Sara Nelson is the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO.

Sara Nelson in Vox:

“Pretty much everyone on the plane threw up” is not a sentence most travelers want to hear.
But that’s a direct quote from the pilots’ report after United Express Flight 3833 operated by Air Wisconsin hit extreme turbulence on approach to Washington, DC, in 2018.
Extreme turbulence is on the rise around the world. It isn’t just nauseating or scary — it’s dangerous.
In June 2017, nine passengers and a crew member were hospitalized after extreme turbulence rocked their United Airlines flight from Panama City to Houston.
A few weeks ago, a Delta Connection flight operated by Compass Airlines from Orange County, California, to Seattle hit turbulence so sudden and fierce, the flight attendant serving drinks — and the 300-pound drink cart — was slammed against the ceiling of the plane. The flight attendant’s arm was broken and three passengers were hospitalized.
In my 23 years as a flight attendant and president of our union representing 50,000 others, I know firsthand the threat climate change poses to our safety and our jobs. But flight attendants and airline workers have been told by some pundits that the Green New Deal, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey’s environmental proposal, will ground all air travel. 
That’s absurd. It’s not the solutions to climate change that kills jobs. Climate change itself is the job killer.

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Applied Energy:


– Nuclear power plants are subject to different operational constraints than other power plants.

– We provide a mathematical representation of these distinct constraints on nuclear flexibility.

– Benefits of nuclear flexibility are significant in a power system with high shares of renewables.

– Benefits include lower power system operating costs and increased revenue for nuclear plants.

Nuclear power plants are commonly operated in a “baseload” mode at maximum rated capacity whenever online. However, nuclear power plants are technically capable of flexible operation, including changing power output over time (ramping or load following) and providing frequency regulation and operating reserves. At the same time, flexibility is becoming more valuable as many regions transition to low-carbon power systems with higher shares of variable renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power. We present a novel mixed integer linear programming formulation to more accurately represent the distinct technical operating constraints of nuclear power stations, including impacts of xenon transients in the reactor core and changing core reactivity over the fuel irradiation cycle. This novel representation of nuclear flexibility is integrated into a unit commitment and economic dispatch model for the power system. In a case study using representative utility data from the Southwest United States, we investigate the potential impacts of flexible nuclear operations in a power system with significant solar and wind energy penetration. We find that flexible nuclear operation lowers power system operating costs, increases reactor owner revenues, and substantially reduces curtailment of renewables.


But as the headline says, there’s hope for the 98 US reactors in operation today. When the various countries of the world were selecting their preferred technology for nuclear generation, the US swung to light-water pressurized water reactors (PWRs). They were deeply familiar with them as they were the same technology used on nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers, something the USA had which most other countries didn’t.
And PWRs can be used to follow load. It’s a much slower response rate than peaker gas or using SCADA controls to curtail or spin up wind and solar, but it’s viable. They can drop or increase generation by 25% per hour, although when production is dropped they have to remain at the lower level for typically hours to allow xenon to dissipate before they can be increased again.
But unlike France, reactors are treated by grid operators as fixed, baseload generation, either on or off. There’s some limited seasonal load following related to hydro’s spring peak, but that’s about it. Part of that is purely economic. Load following with a nuclear reactor reduces the total GWh that are generated annually, and the only contracts they have are for committed baseload. If they were operated to follow load, they would lose money. Instead, renewables end up being curtailed when surplus baseload generation occurs. This is a somewhat reasonable approach, but it comes with an interesting wrinkle. Gas and coal reserve power is maintained for the nuclear plant and burn fossil fuels while wind and solar are curtailed.
So we have a technology that could load follow but isn’t allowed to by regulatory and contractual structures without economic penalty, and as a result lower-carbon forms of generation are curtailed while more gas and coal are burned. That’s an odd systemic choice in 2019.

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Sticky social question for the transition to green energy is the displacement, not only of workers like coal miners, but of existing generators, which are often major employers, and perhaps as importantly, big sources for local tax revenues in hard pressed communities.
German effort at repurposing coal plants as energy storage units could hold promise.
Add this idea to what I posted on last week, the updating of coal and other mine sites to pumped storage energy facilities – means there could be attractive opportunities to get reluctant electorates to buy into a Green New Deal type program.


The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt or DLR) is investigating whether Germany’s coal plants could be reused as energy storage assets.  
The research body, which has a track record in concentrated solar power (CSP) development, is planning a pilot that will involve ripping out the boiler from an old coal plant and replacing it with a molten salt thermal storage tank that will be heated using excess renewable energy.
If the concept works, then advocates say it could help safeguard coal generation jobs while giving Germany tens of gigawatts of storage capacity for renewable energy load-shifting on the German grid. 

Furthermore, a single pilot could be enough to prove the commercial viability of the concept, since the technology, described as a Carnot battery, is based on commercially available industrial components and standard engineering practices. 

Dr. Michael Geyer, senior adviser at DLR’s Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics in Almeria, Spain, said the center is preparing a commercial-scale pilot in association with an unnamed German utility. A feasibility study for the pilot had already been awarded, he confirmed.
Geyer explained that engineering proposals would take 12 to 18 months and construction could take another year and a half, meaning the pilot plant could be up and running within three years. The pilot is being financed as a public-private initiative, he said.   

According to its website, DLR has been researching Carnot batteries since 2014. Experience with molten salt storage in CSP plants, meanwhile, stretches back almost a decade.

This is significantly longer than the operational track record of grid-scale lithium-ion battery plants, Geyer noted. Thermal storage tanks are relatively low-tech, low-risk engineering concepts, he said, requiring only a steel tank, concrete base and the salt itself.
The principal engineering task is to fit the tank into a coal plant, he said. These plants were not designed to house molten salt storage containers, he admitted, and a Carnot battery built from scratch would likely not resemble a coal plant. 
But in Germany utilities are interested in the concept as a way of extending the lifespan of coal generation assets that have now been given a final cutoff date of 2038. Geyer said 7 gigawatts of coal generation were due to close down by 2023, rising to 23 gigawatts by 2030.
Most if not all of this capacity could potentially be turned into Carnot batteries, he said. “This is a commonsense application to make use of existing infrastructure,” he said.

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Although Climate Denial is dying along with the old white guys who are it’s principle purveyors, we still get gems like this.

I treated this one Lo so many years ago in the perfect video for 4/20.

and if you need more, see below…

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