Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Smokestack Lightning-The Continuing Saga Of Erie's Tires-To-Energy Plant

This has been building for some time, I think there is a dichotomy developing in viewpoint of the environmentalists/Green Party people fighting this tires-to-energy plant being proposed for the lower East side of Erie. On one side, you have the environmentalists' goal of creating alternative energy sources to oil. On the other side, you have environmentalists fighting a plant that promises to create an alternative energy source.

Two pieces in today's Erie Times illustrate this dichotomy beautifully. On page 1, you've got this big brouhaha about the plant's zoning approval getting overturned on a technicality. Of course, the environmentalists are all in favor of this. Then on the letters page, you have this fascinating letter by a Millcreek resident who used to work for the Dept. of Energy. He blames Reagan for canceling a number of government-sponsored energy development initiatives and leaving us in our current oil-dependent state.

The letter writer states: "By the early '80s, we had developed viable research and development programs into renewable energy sources, such as solar heating and cooling, solar electrification, wind energy, hydrogen, fuel cell technology and even into harnessing the power inherent in tidal action. In the nonrenewable area, we focused on developing coal liquefaction and gasification technologies, clean coal technology, electric car technology, tar sands extraction, improved nuclear power and many others."

Hmmm... is gasification green or not green? It seems to me like there are a lot of people out there that want something for nothing. They clamor for alternative energy sources, but then complain when somebody tries to do something innovative in this area. Now, I'm not saying that this tires-to-energy plant is a good thing, but as I've said before, there is still a lot about it that we don't know. I still haven't seen any good examples of existing plants that use the gassification technology these RewewErie guys, or whatever their name is, are talking about. The bottom line is that I think we need more information on how this plant will affect the environment. The BOTTOM LINE FOR THE ENVIRONMENTALISTS SHOULD BE: IS THIS PLANT GOING TO BE AN IMPROVEMENT OVER CURRENT MEANS OF PRODUCING ENERGY? Can we get some info on that? Yes, it may cause some pollution, but in the overall picture, will it be causing less damage to the environment than the current means of producing the same amount of energy, as well disposing of the same amount of tires. To me, recycling tires into useful energy sounds like a good thing, if the emissions/pollution can be controlled. Can we give these guys a chance to prove that they can do this?




Jay Draiman said...

A more efficient and cost effective renewable energy system is needed. R2
A more efficient and cost effective renewable energy system is needed.
To accelerate the implementation of renewable electric generation with added incentives and a FASTER PAYBACK - ROI. (A method of storing energy, would accelerate the use of renewable energy) A greater tax credit, accelerated depreciation, funding scientific research and pay as you save utility billing. (Reduce and or eliminates the tax on implementing energy efficiency, eliminate increase in Real estate Taxes for energy efficiency improvement). Tax incentive and rebates have to be tripled.
In California, you also have the impediment, that when there are an interruption of power supply by the Utility you the consumer cannot use your renewable energy system to provide power.
In today's technology there is automatic switching equipment that would disconnect the consumer from the grid, which would permit renewable generation for the consumer even during power interruption. Energy storage technology must advance substantially. “Energy conservation through energy storage”.
New competition for the world's limited oil and natural gas supplies is increasing global demand like never before. Reserves are dwindling. These and other factors are forcing energy prices to skyrocket here at home. It's affecting not just the fuel for our cars and homes, it is affecting food prices and it's driving up electricity costs, too. A new world is emerging. The energy decisions our nation makes today will have huge implications into the next century. We must expedite the implementation of renewable energy.
A synchronous system with batteries allows the blending of a PV with grid power, but also offers the advantage of “islanding” in case of a power failure. A synchronous system automatically disconnects the utility power from the house and operates like an off-grid home during power failures. This system, however, is more costly and loses some of the efficiency advantages of a battery-less system.
We’re surrounded by energy — sun, wind, water. The problem is harnessing it in an economical way.
Jay Draiman, Northridge, CA
July 20, 2008

Jay Draiman Energy Development Specialist provides expertise in all sectors of the energy and utility industry.
Over 20 years experience. Specializing in: Energy Audit, Telecom audit, Utility bills audit and review for refunds or better rates, Demand Management, Energy Efficiency review and implementation, Renewable Energy, Lighting Retrofit, Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Fuel-Cell, Thermal imaging, Rainwater harvesting, Energy conservation, Ice Storage, Water conservation methods, Energy and telecom audit and procurement
Much is at stake when policy makers, regulators, and corporate executives face the challenges of evolving energy markets and efficiency.

Ralph said...

Thanks Jay, if you could specifically address the viability of this gassification of tires to create energy, I'd appricaiate it.