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Natural Gas Power Plants Emit up to 120 Times More Methane Than Previously Estimated

Nat gasBy Steve Horn • Monday, March 20, 2017 – 17:45

Researchers at Purdue University and the Environmental Defense Fund have concluded in a recent study that natural gas power plants release 21–120 times more methane than earlier estimates.

Published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, the study also found that for oil refineries, emission rates were 11–90 times more than initial estimates. Natural gas, long touted as a cleaner and more climate-friendly alternative to burning coal, is obtained in the U.S. mostly via the controversial horizontal drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).

The scientists measured air emissions at three natural gas-fired power plants and three refineries in Utah, Indiana, and Illinois using Purdue’s flying chemistry lab, the Airborne Laboratory for Atmospheric Research (ALAR). They compared their results to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.

“Power plants currently use more than one third of natural gas consumed in the U.S. and the volume used is expected to increase as market forces drive the replacement of coal with cheaper natural gas,” the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) said in a press release. The nonprofit commissioned and funded the study with a grant from the Afred P. Sloan Foundation.

“But if natural gas is going to deliver on its promise, methane emissions due to leaks, venting, and flaring need to be kept to a minimum.”

Click here to read the full article.

Largest Solar Farm East of the Mississippi: Gulf Power solar farm project close to completion

Gulf Power announced its solar farm project on Eglin Air Force Base is about halfway done. The plant will be the largest solar farm east of the Mississippi with 1.5 million panels. The solar farm will take up more than 700 football fields of space on Eglin reserve.  Click here to learn more.

Breaking News on Keystone XL:

Sierra LogoBreaking: The Trump administration just approved the presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, but this fight is far from over.

Take action: Urge the Nebraska PSC to reject the state permit!

The Trump administration just approved the presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and reversed the rejection of the project under the Obama administration. The decision isn’t shocking. It’s just another step taken by Trump and his billionaire cabinet cronies to line the pockets of Big Oil at the expense of communities.

The good news is this fight is far from over, and we can win. TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL pipeline, must still get approval to route the pipeline through Nebraska, and the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) is taking public comments now. 

We stopped Keystone XL before because people like you took 1.9 million actions — from sending letters to the White House to joining rallies across the country — to fight back. We can win again now by urging the Nebraska PSC to block the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all.

President Obama was right to reject this pipeline. It poses a grave and immediate threat to our climate and to every community it cuts through. Keystone XL would carry 830,000 barrels of the world’s dirtiest oil — tar sands — every day from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast. It would be responsible for annual greenhouse gas emissions each year equal to 37.7 million cars — a disaster for our climate. It’s also yet another example of the government trampling on the rights of Indigenous peoples: Keystone XL would cut directly through Sioux treaty lands and near several other tribal reservations and the Ponca Trail of Tears, yet Tribal Nations in Nebraska and South Dakota have not been properly consulted.

A report from the University of Nebraska determined that Keystone XL is likely to have 91 significant spills, putting water sources and wildlife habitat at risk along the entire 1,179-mile route. Keystone XL would cross the Ogallala Aquifer, which is one of the country’s largest sources of freshwater. A spill in the aquifer would threaten the drinking water for millions of Americans as well as the livelihood of local ranchers and farmers. The pipeline also lies within one mile of thousands of water wells in Nebraska, Montana, and South Dakota — putting even more people at risk of losing access to clean water. 1 

We can still stop the Keystone XL pipeline by urging the Nebraska PSC to reject the state permit. Fight back by submitting a public comment now.

This pipeline is bigger than Trump. It’s about the Native Nations whose land and water are threatened, the farmers and ranchers whose land would be taken away to benefit a corporation, and the special places — like the Nebraska Sandhills which are home to threatened wildlife, including whooping cranes, sandhill cranes, and bald eagles — that lie in the path of this dirty pipeline. We will not let this pipeline be constructed — we will continue to fight alongside our allies to stop Keystone XL.

This fight has never been easy, but we won before because we refused to back down. We are not about to stop now, and we can win again. In 2011, the Wall Street Journal called Keystone XL “inevitable” but 6 years later, thanks to you, there’s still no pipeline. 

Today is not the end of our fight, it’s the day that we show the Trump administration what this movement is made of. Submit your comment against Keystone XL now.

March 24 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • The declining cost of wind generation has many utilities looking to add it into their portfolios, a trend that could accelerate the demise of aging coal plants. According to new analysis from Moody’s Investor Services, some 56 GW of Midwest coal-fired generation is at risk, as wind energy comes online with lower costs. [Utility Dive]
Rainbows will not keep coal alive. (Credit: Flickr user Mike Baird

Rainbows will not keep coal alive. (Credit: Flickr user Mike Baird

  • According to 2017 Key Trends in Hydropower, published this week by the International Hydropower Association, a total of 31.5 GW of hydropower capacity was commissioned worldwide in 2016, including 6.4 GW of pumped storage, nearly twice the amount installed in 2015. Hydropower capacity is now 1,246 GW. [CleanTechnica]
  • Global PV manufacturer Hanwha Q Cells said it has been awarded a tender to construct a 1-GW solar power plant in Turkey, in partnership with Kalyon. The Karapinar YEKA project will be the largest solar plant in the region. It will have 1,000 MW AC of capacity, enough to power over 600,000 households. [Renewable Energy Magazine]
  • E.ON will be one of the first companies to stabilize the German electricity grid with wind power. This is made possible by the integration of a wind farm in Brandenburg into E.ON’s Virtual Power Plant. The wind farm is made part of a virtual power plant having 3,800 MW generation output from various sources. [Windtech International]
  • A proposed national budget from the Trump Administration seeks to greenlight the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The move, if approved by Congress, would overturn the policy of the Obama Administration, which froze the Yucca Mountain project in 2009 over concerns that it was unfit to store nuclear waste. [Bellona]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

Granite State Solar expands, breaking ground on new property in Bow, NH

Granite State Solar, a New Hampshire-based provider of photovoltaic solar and high-efficiency home heating and cooling systems, announces that they have broken ground on the construction of their new headquarters in central New Hampshire.

The 3-acre property located in the town of Bow, will feature a new office and warehouse building to be completed at just under 10,000 square feet. The move will make room for additional vehicles, equipment and “Most importantly” according to partner, Alan Gauntt, “the much-needed office space will facilitate the hiring of additional staff to support our growth in New Hampshire and expansion into Vermont and other New England states.”

As the leading installer of residential solar in the state of New Hampshire, GSS has been offering cutting-edge solar design, sales and installation services throughout New Hampshire since 2008. All GSS installation work is performed by teams of full-time electricians.  “Because Granite State Solar does everything in-house and not through subcontractors, having enough space for both materials and personnel is critical…”  says co-owner Erik Shifflett. “We’re creating the living-wage jobs NH needs – with health insurance benefits covered at 100% and paid continuing education to further skills and careers.”

Partners Alan Gauntt & Erik Shifflett are excited for the new opportunities that this space will make possible.  In the meantime, the Boscawen NH office will continue to serve residential and commercial clients as GSS prepares for the much-anticipated move to their new home.

March 23 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Toshiba and Ormat Technologies have commissioned the first 110-MW unit of the $1.17 billion Sarulla geothermal power plant located in North Sumatra, Indonesia. The 320.8-MW power plant uses technologies from Toshiba and Ormat to provide a high efficiency and 100% reinjection of the used geothermal fluid. [Energy Business Review]
Sarulla geothermal plant (Toshiba photo)

Sarulla geothermal plant (Toshiba image)

  • Fifty Massachusetts lawmakers put their support behind a bill that would transition the state’s energy system to renewable sources. All of the state’s electricity would be required to come from clean energy initiatives like solar and wind by 2035. Energy for heating and transportation would all be renewably sourced by 2050. [pvbuzz media]
  • Xcel Energy announced it has proposed the development of 11 new wind facilities in seven states, which would add 3,380 MW in new wind generation. The proposals would boost the utility’s wind portfolio by 50% and increase wind’s share of Xcel’s total generation to 35%. The proposals would come online through 2021. [Power Engineering Magazine]
  • Madison, Wisconsin and Abita Springs, Louisiana are moving to 100% renewable energy following city council votes. Madison and Abita Springs are the first cities in Wisconsin and Louisiana to make this commitment. They join 23 other cities across the United States, from large ones like San Diego to small ones like Greensburg, Kansas. [EcoWatch]
  • Exxon officials have been ordered by a New York judge to explain how the company overlooked a shadow email account used by its former CEO Rex Tillerson while the company was under subpoena by the New York attorney general’s office. Tillerson had used an alias email account under the name “Wayne Tracker.” [InsideClimate News]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

Funding Available for Biomass Feasibility Studies! Deadline 3/29

NH Wood Energy Coucil

Is your town, school, or business considering this type of switch? Now is the perfect time to audit your facility to see what type of biomass system can work and at what cost. This is a valuable service made possible through a US Forest Service grant at little to no-cost to your organization or municipality. But there is limited time left to apply! We must get your application no later than 3/29 and we must commit the funds by 3/31/17.

To learn more and view the application visit here!

To ask questions and/or get assistance to meet this deadline, call us at 603-226-4732 or email brianna@nhsea.org

Five Days After Stella, NHEC Members Fully Restored

Five days after near-hurricane force winds cut a swath of devastation across parts of New Hampshire, NHEC line crews restored power to the last members affected by Winter Storm Stella.
Veteran lineworkers say the damage caused by Stella was rivaled only by the 1998 Ice Storm, which knocked out power to more than 50,000 Co-op members, some for up to two weeks. By comparison, Stella’s impact was less widespread – 15,000 members had lost power at the peak of the storm on March 14. But in the hardest hit areas of the northern Lakes Region, Stella left scenes of destruction that will change the local landscape.
Untold numbers of large white pine trees were toppled in the towns of Moultonborough, Center Harbor, Sandwich and Tuftonboro, where wind gusts were recorded in excess of 60 miles per hour. Falling trees blocked roads and left many areas inaccessible for days. The damage to NHEC’s electrical distribution system was extreme in spots. The day after the storm passed, line crews were confronted by miles of wire on the ground and more than 100 broken poles.
The list of supplies shipped to crews in the field during the restoration effort reveals the extent of the damage:
·         117 poles
·         75 8’ cross arms
·         600 insulators
·         50 transformers
·         10,000 feet of wire
While the majority of crews worked along roadsides in bucket trucks, other crews headed off-road in tracked vehicles, ATVs and snowshoes to replace poles and hang wire in locations that could not be reached by trucks. At the height of the clean-up effort, a total of 44 line crews and more than 20 tree crews were working in the northern Lakes Region.
Much of the restoration effort was centered on the Route 109 area from Route 25 in Moultonborough to Center Tuftonboro. In the days following the storm, the normally quiet road was abuzz with activity as crews from the NH Department of Transportation, electric, cable and phone utilities and logging operations maneuvered around each other’s work areas and coordinated their efforts to open roads and restore services.
A restoration of this magnitude required a cooperative effort. NHEC is grateful for the help it received from crews from Vermont Electric Cooperative, Eversource and a number of contract line and tree crews. NHEC also wishes to thank representatives of the state Department of Transportation, local emergency services and municipal officials for their close cooperation during the storm and recovery. Special thanks go to the Sandwich and Moultonborough highway departments for their extraordinary efforts. 
NHEC also wishes to thank its members for their overwhelming support of our crews. Despite some members being without power for as much as five days, line crews in the field encountered nothing but patience and gratitude from NHEC members. Numerous acts of kindness, large and small, kept spirits high during the clean-up. Thank you to Bob Jones and the Village Kitchen in Moultonborough for serving free breakfast to line crews. Thank you to the Cup and Crumb restaurant in Moultonborough for delivering food to our lineworkers in the field. Thank you to Daphne at the Circle K Irving in Meredith, who gave Dunkin Donuts gift cards to our crews. Thank you to the people of Moultonborough who purchased Girl Scout cookies at their town meeting for delivery to our lineworkers.  Thank you to the many members who acknowledged our crews with signs in their driveways or a thumbs-up and a wave. 
“Our members displayed the best spirit of a cooperative during this storm,” said NHEC President/CEO Steve Camerino. “We are grateful to them as well as our employees, sister utilities and vendors for their support.”
Storm-related clean-up will continue throughout this week as crews work with homeowners to restore service lines and clean up broken poles and other system debris along the roadsides and rights-of-way. If you are awaiting reconnection after repairs to your service line, please contact NHEC at 1-800-698-2007.

March 22 Green Energy News

Headline News:

  • Start-up Wright Electric intends to offer an electric-powered commercial flight from London to Paris in 10 years. Its plane would carry 150 people on journeys of less than 300 miles. By removing the need for jet fuel, the price of travel could drop dramatically. British low-cost airline Easyjet has expressed its interest in the technology. [BBC News]
Wright One (Wright Electric image)

Wright One electric plane (Wright Electric image)

  • A study says 2016 saw a “dramatic” decline in the number of coal-fired power stations in pre-construction, with a 48% fall in planned coal units, with a 62% drop in construction starts. The report, from several green campaign groups, says changing policies and economic conditions in China and India were behind the decline. [BBC News]
  • AES subsidiary Dayton Power & Light confirmed that it will close two of its coal-fired plants by 2018 because they have become uneconomical. The Ohio utility announced its intent to close the two plants in January. DP&L will shift its power mix toward more renewable energy. Its announcement makes the move official. [POWER magazine]
  • Xcel Energy projects it can save Texas-New Mexico customers $2.8 billion over a 30-year period by displacing higher-cost energy with an additional 1,230 MW of wind energy. That is enough electricity to power more than 440,000 typical homes. Most of the new power would be generated at two facilities in New Mexico and Texas. [KCBD-TV]
  • Salka LLC announced the execution of a purchase and sale agreement for the Summit Wind Project, an in-development wind farm in the east San Francisco Bay Area. The project will re-power a former Altamont Pass wind farm, replacing its 569 wind turbines with 27 modern turbines. The project is 45 miles from San Francisco. [Windpower Engineering]

For more news, please visit geoharvey – Daily News about Energy and Climate Change.

RUTLAND COUNTY, VT HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE COLLECTION EVENTS

SATURDAY, APRIL 8, 2017

8:00 – 11:30 a.m. – RUTLAND TOWN Transfer Station, in Northwood Park, off Post Road Extension, Rutland

12:00 noon – 3:00 p.m. – CHITTENDEN Transfer Station, Chittenden

SATURDAY, APRIL 15, 2017

8:00 – 9:30 a.m. – PAWLET, Mettowee Community School Parking Lot, Route 153, West Pawlet

10:30 – 12:00 noon – MIDDLETOWN SPRINGS Transfer Station, behind Firehouse, Middletown Springs

SATURDAY, APRIL 22, 2017

8:00 – 10:00 a.m. – TINMOUTH Transfer Station, Route 140, Tinmouth

11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – FAIR HAVEN Transfer Station, Fair Haven Avenue, Fair Haven

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2017

12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – SHREWSBURY Transfer Station, 103 Mountain Road, Shrewsbury

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2017

8:00 – 9:30 a.m. – BENSON Transfer Station, Benson

10:30 a.m. – NOON. – SUDBURY Transfer Station, across from the Town Garage, Williams Lane, Sudbury
1:00 – 3:00 p.m. – FAIR HAVEN Transfer Station, Fair Haven Avenue, Fair Haven

SEPTEMBER 23, 2017

8:00-11:30 a.m. – RUTLAND TOWN Transfer Station, in Northward Park, off Post Road Extension, Rutland

FREE SERVICE TO:  Residents of the Solid Waste Alliance Communities (SWAC) Towns ONLY – Benson, Chittenden, Fair Haven, Middletown Springs, Pawlet, Rutland Town, Shrewsbury, Sudbury, Tinmouth, and West Haven.  As a resident of SWAC, you may attend the events listed above, even if it is not the one scheduled for your town.  Residents of these communities may also drop off their household hazardous waste at the Gleason Road Hazardous Waste Depot during normal operating hours.  PROOF OF RESIDENCY REQUIRED.

BUSINESS WASTE:  Small business (conditionally exempt generators) which may include town offices, schools, and town garages can dispose of their wastes through the Rutland County Solid Waste Management District (RCSWD) Hazardous Waste Depot.  Waste may include oil-based paint (no charge), non-architectural paint, pesticides (no charge), and used motor oil.    Please call 775-7209 to schedule an appointment.  Payment for disposal will be required at the time of drop-off.

  • Use products up for their intended use to lower disposal costs for your community.  Please keep products in their original containers.  Do not mix products!

  • No smoking or fires allowed at the collection site.

  • COMPUTER COLLECTION:  Permanent computer collection programs are available throughout the County to serve Vermont residents.  For a list of registered collection locations, visit http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/e-waste/ or call toll free at:  1-855-6ecycle (1-855-632-9253). Large businesses should contact the RCSWD at (802-775-7209) to discuss recycling and disposal options.   There is a nominal fee for recycling/disposal of business waste.  ELECTRONICS ARE NOT ACCEPTED AT THESE EVENTS.

WHAT TO BRING

Arts and Crafts Supplies
Carburetor Cleaner
Chemistry Kits
Creosote
Drain Cleaners
Engine Degreaser
Fertilizer
Flea Powder
Floor Cleaners
Fluorescent Bulbs (Unbroken)
Furniture Polish
Gas Treatments
Latex Paint
Radiator Flusher
Rodent Killer
Herbicides
Insect Sprays
Lead and Oil-Based Paints
Lighter Fluid
Lithium, Mercury, Ni-CAD Batteries (all residential batteries     weighing under 4 lbs.)
Metal Polish
Mothballs
No –Pest Strips
Oven Cleaners
Paint Thinners
Pesticides
Photo Chemicals
Roofing Tar
Rug/Upholstery Cleaners
Rust Proofers
Solvents/Varnish Sealants
Toilet Cleaners
Used Motor Oil
Wax Polish
Wood Preservatives
Wood Strippers and Stains

WHAT NOT TO BRING

  • SMOKE DETECTORS AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS – Disposal options:

  • Intact carbon monoxide detectors and household smoke detectors are accepted for disposal with regular trash.
  • Many manufacturers of smoke detectors have voluntary take-back programs for safe disposal of these items. Be sure to verify current packaging and shipping requirements directly with the manufacturer.  Curie Environmental Services also will recycle ionization smoke detectors for a small fee. The program is called Curiepack.

  • Businesses should call the Vermont Environmental Assistance Division in Waterbury at (802) 241-3745.

 

Limitations, regulations and other specifications: Ionization smoke detectors do contain a small amount of a low-level radioactive isotope, but the material is not considered hazardous to people or pets at the levels present in household smoke detectors.
  • CONTAINERS – Any product brought to the household hazardous waste events (including used motor oil) must be left in the container they are transported in.  Materials will not be poured off into larger containers at the events.

  • CAR BATTERIES  –   Most service stations will accept used car batteries.

  • TIRES are also accepted at the Gleason Road facility for a nominal fee.

  • For additional information, contact the RCSWD (802-775-7209), Pam at the SWAC (802-342-5701), OR  VISIT WWW.RUTLANDCOUNTYSWAC.ORG.