Every now and then, something still surprises me, and here’s today’s surprise… a eagle-eye cohort (with a snow day by the computer? If so, snow therefore can be a good thing) found these links which make me wonder if our Commissioners at the PUC are paying attention to the record of the Mesaba case, if they’re sleeping through they’re NARUC meetings, or both!  It’s the PUC, it’s NARUC, whatever are they thinking?


NARUC (National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners) has a subcommittee called… are you ready… “Clean Coal and Carbon Sequestration.”


And look who’s there from Minnesota, Commissioners and Staff:

Phyllis Reha
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

David C. Boyd
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

Bob Cupit
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission

Here’s NARUC’s Coal Generation Technology Primer, which you have to read to believe…

Coal Generation Technologies

Minnesota’s Excelsior Energy Mesaba Project was THE first in this IGCC wave to be vetted with cost information somewhat available to the public.  So USE IT!  But no…  Despite all these folks from our Public Utilities Commission who know intimately what a disaster coal gasification is, a la Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project, and who are on this Coal Gasification Committee, this NARUC organization that they belong to is putting out information as a “resource” that is way off base.  It’s bad enough that they’re on this committee at all because it lends credibility to a losing and not-feasible technology, but this committee’s cost information so far off that it makes me gasp.

Here’s the NARUC chart from that “Primer” for various coal costs both per kW and kWhr, and see for yourself:


Again, the full report (this chart is on p. 2):

Coal Generation Technologies

So, will someone please explain to me why they are saying that the cost of IGCC is $1,430-1,977/kW, and worse and more specifically, why the Conoco Phillips cost is $1,733/kW when we all know that the Mesaba Project, in 2005 dollars, was estimated at $3,593/kW?  Why aren’t David Boyd, Phyllis Reha and Bob Cupit correcting NARUC staff about this claring error, a cost estimate that’s got to increase 100% to get close in 2005 dollars, and it’s gone higher since?  Aren’t these NARUC people checking the projects that their members are regulating?

And then there’s the kWhr cost, also outrageous.  They’re saying that kWhr cost of IGCC is 5.13-8.05 cents/kWhr.  Once more with feeling, here’s the cost chart from Dr. Amit’s testimony:


CLICK HERE for Dr. Amit’s Rebuttal Testimony, p. 24, from whence this chart came.

CLICK HERE for wind/gas combo info from Shulte’s SDEIA report.

…and then there’s this continuing crap about Carbon Capture and Storage, and the NARUC chart has a column for CCS, claiming that IGCC with CO2 capture is $1,890-2,668/kW capital cost, and 10.29-11.04/kWhr.  First problem is that they’re acting  as if it were happening, and this is something even the DOE admits is not here and now and is not going to be available for a long, long time, so how can they presume?  Second, the column is labeld as “with CO2 capture” and doesn’t address storage but there’s no clarification that in industry modeling, they only address capture and transport to the gate, and NOT storage, implicitly acknowledging that storage is not even contemplated.  I’m not going to waste more time on this one, grrrrrrrrrrrr…

And it gets worse — CO2 capture for Supercritical Pulverized Coal, Supercritical, Ultra-Supercritical, Subcritical Circulating Fluid Bed…. oh, PUH-LEEEEZE… to presume CO2 capture for pulverized coal is … how else to say it… NUTS! How do they propose this be done?

It’s irresponsible to promote these delusions.   Coal Generation Technologies was written by NARUC Staff Miles Keogh and Julia Friedman of the Grants & Research Department got $$$ from the U.S. EPA.  PLEASE start digging, even just scratching the surfact, and you’ll see!  Get IGCC cost information from each of those Commissions with IGCC proceedings before it and you’ll see, and I would think  that info is readily available to you.

Chair Boyd, Commissioner Reha, and the legendary Mr. Bob Cupit… will you please straighten out NARUC as to the facts of coal gasification, specifically cost and CO2 CCS?

One Response to “NARUC’s and PUC’s odd affair with coal gasification & CCS”

  1. Phillip Glass Says:

    And what do you propose as an alternative?
    Natural gas?
    Hopin’ and wishin’?

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