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December, 2011:

EPA Moves on US Power Plant Emissions Rules

December 23, 2011

In this July 1972 photo provided by the U.S. National Archives entitled "Burning Discarded Automobile Batteries," black clouds billow from smokestacks in Houston, Texas (file photo).

In this July 1972 photo provided by the U.S. National Archives entitled “Burning Discarded Automobile Batteries,” black clouds billow from smokestacks in Houston, Texas (file photo).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to regulate the largest remaining source of uncontrolled toxic air pollution in the United States: coal- and oil-fired power plant emissions. The new rules — 20 years in the making — will affect 1300 power plants, half of which lack modern air-pollution controls.

Most power plants affected by the rules were built in the 1970s, before clean-air technologies were developed that capture, or “scrub,” smokestack pollutants, notably mercury from burning coal, before they are released into the air.

Mercury is a neurotoxin that can cause severe birth defects and impair cognitive and fine motor skill development in children.

The new EPA rules require the dirtiest power plants to reduce emissions of mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases by more than 90 percent within the next three-to-four years or be shut down.

Retrofitting old power plants with smokestack “scrubbers” will also significantly reduce the amount of black particulate matter, or soot, released into the air. Soot has been linked to higher rates of asthma and heart disease.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, who chose to announce the new regulations at a Washington, D.C. children’s hospital, said the new air-pollution limits will protect the health of all Americans.

“When we talk about cutting hundreds of thousands of cases of respiratory symptoms, we’re talking about young people who can go outside and be with their friends without the worries that they will be struggling to breathe,” she said. “When we talk about reducing mercury levels in our environment, we’re talking about lower amounts of mercury in the fish that Americans eat every day. We’re talking about the fact that coming generations will grow up exposed to lower amounts of toxic pollution in the air they breathe.”

The EPA rules could cost the power industry upwards of $10 billion dollars, and many companies will have to decide whether to comply or shut down their old coal- and oil-powered plants.

Misty Allen is a spokesperson for GenOn (JEN-on) Energy, a company based in Houston, Tex., that operates both natural gas and coal-fired power plants that were built in the 1970s. Allen says her company will be directly affected by the new EPA rule.

“At this stage we are still evaluating the rule and evaluating which technologies are appropriate or whether or not individual units would retire or shut down,” she said. “So, that’s still under consideration by the company.”

Asked whether consumers will end up paying higher electricity bills because of the EPA rule, Allen has a ready answer.

“As with everything in the market, yes.”

Most environmental groups have praised the EPA ruling. One leading organization, the Union of Concerned Scientists, is hailing the agency’s move, saying the benefit to public health in limiting smokestack emissions far outweighs the price tag for the pollution controls. But the group adds that the new pollution controls were long overdue.

Video explains the process

Plasma Gasification : an Explanation of the technology – for members fo the Advisory Council on the Environment and Legco Panel on Evironmental Affairs

ENB’s appointed consultant for the proposed (old) moving gate mass burn technology SWC incinerator is AECOM

AECOM Quote:

Plasma Gasification is a Clean Energy Solution – Energy Recovery from Waste

‘Alter NRG’s 750 tonne-per-day waste-to-energy plasma gasification facility “will result in substantial renewable energy production from post consumer waste streams that would normally have to be land filled, while providing state-of-the-art emission control…’

“These emissions will be substantially lower than traditional mass burn or refuse derived fuel processes commonly used in the waste to energy industry. Diversion of MSW from solid waste landfills (where the potent greenhouse gas methane is formed) will result in substantial net decreases in greenhouse gas emissions as CO2 equivalent. Since the proposed organic feed stocks are post consumer waste streams,the project represents a renewable and sustainable clean energy resource.”


Milwaukee Gasification-WTE Project Unveiled

Mike Zebell of Aecom “The site AFE has chosen for this project is well suited for this facility”, said Mike Zebell of Aecom, a technical, environmental and management support services company advising AFE on permitting. “We believe that this technology is not only environmentally friendly but ready for large-scale commercialization.  ”

Mike Zebell of Aecom “We are excited to partner with an entrepreneurial firm like AFE, one of the industries leading developers focused on building environmentally responsible energy projects using plasma gasification technology.”

Plasma Gasification Explanation PDF : Download Plasma GasificationExplanation

The Coal Age Is Nearer to Its End

By Rebecca Smith
The Wall Street Journal

After burning coal to light up Cincinnati for six decades, the Walter C. Beckjord Generating Station will go dark soon—a fate that will be shared by dozens of aging coal-fired power plants across the U.S. in coming years.

Their owners cite a raft of new air-pollution regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, including a rule released Wednesday that limits mercury and other emissions, for the shut-downs.

But energy experts say there is an even bigger reason coal plants are losing out: cheap and abundant natural gas, which is booming thanks to a surge in production from shale-rock formations in the U.S.

“Inexpensive natural gas is the biggest threat to coal,” says Jone-Lin Wang, head of global power research for IHS CERA, a research company. “Nothing else even comes close.”

For decades, coal produced more electricity than all other fuels combined, and as recently as 2003 accounted for almost 51% of net electricity generation, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

But its share has dropped sharply in the last couple of years. It fell to 43% for the first nine months of 2011, as natural gas’s share has jumped to almost 25% from under 17% in 2003. Meanwhile, gas prices, on average, have fallen 37 cents to $4.02 per million British thermal units so far this year.
Description: RETIRE

Many big utilities have announced retirements of coal-burning power plants, including Southern Co., Progress Energy Inc., First Energy Corp., Xcel Energy Inc., Ameren Corp. and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Coal consumption by the power sector is expected to fall 2% this year and 4% next year; even small movements are important because utilities burned 92.4% of the 1,071 million short tons of coal distributed last year in the U.S.

American Electric Power Co., the biggest user of coal in the U.S., expects to burn 67 million tons of coal this year but anticipates its consumption will drop to 50 million tons after it retires 25 coal-burning generating units in six states by 2015.

Experts think 10% to 20% of U.S. coal-fired generating capacity will get shut down by 2016.

Some of the soon-to-be-defunct plants have been operating only sporadically because they are old, inefficient and expensive to operate; Duke Energy Corp.’s Beckjord plant in Ohio, for example, didn’t even run three of its six generating units in 2010.

Market and regulatory forces are “sounding a death knell for many an older coal-fired power plant,” says Hugh Wynne, senior research analyst for Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York.

John Stowell, vice president of energy and environmental policy at Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke, says the EPA rules are triggering “an aging baby-boomer-type situation,” that will force a record number of retirements —and soon.

The coal and mining industries have opposed the new EPA regulations as job-killers, though some coal companies have job openings they can’t fill. The communities that are home to the closing plants will lose jobs and tax revenues.

Closing Beckjord, for example, will eliminate as many as 120 jobs at the plant, according to Duke. The loss of tax revenues will cost the local school district in New Richmond, Ohio, about $2 million a year, says Teresa Napier, the district’s chief financial officer. People are sorry to see the jobs go, but they understand why it is happening, she says, because “people want clean air.”

Meanwhile, natural-gas plants are springing up around the country, from Connecticut to California. More are expected to crop up along natural-gas pipelines, especially in places like Texas where demand for power is outstripping supplies.

Duke, for example, is building four big power plants. Two, in the Carolinas, will burn natural gas. One, in Indiana, will convert coal to a cleaner, combustible gas. Only one, in North Carolina, will burn coal.

Cost is a big reason for the shift away from coal. Coal prices have jumped an average of 6.7% a year for the past decade, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Coal cost $12 to $75 per short ton in early December, depending on where it was mined and how hot it burns.

And with energy markets flooded with cheap natural gas from shale rock, utilities have been idling coal capacity and running gas-fired plants harder. Fitch Credit Ratings estimates this is whittling coal sales by 63 million tons a year, equivalent to 6% of 2010 U.S. coal consumption. Fitch says the new EPA regulations could reduce coal sales by another 55 million tons a year, or 5% by 2016, due to plant retirements. Hardest hit: central Appalachian coal, due to its emissions profile.

Coal-firm shares have shown the strain. Peabody Energy Corp.’s stock has dropped by half since April, to $34.54 from a 52-week high of $73.95 set that month, and Consol Energy Inc.’s stock is off by a third since March to $38.38 from a 52-week high of $56.32 set that month.

But the new EPA rules are also significant. On Wednesday, the agency released its latest rule, requiring power plants to slash emissions of mercury, arsenic and other toxic pollutants within three to four years.

Last July, the agency released its final Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which requires reductions of sulfur-dioxide and nitrogen-oxide emissions in 23 Eastern and Midwestern states beginning next year, as well as seasonal ozone reductions in 28 states.

The EPA also is working on rules to limit the amount of water drawn from natural waterways by power plants for cooling purposes and to control the handling and storage of coal waste. Many state utility commissioners say they fear the agency’s recent rules will push up electricity prices or could even hurt electric-system reliability if too many power plants are shut down.

Stan Wise, an elected utility commissioner in Georgia, says “implementation of the rules has got us in a tizzy.” He has written the EPA to express his objections.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the new mercury and toxics rule will deliver $37 billion to $90 billion in health benefits, per year, when fully implemented after 2016. “These are not abstract statistics or numbers,” she said on Wednesday, but mean better health for millions of Americans.

Some utility executives have joined the chorus calling for a slowdown. Nick Akins, chief executive of Ohio-based American Electric Power, says his company needs until 2020 to make a graceful transition to a cleaner fleet of plants. A senior EPA official, who spoke on condition he not be identified, said the agency doesn’t order plants to shut down—they are fined for noncompliance, instead, when not meeting emissions standards—so “making a decision not to retrofit a plant is really a business choice by the owner.”

“We have to stage the work,” he says, adding that the EPA doesn’t understand how hard it is to find skilled workers to install pollution-control equipment. The agency assumes his company can add a scrubber to a plant in three years, he says, but “it’s more like five years.” Retrofit costs at larger plants could be hundreds of millions of dollars.


Protesters halt power plant

A town in Guangdong, inspired by the Wukan uprising, wins a temporary stop to a project residents claim will pollute their region and threaten livelihoods

South China Morning Post – 21 Dec.. 2011

Thousands of residents clashed with police yesterday in the Guangdong coastal town of Haimen, near Shantou – inspired in part by unrest in the village of Wukan, 115 kilometres away.

Haimen residents, angered by government plans to build a coal-fired power plant on their doorstep and the pollution it would bring, surrounded the local government building and blocked the Shenzhen-Shantou expressway.

Residents of Wukan, near Lufeng, have been in open revolt against their local government for more than a week in a land dispute that first erupted in September.

Reports circulating online claimed that two people had died during clashes with police in Haimen and that several people had been taken away, but the deaths could not be independently confirmed. Online photos showed a stand-off between residents and riot police. Some postings said police fired tear gas and beat demonstrators who stormed government buildings.

Other photos showed dozens of armed riot police lined up along a road, and protesters surrounding a government building.

Residents blocked the Haimen section of the Shenzhen-Shantou expressway leading into the town after local government officials refused to see them. Traffic authorities in Guangzhou warned drivers to use other routes to Shantou as the expressway was cut in both directions because of a traffic accident.

Authorities in Haimen could not be contacted yesterday. But protesters dispersed in the afternoon after the government said it would temporarily suspend construction.

One Haimen resident, Zheng Yanping, said all the town’s high school students were prevented from leaving school until late yesterday because of concerns they might join the protesters. He said the teachers gave students noodles to eat but prevented them from leaving their classrooms.

“Haimen is a small place, with only 130,000 people, but we try our best to protect our environment,” he said. “We call on the central government to help us and allow overseas media to report what’s happened because local media won’t cover our story. The people of Wukan are a good model. People who fight together can put pressure on the authorities to negotiate.”

Tensions have been rising in Haimen since October, when Shantou officials attended a ground-breaking ceremony for a big Huadian Power International power plant.

The 5.7-billion yuan (HK$6.9 billion) project includes two 600MW generating units that authorities claim are highly efficient and environmentally friendly, as well as a port for unloading coal.

Haimen residents said the coal-fired power plant would ruin the township’s coastal waters and cost fishermen their livelihood

“We already have a power plant that is a major source of pollution,” Zheng said, referring to the Huaneng Haimen Power Plant, the first 6GW “ultra-supercritical” plant in Guangdong, which began operating in the district two years ago.

However, residents say that plant has been a nightmare.

“Since the plant has been running, we often notice bad smells in the air and even see white fog in the sky,” a Haimen resident said of the Huaneng power (SEHK: 0902announcementsnews) plant.

Air Products Proposed Renewable Energy Facility in Tees Valley

Download PDF : Teeside EFW Process Roger Dewing rev 1

CTA Letter : CTAAdvisoryPanelEnv (1)

Comments from Solena Fuels : EIA 201 2011 – Comments from Solena Fuels (Dec 15 2011)-1

Exxon CLP signs JV
Exxon, CLP signs jv

PFI Issue 119

China Light & Power and its HK partner Exxon Energy have advanced their
southern China power project following a joint venture agreement with their
three partners to build a 1,050MW gas-fired plant in Shenzhen. With the
shareholding structure now in place, more detailed negotiations will be held
among the partners. CLP and Exxon will hold 17.5% each, while state-owned
Shenzhen Qianwan Electric Power Development Co and Guangdong Electric Power
Holding Co will take a combined 36% interest. Kanematsu Power (South China)
will pick up the remaining 29%.

Power companies learn how little contracts mean to government

South China Morning Post – Dec. 20, 2011

When is a contract not a contract? When it is signed with the Hong Kong government, if the experience of the power companies is anything to go by.

The request by the power companies to raise electricity tariffs is a golden opportunity for our unpopular government. It can portray itself as taking the side of the “people” against the “greedy” power companies. It’s true the power companies did extremely well out of the previous scheme of control. It permitted an annual rate of return on depreciated net assets of 13.5 to 15 per cent – double the rates of markets such as Australia and Britain and making Hong Kong one of the most profitable power markets in the world.

The new scheme of control, which came into effect in 2009, permits a return of 9.99 per cent on assets using conventional resources and 11 per cent on assets using renewable energy assets, together with financial incentives for exceeding emission targets or fines for missing them.

We may not like the scheme. The government talked of opening up the market to competitive tender but opted to stick with the present arrangements. Any tariff increase over 5 per cent is supposed to be approved by the Executive Council. But this spat was always a problem waiting to happen. The power companies have invested in scrubbers to clean up their emissions. The government has agreed on a formula with the power companies. The fact that people don’t like paying more for electricity is not by itself a valid reason for not raising tariffs. If the government can show that the power companies are fudging their figures, that’s a different matter – but they haven’t done that. Instead we have this gutless posturing because it doesn’t have the nerve to say that there is an agreed formula for adjusting rates.

The posturing from Edward Yau Tang-wah, the secretary for the environment, is even more stomach churning. This is a man who has steadfastly ignored the evidence that Hong Kong’s noxious roadside pollution is harming Hong Kong’s public health. But as soon as he gets an opportunity to gain some cheap publicity, he emerges from his bunker. Bravo. What sort of message does this send to anyone contemplating signing a contract with the government?

Advanced Plasma Power nominated for ECO12 Award

Advanced Plasma Power nominated for ECO12 Award


20th December 2011 in Latest news, What’s been happening

Advanced Plasma Power (APP) have been nominated for the Eco12 Award through

Ecosummit is the international Smart Green Business Network and Conference
for investors, startups, corporates and utilities fostering cleantech,
renewable energy, emobility, smart green city and sustainability. Their goal
is the fast transformation to the Smart Green Economy powered by 100%
renewable energy. Ecosummit acts as a smart green quality filter promoting
companies that are valuable for our ecology, economy and society, online on and Ecosummit TV and offline at our events.

The idea for the Ecosummit Award 2012 (ECO12 Award) is to reward the best
smart green startups with fame and fortune (publicity and prize money). To
select the ECO12 Award winners, the Facebook community and our expert jury
judge product innovation (value proposition and technology), business
potential (revenues) and environmental benefit. They will present and
celebrate the winners at the ECO12 Award party on 22 March 2012 in Berlin.

To vote for APP please click here.

One Response to “Advanced Plasma Power nominated for ECO12 Award”

During our recent visit to Advanced Plasma Power’s demonstration plant at
Swindon, we – a group of members and officers of South Devon Green Party –
were very impressed by the dedicated and very professional approach the
company were taking in not only finding solutions to the management of waste
and the extraction of valuable materials from the waste stream, but also the
possibility of localising electricity generation without resorting to finite
fossil fuels. The aims of Advanced Plasma Power Ltd are very much in line
with the philosophy and principles of the Green Party.

Air Products focuses on two China projects

South China Morning Post – Dec. 17, 2011

Investment programme will take advantage of Beijing’s efforts to enhance energy efficiency

Air Products and Chemicals, the United States industrial gases group, will keep its focus on China as it starts two mega projects in the high-growth market.

Steve Jones, president of Air Products’ China, said Beijing’s efforts to enhance energy efficiency would benefit the company’s expansion and reinforce its plan to increase investment.

The company plans to invest about US$800 million in Asia in the current financial year to October next year and most of the capital will be spent on the mainland.

“China is a big piece of the global industrial gas growth worldwide,” Jones said. “We expect to get a fair share.”

In eastern Anhui province, Air Products will build an on-site ammonia plant to supply Anhui Sanan OptoElectronics’ light emitting diode factory.

The company will also set up an on-site air separation unit in central Shaanxi province after signing a supply contract with Shaanxi Future Energy Chemical.

Air Products would not reveal investment figures for each project, but said that both were the largest of their kind worldwide.

Air Products, which has more than 40 subsidiaries and 50 production facilities on the mainland, predicted China’s demand for industrial gas would grow 19 per cent annually between 2011 and 2015, more than double the projected annual growth of 9 per cent worldwide.

By 2015, the mainland’s industrial gas market is expected to account for 11 per cent of the world’s US$96 billion market, the company said.

Air Products, along with rivals such as Linde Gas and Praxair, supplies industrial gases and processing equipment to mainland companies.

Industrial gases – including oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen – are widely used in sectors ranging from petrochemicals and steelmaking to electronics.

China’s 2009 pledge of cutting carbon emissions by up to 45 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020, provides opportunities for Air Products, Jones said.

By using quality industrial gases in the steelmaking and glassmaking sectors, the producers could reduce energy consumption and emissions.

Jones said Air Products hopes to “grow in excess of” the already hefty 19 per cent increase in China’s forecast needs.

The company’s clients include mainland giants such as PetroChina (SEHK: 0857announcementsnews) and China National Offshore Oil Corp.

“We will continue to leverage our leading technologies, excellent reliability and safety records to support the growing markets,” Jones said.

He added that the only difficulty Air Products faced in China was the shortage of local talent needed to support the company’s expansion plans.

Steve Jones

Steve Jones