Fracking Chemicals Cited in Congressional Report
April 18, 2011 | A report released Saturday confirmed details about what many already knew was happening: gas drillers have injected millions of gallons of fluids containing toxic or carcinogenic chemicals into the ground in recent years. The report, by congressional Democrats, lists 750 chemicals and compounds used by 14 oil and gas service companies from 2005 to 2009 to help extract natural gas from the ground in a process called hydraulic fracturing. That list includes 29 chemicals that are either known or possible carcinogens or are regulated by the federal government because of other risks to human health. Up to 80% of the toxic fluids now used in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," are left underground when drilling ends. The report notes that while the fate of these fluids "is not entirely predictable," in most cases, "the permanent underground injection of chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing is not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency."
Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas
“Water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas. This is part of the difficulty with the public and the media in understanding that 95% of greenhouse gases are water vapour. The public understand it, in that if you get a fall evening or spring evening and the sky is clear the heat will escape and the temperature will drop and you get frost. If there is a cloud cover, the heat is trapped by water vapour as a greenhouse gas and the temperature stays quite warm. If you go to In Salah in southern Algeria, they recorded at one point a daytime or noon high of 52 degrees Celsius – by midnight that night it was -3.6 degree Celsius. […] That was caused because there is no, or very little, water vapour in the atmosphere and it is a demonstration of water vapour as the most important greenhouse gas.”
Michigan: Pay Now. Pay Later.
Water levels in the Great Lakes are projected to significantly fall—by about a meter in Lakes Michigan-Huron—over the next several decades, placing system connectivity throughout the Great Lakes at risk; by 2030, connectivity could fall by approximately 25%. This would be highly damaging to regional economies; the transport of cargo over the system is responsible for over $3 billion in regional business and personal revenue. 1 Warmer temperatures, lost soil moisture, and drought will likely have a significant effect on the state’s $63.7 billion agriculture industry. The predicted 20-40% increase in precipitation in the region and related effects are likely to further hinder the sector, rather than offset such occurrences. 2 Approximately 1.6 times of the Michigan’s current electricity demand could be generated by renewable energy sources in the state, should these sources be fully exploited. 3 According to a new study, a failure to mitigate the effects of climate change could begin to cause serious gross domestic product and job losses within the next several decades. Between 2010 and 2050, it could cost Michigan $18.3 billion in GDP and nearly 108,000 jobs.
State data shows Michigan renewable energy beats coal on cost alone
Renewable energy in Michigan is significantly less expensive than new coal-fired power and will cost ratepayers far less than originally projected, according to a new report from the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) and a revised renewable energy plan filed in February by Consumers Energy. In a separate rate filing in late February, Consumers Energy reported that meeting the renewable energy law’s requirements will cost only one-third of its original projections. As a result, the utility plans to reduce the program’s annual cost to ratepayers from $78 million annually to $23 million, almost certainly meaning a reduction of the renewable energy surcharge on ratepayers’ bills. The cost of energy optimization (energy efficiency measures) was $13.25/MWh, making new coal power literally 10 times more expensive than meeting the same goals through efficiency savings.
Global human appropriation of net primary production (HANPP)
Humanity’s impact on the biosphere’s structures (e.g., land cover) and functioning (e.g., biogeochemical cycles) is considerable. It exceeds natural variability in many cases. Sanderson and others have classified up to 83% of the global terrestrial biosphere as being under direct human influence, based on geographic proxies such as human population density, settlements, roads, agriculture and the like; another study, by Hannah et al., estimates that about 36% of the Earth’s bioproductive surface is “entirely dominated by man”. An obvious implication of HANPP is that growth in the amount of biomass used by humans for their socio-economic metabolism must be envisaged with caution. In particular, caveats are warranted with respect to policies aiming to promote the use of biomass as a source of technical energy as well as raw material.
Phasing Out Federal Subsidies for Coal
The purpose of this report is to urge consistency in the development and implementation of federal administrative policies. Even as President Obama has pledged to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, the Federal Government prepares to establish limits on greenhouse gas emissions, and the Administration fosters a transition to a low carbon economy, some Federal agencies continue to have policies and programs that provide substantial subsidies for the construction, expansion, and life extension of one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. - coal-fired power plants
Kilimanjaro's Rapid Glacier Melting Quickened by Deforestation | NAS Report
Report lead author Nicholas Pepin, from the University of Portsmouth, suggested to New Scientist, "extensive local deforestation in recent decades has likely reduced this flow of moisture [up the mountainside], depleting the mountain's icy hood." In conclusion the report itself notes, "long-term ice retreat at the summit of Kilimanjaro therefore is most likely to be influenced by changes in local land-use as well as more regional free-air changes."
Methods of Storing Energy
Various methods of storing energy are compared here. I have come to realize that many people have no idea how much actual energy can be stored in a battery, or in water raised up, or in a hot water tank, or other methods of storing energy. So this presentation was composed! For comparison purposes, we will consider an amount of energy equal to one million Btus. This is about the amount of heat energy needed to heat a medium-sized home in a northern climate for one cold winter day, or for about ten days of electricity for a house (NOT heated with electricity!). First, let's consider the "normal" ways of storing energy (essentially all fossil-fuels)
Confronting Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region
Michigan is known for its beautiful beaches, bountiful northern forests, delicious fruit crops, and, of course, automobile manufacturing. This summary highlights the potential impacts of climate change on Michigan’s economy, people, and the places they love. Scientists are now convinced that human activity, primarily burning fossil fuels to produce electricity and drive our cars, is changing our climate. These activities emit gases, principally carbon dioxide (CO2), that blanket the planet and trap heat. Already, we are seeing signs of climate change throughout the Great Lakes region: average annual temperatures are increasing; severe rainstorms have become more frequent; winters are getting shorter;
Climate Change in Michigan
The latest, most reliable projections of future climate change combine 100 years of historical data for Michigan with the most up-to-date general circulation models of the Earth's climate system. In general Michigan's climate will grow considerably warmer and probably drier during this century, especially in the summer. As a result of these changes, by 2030 summers in Michigan may feel more like current-day Ohio. By 2095, summers will resemble that of northern Arkansas with winters that feel like Ohio.
Assessing Air Emissions from Proposed Power Plants | EPA Preferred Emission Screening Models | Alternative EPA Screening Models | EPA Support Center for Regulatory Atmospheric Modeling
The EPA depends upon a number of tools to a preliminary assessment of the terrain and other factors. The models listed at the EPA web site are screening models that are usually applied before the refined air quality model to determine if more refined modeling is needed. The study TCL&P commissioned was evaluated using the SCREEN3 model, which is a single source Gaussian plume model. It is an older DOS based program, last revised in 1995. The SCREEN3 model is not on the EPA recommended emission modeling software list (see links above). In the SCREEN3 modeling tool, there is no apparent provision for emission source type (i.e. coal, natural gas, biomass) which all have different constituents in their emissions. No Photochemical Modeling was performed (emissions that create toxic ozone).
Michigan DNRE Powerpoint presentation
This presentation provides a clearer insight into drilling (and hydraulic fracturing) into the Collingwood Shale under Michigan in pursuit of natural gas.
Natural Gas Drilling in Shale Uncovered: Community, Environment, and Law
Hydraulic fracturing has already become an established practice in Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kansas and more recently so in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, even though its full environmental impacts have not been studied. With Pennsylvania's history of coal mining and oil drilling, the economic benefits of drilling are clear. However, natural gas extraction by hydro-fracking has begun without full consideration of its potential consequences, which include the contamination and loss of a community's most vital resource: its drinking water.
Some Risks and Benefits of Hydrofracturing Shale for Natural Gas
Hydrofracturing is a process used to extract natural gas from previously impermeable shale. Also known as Hydraulic fracturing the process utilizes millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals injected at high pressure into horizontally drilled wells, some as far as 10,000 feet below the surface. The pressure causes the shale to ‘crack’. These cracks or fissures are held open by the sand particles and chemical propants, which then allow the natural gas to escape from the shale and to the well.
Scientific Review of the Manomet Biomass Sustainability and Carbon Policy Study
The study relies on a number of assumptions to achieve these conclusions that minimize the calculation of net carbon emissions from biomass power, meaning that actual emissions are likely greater than the study concludes. Thus, the first conclusion of the report – that net emissions from biomass are greater than from coal and especially natural gas even after decades of regrowth by forests – is qualitatively correct, but it likely underestimates the magnitude of biomass emissions. The second conclusion, that small‐scale thermal and CHP biomass facilities may yield a carbon “dividend” relative to fossil fuels after forty years is likely not correct, since actual biomass emissions likely exceed fossil fuel emissions even under the thermal and CHP scenarios.
Forests affected by habitat fragmentation store less biomass and carbon dioxide
Deforestation in tropical rain forests could have an even greater impact on climate change than has previously been thought. The combined biomass of a large number of small forest fragments left over after habitat fragmentation can be up to 40 per cent less than in a continuous natural forest of the same overall size. Altered wind conditions and light climate lead to a general change in the microclimate at the forest edges. “Forest fragments cannot perform in the same way as continuous forests.” Deforestation or degradation of forests leads to a further release or less fixing of carbon dioxide per unit area, thereby increasing the greenhouse effect. Around 20 per cent of total global CO2 emissions comes from the destruction of forests.
Virtual Power Plants
At present, there is no firm definition of a Virtual Power Plant (VPP). In the U.S., a VPP typically refers to the ability to aggregate power production from a cluster of grid-connected distributed generation (DG) sources via smart grid technology by a centralized controller, typically a utility, and then harmonize this generation with load profiles of individual customers. In the U.S., VPPs not only deal with the supply side, but also help manage demand through demand response and other load shifting approaches, in real time. In short, VPPs represent an “Internet of Energy,” tapping existing grid networks to tailor electricity supply and demand services for a customer, maximizing value for both end-user and distribution utility through software innovations.
A variety of trends are converging to create promising market opportunities for microgrids, particularly in the United States. The fundamental architecture of today’s electrical grid, which is based on the idea of a top-down system predicated on unidirectional energy flows, is growing increasingly obsolete. This outmoded infrastructure poses risks to grid reliability and security, and could hinder the adoption of renewable power generation. Microgrids are being driven in part by the broader push to create a Smart Grid that will add intelligence and automation to the electricity infrastructure while facilitating the integration of renewable energy resources, electric vehicles, and greater customer control over energy consumption. In part, however, the microgrid is an alternative vision to a highly integrated “Super Grid” — microgrid proponents are advocating deployments where a community, corporation, or institutional entity can operate autonomously from the larger grid infrastructure.
The Effect of Power Plants on Local Housing Values
May 2010—Compared to neighborhoods with similar housing and demographic characteristics, neighborhoods within two miles of plants experienced 3-7 percent decreases in housing values and rents with some evidence of larger decreases within one mile and for large capacity plants. In addition, there is evidence of taste-based sorting with neighborhoods near plants associated with modest but statistically significant decreases in mean household income, educational attainment, and the proportion of homes that is owner occupied.
EPA Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Hazardous Waste Combustors | including toxic biomass
This rule announces the final action regarding the issues for which EPA granted reconsideration and addresses comments received in response to the September 2007 notice. As a result of this reconsideration process, EPA is: 1. revising the new source particulate matter standards for cement kilns and incinerators that burn hazardous waste; 2. amending the particulate matter detection system provisions and revising the health-based compliance alternative provisions for total chlorine; 3. identifying the emissions standards EPA intends to defend in pending litigation...
A Science Moment: Biomass+Time+Pressure = Coal
Wood is typically closer to 300 lb CO2/MMBTU of delivered heat to the boiler. It's basically carbon and water (plus toxin taken in from the ground and air) — there's hardly any hydrogen in wood, so almost all the heat comes from carbon. From a CO2 perspective, it may as well be coal. Because wood contains a lot of water, it's a much less efficient as a fuel to generate heat. Peter's values are for "bone dry" wood and wood waste http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/coefficients.html. When burning (or gasifying) wood or wood waste, a huge percentage of the fuel heat value goes to vaporizing the water in the fuel, and does not generate useful heat/energy. When you look at the data for wood-fired power plants, you typically find heat rates on the order of 14,000 BTU/kWh, compared with 10,000 BTU/kWh for coal, and 7,000 BTU/kWh for natural gas. Because natural gas generation is twice as efficient, and natural gas has about half as much carbon, a modern combined cycle natural gas plant emits about one-fourth the CO2 per kWh compared to a wood waste power plant. http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy00osti/26946.pdf More important, however, if wood waste were to be bulldozed and buried in a slash pile, in 50 million years or so, you'll find a small coal seam. That is, all of the carbon will have been permanently sequestered. Since there's hardly any hydrogen in wood, there's not much methane in the decomposition process. The pressure has squeezed out all the water to make coal. Or, if you're really patient and have a lot of pressure, you can make diamonds. I concede that natural gas (and coal) are indeed renewable resources, but with very long cycles compared to wood — 50 million-years compared to centuries for forests to renew.
Tapdancing Around the Truth and Well Crafted Deceptions
“Whole tree harvesting” is just that – the entire tree (bole/trunk, plus branches) is fed into a chipper. "Bolewood" harvesting involves leaving some or all of the tops and branches in the forest, where they maintain nutrient stocks, build soil carbon, and provide habitat for animals, etc. “Forestry residues” consist of low-diameter material (tops and branches) plus those “cull” trees that are not merchantable but which may be cut to open up growing space for remaining saw timber. The fuzziness of these categories allows biomass operators to claim that they are “only using forest residues” when in fact they may be using a lot of bolewood, or even whole trees. It’s evident though that this is a very slippery definitional slope, which is being exploited to the max and used to sow confusion among policy-makers. We would like to suggest that corporations be assessed a "Resource Extraction Fee" on the taking of America’s oil, minerals, commercial water, commercial timber, and agricultural productions from farmland that has been taken out of production. This Resource Extraction fee could be used to fund "green energy" (smoke free) development, national medical care, and social services.
Petition and Revised Recommendations to the Regional Administrator United States Environmental Protection Agency - Region V Concerning Designations for Ozone Air Pollution in the Shoreline Counties of the Northwest Lower Peninsula of Michigan pursuant to the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. §7407
Petition of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians to the U.S. EPA Page 1 Concerning Clean Air Act Ozone Designations in NW Michigan February 6, 2004 1 The Tribe originally intended only to address the nonattainment/attainment designation for Manistee County due the location of the Tribe’s Reservation lands within that County. However, for many of the reasons stated in this petition, we believe Oceana County could not logically be excluded from the rest of the Lake Michigan Shoreline proposed to be designated as nonattainment. 1 Introduction The Tribal Government and Council of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians (the “Tribe”) is pleased to provide these comments on EPA’s proposal to designate certain counties in Michigan as nonattainment areas for the new 8-hour ozone standard. These comments address EPA’s proposal not to list Manistee and Oceana Counties as designated nonattainment areas under the new standard. By using an alternate form of data analysis and other methods to address EPA’s boundary guidance criteria, these comments show that the weight of evidence supports designating Manistee and Oceana Counties as being in nonattainment. As a result, the Tribe respectfully requests that EPA reconsider its proposal, consider these comments, and include Manistee and Oceana Counties on the list of designated nonattainment areas for the new 8-hour ozone standard. The Tribe recognizes that long range transport of ozone air pollution is a serious public health concern. This pollution threatens the health of Tribe members who live both on and off Treaty lands and our non-Indian neighbors in all of Michigan’s Northwest Lower Peninsula shoreline counties, notably, Benzie, Manistee, Mason, Oceana and Muskegon Counties.
Lloyds of London Assessement
Energy efficiency will be the mantra of governments trying to ensure both national security and C02 reductions, and energy users are increasingly central in this vision. Energy efficiency is also vital for economic competitiveness and insulates companies from the worst of the energy price volatility. On the supply side, renewable energy has moved into the mainstream and is now supplying the majority of new electricity in some regions. To increase efficiency and allow the uptake of more renewable energy, radically different infrastructures are being planned around the world. These may include local and transnational ‘smart grids’ that communicate with household and industrial appliances and electric vehicles, and can send power back into the grid to help regulate demand flows.
Biofuels: Environmental Consequences and Interactions with Changing Land Use.
Unfortunately, attention to the inputs required to show adequate and sustainable productivity are absent from most studies. For example they question the concept promoted by Tilman et al. (20062) that unfertilized, low-input, high diversity prairie grassland on ‘degraded’ land produces more net energy than fertilized corn grain ethanol systems while sequestering significant amounts of carbon in soil organic matter. Their estimates were based on removal of less than 3% of standing biomass, whereas in a real-world biomass system, all above-ground biomass, and thus nutrients, would be harvested. It is improbable, Connor & Hernandez suggest, that the net productivity of the system could be maintained at an industrial scale. The water requirements of biofuel-derived energy are 70 to 400 times larger than other energy sources such as fossil fuels, wind or solar. Roughly 45 billion cubic meters of irrigation water were used for biofuel production in 2007, or some 6 times more water than people drink globally.(
Assessing Outdoor Air Near Schools
As part of a new air toxics monitoring initiative, EPA, state and local air pollution control agencies will monitor the outdoor air around schools for pollutants known as toxic air pollutants, or air toxics. The Clean Air Act includes a list of 187 of these pollutants. Air toxics are of potential concern because exposure to high levels of these pollutants over many decades could result in long-term health effects. “As a parent myself, I want to know that when I’m sending my children off to school the air they breathe will be safe,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Today, for the first time, we have the information we need to make sure our children are breathing clean air in areas that have worried parents in the past. As we analyze these air quality samples, EPA will continue to work quickly to protect all Americans - not just where they live and work - but also where they learn and play.”
Europe's Green Energy Portfolio Up in Smoke?
The dirty secret of Europe's vaunted green energy revolution is the fact that 68.5 percent of its renewable energy portfolio comes from biofuels and burning wood for energy, according to a report released in Brussels last week. Modern technologies like wind and solar get all the press, but burning wood is well, prehistoric. "We estimate at least 27 million tonnes of wood biomass will be needed annually to supply planned power stations in the UK (United Kingdom) alone," said Almuth Ernsting from Biofuelwatch, a British NGO focused on bioenergy issues. In a story broken by IPS last fall, at least one million hectares of forest annually will be needed to feed the dozens of planned wood-fired power plants in Britain alone. The Netherlands is already burning one million tonnes of wood. Germany is up 23 million cubic meters (16.5 million tonnes) - mostly imported - and plans to double this figure by 2020, said the report, "Wood Based Bioenergy: The Green Lie". Deforestation has long been a dangerously intractable problem, eating up 13 to 16 million hectares every year and responsible for 20 percent of the global warming emissions that are destabilising the climate. "Current deforestation is having serious impacts on forests and forest peoples around the world," Petermann said in a phone interview.
Climate Change Trends: Carbon Emissions Giants
Right now, 10 countries — including the U.S., China and Russia — are responsible for 80 percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. The United States is the world's largest per capita emitter, sending around 5.8 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere a year. That's the equivalent to a year's worth of greenhouse gas emissions from 1.1 billion average passenger vehicles. This report will take a look at today's big CO2 emitters — and projected emissions giants in 2030.
Wood burning power plants hurt global warming fight
June 10, 2010 01:19—Burning wood to generate electricity can be worse for global warming than burning coal, according to a study released yesterday. That surprising conclusion immediately prompted state officials to reconsider substantial financial incentives provided to wood-burning plants. The six-month study by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences in Plymouth comes amid controversy over the proposed construction of two large wood-burning power plants in Western Massachusetts. “These findings have broad implications for clean energy and the environment in Massachusetts and beyond," said Ian Bowles, state secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs. FULL REPORT
Available Now - Michigan Can Produce 259% of the Green Energy We Need
This updated edition of Energy Self-Reliant States narrows the focus to electricity, but includes virtually all renewable resources (on shore and off shore wind, micro hydro, combined heat and power, geothermal, rooftop PV). We also discuss the potential gains from improving energy efficiency and estimate the per kWh costs for each state to become energy independent. [The reader will note that biomass is not included in the renewable energy sources evaluated. Biomass has many uses: The highest use is for nutrition, then materials and chemicals, and finally energy. But in the energy hierarchy, electricity generation is at the bottom.]
Lazard Study: The Levelized Cost of Energy Production v3
The goal of the staff levelized cost of generation project is to have a single set of the most current levelized cost estimates that would be used for energy program studies and other state agencies. The levelized cost of resource represents a constant cost per unit of generation computed to compare one unit’s generation cost with other resources over similar periods. These levelized costs are useful for evaluating the financial feasibility of an electricity generation technology and comparing the attributes of different generation projects. Since most studies involving new generation require an assessment of costs, accurate and readily available levelized cost of generation estimates are essential for any resource planning study.
EPA Identification of Non-Hazardous Materials That Are Solid Waste: Proposed Rule This Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) proposed rule seeks to clarify which non-hazardous secondary materials are, or are not, solid wastes when burned in combustion units. Under the proposal. This proposal would significantly narrow the current universe of non-hazardous secondary materials that when burned in combustion units.
Wood 2 Energy: a state of the science and technology report
In thermochemical processes, gasification conversion efficiencies can be affected by tar formation during the process and processes to treat this problem can be very expensive. Pyrolysis oils are very dense, improving transportation efficiencies. They can be processed into other products and chemicals, but do have low heating values, are high in ash, and have other characteristics that make them challenging to work with as fuel or chemical feedstocks. In bioechemical processes, enzymatic hydrolysis for liquid fuels and chemicals is the primary technology that has been refined in recent years. This process has traditionally been very expensive compared to grainbased fuels and other processes.
Quantification of global gross forest cover loss
A globally consistent methodology using satellite imagery was implemented to quantify gross forest cover loss (GFCL) from 2000 to 2005 and to compare GFCL among biomes, continents, and countries. GFCL is defined as the area of forest cover removed because of any disturbance, including both natural and human-induced causes. GFCL was estimated to be 1,011,000 km2 from 2000 to 2005, representing 3.1% (0.6% per year) of the year 2000 estimated total forest area of 32,688,000 km2. he United States exhibited the greatest proportional GFCL
How life-cycle emissions stack up for various fuels
A given energy source doesn't simply pollute—or not—as it's converted into electricity. There's also mining, plant construction, transportation, and other factors to consider. Looking at the big picture is the point of life-cycle numbers like these, expressed in grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour of electricity created. Lifetime carbon emissions by source (g/kwh)
Natural gas: 466
Solar: 17 to 39
Nuclear: 16 to 55
United States — 80-Meter Wind Resource Map
This map shows the predicted mean annual wind speeds at 80-m height (at a spatial resolution of 2.5 km that is interpolated to a finer scale). Areas with annual average wind speeds around 6.5 m/s and greater at 80-m height are generally considered to have suitable wind resource for wind development. Click on a state to view individual state maps.
Michigan Wind Map and Resource Potential Wind resource map.
The chart shows the potential megawatts of rated capacity above a given gross capacity factor (without losses) at 80-m and 100-m heights above ground. You can view a larger version or download a printable map (PDF 104 KB) Download Adobe Reader. The Department of Energy's Wind Program and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published a new wind resource map for the state of Michigan. The new wind resource map shows the predicted mean annual wind speeds at 80-m height. Presented at a spatial resolution of 2.5 km (interpolated to a finer scale for display). Areas with annual average wind speeds around 6.5 m/s and greater at 80-m height are generally considered to have suitable wind resource for wind development.
Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology | Vol 136-140, 2007 p 639-652.
If wood chips or wet agricultural ‘wastes’ or energy crops are to be removed from the land and brought to biomass burning and refining facilities in quantities sufficient to produce meaningful amounts of energy, then transport of that biomass will also prove a significant source of emissions. For example a standard 40 ton truck full of recently harvested woodchips will emit close to a kilogram (0.91kg) of CO2 for every km that it drives when delivering those woodchips for burning at a biomass electricity plant.[i] Even a 50MW plant would require 12,750 such truckloads per year.[ii] At an average distance for sourcing woodchips of 68 km[iii], that amounts to almost 790 tons (788,970 kg) of extra CO2 emissions per year just for transport of wood chips alone. While delivery of fossil fuels also involves energy and emissions costs these fuels have a far higher energy density so the ratio of energy expended on delivery to energy created is far better. Biomass delivered for production of biofuels rather than electricity will likely rack up a higher emissions for feedstock transport per unit of energy produced – partly because conversion to liquid fuels is an even less efficient way of liberating biomass energy and also because there will be a large quantity of leftover residue from biofuels production that will need to be hauled away elsewhere. Astonishingly there is now emerging an international trade in woodchips for biomass burning with woodchips sourced in the southeastern states of the US as well as Brazil, Congo and Ghana being imported thousands of miles to burn in wood burning power plants in Europe[iv] – a transportation endeavour that makes a mockery of any ‘carbon neutral’ claims.
[i] These calculations are based on a 40 tonne truck using 33-35 litres of diesel fuel per 100 km at an average speed of 72-74 km per hour where diesel fuel emits (source: OECD “Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Road Transport” 2002 – p61 ; Diesel per litre to co2 conversion available at http://www.acea.be/index.php/news/news_detail/what_are_the_main_differences_between_diesel_and_petrol/)
[ii] The example given here uses figures from the Russell Biomass plant planned for state of Massachussets – figures provided by Massachussets Environmental Energy Alliance at http://massenvironmentalenergy.org/plantdata.html. This assumes woodchips are carried at a standard 45% moisture content)
[iii] 68 km is derived from table 2 of Erin Searcy et al, “The Relative Cost of Biomass Energy Transport”, Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology Vol 136-140, 2007 p643. [iv] Stephen leahy “Energy: Trees: Out of the Forest and into the oven” IPS News, Sep 24 2009. Online at http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48574
Canal Electric - Mirant
Russell Biomass - RBM
(Data provided by Professor Curt Freedman and Western New England College)
The Mystic plant is state-of-the-art, but Russell biomass is supposed to be too. Wood used in biomass burning contains about 45 percent water, that means 55 percent of the wood is dry, combustible fuel that can yield energy. The other 45 percent is water, which must be evaporated up the plant chimney as water vapor. I estimate that the Russell plant will be evaporating 550,000 gallons a day by way of water withdrawn from the Westfield River. But the plant will also be evaporating water from green or wet wood at a rate of at least 150,000 gallons a day. That is a total of 700,000 gallons a day of water being evaporated up into the air. No wonder the plants are so inefficient. With inefficiency comes more burning of wood fuel and thus higher carbon dioxide output. "State of the Art" in biomass appears to be unable to do any better than 25 percent efficiency and may be worse in actual operation.
The POOR efficiency of biomass power plants
People are wondering about the efficiency of biomass power plants. We were able to come up with data to help answer this question, at various power plants in Massachusetts. Mystic and Brayton Point are heavy base-load operations. Canal Electric has been used increasingly for peak periods only, so the operations involve much startup and shutdown ... not good for efficiency. The Russell Biomass numbers are from the company's own reports, and are theoretical only. They may not reflect the effects of burning wet wood, which reduces the efficiency even more. These numbers reflect what Jobs and Energy has been stating all along, that biomass plants typically operate at an efficiency of 20-25% ... or in other words, around 80% of the forest is wasted up the chimney, and in ash.
Searching for a Miracle: ‘Net Energy’ Limits & the Fate of Industrial Society
Richard Heinberg, an associate member of IFG and senior fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, is the first to use the newly emerging techniques of “life cycle technology assessment,” and in particular “net energy” analyses, for in-depth comparisons among all presently dominant and newly touted “alternative” energy schemes.These include all the major renewable systems currently being advocated. We observe daily the tragic, futile official processes that continue to unfold among national governments, as well as global political and financial institutions, as they give lip service to mitigating climate change and the multiple advancing related global environmental catastrophes. Those crises include not only climate disruption, and looming global fossil fuels shortages, but other profound depletions of key resources—fresh water, arable soils, ocean life,wood, crucial minerals, biodiversity, and breathable air, etc. All these crises are results of the same sets of values and operating systems,
Our Natural Gas and Methane Resources in the U.S.
The following maps were developed using GIS softwaret. Most of the maps are large format (60 inches X 36 inches, for example) because they were intended for printing on a wide-bed printer. To clearly view them on your monitor you will have to zoom in and then scroll through the map. They will also take more than just a couple of seconds to load owing to their complexity.
The effect of tree plantations on greenhouse gases
CO2 emissions have increased in recent years in the cities of developing countries, due to heavy traffic and low quality fuel. In order to test if a significant proportion of carbon could be absorbed by urban trees, a study was carried out in the Pardisan Nature Park in Tehran, which covers 175 ha. All trees were inventoried and the annual biomass production of three principal species was measured. It was found that, including carbon stored in the soil, about 3.7 tonnes of C/ha/year were absorbed, equivalent to just over 2 000 litres of gasoline. It was thus concluded that the CO2 produced by the traffic could not be absorbed by the plantation and that other solutions should be sought.
Plant more trees and protect old growth trees to reduce carbon dioxide
The new study suggests that protecting old growth forests may be just as important as planting new trees in efforts to reduce carbon dioxide levels and fight global warming. Previously, researchers believed that only young, fast-growing trees absorbed enough carbon dioxide to be considered significant "carbon sinks." These forests need to be protected not just because they help to absorb carbon dioxide, but also because destroying them could release huge stores of greenhouse gases. The carbon cycle is a complex cycle that circulates carbon between plants, animals and soils. The exchange of carbon between living and non-living things is very closely balanced. About 100 gigatonnes of carbon is captured by plants and oceans each year and about the same amount is released back into the environment. But this natural balance is disturbed by human activities such as deforestation. Deforestation results in less carbon being removed from the atmosphere.
Carbon Dioxide Regulation and its Impact on the Electric Utility Industry
Control of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) is receiving a great deal of attention within the U.S. Congress. While the science of global warming can be debated, there is no doubt that the ambient concentrations of CO2 are increasing, in part as a result of growth in the combustion of fossil fuels by vehicles, industry and power plants.
Nothing Negative About It
Lovins invented the concept of "negawatts," so that utilities and governments could compare the cost of conservation measures against the cost of increasing power production. Negawatts represent power saved from one application that is made available to another application. For example, a compact fluorescent light bulb uses about a fourth as much energy as a standard incandescent bulb to put out a similar amount of light. Replacing one 100 watt bulb with one 25 watt compact fluorescent therefore "generates" 75 negawatts of saved energy to use somewhere else. Amory and Hunter's ideas have changed the way power companies around the world do business. Between them they have saved enough energy to power a modest-sized country. Their institute has grown in size and scope, so they now deal in many issues of sustainable living. The concept of negawatts evolved into "negagallons" to give city utilities a new way of evaluating water supply and demand. For example, they demonstrated that it was more economical for one Colorado city to retrofit homes with water efficient toilets, showerheads, and other conservation measures, than to build a new dam.
The technology needed to shift the world to clean, renewable energy already exists. Implementing that technology requires overcoming obstacles in planning and politics, but doing so could result in a 30 percent decrease in global power demand
Shifting the world to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030 – here are the numbers
Stanford University Study—Wind, water and solar energy resources are sufficiently available to provide all the world's energy. Converting to electricity and hydrogen powered by these sources would reduce world power demand by 30 percent, thereby avoiding 13,000 coal power [and biomass] plants. Materials and costs are not limitations to these conversions, but politics may be, say Stanford and UC researchers who have mapped out a blueprint for powering the world. The key is turning to wind, water and solar energy to generate electrical power – making a massive commitment to them – and eliminating combustion as a way to generate power for vehicles as well as for normal electricity use. The problem lies in the use of fossil fuels and biomass combustion, which are notoriously inefficient at producing usable energy.
MPSC analysis of relevant sections of 2008 PA 295
Attached is a summary of Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC or Commission) Staff’s analysis of relevant sections of 2008 PA 295, with respect to consideration of possible sources of energy that originate wholly or partially as woody biomass, including construction and demolition waste materials and post-industrial wood waste. All readers should understand this analysis does not constitute legal advice. It reflects MPSC Staff analysis of the recent legislation, and guidance MPSC Staff has already provided or expects to provide to the Commission, if questions arise about these issues. To date, the Commission has addressed related issues in only a single Commission Order. There are no Michigan court decisions MPSC Staff is aware of, which provide more guidance relevant to this analysis.
Myths & Facts about Forests
We all need help dispelling the myths that we are hearing from promoters of biomass burning. Myth: Fast-growing young forests are better carbon stores than slow-growing old forests; or Forest fires release carbon stored in forests so forests are not good places to store carbon. Managing forests for carbon storage requires that we continue to practice aggressive fire suppression.
Oregon Wild Report on Forests, Carbon, and Global Warming
A paper exploring how climate change is likely to affect Oregon's forests, and the role of forests in mitigating global warming. This page houses, “The Straight Facts on Forests, Carbon, and Global Warming,” a special Oregon Wild report.
U.S. Forest Carbon and Climate Change
As consensus grows about the serious impacts of global climate change, the important role of forests in carbon storage is increasingly recognized. U.S. forests currently capture about 10 percent of the carbon released from our country’s use of fossil fuels. They do this by accumulating (or sequestering) a growing “bank account” of forest carbon stores, but the rate of growth of this account has begun to slow in recent years. Reforestation of former cropland and restoration of depleted timberland were responsible for much of the growth in the U.S. forest carbon pool during the twentieth century. As this process reaches limits and development sprawls into more rural forested areas, the sequestration services provided by our forests are now in jeopardy.
Old-growth forests as vital global carbon sinks
We find that in forests between 15 and 800 years of age, net ecosystem productivity (the net carbon balance of the forest including soils) is usually positive. Our results demonstrate that old-growth forests can continue to accumulate carbon, contrary to the long-standing view that they are carbon neutral. Over 30 per cent of the global forest area is unmanaged primary forest, and this area contains the remaining old-growth forests7. Half of the primary forests (6 times 108 hectares) are located in the boreal and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. On the basis of our analysis, these forests alone sequester about 1.3 plus/minus 0.5 gigatonnes of carbon per year. Old-growth forests accumulate carbon for centuries and contain large quantities of it. We expect, however, that much of this carbon, even soil carbon9, will move back to the atmosphere if these forests are disturbed.
Efficient Regulation- Efficient Grid
Whether it’s the inclusion of renewables and plug-in hybrid vehicles to AMI systems, which place options in the hands of consumers, or visualization and management of the system and its state by control areas, it won’t be business as usual for public power, investor-owned utilities, rural electric cooperatives or federal systems. While much of the discussion has been about building out this new grid on today’s business model, financing, managing and controlling it will necessitate a new framework—one that may be as dramatic in how it changes the industry as wrought by the technologies themselves. The answer lies in the creation of what might be termed the new grid efficiency framework (GEF). This framework will require a new understanding between utilities and their regulators that will allow the industry to advance its goals of reduced carbon emissions, improved system operations and efficiency
Megatrends in Energy
A report from the inside. The Mega Trends in Energy: What They Mean for a Sustainable Energy Future
The report of the Bloomington Indiana Peak Oil Task Force
The transition to a post peak oil world will likely entail the shortening of commercial and trade supply lines and the relocalization of essential community needs, such as food production. Products that require little oil in their composition and manufacturing will be favored. We will have to develop and employ new technologies that are both environmentally benign and based on renewable resources and energy. There will also be a need for skills that have been neglected in the age of cheap energy, and knowledge thought to be outdated and obsolete. Prosperity may take on new meaning – from a simple metric of accumulated money to a broader meaning of community well being, security, and commonwealth.
The role of natural forests in carbon storage
Green Carbon The colour of carbon matters. Green carbon is the carbon stored in the plants and soil of natural ecosystems and is a vital part of the global carbon cycle. This report is the first in a series that examines the role of natural forests in the storage of carbon, the impacts of human land use activities, and the implications for climate change policy nationally and internationally.
Energy Crops and Their Implications on Soil and Environment pdf
Removal of residues adversely aff ects soil physical, chemical, and biological properties. It increases the soil’s susceptibility to compaction, crusting, and surface sealing. It reduces soil aggregation, macroporosity, aeration, and water infi ltration. Residue removal also increases abrupt fl uctuations in soil temperature and reduces plant available water content, which are the critical factors for plant growth. It increases evapotranspiration, reduces water storage, and alters biological activity and nutrient cycling. Residue removal also reduces crop yields by removing essential plant nutrients associated with residues
Land, The Greatest Excuse of All By Rachel Smolker
We have found a solution to climate change. After all the negotiating and hand wringing there is, at long last, a way out of this dilemma. And the good news is that it won't be hard at all. In fact, it requires us to do pretty much nothing at all. Just put a fence around a piece of the back 40 and christen it "offset," and, voila, you've got an excuse to keep on polluting. This may seem too crazy to be true, but it is happening and it is why countries like Australia and the U.S. are suddenly agreeing to "reduce" their emissions (even if only by a paltry amount). By pushing land-based "sinks" into carbon markets, countries can conveniently count their forests, grasslands, and other ecosystems on the "assets" side of their greenhouse gas accounting worksheets. Is this reducing emissions? Of course not. It is no more than an accounting trick. An article by Guy Pearse and Gregg Borschmann in the Sydney Morning Herald on December 14, 2009, "Green Pot of Gold Lures Politicians," reports a "candid remark" from a climate negotiator in a private briefing in Copenhagen, who stated that Australia would be able to commit to a 25 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 if proposed land-use rule changes pushed by developed countries were accepted as part of a new global climate deal. "And all that without having to impose a nasty tax, set up a complicated emissions trading scheme, or clean up a single polluting pipe. It is a political win-win."
Energy crops impact environmental quality
In the March-April 2010 issue of Agronomy Journal, published by the American Society of Agronomy, Dr. Humberto Blanco reviewed the impacts of crop residue removal, warm season grasses, and short-rotation woody crops on critical soil properties, carbon sequestration, and water quality as well as the performance of energy crops in marginal lands. The review found that crop residue removal from corn, wheat,and grain sorghumcan adversely impact soil and environmental quality. Removal of more than 50% of crop residue can have negative consequences for soil structure, reduce soil organic carbon sequestration, increase water erosion, and reduce nutrient cycling and crop production, particularly in erodible and sloping soils. "Crop residue removal can make no-till soils a source rather than a sink of atmospheric carbon," says Blanco, even at rates lower than 50%. Residue removal at rates of less than 25% can cause loss of sediment in runoff relative to soils without residue removal.
“Meeting the Energy and Climate Challenge” with Secretary of Energy Steven Chu
Learn how the U.S. government is investing our tax dollars to address the energy challenge before us.
Proposed Federal Rules pdf
Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act; Proposed Rule. [EPA–HQ–OAR–2009–0171; FRL–8895–5]. Concentrations of greenhouse gases are at unprecedented levels compared to the recent and distant past. These high atmospheric levels are the unambiguous result of human emissions.
Hydrocarbon Energy Price Database
Energy commodity prices are always important in evaluating facilities, projects or opportunities in the processing industries. Follow the links below to charts showing crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids prices of interest over the last 10 years.
Toolkit for Change: ICLEI's new Urban Sustainability Framework
Sustainable cities have been a hot topic for over a decade. But never has there been a time when the challenges and opportunities of sustainability have been so clearly on display. On the one hand, billions of stimulus dollars around the world are being channeled into the green economy. On the other, we find ourselves where report after report have made clear that things are much worse that we realized. Somehow, old classics like putting energy efficient lights on city hall and installing some LED traffic signals just aren't that exciting anymore. ICLEI's recently released Sustainability Planning Toolkit is a well-timed resource for municipalities who want to go beyond on-off projects and build a true sustainability strategy for their city. The core of the kit is a step-by-step planning guide that takes you from how to hire a sustainability coordinator to how to design, implement and monitor a local sustainability plan.
Oregon State University: How a Tree Physiologist Became a "Rocket Scientist" video
Steven W. Running, Professor/Director, Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group (NTSG), College of Forestry & Conservation, University of Montana, Missoula, MT. and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize as a member of the ICCP (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Professor Running's research progressively expanded to encompass regions, continents, and finally, all terrestrial vegetation. He will explain how the basic physics and physiology must remain in a model while the detailed description of vegetation must be progressively simplified to project how it interacts with climate at larger and larger spatial scales.
Report of the Michigan Wind Energy Resource Zone Board
October 15, 2009—The electric industry is in a period of major flux and is transitioning from a nearly exclusive reliance on nonrenewable resources to the rapid increase in the commercial development of wind energy and other renewable energy resources spurred by state and federal policies and market forces. Michigan is among a group of states that are expected to experience significant commercial wind energy development.
Cadillac Renewable Energy LLC — 2009 Report
This report, as required by Rule 214(1), sets forth the applicable requirements and factual basis for the draft permit terms and conditions including citations of the underlying applicable requirements, an explanation of any equivalent requirements included in the draft permit pursuant to Rule 212(5), and any determination made pursuant to Rule 213(6)(a)(ii) regarding requirements that are not applicable to the stationary source.
Michigan's Energy Optimization Programs
When Governor Granholm signed PA 295 into law, new opportunities to save energy in the State of Michigan were created. Here at Michigan Energy Options we've tried to create for you some helpful links to give you and those you know the ability to make better decisions with regards to your energy usage. Take a few minutes to learn about the incentives and programs designed to help all residents at all income levels across the state.
Traverse City Light and Power Optimization Plan MPSC Case No. U-15884
Pursuant to 2008 Public Act 295 (PA 295), Traverse City Light and Power is filing this energy optimization (EO) plan with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). PA 295 requires each electric energy provider in Michigan to implement an energy optimization plan that reduces electric energy consumption. This EO Plan was developed in three sections.
Toolkit: Benchmarking Starter Kit
Benchmarking your buildings' energy performance is a key first step to understanding and reducing energy consumption and your carbon footprint. All buildings can assess their energy performance, water efficiency, and carbon emissions using Portfolio Manager.
Toolkit: Building Upgrade Manual Building Manual
The ENERGY STAR Building Manual is a strategic guide to help you plan and implement profitable energy saving building upgrades. You can maximize energy savings by sequentially following the five building upgrade stages.
Toolkit: Guidelines for Energy Management
Guidelines for Energy Management EPA offers a proven strategy for superior energy management with tools and resources to help each step of the way. Based on the successful practices of ENERGY STAR partners, these guidelines for energy management can assist your organization in improving its energy and financial performance while distinguishing your organization as an environmental leader.
U.S. Energy Information Administration: Statistics and Analysis
The Renewable Energy Annual is a series of annual publications on renewable energy by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The 2007 edition presents five reports, accompanied with data tables, text and graphics covering various aspects of the renewable energy marketplace.
(EEMO) Report highlights turning point for Utilities
The report outlines how the global recession has put Utilities under pressure with expectations of a historical drop in global electricity consumption (-3.5%) and global gas demand (-3%), forcing them to take short-term and longer term measures:
Wind and solar rank second and third as preferred technologies: 56% and 54%, respectively. Wind has retained its relative ranking over the 2006 to 2008 period, while interest in solar has accelerated rapidly. While not at significant levels, interest in tidal resources has also increased substantially over the last three years. Interest in coal gasification has lost ground, dropping from 22% in 2006 to approximately 10% in 2008. The major options for reducing electricity-related greenhouse gas emissions, in rough order of cost effectiveness are:
Coal Upgrades. ...technology and innovation also can be employed in the near term to reduce CO2 emissions from existing plants. ...boiler and steam turbine upgrades, co-firing of biomass, control system upgrades, transformer replacements, upgrades of motors and installation of variable frequency drives, feedwater heater replacements, and cooling tower retrofits are all small to mid-size capital improvement projects that would yield long-term improvements in performance and reliability while reducing CO2 emissions. .. aggressive pursuit of (plant) efficiency improvements at the more than 1.2 million MW of installed coal-fired capacity worldwide could yield greater reductions in CO2 emissions in the next 10 to 15 years than the adoption of clean coal technologies in new plants.
Powering into the New Decade
A global financial meltdown may have pushed back renewable projects. With peak oil not too far off, Mitch Beedie looks at the alternatives. A who's who in energy today.
2009 Long Term Reliability Assessment
NERC’s annual ten-year reliability outlook, the Long-Term Reliability Assessment, provides an independent view of the reliability of the system, identifying trends, emerging issues, and potential concerns. NERC’s projections are based on a bottom-up approach, collecting data and perspectives from grid operators, electric utilities, and other users, owners, and operators of the bulk power system. Improvements to the 2009 report include more extensive data validation and more granular data on generation and transmission. Highlights of the 2009 report include: Economic Recession, Demand-Side Management Lead to Decreased Demand, Higher Reserve Margins.
United Nations Map of Major Ecosystem Complexes
The Olson Vegetation data set represents the world's Major Ecosystem Complexes ranked by the amounts of carbon in live vegetation. It was compiled by Jerry Olson, J. Watts and L. Allison at the Environmental Sciences Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, USA. The data set has a one-half degree latitude/longitude spatial resolution and a total of 44 land ecosystem classes; these classes were devised in a global format to facilitate the ongoing evaluation of estimated carbon in plants
United Nations World Atlas of Desertification
Plants and Trees and necessessary in reducing the dangerously high levels of CO2 in the environment. Burning biomass lowers natures ability to absorb CO2, while suddenly releasing more CO2 in massive quantities into the environment through compustion. The World Atlas of Desertification was published by UNEP in 1992 as the result of a cooperative effort between UNEP's Desertification Control Programme Activity Centre (DC/PAC), the Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS) and the Global Resource Information Database (GRID). GRID compiled and/or derived most of the global and regional databases, produced the maps and carried out the data analyses and tabulations for the Atlas, assisted by a Technical Advisory Group on Desertification Assessment and Mapping composed of various international experts.
The Health Implications of Burning Biomass for Heat and Energy
The sentiment that woodsmoke, being a natural substance, must be benign to humans is still sometimes heard. It is now well established, however, that wood-burning emits significant quantities of known health-damaging pollutants, including several carcinogenic compounds. Two of the principal gaseous pollutants in woodsmoke, CO and NOx, add to the atmospheric levels of these regulated gases emitted by other combustion sources.
The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Wind Energy
A wind energy system transforms the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical or electrical energy that can be harnessed for practical use. Mechanical energy is most commonly used for pumping water in rural or remote locations. Wind electric turbines generate electricity for homes and businesses and for sale to utilities. There are two basic designs of wind electric turbines: vertical-axis, or "egg-beater" style, and horizontal-axis machines. Horizontal-axis wind turbines are most common today, constituting nearly all...
Wind Energy – The Facts
Widely considered to be the most important wind energy reference in the world. It presents a detailed overview of the wind energy sector, with the most up-to-date and in-depth information on the essential issues concerning wind power today.The Facts’ publication includes chapters on:
Michigan Great Lakes Wind Council
The Great Lakes Wind Council, created by Executive Order No. 2009-1, serves as an advisory body within the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth to examine issues and make recommendations related to offshore wind development in Michigan. The council consists of key state agency representatives and stakeholders appointed by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm.
Utility Wind Integration pdf
Although wind turbine generators have different characteristics than conventional fossil generation, wind plants can readily be connected to the electric grid. Existing technology allows wind plants to meet requirements of the utility grid such as reactive power control,voltage regulation, ability to remain connected to the grid during momentary voltage collapse and SCADA control to reduce impacts of generator ramp rate. Wind plant sizes have increased from the 50 MW size in the 1990’s to 200 MWsand up including the Horse Hollow facility in Texas with a capacity of 700+ MWs. Within several years, wind plant(s) of 1000 MWsor larger concentrated in a localized area will be in existence.
Ottawa County Ordinance pdf
Michigan—The purpose of this Ordinance is to establish guidelines for siting Wind Energy Turbines (WETs). The goals are as follows: A. To promote the safe, effective, and efficient use of a WET in order to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels in producing electricity. B. Preserve and protect public health, safety, welfare, and quality of life by minimizing the potential adverse impacts of a WET. C. To establish standards and procedures by which the siting, design, engineering, installation, operation, and maintenance of a WET shall be governed.
The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values in the United States pdf
This report builds on the previous literature that has investigated the potential impact of wind projects on residential property values by using a hedonic pricing model. The hedonic pricing model is one of the most prominent and reliable methods for identifying impacts of different housing and community characteristics on residential property values. Homes in the study areas analyzed here do not appear to be measurably stigmatized by the arrival of a wind facility, regardless of when those homes sold in the wind project development process and regardless of whether the homes are located one mile or five miles away from the nearest facility.
APPENDIX H: The Basics of Balancing Power Systems
In power systems, the balance between generation and consumption must be maintained continuously. The essential parameter in controlling the energy balance in the system is system frequency. If generation exceeds consumption, the frequency rises and if consumption exceeds generation, the frequency falls. As shown in Figure H.1, power system operation covers several timescales, ranging from seconds to days. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the system operator to ensure that the power balance is maintained at all times.
Michigan Jobs and Energy — NO coal required! The Department of Energy's Wind Program and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) published a new wind resource map for the state of Michigan. This resource map shows wind speed estimates at 50 meters above the ground and depicts the resource that could be used for utility-scale wind development. Future plans are to provide wind speed estimates at 30 meters, which are useful for identifying small wind turbine opportunities.
2008 Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards for the State of Michigan
The Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance analyzed the potential electricity savings that the State of Michigan could achieve through the adoption and implementation of an energy efficiency portfolio standard (EEPS) and a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in 2008. The purpose of this analysis is to explore the potential long-term impacts of the energy efficiency and renewable energy policies in Michigan and to illustrate the scale of the potential savings. Various scenarios for energy efficiency and renewable energy have been proposed in Michigan, through legislative activity, by the advocacy community, and by influential groups like the Midwestern Governors Association. They differ in percent goal for efficiency and for renewables and in the ramp-up schedule to reach those goals. The energy impact from these various possible scenarios is compared and contrasted below to help Michigan evaluate the plans and choose a path toward a clean energy future. As Michigan moves to adopt a new generation of energy legislation to address the myriad challenges that lie ahead, it can look to energy efficiency as the first. It is always less expensive (to the rate is to extract it, generate it, build it or buy it, and transport it from where it is produced to where it is needed.
The Boardman Valley Preservation Society Seeks to Save Dams
Traverse City—Boardman River advocates are seeking community support to preserve and protect hydroelectric dams and ponds. These dams are currently targeted for removal by the County. Traverse City Light & Power indicates that they need to generate more local renewable energy. The dams could be back up and running at within months, if the community supports a plan to restore them to operation. Dams are a source of carbon-free source of power. In contrast, if the same amount of energy were generated in a coal- or biomass-fired electric plant, it would produce thousands of tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Building hydropower systems keeps money in the local economy because they produce power where it's being consumed, they both deliver electricity more efficiently and help stabilize the grid.
Effects of wood ash application that drains to lakes
To assess environmental risks of wood ash, limnological effects of ash application to the drainage basins of two small, humic lakes and one reference lake in southern Finland were examined in this three-year study. Treated areas corresponded to 12 and 19% of the total catchment and the amount of wood ash added was 6400 kg ha(-1). Immediate effects of wood ash on lake water were investigated in three tank experiments each lasting 1.5 wk. In tank experiments, addition of wood ash increased pH, alkalinity, conductivity, and Ca and P concentrations of humic lake water, while growth of phytoplankton decreased. After wood ash application to the subcatchments, pH, alkalinity, conductivity, and concentrations of K+, SO4(2-), and Cl- slightly increased, both in inflowing waters and in the lakes, but no increased leaching of Ca, N, or P from the treated subcatchments occurred. Phytoplankton biomass increased in both experimental lakes in comparison with the reference lake. In the lake with 19% application rate to the catchment, zooplankton biomass also increased. The results indicate that, over the short term, a small-scale ash treatment to a forested drainage basin will not necessarily cause significant changes in the water quality of boreal humic lakes, but at higher application rates, changes in water chemistry and biology are more evident.
Dioxin Toxic Equivalent Concentrations in Wood Ash
The purpose of this study was to quantify toxic equivalent (TEQ) concentrations of polychlorinated dibenzo- p -dioxins (PCDD), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) in ash residues generated by wood-fired boilers in Washington state (USA). With non-detects (ND) set to one-half the detection limit (DL) and employing mammalian toxic equivalency factors (TEF) recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), TEQ ranged from 0.36 to 11000 ng/kg ( n = 13). When the three highest samples were removed, mean TEQ declined dramatically from 840 ng/kg ( n = 13) to 2.2 ng/kg ( n = 10) with a corresponding fall in standard deviation from 3000 to 2.0 ng/kg. Two TEF methods (WHO vs . U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [USEPA]) were compared and three ND methods were evaluated (denoted by N1, N2, and N3 corresponding to ND = 0, ND = 0.5 DL, and ND = DL, respectively). Although TEQ was significantly correlated (Bonferroni P <0.05) across the three ND methods, median TEQ differed significantly ( P <0.05) among the ND methods with N1<N2<N3. For N2 and N3 methods, median PCDD/PCDF TEQ was significantly higher (Bonferroni P <0.05) when calculated with TEFs employed by WHO vs . USEPA. When wood ash is used as a liming agent or soil amendment, modeled steady-state soil TEQ may be in the range of regulatory benchmarks, depending on wood ash TEQ content and application rate. Overall, these data illustrate the high variability in wood ash TEQ, the notable impact of TEF and ND methods on reported TEQ, and the potential human and ecological concern associated with land application of wood ash and increased soil TEQ.
Biological Effects of Wood Ash Application to Forest and Aquatic Ecosystems
The present review aims to summarize current knowledge in the topic of wood ash application to boreal forest and aquatic ecosystems, and the different effects derived from these actions. Much research has been conducted regarding the effects of wood ash application on forest growth. Present studies show that, generally speaking, forest growth can be increased on wood ash–ameliorated peatland rich in nitrogen. On mineral soils, however, no change or even decreased growth have been reported. The effects on ground vegetation are not very clear, as well as the effects on fungi, soil microbes, and soil-decomposing animals. The discrepancies between different studies are for the most part explained by abiotic factors such as variation in fertility among sites, different degrees of stabilization, and wood ash dosage used, and different time scales among different studies. The lack of knowledge in the field of aquatic ecosystems and their response to ash application is an important issue for future research. The few studies conducted have mainly considered changes in water chemistry. The biotoxic effects of ash application can roughly be divided into two categories: primary and secondary. Among the primary effects is toxicity deriving from compounds in the wood ash and cadmium is probably the worst among these. The secondary effects of wood ash are generally due to its alkaline capacity and a release of ions into the soil and soil water, and finally, watercourses and lakes. Given current knowledge, we would recommend site- and wood ash–specific application practices, rather than broad and general guidelines for wood ash application to forests.
Sustainable/Holistic vs. Destructive/Conventional Agriculture
In a sustainable system of agriculture (the Dream Farm is close to such an ideal, the waste from one process is the input for another process, with the whole system composed of many coupled cycles of CLOSED loops feeding on one another, and carbon intake and output is balanced just as other nutrients. Conventional, modern agriculture is unsustainable and climate damaging in many ways.
Massachusetts Dept of Energy Resources Order Sustainability Study pdf
The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has finally acknowledged that the state’s plans for biomass power development may not be sustainable. The state recently contracted for a new "harvesting sustainability" study, which is the Manomet study referred to in the letter. Here’s the key section: “DOER will await the work of the Manomet analysis to inform the integration of “sustainability” into our RPS regulation and our policy on biomass energy development generally. Until this work is done, and the Commonwealth has the necessary confidence that its incentives for biomass energy will produce appropriately sustainable results, DOER will suspend its consideration of biomass energy applications for qualification under the MA RPS program.
Biofuel and Sustainability Reports
These reports, which were reviewed by an Advisory Committee, are based upon scientific manuscripts. Forestlands are expected to meet a long list of demands beyond energy production, including the production of water, wood and non-wood products. Humans also rely on these areas for the provisioning of many other services, including recreation, and people value the habitat forests provide to wildlife. There is also a strong need to maintain or enhance the forests’ ability to sequester carbon and thus help to mitigate global climate change. In the last five years, there has been a rapid increase in the demand for bioenergy worldwide. It will become harder and harder to balance various ecosystem services provided by forests
These maps illustrate the biomass resources available in the United States by county. Biomass feedstock data are analyzed both statistically and graphically using geographic information systems (GIS). The following feedstock categories are evaluated: crop residues, forest residues, primary and secondary mill residues, urban wood waste, and methane emissions from manure management, landfills, and domestic wastewater treatment.
An overview of Biomass Gasification
As received, biomass can range from very clean wood chips at 50% moisture, to urban wood residues that are dry but contaminated with ferrous and other materials, to agricultural residues, to animal residues, sludges, and the organic component of municipal solid waste (MSW). Representative biomass compositions are compared to fossil fuel compositions.
FACT SHEET: Biomass Burning is neither clean or green
Burning biomass for energy emits large amount of air pollution, and endangers human health Biomass incinerators produce hundreds of tons of nitrogen oxides NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC s) two ingredients of the ground-level ozone dangerous to human respiratory health and the environment. Biomass burning also produces tons of fine particulate matter (PM), a pollutant associated with asthma, heart disease, and cancer for which no safe level is known.
FACT SHEET: Projections of Biomass Emissions
A 50 MW woodburning biomass plant will emit approximately 500,000 tons a year of CO2. Roughly extrapolating this means that under a 20% RPS mandate, in 2020 combustion based biomass would produce 700,000,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year. (graph included at web site)
NASA: Biomass Burning
Scientists estimate that humans are responsible for about 90% of biomass burning with only a small percentage of natural fires contributing to the total amount of vegetation burned. Burning vegetation releases large amounts of particulates (solid carbon combustion particles) and gases, including greenhouse gases that help warm the Earth. Greenhouse gases may lead to an increased warming of the Earth or human-initiated global climate change. Studies suggest that biomass burning has increased on a global scale over the last 100 years, and computer calculations indicate a hotter Earth resulting from global warming. Biomass burning particulates impact climate and can also affect human health when they are inhaled, causing respiratory problems.
Sourcewatch: Michigan and Coal
Michigan's coal mining industry spanned from 1860 to 1949 and produced over 46 million tons of coal. Mining conditions were difficult, because the state's coal deposits are highly variable in thickness and distribution and often drop out suddenly. All of Michigan's coal is bituminous in rank and averages 1-3 percent sulfur and 3-9 percent ash.
Climate Change and Your Health: Rising Temperatures, Worsening Ozone Pollution | cause fossil fuels and biomass
Union of Concerned Scientists
Report demonstrates how climate change could increase "bad" ozone, threatening health and economy. Millions of Americans suffer from the harmful effects of ground-level ozone pollution—be they children too sick to go to school, high school football players not allowed to practice outdoors in the summer, 65-year-olds with lung disease unable to take a walk in the park, or farmers at risk when they harvest their fields. Not only does ozone pollution cause a number of serious breathing problems, and therefore a great deal of suffering, it also is damaging in monetary terms. Whether tallying up the dollars lost to sick days or the high costs of emergency-room visits, ozone pollution is expensive.
The choices we make today about the way we live, the energy we use, and the pollution we release will make a difference for the health and well-being of ourselves, our children, and our descendants long into the future.
What is Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining?
Mountaintop removal / valley fill coal mining (MTR) has been called strip mining on steroids. One author says the process should be more accurately named: mountain range removal. Mountaintop removal /valley fill mining annihilates ecosystems, transforming some of the most biologically diverse temperate forests in the world into biologically barren moonscapes.
Coal Plant Conversion Projects
There is a growing trend in the utility industry to convert existing coal-fired power plants to burn what are considered to be more environmentally-friendly fuel types, such as biomass and natural gas, though whether such conversions are environmentally beneficially remains controversial. This trend is driven by a number of factors, including state-level renewable portfolio standards; federal incentives and looming environmental regulations; consumer demand and environmental awareness; and an economic climate that is making coal less attractive. Although conversion costs can be expensive, utilities already have the facilities sited and water supply and transmission lines established. Converting existing facilities can often cost less than installing the emissions control systems required to keep an antiquated coal plant running.
Costs of Coal-Burning
Electrical Generating Units, Health Impacts: 60 Toxic Air Pollutants Released, including the heavy metals of mercury, lead, arsenic, chromium, selenium and manganese. Some of these build up in our land and water and end up in our food chain. Mercury, lead, and arsenic are potent neurotoxins. Dioxin is also released along with other persistent organic pollutants. Persistent organic pollutants take a very long time, decades, to break down in the environment. Coal-burning power plants released 2,625.2 and 2,488.4 pounds of mercury in 2001 and 2002. Coal-burning electric generating units create air pollution, contribute to acid rain and have local, regional, and global effects.
Fossil Fuels’ Hidden Cost Is in Billions, Study Says
Burning fossil fuels costs the United States about $120 billion a year in health costs, mostly because of thousands of premature deaths from air pollution, the National Academy of Sciences reported in a study issued Monday. The damages are caused almost equally by coal and oil, according to the study, which was ordered by Congress. The study set out to measure the costs not incorporated into the price of a kilowatt-hour or a gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel.
Federal Register: Environmental Protection Agency 40 CFR
Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act; Proposed Rule. Today the Administrator is proposing to find that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere endanger the public health and welfare of current and future generations. Concentrations of greenhouse gases are at unprecedented levels compared to the recent and distant past.
HB 2454: A Bill pdf
A Bill to create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy.
The EPA Community Energy Challenge
The EPA Community Energy Challenge is an opportunity for municipalities across the nation to identify simple and cost-effective measures that increase energy efficiency and renewable energy use while reducing air pollution and saving money. The EPA will provide technical assistance to every community that chooses to take the challenge. By joining the challenge, a community must agree to assess energy use in its schools, municipal buildings or wastewater facilities and set a target for reductions (at least 10% lower than your baseline) in energy use intensity (energy use per square foot).
Ottawa County Ordinance pdf
Michigan—The purpose of this Ordinance is to establish guidelines for siting Wind Energy Turbines (WETs). The goals are as follows: A. To promote the safe, effective, and efficient use of a WET in order to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels in producing electricity. B. Preserve and protect public health, safety, welfare, and quality of life by minimizing the potential adverse impacts of a WET. C. To establish standards and procedures by which the siting, design, engineering, installation, operation, and maintenance of a WET shall be governed.
A Critique of the 21st Century Electric Energy Plan
Michigan’s economy has been struggling for several years, and the recent downturn has hit the State’s manufacturing base particularly hard. With the future of the auto industry uncertain, Michigan industries are bracing for hard times. Economic growth in Michigan has been flat or declining since the year 2000, and this is reflected in the electrical demand over that time. Wolverine Cooperative for instance while still proposing a new Rogers City coal fueled power plant, actually saw a remarkable 14.6 percent drop in peak energy demand. Michigan ratepayers should clearly understand the current and future risks that the state will be exposing them to if utilities continue to pursue carbon and emissions-intensive energy consumption. Resuming that path only because it is easy and familiar will only expose the state to more severe economic pain in the near and long-term future.
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