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Submission + - New paper finds cost ranking same as pollution ranking for energy (ssrn.com)

mdsolar writes: Three recent “roadmap” analyses outline routes to a low-carbon economy that model the decarbonization of the electricity sector and the pervasive electrification of the transportation and industrial sectors. Two of these also impose a pollution constraint on electricity resources that rejects the use of nuclear power and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage. Using independent cost estimates and sequentially “relaxing” the constraints on resource selection, this paper compares the resource costs of the resulting portfolios of assets needed to meet the need for electricity. Reflecting the continuing decline of the cost of renewable resources, the paper supports the claim that the long run costs of the 100% renewable portfolios are not only less than business-as-usual portfolios, but that the “environmental merit order” of asset selection is quite close to the “economic merit order.” Neither fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage nor nuclear power enters the least-cost, low-carbon portfolio. As long as a rigorous least-cost constraint is imposed on decarbonization, the pollution constraint is superfluous. The paper evaluates the Paris Agreement on climate change in light of these findings. The Agreement is described as a progressive, mixed market economic model with a governance structure based on a polycentric, multi-stakeholder approach for management of a common pool resource. The paper argues that this approach reflects the underlying techno-economic conditions and the fact that national governments have authority over local energy policy. It also notes that the political economy of the Agreement is consistent with current academic analysis of policy responses to the challenges of climate change and management of a large, focal core resource system.

Submission + - Another natural born citizen leaves the race for president (washingtonpost.com)

mdsolar writes: Following Martin O'Malley, Rand Paul has suspended his campaign for president. This time however, the participation of an ineligible candidate played a role. Ted Cruz, who took the lead in delegates in Iowa in not a natural born citizen http://www.salon.com/2016/01/2... and is thus not eligible to be president. The fairness of the process that led to Paul's suspension seems in doubt.

Submission + - Former DoE employee pleads guilty in secret selling sting (washingtonpost.com)

mdsolar writes: A former Energy Department employee accused of attempting to infiltrate the agency’s computer system to steal nuclear secrets and sell them to a foreign government pleaded guilty Tuesday to a reduced charge of attempting to damage protected government computers in an email “spear-phishing attack.”

Charles Harvey Eccleston, a former employee at the department and at the independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), was arrested March 27 by Philippine authorities after an undercover FBI sting operation.

Eccleston, 62, a U.S. citizen who had been living in the Philippines since 2011, was “terminated” from his job at the NRC in 2010, according to the Justice Department. In January 2015, the department said, he targeted more than 80 Energy Department employees in Washington at four national nuclear labs with emails containing what he thought were links to malicious websites that, if activated, could infect and damage computers.

Submission + - Hinkley Point nuclear fiasco spooks Hitachi boss (telegraph.co.uk)

mdsolar writes: The head of Hitachi has warned that the debacle surrounding the construction of Hinkley Point nuclear plant throws up “very serious concerns” about its own investment in the UK.

Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman and chief executive of the Japanese industrial giant, said the setbacks experienced by Hinkley’s developer EDF raised questions about how future plants including its Wylfa Newydd project are funded.

Hitachi’s subsidiary Horizon is planning to build a nuclear plant on Anglesey that is expected to start generating power by the mid-2020s.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr Nakanishi revealed that he had expressed concerns about the expected costs of the project with Philip Hammond during the Foreign Secretary’s visit to Japan this month.

Submission + - California Public Utilities Commission votes to continue net metering (pv-tech.org)

mdsolar writes: In a narrow 3-to-2 vote, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) made the motion to extend net metering for rooftop solar in the Golden State.

The CPUC voted today on the proposal to implement ‘net metering 2.0,’ which would have served as a replacement to the current net metering program. The new plan would have impacted how much solar customers would be credited for the excess power they collect through their rooftop installations.

Three California utilities — PG&E, Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric — were leading the charge for amendments to the current net metering plan, arguing that the current agreement stands as an unfair subsidy.

Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs, said: “By voting to continue net metering in California, the CPUC is driving a stake in the ground and solidifying its place as America’s leading clean energy state. Today’s decision hands Californians a projected $1.6 billion a year and seizes upon a golden opportunity to enable Golden State’s homes, and businesses of all kinds, to choose to go solar.”

California now joins Colorado, New York, New Jersey and New Mexico as states that have recently decided to continue or expand its net metering program. Over 450,000 customers in California have installed PV systems, with a increasing number of installations sprouting up across a number of demographics.

Submission + - China admits nuclear emergency response 'inadequate' as safety concerns halt con (scmp.com)

mdsolar writes: China admitted on Wednesday its nuclear emergency response mechanism is “inadequate” for coping with “new situations and challenges” arising from its nuclear power plants.

The central government also said it had halted construction of two new-generation nuclear reactors in Guangdong province, because of safety concerns, but vowed that they would not be abandoned.

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