Seems my favorite gas turbine salesman is getting pissy, getting worried. When he wantz to keep the opposition from talking, wants only proponents to be heard, it must be that he sees that yet another IGCC project is vulnerable. Keep your eye on the Sierra Vista Herald for his missive, and note what he says about the toady enviro organizations that are supporting IGCC — which of them have not received “grants” to do so, eh? Let’s see, I’m a whore against IGCC (when not against tanks and bazookas and machine guns per David Gross, Esq.), Harry is a whore for gas turbines (natural or IGCC) and enviros are whores for IGCC. We’re all whores but it seems a bit lopsided. Anyway, here’s what he had to say about the article:

I read your article in the August 14 issue of the Sierra Vista Herald entitled: “2 Supervisors Deny Travel Expenses for Power Plant Expert” and I feel compelled to write to you about it.

My hope is that you would make this letter public as a follow up to your article.

The article was brought to my attention by a web blog written by Ms. Carol Overland, the Minnesota lawyer identified by board member Paul Newman as the purported expert on IGCC tachnolgy.

The blog can be found at:

What your article failed to point out (or rather what Mr. Newman failed to point out) is that, in the case of the proposed Minnesota IGCC project, Ms. Overland was not acting as an independent industry expert witness on IGCC technology, but rather as a locally retained lawyer representing a group of property owners that opposed the project for various private reasons – mostly having to do with property interests and not environmental issues.

Regarding the environmental issues related to alternative ways to use coal for power generation, I believe that the technical data will support IGCC technology as the cleanest possible alternative.

Please see attached chart that was developed for the Department of Energy on that subject.

There is no doubt that both sides of the argument related to coal-based power can come up with their own set of “experts” to present arguments pro and con. But the facts regarding the qualifications and the real motives of such experts should be made clear.

This should be the case whether or not the use of public funds is being considered to cover the travel expenses to bring such “experts” to town – or even if they are invited to provide their expert opinions gratis via teleconference.

The motives of so-called “experts” who are paid by opponents to a project always have to be questioned.

The very fact that a number of major nationally recognized environmental organizations have themselves been generally supportive of IGCC technology as the cleanest alternative for coal-based power generation should speak for itself.

if the Board of Supervisors is looking to have a truly qualified and independent technical expert on IGCC technology, I would suggest that they invite technical experts from the major environmental groups.

Yours very truly,

Harry Jaeger
Gasification Editor
Gas Turbine World Magazine

PS I believe that the project in Minnesota that was reportedly killed by Ms. Overland’s expert testimony is still alive, as the Minnesota PUC has recently suggested that the project developer and the local utility work together to find a way to make it work in the public interest.


Ummmmmm… let’s see… go to the “major environmental groups” that are supporting IGCC with funding to do so from the Joyce Foundation?  Good idea… good source for “truly qualified and independent technical experts.”  Remember this list of recipients please, from a Joyce Foundation press release:

Announced August 2006

Clean Air Task Force, Inc.
Boston, MA $787,500
To promote Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle in the upper Midwest. (21 mos.)

Clean Wisconsin, Inc.
Madison, WI $500,000
For a coordinated administrative intervention and public information campaign aimed at promoting coal gasification with sequestration as an alternative to conventional coal plants proposed for Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Citizens Utility Board would also be a partner in the intervention and campaign. (1 yr.)

Energy Foundation
San Francisco, CA $100,000
To support smaller-scale efforts to contest the licensing of conventional coal plants in the Midwest. (1 yr.)

Great Plains Institute for Sustainable Development
Minneapolis, MN $437,500
To support the efforts of its Coal Gasification Working Group. (21 mos.)

Michigan Environmental Council
Lansing, MI $87,500
To persuade regulators, utilities, and power plant developers in Michigan that any new coal plants should be able to use the latest technologies for capturing and storing carbon emissions. (21 mos.)

National Wildlife Federation
Reston, VA $122,700
To build support in Indiana and Michigan for coal gasification as an alternative to conventional coal-burning power plants. National Wildlife Federation affiliates Indiana Wildlife Federation and Michigan United Conservation Clubs would be partners in this effort. (21 mos.)

Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
New York, NY $437,500
For its efforts to oppose the construction of new conventional coal plants and promote alternative plants using coal gasification with carbon sequestration. (21 mos.)

Ohio Environmental Council
Columbus, OH $113,750
To support its ongoing efforts to promote IGCC in Ohio and to oppose the permitting of a conventional coal plant proposed by AMP-Ohio, a municipal utility consortium. (21 mos.)

Resources for the Future, Inc.
Washington, DC $75,000
To conduct a quantitative assessment of the risks to shareholders and electric utility ratepayers of investing in various coal combustion technologies. (1 yr.)

Rockefeller Family Fund
New York, NY $50,000
To support ongoing coal advocacy activities of the Renewable Energy Alignment Mapping Project. (1 yr.)

University of Wisconsin-Madison Center on Wisconsin Strategy
Madison, WI $175,000
To build support among labor leaders in Wisconsin and other Midwest states for coal gasification as an alternative to conventional coal power plants. (21 mos.)

Announced May 2006
Izaak Walton League of America, Inc.
St. Paul, MN $300,000
To support intervention in the licensing hearings for the Big Stone II power plant in South Dakota and Minnesota. (1 yr.)

… sigh… does Harry really think that’s a good idea?  … sigh…

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