Tag Archives: plant

ngs-closeup-stacks

EPA ruling may close Navajo Generating Station by 2044

The largest coal-fired power plant in the West will produce one-third less energy by 2020 and is on track to cease operations in 2044 under a proposal that the federal government adopted to cut haze-causing emissions of nitrogen oxide at places like the Grand Canyon.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that the owners of the Navajo Generating Station could either shut down one of the plant’s 750-megawatt units or reduce power generation by an equal amount by 2020. The owners would have until 2030 to install pollution controls that would cut nitrogen-oxide emissions by 80 percent.

EPA regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld in San Francisco said a final decision didn’t come easily and required flexibility. Along with meeting energy demands in the West, the 2,250-megawatt plant powers a series of canals that deliver water to Phoenix and Tucson, fuels the economies of the Navajo and Hopi Tribes, and helps fulfill American Indian water-rights settlements with the federal government.

“This is so complex and integrated into the fabric of Arizona,” Blumenfeld said.

The final rule comes five years after the EPA gave notice that it was considering pollution controls for the plant. The agency later released a proposal that would have required the upgrades by 2023.

A group made up of the plant’s operator, tribal and federal officials, a canal system known as the Central Arizona Project and environmental groups said they could do better and came up with their own proposal, which was adopted by the EPA.

Reducing power generation by one-third should come easily because the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and NV Energy have announced their intention to cut ties with the coal plant by 2019. Together, they own almost one-third of the plant near Page, run by the Salt River Project, one of Arizona’s largest utility companies. None of the other owners would lose any power generation as a result.

“On the whole, while we’re increasing our costs associated with the plant, the plant itself is still valuable enough to our customers and Arizona for us to continue,” Salt River Project spokesman Scott Harelson said.

Conservation groups not part of drafting the alternative proposal had urged the EPA to reject it. They said that the best choice EPA could make was to require the plant’s owners to install selective catalytic reduction — similar to catalytic converters on an automobile — by 2018.

The EPA received about 77,000 comments on the alternative proposal.

The final rule means the Navajo Nation ultimately will see less revenue from coal that feeds the power plant. But the executive director of the tribe’s Environmental Protection Agency, Stephen Etsitty, said it provides a better chance of the power plant continuing operations.

“Of course it’s not perfect,” he said. “It’s an indication that EPA is really open to the recommendations of local stakeholders. To me, that’s a good move in the right direction.”

Steve Michel of the environmental group Western Resource Advocates said he would have liked to see faster action to improve air quality. But the group agreed to participate in drafting the alternative proposal because it felt a better outcome would be achieved through negotiation, Michel said.

He’s looking forward to the rule having a positive impact on air quality at the Grand Canyon and other pristine areas in the West.

“You need these kinds of national programs because they can look at this comprehensively, rather than one facility at a time,” he said. “If we do this across the West, it will have a meaningful benefit.”

The EPA’s rule goes into effect 60 days after it’s published in the federal register, which is expected to happen within two to three weeks.

guayule

Guayule could drive Arizona’s economy

It’s common knowledge that America’s largest import is oil, but do you know what’s second? Hint: it’s a commodity used for tires, hoses and thousands of household products.

The United States imports 100% of it’s natural rubber from the Hevea tree grown in nations like Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Once upon a time, there was enough rubber to supply all of our needs, thanks to imported natural rubber and synthetics made from petroleum, but like with everything else in the global economy, the need for rubber is being stretched beyond it’s supply.

Enter Arizona, the home of a native Sonoran Desert plant called guayule (why-you-ly). A hundred years ago, it was touted by names like Edison, Firestone, Ford and Rockefeller as the panacea for our nation’s rubber shortage. Ironically, it even appeared on the front page of the New York Times on December 7th 1941, touted as a backstop supply of rubber in case of Japanese aggression. Shortly thereafter, over 25,000 acres was put into production as part of the war effort.

Unfortunately, like every other time guayule has cropped up, worldwide prices or geopolitics have conspired to cut it down before long-term research could be done–until now.

In 2009, a Casa Grande company, PanAridus, started acquiring the largest privately owned germ plasm bank of guayule on the planet, marrying the sciences of genetics and bio-agriculture to making guayule profitable for farmers to grow and for tire companies to use in the manufacturing process.

Guayule and Arizona are a match made for a planet with finite resources. Not only does the plant use about half the water as conventional crops like cotton or alfalfa, but it’s grown on unproductive and arid land. One hundred percent of the plant is used, either for rubber, resins or as cellulosic biomass.

With consistent testing in hand, PanAridus is now growing more guayule per acre than can be grown by tapping the Hevea tree, and this past autumn for the first time in history, guayule samples were publicly offered to be tested against ‘traditional’ rubber sources that have been used to make tires, tubing and medical supplies.

Will 100 years be worth the wait? With an exploding Asian market, the possibilities for a center for the $300 billion tire industry being sited in Arizona look positive. PanAridus is currently looking at sites for a test facility in rural Arizona that will allow it to grow its patented strains in large enough quantities for tire companies not just to test its purity, but to actually blend it into the tires they sell all around the world.

Blending rural agronomy with genetics to grow crops like guayule will give us key strategic advantages we need not only to create jobs at home and increase profits at the farm gate, but also to create a ‘best practices’ sustainable industry that can be exported around the world.

 

Michael Fraley is CEO of PanAridus. Learn more at www.PanAridus.com.

guayule

Guayule could drive Arizona's economy

It’s common knowledge that America’s largest import is oil, but do you know what’s second? Hint: it’s a commodity used for tires, hoses and thousands of household products.

The United States imports 100% of it’s natural rubber from the Hevea tree grown in nations like Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Once upon a time, there was enough rubber to supply all of our needs, thanks to imported natural rubber and synthetics made from petroleum, but like with everything else in the global economy, the need for rubber is being stretched beyond it’s supply.

Enter Arizona, the home of a native Sonoran Desert plant called guayule (why-you-ly). A hundred years ago, it was touted by names like Edison, Firestone, Ford and Rockefeller as the panacea for our nation’s rubber shortage. Ironically, it even appeared on the front page of the New York Times on December 7th 1941, touted as a backstop supply of rubber in case of Japanese aggression. Shortly thereafter, over 25,000 acres was put into production as part of the war effort.

Unfortunately, like every other time guayule has cropped up, worldwide prices or geopolitics have conspired to cut it down before long-term research could be done–until now.

In 2009, a Casa Grande company, PanAridus, started acquiring the largest privately owned germ plasm bank of guayule on the planet, marrying the sciences of genetics and bio-agriculture to making guayule profitable for farmers to grow and for tire companies to use in the manufacturing process.

Guayule and Arizona are a match made for a planet with finite resources. Not only does the plant use about half the water as conventional crops like cotton or alfalfa, but it’s grown on unproductive and arid land. One hundred percent of the plant is used, either for rubber, resins or as cellulosic biomass.

With consistent testing in hand, PanAridus is now growing more guayule per acre than can be grown by tapping the Hevea tree, and this past autumn for the first time in history, guayule samples were publicly offered to be tested against ‘traditional’ rubber sources that have been used to make tires, tubing and medical supplies.

Will 100 years be worth the wait? With an exploding Asian market, the possibilities for a center for the $300 billion tire industry being sited in Arizona look positive. PanAridus is currently looking at sites for a test facility in rural Arizona that will allow it to grow its patented strains in large enough quantities for tire companies not just to test its purity, but to actually blend it into the tires they sell all around the world.

Blending rural agronomy with genetics to grow crops like guayule will give us key strategic advantages we need not only to create jobs at home and increase profits at the farm gate, but also to create a ‘best practices’ sustainable industry that can be exported around the world.

 

Michael Fraley is CEO of PanAridus. Learn more at www.PanAridus.com.