COAL POWER Direct [August 3, 2009]

High-Hazard Coal Ash Sites, and the TVA Spill Revisited

The EPA has identified 44 "high hazard" coal ash ponds around the U.S., and a recent Tennessee Valley Authority report indicates that the agency should have known its Kingston Plant pond would have been one of them.

Instead of Free Allowances, Opt for "Auction and Recycle"

By J. Wayne Leonard
A policy of allocating free allowances to hold down electric price increases, as some in our industry are advocating as part of climate change legislation, is well-intended but not the best choice for a cap-and-trade plan. An "auction and recycle" plan accomplishes the same goals yet is more consumer friendly.

Leading-Edge Conveyor Technologies Reduce Dust Emissions

Reducing dust from coal conveyors has moved from a housekeeping chore to a safety challenge, especially with Powder River Basin coals. Here’s what you need to know about the latest coal-handling system design.

MIT Report Urges Faster Action on Carbon-Capture Retrofits

MIT researchers push for faster commercialization of carbon capture technologies for coal-fired power plants by reducing system costs.

One Giant Leap

How many times have you heard it said: “If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we (you fill in the blank)?” On July 20 we commemorated the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong taking mankind’s first step on the moon and adding this unique point of comparison to our society’s lexicon. The only problem is that the analogy no longer is useful in today’s risk-adverse, technology-driven society.

PRB Coal Users’ Group Educates Industry on the Dangers of Combustible Dust

The annual meeting of the Powder River Basin Coal Users’ Group was held in association with the ELECTRIC POWER conference in early May in Chicago. Get a taste of the festivities, technical meetings, and the announcement of the group’s 2009 Large and Small Plant of the Year winners in this conference report.

Using Power Plant Waste to Solve Disposal Problems

By Dr. Richard W. Goodwin, PE
Of the 131 million tons of U.S. power plant waste or coal combustion by-products (CCBs), 36% are disposed of in landfills and 21% are disposed of in surface impoundments. Recent problems with surface impoundments and landfills have created a media furor and have prompted elected and appointed officials to demand more stringent regulatory control.

Utility Business Customers to Feast on Free Allowances

An analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded that two-thirds of the value of carbon emission allowances described by the recent H.R. 2545 will benefit utility business customers and households in the top quartile of personal income. The middle quintile will see increased cost for electricity.

What if New Source Review Were Repealed?

The New Source Review (NSR) permitting program was originally created as part of the 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments to ensure that new power generation facilities were properly outfitted with all the necessary air quality control systems when constructed. Plants in operation were exempt until they made plant modifications viewed as beyond “routine maintenance,” a term whose definition has been a moving target. Is it time for the NSR to take a back seat to improved plant efficiency and reduced carbon emissions?