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THIS JOURNAL WILL "TELL IT LIKE IT IS" REGARDING DIFFERENT FORMS OF ENERGY AND THEIR GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS/PROBLEMS

PRES. OBAMA TO ANNOUNCE EPA REGS TO CURB POLLUTION FROM COAL-FIRED UTILITIES

27 May 2014

WASHINGTON – 26 May 2014President Obama is expected to announce on 2 Jun 2014 an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation to cut carbon pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants; In a speech that government analysts all over the world will probably scrutinize to determine how serious the president is about fighting global warming. The regulation will be Pres. Obama’s most forceful effort to reverse 20 years of relative inaction on climate change by the United States, which has stood as the greatest obstacle to international efforts to slow the rise of heat-trapping gases from burning coal and oil that scientists say are the cause of climate warming. Scientists have also warned that collective action, with carbon cuts by all the major economies is essential to achieve the drastic reduction in carbon pollution necessary to stave off the most destructive impacts of global warming.

PRES. OBAMA EARLIER TRIED, WITHOUT SUCCESS, to move a Climate Change bill through Congress in his first term, but even now such legislation would not stand a chance of getting past the resistance of Republican lawmakers who question the science of climate change. So, Pres. Obama is taking a controversial step: He is using his executive authority under the 1970 the Clean Air Act by means of an E.P.A. regulation taking aim at coal-fired power plants, the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution. The new EPA rule comes at a crucial moment in the fraught international effort to slow global warming. In March, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society, released a report warning that human-caused climate change is leading to food and water shortages, extreme heat waves and droughts, rising sea levels, and stronger storms.

IN CHINA THERE IS GREAT ANTICIPATION Mr. Qi Ye, director of the Climate Policy Center at Tsinghua University in China said: “I am closely watching this. This standard is the real test of how serious the Obama climate action plan really is…If the standard is really stringent, that will make a difference in the domestic debate in China,” Mr. Qi added that while he did not expect the Chinese government to publicly comment on the E.P.A. rule, a strong regulation — like one that led to a 20 % cut in coal plant pollution — could stimulate policy changes. “It will have an impact,” The Tsinghua university is one of about half a dozen institutions that the Chinese government has tasked with immediately analyzing the new rule, according to Chinese experts.China and the United States, the world’s two largest economies and greenhouse gas polluters, are locked in a stalemate over global warming. While today China pollutes more than the United States, Chinese officials insist that, as a developing economy, China should not be forced to take carbon-cutting actions. China has demanded that the United States, as the world’s historically largest polluter, go first. Chinese policy experts say that Pres. Obama’s regulation could end that standoff.

IN RUSSIA CLIMATE CHANGE IS SNUBBED Vladimir Milov, former Russian deputy minister of energy and president of the Institute of Energy Policy, a Moscow think tank said: “It (Russia) is a very climate-change-skeptical society.” President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is an open skeptic of climate science; of course, Russia, is one of the world’s largest producers of oil and gas, and so has generally been dismissive of efforts to forge a climate change treaty. Sorry to say, Russia appears to be living in an “isolationist bubble”.

EUROPEAN UNION’s GÜNTER HÖRMANDINGER, Environmental counselor to the European Union delegation in Washington said: “We’re very excited to see the new rule on existing power plants. We see this as absolutely the backbone of U.S. climate strategy…Once it’s out, I will be rushing to understand it and report back to Brussels,” Mr. Hörmandinger, is an Austrian who has spent the past four(4) years studying the Clean Air Act. The European Union, enacted a carbon-cutting policy after the Kyoto Protocol (1997), has been among the critics of the United States’ Climate Change Non-Policy

IN MEXICO SENIOR CLIMATE POLICY ADVISER, MR. MARIO MOLINA said: “I think it can be done legally, going back to the Supreme Court decision that led to US-EPA.’s authority to regulate carbon emissions” Mexico enacted an ambitious climate change law in 2012, and has urged other Latin American nations to pass similar legislation.

IN PERU’S ENVIRONMENT MINISTER, MR.MANUEL PULGAR-VIDAL commented about US Senator Marco Rubio (Florida Republican who is viewed as a potential presidential candidate): “Senator Rubio shows us that there are still people who are skeptical of the science, even though we are already suffering the consequences of climate change…The government faces resistant actors, skepticism from political leaders it’s the same in the international arena”. It is true that Senator Rubio questioned the science of climate warming in May 2014 on ABC News’s “This Week.” (The things an intelligent man will say to follow party line!).

IN SAUDI ARABIA, WORLD”S LARGEST OIL PRODUCER/EXPORTER is paying close attention; They have sought to block global action on climate change; Naturally, all economies that are deeply dependent on producing fossil fuels fear that lowering the global demand for oil and gas presents a grave economic threat.

IN LEBANON, MR. WAEL HMAIDAN, DIRECTOR OF “CLIMATE ACTION NETWORK” said: “Everyone knows that the U.S. is key to achieve any solution to the climate change crisis…Many OPEC countries, who do not want to see the world wean itself from fossil fuels, realize this.”

“THE ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND STATES” ISSUES AN URGENT PLEA Ronald Jean Jumeau, the UN ambassador from the island nation of Seychelles, and a spokesman for the Alliance of Small Island States said: “We are anticipating the rule with more urgency than those in the small island nations that could be threatened if sea levels rise. A series of scientific reports have concluded that as the planet warms, melting polar ice will drive up sea levels two to four feet by the end of the century, threatening the very existence of some of those islands. The path we’re on right now is that our country will disappear…This (ruling)will slow things down and give us more time to adapt and restructure our economies. Taking action now gives us more breathing room”. Sadly, they seem resigned to what many countries will not. Sea-level is rising inexorably, and will continue to accelerate. Entire Island communities, with many centuries of tranquil lives, have already been evacuated. The map of the earth land mass will look very differently 100 years hence. It is already changing dramatically; still, many think that is a transitory phenomenon.  Sorry, it is not.

IN THE USA, KING COAL STRONGLY OPPOSES NEW RULING Chiefly the nation’s coal industrialists, are preparing to fight with lawsuits, and global analysts are assessing/waiting with baited breath to see if the “Clean Air Act US-EPA rule will stand against such attacks.

UNITED NATIONS SUMMIT PLANNED FOR DEC 2014 IN LIMA PERU, leaders from many nations will gather in Lima, Peru at a meeting aimed at drafting a treaty, to be signed in 2015, which would legally bind the world’s major economies to cut their carbon pollution. The goal is to avoid the debacle of the “1997 Kyoto Protocol”, the world’s first attempt to forge a climate change treaty, was effectively rendered null when the United States Senate refused to ratify it. Now, as Pres. Obama exercises his authority under the “Clean Air Act”, governments around the world are taking notice, and are eagerly awaiting to see the new USA EPA coal burning standards.

Thanks to the NY Times for their 26 May 2014 article

 

OUR COMMENT

FINALLY! Pres. Obama will mandate action in compliance with the authority given him under the Clean Air Act. We hope/anticipate EPA will issue standards and regulations to abate airborne and other pollutants released by the some 600 coal-fired utilities in the USA. The shame of it is EPA has known all along who these utilities are but has been unable to elicit voluntary action by these folks to clean up their act. –NO! NO! Not if it costs money, has been their mantra.  There are many technologies available that they could institute and have not. Profit is their only motivation.

Now it is not only the “eyes of Texas”, it is the entire world waiting to see what we (the USA) will do. It is crucial that we do the right thing because carbon output reductions by all the major economies is essential, to begin to impact climate change. Many world economies look upon the USA as a leader. I only regret that by rejecting the Kyoto Accord, we have provided such a bad example for many years. Oh! Yes, all humanity lives upon “spaceship earth” (the blue marble), let us hope we can keep it looking good.

BIG COAL/OIL DON”T CARE  It is to be expected that many coal/oil producing/exporting countries choose to place profit ahead of their social responsibility. They need to reconsider their socio-political stand. Their children (and ours) will ask questions in the future that cannot be answered without a sense of shame. In the USA the Coal cartel is ready to put up a huge legal/political fight; that is too bad, because they will waste money on lawyers, and corrupt politicians in a futile attempt to reverse Presidential and Supreme Court designs, plus the clearly expressed desires of most Americans (see Gallup Poll). The coal Industry would be better-off to spend their profits on extreme coal-fired plant improvements, or transition to Nat Gas, or better yet, start investing in green energy.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

e-mail> gonzedo@yahoo.com

P.S. A huge amount of e-marketing spam has motivated us to shut down our “Comments”. However, if you feel strongly about any issue regarding any recent article, please send us an e-mail, and we will publish it as a comment.

RELATED RECENT ARTICLES

USA SUPREME COURT FINDS AGAINST 27 COAL BURNING STATES’ POLLUTION—30 April 2014;http://energymaters.com/?p=1489

ENGLAND SEVERE AIR POLLUTION SPECIAL DANGER TO CHILDREN AND OTHERS—3 Mar 2014 — #6-2014; http://energymaters.com/p=1471

Gina McCarthy- EPA Admin Was Grilled By Senate Committee on Environment—16 Jan 2014; http://energymaters.com/p=1414

EPA SCHEDULES 11 PUBLIC MEETINGS ON COAL-FIRED UTILITIES NEXT 2 MONTHS —18 OCT 2013—#16-2013; http://energymaters.com/p=1287

US SEC OF ENERGY E. MONIZ “INTERPRETS” THE WHITE HOUSE ENERGY PLAN (NOT REALLY)—31 AUG —#15-2013; http://energymaters.com/p=1278

US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY SECRETARY MONIZ SHOWS HIS TRUE COLORS IN VIENNA—2 JUL 2013—#13-2013; http://energymaters.com/p=1238

GALLUP POLL – UP WITH GREEN ENERGY; DOWN WITH COAL—02 April 2013; http://energymaters.com/?p=1185

And many, many, earlier articles related to coal-fired utilities and the damage they cause to our environment.


May 28, 2014 at 1:11 AM Comment (1)

GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE (GAO) LAMBASTES NITRATES INDUSTRY

21 May 2014

WASHINGTON – The USA government has no way of fully knowing which chemical facilities stock ammonium nitrate, the substance that exploded in 2013 at a Texas fertilizer plant and killed 14 people, congressional investigators say. Outdated federal policies, poor information sharing with states, and a raft of industry exemptions point to scant Federal oversight. About half of the facilities that are in the federal database were located in six states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. They include chemical plants or any location that stores ammonium nitrate, a widely used fertilizer, such as farm supply retailers or fertilizer distribution warehouses. The report found regulatory gaps in environmental and worker protections, and urged broad changes to USA safety rules. Pres Obama pledged to stiffen enforcement following the explosion on April 17, 2013, in the town of West, in Texas. These GAO findings come as a federal working group established by Pres. Obama prepares to submit its report later this month that outlines ways to improve oversight

AMONG GAO’s FINDINGS ARE:

The GAO faulted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for decades-old chemical safety regulations that have failed in large part to cover ammonium nitrate. Facilities that store ammonium nitrate are rarely inspected by OSHA, including the one that blew up in Texas, in part because the agency relies on EPA regulations that do not list ammonium nitrate as a hazardous material. OSHA had put in place some requirements for storing the fertilizer back in the 1970s, but prior to the Texas explosion the agency did not widely publicize them to the fertilizer industry.

HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT’s database captured only a fraction of the ammonium nitrate storage facilities in the U.S. The federal database shows that 1,345 facilities in 47 states store ammonium nitrate. But spot checks of similar state records found that the federal list missed as many as two-thirds of the storage sites, said the report, which faulted companies’ noncompliance, legal loopholes or poor federal coordination with states.

THE NITRATES INDUSTRY often views the rules as applying only if the material were used to make explosives. The audit said the agency may be unwisely granting exemptions to retailers that store and blend fertilizer for direct sale. As a result, prior to last year’s explosion, OSHA had cited just one facility for violations of its ammonium nitrate storage requirements in its more than 40-year history,

Both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are at fault for decades-old chemical safety regulations that have failed in large part to cover ammonium nitrate. Facilities that store ammonium nitrate are rarely inspected by OSHA, including the one that blew up in Texas, in part because the agency relies on EPA regulations that do not list ammonium nitrate as a hazardous material. OSHA had put in place some requirements for storing the fertilizer back in the 1970s, but prior to the Texas explosion the agency did not widely publicize them to the fertilizer industry.(SO – OSHA BLAMES EPA, EPA BLAMES OSHA).

GAO CONCERNED MANY PEOPLE NOW LIVING CLOSE TO EXPLOSIVE DANGER The government audit tracked a month-long reporting effort last year by the AP that drew upon public records in 28 states. The AP investigation found that schools, nursing homes and hospitals were within the potentially devastating blast zones of more than 120 facilities storing ammonium nitrate. In addition, the investigation concluded that the existence of other facilities nationwide remained a mystery due to poor information sharing. (More like “Hush-money” at work).

The EPA, OSHA and the Homeland Security Department generally agreed with the GAO findings. They emphasized that states are not required to report their data to federal agencies, and that new efforts to improve coordination will be spelled out in the coming task force report. OSHA officials also said they were re-evaluating ways to target high-risk facilities for inspection, even with their limited financial resources.

The GAO report noted that U.S. safety standards typically fell short compared to those in Canada, France, Germany and Britain, which in many cases bar the use of wood or other combustible material in ammonium storage facilities.

GAO CONCLUDED:Without improved monitoring, federal regulators will not know the extent to which dangerous conditions at some facilities may continue to exist”.

David Michaels, an assistant Labor Department secretary said defensively: We believe that we have already made significant improvements to reduce the likelihood of ammonium nitrate incidents” (OH YEAH! Does your Mama know where you are?).

FOUR IMPORTANT DEMOCRATIC SENATORS AND TWO REPRESENTATIVES ARE CONCERNED; on 20 May 2014 called the safety lapses “unacceptable”, and in a letter urged Pres. Obama to take action to address GAO’s findings. Signing the letter were chairs or senior members of the relevant congressional committees on labor, environment, or the budget: Rep. George Miller, D-Calif.; Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.; Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn.; Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.; and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. The letter to Pres. Obama said: “Almost every state has communities that are at risk of experiencing a similar disaster…Last year’s devastating ammonium nitrate fertilizer explosion in West, Texas, is a tragic example of what can happen when there are inadequate protections.” GAO also urged Congress to eliminate an annual budget provision that exempts from safety inspections facilities with 10 or fewer employees, which make up about 4% of the 1,345 locations, and others not yet registered.

We are grateful to AP for shining the light of scrutiny on the Nitrates Industry.

OUR TAKE AND COMMENT

The nitrates industry just does not want to see the dangers they impose on nearby populations to save money. The town of West, in Texas is proof of that. What they need is for the EPA and OSHA to knock on their forehead and say: “Hello, anybody home?” Then warn them about their community responsibilities, and threaten them with stiff fines for non-compliance, and liabilities to nearby communities/people; but that, will require the enactment of Federal laws, and EPA/OSHA regulations /standards that are clear, and unambiguous. Democratic Senators and Congressmen have expressed concern, and the Obama administration wants to do something (whatever that may turn out to be) to skirt Republican “Do nothing” intransigence. It would be futile to expect State governments to enact such rules/regulations because clearly they have been lobbied to do nothing for over 40 years.

So, once again it is up to the White House to attempt to get the Nitrates industry monitored/standardized. We wish them good luck!

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

e-mail> gonzedo@yahoo.com

P.S. A huge amount of e-marketing spam has motivated us to shut down our “Comments”. However if you feel strongly about any issue regarding any recent article, please send us an e-mail, and we will publish it as a comment.

 

 

 


May 21, 2014 at 10:38 PM Comments (0)

US-EPA PROPOSES STEPS TO CURB PETROCHEMICAL REFINERIES TOXIC AIR OUTPUT

16 May 2014

WASHINGTON – On 15 May 2014, The USA Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to update the toxic air pollution standards for petroleum refineries to protect neighborhoods located near refineries. After receiving input from stakeholders including community groups, industry and the States. EPA’s common-sense proposal aims to (further) reduce toxic pollution from “flaring” and other processes, and includes new monitoring requirements. PROBLEM IS, AND HAS BEEN that exposure to toxic air pollutants, such as benzene, can cause respiratory problems and other serious health issues, and can increase the risk of developing cancer at/near the approximately 150 petroleum refineries around the USA.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said: “This proposal will help us accomplish our goal of making a visible difference in the health and the environment of communities across the country”. The common-sense steps we are proposing will protect the health of families who live near refineries and will provide them with important information about the quality of the air they breathe”

EPA’S PROPOSAL WOULD (FOR THE FIRST TIME) REQUIRE: (1) monitoring of air concentrations of benzene around the fence-line perimeter of refineries (YES, BUT WHAT ABOUT NEIGHBORHOODS LOCATED NEAR REFINERIES.) to ensure that emissions are controlled, and that these results would be available to the public. (2) upgraded emission controls for storage tanks including controls for smaller tanks; (3) performance requirements for flares (continued burning of waste gases) to ensure that waste gases are properly destroyed; and (4) emissions standards for delayed coking units (fractional distillation units for crude oil that are currently a significant unregulated source of toxic air emissions at refineries).

EPA ESTIMATED TOXIC AIR EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS If/when these proposed updates are fully implemented, including benzene, toluene, and xylene, would be reduced by 5,600 tons per year. Volatile organic compound emissions would be cut by approximately 52,000 tons per year. EPA says “no noticeable impact on cost of petroleum products” These cost-effective steps will have no noticeable impact on the cost of petroleum products at the approximately 150 petroleum refineries around the country. (oh yea! – wait till we hear the petrochemical industry tell it).

EPA IS ISSUING THIS PROPOSAL AS PART OF A PROCESS OUTLINED IN THE CLEAN AIR ACT that requires the agency to evaluate the emissions standards currently in place to determine (1) whether there is any remaining risk to public health or the environment and (2) whether there have been any new developments in practices, processes and control technologies. In a series of recent enforcement cases, EPA has compelled the use of innovative pollution control practices such as flare gas recovery and flare efficiency that are reducing toxic air pollution in communities. These efforts demonstrate that the proposed standards are practical and achievable today. More information about these cases: http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/national-enforcement-initiative-cutting-hazardous-air-pollutants  QUESTION: IF EPA IS ALREADY “COMPELLING” SOME REFINERIES, WHY DO THEY NEED ONE MORE YEAR OF FOOT-DRAGGING TO ENFORCE THE “CLEAN AIR ACT” ON THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY NOW.

EPA will take comment on the proposal for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. The agency plans to hold two (2) public hearings, near Houston and Los Angeles (dates still in consideration) and will finalize the standards in April 2015 (that is nearly a year from now).

OUR TAKE AND COMMENTS:

EPA cannot reasonably expect that the petrochemical industry will look kindly at any change that adds cost to their production. When the EPA says: “steps will have no noticeable impact on the cost of petroleum products” they must mean to the consumer, but that is questionable. Surely it will add many costs to the petrochemical industry.  It should also be considered that the air toxicity in crude oil processing refineries such as those existing/proposed for Port Arthur/Houston area are normally the “killing kind” (or at least life altering); Unfortunately, more so to those producing it. Refineries have never shown any concern for the long term health of their employees, let alone the residents of nearby neighborhoods these industrialists are exceptionally greedy, slow to change, and indifferent to the airborne, and other pollution they create. Pray say: what would they do with even more truly nasty pollutants removed from the Keystone heavy crude? Probably what they do now – As little as possible. Regrettably the Texas coast from Corpus Christi north to Beaumont is already heavily polluted by Industrial or petrochemical pollution, or both.

TEXAS IS THE USA’s LARGEST GREEN HOUSE GAS PRODUCER. The dirty-air fact is that Texas was the only state in 2010 that refused to meet New US-EPA greenhouse gas emission rules, placing some of the nation’s largest refineries in operational limbo. The US-EPA, in an effort to ensure those facilities could continue to operate, had been issuing permits piece-meal since 2011.

Regrettably, EPA has already granted the State of Texas authority to regulate its own green house gasses (GHGs) in 2014 when they conceded authority to the “Texas Commission on Environmental Quality  (TCEQ)”. In 2013 Texas state legislature approved a law giving the TCEQ the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Speaking for the EPA, on 4 Feb 2014 Mr.Curry said: “US-EPA and the TCEQ began working to develop a program that would meet federal requirements. Initially, Texas had wanted to have a six-month turn-around on all permits, but the US-EPA refused to put a cap on how long it would take to issue a permit; Curry added: “The state also wanted to include a hearing process in its program, but the federal agency declined; In addition, Texas had to establish appropriate emission thresholds. Once those and several other issues were resolved we were able to shift authority to Texas, though the US-EPA will periodically review this program It’s a program that the state(Texas) will have forever as long as it operates correctly” As long as it operates correctly?-  Say what?; Who will determine that?- Oil/other Industrialists, of course!

TCEQ RUBBED IT IN: “We do not agree with the US-EPA’s move to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, but will follow the direction of the (Texas) Legislature so that permits can be issued in a timely manner, and to continue the successes of the strong Texas economy”. Naturally, they do not want anyone looking over their shoulder as they connive with their mentors.

SO WHY IS EPA GOING THROUGH THESE MOTIONS? We suppose they are just following a preconceived plan even when they know what to expect. Still, we hope a sufficient number of citizens impacted will attend the forthcoming hearings. Frankly it seems to us EPA is foot-dragging on this very important health issue to give the Big-Oil/Industrialists a break for as long as possible, with no real regard for the immediacy of the toxic air pollution to our people; specially in California, and Texas. It will be interesting to see the differences expressed between California (a leader in pollution controls), and its antithesis: Texas.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

e-mail> gonzedo@yahoo.com

P.S. A huge amount of e-marketing spam has motivated us to shut down our “Comments”. However if you feel strongly about any issue regarding any recent article, please send us an e-mail, and we will publish it as a comment.

 


May 16, 2014 at 4:22 AM Comments (0)

US-DOE ANNOUNCES OFF-SHORE WIND AND HYDRO-POWER ENERGY PROJECTS

9 May 2014 

PIONEERING OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY PROTOTYPE DEMONSTRATIONS

Washington, On 7 May 2014 the US Department of Energy (US-DOE) announced the selection of three (3) pioneering offshore wind demonstrations to receive up to $47 million each over the next four (4) years to deploy innovative, grid-connected systems in federal and state waters by 2017. These projects – located off the coast of New Jersey, Oregon, and Virginia will help speed the deployment of more efficient offshore wind power technologies. In USA waters by 2017. The projects selected are:

“FISHERMEN’S ENERGY” will install five ea. 5- megawatt (Mw) direct-drive wind turbines approximately three (3) miles off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. This project will utilize an innovative, USA-developed “twisted-jacket foundation” that is simpler and less expensive to manufacture and install than traditional offshore wind foundations.

PRINCIPLE POWERwill install five (5) ea. 6-Mw direct-drive wind turbines approximately 18 miles off the coast of Coos Bay Oregon. The USA-developed WindFloat semi-submersible floating foundation will be installed in water more than 1,000 feet deep, demonstrating an innovative approach to “deep water wind turbine” projects and lowering costs by simplifying installation and eliminating the need for highly specialized ships.

“DOMINION VIRGINIA POWER”will install two (2) 6-Mw direct-drive wind turbines 26 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach(an independent city located in the U.S. State of Virginia – population about 500,000, and located on the Atlantic coast ) utilizing a USA-designed twisted jacket foundation. Dominion’s project will demonstrate installation, operation and maintenance methods for wind turbines located far from shore. Additionally, the Dominion project will install and test a hurricane-resilient design.

DOE’s efforts to incentivize innovative “offshore wind technologies” support the Obama Administration’s comprehensive National Offshore Wind Strategy to develop a sustainable, world-class offshore wind industry. As part of that strategy, the DOE continues to work with partners within the government, including the Department of the Interior (DOI), to conduct further resource assessments, streamline the issuance of permits, and overcome technical and market challenges to installation, operations, and grid connection.

US-DOE REPORT FINDS POTENTIAL TO DOUBLE USA HYDROPOWER GENERATION

DOE at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory on April 29, 2014 released aNew Stream-reach Development Assessmentrenewable energy resource (green energy) assessment detailing the potential to develop new electric power generation in waterways across the United States. The report estimates that over 65,000 Mw of potential new hydropower development opportunities exist. (Just think of it! That amount of power is the equivalent output to about 55 Nuclear Power Plants ,or a heap of Coal-fired generators) more USA rivers and streams (nearly equivalent to the current USA hydropower capacity). Hydropower currently makes up 7% of total USA electricity generation, and continues to be the USA’s largest source of renewable electricity. The New Stream-reach Development Assessment” capitalizes on recent advancements in geospatial mapping (datasets), and represents the most detailed evaluation of USA hydropower potential of underutilized streams and rivers to date.

ADVANTAGE OF HYDRO-POWER is that it provides reliable “baseload” power (day and night) providing greater flexibility and diversity to the electric grid and allowing utilities to integrate other renewable sources such as wind and solar power; as such, greatly complements other green energy sources.

GREATEST POTENTIAL FOR HYDROPOWER IN USA was found in western states, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Kansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming led the rest of the country in new stream-reach hydropower potential.

OUR TAKE AND COMMENTS

FOLKS, WE HAVE MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT THIS APPARENTLY GREAT INITIATIVE based on past experience with government “stimulated” projects. The worst case scenario was the great “Solyndra Fiasco”, where the then new Obama administration forked out about $535 Mil on a huge solar power-plant initiative that went “belly-up” without showing any appreciable results. The G.W. Bush Administration’s intentions were great, but I fear that the contractual language left a great deal to be desired. The Contractor just kept-on milking the project, even when they had nothing to show for their efforts.

WHEN DEALING WITH CONTRACTORS, Government Contract Administrators /Agents must be made accountable for their decisions /results; That is not so hard to do if they require timelines, milestones charts, and include added incentives for timely/expedited performance, and penalty in payment for delay/failure to show results. The contractor’s song and dance is usually: Well…we are treading new grounds/waters, and prototype development is uncertain at best”, then they will seek “time and materials” (that is the pits) such terms usually produces nothing but studies and expenses by the Contractor, and his friends who get invited to the “money trough” and is an assurance of failure, remember Solyndra ? These days of financial austerity we cannot afford such  fiascos. I only wish we were party to the contract language. Then our public would know if these noble intentions are in earnest. Truth be told, our country, and the world is in great need of such green energy developments. The contractual die is already cast, I only hope it is a good one.

ANTICIPATED TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

Aside from the yet unproven turbine anchoring technical challenges, other concerns such as how do we connect wind energy to land? It will take (in the Coos Bay Oregon an 18 mile underwater cable of sufficient amperage to conduct the energy generated. Then there is the task of integrating that energy to the grid. Problem is the grid is not always accessible where needed. That challenge has stymied land-based wind turbines that are almost always far from the grids. A very similar problem can be anticipated by Hydropower developers – where to hook up to the grid. Hydropower development is simply a must because it provides power 24 hours a day (“baseline” power generation). Hydropower was our first form of power generation, and a proven winner; however, there is the “Grid”problem…

WHO SHOULD PAY FOR THE GRID? Problem is: no one sees it as their responsibility to enhance the grid for the benefit of others. Like India, we are hurt by regionalization of dissimilar interests. That challenge is why the German government found it necessary years ago to centrally require grid improvements which are already beginning to bear fruit. Of course, Germany’s land mass is a lot smaller than that of India or the USA; Even so, The USA must act now. “Green energy” brings with it the need for our party government to work together. That is not going to happen quite simply because our Republican led Congress is more interested in the tragic events of Bengazi more than 2 years ago. I find it a testament to Republican party lack of personal integrity in government. House majority Leader John Boehner will be judged very harshly by history for his obstructionism. We should start a move to erect a statue to Boehner and TX Gov Rick Perry here in Texas, where the pigeons are certain to sh-t on their head. I nominate San Antonio, TX, and promise to feed the pigeons.

Even so, we commend the Obama administration for attempting to circumvent our Washington government gridlock (pun-intended). We need this, let’s make it work. The eyes of Texas, and the world are upon us, we cannot fail! for the sake of doing all we can, both large and small, to combat global warming and air pollution. It is killing us slowly.

Your Friend in Texas,

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

P.S. – I worked for the USA Gov. as an AF contract administrator for many years.


May 9, 2014 at 12:01 AM Comments (2)