Hot off the press from Mike Bull, Assistant Commissioner for Renewable Energy and Advanced Technologies (I realize many don’t check comments, and of course he gets equal time!):

longhorn_champ bull.jpg

Good lord, Carol, relax! The technology does in fact turn coal into synthetic gas, which can be used to generate electricity — so its proven in that sense. Reliability of the gasifiers is an issue that will be very important going forward, so we don’t have the same level of comfort with this technology as we have with, say, coal combustion, so there is a good deal more uncertainty involved relative to conventional technologies. But, ultimately, if we’re going to continue to use coal as a fuel (and I think we are), conventional technologies are going to have to give way to coal gasification technologies.

“Relax…” I tell him, “Relax? RELAX???? Don’t you remember Che’s “constant motion and eternal vigilance?” Oh, but he’s dead… (read the Buckley book if you haven’t yet). I could bring up the Wellstonestand up, keep fighting” but that’s so last week … And then there’s the Norwegian poet Arnulf Overland

Some people apparently don’t want to look at the problems with coal gasification. Some say it’ll replace regular coal! Really? How will that happen? This is NEW generation in a greenfield, not replacement of old noxious coal. Some say the CO2 will be sequestered, but there’s no plan for that and no mandate! Even if there were, sequestration wrecks havoc on an aquifer.

Here’s from the Wabash Final Report, the most recent coal gasification plant:

Construction costs were twice what they expected

Wastewater was “routinely” in violation of the permit due to high levels of selenium, cyanide and arsenic, and the problem had not been corrected by the time of this report.

Plant had 36-38% efficiency factor – that’s regarded as GOOD!

Plant was out of service much of the demonstration time, towards end had 60% capacity factor. That’s 19% better than an NEG Micon wind turbine!

Yup, sounds like a good investment to me, especially one that the DOE defines as “risky” and where it’s the NRG folks driving this bus, the NRG that nearly drove Xcel to bankruptcy! Yup, sounds just like the project I want to give all the perks and freebies to! Oh, yeah, great idea. City, County, IRRRB, State, Feds, are we missing any donors here? Oh, each and every one of us taxpapers!!!

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