Solar activity continued on May 14, 2013, as the sun emitted a fourth X-class flare from its upper left limb, peaking at 9:48 p.m. EDT. This flare is classified as an X1.2 flare and it is the 18th X-class flare of the current solar cycle. The flare caused a radio blackout – categorized as an R3, or strong, on NOAA’s space weather scales from R1 to R5 — which has since subsided.
The flare was also associated with a non-Earth-directed CME. CMEs and flares are separate but related solar phenomena: solar flares are powerful bursts that send light and radiation into space; CMEs erupt with billions of tons of solar material. They often, but do not always, occur together. Any time we can see a solar flare from Earth’s view, than at least some of its light and radiation must be directed at Earth. CMEs on the other hand may or may not be Earth directed. NASA observes CMEs, however, even when they are not traveling toward Earth, because they may impact spacecraft.
Experimental NASA research models show that this CME left the sun at around 745 miles per second, beginning at 10:18 p.m. EDT. It is not Earth-directed, however it may pass the Spitzer and Epoxi orbits, and their mission operators have been notified. If warranted, operators can put spacecraft into safe mode to protect the instruments from solar material
The Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) is pleased to introduce our new, updated public website: energy.gov/ne.
The new site was designed to help facilitate users’ access to NE documents, reports and program descriptions, with an emphasis on up-to-date, easily accessible information. The new homepage features our activities and initiatives, as well as links to most recent publications and press releases. The rest of the NE site is structured to match our organization — and enable easier navigation and more direct access to information about our programs.
On April 12, the Energy Department recognized the nation’s first commercial enhanced geothermal system (EGS) project to supply electricity to the grid. Based in Churchill County, Nevada, Ormat Technologies’ Desert Peak 2 EGS project has increased power output of its nearby operating geothermal field by nearly 38 percent – providing an additional 1.7 megawatts of power to the grid and validating this emerging clean energy technology.
“Developing America’s vast renewable energy resources sustainably is an important part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to create jobs and strengthen U.S. global competitiveness,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson. “The Churchill County geothermal project represents a critical investment to ensure America leads in this growing global industry, helping to create new manufacturing, construction and operation jobs across the country while diversifying our energy portfolio and reducing pollution.” Read more
President’s 2014 Budget Proposal Makes Critical Investments in Innovation, Clean Energy and National Security Priorities
On April 10, 2013, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman detailed President Barack Obama’s $28.4 billion Fiscal Year 2014 budget request for the Department of Energy. Poneman emphasized the President’s continued commitment to an all-of-the-above energy strategy that prioritizes investments in innovation, clean energy technologies, and national security. The Department’s budget request is part of the Administration-wide effort to strengthen the American economy with energy that is cleaner, cheaper and creates sustainable jobs. The FY 2014 budget request represents tough choices aimed at focusing taxpayer resources on areas that will yield the greatest benefit over time.
Action to reform the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, reduce deforestation, protect marine life, value natural assets and cut emissions from heat are just some of the UK’s environmental news stories in recent weeks. New plans for the teaching of climate change in schools have been put under the spotlight; a U.S. tidal energy company announced plans to establish operations in Scotland; the UK’s new Chief Scientific Adviser started his post; and a new Energy Minister was announced.
Monday 22 April is Earth Day! People around the world are sharing stories of how climate change is impacting their lives and the extraordinary efforts they are taking to fight it. Share your story about the Face of Climate Change or contribute an Act of Green. And if you live in the UK you can win an Earth Day poster on our Embassy Facebook page or answer green quiz questions on Twitter. Read more
On March 20, 2013, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, delivered his Budget to Parliament. Amid concern over energy shortages and lagging infrastructure decisions, HMG was keen to demonstrate momentum for new energy projects. The Chancellor touched on plans for new nuclear, and the next stage of the UK’s Carbon Capture and Storage competition, but reserved his focus on energy for the development of shale gas.
Energy Secretary Ed Davey has said it is vital the UK “get to grips with [its] national nuclear legacy” despite difficulties finding an underground nuclear waste store. On January 30, Cumbria County Council rejected plans to site a radioactive waste facility, prompting HMG to announce a new drive to encourage other communities to come forward. Davey said the decision by Cumbria Council was “disappointing” but he was “confident” that the program to manage radioactive waste safely will be successful and “not undermine prospects for new nuclear power stations.”
A public attitudes survey published by DECC has found that 79% of people support the UK using renewable energy to generate electricity. Solar energy had the highest level of support (at 82%), while 72% supported off shore wind and 71% supported wave and tidal energy. 64% supported on-shore wind, despite controversy over the expansion of on-shore wind farms in the UK. While only 37% of respondents supported the use of nuclear energy to generate electricity in the UK, this outweighed the 25% who signalled their opposition.