IGCC crashing and burning

October 13th, 2007

It’s  such a beautiful fall day today, not a cloud in the sky, geese gathering ovrhead, the trees aren’t realy turning yet here in Delaware like they are in Minnesota.  And it’s a beautiful day for an IGCC wake — it’s been a rough time for coal gasification. Awwwwww… Plans for plants are going down in flames everywhere you look, financiers are saying what the DOE admitted long ago, “IGCC IS TOO RISKY FOR PRIVATE INVSTMENT.”

Mesaba’s DOE Notice of Intent

And the industry is getting it, lots of financial newsletters and blurbs in WSJ, etc., talking about the high risk of IGCC and that investers just aren’t. So here an update on that

TECO, Nuon cancellations underscore IGCC’s woes

Oh, happy day!!! Yet another stake in IGCC’s slimy heart… how many lives could it possibly have?

Here’s a story from Maine:

Lobstermen: ‘Say no to coal’


Local fishermen rally on the Sheepscot River to protest proposed 700-megawatt coal and biomass energy plant at the former Maine Yankee site in Wiscasset.

WISCASSET — Joe Robinson gazed across the Wiscasset harbor at the arc of about 30 lobster boats — a veritable parade of boats — and shook his head in awe.

“You know how hard it is to get two fishermen to agree on anything?” he shouted over the throbbing engine as the boat rocked on the increasing swells.

What the lobster boats from the North End Lobster Co-op on Westport Island did agree on, what got them to join Joe’s parade, was the Twin Rivers Energy Center proposed for the former Maine Yankee site down the Back River in Wiscasset. More specifically, the lobstermen are concerned with the possibility of a barge full of tons of coal coming daily up the Sheepscot River.

The proposed energy center would convert coal and biomass into relatively clean-burning gas, which would then be used to produce 700 megawatts of electricity and 9,000 barrels of cleaner diesel fuel per day. Lobstermen and other fishermen are concerned about the transport of coal up the local waterways and the effect of that traffic on their livelihood.

Their concern, and the concern of other opponents, is growing as the date for a Nov. 6 referendum draws closer. The referendum, if passed, would allow changes in the town’s zoning ordinances that limit the height of buildings. If the referendum passes, the permitting process for the energy center can proceed. If it passes, the local fishermen are worried.

“The wake on those barges, five feet or more and 10 feet on the rebound, that would ruin our traps, our docks, it would ruin us,” Robinson said.

Robinson’s idea was to create a show of solidarity among local lobstermen and their supporters. On the water were lobster boats from as far away as Southport. On land, gathered on the Wiscasset Harbor dock, were about 100 supporters with signs expressing their support (“Say No to Coal,” and “Support Our Lobstermen”).

As Robinson’s boat passed the group on land, a cacophonous roar arose from the supporters, punctuated with cries of “Say no to coal.”

And that was about it: a show of cooperation, a banding together over a common concern. Robinson headed back across the water to the North End Co-op, where a press conference was scheduled. The idea for the protest and rally and press conference came from the lobstermen, according to Steve Hichner of the Conservation Law Foundation, which had helped spread word of the event to the media.

“We got the call from the co-op, asking if we’d help publicize it and we did,” he said. “But the idea was theirs.”

At the dock, a small crowd of journalists gathered, along with two state representatives, Rep. Leila Percy, D-Phippsburg, and Rep. Bruce MacDonald, D-Boothbay.

“The coal gasification plant is a bad idea,” said MacDonald. “It’s the wrong technology. We need to figure out a way to use coal that won’t produce so much carbon dioxide, especially since Maine is committed to reducing the amount of carbon dioxide it produces.”

Dana Faulkingham, president of the co-op, said he and his colleagues are trying to save a river and “millions of dollars” industry.

“Having those barges come up here will ruin our livelihood,” he said. “We want to be able to fish these waters with our kids and grandkids. We’ve seen what those barges can do.”

Faulkingham and Stott Carleton, vice president of the co-op, said that years ago the former Mason Station coal-fired electric generating plant, whose brick edifice loomed across the water, received coal barges.

“They would give us a call a few days in advance so we could move our traps,” Carleton said. “But those barges arrived twice a year. With this plant we might have coal barges every day.”

In a statement released the same day, Scott Houldin, principal and project manager of the Twin River Energy Center, said the developers would continue to provide residents with information in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 referendum.

“I welcome the opportunity to meet with area fishermen to discuss the project and I’m confident we can work together throughout the permitting process to create appropriate and satisfactory safeguards,” Houldin said.

Proponents of the energy plant say when completed it will create 200 full-time jobs, generate more than $65 million to the local economy, and reduce local property taxes by 80 percent.

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