Archive for Sunday, December 28, 2008

Coal plant supporters to try again for state permits

December 28, 2008


— Supporters of the proposed coal-burning power plants in southwest Kansas will be back before the 2009 Legislature, trying to push the project through.

“Certainly,” said Cindy Hertel, a spokeswoman for Sunflower Electric Power Corp., when asked about whether legislation would be revived in the session that starts Jan. 12. “We continue to look at the cost (of the project) and believe it benefits our member-owners in a lot of ways.”

Hays-based Sunflower, along with its Colorado partner, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, have proposed building two 700-megawatt coal-fired plants near Holcomb at an estimated cost of $3.6 billion.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment denied permits for the plants, citing health and environmental risks from the projected 11 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

In the 2008 session, the Legislature three times approved bills to overturn KDHE’s decision and require construction of the plants. Each time, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the legislation, and lawmakers failed to get enough votes to override her vetoes.

Since then, Sunflower has sued the state in federal court, alleging the denial of the permits to build the plants violated the company’s rights to equal protection and to conduct interstate commerce.

Most of the power from the project would be used by out-of-state customers. Sunflower also has sought relief before the Kansas Supreme Court.

But Sunflower will resume the battle in the Legislature.

Hertel, the company’s spokeswoman, said she doesn’t know whether the November legislative election results helped or hurt Sunflower’s attempts with votes in the Legislature.

“It’s just hard to gauge,” she said. “It’s all going to depend how the bill is crafted. We are hopeful. We know we have a lot of support.”

During the 2008 session, supporters came within one vote in the House of overturning Sebelius’ veto.

Supporters of the plants also are expected to emphasize that during the economic downturn, the project would produce 1,500 construction jobs. But Stephanie Cole, a spokeswoman for the Sierra Club, said opponents of the project are ready.

“We have been making efforts to educate our state leaders on the importance of clean energy and making a transition away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels,” Cole said. And, she said, the public supports this position.


Shardwurm 9 years, 4 months ago

They do realize that Kathy is still in Topeka right? We wouldn't want to create jobs, revenue, and re-vitalize Western Kansas now would we?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 4 months ago

The recently collapsed coal ash dam in Tennessee demonstrates precisely how oxymoronic "clean coal" is, and the insidious, everyday pollution from operating coal power plants is even greater, and much more widely spread. And there is no way to mine it without absolutely destroying, forever, millions of acres of land.

Bill Griffith 9 years, 4 months ago

Tri-State gave Sunflower the green light to continue fighting for the air permit for the Holcomb expansion. However, as a back-up TS is investigating Holly, Colorado again as a possible site for a coal plant. They do not want to go that route if possible due to strong opposition in their state but may be forced to if the Sunflower permit process evenutally dies off. If we assume that the legislature gets something passed over a veto, it will in all probability face more court challenges and will continue to be held up. Plus, how EPA regulates carbon dioxide will have an affect on many coal permits in the United States. We should have a better idea on in-state and DC efforts from both sides by April.

rdave13 9 years, 4 months ago

Don't worry everyone:"...Rep. Tom Sloan, a 14-year Republican legislative veteran from Lawrence, said that while Kansas struggles through the current economic downturn, officials need to remain attentive to long-term challenges — such as water quality and health care delivery."Just like last year....our officials will remain attentive to real problems.

phyllyphat 9 years, 4 months ago

any state in the union has the financial capabilities to utilize solar power from space. not having any formal technical training under my belt, ive designed a solar power plant satellite that will collect 100% peak energy 24 hrs a day 7 days a wk 365 days a yr, even leap yrs. with sufficient r & d, trial and error, and a certain amount of scientific rigor, kansas coal plants would be a humorous memory. this is going to be my lifes work and once my art sells i can begin paying for my... pet projects. sebelius, you will always be my hero. satyagraha

Shardwurm 9 years, 4 months ago

Long range? Have you driven down I 70 lately and seen the signs along the highway that say: "Free land for businesses"? It's a wasteland out there already. The addition of a facility that would generate electricity (purchased in large part by people from other states), provide jobs, and make several counties viable in what is now a desert seems a lot more important.

Maddy Griffin 9 years, 4 months ago

There is no such thing as clean coal, although the energy companies spend a lot of money to convince us otherwise.The coal that is burned in this country to produce electricity does more damage to the environment than all the automobiles combined. How about a windmill farm instead??!

devobrun 9 years, 3 months ago

Clean coal, non-polluting energy, Free energy, Green energy, hype, hype hype.The coal guys, the wind guys and the politicians and press are engaged in a war of words that promotes as much disinformation as any war.Remember the wars against inflation (whip inflation now)?Remember the war on poverty?Remember the war on drugs?This war between conventional energy and "new" energy is just as bogus as those wars of the past. The truth looses in war and the war between coal and wind is just as false.Figure up the wind turbine energy budget based upon a system of generators, storage and distribution. Use the concept of energy to measure its performance. The unit of measurement is the joule. Joules in and joules out. Compare a wind-based system against other energy technologies, including coal. Evaluate the systems on a rational basis, using math and joules of energy. Leave words like pollution and money out of it. Apparently we don't live in a world of rational evaluations anymore. We base our opinions on faith and hope. We make decisions on popularity now. Hollywood stars, ethnic heritage, political associations, and east coast cultural proscriptions now trump rational thought. Never mind that wind technology is older than Holland. Its new. Never mind that there are technical limitations to all the so called energy alternatives. They're new, they're green. They're brainless.

Sigmund 9 years, 3 months ago

Nope lets make a new law requiring nothing but wind energy for Kansas and then complain of the high cost of electricity stifling the Kansas economy!

jayhawklawrence 9 years, 3 months ago

One of our nation's greatest natural resources is the Ogallala Aquifer, sometimes called the High Plains Aquifer. It is dropping every year at an alarming rate. Because of greed and ignorance of people such as the coal plant supporters and politicians such as Melvin Neufeld, pumping out water from this great resource will be accelerated. It is the nature of our modern political environment that we act with selfish expedience and sacrifice all else, even our future.The other option is to invest in alternative energies with the same dynamism that sent man to the moon and to get rid of people like Tom Sloan who talk one way and act another.Unfortunately, as long as the religious leadership in Kansas keeps trying to convince their disciples that the Republicans are the party of God, it may never happen. What foolishness.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 3 months ago

"Nope lets make a new law requiring nothing but wind energy for Kansas"Not necessary. All that's required is to begin implementing hefty taxes on all major sources of CO2, with corresponding reductions in other forms of taxation (sales taxes on food, property taxes, for instance) and the market will take care of the rest.

frank mcguinness 9 years, 3 months ago

Devobrun Says: Evaluate the systems on a rational basis, using math and joules of energy. Leave words like pollution and money out of it.Well then lets hook your mom up to the grid as she was able to spit out the biggest ball of irrational energy out.(you)

Sigmund 9 years, 3 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says… "Not necessary. All that's required is to begin implementing hefty taxes on all major sources of CO2, with corresponding reductions in other forms of taxation (sales taxes on food, property taxes, for instance) and the market will take care of the rest."Completely agree! It is exactly the same as requiring nothing but wind energy for Kansas, but you forgot to complete the thought, "then complain of the high cost of electricity stifling the Kansas economy!"

KEITHMILES05 9 years, 3 months ago

The political reality is the VAST majority of state reps and senators support this project which translates into the people who elected them support it. Kathy needs to let it go and concentrate on the real problems of the state.

JSpizias 9 years, 3 months ago

1.The average fall temperature in Kansas City from 1878 to 2006 is available from NOAA. Check it out to see how much "global warming" we have had in Kansas City over this time. See how good is the data that is used for calculating "global warming". The vast majority of stations have error equal to 2 degrees Centigrade or greater (1 degree C = 1.8 degree F). Start reading if you want to get some data driven info rather than media hype and spin (that has been swallowed whole by a lot of poorly informed people)."While the policy community and media continue to erroneously hammer that the addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere is the dominate human climate forcing, the several meeting at the EGU this Spring (see and see, also) illustrate that the climate, in reality is much more complex and difficult to predict than has been communicated by the IPCC and CCSP reports to the politicians and public."Yet Another EGU Meeting That Demonstrates The Diversity Of Climatte Forcings: “Biospheric Feedbacks In The Climate System In The Past, Present, And Future”Filed under: Climate Science Meetings — Roger Pielke Sr. @ 7:00 amThanks to Martin Claussen, Victor Brovkin, and Ning Zeng there is another meeting which shows the complexity of the climate system. It is“Biospheric feedbacks in the climate system in the past, present, and future” (Session CL21) at the EGU General Assembly in Vienna, 19 - 24 April 2009. Convener: Claussen, M. Co-Conveners: Brovkin, V.; Zeng, N.The meeting outline is given asContributions are welcome in the field of:a) Global scale vegetation dynamics and feedback with climate system dynamicsb) Interaction between vegetation feedbacks on a local scale and global scale feedbacksc) Global and continental scale anthropogenic land cover change, past, present, futured) Lifespan of the biosphere, astrobiologye) Concepts and simplified models of climate-ecosystem feedbacksf) Comprehensive dynamic global ecosystem modelsh) Global data sets for feedbacks assessmentSolicited presentation:“Climate-Vegetation Feedbacks on different scales” by Dekker SC, de Boer HJ and Rietkerk MThe deadline for submitting abstracts is 13 JANUARY 2009. The deadline for registration is 31 MARCH 2008.Details about the conference and submission of abstracts can be found at:

devobrun 9 years, 3 months ago

Who on this board can provide me with a link, or a book, or a speech, or any document that shows any alternative energy system is greater than 100% efficient?By this I mean that the system must provide more usable energy than that required to implement the system.If the gathering, storing, and distributing of the alternative energy yields less energy than it takes to build and operate the system, then don't bother. I once had a guy tell me about a 12vdc battery charger attached to a 110vac inverter. The inverter produced 110 volts which ran the 12 volt battery charger which charged the battery. He reasoned that the inverter produced energy somehow because it produced 110 volts from 12 volts. Of course, energy is voltage times charge and the system is less than perfect. So, the whole thing runs down eventually.The energy required to implement and maintain wind and solar technologies doesn't add up. The sun may be free, but the energy conversion and storage and distribution isn't. Ditto for the wind.Wind and solar must have backup storage or conventional energy generating capability. It is expensive to have coal-fired generators for backup. It is expensive in terms of joules. So far, no storage of electricity is feasible. Batteries aren't the answer. Neither is hydrogen. Keep trying to find a better way greenies, I too hope for a viable solution to fossil fuels. But in the mean time, use coal. It is the best we have right now.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 3 months ago

"Completely agree! It is exactly the same as requiring nothing but wind energy for Kansas,"No, it's not. It just makes coal finally responsible for its externalized costs, including global climate change and mercury poisoning, among others, which have never been included in its pricing structure.While wind power would undoubtedly benefit, by far the very first and largest response by the energy-buying public would be investments in conservation, along with investments in many other alternative energy sources, such as solar, geothermal, hydro, etc.Under this scenario, coal would truly have to put up or shut about "clean" coal. If they can really put up, then the plants in W. Kansas might be built, while some existing ones in E. Kansas that are too expensive to retrofit would be shut down.

tin 9 years, 3 months ago

Why don't you tree huggers do your part to save the earth and stop using energy. Or buying products that used energy to produce. If enough of you did then we might not need to build anymore coal fired plants. Or bozo's plan tax the hell out of the Co2 producing plants and then when the energy producers pass the cost on to the customer then you'll bitch because you can't afford electricity. Seems you people are never happy, life must suck to be you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 3 months ago

"Or bozo's plan tax the hell out of the Co2 producing plants and then when the energy producers pass the cost on to the customer then you'll bitch because you can't afford electricity."Actually, tin, under my idea, there would be no net increase in your taxes, because there would be corresponding reductions in other forms of taxation, such as sales taxes on food and in property taxes.You would be free to spend all of those tax savings on coal-fired electricity, if you want, and you would see very little difference in your current net monthly expenditures.Personally, I would spend most of my tax savings on conservation so I didn't have to burn it up in the form of coal, and with the resulting overall net decrease in my monthly expenditures, I'd invest in the energy systems of the near and long-term future, such as wind and solar.

ASBESTOS 9 years, 3 months ago

What coal we won't burn, CHina and India will. They have made that pretty clear.PEnalize the US all you want, it just means when the Electricity Prices go up, the Democrats and Politicians that are putting forth this nonsense of no nuclear or coal generators, and "wind and solar only" are gonna be out of office. IF Obama backs off of "continental Shelf drilling" he will be lambasted by the majority when the gasoline prices do rise again.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 3 months ago

"What coal we won't burn, CHina and India will. They have made that pretty clear."Well, yea, that makes sense. Since China and India might kill us all before we have a chance to, we just need to redouble our own efforts at killing ourselves. Let's do this thing and play Russian Roulette with a bullet in every chamber.

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