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

Obama Pledges 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace Christmas precisely because of its non-religious glamor and commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid