Thursday, February 22, 2018

Having fun with a book sale

Thank you for your orders of Campaigning for Clean Air!

I was right, and George was wrong.

When I told my husband George that I was going to set up a President's Day reduced-price offer for the paperback version of my book, he said that such an offer was useless. He claimed that my target audience is not price-sensitive. I told him that marketers do this all the time, because everyone likes a deal. Plus---people like a signed book.

I was right. He was wrong.

But the main thing was: I had fun!

Orders and comments

Not only did I get some orders, but most orders came with a comment. If I had known how much fun it is to sell the book myself, and to see all the comments, I would have done something like this sooner.  I quote or paraphrase some of the comments below:

  • Tell your husband that students are price-sensitive!
  • Hope you win your bet!
  • I have a copy of your book, but I want a signed copy that I can keep for myself. I won't lend it to friends (as I do with my current copy).
  • From over here in Vernon, near Vermont Yankee, thank you for everything you do.
  • Tell George he is wrong.
I enjoyed the comments!

The sale is over, but you can still buy a book

The sale is over, but the book is widely available.

Whether you are a member of the American Nuclear Society or not, you can buy both the paperback and the ebook through the American Nuclear Society . Members get a discount.  You can also buy the book from Amazon or Nook or Kobo. Most people seem to buy it from Amazon.

I encourage people to order the audiobook through Amazon (Audible). The narrator, Pamela Almand, is wonderful! I cannot arrange a discount on the audiobook, but there are ways you can get a discount on Audible, as I understand it

Or your library can buy the book for you

If you go to your local library, you can ask them to order a copy of the book. The paperback book is available from Ingram Spark, as well as being available from the various places listed above. As I understand it, libraries prefer Ingram Spark.

The audiobook is available from Overdrive. Overdrive is set up for bulk audio orders, and to fufill orders from libraries.

However you obtain the book, I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, February 19, 2018

President's Day Book Bargain: Prove My Husband Wrong

Campaigning for Clean Air: Limited Time Reduced Price Offer

Prove my husband wrong!

I told my husband George that I was going to set up a President's Day limited-time reduced-price offer for buying the paperback version of my book. You can buy my book from Amazon on $17.95 plus shipping....or you can buy it directly from me at $16, shipping included. Plus...I will sign it! This is the lowest price I have ever offered to anyone.

The catch is that you have to order it today or tomorrow. This is a limited time offer. More about that below.

My husband said that such an offer is useless: my target audience is not price-sensitive. I told him that marketers do this all the time, because everyone likes a deal. Plus---people like a signed book.

Free shipping and a lower price and a signature!

Prove me right. Prove him wrong. Order the book today or tomorrow.

How to order the book

This deal is only on the paperback book. To order the paperback book, go to your paypal account, and choose to "send money" to mjangwin at Send $16. Be sure to include your mailing address in the proper area of the paypal form. This offer closes at midnight tomorrow night (February 20).

If you prefer an ebook edition, you have to order it at full price from Amazon or Nook or Kobo. However, if you are a member of ANS, you can get a reduced price ebook by ordering it through ANS.

I encourage people to order the audiobook through Amazon (Audible). Pamela Almand, the narrator, is wonderful! I cannot arrange a discount on the audiobook, but there are ways you can get a discount on Audible, as I understand it

If you want the paperback, order it from me at a discount. Today or tomorrow!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

ISO-NE Consumer Liaison Group meeting March 1

On March 1, the Consumer Liaison Group (CLG) associated with ISO-NE will hold its quarterly meeting near Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Meetings are free and open to the public, and include a free lunch. (Rather a pleasant lunch, usually, not just a some dry sandwiches.)   I am on the Coordinating Committee for the CLG.  

The topic for this meeting is "How Have the Region's Wholesale Markets Evolved Over Time? Why Should Consumers Care?"  In other words, this meeting addresses the heart of consumer concerns with the grid.  I encourage you to attend. You can also register for phone access, and the slides are usually posted.  

The graphic above is merely a screen shot, so the links don't work.  Here are the links that do work:

Most important: Register here (includes information for offsite access)

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Oil-filled Grid: Communications

Early January Nor'Easter
Wikimedia, NOAA
Oil on the Grid

About two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post The Northeast Grid and the Oil. This described our early-January polar weather, and how Northeastern power plants could not get enough natural gas in the below-zero weather. Homes had priority for natural gas delivery, and plants that could use oil switched from natural gas to oil.

As a matter of fact, the oil stocks were also getting depleted.

I want to update the cold-snap story with some other posts. The general public doesn't read my blog, so I did some outreach. I wrote an op-ed about the grid for my local paper, the Valley News.  The op-ed was printed on the front page of the Sunday Perspective section on January 28, and has been shared around 200 times on Facebook. Oil Kept the Power Grid Running in Recent Cold Snap.

Why were people so interested in the article?  Because a secure electric supply is an important part of personal safety during extremely cold weather.  Most home furnaces require electricity to spread the warmth into the household. People who have chosen heat pumps are also dependent on reliable electricity.

Nuclear plants and pipelines and controversy, oh my!

There were more articles on the situation, of course, not just mine.  Actually, I think there were too few articles.  Nearly running out of oil when you can't get gas---this can be a major deal during severe winter weather! I will point out some interesting articles, and I hope that people who read this will send links to a few more.

Rod Adams post described the "sobering statements" made by the grid operator about oil supply, and the weird statements made by nuclear opponents.  (Pilgrim should have shut down before the storm? Really?) He shares some graphics from ISO-NE on the weak performance of solar panels during the days of the crisis.  He also discusses Pilgrim going off-line, and whether that could have been prevented. As usual, his post has an active and informed stream of comments. Performance of the New England power grid during extreme cold Dec 25-Jan 8, at Atomic Insights blog.

Meanwhile, over at Forbes, several columnists were commenting on the situation.
Jude Clemente wrote What Happens When You Don't Build Natural Gas Pipeline
David Blackman wrote Amid Deep Freeze, New Englanders Can 'Thank' N.Y. Gov Cuomo For Their High Energy Bills
Christopher Helman wrote Natural Gas Demand Hits Record As Cold Bomb Targets Northeast

Over WBUR radio, Bruce Gellerman has a fascinating seven minute segment on how the power plants actually operated during the cold snap, including an interview with a manager of a peaker plant that runs about 800 hours a year. Do We Need More Natural Gas Pipelines?

There's a lot of controversy built into all these articles. The role of nuclear.  The need (or not-need) for more natural gas pipelines. Will new emissions regulations make handling the next cold snap much harder? Did renewables make a great contribution during the cold snap?  Or not?

The Electric Supply

A steady electric supply is hugely important to winter safety. In my opinion, it should not be such a subject of controversy.  My hope is that  reason will prevail, and we will have the nuclear plants, pipelines and energy security that we need.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Northeast Grid and the Oil

ISO-NE Report on Cold Weather Grid Performance

It was dramatically cold here in the Northeast from late December through January 8.  Temperatures of ten below were common. The grid used amazing (30% or more) amounts of oil, as the power plants could not get gas. (I wrote a couple of blog posts about this, which I reference at the end of this post.)

On January 16, ISO-NE issued a report on the grid behavior during this period. Cold Weather Operations, December 24, 2017 through  January 8, 2018.  This document is worth reading.   Frankly, in my blog posts, I simply did not know how bad things were becoming on the grid. Let me quote viewgraph 11 of the ISO report:
"As gas became uneconomic, the entire season’s oil supply rapidly depleted"

Pictures speak louder than words

This is a story best told in graphics.

As I noted earlier, the generation mix on the grid shifted heavily to oil. On December 24, 2017, oil supplied 2% of grid electricity. On January 6, 2018, oil provided 36% of the electricity. ISO slide 14 shows this very effectively.

Slide 14
from ISO report
Double click to expand
Other illustrations are from the same report

Update:  Ed Pheil pointed something out to me: if I don't explain that demand on the grid was rising between 12/24 and 1/1/, the decline in nuclear's share of the grid electricity (from 39% to 27% etc.) is inexplicable.  Did the nuclear plants go off-line?  No. But there are only so many nuclear plants, and they can make only so much power.

The chart below shows a steady line of "daily generation" for the nuclear plants.  It is the green line near the top of the chart. There's one exception: Pilgrim went off line when a transmission line failed.   You can see the dip.

Thank you to Ed.  This was a necessary clarification.

Slide 13

Local natural gas prices soared, while Marcellus shale prices remained fairly steady.  Electricity prices followed the natural gas prices. However, generators that could switch to oil did the switch. Oil was was less expensive. Natural gas prices rose about 30 fold (from around $3 to around $90, as shown below)

Slide 30

Due to power plants using lower-priced oil, however, prices on the grid rose from around $50 to around to $450/MWh, only a ten-fold rise.

Slide 55
Oil Depletion

The region was burning oil far faster than it was replenishing it.  On December 1, we had 68% (of the maximum oil) available to power plants.   On January 8, we had 19%.

Slide 21
For a more dramatic picture, ISO shows a single power plant's oil supply, which went from an eight-day supply to a one-day supply over the same period.
Slide 22
There are many important slides.  For example, slide 17 shows how the generators that were enrolled in the ISO-NE Winter Reliability Program really picked up the slack, and slide 18 compares the amount of oil burned in the two weeks of cold with the amount of oil burned the previous two years.  (More was burned in the two weeks of cold.)  

And then there was all the scrambling to keep things going. Slides 35 and 36 show that there were emergency conference calls about the grid---pretty much every day.  

What have we learned?

Much as I dislike burning oil for power, I dislike widespread outages even more.  I give ISO-NE tremendous credit for the Winter Reliability Program, and for keeping the lights on.

According to the last slide in the ISO program, replenishment of oil is the key issue for reliable operation during cold weather in New England.  ISO-NE is correct,  according to their charter.

slide 62

However, the ISO-NE charter is limited.  For me, the important thing is to keep Northeastern nuclear plants operating. Nuclear plants are thoroughly reliable.  (Yes, Pilgrim went offline due to a transmission line failure.) Nuclear plants keep making electricity, no matter what the weather might be, as long as there is a transmission line to send out their power. 

In cold weather, we need reliability. In cold weather, we need nuclear. 


Earlier blog posts:

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Advocates, NEI and Unions. Advocates are essential.

Vermont Yankee when it was operating
Entergy withdraws from NEI

Entergy and NextEra have announced their withdrawals from the Nuclear Energy Institute.

This could simply mean that these companies prefer to hire their own public relations firms and lobbyists.  Eliminate the middle man, etc. Another possibility is that nuclear energy issues are so state-specific that an institute focused on Washington has become less relevant.  I can think of  all sorts of reasons why this "may not be so bad, really."

But I think it is bad, really.   I consider these major withdrawals from NEI to be very bad news for the nuclear industry.

To me, this also means that ordinary people who support nuclear energy have to be out there, supporting it. The big institutions may not be doing their part in the future.

Update: In a post today, US Industry Faces Watershed Year, Dan Yurman has further background on events at NEI, plus links to this post and other posts on the need for advocacy.

Entergy faces union issues about decomm

Usually, I don't write about "labor negotiations are ongoing..." etc.  However, according to this LOHUD article, Indian Point Strike Deadline, one of the big issues in the on-going contract negotiation is whether current plant workers will stay on to do the decomm, or whether Entergy will turn over the decomm to a separate company: "Topping the list of worker concerns is whether they will have a role in the years-long dismantling process that will follow Indian Point's shut down. "

This just in: Talks have broken down over the weekend. Whether the union workers will be doing the decomm continues to be a major contention.

Keeping the current workers on-site will be difficult, because the people who operate a plant have different skill sets (and usually higher pay) than the people who decommision a plant.

If Indian Point was going to operate for another twenty years, this entire issue would be irrelevant.  Plus, New York would continue to have clean power.

To me, the union request means that ordinary people who support nuclear energy and plant operation have to be out there, supporting it.  

Two News Items, One Conclusion

The big institutions (NEI, unions) are changing their roles. The nuclear industry needs its supporters, now more than ever.  It needs all the people who are willing to write letters, talk to their representatives, speak to a high school group or a Rotary, hold a rally, teach a class at the local community college, everything.

Nuclear advocates: the people of the world need you more than ever!

I am somewhat cheered by the number of pro-nuclear groups that are active now, and the number of pro-nuclear books that are currently being published.  And the videos, blogs, white papers, etc. Still, we pro-nuclear advocates are need to up our game, be out there, be effective.

It's up to us, now.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Watch Carbon Dioxide Emissions in Real Time

Carbon Dioxide and Nuclear

The first meeting of the nuclear energy study group at Dartmouth was true to its name: Nuclear Power for Climate and for People.  Bob Hargraves gave an excellent presentation on carbon dioxide and the role nuclear energy can play in carbon dioxide abatement.

I sent the class members links to sites where you can watch the carbon content of the electricity sector, pretty much world-wide.  Here's the note I sent.
Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Our first session was mostly about climate change.  In general, the electric sector is only part of the problem: industry, heating and transportation are important sources of carbon dioxide emissions.  However, almost all decarbonization plans for those emissions involve using electricity in other sectors: electric cars, heat pumps.  So the carbon dioxide content of the electric sector is essential, right now and in the hopefully-decarbonized future.

Real Time Electricity

Screen grab of electricitymap selection at 11 a.m. January 20
Now, back to the  electricity sector.  Interactive sites are fun, because you can watch them in real time.  Or maybe I just have an odd idea of fun....

Here's a real-time, interactive map of world-wide CO2 emissions. Many (but not all) countries are on it.

Little stuff: To move between areas in the map, click and hold. While holding, you can drag the map around with your mouse. You can also zoom in and out with your mouse. Wind and solar are listed as "false" above, because I have not checked the "wind solar potential" boxes. I am suspicious of the word "potential." I want real time data, not projections.

France and Germany

For fun, let's click on France, which is green on the map.
France is at 39 grams CO2 per kWh right now (it generally hangs around at that level)
96% low carbon electricity
25% renewable (hydro, I believe)

Okay, next, let's click on Germany.
Germany is at 470 grams CO2 per kWh (it is at that level a lot, but sometimes goes down to the 300s or even high 200s.  Watch it for yourself.)
It has 42% low-carbon electricity
22% renewable, probably hydro and wind

The difference between the low-carbon and renewable numbers is nuclear--low-emissions but not renewable.

Data is from around 9 a.m. this morning, January 20

New York, Ontario, Alberta

From EmissionTrak at 11 a.m. January 20
This website gives a week's worth of emissions for New York, Ontario, and Alberta. The source of the emissions is color-coded.

Ontario is mostly nuclear and hydro, New York is mixed, Alberta is coal and natural gas.  I think their "other fossil" is coal. Coal is--- "He who must not be named."

Fun with Maps!

Enjoy these maps. I think "playing around" is the best way to find out stuff. Have fun. We will see you Thursday!