Tag Archives: coal

EPA Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards

Comment Period Extended Until May 9th, 2014

Coloradans approve of new GHG regulations. Help us show the EPA this is true Comment Now

The EPA is in the final stage of rulemaking on how they will regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new electric generation plants, including coal, natural gas, petroleum coke, and other fossil fuels. There have been over 2.5 million comments on the proposed rule, so get your voice heard and tell the EPA to ensure that the GHG emission standards are strict and properly reflect the negative health and climate impacts.

Summary of the Major Provisions of the Proposed Rules:

This action proposes a standard of performance for utility boilers and IGCC units based on partial implementation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) as the BSER. The proposed emission limit for those sources is 1,100 lb CO2/MWh. This action also proposes standards of performance for natural gas-fired stationary combustion turbines based on modern, efficient natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) technology as the BSER. The proposed emission limits for those sources are 1,000 lb CO2/MWh for larger units and 1,100 lb CO2/MWh for smaller units. At this time, the EPA is not proposing standards of performance for modified or reconstructed sources.

For more information on the proposed rule.

What Value Should We Place on Our Future?

Courtesy of the Old Marlovian
Courtesy of the Old Marlovian

By: Alexandra Czastkiewicz

October 2013

The social cost of carbon might not be a conversation that comes up at the dinner table, but realize it or not the implications of global climate change are far reaching and daunting. How important is the fate of the future generation? When your children grow up, what kind of world do you want them to experience? Putting a numeric value on the future is difficult, but it must be done if we are to change the direction of our energy future, and introduce cleaner energy technologies that produce less harmful pollution and emissions.

Coal is perceived as a more economic energy source then many renewable technologies. The Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences recently published an article about the implications of modernizing our electricity systems. The US government needs an official cost estimate associated with the production of CO2 from fossil fuels. According to report, without counting pollution and carbon emissions, coal, on average, costs 3.0 cents/kWh versus wind energy (8.0 cents/kWh) or photovoltaics (13.3 cents/kWh) (Johnson et al. 2013). The government is now trying to take into account the environmental costs of using fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas. This includes adding a cost of potential damages caused by the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere. These potential and already realized costs include damages and deaths incurred from drought, floods, heat waves, hurricanes and other natural phenomenon that have been exacerbated given human induced climate change. Additionally, the social cost of carbon has serious public safety and health implications. Increased pollution has led to increases in asthma, water contamination, and rises in climate sensitive diseases. Every day our health and wellbeing are being compromised and if we do not change our current energy practices, and it will only continue to worsen for our futures. Continue reading What Value Should We Place on Our Future?

Warning: Faulty Reporting on US Coal Supplies

PEAK COAL REPORT: U.S. COAL “RESERVES” ARE INCORRECTLY CALCULATED, SUPPOSED 200-YEAR SUPPLY COULD RUN OUT IN 20 YEARS OR LESS

Federal Estimates Overstate Reserves by Including Coal That Cannot Be Mined Profitably; Production Already Down in All Major Coal Mining States… And Utility Consumers Are Facing  Rising Energy Bill Prices.

Listen to Streaming Audio of the October 30 Hastings Group Media Teleconference

Download our newest reports in PDF form:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 30, 2013 – America does not have 200 years in coal “reserves” since  much of the coal that is now left in the ground cannot be mined profitably, according to a major new report  from the Boulder, CO-based nonprofit Clean Energy Action (CEA). The CEA analysis shows that the U.S. appears to have reached its “peak coal” point in 2008 and now faces a rocky future over the next 10-20 years of rising coal production costs, potentially more bankruptcies among coal mining companies, and higher fuel bills for utility consumers.

Continue reading Warning: Faulty Reporting on US Coal Supplies

Clean Coal Is A Dirty Lie

Fifteen homes like this one in Harriman, Tenn., were flooded with fly ash sludge on Monday after a storage pond wall broke. The first floor of this two-story house is almost completely covered with coal ash sludge.
J. Miles Carey/Knoxville News Sentinel, via Associated Press, Harriman, Tenn.

By: Robert Miles, August 2013

WHAT IS COAL ASH

The most significant toxic byproduct of burning coal is coal ash. Coal ash is a blanket term for four residuals: fly ash – fine powdery particles that float up the smokestack and are captured by pollution control devices; bottom ash – heavier materials that descend to the bottom of the furnace; flue gas desulfurization – wet sludge or dry powder formed by chemically combining sulfur gases with a sorbent; boiler sag – crystallized pellets that result when molten slag and water in the furnace come in contact. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), coal ash typically contains heavy metals including arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, selenium, other assorted heavy metals and trace amounts of radionuclides such as uranium. The majority of heavy metals that are present in coal ash are among the most toxic heavy metals listed by the U.S. Department of Health’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Arsenic in particular has been proven to cause cancer. Despite the known danger posed by coal ash waste, little to no government policy exists to regulate the disposal of coal ash. Due to the toxic nature of coal ash waste it continues to be a focus for multiple organizations to research the amount of coal ash being produced and the effect it is having on our air and water. Clean Water Action and Rainforest Action Network have recently published individual research reports on the information they gathered from coal ash research.

RECENT RESEARCH ON THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF COAL ASH

The very first survey of coal ash pollution in Colorado – Coal Ash: Colorado’s Toxic Trash Exposed – was published by Clean Water Action on June 26th 2013. “Clean Water Action’s research found that coal ash disposal is a serious threat to Colorado’s water resources,” said Gary Wockner of Clean Water Action.  “Right here in Colorado, about 1.7 million tons of coal ash pollution is produced every year and safeguards are not in place to protect the environment or the public’s health.” Continue reading Clean Coal Is A Dirty Lie

ALEC attacking renewable energy standards nationwide

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is at it again, trying to roll back state renewable energy standards nationwide.  The argument behind their model bill, entitled the Electricity Freedom Act, is that renewable energy is simply too expensive.  The Skeptical Science blog offers a good short debunking of this claim, based on the cost of electricity in states with aggressive renewable energy goals, and how those costs have changed over the last decade.  And this is before any social cost of carbon or other more traditional pollutants is incorporated into the price of fossil fuel based electricity.

US States with renewable portfolio standards or binding goals.

Their summary:

  • States with a larger proportion of renewable electricity generation do not have detectably higher electric rates.
  • Deploying renewable energy sources has not caused electricity prices to increase in those states any faster than in states which continue to rely on fossil fuels.
  • Although renewable sources receive larger direct government subsidies per unit of electricity generation, fossil fuels receive larger net subsidies, and have received far higher total historical subsidies.
  • When including indirect subsidies such as the social cost of carbon via climate change, fossil fuels are far more heavily subsidized than renewable energy.
  • Therefore, transitioning to renewable energy sources, including with renewable electricity standards, has not caused significant electricity rate increases, and overall will likely save money as compared to continuing to rely on fossil fuels, particularly expensive coal.

But really, go read the entire post for more detail.