Environmental activists oppose new power plant.

The Albany Herald yesterday had this one sided story about a proposed 1200 megawatt power plant. The article is practically a press release for Environment Georgia. The story on WALB’s website was no better.

How about getting a quote from the people who want to build this plant? How about a comment about why this power plant was proposed in the first place?

Read this:

The proposed plant, once constructed, would emit about nine million tons of carbon dioxide, which is linked by scientific studies to global warming conditions, said Leah Edwards, a development associate with the Sierra Group.

Edwards and Jennette Gayer, an advocate with Environment Georgia, are on a statewide tour in an effort to halt the permitting of the pulverized coal plant’s construction, Gayer said.

Because the plant’s electricity-producing technology is so outdated, there are many other ways to produce power that would be more environmentally friendly, Edwards said.

“It’s a dinosaur of a plant; the most antiquated technology we can be using,” Edwards said about the plant. “It causes asthma and all sorts of lung problems (through pollutants). It emits mercury into the rivers, which fish eat and then we take it in and it can make you sick.”

The plant currently has a draft permit, meaning that a company has proposed construction plans for the plant, Edwards said. The Environmental Protection Division has held public hearings on the plant and is considering the opinions expressed in those hearings, she said.

The plant is slated to receive its final permit in May, Gayer said.

The proposed plant would be built by the LS Power Group. LS Power says the plant will be a pulverized coal fueled plant. This would be the first coal fueled power plant built in Georgia in 25 years.

Unfortunately, the opposition to this plant has no serious plan to deal with the growing power needs of Georgians. Sorry, but windmills and bicycles won’t get the job done. Plus, windmills kill birds.

A Google search of this issue led me to this article in the New York Times.

If a pulverized coal plant is not the answer, there are other alternatives. For example, a process called “gasified coal” would allow the plant to operate much like a natural gas fueled plant. Gasified coal plants cost about 20% more to build, but it is an alternative. As the Times says:

Some environmentalists dispute the need for new coal plants, but unless there is very rapid progress soon in realizing energy efficiencies or developing the ability to extract and store huge amounts of wind and solar power at reasonable cost, more coal plants seem certain. Compared with cleaner fossil fuels, like natural gas and oil, coal is cheaper and more widely available. So finding a way to capture the greenhouse gases from these plants is critical.

Maybe the environmentalists could drop the scare tactics and actually help find a workable solution in instances like the proposed Early County power plant.

18 comments

  1. Jmac says:

    What’s exactly the problem?

    The plant will produce the nine million tons of carbon emissions, will it not? The technology is outdated, is it not? The overwhelming majority of scientific studies do link carbon emissions to global warming, do they not?

    I’m not here to get into a ‘is global warming real’ debate because those are silly, time-consuming and not constructive. What’s needed, as buzz pointed out, is serious dialogue on the practical next steps.

    I differ from a lot of progressives when I say I think we should explore nuclear energy, but I also think we need to explore sun and wind too (we should take a playbook from Texas with regard to wind energy, particularly in areas like Southwest Georgia).

  2. Jmac says:

    That will help, and most companies and individuals should be doing things like that. There are other concerns too regarding general pollutants going into the environment, though the EPA has pretty strict monitors on those types of things.

    I’d be curious to see, however, what the offsets would be. Nine million tons of carbon emissions is a lot of trees.

  3. buzzbrockway says:

    A couple of points:

    1) Environmental Georgia doesn’t want the plant at all as best I can tell. Georgia needs another power plant.

    2) I don’t dispute the emissions figures. As best I can tell they came from the companies own filings.

    3) I don’t see how carbon offsets help. Why not use new techniques to stop the emissions in the first place.

    4) We have to keep our mind open to new technology – especially in the area of using coal to generate power. Using coal to generate power helps reduce oil and natural gas imports.

    Plenty of smart people are trying to solve this problem as shown in this article. There are plenty of other ideas being pursued as well.

    As I said, groups like Environment Georgia need to drop the fear tactics and engage in the debate.

    Thanks for starting a rational debate Jmac. 😉

  4. Jmac says:

    No problem man. 🙂

    Re: 1) Are you saying the group doesn’t want any type of new plant, or this particular type of plant … or I suppose this individual coal-fired plant?

    Re: 3) I’m kinda with you, though I understand the basic logic – that if we produce X amount of carbon, we need to be able to generate enough offsets (i.e. plants which turn carbon to oxygen) that will balance it out. I think that’s one very essential component, but I also think that new techniques to limit emissions or generate cleaner burning fuels are important as well.

    Consider what they’re exploring in Montana with regard to coal. They’re on the verge of being able to strip the carbon from the actual coal, thus making it almost an entirely clean-burning form of fuel. We just need the adequate investment – public and private – to get something like that started.

    I’m still all about setting some sort of pilot wind energy programs in South Georgia.

    Off this particular topic a bit, I’d also like to see some sort of tax incentive package structured that strongly encourages the construction of green buildings and hybrid car purchases (I know we have the latter, but I’d like to see them much larger and comprehensive to help get the market moving along).

  5. blazer says:

    Am I incorrect or don’t windfarms need to be on flat ground with little or no trees and structures?

  6. Doug Deal says:

    Structures and trees are usually never a problem, as wind mills are actually around 400 feet tall, and dwrarf most vegetation and regular sized buildings.

    In pictures there are rarely anything to use as scale, so it often looks like they are rising above a farm, but often times that is actually a forest.

    Even though those blades look like they are turning very slowly, they are so large, that the outer part can be moving in upwards of 120 MPH.

  7. jsm says:

    “It’s nuculer. In this family, we saw nuculer.”

    Hey, cool! Same for presidents Clinton, Carter, Kennedy, Ford, Eisenhower… oh yeah, and W, too.

  8. Demonbeck says:

    The same article was in the Savannah Morning News weeks ago.

    Lazy journalists.

    Nuclear is the way to go.

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