Monday, June 23, 2014

Alternative energy touted at session

 Comments:  The last two Virginia Energy Reports did not say anything new, look like creative cut and paste jobs, wonder how much it cost?  I can help with the next report at half the price because I am very good at cut and paste!  But I will have  creative cut and paste like ideas on real green energy plus tell the true cost of nuclear power with the failures of the module nuke plant that TIC spent millions on in Lynchburg.  The failure of the plant in Newport News that Areva and the other company, it is on hold because a lot of countries are not going nuclear.  Also cutting down Virginia trees to burn in Biomass plants is a very bad idea and ruining people lives on narrow country roads.  Does anyone have problems with the VA Dept of Mines and Minerals running the show, I do!  Keep the ban! 
Alternative energy touted at session

Last Updated on 07:38 AM 06/23/14
BY Doug Ford

Clean energy can be a viable option for the future, but at what cost?

A Virginia Energy Plan for 2014 was the topic of discussion and comments Thursday at one of six public listening sessions held across the state, this one at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center Innovation Center in South Boston.

Almost a dozen speakers from across the state mostly agreed that clean energy, including solar and wind, were the wave of the future, particularly when compared to nuclear energy and coal-generated power.

Those in favor of converting the energy-producing landscape also agreed it was the sensible thing to do when considering the dangers of uranium mining and the “dirty” energy from burning coal to produce electricity.

“People need to be reminded that energy efficiency is a resource,” said Andrew Grigsby, principal for Commonwealth Sustainability Works.

“It’s doing more with less,” noted Grigsby adding Virginia is currently a net importer of energy.
Virginia plans to meet its energy needs by growing in-state energy production by 20 percent over the next 10 years.

It also has established voluntary goals (by 2022) of reducing electricity use through conservation practices and new efficiencies by an amount equal to 10 percent of 2006 use, according to Grigsby.
Grigsby said 1.5 million homes in Virginia are retro-fit ready to meet that criteria, and over 250 homes already have earned HPwS for 20 percent or better in energy savings, with 1.9 megawatt hours saved.

HPwES is a program sponsored in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency.

Pittsylvania County resident Jasmine Lovelace was one of three in her family who offered comments at the meeting, including her father, Phillip and her mother, Deborah, a member of the League of Individuals for the Environment.

A James Madison University student, Jasmine Lovelace detailed a recent study trip abroad to the island of Malta.

“About a month ago, I had the most rewarding experience of my life, to do a study abroad trip to Europe to Malta, a small island in the Mediterranean,” said Lovelace.

“While I was there, I got the opportunity to study sustainability and energy in Malta.
“I worked very closely with the University of Malta and the EU (European Union), because Malta had just joined the EU in 2005.

“We were studying their energy ways and how to make them increase to 20 percent clean energy, so they could keep joining the EU and wouldn’t be fined.”

“They incorporated wind and solar, and you never saw coal,” continued Lovelace.

“They never used coal, never used uranium, it was always future technology.”

“A big thing for America is we don’t want to fall behind,” noted Lovelace.

“Look at Europe, look at Russia, look at China.  If we keep doing these things, we’re going to keep falling back and back.

“What we need to do is focus on the future, and if you keep pushing yourself back, how can you ever move forward to a brighter future.”

Start-up costs can be an issue, but look at the long-term benefits, Lovelace remarked.

“The money is a really big cost issue, but you have to look at it.

“Solar panels cost $20,000 to put on a house, but in the future you’re going to have the money back in your pocket from selling it.

“It’s actually better for your health, not breathing in contamination and things like that.
“We can’t look at money all the time. We can’t be greedy.  We have to look toward the future.”

John Rainey, senior energy contracts originator for NOVEC, and C. David Hudgins, director of member and external relations for Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, asked the council to be diverse in its deliberations over alternative energy sources.
NOVEC has a 49.9 megawatt “green” biomass power plant near South Boston, which uses wood waste to generate electricity.

“Realities have to be dealt with,” said Rainey noting the difference in the price of a window air conditioner as opposed to geo thermal energy as thousands of dollars.

Hudgins noted that ODEC uses coal, gas, wind and water sources to generate electricity in addition to nuclear power.
“The point I want to make to council at the end of the day is the all of the above approach,” said Hudgins.

“They’re old technologies,” said Andrew Lester, executive director of the Roanoke River Basin Association when referring to using coal and uranium to generate electricity.

“We have to transition as quickly as possible,” added Lester, who sounded a cautionary note.

“We need feet forward in anticipating the consequences of new technology,” he advised.

David Kenealy, director of the R&D Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Efficiency in South Boston, said energy efficiency should be something everyone should be thinking about.

The United States is playing catch up to Europe in adopting new technologies, Kenealy indicated.
“Technology has taken off.  As a business owner trying to make payroll and compete with other companies, trying to bring product to market at the same time you’re getting your whole organization into new technologies and how to use them effectively is its own challenge,” said Kenealy.

The R&D Center is focusing on three primary skills sets including precision machining, welding and “mechatronics” - a design process that includes a combination of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, telecommunications engineering, control engineering and computer engineering.
In terms of residential and commercial housing, “improvements are happening quickly, and they’re being verified as successful,” Kenealy said after the session.

“The expectation of being able to live and work in those types of environments are increasing with that, like early adoption and mass adoption.

“We’re in early adoption phase, and we’re headed toward mass adoption.

“The expectations, much the same way that we expect certain features in our phones, they become common place, and that’s what our expectations should be.

“It’s the same thing with housing, the quality of our homes, health-wise and certainly energy-efficient wise.”

Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones was on hand Thursday for the listening session.

“I have been an apostle all across the state and in the nation’s capital that not all the smart people in this country flock to Washington,” said Jones, a native of Kenbridge in Lunenburg County.

“We have thoughtful talent all over the commonwealth, and every time I attend an event like this, I’m just confirmed in that hypothesis.

“This is holy ground for me.  Everything I have I owe to places like South Boston and Halifax County.”

The Virginia Energy Council, formed by Governor Terry McAuliffe on June 4, is overseeing the development of the 2014 Energy Development Plan, with the Council and the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy holding the public listening sessions to gather information in helping draft the revised plan.