Eco News

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Rain barrels finally legal in Colorado

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2016 at 4:42 PM

The battle for legalized rain barrel usage in Colorado has been raging for years. 

But finally, as KUNC's Luke Runyon puts it in a recent report, "With Hick's signature, Colorado's rain barrel banditry will come to an end."

As stated in a recent press release by Conservation Colorado, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper will sign a bill tomorrow afternoon at the governor’s mansion that will allow residential rain barrels.

Following the signing, from 5 to 7 p.m., bill sponsors and supporters will gather and celebrate at Finn's Manor. State representatives Jessie Danielson and Daneya Esgar are expected to attend along with Conservation Colorado's executive director Pete Maysmith and Western Resource Advocates' president Jon Goldin-Dubois. 

No longer do Colorado residents have to hide their illegal rainwater collectors or shy from using them. It's game on. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • No longer do Colorado residents have to hide their illegal rainwater collectors or shy from using them. It's game on.

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Anschutz sued small town over fracking

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 9:23 AM

This week's Independent features a story, "Power of one," about Philip Anschutz, the billionaire owner of Th
The Broadmoor's owner sued a small New York town. - CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
  • The Broadmoor's owner sued a small New York town.
e Broadmoor, which is in the midst of working a deal to gain ownership of city-owned 189-acre Strawberry Fields open space.

A news item worth noting that wasn't in that story involves the small New York town of Dryden, which was sued by Anschutz several years ago after the town banned fracking within the city limits.

EarthJustice website carried this story about the court battle, which lasted several years and eventually led to victory for the small town. Anschutz pulled out of the lawsuit after losing at the New York Supreme Court level and was replaced by a Norwegian oil and gas company, which lost at the appellate level.

Here's the opening of the story:
An upstate New York town is fighting to preserve its way of life in a lawsuit pitting a small town's rights against an out-of-state oil and gas company’s wishes.
More than a hundred towns in New York have enacted local bans or moratoriums on gas drilling, including the controversial process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," in which drillers blast millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the ground to extract gas from hard-to-reach deposits deep in the earth.
Among those municipalities is the Town of Dryden—which is now being sued.
In September of 2011, the privately-held Anschutz Exploration Corporation, owned by Forbes-ranked Phillip Anshutz (net worth: $7.5 billion), sued the Town of Dryden (population: 14,500) in a bid to force the town to accept industrial gas drilling—including fracking—within town limits.
For the latest on what's happening with fracking in Colorado, check out J. Adrian Stanley's story, which also appears in this week's Indy.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Earth Day Happy Hour this Friday

Posted By on Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 3:22 PM

This Friday from 4:30 to 6:30, catch an inaugural Earth Day Happy Hour in the Mining Exchange hotel's Silver Room. 

The free event will feature a cash bar (the first 50 in the door will earn a free drink ticket) plus some short presentations and entertainment. Bret Waters, deputy chief of staff to the mayor, will speak along with Manitou Springs mayor Nicole Nicoletta regarding sustainability efforts underway in each municipality. 

According to the public invite, participants will also "have the opportunity to expand their network, discover current initiatives, and plan future collaborations."

Suggested attire is business casual. 

screen_shot_2016-04-18_at_3.04.50_pm.png

Here's a list of many who'll be in attendance:
The Peak Alliance for a Sustainable Future
The Green Cities Coalition
The Sierra Club
The Southeast Colorado Renewable Energy Society
The Catamount Institute
The Pikes Peak Environmental Forum
350.org Colorado
Terra Essentials
The Mining Exchange Hotel
The City of Colorado Springs
The City of Manitou Springs
The MeadowGrass Music Festival
Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems
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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

North Cheyenne Cañon will be sprayed for moths. Learn more tonight.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 12:06 PM

Douglas fir tussock moth larvae will be killed by spraying later this year. - COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy City of Colorado Springs
  • Douglas fir tussock moth larvae will be killed by spraying later this year.
In January, I wrote about the city's plan to treat parts of the urban forest for a moth infestation. 

You can read the full story here. But, in short, the area around North Cheyenne Cañon is very overgrown and at risk for fire. That risk is being exacerbated by invasive moths that could kill off trees, leaving behind dry wood. Because of that the city wants to kill the moth larvae.

To do that, the city plans to spray the forest with a bacteria. Here's part of what a I wrote about that in January:

The city, working with privative land owners, plans to spray North Cheyenne Cañon Park, Blodgett Peak, Bear Creek Cañon Park, Seven Falls, some El Pomar lands, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and possibly the NORAD area in early June. The spray will target two types of moths: the tussock moth and the Western Spruce Budworm. The moths, which are native to the area, have reached epidemic levels. That's a problem, because the larval moths feed on certain spruce and fir trees, defoliating them. While a strong tree might be able to survive losing part of its foliage, or even all of its foliage, for a single year, repeat attacks sap the tree's strength and kill it.

The area will be sprayed with a bacteria commonly found in soil, foliage, wildlife, water, and air. It kills moths and butterflies if they feed on impacted plants while in their larval stage.

Naturally, some people are concerned about the spray and want to learn more. The city will host an open house today about the spray:

Tussock Moth Aerial Treatment Plan Public Open House

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Pikes Peak Region is currently experiencing a rather aggressive infestation of two species of defoliating moths in our forests; the Douglas-fir Tussock Moth and Western Spruce Budworm which is causing thousands of trees to become defoliated, or have the needles eaten down to the branch or twig. These trees are brown and “look dead", although many may not be. In order to protect our forests, the City of Colorado Springs' Forestry Division will be implementing an aerial treatment plan in early summer of 2016.

The public open house will take place on:
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
6 to 8 p.m.
Gold Camp Elementary
1805 Preserve Dr.
Colorado Springs, CO 80906

Special thanks to our partners: El Paso County, Colorado Springs Utilities, Colorado State Forest Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Colorado State Parks.

For more information, please visit https://www.coloradosprings.gov/tussock.

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Utilities moves to add solar

Posted By on Mon, Apr 4, 2016 at 2:02 PM

Solar panels like these will soon go up 10 miles south of the city at Clear Springs Ranch.
  • Solar panels like these will soon go up 10 miles south of the city at Clear Springs Ranch.
Colorado Springs Utilities will hold a news conference on Tuesday about the ground-breaking of a solar array at its Clear Springs Ranch, after at first cooperating and then backing out of a similar project with Colorado College two years ago.

Here's the news release: 
More renewable energy is headed to Colorado Springs. Thanks to a new solar array, Colorado Springs Utilities will add enough clean, renewable power to its generation later this year to serve approximately 3,000 homes annually.

This project will feature a 10-megawatt, single-axis solar array to be built on Colorado Springs Utilities’ Clear Spring Ranch campus, located on about 156 acres south of the city. For context, this project will be about twice as large as the Air Force Academy solar array in northern Colorado Springs.

“This is a very exciting project for us in that it is our first solar array that is truly for the benefit of all our customers,” said Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte.

The array will help diversify the community’s energy supply and provide long-term compliance with the 10-percent renewable energy requirement as stated in the Colorado Renewable Energy Standard. It also moves Colorado Springs Utilities significantly closer to its own Energy Vision, which requires 20 percent of our total electric energy be produced through renewable sources by 2020.

Last year’s extension of the Solar Renewable Energy Credits was a determining factor for the approval of this project. This state legislation provides municipal utilities with a three-time multiplier for solar projects that were under contract for development by July 31, 2015, and producing energy prior to Dec. 31, 2016.

The project will be built, owned and operated by NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, with the power being sold to Colorado Springs Utilities under a 25-year contract starting in 2016.

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Warka Water wins World Design Impact Prize

Posted By on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 1:32 PM

In January, we spoke to Italian architect Arturo Vittori, creator of Warka sculptures, as part of our coverage of Hydro-Logic: Artists and Designers as Change Agents for Water at Colorado College's I.D.E.A. Space.

In that article, we mentioned that Vittori would be venturing to Taiwan in mid March as one of three finalists for the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design's World Design Impact Prize.

As it turns out, Vittori won the award, which "seeks to increase awareness of industrial design driven projects that are making a positive impact on our social, economic, cultural and/or environmental quality of life."

A big congrats to Vittori and his team. 
Vittori receives the prestigious World Design Impact Prize. - COURTESY ICSID
  • Courtesy ICSID
  • Vittori receives the prestigious World Design Impact Prize.
Villagers in Ethiopia gather fresh water captured from a Warka tower. - COURTESY ARCHITECTURE AND VISION
  • Courtesy Architecture and Vision
  • Villagers in Ethiopia gather fresh water captured from a Warka tower.

Arturo Vittori inside of CC's I.D.E.A. Space gallery in early January. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Arturo Vittori inside of CC's I.D.E.A. Space gallery in early January.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Neumann reports better performance than expected for Drake scrubbers

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 8:42 AM

CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
Despite ongoing concern about price increases for the new pollution control equipment at the Martin Drake Power Plant, Neumann Systems Group, the firm responsible for the project, once again reported better than expected performance data on Wednesday. 

From a press release, copied below, NSG says that after around two weeks of operating its desulfurization unit, it has already captured 135,000 pounds of sulfur, which is being converted to gypsum. 

NSG says that removal level far exceeds state mandates that kick in late next year. 

Regarding the gypsum, the release points out that it can either be land-filled or potentially sold for use in wallboard (drywall). The substance also helps form plaster and blackboard chalk and can be used as a fertilizer and soil conditioner. 

That in mind, we asked Colorado Springs Utilities what they are currently doing with the product.

Spokesperson Amy Trinidad replied: "We are collecting the gypsum in a storage facility at the Drake site. Once we collect enough gypsum, it will be transported to our Clear Spring Ranch facility for disposal as currently there is no commercial market for this by-product."

In the final paragraph of the below press release, you'll see many other possibilities for pollutant captured turned into supposedly valuable goods. It will be up to CSU, not NSG to find potential revenue streams, as Dave Neumann says "the system and the products belong to them."

Here's the press release in full:
Today Neumann Systems Group, Inc. (NSG) provided an update of the results of the nearly two weeks of continuous operation of the NeuStream® desulfurization unit at the Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) Martin Drake Power Plant, Unit 7. NSG VP of Operations, Dr. JP Feve said: “The NeuStream® scrubber has operated now for almost two weeks and has continuously removed sulfur dioxide at a higher level than predicted. To date over 135,000 lbs of sulfur have been removed from the flue (exhaust) gas from the Drake 7 Unit. Additionally, we are now producing gypsum from the captured sulfur dioxide.”

The measured sulfur dioxide removal level is far higher than that mandated by State Air Quality requirements which go into effect at the end of 2017. “NSG is very pleased to have had the opportunity to build a system that improves the already good Colorado Springs air quality to some of the very best in the nation. We are also pleased that we are contributing to maintaining low electric rates for Colorado Springs Utilities ratepayers by enabling the continued operation of the coal-burning, Martin Drake power plant,” said NSG CEO, Dr. Dave Neumann.

The NeuStream® desulfurization system has two major parts, or subsystems. The flue gas scrubbing subsystem, containing the patented NeuStream® flat jets, extracts gaseous sulfur dioxide from the flue gas flow into an absorbing liquid termed a “sorbent.” The sorbent used is mostly water and a small amount of a benign sodium based compound called soda ash. As the sulfur dioxide is absorbed into the sorbent it reacts producing a mix of sodium sulfite and mostly sodium sulfate. The second part or subsystem of a NeuStream® desulfurization system is the sorbent processing subsystem (SPS). The SPS converts the sodium sulfate in the sorbent from the scrubber subsystem into gypsum (calcium sulfate). The gypsum is then precipitated from the sorbent as a solid and the water/sodium solution is then returned to the scrubber subsystem for reuse.

As was mentioned, the scrubbing subsystem has been continually cleaning the flue gas by absorbing sulfur dioxide and making sodium sulfate. As more and more sodium sulfate has been accumulated in the sorbent, the sorbent has then been flowing into the SPS where the sodium sulfate is being converted to gypsum (calcium sulfate). “Over the past almost two weeks, more and more gypsum was being accumulated in the water-based sorbent to the point where the liquid would release it as a solid,” said NSG CTO, Dr. Eric Klein. The picture below on the left shows the first release of the solid gypsum from the sorbent onto a belt filter. The belt filter in turn drops the gypsum into a storage bin. It is later land-filled or potentially reused in wall board. The picture on the right shows a sample of the very first gypsum from Neustream®.

COURTESY NEUMANN SYSTEMS GROUP
  • Courtesy Neumann Systems Group

The color and composition of the gypsum suggest that it is pure and very dry. According to NSG CTO, Dr. Eric Klein, “These are important indicators of efficient system operation.” The operation of the gypsum production part of the NeuStream® desulfurization system completes the initiation of end-to-end operations.

End-to-end NeuStream® desulfurization system operations are continuing unabated with both the scrubbing subsystem and the sorbent processing subsystem performing at levels above expectations. Work will continue for several months on load testing, system chemical use optimization, control software settings optimization and system performance testing. During this period there are times when the system is scheduled to be shut-down for internal component inspections and hardware and sensor adjustments that are part of the process of commissioning the NeuStream® desulfurization system.

The continued successful operations of the NeuStream® desulfurization system is a result of the work of the dedicated and expert NSG team including Andy Awtry, Dustin Chelius, Jeff Courtright, Mike Cuchiara, Tom Ferrell, J.P. Feve, Rich Hampton, Eric Klein, Nick Miller, Ted Struttmann, Jason Tobias and other important contributors. Testing is being conducted by a joint NSG/CSU team. During the past year CSU personnel have made significant contributions to bringing the system to the current point. Their contributions are in the areas of operating software development and testing, and integration of equipment and software into Martin Drake. CSU plant operators are assisting with testing and are currently being trained to take over full operation of the NeuStream® system.

NeuStream® is a disruptive “platform” technology, meaning it has potential for revolutionary impact in a wide range of product areas important to the industrial and economic well-being of the United States and the rest of the World. NeuStream® technology enables cost effective capture of pollutants from fossil fuel plants including greenhouse gases and it enables the cost effective use of these captured pollutants in the production of chemicals such as fertilizers and sulfuric and nitric acids; building materials such as gypsum; rare earth and strategic metals needed for energy efficiency, electric vehicle and wind and solar applications. Additionally, the NeuStream® technology has significant potential in other areas such as increasing the efficiency of production of bio-fuels, the cost effective production of pharmaceuticals such as the anti-malarial drug Artemisinin, and CO2 for enhanced oil recovery.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

UPDATE: Utilities opens second compressed natural gas station

Posted By on Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 11:16 AM

A few hours after posting the initial blog below, we received more information from CSU regarding tomorrow's grand opening, with more specifics as to where funding came from and how the station will operate. Here's the info:

The brief program will include speakers from our partner organizations and companies which have found CNG stations to be of great value to their fleet. After the presentations, there will be a "first fuel-up" for CNG vehicles, to include Core-Mark International Inc. and Dillon Transport, followed by a reception.

The Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) awarded Colorado Springs Utilities with a $402,412 grant for the construction of the new station. The DOLA grant will supplement a $500,000 Colorado Energy Office grant awarded to the utility in September of 2014.

The first station, located next to Springs Utilities' East Service Center (ESC) at 706 Tia Juana Street, re-opened in 2014.

"The Colorado Energy Office supports Colorado Springs Utilities' leadership in encouraging natural gas as a transportation fuel choice," said Wes Maurer, transportation program manager at the Colorado Energy Office. "Through the ALT Fuels Colorado program, this station will be linked with more than 25 newly developed CNG fueling locations along major transportation corridors in Colorado, resulting in an intrastate network for CNG travel.”

Eleven companies — including School District 20, El Paso County and the Colorado Division of Wildlife support the Pinkerton station.

“There’s a need for additional fueling stations,” said Mike Allison, Springs Utilities’ Pinkerton CNG fueling station construction project manager. We’ve witnessed sales growth go from 300 gallons in 2014, to 2,736 gallons this year at the ESC station.”

Providing these stations improves regional air quality and helps our customers control fuel costs.

The fueling station will:
Accommodate up to class 8 trucks (including tractor-trailers), service vehicles and passenger cars.
Have 24/7 accessibility and security.
Have fast-fill dispensers and dual hoses.
Accept major credit cards as well as fleet fueling cards.


—— ORIGINAL POST: 11:16 A.M., WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9 ——

In November, 2014, Colorado Springs Utilities broke ground on a second compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station at its John Pinkerton Service Center off Powers Boulevard, at 7710 Durant Drive.

CSU had also reopened its first station at 706 Tia Juana St. that year, which had closed in 2010 due to under-use and a concern that the technology wasn't efficient enough at the time.

But as our reporting indicated, interest in alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) has risen in part because carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by 20 to 30 percent compared to gasoline emissions. The government has taken notice, offering incentives for AFVs in the interest of improving air quality

Tomorrow, Thursday, March 10 at 10 a.m., CSU will finally celebrate the grand opening of that second CNG station with a "first fuel-up," as well as some speakers and refreshments during a reception. Feel free to attend to learn more. 

This modified truck runs on propane. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • This modified truck runs on propane.
908ad20e-191e-4842-b262-e7d7d9b9860b.jpeg

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Beaches, boats & bikes on the Fountain Creek Watershed

Posted By on Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 11:04 AM

The Greenway Fund board chair Andrea Barker, of HB&A Architecture and Planning, is seeking community input for a study looking into the future of recreation opportunities along the Fountain Creek Watershed

The group will host an open house meeting from 4 to 6 p.m., Wednesday March 16 at  HB&A’s office at 102 E. Moreno Ave. Here's all the details from an invite letter:

The Greenway Fund is beginning a visioning study on future recreational opportunities within and along the creeks in our Fountain Creek Watershed. Our starting point of study is in a stretch of the Monument Creek channel from Criterium Bicycles south to Creekside at America the Beautiful Park. We are holding an open house for community and stakeholder input on Wednesday March 16th. Please come share your ideas for how Colorado Springs could begin to activate our waterways beyond our existing greenway trail, and help us identify the current barriers and obstacles that are preventing community recreation in and along the waterways.

We have titled the study: Beaches, Boats, & Bikes

Beaches because we are interested in exploring access to sandbars for possible beachball volleyball and other sand based leisure activities. What sandy play activities capture your imagination for Monument Creek?

Boats because we’d like to figure the potential for inner tube floating, kayak runs, and possibly stand up paddle boards for flat water floating. We are looking for inspiration for what our channel flows can handle and how new projects for the channel might accommodate and assist in various floatation methods.

Bikes from fat bikes on the sand bars to mountain bikes navigating single track runs up and down drop structures, our creeks may provide a variety of courses for various skill levels. The Urban Single Track Project has proven the viability of trail sections along the creek, could their routes include stretches up and down drop structures?

Have a say in how we'll play along local waterways. - COURTESY THE GREENWAY FUND
  • Courtesy The Greenway Fund
  • Have a say in how we'll play along local waterways.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Lamborn: A big zero in "most anti-environmental Congress in history"

Posted By on Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 12:43 PM

Lamborn: A goose egg for his positions on our natural environment. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Lamborn: A goose egg for his positions on our natural environment.
As expected, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, has drawn a blank when rated by the League of Conservation Voters for his votes on environmental issues.

But, sadly, it turns out Lamborn is part of what the League in a news release calls "the most anti-environmental Congress in our history."

The 2015 Scorecard, the news release says, includes votes cast during the first session of the 114th Congress on matters of clean air, climate change, clean water, environmental regulations, wildlife, and national parks and monuments. It includes 35 votes in the House of Representatives and 25 votes in the Senate.

Here's how Colorado’s Congressional delegation fared:
- Senator Michael Bennet, 84
- Senator Cory Gardner, 16
- Congresswoman Diana DeGette, 100
- Congressman Jared Polis, 91
- Congressman Scott Tipton, 3
- Congressman Ken Buck, 3
- Congressman Doug Lamborn, 0
- Congressman Mike Coffman, 3
- Congressman Ed Perlmutter, 83
Obviously, the delegation's Democrats scored near the top, while the Republicans did poorly.

Lamborn did the worst.

It's worth nothing that during his Feb. 19 speech at a Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance luncheon, he didn't even use the words conservation or environment once. His only reference to climate came when speaking of the regulatory climate, which he said "inhibits more robust economic growth."

From a news release from Conservation Colorado:
“Coloradans across the board, led by people of color and young people, care deeply about our air, water, public lands, and wildlife,” said Pete Maysmith, Executive Director of Conservation Colorado. “That’s why we thank the members of Congress who reflected our state’s values and stood up as champions for our environment. We are very disappointed by those members who voted to attack our environmental laws and recent progress to protect our environment. We expect better from those that we’ve elected to represent our state in Washington, D.C.”

"We are particularly pleased to see that both of our Senators stood up for our national parks and public lands, voting to fund our outdoor spaces and protect the president's ability to work with Colorado communities to create new national parks and monuments,” continued Maysmith. “In particular, Senator Bennet has vocally supported the Clean Power Plan, the most important step we can take to move our country towards a clean energy future. At the same time, public opinion research tells us that Coloradans prioritize clean energy resources over the dirty fuels of the past, so we urge Senator Gardner to improve his record on commonsense measures to increase clean energy and cut carbon pollution."

“The 2015 Scorecard shows that the radical leadership in the House and Senate wasted no time pursuing big polluters’ agenda last year, and their environmental assault is well underway in 2016,” said League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski. “Fortunately, we have a growing force of environmental allies, including the president, as well as many in Congress, who are working tirelessly to combat climate change, transition to a clean energy economy and safeguard our air, water, lands and wildlife.”
Despite Lamborn's miserable rating for looking out after our finite resources on Planet Earth, he'll probably win yet another term. He recently announced his bid for a sixth two-year term, and in the heavily Republican 5th Congressional District, he's a shoo-in.

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Drake emissions control "even better than expected"

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2016 at 2:53 PM

Drake Power Plant emissions technology gets a good report. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Drake Power Plant emissions technology gets a good report.
Neumann Systems Group announces that its pollution removal equipment attached to the city's Drake Power Plant has outperformed predictions.

The news release, which follows, doesn't mention the growing cost to the city of this equipment, which we covered here.

Colorado Springs, CO – February 19, 2016 - Neumann Systems Group, Inc. (NSG) today announced results of the first sulfur dioxide (SO2) removal testing of the NeuStream® desulfurization unit at the Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) Martin Drake Power Plant, Unit 7. NSG CEO Dr. David K. Neumann said: “NeuStream® worked even better than expected. The very first test of the scrubber showed an ability to remove approximately 98.6% of the SO2.” As the figure below shows, the NeuStream® scrubber reduced the SO2 in the flue gas to a very small amount. Also shown on the graph is a line indicating the State of Colorado Air Quality monthly limit (.13lb/MMBTU) for SO2 emissions. As is obvious from the graph, performance of the NeuStream® Scrubber was significantly better than the air quality standard. The test data was recorded by the EPA certified and independently calibrated and maintained detection equipment mounted on the Martin Drake Unit 7 stack. Please note that the new State Air Quality limits for SO2 for Martin Drake Unit 6 and Unit 7 do not go into effect until the end of 2017. This initial test is being followed by several months of additional system start-up, load testing, parametric testing, performance optimization and full operational testing. Construction also continues on the Martin Drake Unit 6 NeuStream® scrubber with first scheduled operation during the Summer.

The first successful operation of the first NeuStream® desulfurization system is a result of the work of the dedicated and expert NSG team under the leadership and technical direction of Dr. J.P. Feve, Dr. Eric Klein and Mr. Nick Miller. Initial testing was conducted by a joint NSG/CSU team. During the past year CSU personnel have made significant contributions to bringing the system to the current point. Their contributions are in the areas of operating software development and testing, integration of equipment and software into Martin Drake, construction project management, maintenance of installed equipment and initial checkout and testing of equipment. CSU plant operators are currently being trained to take over full operation of the NeuStream® system.

Neumann Systems Group’s work for CSU is under a cost-plus-fee contract initiated in October 2011. Under NSG’s contract with CSU, a 3% fee is to be paid to CSU for NeuStream® system and service sales and a 5% fee for sales of each NeuStream system license. These fees are to be paid for a period of ten years after commencement of commercial operation of the Martin Drake NeuStream® system.

Marketing of the NeuStream® systems has been adversely affected by the cataclysmic changes in the energy and power generation industries. By the end of 2016 approximately 400 “unscrubbed” U.S. coal-burning units will be shut down. In part this is a result of the negative current administration’s policies relative to coal as a power source for the U.S. Another significant factor affecting the market for emissions control equipment is the relatively low cost and availability of natural gas. Natural gas is an alternative fuel with essentially no sulfur emissions and lower carbon dioxide emissions. Thus there is essentially no market in the U.S. for NeuStream® desulfurization systems. However, NSG is pursuing international market opportunities including ongoing negotiations with two Chinese companies for licensing and installation of the technology. The potential market as identified by one of the Chinese companies is several thousand small, coal-fired boiler systems used for power generation, heating and industrial applications. Natural gas is generally not available in China and when it is available it costs over five times the cost of coal. Therefore, no shift from coal use to natural gas use is expected in China for the foreseeable future. Additional NSG marketing and contracts for NeuStream® carbon capture equipment to several major US oil companies for use in Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) have been derailed by the oversupply and precipitous drop in the price of oil. NSG continues to seek other markets for the NeuStream® technology.

NeuStream® is a disruptive “platform” technology, meaning it has potential for revolutionary impact in a wide range of product areas important to the industrial and economic well-being of the United States and the rest of the World. NeuStream® technology enables cost effective capture of pollutants including greenhouse gases from a wide variety of emission sources. It also enables the cost effective use of these captured pollutants in the production of chemicals such as fertilizers and sulfuric and nitric acids; building materials such as gypsum; rare earth and strategic metals needed for energy efficiency, electric vehicle and wind and solar applications. Additionally, the NeuStream® technology has significant potential in other areas such as increasing the efficiency of production of bio-fuels, the cost effective production of pharmaceuticals such as the anti-malarial drug Artemisinin, and CO2 for enhanced oil recovery.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Get your fracking facts right

Posted By on Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 12:54 PM

FILE
  • FILE
No drilling for oil and gas has been done in El Paso County since 2014, and only one site was fracked, according to the Board of El Paso County Commissioners.

The county sent a press release Wednesday in hopes of clarifying those points for residents, as well as one other: NextEra Energy is the company behind the controversial wind farm near Calhan. NexGen Oil and Gas is one of the companies that has drilled in the county. They are separate companies with similar names.

BoCC Report Confirms: No Oil and Gas Drilling Activity in El Paso County Since 2014

Total of Seven Test Wells Were Drilled 2011 – 2014 None Since and Fracking Was Used On Only One


El Paso County, CO., February 17, 2016 – During its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday February 16, 2016 the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) received a report indicating that it has been nearly two years since the last exploratory drilling for oil and gas was done in El Paso County.

Senior Assistant County Attorney Diana May, who is the El Paso County local government designee through the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission permitting process, reported that a total of seven test wells were drilled in the County from 2011 - 2014 and the “fracking” process was used at only one of those sites. May reported that there has been no exploration activity in the County since 2014.

The report also provided information correcting inaccurate statements made by citizens during the Citizen Comment period at recent meetings of the Board Health and the Board of County Commissioners. The inaccurate statements referred to ongoing exploration activity, including fracking and stated that this exploration activity was either sponsored or directed by the operators of the NextEra Windfarm. “The last test well in El Paso County was drilled in April of 2014,” Diana May told Commissioners. “It was a vertical well. It did not involve fracking. It was done by NexGen Oil and Gas from the Denver area. That company name may have sounded similar to Windfarm operator NextEra Energy but it’s not the same the company and there has been no drilling activity and no fracking in El Paso County for nearly two years.”

Windfarm operator NextEra Energy is a publicly traded company based in Florida. NexGen Oil and Gas is a limited liability company (LLC) based in Greenwood Village, Colorado.


Meetings of the Board of County Commissioners can be viewed through live streaming at www.elpasoco.com by clicking on the link in the left side column marked, Live Meetings at Centennial Hall. Commissioners meetings are replayed the following evening on Comcast channel 17, the Pikes Peak Library District Channel.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Steering green — join the Green Cities Coalition

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2016 at 11:59 AM

According to its most recent newsletter, the Green Cities Coalition is seeking new board members for 2016. Information on that will be discussed from 8 to 10 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 18 at the next steering committee meeting, happening at Seeds Community Café. 

If you're interested in attending, RSVP at Konrad.Schlarbaum@ppcc.edu

Seeds will also host the Pikes Peak Permaculture group at 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 25 for a "Permaculture, Transition & Green Preparedness" talk by Steve Saint. 

Here's some other action points the GCC is currently underway with:

LOCAL FOOD:  Did you know that the city’s newly updated emergency management plan does not consider how disasters like drought in other states (i.e. California) will affect our food supply? We are forming a Village Food Council in Old Colorado City and scouting for Local Food Ambassadors all over the region to promote food self-reliance. The next meeting of the Local Food Working Group will be 9 a.m. Feb. 20 at the Manitou Art Center, 513 Manitou Ave. For more information, email Megan Andreozzi at megannie4@hotmail.com.

TRANSPORTATION:  The state Legislature is considering SB11, which would pull $15 million in FASTER fees from transit and reallocate them towards “road safety projects.” Without this funding, Bustang may be threatened as well as vehicle maintenance and replacement for transit providers (Mountain Metro got $800,000 last year). To learn more or join the Community Transit Coalition, email Courtney at communitytransitcoalition@gmail.com.

ENERGY:  Through an open records request, the Energy Working Group has uncovered yet another cost increase for the Neumann Systems scrubber project at the Drake Power Plant. The forecasted cost for completion of this SO2 scrubber project is now $178,393,229 - approximately $8.4 million more than publically stated by Colorado Springs Utilities. Fraud? To learn more and join the action, email Leslie at leslie@weise.us. 
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Friday, February 12, 2016

Pizzeria Rustica re-earns four-star green rating

Posted By on Fri, Feb 12, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Mario Batali will tell you the importance of being green in a restaurant. And Pizzeria Rustica will show you exactly how it's done here in Colorado Springs. 

The outfit has once again earned a four-star rating from the Green Restaurant Association, keeping it among a short list of just over 20 restaurants in the world to achieve (and pay for) the rating. 

Proprietor Dave Brackett sent us his latest green audit from the GRA, which shows the exact breakdown of his sustainable initiatives, including names of the products he's using, from lighting to to-go wear. Take a look here:

PizzRust_4Star_2016.pdf
MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

CORRECTION: No climate change here, city official says

Posted By on Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 4:39 PM

Coal: a beautiful or disgusting site, depending on where you're coming from. - OATSEY40
  • Oatsey40
  • Coal: a beautiful or disgusting site, depending on where you're coming from.

CORRECTION:

Utilities Board Chairman Andy Pico is not a climate-change denier, but rather doesn't believe global warming is caused by humans. He tells via text: "The degree of climate change is questionable and the modeled predictions have failed to occur as predicted. There is a substantial body of published, peer-reviewed scientific evidence to indicate a lot of natural climate shifts in the past and predicted shifts in the future."

————————ORIGINAL POST WED., FEB. 10, 2016, 4:39 P.M.———————————————-

Word that the U.S. Supreme Court decided to stay implementation of the EPA's Clean Power Plan triggered commentary from both sides of the debate.

First, Colorado Springs Utilities Board Chair Andy Pico, a climate change denier, hailed the decision.

"I have been gravely concerned that the Clean Power Plan is based on a faulty scientific premise, and is avoiding the proper legislative path by being imposed through regulatory overreach," Pico told the Independent via email. "I am encouraged to see the court issue the stay based on the later point."

Pico is in a prime position to make decisions regarding use of fossil fuels, from which the city gets two-thirds or more of its power.

Agreeing with Pico but for a different reason was the IBEW. From its release:
“International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers President Lonnie R. Stephenson issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to halt the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations on carbon emissions:

“The Supreme Court made the right decision in freezing the implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. We have said from the beginning that the agency shouldn’t be involved in formulating energy policy, but that is exactly what it’s been doing under these hastily thought out regulations on power plants and carbon emissions.

“The problem of human-made climate change is real, but these rules would have unnecessarily disrupted our power grid and cost thousands of good jobs – two things our economy can’t afford. All while having a minimal impact on global carbon emissions, putting the reliability of our power supply at great risk.

“That is why we joined with 27 states, several utilities and two other labor unions in challenging the regulations. The job of formulating energy policy belongs to Congress and Congress alone. As a nation, we desperately need leaders from both parties to step up to the plate and craft a balanced but comprehensive plan to combat global warming, increase the production of non-carbon emitting power sources like wind, solar and nuclear and increase grid reliability.

“As a union representing 725,000 energy professionals across North America, we stand ready to work with elected officials, industry leaders and regulatory agencies to make it happen.”

But the U.S. Conference of Mayors took a different stance.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision to stay the implementation of EPA's Clean Power Plan. This is a surprising ruling given the fact that the court earlier ruled that greenhouse gas emissions are considered an air pollutant and therefore subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act. More importantly, this is disappointing to the thousands of cities that are already doing their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and were looking to the utilities to become partners in the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Finally, not surprisingly, Environment Colorado called the decision "a major blow" to Obama's plan to address climate change. Its release:
WASHINGTON, D.C. –The Supreme Court delivered a major blow to the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s plan to tackle climate change today, announcing it will put the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan on hold while it hears lawsuits from polluters and their allies in state government who want to kill the rule. Kim Stevens, state director of Environment Colorado, issued this statement:

“While this decision is a grave disappointment, it does not overturn the Clean Power Plan. Instead the ruling pauses the plan while a lower court considers briefs and arguments on an expedited schedule. The Supreme Court has already upheld the EPA’s authority to limit carbon pollution from power plants under the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Power Plan is widely expected to prevail in the courts.

“The Clean Power Plan is the largest step the U.S. has ever taken to tackle global warming pollution, and is supported by nearly three-quarters of all Americans, including mayors, faith leaders, small businesses, and public health professionals.

“This decision is a huge loss for our kids’ future and for all Americans who care about the health of our planet, and a huge win for the polluters and the deniers. That said, I am confident this is only a temporary setback — ultimately the science, the majority will, and bold climate action will win the day.”

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