France had 9 negative hours this year.
Buffer the Volatility
The joint French-German intraday market started last year and has so far helped to “buffer the volatility of prices,” Epex company spokesman Wolfram Vogel said by e-mail on Sept. 16. “The law in Germany is that renewables have priority, so utilities have the choice of turning plants down for a few hours or paying a negative price to someone in Germany or abroad,” EON spokesman Georg Oppermann said in a telephone interview. The company’s traders can protect EON against losses by watching weather patterns, he added. “The huge amount of renewable capacity due to be added to the grid will depress not just spreads but also the outright power price,”
UniCredit analyst Scott Phillips said. “This is clearly a negative predominantly for all thermal power plants, particularly coal.” Britain plans to install more than 8,000 offshore wind turbines by 2020 to get 15 percent of electricity from renewable sources. Germany installed 7.4 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity last year, the most of any nation, driving total capacity to 17,200 megawatts. Spain aims to get 20.8 percent of its total energy from marine energy, geothermal and offshore wind projects, as well as hydropower, by 2020.
German wind power capacity peaked at close to 12,000 megawatts on July 24, according to Meteogroup data, the last day of negative prices. Four days later, the most that the country’s wind parks generated was 315 megawatts. Photovoltaic and solar-thermal plants may meet most of the world’s demand for electricity by 2060 -- and half of all energy needs -- with wind, hydropower and biomass plants supplying much of the remaining generation, the International Energy Agency said in August. U.K. energy regulator Ofgem is considering paying generators to keep plants open as back-up suppliers, compensating them for down time. The so-called capacity payments, which also are being studied in Germany, are likely to favor gas over coal, as gas plants can be turned on and off faster, according to Phillips.
Subsidized power rates called feed-in tariffs, a proposed carbon floor price in Britain and other measures favoring renewable projects will lead to a shift in the “merit order” of plants across Europe, he said. Power from renewable projects will be the first to be used, followed by gas-fired power plants, which release less carbon-dioxide than coal stations. “Margins are going to get worse over the next few years but as the value of the plant for backup starts getting interest, it becomes an issue of what they’re worth, not what they cost,” Hare said.
By Vanessa Van Voorhis on 29 September 2011 for Garden Island -
Image above: Presentation of "Enron: The Play" at the Royal Court Theatre. From (http://www.e-flux.com/journal/view/209).
Free Flow Power is preparing for its first round of community outreach meetings on its proposed hydroelectric projects for Garden Isle waterways on behalf of Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative.
“Our goal is to be able to work our way around the island and get as many people as possible,” FFP Project Development VP Jason Hines told KIUC’s Board of Directors on Tuesday.
The first meetings will be with select community groups, followed by “extensive” community outreach meetings for the public, he said. The dates of the meeting are yet to be determined.
“In our opinion, things are moving according to plan. A lot has been going on over the last two months, really much of it in direct response to the board and staff’s wishes for more expansive outreach,” Hines said.
“We’ve been talking with a lot of agencies, talking with a lot of people on the ground, landowners, and discussing the projects and the sites and learning what we can about their concerns and how to reflect that in the project layout and project design,” he said.
In late 2010 and earlier this year, FFP filed preliminary permit applications with FERC to develop hydropower facilities on six Kaua‘i waterways. To date, FERC has approved four of the six applications: 6.6-megawatt Wailua River Hydroelectric Project (Clean River Power 15); 3.5-MW Hanalei River Hydroelectric Project (Kahawai Power 1); 6.6-MW Makaweli River Hydroelectric Project (Kahawai Power 2); and 2-MW Wailua Reservoir Water Power Project (Kahawai Power 5).
Applications are still pending for the 1.5-MW Kekaha Waimea Water Power Project (Kahawai Power 4) and the 7.7-MW Kitano Water Power Project (Clean River Power 16).
Some of the projects have been changed slightly, Hines said, and some more significantly. He said FFP is learning about opportunities to integrate the projects with agriculture and existing infrastructure.
“Looks like some of the projects may be a little smaller than originally conceived, and the details of that will be sorted out over the next month or so,” Hines said, adding a goal is to present a first-recommended or first-proposed project layout designs in late October or early November.
“Hopefully, we’ll have the first version of a proposal that KIUC can bring to the public and discuss at that point in time,” he said. “It will be a starting point for an additional round of feedback, shaping the project. That’ll be the first point in which there will be some drawings and a written description responsive to the feedback we get.”
KIUC Board member Ben Sullivan suggested that a schedule of meetings be presented to the public as soon possible.
“You need to inform the public of the meeting dates and times and provide a description of the meeting and include key issues, so people know what to expect going in,” Sullivan said.
“Primarily, it’s going to be an opportunity for people to ask questions, give responses, comments,” FFP Project Specialist Dawn Huff said.
Sullivan also asked that FFP provide a timeline for the projects over the next two to three years “so people know where they stand.”
“That’s a little difficult to do until we get more clear with the state agencies,” Huff said. “I think we can get to that, but we’re not quite there yet.”
Hines said, “Along the way, we’ll try to lay out what the intended schedule is. As the process unfolds, it becomes more clear.”
Meanwhile, FFP will be hosting a workshop today in Honolulu with numerous state agencies to discuss federal processes, including those of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and how it will tie into state permitting requirements.
The meeting is “to build some understanding on how theses projects will be permitted and what will be needed to move them forward to construction,” Hines said.
Ea O Ka Aina: KIUC's Smoke Filled Room 6/18/11 .
By Stephen Messinger on 29 September 2011 for Treehugger -
Image above: Indigenous Amazon indians protest Belo Monte Dam. From (http://english.feeder.ww7.be/spip.php?id_syndic=160&page=site&debut_syndic=100).
Since the 1970s, when plans were first conceived to build a massive hydroelectric dam along the Xingu river in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, the forces of development have had to contest with unyielding voices of protest -- and it seems, for the time being, the latter has the upper hand.
Recently, counter to the aspirations of Brazilian government officials, a judge has ruled that construction on the Belo Monte dam must be halted, echoing the environmental concerns held by those in opposition to what would be the third largest facility of its type in the world -- in one of the most ecologically important regions on the planet.
After decades of being locked up in litigation, namely from the thousands of indigenous community members who stand to be displaced by it, construction on the dam at Belo Monte was ultimately given the green-light earlier this year. Since then, protests have been redoubled, gaining international support from conservationists throughout the world. And it's no wonder, considering the facility's potentially massive footprint.
Once completed, the 11,000-megawatt dam would flood around 122 thousand acres of pristine Amazon rainforest that's currently home to some 50 thousand mostly indigenous residents. Supporters of the project say the facility would provide enough energy to power 23 million homes and lead to an economic boon in the region.
But despite the political will to see the project through, numerous court challenges continue to offer hope to protesters -- the latest concerns the legality of diverting the Xingu river. This week, Judge Carlos Castro Martins ruled that construction must halt. A report from the BBC outlines the basis of his objections:
Judge Martins barred the Norte Energia company behind the project from "building a port, using explosives, installing dikes, building canals and any other infrastructure work that would interfere with the natural flow of the Xingu river, thereby affecting local fish stocks".Protesters are hailing the halting of construction as a victory for their cause, albiet a modest one. The organization spearheading the project, backed by the high-ranking Brazilian officials, says they are already planning to appeal the ruling.
He said the building of canals and dikes could have negative repercussions for river communities living off small-scale fishing.
Chinese backed dam halted in Burma with secret US influence
Image above: Political cartoon of Burmese military dictator collecting money by impoverishing his people selling off electricity and water to China and Thailand. From (http://aungbyihay.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-much-do-you-know-about-myitsone-dam.html).
By Matthew McDermott on 30 September 2011 for TreeHugger -
One day after Brazil's hotly protested Belo Monte dam is halted by court order, another massive hydropower project is halted, on the other side of the world and by a government not exactly renowned for conservation.
In a letter read out in parliament, Burma's president announced the the suspending of construction of the Chinese-backed Myitsone dam on the northern part of the Irrawaddy River.
Perhaps more remarkable, considering the historic lack of public representation in government in Burma, is that it a public campaign played a significant role in stopping the 500 foot high dam, which was due to be completed in 2019 and would've created a 300 square mile reservoir.
The Myitsone dam would've been 3.6 GW in size, with the majority of the electricity generated going to China. Thousands of people would've been displaced by the construction of the dam.
An environmental assessment, commissioned by the governments of Burma and China found,
The fragmentation of the Irrawaddy river by a series of dams will have serious social and environmental problems not only upstream of dams but also far downstream in the coastal area. There is no need for such a big dam to be constructed at the confluence of the Irrawaddy river. (The Guardian)While certainly a victory for the people of Burma and for environmental conservation, The Guardian also reports on a very interesting twist in the road leading to the decision to stop construction.
According to diplomatic cables, newly released by Wikileaks, the US government, via its embassy in Burma, was funding some of the civil society groups opposing Myitsone.
While not specifically stated in the cables, it wouldn't be surprising if the US support for these groups opposing the dam had at least as much to do with the fact that China would be the main beneficiary of the electricity from it, as it had to do with support of democracy in Burma or (still less) environmental conservation.
Inhabitat: Belo Monte Dam gets Go-Ahead 6/1/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Giant Brazil Dam Blocked 3/1/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Brazil Approves Giant Dam 1/30/11
By Derrick Jensen on 29 Spetember 2011 for Orion Magazine -
Image above: Detail of "The Music Lesson" 1662 by Jan Vermeer. High civilization long before electricity. From (http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/vermeer/).
One of the (many) ways this culture is killing the planet is through a lack of imagination. I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, and especially in light of three pretty typical responses I’ve read, each one showing less imagination than the one before.
The first comes from global warming activist George Monbiot, who, just ten days after the earthquake and tsunami, wrote in the Guardian,
“As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.His position was that the catastrophe—the mass release of highly toxic radiation—was caused not by the routine production and concentration of highly radioactive materials, but rather by a natural disaster combined with “a legacy of poor design and corner-cutting.” If the capitalists can just design this monstrous process better, he seems to believe, they can continue to produce and concentrate highly radioactive materials without causing more accidents. Similar arguments were made after Oak Ridge, Windscale, Three Mile Island, and Chernobyl.
You’d think by now we’d all know better. And you’d think it wouldn’t take a lot of imagination to see how routinely performing an action as stupendously dangerous as the intentional concentration of highly toxic and radioactive materials would render their eventual catastrophic release not so much an accident as an inevitability, with the question of if quickly giving way to the questions of when, how often, and how bad.
The second comment I read came from someone who did not have George Monbiot’s advantage of living half a world away from the smoldering radioactive mess. In late March, an official with the Japanese nuclear regulatory agency told the Wall Street Journal that Japan is not reconsidering nuclear energy in the wake of Fukushima, because;
He said that a significant reduction in nuclear power would result in blackouts, then added,“Japan couldn’t go forward without nuclear power in order to meet its demand for energy today.”
“I don’t think anyone could imagine life without electricity.”There’s nothing surprising about his response. Most exploiters cannot imagine life without the benefits of their exploitation, and, perhaps more importantly, cannot imagine that anyone else could imagine going through life being any less exploitative than they are.
Many slave owners cannot imagine life without slave labor. Many pimps cannot imagine life without prostituting women. Many abusers cannot imagine life without those they routinely abuse. And many addicts cannot imagine life without their addictions, whether to heroin, crack, television, the internet, entitlement, power, economic growth, technological escalation, electricity, or industrial civilization.
The failure of imagination at work here is stunning. Humans have lived without industrially generated electricity for nearly all of our existence. In fact we thrived on every continent except Antarctica without it. And for nearly all those years the majority of humans lived sustainably and comfortably. And let’s not forget the many traditional indigenous peoples (plus another almost 2 billion people) who are living without electricity today. The Japanese official is so lacking in imagination that he can’t even imagine that they exist.
George Monbiot, in his Guardian article, asks some important questions about living without industrial electricity:
“How do we drive our textile mills, brick kilns, blast furnaces and electric railways—not to mention advanced industrial processes? Rooftop solar panels?”But he reaches an illogical conclusion:
“The moment you consider the demands of the whole economy is the moment at which you fall out of love with local energy production.”Actually, no. The moment you consider the demands of the whole economy is the moment you fall out of love with the whole economy, an economy that is systematically exploitative and destructive, an economy that is killing the planet.
It is insane to favor textile mills, brick kilns, blast furnaces, electric railways, and advanced industrial processes over a living planet. Our ability to imagine is so impoverished that we cannot even imagine what is happening right in front of our faces.
Why is it unimaginable, unthinkable, or absurd to talk about getting rid of electricity, but it is not unimaginable, unthinkable, and absurd to think about extirpating great apes, great cats, salmon, passenger pigeons, Eskimo curlews, short-nosed sea snakes, coral reef communities? And why is it just as accepted to allow the extinction of indigenous humans who are also inevitable victims of this way of life (many of whom live with little or no electricity)? This failure of imagination is not only insane, it is profoundly immoral.
- Imagine for a moment that we weren’t suffering from this lack of imagination.
- Imagine a public official saying not that he cannot imagine living without electricity, but that he cannot imagine living with it, that what he can’t imagine living without are polar bears, the mother swimming hundreds of miles next to her child, and, when the child tires, hundreds of miles more with the cub on her back.
- Imagine if this public official, or rather, imagine if we all were to say that we cannot imagine living without rockhopper penguins (as I write this, the largest nesting grounds of endangered rockhoppers is threatened by an oil spill).
- Imagine if we were to say we cannot imagine living without the heart-stopping flutters and swoops and dives of bats, and we cannot imagine living without hearing frog song in spring.
- Imagine if we were to say that we cannot live without the solemn grace of newts, and the cheerful flight of bumblebees (some areas of China are so polluted that all pollinators are dead, which means all flowering plants are effectively dead, which means hundreds of millions of years of evolution have been destroyed).
- Imagine if it were not this destructive culture—and its textile mills, brick kilns, electric railways, and advanced industrial processes—that we could not imagine living without, but rather the real, physical world.
- Imagine if we were to say that we cannot live without the solemn grace of newts, and the cheerful flight of bumblebees (some areas of China are so polluted that all pollinators are dead, which means all flowering plants are effectively dead, which means hundreds of millions of years of evolution have been destroyed).
The truth is, the Japanese official and anybody else who states that they cannot imagine living without electricity had better start, because the industrial generation of electricity is simply not sustainable—whether it’s coal or hydropower or even large-scale solar and wind power—which means someday, and likely someday soon, people will be not only imagining living without electricity, but actually living without it, along with the more than 2 billion already doing so.
About this prospect, a hapa (half Hawaiian) man recently said to me:
“A lot of us are just biding our time, waiting to go back to the old ways. Can’t be more than a few decades at the latest. We did okay out here without microwave popcorn and weedwhackers and Jet Skis.”Which leads me to the third article I read, titled “What Are You Willing to Sacrifice to Give Up Nuclear Energy?” In it, the author talks, as did the Japanese official, as did George Monbiot, about the importance of cheap energy to the industrial economy. But he’s got it all wrong.
The real question is: what are you willing to sacrifice to allow the continuation of nuclear energy? And more broadly: what are you willing to sacrifice to allow the continuation of this industrialized way of life?
Given that industrial-scale electricity is unsustainable, and that a lot of people and other species are dying because of it, another question worth asking is:
"What will be left of the world when the electricity goes off?"I can’t speak for you, but I’d rather be living on a planet that is healthier and more capable of sustaining life, rather than one that resembles the restricted area around Fukushima.
Ea O Ka Aina: Interview with Derrick Jensen 1/25/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Time to Stop Pretending 4/27/11