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Carbon Dioxide

Desert Rock Air Permit Remanded

Navajo Woman in Gas Mask Banner

Good news for the Four Corners region and everyone downwind of the proposed Desert Rock Coal Power Plant. The EPA has been ordered to remand (i.e. revoke) the Air (pollution) Permit that had been granted to Desert Rock Energy Company LLC. The Environmental Appeals Board held that the permit had not properly considered the possibility of CO2 capture. Coal-fired power plants have many other dirty problems beyond CO2 emissions, including mercury and other heavy metals pollution. But perhaps most notable is the problem that Carbon-capture coal plants simply don't exist!

Coal Ash Waste - In Our Backyard

TVA Kingston TN Coal Ash Pond Failure

0n December 22, 2008 a 'storage pond' dam broke in Harriman, TN flooding the Tennessee River Valley with over 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash sludge. What wasn't known at the time of this man-made disaster is how many more Coal Ash dump sites exist in the U.S.A. Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Environmental Integrity Project, Earthjustice and the Sierra Club the EPA released a list of 584 coal ash dump sites across the country. 35 states, including New Mexico, have coal ash dumps containing arsenic, lead, mercury and other toxins.

How Can You Stop The Sun From Shining?

NREL Solar Photovoltaic Resource Map

For a state with so much solar potential, New Mexico has realized very little actual solar power. PNM (the major electrical utility in NM) currently has about 1.4 megawatts of solar PV capacity, almost all of which is owned by individual customers. PNM owns two solar facilities, a 25kW solar PV system located in Algodones and a 5kW system in Aztec. With so little solar photovoltaic power in place, PNM's most recent proposal to limit privately-owned, grid-tied solar PV systems has the Renewable Energy Industry Association of New Mexico (REIA-NM) concerned.

Living Off the Grid vs. in Town

Green Acres

Carbon Footprint. Peak Oil. Energy Independence. All of these are different ways to talk about how fossil fuels are a finite resource and supplies are running out, quickly*. Given that crude oil, dirty coal and natural (methane) gas reserves are at, or near, peak production how will you prepare for short supplies and high prices? In other words - Do you move off the grid or stick it out in town? Doug Fine has staked his claim on the Funky Butte Ranch in the backwoods of southwestern New Mexico while I'm here in suburban Santa Fe, NM.

High Speed Rail from Texas to Colorado

Santa Fe R.R. Freight Train

Could New Mexico be on the path of a new High-Speed Rail Corridor running from Texas to Colorado? Imagine being able to take a bullet train from El Paso, TX north to Denver, CO with stops in between at Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Colorado Springs. You could catch a dedicated, high-speed passenger train instead of spending hours driving by car or trying to book a flight that doesn't connect through Phoenix, Dallas or even further away.

A Bad Day for Black Rocks

Coal Miners

What a difference an administration makes! The EPA is working once again to protect the environment here in New Mexico and elsewhere. Specifically, the EPA is reconsidering the air (pollution) permit granted to the Desert Rock coal-fired power plant near Farmington, NM. This move revisits several exemptions made to existing air quality rules and allows the EPA to incorporate its new Supreme Court mandated role in regulating CO2 emissions. I don't think we can breathe easy yet, but fossil fuel air pollution just had a significant setback.

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Good Book, Bad Cover

Sustainable Energy - Without The Hot Air, book cover

Don't judge a book by it's cover, especially when the cover is this bad. Fortunately the book 'Sustainable Energy - without the hot air' by David JC MacKay is a much better book than its wrapping suggests. Professor McKay makes a case for, of all things, a fact and number-based energy policy. The idea that rational decision-making should drive energy policy shouldn't be a radical idea, but strangely enough it is.

Whither Comes the Energy to Run the World?

Global New Energy Summit

What: Global New Energy Summit
When: March 22 - 24, 2009
Where: Buffalo Thunder Resort, Pojoaque, NM

Is "Regular Clean" Clean Enough for your Family?

'Clean Coal' harnesses the awesome power of the word clean!

Get Clean Coal clean! by the Coen brothers

Southwestern Power and Coal News:

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