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

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.