LVM's Environmental Action Blog

The purpose of this blog is to convey the importance that life choices and daily decisions have on the environment. I will, as a member of the kayaking community, effectively convey the importance and immediacy of environmental issues written in the paddling vernacular.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

lvmenvironmental visits the coal-fired power plant

photo by Mefford Williams

Just south of Asheville looms the massive Progress Energy Power Plant. Fueled mainly by coal, as well as natural gas and diesel fuel this plant is the largest in Western North Carolina and represents a similar lay-up to most coal fired power plants in and around the eastern United States. These plants supply the majority of our commercial, residential, and industrial energy needs, as well as being the most powerful of air-polluters. Burning, at full capacity, 3000 tons of coal each day this plant represents energy production at the largest scale. The bi-products of this energy production are currently lowering the pH of our soils and streams, causing mercury accumulation in fish, lowering our visibility, contributing to human health problems, and many other negative externalities associated with the production of the electricity we so often take for granted.

Dr. Maas, UNC Asheville Environmental Science professor, taking it all in.

photo by Mefford Williams

The North Carolina Clean Smoke Stacks Initiative has put pressure on these plants to clean-up their act, so to speak. This new scrubber will help clean out Sulfates and particulates from the plant’s effluent.

photo by Mefford Williams

The Clean Air Act sets the guidelines for these plants to follow in terms of how clean their emissions must be, with state and federal agencies like the EPA acting as the watch-dogs. The Clear Skies initiative threatens to push back Clean Air Act goals by ten years, allowing coal fired plants to get by with little or no renovations to help improve our air quality.
Most of the time you use electricity, that power has been supplied by a coal fired power plant. You can help limit the pollution associated with this type of energy production by limiting your own power use and looking for alternative and sustainable sources of electricity.

Thanks much to Progress Energy and Saleena, our guide, for the interesting and informative tour.

photo by Mefford Williams


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