Page 1 of 10 12345678910 LastLast
Results 1 to 50 of 496

Thread: DFW: The Green Thread

  1. #1
    Mega-Tall Skyscraper Member BigD5349's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Uptown
    Posts
    3,115

    DFWU-7 DFW: The Green Thread





    It's hard for me to detect much interest in this region related to advancing the concept of sustainable communities and protection of the environment. I think these issues are over-looked here, because people still regard climate change as an issue reserved for tree-hugging liberals.

    I thought maybe we could start up a thread for these issues so that we can discuss them in more depth. It would be great to hear more of the success stories, in addition to the problems.

    Here's a story from today's DMN, an example of what I consider to be a big step backwards.

    Political winds favor coal, not N. Texas air
    State hastening permits for plants, relaxing oversight for pollution

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...l.19e084a.html

    11:56 PM CDT on Monday, July 10, 2006
    By RANDY LEE LOFTIS / The Dallas Morning News

    As Texas power companies lead the nation's biggest shift to burning cheaper coal instead of cleaner natural gas, holes have opened in the system intended to protect Texans from dirty air.

    Sixteen new coal-burning units all upwind of the already-smoggy Dallas-Fort Worth area during the summer are either permitted or awaiting approval by state regulators working under Gov. Rick Perry's order to put the permits on the fast track.

    Final rulings on the permits are months away. Already, however, state officials have made decisions that are likely to allow more pollution from coal, the dirtiest fuel for generating power.

    They have also decided, at least for now, not to include the new coal plants in a federally ordered clean-air plan to protect urban North Texas' 5.9 million people.

    Critics say that means the new coal plants are probably headed to state approval with high-level political support but minimal public oversight.

    "I think it should be considered criminal," said state Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, the only legislator who attended a public meeting on smog that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the state environmental agency, held last month in Irving.

    "I have watched this agency and its predecessors for 25 years, and I have yet to see it work for the people instead of the polluters," said Mr. Burnam, a five-term representative who's one of the House's few liberal members and a longtime supporter of tougher environmental protection.

    The environmental commission didn't respond directly to Mr. Burnam's statement. Spokeswoman Lisa Wheeler said the agency will give an update on its efforts Thursday in testimony before the state Senate Natural Resources Committee. The public hearing is set for 10 a.m. in Room 6ES of Dallas City Hall.

    It's apparent, though, that the biggest expansion of coal plants in Texas history is moving faster than the state's air quality rules, its still-unwritten smog plan or even public awareness can catch up.

    With that in mind, environmental groups urged the governor to declare a moratorium on new power plant permits. When they launched that campaign in January, seven new coal-burning units were proposed upwind of Dallas-Fort Worth. Since then, the number has more than doubled.

    Instead of applying the brakes, Mr. Perry has kept the new permits on a fast track under an Oct. 31 executive order that cuts the public review period for the permits from about a year to six months.

    Easing off
    Four policy decisions by the state environmental agency, whose commissioners are Perry appointees, have reduced pressure on power companies to cut emissions. Some are new, while others reflect long-standing practice:

    Power companies will not be required to prove that pollution from each new coal plant would not make the Dallas-Fort Worth area's smog worse. Federal law requires such proof, but Texas rules do not. One commission member has questioned whether the Texas rules are legal.

    State officials won't calculate total emissions from the new plants before deciding how much each may emit. Instead, they will treat each as if it were the only one being built. That prevents the state from using permits to control the coal boom's cumulative effect on North Texas smog.

    The state will not make power companies consider new technology that might slash emissions of smog-causing pollution and global-warming gases. That decision was based on a controversial policy memo from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that environmental groups have blasted as illegal and are suing to stop.

    The state has decided, at least for now, that new and existing power plants outside the nine-county Dallas-Fort Worth area will not have to reduce their pollution as part of a new plan to clean up the urban area's smog. The environmental commission's own staff has said a strictly local smog plan won't work because they can't identify enough local emissions to cut.

    Even before the proposed new plants, urban North Texas' air had too much ozone a chemical that gives smog its lung-scarring, eye-burning quality for children, asthmatics and the sick or elderly to breathe safely, especially during the summer.

    16 units planned
    In the past two years, six energy companies have filed permit applications for 16 new coal-burning units. Nearly all are in Texas' eastern half, home to big deposits of Texas lignite, the dirtiest-burning coal. Many of the new units would burn cleaner coal from Wyoming.

    Dallas-based TXU, already the state's biggest electricity generator, had proposed three new coal units when it announced eight more on April 20, for a total of 11 new units more than any other utility. TXU says it's a good deal for customers and shareholders because burning coal is relatively cheap dragging down overall Texas electricity prices and produces big profits.

    In the first quarter of 2006, TXU earned $576 million, in part because of those strong margins.

    All but two of the 16 new units from all the companies would be upwind of Dallas-Fort Worth during the summer smog season, boosting worries about pollution.

    However, TXU also voluntarily promised to cut its overall pollution from coal by 20 percent, even after adding its new plants. The company hasn't specified how it would do that. According to an analysis by The Dallas Morning News, about one-third of the reduction is already mandated by a new federal clean-air rule starting in 2009.

    Other companies with coal plans haven't made that pledge.

    The coal boom in general, and TXU's $10 billion strategy in particular, has high-level support. Mr. Perry came to Dallas to stand beside TXU executives when they announced their new plants.

    That appearance by the governor didn't translate as a direct order to approve the permits, said one state regulator, but it was clear that the coal plants were a high priority.

    "The governor's office is not calling every day asking, 'Where are the permits?' " said Erik Hendrickson, who heads the team reviewing the permits at the environmental commission. "You don't have to tell seasoned staff that this is important."

    TXU also has heard encouraging words from Richard Greene, regional administrator for the EPA. At a June 23 seminar organized by the Press Club of Dallas, Mr. Greene praised TXU's emissions pledge.

    "That's a pretty compelling case of industry saying, 'We understand,' " Mr. Greene said at the seminar on North Texas transportation and clean air. "We will hold them to that standard. If all pans out as expected, they'll get their permits."

    There's no direct link between the emissions pledge and the permits, since the cuts are a voluntary move by TXU. A review of the company's permit applications shows, and state officials confirm, that the applications don't mention the 20 percent cut and don't have to in order to win approval.

    The state, not the EPA, decides whether to grant the permits. All the federal agency can do is to object if it finds a problem.

    TXU welcomed Mr. Greene's praise. "We are very proud of that 20 percent commitment," spokeswoman Kimberly Morgan said. "We're drawing a line in the sand for other companies in Texas."



    One prominent Texas environmental organizer said the EPA shouldn't prejudge a permit fight.


    "It's sounding to me like the deal's already done," said Tom "Smitty" Smith, head of the Texas office of Public Citizen.

    No smog studies needed
    To understand how the Texas environmental commission might handle the new coal plant permits, it's helpful to see how it's handled other recent ones.

    The state has forced some lower emissions than a company requested. Other decisions, however, benefited power companies and blocked their opponents.

    In the case of New Jersey-based LS Power's Sandy Creek plant near Waco, the commission decided that it would not require power companies to assess a new plant's potential effect on a nearby smoggy area in this instance, Dallas-Fort Worth.

    Lawyers for plant opponents said the state ignored the federal Clean Air Act. The act requires a demonstration, backed by scientific evidence, that a new plant won't cause or worsen an urban clean-air violation.

    The state-federal discrepancy bothered Larry Soward, one of two Perry appointees now on the commission. The third seat is vacant.

    Mr. Soward agreed at a May 17 commission meeting that Texas rules don't require the smog study. But he said he was worried that the state wasn't following federal law.

    "I don't think that our rules require the demonstration that the Clean Air Act says is supposed to be done," he said. "To me, the Clean Air Act is clear that it says that each new source has to do this demonstration and that our rules don't require that."

    Still, Mr. Soward voted with commission Chairwoman Kathleen Hartnett White to grant LS Power's permit since the company followed state rules.

    The commission's executive director, Glenn Shankle, told people at the public meeting in Irving that the agency would apply to the other new coal plants now awaiting permits the same standard that bothered Mr. Soward. They won't be required to demonstrate that their pollution wouldn't harm Dallas-Fort Worth's air.

    Despite the lack of a requirement, TXU did such a smog study anyway to defend the permits for its proposed two-unit Oak Grove coal plant in Robertson County. TXU says it doesn't plan to do similar smog studies for its other pending permits.

    A consultant for TXU testified in a hearing that the Oak Grove plant wouldn't affect Dallas-Fort Worth's air quality. But Dr. David Allen, a leading air pollution expert at the University of Texas at Austin, testified that it would.

    TXU's consultant, Environ Corp., is also the environmental commission's consultant on regional smog studies. Environmentalists say the dual role is a conflict of interest.

    Environ spokesman Dave Souter said there was no conflict. He said Environ's work for public and private clients in Texas depends on its scientific integrity.

    Individual assessment
    Although the coal boom represents the biggest package of major new permits in Texas in more than a decade, the environmental commission doesn't plan to assess its total effect on Dallas-Fort Worth before it issues permits for the individual plants.

    Instead, it is evaluating each permit on its own, as if it were the only one up for approval. The agency is sticking to that position despite pointed questions from members of the public.

    "I'm not telling you that we've closed the door" to a more comprehensive approach, Mr. Shankle told North Texas residents at the meeting in Irving. But for now, he said, "they are being handled as individual units."

    Critics say that defies reason. The state could easily add up all the pollution the companies are requesting, they say, to get a worst-case scenario.

    "It's not about achieving clean air," said Mr. Burnam, the Fort Worth legislator. "The whole permitting process is about allowing pollution in the air for economic gain."

    The LS Power case also showed that the environmental commission was unwilling to force new technology into the giant Texas power market.

    Environmentalists wanted the state to make LS Power consider using a new technology, integrated gasification combined cycle, at its new plant near Waco.

    Utilities say the technology is unproven. If it works, however, it would yield much lower emissions and would open the door to keeping greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere.

    The state environmental commission ruled in December that it wouldn't make LS Power or, by extension, any other utility consider the new technology for new plants. The commission cited a Dec. 13 letter from an EPA official to a coal industry consultant that said the federal agency would not require gasification studies in coal plants' permits.

    Since states can go beyond the EPA's requirements, Texas could have decided on its own to require plants to study the newer pollution control for Texas permits.

    Meanwhile, national and Midwestern environmental groups call the EPA position an illegal regulatory decision made with no public notice. They're suing to overturn it.

    The smog control plan
    The last backstop for cleaning up coal is the new Dallas-Fort Worth smog plan that's in the works.

    It's a more comprehensive approach than individual permitting, since it can result in orders for whole industries to cut emissions. It also involves regionwide controls, since pollution drifts in from other areas.

    For the new North Texas smog plan, however, the state is examining only sources within the Dallas-Fort Worth area for possible emissions cuts.

    The agency says that's the best policy because local vehicles are a big part of the problem. It's also true that a local emissions cut does more good than a distant one.

    "First we have to challenge the nine-county [Dallas-Fort Worth] area," Mr. Shankle said at the public meeting in Irving. "I think that's only practical."

    But state studies show that distant power plant emissions are adding to Dallas-Fort Worth's smog and that strictly local measures won't be enough.

    So far, the state's studies don't account for the new plants. That means the new plants' total effect on North Texas smog is unknown.

    Environmental groups think that's a recipe for failure. "When do these emissions get included?" said Ramon Alvarez, staff scientist in the Austin office of Environmental Defense.

    State drafts on many of the new plants' permits might be out in September. Under Mr. Perry's fast-track order, that could set final commission votes on them as early as March a month before the commission could vote on the new smog plan.

    Staff writer Elizabeth Souder contributed to this report.
    Last edited by CTroyMathis; 04 August 2008 at 08:01 PM. Reason: Logothingie inserted. . .

  2. #2
    High-Rise Member Rob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    895
    I saw that this morning... the seeming lack of interest in keeping this area clean and all that is a big deal for me. It's to the point where I'm wondering if I could live here long-term. After going up to Vancouver last year and spending time in New Zealand recently, I was shocked at how places with lots of natural beauty are so much more interested in preserving it. I wish that was the case here. I'm trying to do my part, and lots of other people are too, but when it comes time to trying to get more people on board than not, we're a long ways off - and politicians like this aren't helping.

  3. #3
    Mega-Tall Skyscraper Member BigD5349's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Uptown
    Posts
    3,115
    Wow. Cool.


    Dallas, Houston mayors gear up to fight coal plants
    Dallas Business Journal - 1:49 PM CDT Tuesdayby Margaret AllenStaff Writer

    http://dallas.bizjournals.com/dallas...ml?jst=b_ln_hl

    In a move pitting Texas cities against utility companies, Dallas Mayor Laura Miller and Houston Mayor Bill White have penned a letter urging mayors of other big cities to fight dirty technology proposed for 17 new coal-fired power plants in the state.

    The plants are being fast-tracked through the state's pollution review process with the special blessing of Gov. Rick Perry. That process can typically take more than a year, but TXU Corp. aims to have 11 of its new coal-fired generating units operating within four years.

    Miller sent a memo to 45-50 mayors of large Texas cities at the end of last week asking for $10,000 from each city to help hire a law firm to intervene before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Houston's White has agreed to spearhead the effort, the letter states. It also says Houston and Dallas will handle organizational work and hiring of consultants.

    Coal coming
    Across Texas, seven power companies have applied to the TCEQ to build an unprecedented 17 new coal-fired power plants in Texas over the next few years. TXU is proposing 11 new generating units, all at existing power plant sites.

    Many of the proposed power plants are near North Texas, including several around Waco in Central Texas and in Fannin County, northeast of Dallas. The largest is a 1,720 megawatt coal-fired power plant proposed by Dallas-based TXU Corp. in Robertson County, about 120 miles southeast of Dallas.

    Emissions from those plants could further foul North Texas air, but whether they would add significant amounts of pollutants here is under debate. TXU has argued that the plants won't have a significant impact on North Texas air quality.

    Emission concerns
    Local political leaders fear the plants could add tons of pollution annually to North Texas, which already is losing a long-running battle to meet federal clean air standards.

    In her letter, Miller cites figures that the new plants each year would spew: 30,000 tons of smog-producing nitrogen oxide, or NOx; more than 115 million tons of carbon dioxide, or CO2, which contributes to global warming; and nearly 4,000 pounds of toxic mercury.

    Miller said she'd like to have at least 40 cities participate in order to raise the estimated legal and research costs of $300,000 to $500,000.

    "Formal intervention means providing the TCEQ with thoughtful alternatives, expert testimony and sworn depositions of fact. This can be done, with the help of outside consultants who do this for a living," wrote Miller.

    The goal isn't to have the permits denied, said Miller. Instead, the hope is to force the utility companies to use modern, clean technology, some of which could cut emissions by 60% to 90%, she said.

    Frank Librio, Miller's chief of staff, said Miller garnered early support for the idea at a statewide global-warming summit last week hosted by Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck, a leading regional advocate of stemming global warming.
    Last edited by BigD5349; 11 July 2006 at 04:06 PM.

  4. #4
    Skyscraper Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,608
    If everyone would change to greenmountian we would not have this problem

  5. #5
    the-young-and-the-bright RobertB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Official Mesquito
    Posts
    6,049
    Lon Burnam totally rocks. I wish he'd abandon the corporate party and come over to our side, but Texas' ballot-access hurdles ensure that the only sure way onto the ballot is to side with one of the schoolyard bullies.

    That said, I'd heard that these are supposed to be the next generation of coal-fired plants, greener than all get-out. But even if that's true, it'll only *stay* true if environmental activists keep the heat turned up, so to speak.
    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals... Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. - B. Obama 1/20/09

  6. #6
    High-Rise Member Rob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    895
    Quote Originally Posted by Boredkid
    If everyone would change to greenmountian we would not have this problem
    More accurately, if everyone was willing to incur the extra costs associated with the hydro or wind plans, we woudn't be having this problem.

  7. #7
    Sweet Communion Agnus Dei's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Dear Chicago,
    Posts
    585
    When I read what La Miller and co. were doing, I was pleasantly surprised! It's a step in the right direction. If people would hold their politicians' feet to the fire on environemntal issues like they do with others, this wouldn't be such a rarity. *crosses fingers*
    ...these devils of yours they need love
    Come and kneel with me Body and Soul...

  8. #8
    Some guy
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    In the downtown freeway loop
    Posts
    4,418
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob
    More accurately, if everyone was willing to incur the extra costs associated with the hydro or wind plans, we woudn't be having this problem.

    Actually, Green Mountain and TXU charge the same rates. If more people knew of this, I think that more than the less than 1% of Texas electricity would be provided by renewable resources. I use Green Mountain

    Big D, thanks for posting that article about the mayors fighting the coal plants. I was more resigned to it this morning, but that picked my spirits up somewhat. I hope those a-holes get whats coming to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigD5349
    Frank Librio, Miller's chief of staff, said Miller garnered early support for the idea at a statewide global-warming summit last week hosted by Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck, a leading regional advocate of stemming global warming.
    Yet he is mayor of the largest city without a mass transit system, forcing people into cars, the single largest source of CO2, the gas that fuels global warming, in the country.
    Last edited by FoUTASportscaster; 11 July 2006 at 08:51 PM.

  9. #9
    is gone.
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    77023
    Posts
    5,254
    You know we wouldn't have this problem if people didn't freak out about nuclear power.

  10. #10
    High-Rise Member Rob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    895
    Quote Originally Posted by FoUTASportscaster
    Actually, Green Mountain and TXU charge the same rates. If more people knew of this, I think that more than the less than 1% of Texas electricity would be provided by renewable resources. I use Green Mountain
    Just because you use Green Mountain doesn't mean you're getting green energy. They have coal plans like everyone else - they also have wind and hydro-electric and mixed plans. The green plans cost more than the coal plans - hence my comment about people needing to be "willing to incur the extra costs associated with the hydro or wind plans."

    There are lots of providers out there who are cheaper than all of them, but not as green. When I started getting $180.00+ electric bills for an 1,100 square foot loft, I switched to Gexa, who promises to always remain a certain percentage cheaper than TXU and Reliant, even if the rates go up and gives me advantage miles each time I pay my bill. (and no I don't work for them) The first month I got my bill it was around $50.00 less. Before I left Green Mountain they offered to switch me over to a coal plan to save some on my bill, the internal switch wasn't much of a difference, but the difference between them and another provider was more substantial.

    It might not be that extreme in every situation, but for me, at that point in time, the extra cost associated with clean energy, was about $50.00 a month give or take - which I wasn't okay with at the time. If rates (which are sky-high at the present) go back down some, I'll happily go back to Green Mountain. At least this was my experience. I plan on re-evaluating Gexa and Green Mountain later in the year, maybe early next year, and seeing what it's like at that point to see if I'm willing to go back to the wind plan.
    Last edited by Rob; 11 July 2006 at 10:32 PM.

  11. #11
    High-Rise Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    511
    Quote Originally Posted by FoUTASportscaster
    Yet he is mayor of the largest city without a mass transit system, forcing people into cars, the single largest source of CO2, the gas that fuels global warming, in the country.
    If I'm not mistaken, thats the citizens of Arlingtons fault not his. The city government put the issue up for voting, and the voters shot it down. Democracy is a double edged sword

  12. #12
    High-Rise Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    511
    Quote Originally Posted by Boredkid
    If everyone would change to greenmountian we would not have this problem
    Hmmmm, I read somewhere the greenmountain was a lying sham. Was that TXU propiganda or something?

  13. #13
    High-Rise Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    511
    Quote Originally Posted by UrbanLandscape
    You know we wouldn't have this problem if people didn't freak out about nuclear power.
    Damn hippies.

  14. #14
    Incoherent Rambler grantboston's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Palo Alto, CA
    Posts
    1,297
    There is an interesting series of articles in this week's Newsweek about the "Greening" of America.

    It mentions the advent of green skyscrapers (which infers the embracing of LEED standards) and cities that are devoted to alternative energy, including Austin. Worth a read:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13768213/site/newsweek/

  15. #15
    the-young-and-the-bright RobertB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Official Mesquito
    Posts
    6,049
    I saw "organic cotton" T-shirts at Wal-Mart last week, so apparently "green" is the new "black".

    (I didn't buy one. For one thing, the only honestly green thing about Wal-Mart is the pesticide labels. For another, there's contoversy over just how organic the cotton is -- see the discussion of "organic" cotton vs. hemp clothing at the Megatokyo site. Now, if Wal-Mart were to set up a display of hemp-fiber shirts, I'd think about it. And if the first thing you thought of was lighting the sleeves, you're part of the problem.)
    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals... Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. - B. Obama 1/20/09

  16. #16
    Skyscraper Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,608
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob
    Just because you use Green Mountain doesn't mean you're getting green energy. They have coal plans like everyone else - they also have wind and hydro-electric and mixed plans. The green plans cost more than the coal plans - hence my comment about people needing to be "willing to incur the extra costs associated with the hydro or wind plans."
    You you pick you plan. I use 100% wind which is one of the most expensive plan. Looking at bill now... On peak I pay 15.8391 per kWh. Off peak is 13.9291.

  17. #17
    Some guy
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    In the downtown freeway loop
    Posts
    4,418
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob
    Just because you use Green Mountain doesn't mean you're getting green energy. They have coal plans like everyone else - they also have wind and hydro-electric and mixed plans. The green plans cost more than the coal plans - hence my comment about people needing to be "willing to incur the extra costs associated with the hydro or wind plans."

    There are lots of providers out there who are cheaper than all of them, but not as green. When I started getting $180.00+ electric bills for an 1,100 square foot loft, I switched to Gexa, who promises to always remain a certain percentage cheaper than TXU and Reliant, even if the rates go up and gives me advantage miles each time I pay my bill. (and no I don't work for them) The first month I got my bill it was around $50.00 less. Before I left Green Mountain they offered to switch me over to a coal plan to save some on my bill, the internal switch wasn't much of a difference, but the difference between them and another provider was more substantial.
    It is apparent that you haven't been informed of the latest. First, and this has always been the case, Green Mountain uses lower pollution sources. Hydro and Wind make up their supply the majority of their supply. From their website

    Quote Originally Posted by greenmountain.com
    What does change when you buy Green Mountain Energy electricity is how your power is generated. Green Mountain Energy electricity comes from cleaner sources such as wind, solar, hydro and natural gas.** Just by buying Green Mountain Energy electricity, you can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution your home would normally produce.
    There are three plans. The first is clean energy, which comes from wind and hydro. It is priced with the market average against TXU. That is the plan I am on. Another is the same combo of wind and water with the rate locked in for 12 months. And the last is 100% wind. It is a little higher, but doesn't pollute or depend on Hydro. Here is the details from their website.

    Quote Originally Posted by greenmountain.com
    What products are available to choose from?
    In Texas, We offer three great Green Mountain Energy electricity products.

    Pollution Freesm - With Green Mountain Energy Company's Pollution Free product, you can purchase 100% pollution-free electricity made from wind and water. By buying Pollution Free electricity instead of typical system power for one year, a Texas household with an average monthly usage of 1,000 kWh can prevent over 1,700 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution-- as much as your car makes in almost 2,000 miles of driving. This is a significant reduction in the average American household's share of CO2 emissions.

    Pollution Freesm - Reliable Rate - With Green Mountain Energy Company's Pollution Free-Reliable Rate product, you can purchase 100% pollution-free electricity made from wind and water. By purchasing this product you lock in your rate for 12 months, protecting you from price increases. By buying Pollution Free electricity instead of typical system power for one year, a Texas household with average monthly usage of 1,000 kWh can prevent over 1,700 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution-- as much as your car makes in almost 2,000 miles of driving. This is a significant reduction in the average American household's share of CO2 emissions.

    100% Wind - We also offer a 100% Wind product, featuring electricity generated entirely from new renewable wind resources. By purchasing Green Mountain Energy Company's 100% Wind product for a year, a Texas household could avoid contributing over 17,000 pounds of (CO2) into our air -- as much as your car makes in almost 20,000 miles of driving. This is a significant reduction in the average American household's share of CO2 emissions.
    As you can see, there is no competitive advantage of using pollution producing electricity over clean energy.
    Last edited by FoUTASportscaster; 12 July 2006 at 09:08 PM.

  18. #18
    High-Rise Member Rob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    895
    It's entirely possible that I'm wrong, or underinformed, or was misinformed. My experience went like this...

    After being a customer for 2.5 years, I called green mountain early this year because my bill jumped about 75% in one month. When I told them that I was looking for other providers because that huge increase wasn't acceptable, the first thing they suggested to lower my bill was to take me off of their green plan for one that wasn't clean (the guy on the phone's word, not mine) and I'd only get a modest savings . So I switched to Gexa.

    Even at Gexa which I have now, I pay 12.5 for their regular old plan... where the Gexa Green is 14.8 - which I would think suggests that there is a competitive advantage of using pollution producing electricity over clean energy.

    When I first signed up for Green Mountain's 100% wind 3 years ago, it was under 10 cents per kw/h. Energy, as with oil, has jumped enormously over the last couple of years. Of course, I also read a few months back that Texas residents were getting hosed compared to the national average...

    If it goes back down a little bit, I'll switch back to Green Mountain or more likely, I'll move change to Gexa Green - because in the end I'm all about keeping things more green. I recycle like crazy, I walk to work most of the time, I clean my fridge coils, I re-sealed all of my windows and doors, and so on... but for now, almost $200.00 a month is ridiculous for a 1,100 square foot loft. So after calling around 10 providers, I went with the cheapest one. I could find.

    Additionally, the rate I had when I originally signed up with Green Mountain was a fixed rate that did not employ the use of peak months versus non-peak months. The 75% jump in my bill that I alluded to, was because Green Mountain had simply stripped me of that agreement because prices had been going up. They refused to give me any locked rate. This was another reason I switched. Gexa wouldn't give a locked rate either, but they promised to remain a certain percent cheaper than TXU and Reliant.
    Last edited by Rob; 12 July 2006 at 11:17 PM.

  19. #19
    Administrator dfwcre8tive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    7,650
    Miller pushes cities to rein in coal plants
    11:21 PM CDT on Wednesday, July 12, 2006
    From Staff Reports


    Dallas Mayor Laura Miller is rallying dozens of Texas cities to push cleaner environmental technologies as utility companies plan the largest expansion of coal plants in the state's history.

    Ms. Miller has sent a letter to about 50 cities asking them to intervene in the cases of coal plants awaiting approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

    Sixteen new coal-burning plants, all upwind of the Dallas-Fort Worth area during the summer, are either permitted or awaiting approval by state regulators.

    "I think air pollution in the D/FW area has been in crisis mode for several years now. I know a lot of people have been trying to find a way for us to reduce emissions by buying natural-gas vehicles, by building our green buildings in our bond program," Ms. Miller said Wednesday. "But when you think about all the cities doing those small but important things, when you think about the impact of ... [the] coal-fired plants, all turning on their smokestacks all at one time, what's the point of all of us scrambling to try to meet emissions standards when the utility companies are just going to obliterate all of our gains?"

    The mayor wants the cities to raise about $400,000 to intervene in the plant permitting process. She said the group will not ask the state to deny the permits but instead to require the use of more modern, cleaner technologies.

    Ms. Miller's chief of staff, Frank Librio, said Wednesday that Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Coppell, Frisco and Arlington have all given initial commitments to the plan.

    In Arlington, Mayor Robert Cluck recently met with a group of Texas mayors to organize Texas Cities for Climate Protection.

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry, however, has kept the coal plant permits on a fast track under an Oct. 31 executive order that cuts the public review period from about a year to six months.

    Final rulings remain months away. Dallas and Houston, Ms. Miller said, will do the "upfront legwork and organizational work" to fight the plans.

    The state Senate Natural Resources Committee plans to discuss the power-plant issues at a public hearing at 10 a.m. today at Dallas City Hall.

  20. #20
    Done Insidetheloop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1,279
    Quote Originally Posted by FoUTASportscaster
    It is apparent that you haven't been informed of the latest. First, and this has always been the case, Green Mountain uses lower pollution sources. Hydro and Wind make up their supply the majority of their supply. From their website

    There are three plans. The first is clean energy, which comes from wind and hydro. It is priced with the market average against TXU. That is the plan I am on. Another is the same combo of wind and water with the rate locked in for 12 months. And the last is 100% wind. It is a little higher, but doesn't pollute or depend on Hydro. Here is the details from their website.

    As you can see, there is no competitive advantage of using pollution producing electricity over clean energy.
    I posted the following 03-20-2005, 08:45 AM in the Urban Reserve thread

    http://forum.dallasmetropolis.com/sh...green+mountain

    Only an uneducated, hipster buffoon would buy into anything involving Green Mountain. They are shysters.

    Also...Green Mountain Energy is one of the worst polluters in the United States. They have a nuclear reactor in the Northeast that leaks radiation and is an official EPA Superfund cleanup site since it's so hazardous. TXU-Atmos-Whatever they call themselves is a better steward of the land than Green Mountain will ever be.

    http://www.penweb.org/issues/energy/green2.html
    "This aging reactor, where GMP gets another 36.5% of their power, is a nuclear lemon unable to operate during the six warm months of the year.13 Since start up, this reactor has released over 300,000 curies of radiation into the atmosphere.The reactor has had numerous problems, ranging from an incident in 1990 with a broken fuel rod and missing uranium fuel pellets15 to a lack of adequate perimeter security (5 out of 7 NRC inspectors jumped the fence in 1998 without detection... one got in with a gun!)

    Just a few miles from Green Mountain Power's Superfund site (Burlington's only Superfund site and Vermont's top cleanup priority), Green Mountain Power's former executives administer the offices of Green Mountain Energy Resources."

    The folks that own Green Mountain Energy are the Wyly's of Dallas. They are snake oil salesman. They ran the Michael's craft store chain into the ground.

    The whole Green Mountain Energy marketing plan is just a gag..a troll..a farce. All that stuff about generating wind and solar power is a total fabrication. Sure they have a windmill here and there but nothing that actually produces enough electricity for commercial consumption.

    You know what they list as one of their major Texas windfarms? The Winston School at Royal and the Tollroad in Dallas. They list it here:

    http://www.greenmountain.com/about/facilities/index.jsp

    As one of their "major facilities". Snark. Snicker.

    More info here:
    http://www.boycottgreenmountain.com/

    I think that if the stoned hippies that they recruit to hand out fliers in front of Half Price Books, Souper Salad and Borders Books knew more about the product they were slinging...then they would not be out there.

    Most of the links in my original post still work I guess.

  21. #21
    Some guy
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    In the downtown freeway loop
    Posts
    4,418
    Quote Originally Posted by Insidethelopp
    This message is hidden because Insidetheloop is on your ignore list.

    Ahhhh

  22. #22
    Mega-Tall Skyscraper Member BigD5349's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Uptown
    Posts
    3,115
    FYI, Tom Brokaw will host "Global Warming: What You Need to Know," on the Discovery Channel. It premieres this Sunday, July 16 at 8 p.m. Set your tivo and see what you think.

  23. #23
    Mega-Tall Skyscraper Member BigD5349's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Uptown
    Posts
    3,115
    State hears testimony on proposed coal-fired power plants
    Dallas Business Journal - 4:26 PM CDT Thursdayby Margaret AllenStaff Writer

    Texas fails to fulfill the intent of state and federal laws when it comes to protecting public health from industrial pollution, according to one of the state's highest ranking environmental officials.

    "Our permitting requirements do not meaningfully satisfy the spirit and the intent of these regulations, much less the letter," said Larry Soward, commissioner with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

    Soward, one of two TCEQ commissioners who approve permits for industrial plants, made the comments Thursday at a state senate hearing held at Dallas City Hall. Members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee heard testimony all day on the potential impact of 17 proposed new coal-fired power plants in Texas.

    Soward called for the Legislature to beef up TCEQ's authority to start requiring applicants to use cleaner technologies, as well as demonstrate pollution from the plants won't force a region to violate federal air quality standards.

    "I believe that the health and safety code requirement must be met," he said.

    Soward said it's too late to require coal plants already in the review process to use new technology, citing a desire to avoid changing rules midstream.

    He did say, however, that the state could start requiring -- in its technical review of a permit application -- a demonstration that a coal plant won't drive surrounding urban areas into violations, or near-violations, of the federal Clean Air Act, or harm public health.

    "I believe the responsible and prudent thing to do would be to withhold approval of a permit until it can be demonstrated," Soward said.

    Action is needed, he indicated, to curb pollution at a time when the state is strugglingto both protect public health, as well as meet the federal government's stricter clean air laws.

    Such a move by the Legislature could have a significant impact on the highly controversial, coal-fired power plants, 11 of which have been proposed by Dallas-based TXU Corp. Many of the plants are slated for close proximity to the Metroplex.

    Tom "Smitty" Smith, with the Texas office of the public advocacy group Public Citizen and a vocal critic of the plants, agreed with Soward's comments.

    "We're asking for a moratorium on power plant permits for exactly the reason Larry is stating," said Smith, who was also testifying at the hearing. "Otherwise, we could be in for a very nasty surprise that could cost every business in Dallas that has emissions a lot of money to clean up the mess the commission would be making."

    A spokeswoman for TXU said the company follows all requirements and guidelines set forth by the state.

    "We would certainly follow suit and make sure we meet all obligations," said TXU spokeswoman Kim Morgan.

    Having TCEQ advocate for a particular technology process has in the past been resisted by the state's utility industry. Recently they have aggressively resisted calls from critics, including elected officials, to use cleaner "coal gasification" technology.

    "We have little or no authority to request, much less require, cleaner technology," said Soward, noting that companies applying for permits to build new coal-fired power plants are all opting for conventional technology, rather than cleaner technology now on the market.

    Only one applicant, he said, citing CPS Energy, has decided to step up and take a serious look at so-called coal gasification technology for its new power plant in San Antonio.

    Currently, he said, state regulators don't specifically look at the cleanest technology to control emissions on a project, although, Soward said, "a review of the laws clearly shows the state has discretion to seek best available control technology."

    Applicants have historically been successful in arguing that the state shouldn't poke its nose into what is essentially a business process by dictating technology.

    Lawmakers should resolve the debate with Legislation, said Soward. Either that, or TCEQ should make new rules affirming TCEQ's authority to require new technology, when needed, to protect public health, he said.

    TXU and many other utilities have said the newer gasification technology is still experimental.

    But Soward voiced support for the gasification technology at the hearing.

    "I believe it's been proven enough that it should be seriously considered," he said. "Plants are operating at commercial levels."

    mallen@bizjournals.com | 214-706-7119

  24. #24
    the-young-and-the-bright RobertB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Official Mesquito
    Posts
    6,049
    Quote Originally Posted by FoUTASportscaster
    Quote Originally Posted by Insidetheloop
    This message is hidden because Insidetheloop is on your ignore list.
    Ahhhh
    Oh, come on. His avatar isn't *that* bad!
    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals... Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. - B. Obama 1/20/09

  25. #25
    Some guy
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    In the downtown freeway loop
    Posts
    4,418
    Oh it has nothing to do with his avatar. We had the same picture at The Ticket in the newsroom computer. I could live with that.

  26. #26
    Done Insidetheloop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1,279
    Quote Originally Posted by RobertB
    Oh, come on. His avatar isn't *that* bad!
    It's better that he not read my posts. When he does, his posts resort to using cuss words.

    Besides...after he backed himself into a corner about how great he thought Green Mountain was, there was no other way he could respond to my post other than to bury his head into the sand and pretend it never happened. Which is par for the course for that spare.

  27. #27
    Formerly Trolleygirl2 CityLove's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    I heart downtown
    Posts
    1,281
    Quote Originally Posted by Insidetheloop
    It's better that he not read my posts. When he does, his posts resort to using cuss words.

    Besides...after he backed himself into a corner about how great he thought Green Mountain was, there was no other way he could respond to my post other than to bury his head into the sand and pretend it never happened. Which is par for the course for that spare.
    First of all, he's not a spare. He's a great guy who is very passionate about certain things, including this city and the environment. He's a do-er, not just a talker...he picks up trash around DT daily on walks around the area. He recycles. He walks the walk, not just talks the talk. If he gets fired up sometimes, it's only because of this passion.

    I took a look at the boycottgreenmountain page that you mentioned myself. That page is now over six years old - last updated "1 June 2000." While I am not making any claims for or against what it says, what has happened in the last six years? I am not going to base my opinion on a company on information that is six years old. I am trying my best to objective here, but in order to do that I need current information.
    I tell everyone...I smile just because...I've got a city love...

  28. #28
    is gone.
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    77023
    Posts
    5,254
    I still insist that nuclear power plants are the only reasonable solution.

  29. #29
    Skyscraper Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,608
    what about the waste from the nuclear plants?

  30. #30
    is gone.
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    77023
    Posts
    5,254
    Quote Originally Posted by Boredkid
    what about the waste from the nuclear plants?
    Rockets. A fleet of rockets. They will fly the waste right into the sun.

  31. #31
    Skyscraper Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,608
    what happens if they explode while taking off?

  32. #32
    is gone.
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    77023
    Posts
    5,254
    Quote Originally Posted by Boredkid
    what happens if they explode while taking off?
    Worst case scenario, people start glowing in the dark.

  33. #33
    Skyscraper Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,608
    ah that could be cool

  34. #34
    Some guy
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    In the downtown freeway loop
    Posts
    4,418
    Quote Originally Posted by Trolleygirl2
    First of all, he's not a spare. He's a great guy who is very passionate about certain things, including this city and the environment. He's a do-er, not just a talker...he picks up trash around DT daily on walks around the area. He recycles. He walks the walk, not just talks the talk. If he gets fired up sometimes, it's only because of this passion.

    I took a look at the boycottgreenmountain page that you mentioned myself. That page is now over six years old - last updated "1 June 2000." While I am not making any claims for or against what it says, what has happened in the last six years? I am not going to base my opinion on a company on information that is six years old. I am trying my best to objective here, but in order to do that I need current information.

    Well I suppose I can't completely filter him out, but oh well. All I have to say is consider the source. If there is a person with less credibility than him, I don't know who it is. As for what he said, I can make a guess based on the post above, and think he somehow thinks Green Mountain either is bad or pollutes, and all I say is look at the source.

  35. #35
    the-young-and-the-bright RobertB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Official Mesquito
    Posts
    6,049
    Quote Originally Posted by Boredkid
    what about the waste from the nuclear plants?
    Seriously, this is a real issue, but probably not as bad as my fellow environmentalists fear.

    For one thing, the thing about high-level nuclear waste is that it doesn't stay high-level for long. If a particular isotope has a half-life of 10 seconds, it's going to be pumping out bad stuff like crazy... for 10 seconds. Then for another 10 seconds, it's going to be giving you about half as much trouble as before. And half as much after that. The really bad stuff goes away after a while, leaving low-level waste. Still radioactive and dangerous, but not at the level it was when it was pulled out of the reactor.

    For another, there are actually solutions being developed that make use of the radioactive waste products. Much of the physics is beyond me, but the "problem" of waste is being turned into an opportunity. At the very least, the nuke plants on the drawing boards include the ability to use their extra neutrons to neutralize (heh) other plants' waste products, transmuting "bad" isotopes into more inert elements.

    And finally, the capper: coal comes from this place called "underground", where it tends to pick up minerals from other rocks. Minerals like... uranium, thorium, and their radioactive decay products. According to this page from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (folks who know a thing or two about nukes), "the amount of uranium-235 alone dispersed by coal combustion is the equivalent of dozens of nuclear reactor fuel loadings." Another choice quote: "the population effective dose equivalent from coal plants is 100 times that from nuclear plants."

    The difference between a coal-fired power plant and a nuclear power plant boils down to this:
    * The radioactive waste from the nuclear plant is sealed in a barrel. Barring an accident, you'll never see it.
    * The radioactive waste from the coal plant comes out the top of the smokestack. Barring a gas mask, you'll never be able to avoid it.
    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals... Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. - B. Obama 1/20/09

  36. #36
    Member south side kiki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    South Side, Dallas
    Posts
    62
    i think its an issue that unfortunately (or fortunately in some cases) will always be in the hands of the developer. even if our local, state and the national governments set regulations, there are always out clauses for the developer...a way for them to buy themselves out of certain regulations so that they can build.

    we need more rooftops and the commerce created by continued development so a city can't ever put their foot down and take a hard line environmentally.

    the june issue of urban land institute's magazine was titled "the green issue" and was completely devoted to projects across the world that are setting the standards. they printed the results on their recent conference on sustainability. i was pleased to see them focus not only on environmental and economic sustainability but also on social sustainability.

    they also did a write up on the concept of "one planet living" which, although an incredibly exciting concept, seems almost untainable. well...at least on my pessimistic days.

    i hope to share some exciting news in the next 12 months in regards to the south side's sustainability goals. but even with the right plan, areas will be at the mercy of the developers...which in our case is a good thing.

    what can we do to make sustainability a priority for developers?
    I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. -TJ

  37. #37
    Mega-Tall Skyscraper Member BigD5349's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Uptown
    Posts
    3,115
    Quote Originally Posted by BigD5349
    FYI, Tom Brokaw will host "Global Warming: What You Need to Know," on the Discovery Channel. It premieres this Sunday, July 16 at 8 p.m. Set your tivo and see what you think.
    Did anyone watch this last night?

    On the part about NYC doing some really interesting things with sustainable development, and there are some cool things going on in Chicago as well. Yet, here in Dallas, I don't hear that much about this. Do we have any such developments planned or underway?

    Southside kiki, you mention this for South Lamar. What types of things are being done?

  38. #38
    Formerly Trolleygirl2 CityLove's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    I heart downtown
    Posts
    1,281
    I watched the Brokaw special. Honestly, I thought it was pretty good, but after having seen An Inconvient Truth, I didn't really learn anything new, and I thought Gore did a better job of presenting the information - especially to a layperson. However, I am glad to see any press this issue can get. The world needs to wake up to this reality, and fast.
    I tell everyone...I smile just because...I've got a city love...

  39. #39
    Some guy
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    In the downtown freeway loop
    Posts
    4,418
    And part of that waking up isn't hard. Small things like flouresent lights and taking mass transit (sorry St-T) make a big difference.

  40. #40
    Mega-Tall Skyscraper Member BigD5349's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Uptown
    Posts
    3,115
    Quote Originally Posted by Trolleygirl2
    I watched the Brokaw special. Honestly, I thought it was pretty good, but after having seen An Inconvient Truth, I didn't really learn anything new, and I thought Gore did a better job of presenting the information - especially to a layperson. However, I am glad to see any press this issue can get. The world needs to wake up to this reality, and fast.
    I agree, TG2, I thought Gore did a better job presenting the info. The parts about the rainforest were new, but I'd also seen that information elsewhere. I think the science behind all this is essentially proven now. The good news is that maybe some people would be more inclined to listen to Brokaw than to Gore for political reasons. To me, the more spokesmen/women that communicate the message to different audiences, the better.

  41. #41
    Incoherent Rambler grantboston's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Palo Alto, CA
    Posts
    1,297
    Quote Originally Posted by RobertB
    Seriously, this is a real issue, but probably not as bad as my fellow environmentalists fear.

    For one thing, the thing about high-level nuclear waste is that it doesn't stay high-level for long. If a particular isotope has a half-life of 10 seconds, it's going to be pumping out bad stuff like crazy... for 10 seconds. Then for another 10 seconds, it's going to be giving you about half as much trouble as before. And half as much after that. The really bad stuff goes away after a while, leaving low-level waste. Still radioactive and dangerous, but not at the level it was when it was pulled out of the reactor.

    For another, there are actually solutions being developed that make use of the radioactive waste products. Much of the physics is beyond me, but the "problem" of waste is being turned into an opportunity. At the very least, the nuke plants on the drawing boards include the ability to use their extra neutrons to neutralize (heh) other plants' waste products, transmuting "bad" isotopes into more inert elements.

    And finally, the capper: coal comes from this place called "underground", where it tends to pick up minerals from other rocks. Minerals like... uranium, thorium, and their radioactive decay products. According to this page from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (folks who know a thing or two about nukes), "the amount of uranium-235 alone dispersed by coal combustion is the equivalent of dozens of nuclear reactor fuel loadings." Another choice quote: "the population effective dose equivalent from coal plants is 100 times that from nuclear plants."

    The difference between a coal-fired power plant and a nuclear power plant boils down to this:
    * The radioactive waste from the nuclear plant is sealed in a barrel. Barring an accident, you'll never see it.
    * The radioactive waste from the coal plant comes out the top of the smokestack. Barring a gas mask, you'll never be able to avoid it.
    Do you know if nuclear waste from any new nuclear plants would go to Yuca Mountain or would it go elsewhere? I may be incorrect, but I thought we were negotiating with Russia to deposit some there.

  42. #42
    Incoherent Rambler grantboston's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Palo Alto, CA
    Posts
    1,297
    Also, out of curosity, are there any "green" condos/new development in the Uptown boom? Seems like that could be a niche market that could make some money for an intrepid developer if enough environmentally people were willing to pony up the cash.

  43. #43
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Parkdale
    Posts
    3,274
    There are some sustainable develpers here in Dallas. The City's trying to push for more green building, etc. Most of you know that I am on the Environmental Health Commission, so we get to see a lot of briefings on what the City's doing and effect change at the municiapl level. Another cool (pun intended) aspect is the urban canopy. The city is in the process of hiring an urban fortester and the Urban Forest Commission is raising money to count our urban trees so that we will have an accurate assesment of how large our naural cooling system is.

  44. #44
    Mega-Tall Skyscraper Member BigD5349's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Uptown
    Posts
    3,115
    Quote Originally Posted by trolleygirl
    There are some sustainable develpers here in Dallas. The City's trying to push for more green building, etc. Most of you know that I am on the Environmental Health Commission, so we get to see a lot of briefings on what the City's doing and effect change at the municiapl level. Another cool (pun intended) aspect is the urban canopy. The city is in the process of hiring an urban fortester and the Urban Forest Commission is raising money to count our urban trees so that we will have an accurate assesment of how large our naural cooling system is.
    Thanks TG. I'm interested to learn more about what Dallas is trying to do. Is there info somewhere that we can read? A website? I've had trouble locating the info.

  45. #45
    The smartest gal in town! trolleygirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Parkdale
    Posts
    3,274
    Quote Originally Posted by BigD5349
    Thanks TG. I'm interested to learn more about what Dallas is trying to do. Is there info somewhere that we can read? A website? I've had trouble locating the info.
    Oh well, it's still a big secret. Even to us, the ones "in the know"......

  46. #46
    Super Moderator Tnekster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    7,318

    2 Texas towns hoping to land pioneering 'clean coal' plant

    12:11 AM CDT on Tuesday, July 18, 2006
    By ELIZABETH SOUDER / The Dallas Morning News
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...n.1a27938.html


    Drivers on Interstate 45 between Dallas and Houston probably notice only one thing as they head toward Leon County: the dinosaur-size machines at the coal mine.

    Otherwise, the area, 100 miles south of Dallas about the point where most Dallas radio stations fizzle out doesn't offer much reason to stop.

    But this lush county sits at the center of a global debate about how clean coal ought to be. The town of Jewett is among a dozen cities and counties across the country vying to host the world's first near-zero-emissions coal-fired power plant, called FutureGen.


    BRAD LOPER / DMN
    FutureGen would capture carbon dioxide, a valuable asset in reviving oil fields. The other Texas city on the list is Odessa, which would put the facility in Penwell, an even less inspiring spot to dream about clean energy. This former boomtown is now an oil derrick junkyard.

    Still, when FutureGen officials announce their short list of potential host cities this month, most experts think Texas will make the cut, thanks to a big supply of coal and unique experience handling carbon dioxide, a coal byproduct.

    "That's almost part of our energy culture, that big energy things happen in small, out-of-the-way places," said Michael Williams, a Texas railroad commissioner in charge of the bid to host the project. "When we started with Spindletop, there was nothing there."

    Making the list is important for Texas' coal and carbon dioxide industries, as well as the prospects for cutting pollution caused by coal-fired power plants.

    If Texas doesn't get the government-funded program, it could be years before such clean technology comes to this deregulated market. That's because deregulation causes power generation companies to favor cheap, tried-and-true facilities rather than risky new technology.

    For example, NRG Energy won't use similar technology in a power plant it will build right next door to the FutureGen site in Jewett, opting instead for older, dirtier technology.

    "A competitive market in general is going to make you tend towards a more conservative technology decision, because you want to make sure that you get the power on and that it delivers to customers when they want it," said Steve Winn, president of NRG's Texas subsidiary.

    "So if you can't pass your mistake on to a ratepayer, then you need to make a decision that is entirely good for the shareholder," he said.

    Improving technology
    The U.S. government wants to build the perfect coal-fired power plant, one that turns nearly every bit of energy and emissions into some useful byproduct and causes hardly any pollution. And, most important, it would eliminate carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to global warming.

    The goal of the research facility is to improve the technology to the point that it could be used by commercial power generators.

    President Bush set the FutureGen project in motion when he made "clean coal" part of his energy vision. Tapping the giant U.S. coal resources could reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil. And clean coal technology addresses concerns about pollution and could boost demand for coal.

    The coal gasification technology that FutureGen would use isn't new. Germany used coal gasification during World War II to make gasoline and jet fuel when the country was cut off from crude oil supplies.

    FutureGen is unique because it will test gasification on various types of coal and will eliminate carbon dioxide emissions.

    The project would capture carbon dioxide and inject it into underground saltwater formations, carbonating them like a soft drink.

    That's what Bush supporters and coal industry insiders call a "technology solution" to the debate about controlling carbon dioxide emissions. They're hoping new technology can divert calls for rigid limits on such emissions.

    The problem is that a deregulated area like Texas typically doesn't adopt new technology early on.

    The Clean Coal Technology Foundation of Texas's site
    "What I'm about to say is opinion," said Scott Tinker, Texas' state geologist, who is coordinating the state's FutureGen site proposals. "That approach seems to work better than sort of a forced regulatory approach that people can't adapt to, or they go out of business and you see real economic hardship."

    The value of CO2
    For folks in Odessa, using carbon dioxide to create underground club soda is a waste.

    West Texas oil producers use carbon dioxide to revive aging oil fields. They pay money for it, and these days, there's a shortage.

    "We know the value of CO2. It's not a waste, it's a commodity," said Stephanie Sparkman, head of the Permian Basin FutureGen Task Force.

    The group wants to offer a solution to make carbon dioxide profitable, not just costly. They want to bring FutureGen to a field of mesquite shrub across the railroad tracks from the ghost town of Penwell, which sits above Odessa's unique network of underground carbon dioxide pipelines.

    Mr. Williams, the railroad commissioner, grew up in Midland and remembers racing cars in Penwell. He thinks Texans understand carbon dioxide so well, he's made it part of his bid to host the research site.

    He persuaded the Legislature to accept the liability for the carbon dioxide once FutureGen injects it into the ground. Other states bidding to host the project, and the companies involved, have declined to take on the risk.

    "It's saltwater, so its carbonated water, so Perrier gets upset," he said, chuckling. "I don't mean to make light of it, but we chose places that were not on community water sources."

    In fact, it was a lack of community water that killed Penwell.

    In the 1930s, Penwell was an oil boomtown, bigger than Odessa. But by the 1950s, the town ran out of water, and nearly everybody left, according to J.L. Rhodes, 77, the lone resident of the crumbling old town.

    Penwell's rows of rusting oil derricks and tanks and its faded cafe sign are reminders of what can happen to a town when its resources dry up.

    Ms. Sparkman, who lost a bid for mayor of Midland in 2004, wants to revive Penwell and prevent the rest of the region from stagnating.

    A different advantage
    Jewett, population 861, also has an ace in the hole: coal in the ground.

    Jewett's mine, operated by Texas Westmoreland Coal Co., supplies coal to NRG Energy's neighboring power plants. The companies donated a hayfield for the FutureGen site.

    Meanwhile, NRG plans to add another coal unit to its own plant in Jewett using traditional technology. But it won't rely on the coal mine next door for more fuel.

    Like many Texas coal plants, NRG is buying more coal from Wyoming to meet stricter environmental regulations.

    Texas coal is a low-grade form called lignite, which produces more pollution than other types. Finding ways to use lignite cleanly is vital for the industry, but so far, it hasn't been used in large coal gasification plants.

    "We struggle with ways to use it, but it actually gasifies better than high-value coals," said scientist Jay Kipper of FutureGen Texas, the team trying to bring the project to the state.

    So the state sent a group of officials to Washington to lobby for lignite. They persuaded the Department of Energy to include lignite in the official request for proposal among the types of coal FutureGen will burn.

    "Texas needed that ... to even be in the running," said Leon County Judge Byron Ryder, who made the trip to Washington.

    Most people familiar with FutureGen expect Texas to make the short list of host candidates. Ohio and Illinois, two coal states with long histories of supporting clean coal technology, will also probably make the cut.

    A new standard?
    If Texas doesn't get FutureGen, hopes of replicating the perfect power plant here will have to wait, maybe as long as a decade, for the technology to become cheap enough to be profitable.

    Texas deregulated its power industry, creating a competitive market that favors cheap and reliable equipment over nifty new technology. At one time, state regulators had to approve each power project and allowed utilities to charge customers fees to pay for it.

    No longer. Now, investors pay for a new power plant in Texas and recoup their money only if the plant turns a profit.

    If FutureGen works when it starts up in 2012, and eventually meets its goal of making the technology commercially viable during the next decade of operation, any new coal plants might have to use the technology.

    When one commercial power plant implements a cleaner technology, the equipment sets a new standard, known as best available control technology. Every subsequent plant must match it.

    Until that happens, several coal power companies are considering gasification systems for Texas, but no one is building them. The technology costs about 15 percent more than traditional coal technology, not including any carbon dioxide controls, and it hasn't been proven to work with lignite.

    NRG is building coal gasification plants in the Northeast, where local governments share the financial risk, but not in Texas.

    And TXU Corp., the largest power company in the state, plans to build 11 new coal-fired power units in Texas, all using traditional technology.

    Mike McCall, head of TXU Wholesale, said the company is researching methods to build coal gasification plants profitably, but it will take about five years to come up with a concrete plan.

    And he's not even convinced gasification is the best way to clean up coal.

    "I wouldn't say we put all our eggs in the gasification basket," Mr. McCall said.

    Why not just wait for cleaner technology? Mr. McCall said Texas' growing population needs more power generation in the next few years to prevent blackouts. There's no time to wait for the next generation of technology, he said.


    Environmental writer Randy Lee Loftis contributed to this story.

    A DIFFERENT KIND OF POWER PLANT
    WHAT IS IT?

    FutureGen is a government-funded research project to build a near-zero-emissions coal-fired power plant.

    WHO'S INVOLVED?

    The Department of Energy started the project.

    The department will work with the FutureGen Alliance, a group of coal companies, to build the plant.

    The governments of India and South Korea joined the partnership.

    HOW DOES IT WORK?

    The plant would use coal gasification technology to avoid much of the pollution caused by burning coal outright. FutureGen will capture the byproducts, such as carbon dioxide, sulfur and hydrogen, and sell or dispose of them.

    WHEN WILL IT OPERATE?

    July 2006: FutureGen Alliance releases a short list of candidate sites.

    Fall 2007: The final site is chosen.

    2010: Construction begins.

    2012: Plant begins operations.

    FutureGen would operate for 10 years.

    WHERE WILL IT GO?

    Twelve cities and counties are in the running:

    Illinois: Effingham, Marshall, Mattoon, Tuscola

    Kentucky: Henderson County

    North Dakota: Bowman County

    Ohio: Meigs County, Tuscarawas County

    Texas: Odessa, Jewett

    West Virginia: Point Pleasant

    Wyoming: Gillette

    WHY IS IT COMING ABOUT?

    Using coal cleanly is part of President Bush's energy initiative.

    The U.S. has enough coal to last 240 years.

    Cleaner technology makes coal power more palatable to communities, supporting greater coal use.

    The technology can capture carbon dioxide, which could solve the quandary of how to regulate the gas that contributes to global warming.

    SOURCE: Dallas Morning News research

  47. #47
    Done Insidetheloop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1,279
    Quote Originally Posted by Trolleygirl2
    First of all, he's not a spare. He's a great guy who is very passionate about certain things, including this city and the environment. He's a do-er, not just a talker...he picks up trash around DT daily on walks around the area. He recycles. He walks the walk, not just talks the talk. If he gets fired up sometimes, it's only because of this passion.


    You make it sound like he wears his environmentalist views on his sleeve and brags about them. Surely he is not like that. Like he's working on a merit badge.

    Using ignorance as an excuse for not knowing the past trangressions of a corporation that you champion is silly. Green Mountain has a long and distinguished track record of screwing up.

    Green Mountain is about marketing a niche boutique product.

    http://www.newtimesbpb.com/issues/20...news/news.html

    If you are interested in researching this more, feel free. There has been quite a bit written about them in the last decade regarding their ownership of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant or messing up the Edwards Aquifer when they built their corporate office in Austin.

  48. #48
    Done Insidetheloop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    1,279
    Quote Originally Posted by BigD5349
    Did anyone watch this last night?

    On the part about NYC doing some really interesting things with sustainable development, and there are some cool things going on in Chicago as well. Yet, here in Dallas, I don't hear that much about this. Do we have any such developments planned or underway?

    Southside kiki, you mention this for South Lamar. What types of things are being done?
    BigD5349,

    What do you think about energy conservation among the large buildings in downtown or uptown?

    You seem to be around the W and AAC quite a bit. Have you ever noticed the massive leeching of air conditioning that flows from the AAC? Man, it's something else. It's very noticable on a very hot summer day. I can feel the air conditioning all the way across Victory Ave in the evenings. If you head to the south side of the building near the south side ticket windows there is a large grate that just cranks A/C. I guess it's an exhaust port. Ice cold. From Lyte to Olive(depending on the wind) it can be 10 degrees cooler along the street.

    The weird thing is that even the locked doors around the arena leak quite a bit of cold air out.

    You would think that since the building is practially new, more would have been done to make the building more energy efficent.

    Who pays the electric bill for that place? I know that the "Central Operating Company" leases it from the city, but who picks up the tab?


    Insidetheloop,

    Enjoys free A/C

  49. #49
    the-young-and-the-bright RobertB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Official Mesquito
    Posts
    6,049
    Quote Originally Posted by Insidetheloop
    Have you ever noticed the massive leeching of air conditioning that flows from the AAC? Man, it's something else. It's very noticable on a very hot summer day. I can feel the air conditioning all the way across Victory Ave in the evenings. If you head to the south side of the building near the south side ticket windows there is a large grate that just cranks A/C. I guess it's an exhaust port. Ice cold. From Lyte to Olive(depending on the wind) it can be 10 degrees cooler along the street.
    Sounds like we just found the ideal location for the new homeless shelter!
    As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals... Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. - B. Obama 1/20/09

  50. #50
    Member south side kiki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    South Side, Dallas
    Posts
    62
    Quote Originally Posted by BigD5349
    Did anyone watch this last night?
    Southside kiki, you mention this for South Lamar. What types of things are being done?
    well...unfortuanetly i can't say alot because you know how things go. something will fall through and we'll end up looking the fools. as i said though, i hope to be able to share it with everyone in the next year. its just really exciting to be working with a developer who would even consider listening to plans about long term sustainability.

    i also heard there was a series on pbs about sustainable ccommunities but i cant seem to find the info on it.
    I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. -TJ

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 2 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 2 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •