News / Science & Technology

US Energy Company: Cleaner Technologies Make Good Business Sense

US Energy Company: Cleaner Technologies Make Good Business Sensei
X
Brian Padden
June 12, 2014 10:36 PM
Even before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its proposed rules this month for reducing carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants, energy companies began converting older plants to cleaner technologies because they think it makes economic sense. VOA’s Brian Padden visited the Bremo Power plant in Virginia, which has converted itself from the state's oldest coal burning facility to one powered by natural gas.
Brian Padden
Even before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its proposed rules this month for reducing carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants, energy companies began converting older plants to cleaner technologies because they think it makes economic sense. The Bremo Power plant in Virginia has converted itself from the state's oldest coal burning facility to one powered by natural gas.

The trains that run through rural Virginia no longer deliver coal to the Bremo Power facility. The plant’s coal conveyor will soon be dismantled. Greg Searcy, the plant’s operation manager, says the plan is to turn the old coal storage area into a grass field.  

“This area right here is where we used to have the coal pile, and we would have about 60 days of coal operation and inventory on the pile," said Searcy.

Natural gas now powers the Bremo station.  The $53 million conversion project was undertaken in part to comply with existing environmental regulations.

The plant uses pressurized steam to turn the electromagnetic rotors to generate electricity.

Burning natural gas instead of coal to heat water into steam reduces by 40 percent the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions, that most scientists say are a major contributor to global warming.  

Ed Bain, Dominion Power's vice president for power generation, says converting this plant to gas was also part of the company’s long term business plan.  

“Dominion has always been an advocate of diversity in our fuel mix.  Whether it is coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, renewables, we want to make sure that we are doing what’s right to keep rates low for our customers, improve reliability and also protect the environment," said Bain.

Bain says, in part because Dominion converted Bremo to gas, the company was given permission by state regulators to build a new coal burning plant elsewhere.

Elgie Holstein, with the Environmental Defense Fund advocacy group, says it is unrealistic to ban coal completely. It is an abundant and relatively cheap fuel.  But he says new coal plants will be limited and cleaner.    

“The new coal-fired plants that are being built in America today are much, much leaner than these 40 and 50-year-old plants. Still, even that new coal-fired generation is going to be much more limited because there is so much cheap natural gas," said Holstein.

Some business and political critics have voiced concerns that the new rules will greatly increase energy costs. But Dominion and many other U.S. power companies say they want to be good environmental stewards and need consistent regulations to make long term investments in cleaner technologies that are both affordable and profitable.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid