Archive for Sunday, January 3, 2010

Coal plant nearing next step

Application for permit, public hearings expected soon

January 3, 2010


— The battle over building a coal-burning electric power plant in western Kansas is likely to arise again soon.

Early this year, Sunflower Electric Power Corp. plans to submit to the state a new application for a permit for an 895-megawatt coal-fired plant, a company official says.

“We are still in the process of making those revisions,” said Cindy Hertel, a spokeswoman for Hays-based Sunflower Electric. “We are hoping that will be completed early (in 2010) and fully submitted to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.”

The new plant would have the capacity to meet the electrical needs of nearly 500,000 people, according to one state estimate. Much of the power would be sold to out-of-state customers. Hertel said the new plant would cost $2.5 billion to build.

Sunflower previously wanted to build two 700-megawatt units near Holcomb in Finney County. But in October 2007, KDHE Secretary Roderick Bremby denied the permits, citing the effects of the plants’ potential carbon dioxide emissions on health and environment.

Bremby’s decision was hailed by environmentalists across the nation, but produced a bitter political fight in Kansas as Republican legislators blocked “green” energy legislation in an attempt to override the permit denial.

When former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who stood by Bremby’s decision, left office to lead the federal health and human services department, Gov. Mark Parkinson brokered a deal in May to allow Sunflower to build one coal-fired plant in return for legislative approval of the so-called renewable energy legislation.

But environmentalists say they believe the plant won’t be built.

The Kansas chapter of the Sierra Club recently put out a news release that said in 2009, not one coal-burning plant broke ground in the United States and 29 proposed projects were shelved.

“Among the coal plant cancellations, in many cases developers voluntarily walked away from coal plant projects citing financial risks to ratepayers and the uncertain future of coal with looming federal environmental regulations,” the group said.

Recently, the EPA declared that carbon dioxide emissions could endanger human health and would be subject to federal regulation. That proposal, however, will likely be fought over in Congress.

Hertel said Sunflower Electric is always evaluating whether the coal-burning plant is in the best interests of its members.

“If ever it is not in the best interest of our members, we will pursue another path,” she said, but added that currently Sunflower believes it is the correct move.

Once an application is filed, a process of public hearings on the proposal will begin.


Richard Heckler 8 years, 3 months ago

Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy

Reducing oil dependence. Strengthening energy security. Creating jobs. Tackling global warming. Addressing air pollution. Improving our health.

The United States has many reasons to make the transition to a clean energy economy. What we need is a comprehensive set of smart policies to jump-start this transition without delay and maximize the benefits to our environment and economy. Climate 2030:

A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy (“the Blueprint”) answers that need.


========================================== Why would new industry want to locate to a state that insists on producing dirty, toxic and expensive energy?

Coal power is heavily dependent on taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies and generates deadly wastes. Yes it is the taxpayers that provide the construction and insurance dollars because conventional sources want nothing to do with this ancient, expensive and polluting technology.

Radioactive Elements in Coal and Fly Ash...

Richard Heckler 8 years, 3 months ago

Three major investment banks, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley, will announce new environmental standards today that are expected to make it more difficult for large coal-fired power plants in the United States to get funding.

The standards anticipate some form of cap-and-trade program becoming law in the U.S. in coming years and seek to force utilities to plan for the inevitable; coal plants seeking funding would first have to prove they can be financially viable under a cap-and-trade system.

The three banks said that they would consider funding energy efficiency measures and renewable-energy projects ahead of coal plants and that when funding coal projects they'll heavily favor plants that can successfully capture and sequester their carbon emissions.

The banks maintain that their primary motivation for the standards is financial; Wall Street bigwigs don't want to be stuck with debt when coal plants are forced to pay for at least a portion of their emission allowances under cap and trade.

Jeffrey Holzschuh of Morgan Stanley paraphrased Melissa Etheridge, crooning, "We have to wake up some people who are asleep."

source: The Wall Street Journal

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 3 months ago

China fires up a new coal fired power plant every week. That means that they have finished 100 to 200 new plants while paperwork is shuffled for one single plant in the United States, since our single planned plant has been talked about for a year or two at least. Maybe more, I don't know. We all live on the same planet, and breath the same air.

So, how much difference will ONE more make, considering that over 100 new ones are fired up every year? For the mathematically challenged, that equals less than one percent = <1%.

Build the thing already! But put in scrubbers to reduce the particulate emissions as much as possible, and do research to reduce it even more. You can bet the Chinese aren't worried about that.

kansanbygrace 8 years, 3 months ago

On the planet Earth, there is an enormous amount of kinetic energy. Wind, flowing water, standing water, waves, tides, light energy, geothermal, both surface and subterranean. There is also an enormous amount of man-made kinetic energy which is by-product of transportation and industry, such as the flexing of bridges, heat lost from refineries, etc. The technology to convert this existing kinetic energy has existed for decades. Much of the developing world enjoys free hot water from rooftop units still in place after 30 years. No pollution, few moving parts, no cost for fuel.
Digging up tons of earth to extract coal, oil, and other forms of potential energy is extremely expensive. Transporting it is expensive. Converting it is expensive, toxic, and inefficient. Centralizing energy production makes fuel transportation and power distribution much more expensive and wasteful. Defending a centralized power system is expensive and very insecure. Diverse regional generation results in less waste and less vulnerability to distribution system breakdown. We could save money, energy, improve effectiveness, remove a giant source of toxic waste by developing regional energy conversion and abandoning the wasteful constructs of the 1930's. Nuclear is an issue, too, that could be addressed simply by developing either re-refining technology (currently prohibited) or stabilization of the spent fuel. Other countries have both, but we have failed to develop our industries while defending antiquated toxic nonsense.

kansanbygrace 8 years, 3 months ago

Are you saying, Les, that the powers that be prefer to secure their domination of available energy and the wealth it provides, rather than to develop a modern, effective, efficient and non-toxic system that is affordable and secure?
Are you saying that the politicians are sacrificing our well-being to insure our continued dependence on their obsolete industries?
Why are we so cowed by these ignorant bullies? Why aren't they picking up our trash, instead of misconducting our civil affairs?

kansanbygrace 8 years, 3 months ago

Yep, those responses are spot on. I'd like to point to the abundance of natural gas, including the huge deposit offshore Margarita Island in the Caribbean. Not too hard to transport, relatively safe, clean to burn. Very near oil sources and refineries, and global shipping. A couple years ago there was a rumor afloat of an enormous pipeline from northeastern Venezuela through the entire PanAmerican way to the US border. Another one to provide gas to Brazil. Yes, it results in CO2, but otherwise very clean as a backup fuel. Cheap, safe, and clean.

kansanbygrace 8 years, 3 months ago

Hey, STRS, don't forget cute babies, Mom, bluegrass bands and apple pie.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 3 months ago


The environmentalists biggest mistake was making global warming a political issue. You continue the foolhardiness, and you exacerbate the Far Let's isolation by invoking political parties.

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 3 months ago


Please start using paragraphs. You're stuff is unreadable otherwise.

puddleglum 8 years, 3 months ago

yeah, and look at all the new nuclear power plants we have built in the last 15 years....oh, none?

keep it up. Coal plants are the way of the past. figure out something else viable like-i dunno-Wind? seems to be very popular all over south dakota nebraska oklahoma and texas.

why does kansas always seem to have its head up its arse?

a political issue? what isn't?

SettingTheRecordStraight 8 years, 3 months ago


Most issues shouldn't be political issues, and most voters don't wear their party affiliation on their sleeves. Global warming is a science issue. Abortion is a moral issue. Higher taxes is a budget issue. Only partisans and political party apologists insist on making everything about politics.

kansanbygrace 8 years, 3 months ago

Okay, STRS, I'll try to remember to separate my paragraphs with an extra space to help legibility.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Mixolydian 8 years, 3 months ago

Obama says that he is in favor of clean coal use. Scientists say that clean coal is a fantasy pipe dream.

Who to believe?

Chris Golledge 8 years, 3 months ago

Let's see.

Coal plants require a lot of water.
There is already a shortage of water in that area and disputes with Colorado over water rights. Agriculture is the main industry of that area. So, somehow it is good for Kansas to take water from the farmers so we can sell electricity to Colorado?

Then there is the added bonus of more dependence on climate impacting forms of energy.

Very nice. Where's the money on this deal?

brian1981 8 years, 3 months ago

The radical environmentalists are great at torpedoing every efficient energy source ever devised, but have come up with absolutely nothing to replace them.

So what are we supposed to run our power grids on? Clean coal is a fantasy and solar and wind power are woefully cost-inefficient on a large scale at present time.


Joe Hyde 8 years, 3 months ago

Most of the power generated by the proposed new plant would be sold to neighboring states whose legislatures and regulatory agencies...denied the construction of this plant due to environmental contamination concerns. They want the electricity, yes, but they don't want the risks to their own state's environment.

If those states can hoodwink us Kansans into slitting our own throats by further ghetto-izing the western third of our state environmentally (by adding to the damage already being done by water-hungry, groundwater polluting, confined feedlot operations for hogs and cattle) then why should they care?

Ken Lassman 8 years, 3 months ago

Water is not a pollutant either, but it doesn't mean that too much won't cause a world of grief in the form of flooding, loss of life, mudslides, etc. As far as not being a significant contributor to global warming, you're simply not looking at the science behind the greenhouse effect if you believe that. Let me know if you can't find it.

77% of the energy added to the US economy between 1975 and 2005 was through increased energy efficiency, according to an American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, and there's so much more to do. To get an idea of what is possible, check out the Reinventing Fire initiative by the Rocky Mountain Institute. Makes so much sense whether global climate disruption is happening or not (but it is, of course!).

puddleglum 8 years, 3 months ago

Clean, safe, reliable = Nuclear

oh yeah! just ask the citizens of pripyat ukraine...

oh wait, there aren't any left.


well just don't give me any of that 'it could never happen here' crap.

Ken Lassman 8 years, 3 months ago

Nuclear: so expensive that it will never compete with alternatives without heavy subsidies, liability waivers and legislative intervention. 4th generation nukes: requiring billions of taxpayers money to develop into "commercial viability" and only then by 2030 or later, at which point it's too late to stop runaway warming.

Nothing else comes close to decreasing load by investing in energy efficiency, then covering retiring coal and nukes with decentralized wind and solar.

smartjayhawk 8 years, 3 months ago

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jayhawklawrence 8 years, 3 months ago

I would like to see more FBI agents and more money spent investigating wall street, lobbyists and political groups.

I want to see more transparency in government, especially when large amounts of cash are at stake. I want to see a system that is not biased by political partisanship and courts that will send crooks to jail for a long time.

I want to know how these decisions are made in the back rooms between our political leaders and our business leaders.

I have only to look at the political dialogue that we see in the media and in this paper to see that there are a hell of a lot of crazy people playing with our tax money.

lounger 8 years, 3 months ago

BUmmer! Since Sebelious left the power companys will do what they wish....

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