Archive for Sunday, October 17, 2010

ECM voices disapproval of coal-burning power plant

October 17, 2010


Ecumenical Christian Ministries at Kansas University has lodged its opposition to the proposed coal-burning power plant in southwestern Kansas.

“Given the urgency of the need to curtail health hazards, decrease energy consumption and our commitment to the well-being of future generations, we object to the Holcomb plant construction,” Thad Holcombe, campus minister for ECM said in a letter to state environmental officials.

Hays-based Sunflower Electric Power Corp. has proposed building an 895-megawatt coal-fired plant. A permit for the plant is pending before the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which is taking public comment.

Supporters of the project say it will be one of the cleanest coal-burning plants in the country. In 2007, KDHE Secretary Roderick Bremby rejected Sunflower's proposal for two 700-megawatt plants, citing the health and environmental effects of carbon dioxide emissions from the project.

In 2009, Gov. Mark Parkinson made a deal with Sunflower to reduce the size of the project in exchange for passage by the Legislature of renewable energy legislation.

In his letter opposing the project, Holcombe also notes that ECM is refurbishing its 18,000-square-foot building to make it more energy efficient.

“The construction of the Holcomb plant, in many ways, tends to negate our efforts,” he said.

ECM is one of the largest campus ministries at KU and serves more than 1,000 students per month.


Ken Lassman 7 years, 8 months ago

Thanks, ECM for sticking your neck out and showing some real leadership in this important issue that will affect our state's energy choices for decades to come.

hipper_than_hip 7 years, 8 months ago

Yes, it's better to keep the old inefficient polluting unit than to install a new efficient 90% cleaner unit.

Ken Lassman 7 years, 8 months ago

90% more cleaner than the Holcomb 1 power plant? No way. This one is being built to pay off the debt for the first one, and 85% of the electricity will be shipped west of there into Colorado to help fuel more front range sprawl.

You need to do your homework. A good place to start is

hipper_than_hip 7 years, 8 months ago

1) Holcomb will have an SCR to remove nitrogen oxide - the current unit doesn't have an SCR. 2) Holcomb will have a dry scrubber for the removal of sulfur dioxide - the current unit has no scrubber. 3) Holcomb wll have a fabric filter and baghouse for particulate removal - the current unit has neither a fabric filter or baghouse. 4) Holcomb will have a mercury control system that works on the flue gas of both the new unit and the existing unit - the existing unit has no mercury control system.

The new unit at Holcomb will have a supercritical boiler, which means it's more efficient at converting heat to steam, which in turn means it will burn less coal to generate the same amount of power. And less coal burnt means fewer emissions across the board.

We can either have a new plant that's cleaner and makes more power using less coal, or we can keep the old dirty unit with basically no pollution control systems.

Ken Lassman 7 years, 8 months ago

Last time I checked, Holcomb 1 will still be going full blast even if Holcomb 2 is built, so what is your point?

And, by the way, the Sunflower Power website on the current Holcomb plant says that they have a dry scrubber on Holcomb 1. They've buried the other details, so I can't check your other details.

The bottom line is that we're adding another coal burner to the existing one, so all of the rest of Kansas will be soaking up the "benefits" downwind for a long time to come instead of working at jobs building and maintaining wind power. It's a no brainer to anyone who can put the pieces together that this is the wrong direction for Kansans.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years, 8 months ago

We cannot survive as a society without out the use of coal burning electric plant. This political BS from elected officials and their destructive agenda to bring down society will have to be stopped or we will see a much greater disaster than mankind has ever seen before. The wackos and idiologues must be stopped befoe we are back to using candles and wood burnig stoves to cook with. Some of these idiots would like that.

Chris Golledge 7 years, 8 months ago

So, just wondering where you heard that. From someone who gets money from the fossil fuel industry perhaps?

Seriously, the range of costs associated with switching away from fossil fuel use vary so much depending on the source, that trying to determine a value is difficult. It doesn't really matter; the costs associated with not preventing the degradation of our environment, which, incidentally is where we grow food, are so much higher that it's like arguing over the cost of putting out the fire when it is your house that is burning.

Danimal 7 years, 8 months ago

It's going to be fine folks. The Chinese are bringing something insane like 8 new coal fired power plants online every month, I don't hear any of you crying about that. Of course we need to move towards more efficient and cleaner technologies as they become viable, but people should be smart enough to realize it's not like flipping a switch and it won't happen overnight. In the meantime we shouldn't hamstring our economy and nation by choking off our energy supply. We need more electricity, until we can figure out how to harness lightning we're going to have to have some kind of power plant to produce it and fossil fuels and nukes are still really the only types that are viable on a large scale.

Ken Lassman 7 years, 8 months ago

Building a power plant in Western Kansas to pay off bad debts for the first power plant and to fuel front range suburban sprawl in Colorado is not the type of energy supply that will help our nation's future in the least. If we want to get serious about the future of the US economy in general and the Kansas economy in particular, we need to: 1) Have Kansas get serious about energy conservation: in the latest ACEEE state ratings for energy efficiency programs, Kansas slipped from a dismal 39th to an abysmal 46th in the past year. What's the matter with Kansas??

2) Develop our energy strengths. Kansas is #2 in wind energy potential, for heaven's sake, and Holcomb is in the windiest part of the state to boot! Instead of importing coal from Wyoming to generate electricity for Colorado and let the pollution float downwind across the state for the next 30 years, why not support Sen. Brownback's effort to establish Renewable Energy Standards, or RESs which sets goals for each state to replace fossil fuel energy with renewables by a certain date, like 15% by 2015? This will turbocharge wind energy development in our state, produce many more jobs that the Holcomb plant will, and draw more renewables manufacturers in to boot.

Time to get with the program and stop spouting the same tired old reasons why we have to buy the same old solution as we have had for the past 75 years.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

"The Chinese are bringing something insane like 8 new coal fired power plants online every month, I don't hear any of you crying about that."

First, it's just factually incorrect to say that no one cares about what the Chinese are doing, or that no one says anything. But, really, what exactly do you expect anyone here to do about it?

Besides, the Chinese also imprison political dissidents. Does that mean we should do the same?

"We need more electricity, until we can figure out how to harness lightning we're going to have to have some kind of power plant to produce it and fossil fuels and nukes are still really the only types that are viable on a large scale."

Actually, we really don't need more electricity. What we need now is more energy efficiency. If we do that, and it's the easiest and cheapest thing that we have the existing technology to do, new power generation techniques are already well on their way to development and implementation.

statesman 7 years, 8 months ago

I wish all your environmentalists would put your mouth where your money is and have your electric service terminated. Then maybe we wouldn't have to read your idiotic posts! Wind energy is NOT the solution to our energy needs. The only viable sources of energy are coal and nuclear. In fact, this nation needs to invest heavily in more nuclear capability, especially if we are to become dependant on electric cars for our transportation (not likely in our lifetimes). You people are the first to scream bloody murder when your electric prices rise, but this is precisely why they are -- you enviro nut jobs are keeping inexpensive electricity out of reach with all your lawsuits and protests. ---- A Retired Westar Engineer

Ken Lassman 7 years, 8 months ago

Statesman, Which is cheaper: installing technology to improve efficiency and save a kilowatt or build new technology to create a new kilowatt? Yup, energy efficiency wins hands down as far as cost per saved kwh vs. nuclear or new coal generated kwh. The funny thing is that right now it's far cheaper to generate a kwh with a windmill than by building a nuke or new coal fired plant, and a whole lot better for the environment to boot. Maybe that's why last year the US installed over 9,000 MW of wind generators and not a single coal fired or nuke went online. Between EE and true renewables, there's no reason why we can't cut demand by investing our big bucks into energy efficiency, then take care of the rest with renewables, so that by 2015 we can have 15% of our electrical needs met by renewables, 20% by 2020, 50% by 2050 and on and on.

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