Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My first “solar shutter” is pumping heat today.

I replaced two big old windows that left space on either side. So … I decided to create 4 passive solar “shutters” (That’s what I’m calling them … well … because that’s what they look like. Anyway, lots of heat today!! Hopefully 4 more will heat my little office when the sun shines in the winter. Hope to add some solar hot water later and that will do it for sure. Stay tuned!
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Monday, September 19, 2011

ENERGY: Under Chinese ownership, one of the dirtiest of USA's mills will convert to natural gas.

Long designated as among the 10% dirtiest operations in the US of A. the pulp mill located in Baileyville/Woodland, Maine on the international St. Croix River was recently purchased by interests from China and Taiwan. This announcement that they will convert to natural gas may be good news for those who have been pushing for this operation to control its airborne and waterborne pollution which is known to have contributed to the collapse of nearshore fisheries in Passamaquoddy Bay, fisheries estimated to have been worth $10 - $20 million dollars before 1964. A cursory review of clear-cutting in the area still leads one to wonder where or not the forests of Maine and New Brunswick can continue to absorb this abuse. Certainly the collapse of similar operations make one wonder just what will happen over the next few years. Or is there another reason? Perhaps to exert influence here at the nexus for all energy and products flowing to the US from Canada.

"May you be born in interesting times"!

Baileyville pulp mill to get natural gas with $12M conversion
By Sharon Kiley Mack, BDN Staff
Posted Sept. 18, 2011, at 5:36 p.m.

BAILEYVILLE, Maine — The Maine Bureau of Protection recently approved the linkage of Baileyville’s mill — formerly Domtar and now Woodland Pulp LLC — to a natural gas pipeline. The conversion is expected to cost $12 million but will save millions in fuel costs for the company.

“The pipeline is under construction, as of last week,” Scott Beal, mill spokesman, said this week. “We expect it to be active by the end of the year. This an absolutely amazing project for us.”

The former Domtar pulp mill in Baileyville was bought a year ago by Grand Investment Corp. of China and Taiwan for $64 million and renamed Woodland Pulp LLC. The new owners are investing $12 million to convert the oil powered facility to natural gas.

Earlier this year, Beal said, the project was given a huge boost when the Maine Legislature approved allowing the mill to be regulated by the Maine Public Utilities Commission rather than federal agencies. This move will allow the project to be completed a year earlier than otherwise.

Beal said the legislative action filled a statutory gap. Usually, the Maine PUC can only regulate utilities and not private companies. With the change, the PUC now will regulate the project, which Beal said ensures the mill’s future growth.

Beal said the primary reason for the conversion is to save fuel. “Last year, we used 10.3 million gallons of No. 6 oil,” Beal said in an interview at the time of the Legislative approval. “Because the price fluctuates, we cannot precisely say how much we will save but we estimate that there will be a one-year payback of this investment in avoided costs.”

The mill, which makes hardwood pulp used in manufacturing paper, will be linking with the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline that runs through Maine about 4½ miles north of the mill.

Maritimes and Northeast’s natural gas transmission main originates at Sable Island in Nova Scotia and crosses New Brunswick into Maine, continuing through to Westbrook where it interconnects with the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System. The pipeline crosses the border at the St. Croix River north of the Baileyville pulp mill and was installed in 2000.

Beal said this week that the economic benefits of the project are clear. Woodland Pulp LLC employs 310 people and is an important economic engine in Washington County.

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

HISTORY: Christian Larsen keeps Pennfield history alive.

Christian Larsen keeps Pennfield history alive.

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POWER: Japan disaster kick-starts green energy law.

Time for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to get serious about this ... before a disaster here?

The Fukushima 1 NPPImage via WikipediaEDITORIAL
Kick-starting green energy

The Upper House on Aug. 26 unanimously enacted an electricity feed-in-tariff scheme law under which Japan's 10 power companies, in principle, will be required to purchase all of the electricity generated through renewable energy sources for long periods at prices advantageous to operators of green energy facilities. The law will go into effect on July 1, 2012.

As Japan is suffering radioactive contamination and power shortages from the ongoing crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, it should fully make use of the law to develop a social system that reduces both reliance on nuclear power and greenhouse gas emissions. Global warming is blamed for the latter.

Some 80 countries and regions have already introduced an electricity feed-in-tariff scheme. In the past decade, there was a move among Diet members to enact such a law. But the power industry and the trade and industry ministry resisted and prevented the enactment. Their move hampered the promotion of electricity generation from renewable sources.

As a result, except for electricity from hydraulic power, electricity from renewable sources accounts for only about 1 percent of Japan's total power generation. The power industry and the trade and industry should be reminded of its responsibility for causing this situation.

Under the law, the power companies will be required to purchase all the electricity generated through such means as photo voltaic systems, wind power, small-scale hydropower, geothermal power and biomass at prices advantageous to operators of these renewable energy sources.

Friday, September 16, 2011

LNG: So you think LNG in Passamaquoddy Bay is okay?

Well that's what they said about Gladstone Harbour in Australia in spite of the very real concerns expressed by the UNESCO ( see: Now it looks like their worsy fears are coming true according to this story that appeared in my inbox today.

Gladstone Harbour contaminated
16th September 2011

Aerial photography of Gladstone region taken February 27th, 2011: Coal stacks and Mt Larcom. Chrissy Harris

GLADSTONE Harbour has been closed to all fishing temporarily.

Fisheries Queensland put in place the temporary closure while Biosecurity Queensland does testing on a condition affecting some local fish.

Late yesterday, The Observer learned a contamination scare had prompted the closure of waters from Turkey Beach to The Narrows. It came as two fishermen were believed to be in Gladstone Hospital receiving treatment for serious infections.

Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) director-general Ian Fletcher said fishers had reported barramundi being caught in the area, some with cloudy eyes and lesions.

"Public health is the number one priority," Mr Fletcher said.

"Fisheries Queensland has determined the boundaries for the temporary closure will be between Deception Creek at the top end of The Narrows down to Rodds Peninsula and to the outer edge of Facing Island."

Safe Food Production Queensland said the closure ensured fish that were potentially unsuitable for consumption would not enter the food chain.

Temporary closure between Deception Creek down to Rodds Peninsula and to the outer edge of Facing Island.
Seafood that shows signs of damage, deterioration or disease should not be handled or consumed.
Anyone who has concerns about their health which might be attributed to the handling or consumption of seafood should seek medical advice.

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FUNDY LIFE: Rare sand tiger shark caught in Petitcodiac River

CBC News
Posted: Sep 16, 2011 6:57 AM AT
Last Updated: Sep 16, 2011 6:50 AM AT

Jay Edgett caught this sand tiger shark in the Petitcodiac River last Friday.
Jay Edgett of Dorchester, N.B., has been fishing for many years but a lifetime of angling did not prepare him for what he saw on the end of his line last week.

Edgett and his friends were fishing for bass off of a pier in the Petitcodiac River in southern New Brunswick when he hooked a fish. When the fish came to the surface, he quickly realized it was not a bass but instead a rare sand tiger shark.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Areva suspends some uranium production after Japan quake

Fukushima *Image by Sterneck via Flickr
PARIS — French nuclear giant Areva is suspending uranium production at two plants because of low demand from Japanese power stations in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, a spokeswoman said Thursday.
Production at subsidiary Comhurex's Malvesi and Tricastin sites will be suspended for two months because of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan and swamped a nuclear site six months ago, the spokeswoman said.
"This decision is based on the events in Japan, which today has led to a drop in deliveries to Japanese power producers and short term downward pressure on prices in this market," Areva said in a statement.
"A certain number of orders placed by the Japanese have been cancelled," Areva chief executive Luc Oursel told AFP from New York.
Comurhex, which is 100 percent owned by Areva, uses a two-stage process to transform mined uranium into uranium hexafluoride, the raw material for the enrichment process that eventually produces reactor-grade fuel.
Areva said there were no plans to suspend or lay off the less than 600 workers from the plants, who will be asked to attend training sessions or use up holiday allowances while their plants are taken off-line.
Before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami -- and the ensuing disaster at the flooded Fukushima Daiichi power plant -- Japan was planning to use nuclear power to generate around 50 percent of its energy needs by 2030.
But opinion shifted after the disaster crippled the plant's cooling systems, sparking reactor meltdowns that spewed radiation into the environment, forcing tens of thousands to evacuate from a 20 kilometre (12 mile) radius.
A number of other plants were shut down following the Fukushima accident and currently on 11 of 54 are currently operating.
"You have seen that Japan is in a particular situation as a certain number of plants have stopped" but "I think that... most of them will be restarted and will allow us to reestablish normal commercial relations," said Oursel.
On Tuesday, Japan's new Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda pledged to draw up a new energy policy and to reduce Japan's reliance on atomic power, threatening a major export market for France's world-leading nuclear industry.
However, he did not rule out future use of nuclear power -- something his unpopular predecessor Naoto Kan had aimed to do -- and said reactors that are currently offline for maintenance would be restarted.
Some other countries have re-examined their nuclear policies in the wake of the Japanese disaster, but France -- which relies on atomic energy for 75 percent of its power -- has vowed to stick by and support the industry.
Areva is majority state-owned and Paris has long considered nuclear power a strategic asset, despite power shortages last winter caused by labour disputes and delayed refuelling in some power stations.
On Monday, an explosion at nuclear waste reprocessing site in southern France killed one worker and injured four more, but regulators said there was no danger of a radiation leak and the area was declared safe within hours.

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Vermont Yankee Trial in Federal Court

CLF's LogoImage via Wikipedia
Posted: 15 Sep 2011 12:02 PM PDT
The State of Vermont and the owners of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power facility squared off in Federal Court this week.  It was a three day trial.  The days were long.  The testimony was often technical.  The lawyering was skilled.  Vermont Yankee’s owners say everything is about safety and only the federal government can regulate safety so Vermont’s laws are invalid.  It is a convoluted argument.  The dots don’t connect.
Vermont’s able lawyers went toe-to-toe with the owners every step of the way.  The State has a strong case.  Vermonters by nature are frank and direct.  Our laws say what they mean and mean what they say.   There is no decade-long grand conspiracy to hide intentions.  The Vermont Legislature acted well within its rights.
CLF has joined the case as a “friend of the court” and has filed legal pleadings supporting the state.  We are also representing Vermont Public Interest Research Group whose representatives joined me at the hearings, and logged daily accounts of the trial.
The trial is over.  A decision is expected before the end of the year.  Stay tuned.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Avoid Fundyshima: Mail this to Alward.

The Honourable David Alward
Premier of New Brunswick
Box 6000
Fredericton, NB
E3B 5H1

Don't be a Drip! Decommission Point Lepreau Nuclear Power Plant and avoid Fundyshima!

Email Address

Friday, September 9, 2011

Vermont Yankee Trial Begins Next Week

Posted: 09 Sep 2011 12:04 PM PDT
Should Vermont have a say in the future of Vermont Yankee, an aging nuclear plant on the banks of the Connecticut River?  A trial to answer that question begins next week.  Vermont Yankee’s owner sued the State of Vermont in April.  Yankee’s owners want to avoid State oversight, and filed suit as a last ditch effort to keep the plant operating.   
The State has a strong case.  For years, Vermont has responsibly overseen the economic, power supply and land use impacts of Vermont Yankee – matters within traditional state authority.  Vermont Yankee’s owners ignore this long history and want the Court to find all actions by Vermont are an attempt to regulate radioactive safety – something within exclusive federal authority.
Conservation Law Foundation provided a “friend of the court” brief explaining the history, legal background and context of the State’s actions focusing on the owner’s untrustworthiness, poor economics of continued operation, and Vermont’s interests in advancing renewable power. 
Beginning Monday, experts on power supply and regulation will explain their views.  The trial will last three days.  A decision is expected later this fall.

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