View topic - EPA's war on coal - reduce power plant greenhouse gases

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PostPosted: April 6th, 2012, 9:19 pm 
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Kingug,

Look up the Kreb's Cycle and Photosynthesis. CO2, O2 and H2O are the fundamental building blocks of most life on earth. That is in sharp contrast to the pollutants you listed.

Splake wrote:
I think it is also risky because it puts the focus on CO2 comparisons as opposed to comparisons of real pollutants.


There are good reasons to reduce dependence on coal. The fact that it is happening is a good thing but I'm not sold on the shift to natural gas. Take a look at the environmental concerns related to hyrdraulic fracturing . Hopefully that will help you understand my concern about CO2 emissions receiving a disproportionate amount of attention relative to real pollutants.

You might also be interested in this paper from the University of Waterloo which questions the role of CO2 in global climate: http://newsrelease.uwaterloo.ca/news.php?id=5152

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PostPosted: April 7th, 2012, 12:10 pm 
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frozentripper wrote:
Only a proposal at this time... if adopted, new coal-fired generation plants will be incapable of producing electricity economically, opening the door for cleaner natural gas, wind and solar.

Just to clarify ... this is not what the new draft rule proposes or intends.

http://epa.gov/carbonpollutionstandard/ ... oposal.pdf

The goal is not to marginalize coal with unnecessary economic burdens: "this rulemaking eliminates uncertainty about the status of coal and may well enhance the prospects for new coal-fired generation and the deployment of CCS, and thereby promote energy diversity" (p. 202). Their analysis of current economic environment and utility long-term planning models indicates no new coal plants will be built between now and 2020 that will make use of the new rule. Instead, "natural gas-fired power plants, renewable energy, and nuclear power are the forms of energy generation that are most often predicted to be built to meet new electricity demand over the coming years" (p. 112). Further, "While a coal unit with CCS may be more expensive to construct than NGCC generation, for reasons explained below, we expect the difference to decrease over time as CCS becomes more mature and less expensive" (p. 13-14).

While you may not take them at their word, it seems to me that they intend the rule to provide better long-term certainty and more advanced planning for an expansion of coal in a diversified energy mix, rather than it's disappearance or marginalization. At least that is what they explicitly claim. If their long range models are correct, they predict coal (outfitted with CCS) will be competitive with other generation sources in the long run. And to ensure that this prediction holds true, they are looking to remove some of the uncertainty around coal, and are looking to encourage (i.e., incentivize) new projects and technology advancement sooner rather than later. They see additional funding mechanisms as assisting with this goal: demonstration funding, DOE grants, tax credits, state incentives, sale of other usable products (CO2, sulfur, hydrogen based products), and more. Their 30 year compliance option is also specifically tailored to not get in the way of new coal, and "to alleviate any concerns that today's action could restrict new coal-fired construction" (p. 39). Many will likely see this as not enough (particularly if you want to continue to build new coal plants in an uncertain investment and consumer market with no caps on carbon emissions), but it's a start. We'll see how the debate takes shape in the coming months to years.


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PostPosted: April 9th, 2012, 10:35 am 
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Idylwyld, their statement on keeping the options open for clean coal may have some grounding in reality, although some of the arguments against suggest that the expense makes that as believable as the coal industry saying that breathing coal dust is good for the lungs.

In twenty years, other forms of energy may well be cleaner and more economically feasible... there's been some noises from California that solar power is finally coming down enough in price for competitive rates, although I couldn't find any confirmation online.

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PostPosted: April 9th, 2012, 10:59 am 
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Common sense is dead when people rely on the government to define things for them. Take away the "pollutant" CO2, and every photosynthesizing plant on earth would die. Without those oxygen producing plants, we'd follow them to extinction at some point in the near future, either from starvation or suffocation.

The only thing a carbon tax would do is further disadvantage North American economies. China will continue to build a coal plant a week and take our jobs. Clean coal technology exists and should be used. As pointed out, this excess of NG didn't fall from the sky, you're just choosing one time of pollution over another.


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PostPosted: April 9th, 2012, 1:35 pm 
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frozentripper wrote:
there's been some noises from California that solar power is finally coming down enough in price for competitive rates, although I couldn't find any confirmation online.


Solar spot price in CA has a weighted average of USD $8.9 cents/kWh, well below retail electricity price of 15 cents/kWh in the State (or 11.52 cents/kWh in national average) . Doesn't include costs for transmission, state and municipal taxes, etc.

http://cleantechnica.com/2012/04/06/its ... r-auction/

For more on California's reverse auction mechanism for renewables:

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/ ... enewables/


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PostPosted: April 9th, 2012, 2:15 pm 
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frozentripper wrote:
Common sense is dead when people rely on the government to define things for them. Take away the "pollutant" CO2, and every photosynthesizing plant on earth would die. Without those oxygen producing plants, we'd follow them to extinction at some point in the near future, either from starvation or suffocation.


Yep, that's been the evil enviro-pinko plan all along: suck all the CO2 out of the air, eliminate plant life and every other living thing on earth! You have seen through our ruse!

But seriously, the real argument here is whether or not increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is a problem or not. Everything else is just semantics. If you are not convinced of that than of course CO2 is not a "pollutant". So why not debate that instead?

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PostPosted: April 10th, 2012, 9:16 am 
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Nice find, Idylwyld... California's costs of solar generation include incentives and subsidies, which makes comparion with other forms more difficult. But the big players there are subsidized to some extent, and with California's air quality problems, something has to be done, especially with all that sunshine available. Middle East solar also seems to be taking off.

"Obama's war on coal" is in the news recently, predicting that electricity costs are set to rise, and this might beome an issue during the presidential campaigns. IMO, this is misinformation, since natural gas plant generation, with or without carbon capture, is still cheaper than conventional coal. The air quality and greenhouse gas benefits will probably be ignored by Romney with table pounding on coal-related job losses (and backed up 100% by Gingrich, once the mudslinging personal attacks are over with).

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PostPosted: April 10th, 2012, 12:05 pm 
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frozentripper wrote:
California's costs of solar generation include incentives and subsidies, which makes comparion with other forms more difficult. But the big players there are subsidized to some extent, and with California's air quality problems, something has to be done, especially with all that sunshine available. Middle East solar also seems to be taking off.


http://cleantechnica.com/2009/05/12/bey ... id-parity/

Well, it does help when subsidies are there to help early adopters make the shift, and provide a base of support for the financial risk that is taken in an uncertain and developing market. But the subsidies don't appear to be needed in California. Payback rates are 7 years with government incentives, and 13 years without (in 2009). With equipment lasting 20 years or longer, it seems these subsidies have less to do with cost of energy and more to do with market development and reform. One might also add the importance of lobbying power in Congress. Unregulated and lower cost natural gas (in the short term) is clearly a headache for those looking for grid parity and an eye on longer term market fundamentals in energy markets.


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PostPosted: July 11th, 2012, 7:28 am 
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Electrical power generated by natural gas finally equals that of coal due to declining coal use... reduced coal should help reduce smog problems in southern Canada, acid rain and mercury fallout.

Quote:
Natgas matches coal in share of US power generation in April

June 27 | Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:25pm EDT

June 27 (Reuters) - Gas-fired power plants in April for the first time produced the same amount of generation as coal as decade-low gas prices prompted utilities to use the cheaper fuel to produce electricity, according to federal energy data Wednesday.

Since the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) began compiling monthly statistics, natural gas and coal had the same share of total net power generation, 32 percent, during April, the agency said in a monthly update.

Historically, coal has been the fuel of choice for power generation because coal prices have been lower than natural gas prices for much of the last decade.

But sliding gas prices over the last year or so has made gas a more economic choice, allowing gas plants to increase their share of the nation's generation.

EIA said the output of coal-fired units declined in all regions, while the output from natural gas-fired combined-cycle plants increased across the board.

Coal consumption fell almost 23 percent to 51.5 million tons in April 2012 from the same month in the prior year.

Natural gas consumption meanwhile increased to 744 million cubic feet, up almost 36 percent from the same month in the prior year.

...



http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/ ... 6820120627

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PostPosted: July 11th, 2012, 8:06 am 
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Good news, sorta.

That's solving the environmental problem recognized in the 70's - i.e. forty years later. So maybe we'll be doing something about enriching our life bubble with greenhouse gases by 2050....

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PostPosted: July 11th, 2012, 8:30 am 
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Hi, Erhard... yep, GHGs around the world still are increasing. In the states, solar power generation has been doubling every year for more than five years now so if that trend continues, it's only a matter of time before solar becomes dominant in the energy mix.

Predictions are always risky so all there is for sure, is a rising trend and who knows if it will carry on. But the price of solar generation is falling per kilowatt, so like NGs falling price, reduced cost may work in it's favor.

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