Scuttling the coal plant - 8/21/2009
Jamestown project draws questions, Praxair shifts sites to Michigan
The U.S. Department of Energy has questioned whether Jamestown is the rock upon which someone should build a so-called clean coal power plant. So Praxair, the industrial gas company trying to cook up the technology, and earn a share of the $2.3 billion the Energy Department has available for such experiments, has shifted its focus from the city in Western New York to another proposed project in western Michigan.
Politics cannot be absent, with big names in the Democratic Party lobbying a Democratic administration for the money and the jobs that follow. But the reason for Praxair's shift is about as reasonable, scientifically speaking, as can be imagined. And it demonstrates that the Jamestown Board of Public Utility's (BPU) long-time belief in the project is on shaky ground indeed.
The Jamestown BPU and Praxair, a Connecticut-based company with a plant in the Town of Tonawanda, have had their heads together on a plan to reimagine the coal-fired power plant Jamestown has wanted to build for six years as a demonstration for carbon capture technology. That is something that could, if it works, go a long way to mitigate the environmental damage done by the burning of coal.
The problem with letting Jamestown call its 50-megawatt plant a clean-coal facility is that there is, so far, no assurance that the technology will work. If it doesn't, Jamestown would be sitting there with an expensive, pollution-belching power plant that will cost town residents a lot more money than they would have spent on a similar level of greener power from any of a number of existing or possible alternative sources. Read the full Editorial in The Buffalo News.
But Jamestown isn't quitting. They're scutlling Praxair and applying for Federal funds! See the article below.
A Calculated Long Shot - 8/22/2009
BPU, OxyCoal Alliance To File Funding Application Without Praxair
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities and members of the New York OxyCoal Alliance have decided to file their own funding application for an oxycoal project at the BPU's Samuel A. Carlson generating plant on Steele Street.
The Post-Journal learned of the decision Friday afternoon, just days before the Monday application deadline for funding through the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Coal Power Initiative.
The decision comes two weeks after Praxair, in a stunning move, decided to demote Jamestown to the alternate slot for an oxycoal project behind Holland, Mich. Praxair said its decision - which came just 12 days before the DOE's application deadline - was made because the Michigan location has ''better geological formations and a more solid financial position.''
Thanks to a boost from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the DOE has over $1 billion to spend on clean coal projects. It has already agreed to spend $408 million on two carbon capture and sequestration projects - an existing power plant in Beulah, N.D. and a new facility in Kern County, Calif. - that use different technology than the BPU's proposed project.
Read the full article by Kristen Johnson in the The Post-Journal.
Council Backs Project
City Promises $145 Million For OxyCoal Plant
The Jamestown City Council has thrown its weight behind the funding application filed Monday night by the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities and members of the New York OxyCoal Alliance for an oxycoal project at the BPU's Samuel A. Carlson generating plant on Steele Street.
Council members voted unanimously to approve a resolution that not only expressed the council's firm support for the project but also promised that - should the U.S. Department of Energy fund the Jamestown project with Clean Coal Power Initiative funds - the city would either issue $145 million worth of municipal bonds or guarantee the repayment of $145 million in revenue bonds issued by a special purpose entity. Read the full article by Kristen Johnson in the The Post-Journal.
Earlier articles, viewpoints and letters to the editor:
- Hopes rise for coal plant in Jamestown - 3/15/2009
- Seek sustainable energy, not more coal plants - 3/21/2009
- Jamestown coal plant project is good investment - 7/28/2009
What do you think about proposed coal power plant in Jamestown...
Should coal stay or should it go?
Ponder this question while listening to The Clash: