Business, Energy

Raft River one step closer

11.28.07 | Permalink | Comments Off on Raft River one step closer

Via Yahoo News:

The plant originally commenced the test phase of power production on October 18th and operated over a six-day period until October 23rd, during which time it ran for 108 hours and generated a total of 1,022 gross megawatt-hours of electrical power. On October 21st the plant operated for 24 hours and produced a peak output of 13.2 megawatts. The first revenue from the test run has been received from Idaho Power Company.

The plant will now continue an approximate sixty to ninety-day start-up and testing phase during which time all generated electricity is being sold. Plant operations are being scheduled to allow for operator training, equipment testing and for Ormat Nevada Inc. to complete power plant performance testing and other completion obligations.

Read more…

US Geothermal is keeping to its announced timing around the project, despite unforeseen problems, which is good news for investors.

Disclosure: The author holds no position in US Geothermal.


Real Data about Conservation

11.27.07 | Permalink | 1 Comment

Chart of 3 years of electric consumption data from an all-electric home

The chart above is from a family member’s home with data over the last 3 years. Of interest about this home, is that it is relatively new (<10 years old) and all-electric (water heating, cooking, clothes dryer, heating/cooling, etc.) Other interesting things to know is that the home has, relatively speaking, many windows and is located in an area where it is very warm in the summer and can get very cold in the winter.
Over the past 3 years this household has made a point of attempting to reduce their energy consumption and ultimately, energy efficient lighting has made a big difference as have solar shades to help with temperature control. One of the things that is striking about this chart is how the peaks have been reduced. Notice in March for 2005/2006 that the peak consumption was around 2,500 KWh. In 2007 that was reduced to about 1,000 KWh. Overall, the 2007 consumption is about 1/3 less than for comparable periods in the prior years.

Conservation does matter and when real data like this is exposed, it shows you what is possible by just by doing the simple things.


Richardson a Hero

11.26.07 | Permalink | Comments Off on Richardson a Hero

The Huffington Post stood an article up last week about Bill Richardson, authored by a former Green Beret named John Early who witnessed, and benefited from, Richardson’s heroism first hand. It’s worth a read; here’s an excerpt:

As the Iowa voters cuss and discuss the current presidential campaign leading to their state caucus, I had an opportunity this past week to meet and speak with many Iowa voters and veterans.

Coming from a Midwestern farm family, it was interesting to hear what veterans were saying about Bill Richardson and their reasons for supporting his bid for the White House.

I served in the United States Army Special Forces for nearly twelve years, including multiple tours in Vietnam, as well as assignments in South America. My years in Vietnam were some of the best and worst of my life and definitely the defining point in my life as a young man and soldier. As a result, I got to experience real courage, up close and personal while serving with my fellow “Green Berets”.

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Richardson isn’t getting much love as a candidate for President, perhaps it would behoove us to look a little closer at him in 2008.

Ohio State Football, Sports

Conference Strength Report

11.26.07 | Permalink | 1 Comment

STOP – This data has been updated for the entire season in this entry. Enjoy.

For prior CSRs, check the links at the bottom of this entry. I’ll do one final update of the CSR before the bowls commence – mostly there are rivalry and conference championship games left at this point, with only Washington-Hawaii as an OOC game that matters. Here are the results as of games completed Saturday, November 24, 2007:

Chart showing relative college football BCS conference strength from on field performance data as of Nov 24, 2007.

Comments on each conference follow, in alphabetical order:

  • ACC – Strongest part of the resume? 22 games against BCS-level competition. Chink in the armor? Lowest overall OOC win percentage.
  • Big East – Strongest part of the resume? Winning record against the SEC. Chink in the armor? Sub-.500 record against BCS-level competition.
  • Big 10 – Strongest part of the resume? Best win rate against BCS-level competition. Chink in the armor? Good conferences don’t lose to I-AA teams.
  • Big 12 – Strongest part of the resume? Overall OOC win rate. Chink in the armor? Worst OOC record against BCS-level competition.
  • Pac 10 – Strongest part of the resume? Only 2 games against I-AA teams. Chink in the armor? Losing record against Notre Dame, 1-2 on the season.
  • SEC – Strongest part of the resume? 32-1 OOC record against the little guys. Chink in the armor? Break-even record against BCS-level competition.

Based on performance to date, on the field, the conference ranking should be:

  1. Pac 10 – The gap between the top 3 conferences isn’t that large, I could make an argument for any of them to be at the top. The Pac 10 gets the nod on two positives, BCS-competition win rate and not scheduling as many I-AA teams.
  2. Big 10 – No, you can’t be serious putting the Big 10 #2 you Ohio State homer. On balance, the Big 10 has the strongest BCS-level competition win rate and comparable records against the little guys as the SEC, thus they get the nod at #2.
  3. SEC – This conference is great against the sisters of the weak, but when playing teams with equivalent facilities and financial power, the record speaks for itself, 7-7. If the SEC had scheduled fewer I-AA patsies or had a winning record against BCS-level competition, it would be #2 or perhaps even #1.
  4. Big 12 – This conference is solid, but not spectacular. The BCS-level competition win rate sub .500 keeps it in the lower half of the rankings, for now.
  5. ACC – Now for the whining, while the ACC has a lower OOC overall win rate and no patsy win rate than the Big East, it did play the largest number of games against BCS-level competition and at least managed a .500 record.
  6. Big East – Yes, I know the ACC has a worse overall OOC win rate; win big in the bowls and move up if it bothers you that much.
  7. Notre Dame – Charlie Weis says “for the first time in 15 years, we’ve won our last 2 games.” Whatever gets you through the night Charlie…

If you liked this content, why not give it a thumbs up?

Come back next week for a pre-bowl update of the Conference Strength Report. Prior reports are available below:

Energy, Innovation

Nuclear Battery

11.26.07 | Permalink | Comments Off on Nuclear Battery

From the Santa Fe Reporter via

Model of nuclear battery system

The portable nuclear reactor is the size of a hot tub. It’s shaped like a sake cup, filled with a uranium hydride core and surrounded by a hydrogen atmosphere. Encase it in concrete, truck it to a site, bury it underground, hook it up to a steam turbine and, voila, one would generate enough electricity to power a 25,000-home community for at least five years.

The company Hyperion Power Generation was formed last month to develop the nuclear fission reactor at Los Alamos National Laboratory and take it into the private sector. If all goes according to plan, Hyperion could have a factory in New Mexico by late 2012, and begin producing 4,000 of these reactors.

Though it would produce 27 megawatts worth of thermal energy, Hyperion doesn’t like to think of its product as a “reactor.” It’s self-contained, involves no moving parts and, therefore, doesn’t require a human operator.

“In fact, we prefer to call it a ‘drive’ or a ‘battery’ or a ‘module’ in that it’s so safe,” Hyperion spokeswoman Deborah Blackwell says. “Like you don’t open a double-A battery, you just plug [the reactor] in and it does its chemical thing inside of it. You don’t ever open it or mess with it.”

Read more…

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