Posted on January 14, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Coal losing ground, but is still the biggest source of fuel for generating electricity
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The gradual shift to natural gas power plants may not be a panacea for reducing concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases, but the switch has helped slow the pace emissions.
“Since more and more of our electricity is coming from these cleaner power plants, emissions from the power sector are lower by 20, 30 even 40 percent for some gases since 1997,” said NOAA atmospheric scientists Joost de Gouw. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases | Tagged: climate, coal, global warming, greenhouse gases, Natural gas | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Coal-fired power plants currently produce about 46 percent of the country’s electricity. Photo via Wikipedia and the Creative Commons.
Study compares economic sensitivity of gas and coal-fired power plants
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Proposed new limits on power plant emissions could spur a big shift away from coal and toward natural gas. The new rules on sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and mercury may make nearly two-thirds of the nation’s coal-fired power plants as expensive to run as plants powered by natural gas, according to a new Duke University study.
“Because of the cost of upgrading plants to meet the EPA‘s pending emissions regulations and its stricter enforcement of current regulations, natural gas plants would become cost-competitive with a majority of coal plants — even if natural gas becomes more than four times as expensive as coal,” said Lincoln F. Pratson, a professor of earth and ocean sciences at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment | Tagged: coal, Duke University, energy, Environment, Natural gas, Nicholas School of the Environment | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 20, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
The Four Corners Power Plant in a 1972 photo via Wikipedia.
Feds plan to take a look at cumulative impacts from emissions, coal mining, and will consider alternatives, including renewable energy
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — After 50 years of operation, the Four Corners Power Plant will get a hard look from federal officials, who are planning an environmental study to scrutinize cumulative impacts from one of biggest coal-burning operations in the country.
The plant, operated by Arizona Public Service Co., provides power to about 300,000 households in New Mexico, Arizona, California and Texas. It has been operating since 1963.
“We have worked for decades to get an accurate assessment of the impacts from the Four Corners Power Plant and the Navajo Mine,” said Anna Frazier, of Diné CARE. “Navajo communities have endured significant impacts to water, land, air, public health and our culture which must now be considered. We are hopeful that public-health data from entities including Indian Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and EPA will be incorporated correctly in the EIS,” she said. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, renewable energy | Tagged: coal, energy, Environment, Four Corners Power Plant, renewable energy | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 14, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
The Four Corners coal power plant. Photo courtesy EcoFlight.org. Click to track Ecoflight state by state.
70 percent of the power for the local area derived from dirty fossil fuels
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite small-scale hyperlocal efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the local area still relies on coal to a much larger degree than the national average, according to an online EPA clean energy tracker.
The calculations, based on data from 2009, show that, for Frisco’s 80443 zip code, coal accounts for 67.8 percent of the energy used in the area. The national average is 44.5 percent. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, energy, Environment, global warming, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: carbon cycle, carbon dioxide, coal, energy, Environment, Greenhouse gas, nitrogen, Summit County Colorado | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 28, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
State’s mining industry touts appearance as a boost for fossil fuel
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will bring his pro-fossil fuel agenda to the heart of Colorado this week, with a campaign appearance scheduled Craig Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m.
The location highlights the fact that energy policies could be a significant issue in the upcoming presidential race. At the state level, Colorado is embroiled in an intense debate over how to regulate impacts from traditional energy development, while the issue of continued incentives for renewable energy has been center stage at the national level. Continue reading
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: coal, Colorado, Craig Colorado. 2012 presidential campaign, energy policy, Mitt Romney | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 28, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
The Mojave generating station, near Laughlin, Nevada. PHOTO VIA WIKIPEDIA AND THE CREATIVE COMMONS.
Harvard study tracks energy use, emissions during the 2009 recession
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A slight shift in the relative prices of coal and natural gas could pay big dividends in the quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to Harvard researchers who said that, when the United States fell into the 2009 recession, greenhouse gas emissions also fell, by 6.59 percent relative to 2008.
They said that, in the power sector, the recession was not the main cause. Instead, it was a decrease in the price of natural gas reduced the industry’s reliance on coal.
According to the econometric model developed by the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, emissions could be cut further by the introduction of a carbon tax, with negligible impact on the price of electricity for consumers. Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, energy, Environment, global warming, Summit County news | Tagged: climate, coal, Environment, Fossil fuel, Greenhouse gas, Natural gas | 5 Comments »
Posted on September 9, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
A natural gas drilling rig in Texas, via the Creative Commons.
Methane leaks a wild card in energy and climate change equation
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A new study from a senior researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research challenges the conventional wisdom that shifting from coal to natural gas would help slow the rate of global warming. The findings suggest that a partial worldwide shift to natural gas could actually accelerate climate change through at least 2050, even if without methane leaks from gas production.
Methane is a potent heat-trapping gas and it’s unclear how much methane is released during natural gas production. The picture is further complicated by the fact that coal combustion also releases large amounts of sulfates and other particles that tend to cool temperatures by blocking incoming solar radiation — as bad as those byproducts may be for the environment.
“Relying more on natural gas would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, but it would do little to help solve the climate problem,” said researcher Tom Wigley, who is also an adjunct professor at the University of Adelaide in Australia. “It would be many decades before it would slow down global warming at all, and even then it would just be making a difference around the edges.” Continue reading
Filed under: air quality, climate and weather, energy, Environment, global warming | Tagged: climate change, coal, Environment, global warming, methane, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Natural gas, University of Adelaide | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 19, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
CO2: Up, up and away ...
Grassroots activists help convince Senate to drop anti-environmental bills
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — An attempt by old-school politicians to block EPA greenhouse gas regulations failed in the U.S. Senate last week in part after a flood of e-mail from voters and constituents responding to an online appeal from the Environmental Defense Fund.
In a Dec. 17 press release, the group said at least 10,000 people contacted their elected representatives to demand that the Senate drop a bill that would have undercut the EPA. authority to control carbon dioxide, methane and other heat-trapping gases. The agency ruled last year that greenhouse gases pose a threat to the welfare of Americans, and began developing regulations based on that endangerment finding. As soon as next month, power plants and other big polluters will have to get permits for emitting greenhouse gases.
While Congress can’t find the political will to act on global warming in a meaningful way, at least some federal lawmakers are unwilling to let the EPA do the job — and guess who is leading the charge? It’s not that hard — just follow the trail of oil and coal, and the money associated with those industries. Continue reading
Filed under: global warming, op-ed | Tagged: coal, Environmental Defense Fund, EPA greenhous gas regulations, global warming, Greenhouse gas, greenhouse gases, Jay Rockefeller, Lisa Jackson, Lisa Murkowski, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, United States Environmental Protection Agency, United States Senate, US senate cimate change | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 23, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Coal, in this day and age? Really?
Fear-mongering, bought science the last gasps of a dying industry
By Bob Berwyn
Fine-tuning their scare tactics and the art of fishing with red herrings as bait, Colorado’s coal and mining industry is claiming that the state plan mandating a switch from coal to natural gas will result in electricity rate increases of 11 to 50 percent, reduce Colorado’s gross state product by $2.8 to $12 billion per year and cost 30,000 to 120,000 jobs.
That was about enough to make me want to join a protest of the plan, scheduled this week on the Capitol steps in Denver. I was just about to run out and buy a white sheet so I could make a protest banner when I remembered that whole global warming thing — you know, where carbon from burning fossil fuels threatens to turn our entire planet into some other-worldly hothouse experiment with an uncertain outcome. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, global warming, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: coal, Environment, fossil fuels, global warming, renewable energy, Summit County News | Leave a comment »