2007 September 01 – 25

Archived News — September 01-25, 2007

Carbon sequestration faces significant barriers, APPA tells House committee on global warming

“There are many misconceptions about the commercial availability of technology to separate carbon dioxide from power plants,” APPA told the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Carbon capture and sequestration faces a variety of significant barriers- technological, economic, regulatory, infrastructure and liability problems, APPA President and CEO Alan Richardson said in a Sept. 17 response to questions posed by committee Chairman Ed Markey, D-Mass. It “is unwise to expect carbon dioxide separation and injection on a broad scale by any date certain.”

However, “to meet the demands placed on us by our customers, we must continue to utilize fossil fuel-fired generation for the foreseeable future,” Richardson said. APPA has adopted a policy resolution calling on Congress to recognize the importance of preserving a diverse mix of generation fuels (including coal, nuclear, natural gas and all renewable energy sources) and to consider climate change legislation that is based on achievable results, he noted.

Congress could take a variety of steps to overcome the barriers to carbon capture and sequestration, APPA said, including the funding of FutureGen and other research and development projects for geosequestration with a larger emphasis on groundwater protection concerns. In addition to geologic storage of carbon dioxide, the Energy Department and other federal agencies should be allowed to pursue other geo-engineering approaches, APPA said. However, without indemnification from federal liability, few parties will be comfortable participating in FutureGen or other carbon capture technology demonstration projects.

APPA strongly supports federal incentives for the deployment of new, expensive technologies for both the private and public sectors to meet important policy goals, Richardson told the committee. Should Congress decide to create an incentive program for carbon capture development and deployment, it should include a tax-credit bond along the lines of the Clean Renewable Energy Bond program, which was enacted as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, he said.

The committee might want to explore the fuel use increase due to energy losses at power plants with CCS and what that would mean to imported fuels, the cost of coal, etc., APPA suggested. Plants with carbon capture and storage technology “would burn approximately 25% more coal because of the energy needed to run the carbon separation, compressors and other new pollution control devices,” APPA noted. In that regard, Congress should amend some Clean Air Act provisions that disallow some energy-efficiency measures that might diminish the parasitic energy losses at new power plants. APPA said.

Increased water consumption is another “unintended consequence” issue that needs to be explored, APPA said. Preliminary estimates suggest that a future power plant that separates and injects carbon dioxide for geosequestration would use between two and four times the amount of water used at conventional coal plants today.

The committee should continue to delve into the issues surrounding carbon capture and storage “to ensure that we can undertake this new endeavor with clear understanding of our goals and our ability to reach them,” Richardson said.

California initiative aims to build transmission to make renewable energy sources more accessible

The state of California has formed a public-private partnership, including public power utilities, to examine the feasibility of building new transmission lines to access renewable power generation. The Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative is designed to support the state’s mandate of producing 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and the goal of 33% by 2020, the California Energy Commission said.

The initiative will assess all competitive renewable energy zones in California and neighboring states that can provide significant electricity to California consumers by 2020, the CEC said. It also will identify zones that can be developed in the most cost-effective and environmentally benign manner and will prepare detailed transmission plans for those zones. The consortium also plans to rank all renewable-rich resource areas in and around the state to establish transmission construction priorities.

The initiative “will help the municipal utilities gain better access to renewable resources in order to meet both aggressive renewable energy targets and eventual greenhouse gas reduction goals,” said Jim Shetler of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, a member of the project’s coordinating committee.

“The municipal utilities look forward to adding the output of the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative effort to our long-term transmission planning process,” said Bill Carnahan of the Southern California Public Power Authority.

A committee comprised of California entities responsible for ensuring implementation of the state’s renewable energy policies and development of electric infrastructure will supervise the effort, the CEC said. The committee includes representatives of: California Public Utilities Commission, CEC, California Independent System Operator, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Southern California Public Power Authority and the Northern California Power Agency.

More information about the initiative is available at www.energy.ca.gov/reti.
(From Public Power Daily, posted 9.25.07)

Power Plant Construction on Schedule for Spring Completion 
The Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) connected its newest power plant to the statewide transmission grid Saturday as the facility transitions from construction to testing in preparation for serving electric customers.

Treasure Coast Energy Center, a 300 megawatt natural gas power plant, connected to the state’s high-voltage electric transmission grid through a process known as backfeed. This process imports electricity to test the plant’s electrical systems, equipment and wiring. Backfeed will last until commercial operation begins, currently planned in May 2008.

Power from the plant will serve thousands of electric customers in Bushnell, Clewiston, Fort Meade, Fort Pierce, Green Cove Springs, Town of Havana, Jacksonville Beach, Key West, Kissimmee, Lake Worth, Leesburg, Newberry, Ocala, Starke and Vero Beach.

Construction of the $266 million project began in August 2006. Treasure Coast Energy Center is a high-efficiency, natural gas-fired power plant. With its advanced environmental control technologies, the plant will be one of the lowest emission plants in Florida and one of the highest efficiency plants in the state. Treasure Coast Energy Center will be wholly owned by FMPA’s All-Requirements Project, and it will be operated under contract by Fort Pierce Utilities Authority. 
(Posted 09.24.07)

OUC breaks ground on clean coal plant

Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman joined OUC Board President Lonnie Bell and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer as well as representatives from Southern Company and KBR Inc. on Monday to celebrate the groundbreaking for the first-of-its-kind integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plant.

The advanced 285-megawatt unit located at OUC’s Stanton Energy Center will be among the cleanest, most efficient coal-fueled power plants in the world.

“This groundbreaking represents a significant milestone in the President’s Clean Coal Power Initiative, which aims to reduce emissions and improve the efficiency of existing and new coal-based power plants,” Secretary Bodman said.  “Coal is America’s most abundant resource and through a combination of government incentives and private sector support for advanced coal technologies, we are working to further harness America’s technological strength in developing clean, secure, affordable and reliable supplies of energy.”

The Stanton unit, which will help meet OUC’s growing energy needs, will turn coal into synthetic gas for generating electricity, while significantly reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury. It also will produce 20-25 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than our existing pulverized coal plants and consume about half the water required by a pulverized coal plant.

“At OUC, we are proud of our record for environmental stewardship. Each of our plants incorporated the best available environmental technology at the time of construction,” Bell said. “The IGCC project is another important step forward, taking our commitment further by participating in the demonstration of a new, cleaner technology.”

Southern Company will operate the facility through its Southern Power subsidiary, which builds, owns and manages the company’s competitive generation assets. Commercial operation is scheduled for June 2010.
(Posted 09.11.07)

KUA names power plant in honor of Ben Sharma

Former Kissimmee Utility Authority vice president of power supply Abani K. “Ben” Sharma helped unveil a dedication plaque Monday for an electric generating unit named in his honor.

About 50 people, including representatives from the Florida Municipal Electric Association, Florida Municipal Power Agency and Florida Gas Utility, were on hand for the ceremony dedicating Ben Sharma Unit 1.

Sharma retired from KUA on March 31 after 17 years of service. The name designation was formally approved by the utility’s board of directors on April 4.

“Ben Sharma’s contributions to KUA have been numerous, important and enduring,” said KUA president and general manager Jim Welsh. “This is a lasting way for us to recognize his leadership and a fitting tribute to his many years of service to our utility.”

Sharma, 67, spent much of his career in Florida and Georgia, serving as an electrical engineer for Southern Engineering Company of Georgia and planning superintendent for the city of Tallahassee’s electric department before joining KUA in 1989.

Sharma directed the design and construction of the $263 million Cane Island Power Park and held responsibility for its operation and maintenance.

The Ben Sharma Unit 1 is a 40-megawatt simple cycle turbine generator manufactured by General Electric. The unit began commercial operation on January 1, 1995.
(Posted 09.10.07)

Efficiency, advanced technologies could cut U.S. electricity CO2 emissions 45 percent by 2030, EPRI says

To help electricity providers make the large-scale CO2 reductions needed to reverse global warming, the Electric Power Research Institute released The Power to Reduce CO2 Emissions, a discussion paper outlining the technological framework for an efficient research, development and demonstration emissions reduction plan. The paper is the basis for an emissions-reducing action plan to be published by EPRI later this year.

The paper is based on three studies that: determine the electricity sector’s potential for reducing CO2 emissions from a technical perspective; identify the research, development and demonstration steps needed to achieve reductions; assess the economic value of deploying emissions-reducing technology and project the least-cost combination of technologies needed.

Not taking into account economic or policy constraints, the first study analyzes emissions reduction potential of a technology portfolio that includes:

  • end-use energy efficiency
  • renewable energy
  • advanced light water nuclear reactors
  • advanced coal power plants
  • CO2  capture and storage
  • plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
  • distributed energy resources

“The aggressive development and deployment of (these) advanced technologies could reduce U.S. electricity sector CO2 emissions by roughly 45% by 2030,” said the paper, noting that if one or more of the technologies are not available, an even more aggressive deployment of the remaining technologies would be necessary.

Making these technological inroads toward reducing emissions requires a diverse portfolio of advanced technologies, starting now, and a long-term commitment, said the paper.

View The Power to Reduce CO2  Emissions
(From Public Power Daily, posted 08.27.07)