Trending
MOST READ
Andrew Weissman poised to open The Luxury in addition to two more restaurants

Andrew Weissman poised to open The Luxury in addition to two more restaurants

Food & Drink: In the last few years, San Antonio has seen an exponential rise in the number of quality restaurant offerings, several of... By Diana Roberts 2/27/2013
How Weed Advocates Hope to Spark Legalization in Texas

How Weed Advocates Hope to Spark Legalization in Texas

News: Less than a mile from the Whatcom County Courthouse and even closer to Bellingham High School sits Top Shelf Cannabis, the first store to open and operate after... By Mark Reagan 8/13/2014
Hall & Oates Singer Hated the Late ’80s, Too

Hall & Oates Singer Hated the Late ’80s, Too

Music: It’s hard for musical duos to survive. Garfunkel felt slighted, Cher never needed Sonny and the Captain could never get a word in edgewise with Tennile. When... By Chris Parker 2/19/2014
Phô Nguyen Woos Phonatics

Phô Nguyen Woos Phonatics

Food & Drink: I don’t expect much from Vietnamese restaurants in the way of decor; it’s more not Chinese and not Japanese than anything. I certainly don’t expect... By Ron Bechtol 8/27/2014
Hot Joy’s Here to Stay

Hot Joy’s Here to Stay

Food & Drink: Since its inception more than two years ago as one of the first true pop-ups in the city, Hot Joy’s been a hit. Maybe it was the The Monterey’s... By Jessica Elizarraras 5/28/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Cover Story

Cleaning up coal in West Texas expected to help fuel SA and wring out the oil patch

Photo: Photos by Greg Harman, License: N/A

Photos by Greg Harman

Photo: , License: N/A

Larry Pickerel of Legato Resources

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Summit Energy’s Laura Miller


Meanwhile, the waste air emissions will add up to less than a typical gas-fired plant, and most of the heavy metals — including the neurotoxin mercury so typical of traditional coal plants — will be "vitrified," turned into glass beads that could then be potentially disposed of by mixing it into construction concrete.

San Antonio's CPS Energy signed a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement for 195 megawatts from the plant as part of its ongoing attempt to replace dirtier sources of energy such as the 871-megawatt J.T. Deely coal plant, set to be decommissioned by 2018. After a previous leadership promised scrubbers to clean up the pollution at Deely, CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby decided to close the plant early instead, saving an estimated three billion in needed retrofits. In the past year, CPS has also purchased an 800-megawatt gas-fired power plant and signed a PPA for 400 megawatts of new solar power.

Though research into capturing carbon from power plants has been going on for years, TCEP could be the first full-scale coal plant to utilize CCUS, that is: carbon capture, utilization, and storage. The support behind the federally supported effort to clean up coal is diverse, including a number of environmentalists as well as the captains of the coal industry, people who recognize that — in spite or because of the accumulating dangers poised by climate change with each year of federal inaction — coal power makes up a full half of the electricity produced in the U.S. today and 27 percent of all the climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases released by the nation, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

"I want to save the polar bears and my boss, [Summit Power Board Chairman] Don Hodel, wants to save coal," Miller said. "We come from very different perspectives. One of the reasons this project is so successful is because it's very bi-partisan. … People from all different philosophies understand this project."

Of course, there are those who understand it and still don't entirely embrace it. "There is no such thing as 'clean' coal," said Tom "Smitty" Smith, executive director for Public Citizen of Texas. "Coal still has to be mined, and that puts out a tremendous amount of greenhouse gases." Yet the technology has support at the federal level: a full $450 million of development funding has been committed to TCEP from the U.S. Department of Energy. A deal signed at a recent San Antonio energy forum with the Chinese Sinopec Engineering Group, a relationship that brings with it a billion dollars from the Export-Import Bank of China, delivered what is expected to be the project's sole lender.

But the venture will only be successful — from a climatic perspective — if the CO2 stays where it is put. To address that variable, UT's Bureau of Economic Geology's Gulf Coast Carbon Center has been watching several oilfields in Texas and along the Gulf. One, known as SACROC, in Scurry County has been flooded with CO2 since the late 1970s. "We started with some skepticism about a decade ago, not sure that [carbon sequestration] was a great idea," said Susan Hovorka, principal investigator at the GCCC. "And we've now finished five and started two field tests and they've been surprisingly affirmative."

Recently in News
  • Texas Law Leaves Abortion Out of Reach for Many Women Texas’ sweeping abortion law has already eliminated all abortion clinics south of San Antonio, and the last clinic west of the city... | 8/27/2014
  • Cityscrapes: A race to the convention floor “Conventions go to the city which exerts the greatest efforts to secure them. San Antonio can get any convention that it goes after.” That was the position... | 8/27/2014
  • Mayoral Horserace Once elected next spring, San Antonio’s new mayor will have just a few months to prepare for the 2016 budget... | 8/27/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus