Sunday, September 15, 2013
In an interview with the Guardian, Klein, the author of No Logo and the Shock Doctrine, said her next book will be about climate change. Following the idea outlined in Shock Doctrine, where she suggested that neoliberal governments often use crises and shocks to promote unpopular free market policies, Klein will examine climate change as one of the possible ‘shocks’ and investigate the effects of extreme weather events on global populations.
She also criticised the attitude of the ‘big green groups’, which she said are perpetrating a form of denialism that is worse than that from right-wing parties.“I think if we look at the track record of Kyoto, of the UN Clean Development Mechanism, the European Union’s emissions trading scheme – we now have close to a decade that we can measure these schemes against, and it’s disastrous”, Klein said.
“Not only are emissions up, but you have no end of scams to point to, which gives fodder to the right. The right took on cap-and-trade by saying it’s going to bankrupt us, it’s handouts to corporations, and, by the way, it’s not going to work. And they were right on all counts.”When asked why environmental movements have become so accommodating with governments and corporations, Klein claimed that after the victories of the 60s and 70s, green groups had to face the post-cold war feeling that environmentalism was the next Communism.
“The movement at that stage could have responded in one of the two ways. It could have fought back and defended the values it stood for at that point, and tried to resist the steamroller that was neoliberalism in its early days. Or it could have adapted itself to this new reality, and changed itself to fit the rise of corporatist government. And it did the latter”, Klein said.
“We now understand it’s about corporate partnerships. It’s not, ‘sue the bastards;’ it’s, ‘work through corporate partnerships with the bastards.’ There is no enemy anymore.”
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Source : http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/01/business/energy-environment/company-says-its-the-first-to-make-ethanol-from-waste.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1375318949-YPNbIQZm5oNZv3bv3Qv43w
WASHINGTON — After months of frustrating delays, a chemical company announced Wednesday that it had produced commercial quantities of ethanol from wood waste and other nonfood vegetative matter, a long-sought goal that, if it can be expanded economically, has major implications for providing vehicle fuel and limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
The company, INEOS Bio, a subsidiary of the European oil and chemical company INEOS, said it had produced the fuel at its $130 million Indian River Bio Energy Center in Vero Beach, Fla., which it had hoped to open by the end of last year. The company said it was the first commercial-scale production of ethanol from cellulosic feedstock, but it did not say how much it had produced. Shipments will begin in August, the company said.
The process begins with wastes — wood and vegetative matter for now, municipal garbage later — and cooks it into a gas of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Bacteria eat the gas and excrete alcohol, which is then distilled. Successful production would eliminate some of the “food versus fuel” debate in the manufacturing of ethanol, which comes from corn.
“Biomass gasification has not been done like this before, nor has the fermentation,” said Peter Williams, chief executive of INEOS Bio.
The plant, which uses methane gas from a nearby landfill, has faced a variety of problems. One was getting the methane, which is a greenhouse gas if released unburned, to the plant’s boilers. (The plan is to eventually run the plant on garbage that now goes to landfills.) Another problem was its reliance on the electrical grid.
The plant usually generates more power than it needs — selling the surplus to the local utility — and is supposed to be able to operate independently. But when thunderstorms knocked out the power grid, the plant unexpectedly shut down and it took weeks to get it running again, said Mark Niederschulte, the chief operating officer of INEOS Bio.
“We’ve had some painful do/undo loops,” he said.
The plant has produced “truckloads” of ethanol, said Mr. Williams, but still has work to do to improve its yield. Mr. Niederschulte said, “Now we want to produce more ethanol from a ton of wood, rather than just making ethanol from a ton of wood.”
The Department of Energy hailed the development as the first of a kind, and said it was made possible by research work the department had sponsored in recent years. The energy secretary, Ernest Moniz, said in a statement, “Unlocking the potential for the responsible development of all of America’s rich energy resources is a critical part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy.”
The Environmental Protection Agency, which grants valuable credits to companies that produce fuel from wastes, confirmed that only a very small volume has been produced so far. Another company, KiOR, has produced some diesel fuel from wood waste at a plant in Columbus, Miss.
Congress laid out a quota for production of biofuels from nonfood sources, but the agency has had to cut it back every year because of lack of production.
INEOS has a goal of eight million gallons a year.
If ethanol can be produced at reasonable cost from abundant nonfood sources, like yard trimmings or household trash, it could displace fuel made from oil, and that oil, and its carbon, could stay in the ground, reducing the amount greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, experts say. Carbon from wood scraps or garbage would enter the atmosphere via cellulosic ethanol, but cutting down a tree or trimming a garden creates space for new growth, which absorbs carbon dioxide from the air.
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Crown Capital International Relations Management - Constitutionality of Renewable Energy Mandates in Question
Constitutionality of Renewable Energy Mandates in Question
Source : http://www.thecrownmanagement.com/constitutionality-of-renewable-energy-mandates-in-question-2/
In a potentially crushing strike against advocates for renewable energy mandates, a federal court ruling recently raised the issue of constitutionality of major provisions of many states’ renewable energy mandates.
On June 7, 2013, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) position against the state of Michigan (and other petitioners) in a disagreement over FERC’s proposal to distribute costs for new power lines to supply millions of megawatts of wind power in the Great Lakes area. Michigan believes that this plan would, in essence, require them to pay for expensive new power lines intended for transmitting renewable energy out of the state. Based on the law establishing Michigan’s 2008 Renewable Energy Standard, only renewable energy generated inside its state borders is qualified to fulfill Michigan’s obligation to utilize 10% of eligible renewable energy sources by 2015.
Speaking for the Court, Judge Richard Posner ruled:
“Michigan’s first argument—that its law prohibits it from crediting wind power from out of state in favor of the state’s obligated use of renewable energy by its utilities—trips over an unbreakable constitutional precedence. Michigan cannot, without violating Article I of the commerce clause of the Constitution, discriminate against out-of-state renewable energy (emphasis added).”
Thirty states, including the District of Columbia, have mandates on renewable energy that require electric companies to purchase a certain quota or percentage of renewable energy by a projected year. Just like Michigan which has a clear ban on wind produced in other states from being allowed into their mandate, other states also “discriminate” against out-of-state renewable power. When counting mandate compliance, several states count in-state power at a higher rate than out-of-state power, a practice popularly labelled as “multipliers”:
Delaware has a 300% credit multiplier for customer-sited, in-state photovoltaic (PV), a 350% multiplier for a specific offshore wind project, and a 150% multiplier for all other in-state wind projects;
Colorado applies a 1.25 multiplier for its in-state generation;
Michigan provides an extra 0.1 credit for projects that use state-available components and its local workforce;
Missouri grants a 1.25 multiplier for all in-state generation.
Kansas uses a 1.1 multiplier for all in-state resources;
Moreover, some state renewable policies have a list of renewable energy grades, where certain power sources can only be utilized to fulfill a part of the mandate. Others have grade levels dedicated particularly to in-state power generation that may now be doubtful in view of the recent decision by the federal court:
New Mexico’s Tier V applies to customer-sited resources;
Massachusetts’ Tier IV exclusively applies to in-state PV projects;
New York’s Tier II covers customer-sited resources.
The new ruling is significant since one of the main points raised by mandate proponents is the creation of jobs in the concerned state. Certainly, these claims merely consider the overall “green” jobs provided, while totally neglecting the loss of net jobs resulting from increased electricity rates arising from these mandates. The federal court ruling might just end up nullifying the argument for in-state green-job employment since renewable power can be imported out-of-state to comply with the mandate.
Lawmakers in these states with power mandates may now question the value of raising electricity rates on their state power consumers for the purpose of subsidizing “green” job creation in another state nearby. In the end, what this ruling has done is to unravel the problems and complexities with a market for renewables that has been created through government policies.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Crown Eco Capital Jakarta Fraud Management Solutions - COVER STORY: Jakarta races ahead despite challenges
PHENOMENAL: Jakarta’s rapid growth is set to continue despite glitches
At the end of 2012, practically every property report had cited Jakarta as the top investment destination in Southeast Asia in 2013. Foreign direct investment grew by 39 per cent in the first half of 2012 and demand for property in Jakarta was strong, resulting in year-to-year office rents jumping by 29 per cent. Despite difficulties such as securing bank loans and getting reliable local partners, analysts and market observers enthused that Jakarta held significant promise.
Fast forward six months later, has Jakarta fulfilled its promised? Apparently yes, as indicated by recent news reports. Despite the challenging backdrop of a massive 44 per cent hike in petrol price, a Sydney-based property developer, Crown International Holdings Group is looking to tie up with a local developer to build a Jakarta-based apartment project valued at a minimum of Rp1 trillion. It looks like there is no let-up to the hot property market there.
Crown believes the apartment living trend in the Central Business District (CBD) will grow more entrenched in the coming years due to the bad traffic condition in Jakarta. Traffic is so bad that nowadays people prefer to stay in apartments close to their workplaces. That way, they save 2 - 3 hours being stuck in traffic jams on a daily basis. They even shop in malls close by. The target market is rich local Indonesians buying for their own occupation or buying to let to the large expatriate market.
Crown’s analysis of the market is supported by statistics. Jakarta saw a 38 per cent jump in its residential luxury market prices last year, primarily in what is termed as “critical housing” – apartments in CBD that are in very high demand due to the overcrowded and congested conditions in the teeming metropolis of 12 million.
Huge pent-up demand
The Indonesian economy has been chalking up growth of about 6 per cent every year for the last five years, so there are more people with money but so are there more of the middle and lower income groups as well. This has increased the demand for property, says Andri Marsetianto, a property analyst who does consulting work for a state-owned company.
“Apartments are certainly the new property of choice because they offer security, safety and easy access,” he continues.
The target market is usually local young professionals or the newly rich who can afford the Rp30 million price tag in downtown CBD area. These posh areas are where you can see imposing skyscrapers, trendy shopping malls and fancy condominiums. And the number of these apartments being built is increasing even as their prices and rentals climbed in double-digit figures.
This is because of a huge pent-up demand, says Andri, backing up his statement with his observation that in Jabodetabek, he saw every new housing cluster (168 units) and apartment (about 300 units) launched sold out within a day with a coupon system.
“Apartments still dominate here because of the lack of prime affordable land. The prime locations are CBD Sudirman, Kuningan, Menteng, Senayan, Kebayoran Baru, Pondok Indah, Kemang, and TB Simatupang in South Jakarta. MT. Haryono in East Jakarta, Pantai Mutiara and Kelapa Gading in North Jakarta and Puri Indah in West Jakarta,” reveals Andri.
The property analyst adds that the building boom will be sustainable because of the increasing population, development of commercial properties such as malls and offices in the surrounding areas and the building of new transport infrastructure such as monorail, mass rapid transit (MRT) and new toll roads. “There is also a belief among the communities in the West and North of Jakarta that investing in properties is not just for capital gain and business support but also for feng shui purposes.”
According to Colliers International, the average apartment price in the CBD has climbed 26 per cent year on year from Rp25.9 to 32.6 million per sq m while prices of apartments similarly jumped in South Jakarta by 25 per cent year on year from Rp17.8 to 22.5 million per sq m.
The average asking rental rates in the CBD has also climbed significantly by 11.2 per cent quarter on quarter from US$23.69 to US$26.34 per sq m per month.
In the office sector, during the first quarter of 2013, the average asking base rental rates in the CBD continued to rise increasing by 8 per cent (US$) and 6 per cent (Rp) QoQ. This increase in rental rates was mainly driven by the scarcity of good quality office space with only a 3 per cent vacancy rate in the CBD.
The retail market continues to perform well too with average asking base rental rates for all class shopping centres in Jakarta rising 3 per cent QoQ to Rp468,084 per sq m per month. Rental rates are expected to rise further as retail space is quite limited in 2014 - 2015.
In the industrial estate sector, during the first quarter, overall land prices in all regions saw a 10.5 per cent increase on average.
Jumping in or not?
With such a red-hot market, surely more foreign developers would follow suit? A query to SP Setia Bhd elicited this response, “Currently, we have a representative office in Jakarta and are open to any opportunities that may arise in the future”, which was essentially the same thing that they said when they first opened their representative office back in April 2012.
Perhaps there is another side to the story? A source commenting on Crown’s proposed entry into the Jakarta property market said that it’s a good development as it would “raise up the quality and credibility of developers in Indonesia which still leave much room for improvement.
“Hopefully with foreign competitors, other than better quality developments, a sense of responsibility and credibility can be heightened. There is no check and balance or governance that oversees the property market in Indonesia. Consumers have no protection against the risk of local developers defaulting on delivery of their projects.”
This may sound good for developers, both local and foreign, but an expatriate who declined to be named said whether they are developers or buyers, the truth is that in many areas in Indonesia, the justice system still favours the highest bidder, and if foreigners are pitted against the locals, usually the locals will win.
Hazy ownership laws
Hence, if you ever get into a legal wrangle in respect of your property in Indonesia, don’t count on the merit of your case. As it is, the law on foreign ownership of property is still not very clear.
Any foreigner who wants to buy property in Indonesia must have a temporary stay permit (Kitas) or permanent stay permit (Kitap) and fulfill several related rules. Foreigners have rights over property for a maximum of 25 years only which could be extended up to 70 years.
There are however several other ways for a foreigner to invest in property in Indonesia. The safest is by forming a foreign investment company (PMA), which can own titles to build on or utilise land. The PMA can also be used as a legal entity through which nominee agreements can be made.
With this, a foreigner can nominate a “trusted” Indonesian citizen or company to buy freehold land for them, and then use a number of documents to ensure that the foreigner still retains his right over the property. The documents include a contract (rental or purchase) transferring the property to the nominee, a loan agreement that shows that the foreigner has “loaned” the purchase price to the nominee, a “Right of Use” agreement which enables the foreign investor to use the land and a Power of Attorney which allows the investor the authority to sell, transfer or dispose of the property as well as to represent the nominee in any dispute regarding it. Although this method sounds legitimate, it is not a 100 per cent guarantee that in the event of a dispute with the nominee, the foreigner’s rights would be protected.
Traps for unwary?
Thus, despite the overwhelming promise of the Jakarta property market, it is still full of traps for the unwary. At the same time, it is not easy to get a loan in the relatively under-developed mortgage market.
Don’t forget too the many unsavoury aspects of a fast industrialising country which is overcrowded. There are many serious environmental issues such as illegal deforestation, over-exploitation of marine resources, wildfires that cause heavy smog as is happening right now and pollution that comes from traffic jams, etc.
Andri is however quick to point out that the traffic jam problem is a multi-dimensional problem, because it relates to the economic growth in Jakarta, the increasing numbers of cars and motorcycles coming to Jakarta, the flood, the need for proper mass transportation, etc.
“Maybe the MRT and monorail cannot resolve the traffic situation, but they can reduce the traffic congestion over time. The local government of Jakarta should also impose a moratorium on new malls to reserve more supply of land for public facilities and green lung areas. It’s also becoming a trend now for big developers to incorporate green features into their developments.”
In the final analysis, Andri feels that property is still a favourite investment instrument for the middle class in Indonesia during these times of rapid growth. The price in general is still lower than in Malaysia and is one eighth the price in Singapore. That being the case, it will be some time more before Jakarta’s rapid growth cools off or becomes unsustainable.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
The hurried Chinese customer was angry and raising her voice. She was demanding in broken English why the girl behind the cosmetics counter could not understand her long shopping list written in Chinese. “You if you to survive,” she said. The girl’s eyes were brimming with tears at the abusive and rude treatment.
I walked away, upset at the unnecessary verbal dress-down. Was the Chinese lady a tourist or an employee of the 247 plus Chinese free trade zones that have sprung up around the country? I am not sure which is going to be worse, being under the boot of China who is buying more and more of our debt, land, buildings, military equipment, food producers such as Smithfield Foods, GM (dubbed “General Tso’s Motors”), the ideology of Islam, or United Nation’s global governance? All spell potential trouble for what is left of our freedom.
On May 30, 2013 a letter was sent to the Secretary-General of the , signed by the Presidents of Indonesia, Liberia, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron. This letter was informing Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General that the task he assigned to a panel of twenty-seven individuals has been completed, and the report published.
The distinguished panelists represented Indonesia, Liberia, UK, USA, Cuba, Benin, India, Sweden, Mexico, Colombia, Japan, Yemen, Republic of Korea, Germany, Mozambique, Kenya, Russian Federation, Nigeria, Latvia, Timor, Netherlands, Jordan, France, Brazil, Turkey, and China. Representing the United States was John Podesta, chair of the Center for American Progress and of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, advocates for progressive policy.
organizations, and 250 www.post2015hlp.org. of major corporations. A complete list can be found at
The main goal of this new agenda is to end poverty through sustainable development in one generation, by 2030 to be exact.
Sustainable development as the United Nations envisions it includes development of as they see it, rule of law, free speech, open and accountable government. Sounds lofty, however, should governments be accountable to the United Nations?
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of 13 years ago did not include the economic, social, and environmental aspects of sustainable development—it did not promote sustainable patterns of consumption and production and left out guidelines for consumption and production. Most importantly, climate change was not addressed. Substituting global warming for climate change might pass the scrutiny.
The UN report says on page 5, “Scientific evidence of the direct threat from climate change has mounted.” There is no such scientific evidence. On the contrary, U.N.‘s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the main purveyor of global warming/climate change said, “There is insufficient evidence to determine whether trends existed in small-scale phenomena such as tornadoes and hail.” (NOAA) said,‚Ä¶a discernible trend was not present over the past 30 years, and that, unless new findings suggest otherwise,‚Ä¶ a claim to attribution (to human impacts) is thus problematic.” (Preliminary Assessment of Climate Factors Contributing to the Extreme 2011 Tornadoes, July 8, 2011)
The Congressional Report Service released a 26-page report on May 22, 2013, “Severe Thunderstorms and Tornadoes in the United States.” Peter Folger, Specialist in Energy and Natural Resources Policy, said, “It is not clear whether changes to climate over the past half-century have increased the frequency or intensity of thunderstorms and tornadoes, or whether climate changes were responsible for the intense and destructive tornado activity in 2011, or for the extremely destructive EF-5 tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20, 2013.”
Damages seem to be increasing, similar to trends for other natural disasters in part due to changing populations, demographics, weather-sensitive infrastructure, and better and faster reporting. The Weather Channel lists the deadliest tornadoes, some of which have occurred long before the industrial revolution.
The UN’s “Post-2015 Development Agenda” report continues, “The stresses of unsustainable production and consumption patterns have become clear, in areas like, water scarcity, food waste, and high carbon emissions. Losses from natural disasters—including drought, floods, and storms—have increased at an alarming rate.” Because the UN bureaucrats know better, here is what they have proposed, following conferences in New York, London, Monrovia, and Bali.
In New York, they have discussed social justice, better accountability, variables of poverty, and end to violence against women. The fact that women are treated like chattel and second class citizens in some cultures was not an issue.
In Monrovia, they talked about economic transformation, social inclusion, and business for sustainable development.
In Bali, they agreed on a “global partnership for a people-centered and planet-sensitive agenda, based on the principle of common humanity” by regulating global financial and and by managing the world’s consumption and production patterns in more sustainable and equitable ways.” I translate this as re-distribution of wealth in the name of saving mother Earth, from “evil” capitalists to third world nations by telling us what to consume, what to produce, what to sell, how much, and where. Capitalism is “evil” and global communism must reign supreme with the United Nations at the helm because unelected foreign bureaucrats know better.
The entire 69-page document can be found in English at the following link One World, One Sustainable Development Agenda, Building Consensus, and Our Vision are touted in the paper. I have no idea who empowered the UN to fundamentally transform our sovereign way of life. Take for example the background research paper, “Sustainable Development and Planetary Boundaries” submitted to Ban Ki-moon in support of the Post-2015 Agenda report.
Global environmental constraints for every country must include the concepts of “carrying capacity,” “sustainable consumption and production,” “guardrails,” “tipping points,” “footprints,” “safe operating space,” and “planetary boundaries.” This paper states, “For the first time we are seeing evidence of human-induced changes on how the Earth system operates—from accelerated melting of ice sheets to shifts in rainfall patterns and the undermining of ecosystems and biodiversity.” There is no such definitive evidence tied to human existence, just environmentalist talking points.
The authors have determined that planetary boundaries for economic growth involve the rich countries “substantially reduce their standard of living, and developing countries can grow until they converge at the lower income of high-income countries. At that point economic growth would need to stop‚Ä¶. The rich world is lucky to have a reached a high level of income first.” I personally do not call it luck; I call it hard work and entrepreneurship in a free society.
Another recommendation was to switch the entire global economy to low-carbon economy, citing the scaremongering and unproven 2012 that “the world will likely experience a likely 3-5 degree C increase in temperatures by the end of this century that would expose all countries to catastrophic climate change, including sea level rise, ocean acidification, extreme storms, droughts, floods, crops failures, and the collapse of whole ecosystems.”
Five primary goals are listed in the Executive Summary of the Post-2015 Agenda.
“We outline five transformational shifts, applicable to both developed and developing countries alike, including a new Global Partnership as the basis for a single, universal post-2015 agenda that will deliver this vision for the sake of humanity.” This universal agenda (their emphasis) must be driven by:
2. Put sustainable development at the core.
3. Transform economies for jobs and inclusive growth.
4. Build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all.
5. Forge a new global partnership.
United Nations wants to ensure that “everyone must accept their proper share of responsibility” for the ending of poverty. To reach this goal, UN wants to “track progress at all levels of income.” Nobody can be denied “universal human rights and basic economic opportunities, regardless of ethnicity, gender, geography, disability, race, or other status.” Uncle UN is going to make sure that our wealth is evenly distributed across the planet in its global communism vision.
Developed countries have to adopt “social inclusion” and must reduce “unsustainable consumption” by switching to a green economy and by eradicating poverty for eight billion people by 2030 if the planet is to survive the alarming pace of climate change. Climate has been changing for eons but our brainwashed youth have developed now into the low information adult voters who believe the scaremongering tactics of gloom and doom.
The developed world must reduce their consumption and must build “diversified economies, with equal opportunities for all.” In this utopian view, it is our responsibility that “everyone has what they need to grow and prosper, including access to quality education and skills, healthcare, clean water, electricity, telecommunications, and transport.” We must rapidly urbanize because “cities are the world’s engines for business and innovation.” I wonder how the UN plans to feed 8 billion people living in high density urban areas. Who is going to grow food?
Peace and good governance is a fundamental human right provided through a “transparency revolution.” Where is this governance coming from? Who decides what a transparency revolution is? Who decided that peace and good governance are human rights?
Giving North to South aid is no longer enough—everyone must be fully accountable to Uncle UN for “corruption, illicit financial flows, money laundering, tax evasion, and hidden ownership of assets.” I guess there will be no more off-shore or Swiss Bank accounts for well-off “citizens of the world.”
Trade must be fair, technology must be “transferred and diffused,” and financial stability must reign supreme. Who will police compliance and how will non-compliance be punished? Would technology development occur if it must be “shared” for free?
Multinational corporations must pay taxes fairly to the countries in which they operate. The financial system must be heavily regulated. This Post-2015 Agenda is counting on the world’s savings of $18 trillion. “Finance will come not just from aid but private capital, major pension funds, mutual funds, sovereign wealth funds, private corporations, development banks, and other investors.” (p. 12)
The five goals will be considered achieved for “all relevant income and social groups” after a “rigorous monitoring system.” Who is going to be in charge of this monitoring system and who will conduct it?
This entire UN report, “The Post-2015 Development Agenda” is still UN Agenda 21’s Sustainable Development morphed from old into new, revamped talking points of arresting economic growth, re-distribution of wealth, and de-developing the United States, the one stumbling block in the path of UN’s global communist governance.
The tiresome talking points are still based on debunked man-made global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions. If EU flatulence tax did not work, perhaps Mark Steyn’s suggestion would work that scientists should genetically engineer non-flatulent cows. The methane gas problem would be solved and ergo, the planet would survive.
I don’t want to burst anybody’s transformational bubble, however, having lived under both socialist and capitalist economies, and under freedom of speech vs. communist tyranny, I would choose capitalism (not the crony variety) any day.
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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Before we get started, a warning. What you’re about to read is going to sound at first like something cooked up by the same folks who gave us the oxymoronic (and otherwise moronic) advertising slogan “Clean Coal.” It will sound like a fantasy story even a Fox News anchor would not dare announce: “Coal—The Biodiversity Fuel.”
In a paper being published in the journal Conservation Biology, researchers in the Czech Republic, who have been studying bees and wasps, report that some of that country’s endangered species, including four insects that had been presumed regionally extinct, have turned up instead thriving in the fly ash heaps at coal-fired power plants.
Fly ash, as the paper helpfully explains, is what’s left over after a power plant burns coal, and it’s composed of “glass-like particles of mineral residua which are carried out of the boiler in the flow of exhaust gases,” plus bottom ash, boiler slag, and “flue gas desulphurization materials.” To be clear, the “fly” in “fly ash” is not a reference to insects; rather, it has to do with the fact that the substance is so light and fine that it flies up during combustion.
The study found 227 species of bees and wasps, including 35 that were endangered or critically endangered, living at two power plant sites. Some of these insects are important pollinators, and others may be valuable as predators and parasitoids for controlling agricultural pests. According to lead author Robert Tropek, an entomologist with the Czech Academy of Sciences, a follow-up paper will look at five other invertebrate groups also making their last stand on fly ash waste.
Among the creatures populating this man-made habitat, for instance, is a tiger beetle, Cicindela arenaria viennensis (pictured at right), a remarkably swift predator known as the cheetah of the insect world. Like many of the species in the current study, that beetle thrives in inland dunes and banks of drift sand, a habitat that has been systematically eliminated from much of Central Europe to make “wasteland.” Tropek says he came up with the idea for the study after photographs of fly ash deposits reminded him of that lost habitat. (Tropek said the study was funded by the Czech Science Foundation and the University of South Bohemia. Power industry involvement was limited to the sites that allowed access to the power plants and agreed to hold off on reclamation pending the results of the research.)
Tropek has spent much of the past 10 years studying the wildlife of man-made wastelands, partly because he likes the spirit of these abandoned sites and partly because they have become genuinely important habitats. “The evidence is accumulating,” he and his co-authors write, “that various post-industrial barrens, such as quarries, gravel pits, spoil heaps and brownfields, often harbor biotic communities of high conservation value, providing refuges for many species vanishing from human-affected landscapes.” These are the only places left for animals to hide out when everything else is in ruins.
To complicate matters, fly ash wastelands are disappearing, being covered over with dirt or planted to minimize the human health hazards of airborne fly ash waste, which may include lung damage. In an email, Tropek acknowledges the difficulty of the issue. The solutions are “quite good for the human environment. On the other hand, it is fatal for the newly established [animal] communities originally specializing in the drift sands.” His ambition is that the coal ash heaps will last at least until people—or power companies—come to their senses and begin “effective restoration of natural habitats.” At that point, “the postindustrial refuges would be the species pool for recolonizing newly restored plots.”
The phenomenon of species forced to find refuge among industrial waste is also common in the United States. What Tropek and his co-authors are reporting, says Lisa Evans, an attorney with the U.S. environmental group Earthjustice, is “not as strange as you think, in terms of coal ash impoundments being used as wildlife habitats.” There are 1070 such impoundments and another 350 coal ash landfills in this country, according to the official count, and they are located generally close to the power plants that produced them. These facilities are often hazardous for humans. In December 2008, for instance, the earthen wall at a coal ash impoundment in Harriman, Tennessee, burst open and dumped 1.7 million cubic yards of waste onto nearby neighborhoods.
For birds, amphibians, and possibly other animals, these compounds are “an attractive nuisance,” the equivalent of toxic waste sites doubling as playgrounds for city children. Biologists use the term “population sinks” to describe them, says Evans. “From the outside they look like habitat for critters, but because of the toxic chemicals in the ash, it becomes their last resting place. They’re attracted to it, but they don’t get out.” A study last year at a power plant in South Carolina, for instance, found that birds nesting around coal fly ash basins inadvertently contaminated their young with arsenic, selenium, cadmium, and strontium. Multiple studies found that amphibians at the same site suffered profound developmental problems and increased mortality.
So, no, coal is never actually going to become the biodiversity fuel, especially given its richly destructive record of mountaintop removal, acid rain, mercury contamination, and, of course, global warming. But the new studies suggest a fresh way for coal-burning companies to clean up their dirty reputations. Skip the clever advertising campaigns. Instead, spend money to dispose of coal fly ash safely for people and wildlife alike. Then spend a little more to relocate the desperate menagerie huddled in those fly ash heaps to some restored version of their natural habitat.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Boiler Efficiency – Why is it important?
· Cost of boiler fuel is 2.5–3 times higher than 4 years ago and continues to rise.
· May be the highest single feed manufacturing cost??
· Competition knows it is important!!
· Company feed mill managers
· BOSS wants lower costs!!!
· Input Energy
· Fuel oil
· Natural gas
· Output Energy
· Process Steam
General Boiler Information
· 1 boiler horse power = 42,000 BTUs of INPUT
· 1 pound of steam =1,200 BTUs of INPUT fuel
· Typical boiler efficiency = 75-85%
· New high efficiency near 90%
· Fuel sources:
· Natural Gas = 1,031 BTU/ft3
· Propane = 91,000 BTU/gal
· Fuel Oil = 139,000 BTU/gal
A feed mill manager once went to a wise man for help in improving his inefficient, unprofitable feed milling operation. The wise man wrote a charm on a piece of paper and sealed it in a box that he gave to the manager.
“Carry this box into every part of your mill three times each day for a year,” he told him. The mill manager did so.
In the morning he carried the box and its charm into the warehouse and found a laborer fast asleep on a pile of sacks instead of working. At noon, he carried it up to the milling floor, he noticed a leak in a spout that was contaminating a bin of grain. He also spotted a hot bearing and called a mechanic to grease it. At night, he carried the box to the packing room and found his employee overfilling the bags.
Everyday, as he took the box and its charm from place to place in the mill he found things to correct. At the end of the year, he returned the box to the wise man.
“Let me keep the charm for one more year,” he begged. “My mill is more efficient and more profitable than it has every been before”
The wise man smiled and took the box. “I’ll give you the charm itself,” he said. He broke the seal, lifted out the piece of paper and handed it to the mill manager.
On it was written: IF YOU WANT THINGS TO PROSPER, LOOK AFTER THEM YOURSELF.