Author Archives: Sonal Patel

Flower growing in a pile of bituminous Kentucky coal. Courtesy: Una Nowling

As DOE’s Coal Rescue Reportedly Dead-Ends, Stakeholders Recommend New Pathways

The White House may have shelved an effort to force grid operators to buy power from uneconomic coal and nuclear plants amid opposition inside the administration, Politico reported on October 15.  The publication reported “four people with knowledge of the discussions” have confirmed that opposition from the president’s own advisers on the National Security Council […]


Dominion Files to Extend Operations at Surry Nuclear Plant to 80 Years

Dominion Energy has filed an application to extend the operating licenses for two 45-year-old nuclear reactors at the Surry Power Station through 2052 and 2053—when they will be 80 years old.  Surry’s Unit 1 and 2, located near Newport News, Virginia, are three-loop Westinghouse pressurized water reactors (PWRs) that began operation in December 1972 and […]


10-MW Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Demonstration Project Breaks Ground 

First ground has been broken on a 10-MW pilot of a novel supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) technology, a $119 million project that will refine the sCO2 power cycle and demonstrate component performance and scalability.  Construction of the Supercritical Transformational Electric Power (STEP) pilot plant at the 15-acre facility at Southwest Research Institute’s (SwRI’s) San Antonio, […]


Hydropower Bill Overwhelmingly Clears Senate, Heads to President’s Desk

The U.S. Senate has cleared a major water infrastructure bill that contains several provisions promoting hydropower development, sending it to the president’s desk. The Senate passed S. 3021, “America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018,” on October 10 through a bipartisan vote of 99–1. Because the House of Representatives unanimously passed the bill in a voice […]

Major electric grid infrastructure in path of Hurricane Michael Source: ABB Velocity Suite, 2018

Florida Panhandle Utilities Brace for Hurricane Michael

Packing 150 mph winds, Hurricane Michael has made landfall along the Florida Panhandle. The almost–Category 5 storm might well be the strongest to hit the Emerald Coast in more than 100 years. Not since Hurricane Opal, back in 1995, has there been a storm even remotely as strong as Michael to strike the coastal area. Causing major havoc […]

2017—NRG Energy and JX Nippon’s Petra Nova Carbon Capture Facility  Petra Nova, the  U.S.’s first and world’s largest commercial post-combustion carbon capture system at a power plant, is distinctively both a globally significant environmental breakthrough and a trailblazing revenue-generating facility. Putting this $1 billion project online on time and on budget—despite a chaotic policy climate and other challenges that sank similar projects—was a top priority for its investor-owned owners and project partners.

A List of DOE-Funded Large Coal Demonstrations

Below is a list from the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) of all its large-scale coal demonstration projects, starting with the most recent, with a link to each respective project landing page.  In a report prepared for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources that was released on October 1, 2018, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says […]


DOE Sank Billions of Fossil Energy R&D Dollars in CCS Projects. Most Failed.

Nearly half of the $2.66 billion spent by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) since 2010 to develop advanced fossil energy technologies was dedicated to nine carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration projects—but only three were active at the end of 2017, and only one was at a power plant. In a report prepared for […]

Shin Kori 3 and 4

NRC Grants Key Approvals for S. Korea’s APR1400 Nuclear Reactor, Despite Widespread Construction Delays

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued key safety and design approvals for the Advanced Power Reactor 1400 (APR1400), a South Korean third-generation nuclear reactor design.  The U.S. regulatory body on September 28 issued a final safety evaluation report and a standard design approval (SDA) for the APR1400, which is designed by South Korean state-owned […]

Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) map of U.S. counties (green = wind, purple = utility solar photovoltaic, red-orange = natural gas combined cycle). Source: LCOE, The UT Energy Institute:

Natural Gas and Wind Dominate U.S. LCOE Landscape, Interactive Map Shows

Natural gas combined cycle, wind, and residential solar photovoltaic technologies may be the least-expensive way to generate power across a wide swathe of the U.S., an interactive map published and recently updated by the University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s Energy Institute shows.  The interactive chart (Version 1.4.0, retrieved on October 4, 2018), first published […]