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View Diary: Oregon Governor Kitzhaber asks for a environmental review of Obama's awful coal export policy (43 comments)

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  •  Transmission losses would be enormous. (0+ / 0-)
    •  Additionally.... (0+ / 0-)

      ..... there is no practical technology now or planned to "scrub" the CO2 from coal fires.

      The ONLY path to a better future is a controlled reduction in human population and a drastic reduction in the use of carbon based energy.

      This is going to be a most difficult political and technological challenge. Simply, if we don't get started NOW and face the realities we will find ourselves without any hope at all in just a few more decades.

      Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

      by boatwright on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 07:30:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Too many humans, agreed. (0+ / 0-)

        But I'm not convinced of this claim:

        there is no practical technology now or planned to "scrub" the CO2 from coal fires.
      •  Good summary of "Clean Coal" technologies. (0+ / 0-)

        "Clean Coal" Technologies, Carbon Capture & Sequestration

        Burning coal without adding to global carbon dioxide levels is a major technological challenge which is being addressed.
        The most promising "clean coal" technology involves using the coal to make hydrogen from water, then burying the resultant carbon dioxide by-product and burning the hydrogen.
        The world's first industrial-scale CO2 storage was at Norway's Sleipner gas field in the North Sea, where about one million tonnes per year of compressed liquid CO2 separated from methane is injected into a deep reservoir (saline aquifer) about a kilometre below the sea bed and remains safely in place. The US$ 80 million incremental cost of the sequestration project was paid back in 18 months on the basis of carbon tax savings at $50/tonne. (The natural gas contains 9% CO2 which must be reduced before sale or export.) The overall Utsira sandstone formation there, about one kilometre below the sea bed, is said to be capable of storing 600 billion tonnes of CO2.  In 2007 the Snohvit project joined Sleipner in CCS there.
        In August 2010 DOE said that it would abandon the original FutureGen idea and would now retrofit unit 4 of Ameren's existing 200 MWe (gross) plant in Meredosia, Illinois, with oxy-combustion calling this FutureGen 2.0 - "a clean-coal repowering program and carbon dioxide storage network”. It will burn pulverised coal and capture over 90% of the CO2 produced (1.3 Mt/yr over 30 years), to produce 140 MWe net. A pipeline will link it to a regional CO2 storage hub, and a site will be sought for this to enable sequestration in the Mt Simon Formation. Ameren will use B&W technology for oxy-combustion repowering of the plant, and FutureGen Alliance will focus on the pipeline and storage, with a view to also drawing on other CO2 sources within 160km, so that some 500 million tonnes capacity is sought. Construction is due be over 2012 to 2015, with the project being on line mid 2016.
    •  Yes, transmission losses would be enormous. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, Lefty Coaster

      But so are coal transportation costs and associated environmental impacts.

         A key connection still to be built is the “East-West Energy Bridge” which would connect Alaska to Siberia via two 20-mile links across the Bering Straits. “This is the crucial gateway to the 11 time zones of the former Soviet Union and also the new powerhouse of China.”

      It is a common misconception that long-distance energy transfers are impractical, Powers said, explaining that in the 1930’s there was a transmission limit of 350 miles. “That limit grew to 1,500 miles in the 1960’s and is now well over 4,000 miles using Ultra-High Voltage and High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) technology,” he said.

         In fact, southern California gets a hefty portion of its electricity from 1,000 miles away – via a single HVDC line connecting it to hydro power from Oregon, enough to run 2-3 million homes. “Distance is not a barrier,” he asserted.

      Also see:
      •  For 1000 miles or even 2000 miles transmission (0+ / 0-)

        costs are indeed not too bad. But we are talking much bigger distances here.

        •  Transmission losses are offset by . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          . . the ability to balance peak loads within a global power grid.  This was Buckminster Fuller's main talking point.

          •  As an idea, it's great. I don't know how the math (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            works out for global power grid with current technologies. And joining local power grids is definitely a no-brainer. In fact, it has been implemented in Europe and elsewhere.

            •  I haven't seen the math either. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FG, DawnN

              But  I sent an email to Physicist Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, asking him to weigh in on the economics of a Global Power Grid.

               A far larger barrier is the state of the electric utility industry. “The industry is mainly regional in scope, highly-regulated throughout its history and with no incentive to invest in new transmission lines or long-distance infrastructure,” Powers said.
                 Despite this fact, well over half of the transmission systems for a global energy network are already in place, Powers said, and new international grid connections throughout the world are gaining in momentum.
                “As Fuller and his students pointed out during the World Games [1970's], electricity is the basis of our modern standard of living but even today, almost 2 billion people do not have access to any electricity,” Powers explained. “As a result, 18,000 children die from preventable starvation daily – that’s about equal to the enrollment of Stanford University, every single day,” he [Michael Powers] said.

                 “The vision offered by a global energy network is a reduction in poverty and hunger, a way to stabilize population growth, to turn back the clock on global warming and to phase out fossil fuels… while increasing trade, cooperation and peace between nations,” he concluded.

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