Monday, April 28, 2008

Entergy 1st Utility To Purchase Carbon Emissions Credits

According to the Pew Center for Global Climate Change, in December 2003, Entergy became the first U.S. utility to purchase carbon emissions credits from geological sequestration projects. Entergy also sequesters CO2 by planting thousands of trees on its landholdings and among other credits, leased 30,000 tons of CO2 offset credits from the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association. (Electric Light & Power)

See also: The Lieberman-Warner America's Climate Security Act of 2007

Thursday, April 24, 2008

New York City Drinking Water Supply System

The New York City water supply system utilizes three separate systems of reservoirs, which obtain water from some 2,000 square miles of watershed in upstate New York. The three systems include the Croton System, the Catskill System and the Delaware System. The three elements of the New York City delivery system represent separate systems without direct inter-connections. Two tunnels City Tunnel No. 1 and No. 2 carry water from the Croton System to New York City. The Richmond Tunnel carries water from City Tunnel No. 2 to Staten Island. A new tunnel, City Tunnel No. 3, has been under construction since 1970. Most of the work in Manhattan and the Bronx has been completed. Tunneling is underway in Brooklyn and Queens.

Today, 50% of the city’s water comes from the Delaware system, 40% from the Catskill system, and the remaining 10% comes from the Croton system. The city now has 19 reservoirs; the farthest is 120 miles from central Manhattan. This long travel time, which is powered by gravity, results in most of the microbes dying naturally. The water is treated with:
chlorine to kill organisms,
fluoride to prevent
tooth decay,
sodium hydroxide to raise pH levels, and
orthophosphate, a substance that coats pipes, to prevent lead from leaching into the drinking water.
The Croton System is the oldest controlling flow from 12 reservoirs and five lakes which covers about 370 square miles of the Croton River Drainage Basin. The average yield of the system is 300 million gallons per day (MGD). The Catskill System consists of two reservoirs, the Ashokan and the Schoharie. The Ashokan Reservoir impounds water from 247 square miles of the drainage and the Schoharie Reservoir impounds water from the 314 square mile drainage basin. The Ashokan and Schoharie Reservoirs drain into the Catskill Aqueduct with a capacity of 550 MGD. The Delaware System consists of three reservoirs located in the Delaware River Basin, the Canonsville, Pepacton and Neversink Reservoirs, and the Rondout Reservoir on Rondout Creek in the Hudson River Basin. The safe yield of the entire Delaware water system is 610 MGD. (New York City Water Supply)

$3 Billion Bronx Water Filtration Plant Targeted For 2012

New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection is building a water filtration plant in the Bronx capable of purifying 300 million gallons of water a day. It will be one of the largest in the world when completed in 2012. The 10-story-deep hole for the plant was blasted out of bedrock (Fordham gneiss), which forms the pit's walls, and will filter water from the Croton watershed in Westchester County. The original cost estimate for the project in 1998 was $660 million but the cost is now estimated to be $3 billion.

The pipe that will bring in untreated water from the Croton reservoir system is 12 feet in diameter. The two outflow pipes have 9-foot diameters. The water will be purified in a “stacked dissolved air flotation system,” which uses several layers of filters to remove impurities.

The city was forced to build the plant because water from the Croton watershed did not meet federal standards for safety and purity. Although the Croton system can supply nearly 30 percent of the city’s 1.1 billion gallons a day of drinking water, generally it supplies just 10 percent, mostly in the Bronx and northern Manhattan. The rest of the city’s water comes from the Catskill Mountains and the Delaware System and is so clean that the city last year won a 10-year exemption from federal regulations requiring that all surface drinking water be filtered. (The New York Times)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Omar Freilla: Green Jobs Guru of the South Bronx

Omar Freilla, left, was promoting green jobs before it was cool. His Green Worker Cooperative (GWC) on Timpson Place between Bruckner and Southern Boulevards and East 149th Streets is demonstrating how recycling can help save the environment and create valuable jobs. If Mr. Freilla has his way he will turn the Hunts Point dumping ground into a mecca for urban recycling.

His Green Worker Cooperative recently received $900,000 in financing from the state, other cooperatives and church groups to run the operation for a few years. GWC is accumulating toilets, doors, decorative gravel, ceiling fans and every other item it can to process at its 18,000-square-foot warehouse. New items are sold at a 25 percent discount, while used goods would be sold for half price.

AAEA has particulated in conferences organized by Mr. Freilla. His dedication is second to none and we are sure that he will be very successful in establishing recycling as a renewable energy jobs alternative in the South Bronx. AAEA stands prepared to cooperate with Mr. Freilla in any way we can. Keep up the great work Omar. (The New York Times)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Another Jones Beach Wind Farm Electricity Proposal

Florida Power and Light tried and failed last year to get permission from Long Island Power and Light (LIPA) to construct a wind farm off the coast of Jones Beach. Now Winergy intends to convince LIPA that it can build 86 turbines 15 miles in the Atlantic Ocean that will provide about 300 megawatts of electricity, enough power for 300,000 homes. Winergy actually amended its proposal to include 260 turbines that would provide 940 megawatts, which would provide enough electricity for almost a million homes. The turbines would be about 15 miles offshore. Cape Wind is seeking permission to build a similar project in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts. AAEA supports both projects. (testimony)

In addition to the Jones Beach proposal, Winergy has a proposal for a 600 megawatt farm adjacent to the Long Island proposal that would include 167 turbines and connect to a ConEd substation in Manhattan. (

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mirant Decides to Close Lovett Electric Power Plant

Mirant Corp. has decided to completely close and demolish the Lovett electricity generation plant at Tomkins Cove in Stony Point, New York. In 2009 the tax a reassessment for empty land where the Lovett plants now stands could drop significantly from the $11 million now paid to the North Rockland school district and the $3 million that goes to the town and county. A significant number of jobs will be lost too. Lovett Generating Station did not want to pay approximately $150 million to upgrade pollution controls. (Lovett Generating Plant)

Governor David Paterson Rejects Broadwater LNG Project

Governor Patterson rejected the Broadwater LNG project on April 10th, proposed to float in the middle of the Long Island Sound, during a statement at Sunken Meadow State Park with the Sound in the background. The New York Department of State officially deemed the terminal "inconsistent" with state coastal zone management policies, primarily on environmental and visual grounds and interference with public use to the Sound. AAEA New York supports the Broadwater project because it is environmentally friendly, does not represent visual pollution, is desperately needed for reliable electricity delivery in New York and is not an environmental injustice issue. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously voted in Washington, D.C. in March. Broadwater would be the nation's first floating liquefied natural gas processing plant.

Monday, April 7, 2008

New York City Rooftop Water Tanks & Pneumatic Systems

Many New Yorkers do not think about how they get water in high-rise buildings for drinking, bathing, and mechanical uses, such as cooling towers and supplying HVAC equipment. Rooftop water tank systems, left, started being used in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They combined with constant-speed pumps that operated by a level switch in the tank and when the level in the tank would approach a pre-determined height, the pumps would either turn on to pump more water to the
tank or turn off because the tank was full. In winter the tanks have internal heaters to prevent freezing. In the 1950s, pneumatic pressure tank systems, left, started replacing many roof tank systems.

Building owners now use state-of-the-art variable-speed control in choosing water pressure systems or booster systems. This significantly cut energy bills from the old 50's constant speed systems that had little to no controls. Variable-speed water pressure systems use a transducer to sense pressure and automatically adjust the speed of the pump in order to maintain a constant discharge pressure regardless of demand or flow.

As city water mains age, their ability to deliver water pressure to buildings is reduced, which is why most multi-story buildings need a booster pump system to pressurize water on upper floors. Typically, a pressure of 40 psi at the top of a building is ideal. Multistage centrifugal and turbine pumps, right, are generally used for high head applications. The pumps’ multistage design affords high efficiency on low-, medium- and high-flow systems. The diagram at left is of a pneumatic tank pump system. (Source: PMEngineer, Paul Larson P.E.)

Friday, April 4, 2008

New York City Subway Uses 500 MW of Electrical Power

The New York City Rapid Transit Commission (RTC) officially broke ground for the city’s subway system on 24 March 1900. Beginning in 1892, Thomas Edison-style direct current (DC) generators powered trolleys and elevated trains (Els) in Brooklyn. But by the mid-1890s, the Tesla-Westinghouse alternating current (AC) system proved much more practical for powering homes, industry and transportation, as AC could be transmitted efficiently over long distances — a critical advantage to the subway project. In November 1898, Westinghouse received a contract for what would be the subway’s main power station and eight substations. The company had installed large-scale AC dynamos at Niagara Falls, and the RTC needed Westinghouse’s electrical expertise.

Today, the NYC Subway is the city’s largest user of electricity. AC operates signals, station and tunnel lighting, ventilation and miscellaneous line equipment, while DC operates trains and such auxiliary equipment as water pumps and emergency lighting. The system’s 215 electric substations receive high- and low-voltage power from the New York Power Authority, at voltages as high as 27kV AC, prior to transforming it for use within the system. The subway's third rail requires 625 volts DC for operating the trains. Power is distributed throughout the system via 2,500 miles of cable, which passes beneath 7,651 manholes located throughout the city. The power required to operate the subway system during peak hours is about 500 MW. And at 1.8 billion kilowatt hours, the subway’s annual power consumption equals that of the city of Buffalo, New York. (IEEE)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

TransCanada To Purchase Ravenswood Power Plant

TransCanada Corp agreed to buy the 2,490 megawwatt Ravenswood power station, right, for $2.9 billion from National Grid PLC of Britain, which needed to divest itself of the property to comply with New York state regulation. National Grid had acquired the Ravenswood power station as part of its $7.3 billion takeover of KeySpan, a New York utility, in August 2007. Divestiture of Ravenswood was a condition of the New York Public Service Commission. The Ravenswood plant accounts for more than 20% of New York City's supply of electricity.

TransCanada owns or has interests in the producers of approximately 7,700 megawatts of power generation. The company also owns generators in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont, according to its Web site. TransCanada, along with Shell US Gas and Power LLC, is also planning to build the Broadwater Energy liquefied natural gas terminal off Long Island Sound, which could bring the gas from Broadwater to Ravenswood and convert it to electrical power and sell it to the people of New York. TransCanada is based in Calgary, Alberta and is one of North America's largest natural gas grid operators and one of the largest gas storage providers with approximately 355 billion cubic feet of storage capacity. (The Wall Street Journal 4/2/2008)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

TransGas Energy Electricity Power Plant Proposal Killed

On March 27, the Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment refused to issue TransGas Energy Systems (TGE) a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need, a document necessary for TGE to proceed with construction of a gas-fired power plant. The Siting Board concluded the proposed facility is:

* Incompatible with public health and safety because the back-up oil storage tank is needed; * Inconsistent with New York City’s land use regulations because of 2 million gallons of oil storage capacity;
* Inconsistent with the State’s interest in recreational resources, in light of New York City’s plan to construct a 28-acre park surrounding Bushwick Inlet;
* Unable to minimize adverse environmental impacts considering the interest of the state with respect to aesthetics;
* Not in compliance with the applicable local coastal zone management policy; and The benefits to the electric system of Con Ed, its customers and the general public do not outweigh the adverse environmental impacts that would result from the construction of the facility.

TransGas Energy Systems LLC (TGE) proposed to construct and operate the TransGas Energy Facility (the Project), a 1,100-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle power generation facility on the East River between the Greenpoint and Williamsburg’s North Side sections of Brooklyn. The proposed Project wouldhave been fueled primarily by natural gas. The Project was designed to provide baseload electricity to one or more New York City load pockets and also includes the heat recovery and delivery infrastructure for potential steam sales to the steam system of the Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (Con Edison).

The Project was to have consisted of four 501F Siemens Westinghouse combustion turbines, Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs), two steam turbines, water treatment infrastructure, an electrical switchyard, and a steam cycle cooling system. When natural gas supplies are curtailed during cold, winter weather, the Project proposes to use the lowest available sulfur content backup oil (at most 0.05%). The Project site is zoned for heavy industrial use (M3), the only zoning district category in New York City that permits electric generating. The site is heavily contaminated, and will be remediated as part of Project construction. (Complete TGE Project Description)

The Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks & Planning (GWAPP) opposed the project. They believe the area should be a continuous waterfront promenade that would culminate at the Bushwick Inlet, bringing Greenpoint and Williamsburge Waterfronts together and linking them to upland neighborhoods, including McCarren Park. They cite the Brooklyn Community Board 1's 197-a plans for the Greenpoint and Williamsburg Waterfronts and he Williamsburg and Greenpoint 197-a plans as calling for the promenade. The GWAPP believes this waterfront park would also serve as a piece of the coming Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, linking Brooklyn neighborhoods along the waterfront from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge. They believe the powerplant threatens the city's planned 28-acre Bushwick Inlet Park. They complain that the 325-foot smokestacks would spew 1,075 tons per year of toxic emissions. Some local groups also claim that this plant is not needed to meet NYC's energy needs. (See: StopthePowerPlant)

AAEA did not take a position on the plant proposal.