Archive for Saturday, February 28, 2009

Energy innovation

Why not have plants in Holcomb set a standard for the rest of the country?

February 28, 2009


The fate of two 700-megawatt coal-burning power plants near Holcomb, Kansas, remains in limbo.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has successfully vetoed three previous efforts to build the plants. On Friday, Kansas Legislators gave final approval to House Bill 2014, which would allow construction of the giant power plants, but the 79 to 44 vote was short of the two-thirds, or 84 votes, necessary in the 125-member House to override an expected veto by the governor.

Most everyone realizes coal is this nation's most abundant source of energy, but it also is a dirty fuel. President Obama, in various messages to Americans, has focused on the need to lessen the need on foreign oil and for the United States to become energy independent in 10 years.

He has called for research to come up with a means to have “clean coal” power plants and to increase the use of wind and solar power.

It's puzzling why nothing was said about nuclear power in Obama's latest comments about the energy situation as nuclear power is clean and could play a tremendous role in lessening this nation's need for foreign oil.

It would seem Kansas is in a favorable and unique position to be a national leader in the coal-fired power plant issue. Why not have the Holcomb plants set a standard and example for the rest of the country? Why couldn't engineers and environmental experts design the Holcomb plants to meet the most stringent environment requirements?

If Obama is committed to the development of clean coal operations, why not make the Kansas plants be the model? As has been pointed out before, Kansas could be the site for the nation's foremost facility for the study of energy. We sit on large amounts of coal. We have natural gas, oil, a nuclear-powered power plant, ample solar and one of the nation's best sites for wind power.

It would seem far better for our governor to be talking about how to develop and host a clean coal-fired power plant, as well as developing and taking advantage of our other sources of power, than to be so fixed in her opposition to the Holcomb plant. Why not use the Holcomb initiative as a stepping stone for development of a coal plant to serve the 21st century?

Let’s have Kansas be a leader, not a follower.


hipper_than_hip 9 years, 2 months ago

Holcomb 2 & 3 have super critical boilers, which means they operate at a higher pressure, which increases the efficiency of the steam generation cycle (higher steam temps and pressure). A more efficient plant burns less coal, which means less CO2 produced for the same amount of electricity produced.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 2 months ago

There is no such thing as "clean coal." It's nothing more than a desperate PR campaign by the coal industry.

There's nothing clean about nuclear power, either, and it's too expensive to even exist without massive subsidies.

Godot 9 years, 2 months ago

"It's puzzling why nothing was said about nuclear power in Obama's latest comments about the energy situation as nuclear power is clean and could play a tremendous role in lessening this nation's need for foreign oil."

It is not puzzling. Apparently Obama did not receive sizeable enough campaign contributions from wealthy individuals and organizations with interests in developing nuclear power plants.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 2 months ago

Governor Kathleen Sebelius is in touch with the real world and is saving Kansas tons of tax dollars by saying NO to expensive energy.

Nuke Power Not Clean or Green Nuclear Power Is Not Clean or Green! No contemporary energy source is as environmentally irresponsible, imposes such a high liability on taxpayers, ...

Guess who insures coal and nuke plants since the insurance industry refuses? WE the taxpayer. Yep we are ripped off again. Nothing clean,green or fiscally responsible about these sources of energy.

Radio news said this so called clean coal technology is at least 15 years away as a proven technology. These plants require multibillion dollars and probably 10 years to build.

Who's pushing these high dollar dirty monsters? The industry and their favorite special interest money politicians. Not necessarily creditable sources.

Obama Ends Funding for Yucca Nuclear Waste Dump Other highlights of Obama’s budget include a sharp reduction in funding for the nuclear waste dump Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The new budget removes virtually all of Yucca’s funding with the exception of license fees submitted last year. The Energy Department says the Yucca program will be “scaled back while the administration devises a new strategy toward nuclear-waste disposal.”

Oil,nukes and coal suck our wallets dry and poisons the air. Therefore stop building nukes and coal fired plants. Get on with much cleaner sources such as wind,solar,hydro and geothermal all of which are ready to roll......anytime now.

Taxpayers should thank Pres. Obama for cutting off this Nuke special interest tax dollar boondoggle. We'll see what the next plan for radioactive waste will be.

Chris Ogle 9 years, 2 months ago

Okay, I don't know anything about coal, except we have a bunch of it. Can it be used for anything without causing harm???

Ken Lassman 9 years, 2 months ago

The biggest problem with coal is that when you burn it, bunches of CO2 is released into the atmosphere, and it's the main driver behind human-related global warming, despite the protestations of the minority opinion, who remind me of cigarette scientists who disavowed the connection between smoking and cancer. Yes, it Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology is being developed, but it is not yet proven on a large scale and will be extremely expensive if it ever is scaled up. Solar thermal units look very promising, as do photovoltaic in the same time frame as CCS, and seem to be a much better bet in my estimation. In the meantime, wind power is cheaper to install than new coal, and the best investment of all is still energy efficiency improvements in housing, commercial and industrial settings, thus reducing demand.

LogicMan 9 years, 2 months ago

(Nuclear) "it's too expensive to even exist without massive subsidies"

Just like wind.

But both are needed -- and would be a great use of the bulk of the Stimulus funds. Like when FDR built all those dams/hydropower.

Jeff Kilgore 9 years, 2 months ago

A very surprising and safe nuclear option is the mini nuclear power plants that are being made in New Mexico. From articles that I've seen on the internet, these "plants" are the size of large water heaters, cost 25m, but provide power to 22,000 homes, which works out to a little over 1,000, which would be lifetime! The amount of radiation is minimal, and the very small size of them makes a meltdown an impossibility. These would be ideal dotted around the US. Those in charge should take note of this.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 2 months ago

We'll be freezing in the dark if the Goreacle has his way.

Orwell 9 years, 2 months ago

The "cleanest" coal plant would only have to pollute a lttle less than current examples. It's a lot like talking about the "cheapest" Rolls-Royce.

RedwoodCoast 9 years, 2 months ago

Just so everyone knows, there are basically three types of coal: lignite, bituminous (some say there are two types of bituminous coal), and anthracite. Lignite is the lowest quality, with anthracite being the highest quality. Anthracite is the only widely-used coal type in the US. Kansas coal is mostly bituminous coal with some lignite in the Upper Pennsylvanian strata.

What I'm saying is that Kansas coal is super-dirty coal. You would need to have a pretty gnarly system to get around the dirtiness of burning of Kansas bituminous coal. So I'm afraid this OPED piece is unrealistic with regard to Kansas coal.

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