About these ads

Power plant greenhouse gas emissions drop 23 percent

dfsg

Switching to natural gas power generation has helped slow the pace of greenhouse gas emissions. Photo via the Wikimedia Commons.

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

About these ads

EPA’s proposed limits on power plant emissions would accelerate shift from coal to natural gas

dfgh

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

Energy: Four Corners power plant to be scrutinized

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

Colorado: Coal still king in Summit County energy mix

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

Colorado: Romney to hold rally in Craig

Mitt Romney.

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

A small carbon tax on coal could help drive shift to natural gas and reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly

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

A switch to natural gas may not slow global warming

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,403 other followers