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RE: Innovative Strategies for Electric Utilities



It is a very interesting discussion.  It has moved to an area that I have had on my mind for a number of years...how do we "sell" electric utilities on P2?

The Electric Utilities is an area I have always wanted to address.  With so many sectors we have applied P2 principles and seen enormous benefit to the environment and the economy.

But like the proverbial salesman who can't get his foot in the door I seem to be at a loss with Electric Utilities.

Mark and LCRA are very open to change; in fact I have a great deal of respect for LCRA's innovative mindset.  

In every other sector I have seen resistance to P2 change, but there is also some acknowledgement that P2 is a good idea. It is simply a matter of convincing them that the approach is feasible (sort of along the five factors that Gary Miller mentioned.) 

But with this sector I seem to be missing something.  There seems to be some key factor that I am not addressing.  Discussions on P2 are ussually met with indifference and all my usual strategies seem ineffective.

I think I see the barriers:

1. Source reduction is nearly impossible.  This process is simple.  Burn stuff, convert it to electricity.  Without changing that paradigm it is hard to offer solutions.  LCRA found some options that involved using fuzzy logic (this is a math term not an assessment) to set a plants operating conditions at optimal working conditions.  But so far I have seen no interest from other utilities.

2. Source reduction from a use standpoint is economically detrimental to the utility company. Programs to reduce generation (like those discussed by Burton) of electricity are not in the better interests of the sector.  After all, they get more revenue as electric use increases.  I once heard a city manager lamenting the cool summer because it was cutting into his budget.  Energy conservation was the furtherest thing from his mind.

3. The politics are intense.  If you offer a solution to a metal finishing shop you affect at most a couple hundred people. But offer a change at a utility and you are talking about millions of people.  Energy issues tend to be highly charged.  

4. Environmental department not integrated?  Perhaps Mark can offer some insight on this.  When talking with other sectors I get the impression that the environmental departments are ussually integrated into their business.  But sometimes I get the feeling electric utilites have segregated environmental departments.  Is this the case?  If so, what is the motivation for a utility to integrate it.

So does this group have sector specific ideas about how to approach this sector?  

It seems to me there is enormous opportunity here to help the environment and save money if we could just get some momentum.

I think Burts discussion of strategies gets to the heart of the issue.  While we may get good results with the "you will save M O N E Y!" pitch, we are probably not at 100% effectiveness.

So, I put it to the group.  How do we practically implement the other areas Burt mentioned, and specifically how would this approach work for utilities.  

Tomas Vinson
www.srwm.org

Fax: 512/239-3165
Phone: 512/239-3182

Engineering Specialist
TNRCC - Pollution Prevention
MC112
PO Box 13087
Austin, Tx 78711-3087
tvinson@tnrcc.state.tx.us


Disclaimer:  Regulatory guidance  e-mails are provided to quickly get you an answer to legal requirements.  They are not a substitute for compliance with the regulation, but guidance based on the best information available to the staff of TNRCC at the time.


>>> <jlmartinezp@repsolypf.com> 07/22/02 01:40AM >>>
Very interesting discussion

I am writing form Europe. Here, we have a an internal law called IPPC (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control); the idea was to have  something like PPAct but  being a bit more flexible. We are trying to combine  making a trade off between Prevention and Control of the Pollution

I think we, process, design or environmental engineers,  should be able to think about a trade off between  PP or Pollution Control following a case by case procedure.  Does Pollution Prevention pay? The answer should be yes, but applying  concepts like best available technologies not entailing  excessive costs.
I remember a paper form Bob Pojasek titled: "For PP be descriptive not prescriptive" so let us  select scrubbers when necessary  or let us select any source reduction measure when available at economic good conditions

I agree that we should avoid to transfer pollutants from  air to land (for example) but this is not always technical  or economical feasible. 
I am studying  petroleum refineries cases and believe me that  it is harder to  decide when  to apply Pollution prevention or pollution control measures that go to your PP recipe book and select one of them

Jose-Luis Martinez



 -----Mensaje original-----
De: 	Snyder, Mark [mailto:mark.snyder@moea.state.mn.us] 
Enviado el:	viernes 19 de julio de 2002 20:53
Para:	nppr@great-lakes.net; p2tech@great-lakes.net; scott.butner@pnl.gov; 'Mark Johnson'
Asunto:	RE: Innovative Strategies for Electric Utilities


This certainly sounds like a good step forward for cleaner air in Texas, but after reading the press release, I'm left with some questions.  Is this project to install scrubbers an example of pollution prevention or is it an example of more stringent pollution control?  Given that scrubbers have been around for a number of years and have been required for a number of facilities in different areas, what exactly makes this permit innovative?  Or is there something I'm missing from the press release?

Mark Snyder
Pollution Prevention Specialist
Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance
mark.snyder@moea.state.mn.us 

> ----------
> From: 	Mark Johnson[SMTP:Mark.Johnson@lcra.org] 
> Sent: 	Friday, July 19, 2002 12:02 PM
> To: 	nppr@great-lakes.net; p2tech@great-lakes.net; scott.butner@pnl.gov 
> Subject: 	Innovative Strategies for Electric Utilities
> 
> A shameless plug for my organization Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and the Texas Natural resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) and EPA Region 6!   
>  
> We recently submitted an application for a Flexible Air Permit to the TNRCC for our 1,500 MW coal fired power plant in La Grange Texas.   The innovative air permit will allow our facility to implement many P2 projects that would have not been possible without the Flex Permit (most of these P2 projects would have triggered NSR).   The Flex permit will be put in motion over the next 10 years.  
>  
> This innovative permit strategy can be followed by most other utilities if the states are able to provide the flexibility.  It can provide some near term benefits and long term reductions without waiting for CAA reforms or implemntation of the Bush Clear Skies initiative.
>  
> For more details please visit this link 
> http://www.lcra.org/about/news/2002/07/plan.html 
>  
>  
> Mark L Johnson, REM.
> Senior Environmental Coordinator
> Lower Colorado River Authority
> Email: mark.johnson@lcra.org 
> Phone (512) 473- 3200 ext 2868
> Fax: (512) 473-3579
> Fax (512) 473-3579
> 
> 

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