Friday, December 23, 2011

Freezing in the Dark

The Beer:  Saint Arnold Christmas Ale.

The Bicycle: If I don't get going, I won't be able to ride at all next year.

The VRWC:  Back in "the day", when I worked in the nuclear power biz, we would look at the anti-(insert energy technology here) folks and say, "Let 'em freeze in the dark".  Unfortunately, because they and their fellow travelers have taken over education, government and the bureaucracy, it appears the rest of us will be the ones freezing.  By implementing "Boiler MACT", EPA has signed a death warrant for many of the nation's coal-fired power plants.

Ok.  Here is the geek stuff.

"Boiler MACT" is shorthand for "Maximum Achievable Control Technology".  This means that the users of certain boilers (i.e. the boilers used at coal-fired power plants) will need to use whatever technology is necessary to reduce 84 chemicals that EPA deems as toxic and are found in stack emissions to a level no greater than what EPA deems to be emitted from the 12% of cleanest plants.

Here is some background (H/T: Maeve and Red):

05/18/11-The EPA published a notice today delaying the effective date of the boiler major source rule (The Boiler MACT) until the completion of the recently announced reconsideration or the completion of litigation on the rule, whichever is earlier. The effective date of the boiler area source rule was not delayed

10/24/11 - The EPA is committed to proposing the Boiler MACT reconsideration and intends to issue the proposal for public comment by the end of November. The standards, which are currently going through interagency review, are meant to protect Americans from mercury, soot, lead and other harmful pollutants released by boilers and incinerators that can lead to developmental disabilities in children, as well as cancer, heart disease, aggravated asthma and premature death. To develop this proposed reconsideration, EPA has benefited from information provided by industry, labor, States and environmental organizations. We will consider all the information in the review process to develop smart, cost-effective and protective standards.

12/2/11 - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued proposed amendments to the rule “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Area Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers,” also called subpart JJJJJJ. The EPA will accept comment on these proposed amendments for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. Synopsis of the proposed changes. 

12/2/11 - The EPA issued the Boiler MACT reconsideration proposal (40 CFR 63, subpart DDDDD, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters). The EPA will accept comment on the reconsideration proposal for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

By most estimate, this rule will result in the shutdown of up to 60 coal-fired power plants, which currently produce between 13 and 28 GW of energy.  11 GW is believed to be in Texas where "dirt-burners" consume cheap, but relatively dirty lignite coal.

The United States currently has generation capacity of 1,039,137 MW 1039 GW) of which about 317,000 MW (317 GW) is from coal.  This is 30% of capacity, but on any given day, over half of net generation is from coal.  This because coal is cheap and plentiful.  The margin between what is generated and what is consumed is about 180 GW or just under 20%.  Removing 13-28 GW from is what?  7-15% of the 20% margin, reducing it to around 16-17% margin.  

I'm going to leave this here and let the reader digest the information.  I will post more on the consequences of this policy later.

1 comment:

Dad29 said...

Well, at least we won't have to use those damn CFL's.

No juice, no lightbulbs!

They resolved the problem, see?