Tag Archives: National Geographic

Where the biomass plants are

For months I’ve been asking who at least knows where all the biomass plants in Georgia are proposed to be. Valdosta Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA) doesn’t know. National Geographic knows some, but not all. The State of Georgia maybe knows, but isn’t telling where they all are.

Who does know?

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The detail map shown includes the Wiregrass Power LLC proposed plant (the orange oval I just south of Valdosta), two plants in Hamilton County, Florida Continue reading

Proposed Solar Plants

OK, let’s look at “solar” in the online interactive map from Joel Achenbach’s story about The 21st Century Grid in the July 2010 National Geographic. It’s easy to count the proposed solar power plants in Georgia: zero. Yet there’s one in Virginia, one in Maryland, and at least three in Florida, adding to the currently largest solar plant in the country near De Soto, Florida. The map legend repeats the GEFA canard that
The Southwest is a solar-power hotbed. To supplement fossil fuel plants, long-distance transmission lines stretch from the Mojave Destert, which has plenty of sun.
Yes, that’s true, but what about this. At least three solar plants are proposed around San Antonio and Austin, which are not in the area of the southwest the map blurb is referring to. In fact, the largest solar plant in the country is proposed for Austin. Austin is one degree of latitude south of Valdosta, and has been leading the country in solar deployment for many years now. Texas in general almost doubled renewable energy generation between 2004 and 2006 while Georgia did nothing. Texas hasn’t stopped. When will Georgia start?

The Austin solar solution doesn’t require massive new power lines, either. It’s mostly been accomplished with solar panels on houses and business roofs; panels that wouldn’t show up on National Geographic’s map because they’re small and distributed. Which is the point: they generate power where it’s needed, and at peak times when it’s needed, namely when it’s hot and sunny out and air conditioners are running on max. There’s no reason Georgia can’t do the same.

I would continue this series by showing wind generation proposed for Georgia, but there isn’t any of that, either. There could be, off the coast.

Which makes more sense: polluting our air with more coal and biomass plants, or getting a move on with solar and wind?


Proposed Biomass Plants

Let’s select “other” in the online interactive map from Joel Achenbach’s story about The 21st Century Grid in the July 2010 National Geographic. This map clearly shows the proposed Wiregrass LLC plant in Valdosta, as well as two plants proposed just to the south for Hamilton County, Florida, and one in Echols County, Georgia, which presumably would be the Oglethorpe Power alternative site. Several of the other plants shown are probably the other proposed Oglethorpe Power plants. Missing is Georgia Power’s Plant Mitchell in Albany, which is supposed to convert from coal to biomass. (Also if you select “nuclear”, the two Georgia Power proposed nuclear plants on the Savannah River are missing.) Apparently National Geographic edoesn’t have a complete list of proposed biomass plants. I wonder who does, if anybody?

Nonetheless, take this map of proposed biomass plants and combine it with the map of proposed new coal plants, plus the existing coal plants in Juliette, Georgia (dirtiest in the country) and Albany, and south Georgia is slated to become even more infested with polluting energy sources.

Does that seem like a good idea to you?

Next: proposed solar plants.


Proposed Coal Plants

In the July 2010 National Geographic, Joel Achenbach writes about The 21st Century Grid. It’s mostly about how we need a smart grid and additional power lines to redistribute power better, but it does get into proposed power plants to generate new power.
Although everyone acknowledges the need for a better, smarter, cleaner grid, the paramount goal of the utility industry continues to be cheap electricity. In the U.S. about half of it comes from burning coal. Coal-powered generators produce a third of the mercury emissions in America, a third of our smog, two-thirds of our sulfur dioxide, and nearly a third of our planet-warming carbon dioxide—around 2.5 billion metric tons a year, by the most recent estimate.
Then it talks about how it’s hard to get stodgy electric utilities to invest in anything else. However, there is at least one way:
A California law requires utilities to generate at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources as of this year.
OK, so what new energy plant are proposed for Georgia? The online interactive map lets you select different energy types. The map above shows four proposed new coal plants in Georgia, surrounding south Georgia (plus something nonrenewable in Florida near Tampa). I recognize the one in far southwest Georgia as the one proposed for Early County and fortunately still tied up in litigation. All four are in addition to the existing Plant Scherer at Juliett, GA, near Macon, the dirtiest coal plant in the country, and the one that generates 2/3 of our power for south Georgia (as well as selling a lot of power to Florida). Adding still more dirty coal plants does not look like progress.

Continued in next blog entry.