Colorado House Bill 10-1365, also known as the Colorado Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act, was signed into law Monday. State Sen. Al White said the law could result in a loss of 200 coal jobs at Routt County’s Twentymile coal mine.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Colorado House Bill 10-1365, also known as the Colorado Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act, was signed into law Monday. State Sen. Al White said the law could result in a loss of 200 coal jobs at Routt County’s Twentymile coal mine.

Sen. White: Energy bill could cost up to 200 coal jobs in Routt

Senator says law intended to cut emissions could affect Twentymile

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The future of coal in Northwest Colorado is a focus of “Fueling Thought: Energy Summit 2010,” hosted by Yampa Valley Partners and to be held May 13 and 14 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion in Craig. For information, an agenda and registration details, visit www.yampavalleypartners.com and follow the “Energy Summits” link.

— State Sen. Al White said this week that a new law intended to reduce emissions and convert some Front Range coal plants to natural gas could result in as many as 200 lost jobs at Routt County’s Twentymile coal mine.

Gov. Bill Ritter signed House Bill 10-1365, known as the Colorado Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act, into law Monday. Ritter’s office said the bill requires Xcel Energy to cut nitrous oxide emissions by 80 percent from several Front Range coal-fired power plants by the end of 2017. Xcel will submit a plan to the state Public Utilities Commission by Aug. 15, Ritter’s office said, detailing how Xcel will retire or retrofit the aging coal plants, or re-power them with natural gas or other energy sources.

White, a Hayden Republican, said he spoke with Twentymile Coal Co. Manager Mike Ludlow about the potential impacts to the mine on Routt County Road 27. White said Twentymile sells about 8 million tons of coal per year, including 1.8 million to 2 million tons — or about 25 percent of the mine’s annual production — to Front Range power plants that could be converted to natural gas under the new law.

Ludlow “is predicting that will cause them to have to lay off about 25 percent of their work force, which he says is about 125 to 200 employees,” White said Wednesday.

White said Twentymile employees earn an average of $90,000 to $100,000 per year, including benefits, meaning the county could lose high-paying jobs during the economic recession.

“Twentymile is more impacted by this bill than any other mine in the state because they sell more coal to these power plants than any other mine in the state,” White said.

Ritter spokesman Evan Dre­yer said Thursday that the bill will be “a net job creator for the Colorado economy,” citing jobs created to retrofit Xcel plants, work at new natural gas plants or work at new drilling sites potentially created by increased demand for natural gas. It also could boost clean coal efforts, Dreyer said.

“If (the bill) acts as a motivator or a driver to reinvigorate research and development (and) the push for clean coal technologies, then that’s a good thing,” Dreyer said. “This country and this world need to move to cleaner sources of energy and power. Coal can be a part of that, but coal in its current form is not.”

Dreyer also said the law is an effort to get ahead of future federal emission standards.

White said, in his view, the bill will cut more jobs than it will create in Colorado, through losses at coal mines, coal power plants and railroad coal distribution.

White also spoke about the issue earlier this week on The Cari and Rob Show, a conservative-leaning radio program on KRAI AM 550 featuring Steamboat Springs City Council President Cari Hermacinski and former Steamboat Pilot & Today columnist Rob Douglas.

Hermacinski spoke about the bill’s potential impacts publicly at the end of Tuesday’s City Council meeting in Centennial Hall.

“We’ve seen our construction industry really take a hit, and I’m afraid that we’re going to see that in the mining industry, as well,” she said.

Moffat County commissioners voted unanimously to oppose the bill last month, the Craig Daily Press reported.

St. Louis-based Peabody Energy is the parent company of Twentymile Coal Co. A Peabody spokeswoman did not provide a response this week to the legislation’s potential impacts on Twentymile employees.

Comments

boatwatch 3 years, 12 months ago

Coal is on the way out. Natural gas will continue to replace coal at power plants across America. Craig and Hayden power plants will be converted in the future. Once we fairly price the costs of carbon energy, coal is no longer the cheap source of energy. Sorry miners, but your industry is on the way out .

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kathy foos 3 years, 12 months ago

That is easy to say that coal is on the way out,I dont believe that it is that simple,natural gas is not the wonderful solution ,what if there is a shortage or uncontrollable price swing?Coal means more versitile distribution of resources.You cannot depend on oil.

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Scott Ford 3 years, 12 months ago

Without question coal mining has been a part of Routt County's economy for decades. Like all commodities, it goes through cycles. Some of these cycles are created by market forces and some are government caused. Like any well run company Peabody Energy will look to expand into new markets just like any business that recognized that in the next 5 to 7 years it is going to likely lose a grouping of customers that account for 25% of their business.

In February (the latest month I have data for) Twenty-Mile accounted for over 1/3 of the state's total coal production by mining 842,759 tons of coal. Twenty-Mile is often the most productive mine in the state when measured total hours worked and tons of coal mined.

The coal from Twenty-Mile is a high quality coal because it lower in sulfur and higher in BTU's than most of the coal located in the western United States. There is a demand of this type of coal. We could easily find ourselves in 5 to 7 years with actually mining more coal in Routt County. Peabody Energy is pretty good at finding ways to mine coal more productively and finding customers for it. Just think of the challenge Twenty-Mile would be facing if it cost a lot to extract a lousy coal. That is not the case in Routt County. Once again we are blessed.

From an economy perspective mining (which includes all extractive activities including oil and gas) in Routt County accounts for about 5% of the personal income generated in the county. In Moffat County, it represents over 12% and in Rio Blanco County over 20%. Sometime in the mid-2000's Routt County's health care industry sector surpassed the mining sector and has continued to accelerate to where it now accounts for over 9% of the economy. (Routt County Livability Index)

The biggest smack the local economy has experienced in the past 25 years has occurred over the last two years. At its peak in 2007 the construction industry sector accounted for 27% of the personal income and 20% of the jobs. The lost of both income and employment in this sector dwarfs anything that is going to happen in the coal industry in Routt County over the next 5 to 7 years assuming Peabody Energy cannot find any new customers for its great coal. However, because of our economic diversification, the smack in the construction industry staggered the local economy but it did not collapse. Once again we are blessed.

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bellyup 3 years, 12 months ago

Changing from coal to natural gas is a three-year project at each plant. It seems unlikely that every one of the front range plants will shut down tomorrow to begin conversion. Even if they did, the overall worldwide impact of shutting down a few plants would be nearly negligible on the price of a commodity like coal. Add in the facts that it's high quality coal produced relatively cheaply, and it seems to me the miners at Twenty Mile have nothing to worry about.

So is this just typical Al White right-wing wack-job fear-mongering?

I found this on the chamber's website: "Through the commitment of nearly 500 individuals, this world-class automated and high-tech longwall operation regularly sets world production records and consistently exceeds it's own best performance." This suggests that at a maximum there are only 500 employees out there. Sounds like the low end of the 125-200 employees that Mike Ludlow was quoted on was the more realistic number. 200 lost jobs is a much better headline.

I'm going to bet that by the end of 2017 that there are more or less the exact same number of miners working at Twenty Mile.

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Fred Duckels 3 years, 12 months ago

Natural gas should be used to replace oil in engines, cutting our foreign dependence. Coal is our trump card. Moves in fuel types have huge unintended consequences.

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boatwatch 3 years, 12 months ago

Fred,

I am so glad to hear your approval of natgas as an alternative fuel. It sounds like you have been listening to Boone Picken's plan to use Natgas as a fuel alternative. The Pickens plan correctly shows that if we converted all tractor trailer's in the US to NatGas, we would reduce our importing of foreign oil by 50%. Recent discoveries of nat gas reserves in shale deposits in the Marcellus, Barnett, and Eagleford formations are so abundant that the USA has more reserves of Nat Gas than Saudi Arabia has oil. These are all well documented facts. Coal won't go away immediately, but the abundance and clean burning qualities of Nat gas will make it economically the bridge fuel of the next several decades. Politics and global warming are not the issue. Natgas will provide the USA with the security of controlling our own future energy supplies and reducing the power of OPEC and terrorist based Middle Eastern governments.

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Thomas Pannke 3 years, 12 months ago

It is interesting to see that CO used the word "jobs" in this bill. They tried the exact same thing here in Wisconsin, and independent analysis showed that it would cost something like 10,000 jobs statewide. The cost (here) was astronomical. They wanted 25% of energy to be renewable by 2025. It did not pass. Business and private citizens were vocal in opposition.

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Karen_Dixon 3 years, 12 months ago

Scott Ford - As always, I appreciate your grounded perspective. In your last paragraph you talk about construction related industries being a large (the largest?) % of our personal income in 2007. You go on to state that the crash of that sector didn't kill our economy because we are diversified. Questions: 1. Where is our income now compared to our 2007 peak? 2. What is the current % distribution of that income across industry sectors - ie does Health Care now make up 20% instead of 9% - etc.? 3. Assuming construction related industries don't rebound for a significant period of time, and assuming we don't add any new industry sectors, do you think we will see our personal income increase, decrease or remain the same? 4. Could you share an opinion about whether or not you think additional diversification is economically necessary or desirable to the local economy? 5. If & when the construction related industry bounces back, do you think further diversification would help keep the % for which that industry accounts in check? If not, is there something else that will ensure a more balanced economy? (using source of personal income as the barometer)

I realize you don't have a crystal ball, but you do have educated economic perspective, which I appreciate. Thanks.

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dave mcirvin 3 years, 12 months ago

...thanks for the above thoughtful comments. Other states will likely take a slower proactive path than Colorado. This leads me to believe that the future for 20 mile mine remains "secure" for decades. One wonders if Ritter would have been so bold to sign this bill if he (like Ted Kaufman of Delaware who appears to one of the courageous with regard to financial reform and isn't seeking reelection) was running for another term.

Converting to natural gas fired power turbines is relatively inexpensive, may be done quickly and is expected to yield 50% less CO2 and improved nitric oxides. An unintended consequence is that more widespread mining of gas may lead to more unintended aero CH3 release and increased atmospheric thermal retention. Personally, I will take comfort in inhaling and consuming a lil' less Hg when (if?) conversion to CH3 at Hayden occurs.

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kathy foos 3 years, 12 months ago

The oil companys rule,they have the money to brainwash.Where is the windpower article,electric cars, etc.This might as well be 20 years ago ,no progress to get rid of the oil,or to preserve the planet for future generations?I hate nuclear,but it is clean, the scientist will be able to save the earth with the atomic research.It makes me sick to see the oil companys,they know that they are killing our planet,all for the dollar,so do you,but we all just ('Let it be) ignorance and apathy, pushing solutions to another day,then another.Some one said to me last week,"We are not all passengers on spaceship earth,there is only crew".Some people suck as crew members ,but they are still part of the crew.The efforts that good crew members are undone by the ones that wont try.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 12 months ago

Natgas powered electricity plants both encourage renewable electricity generation and are a needed part of renewable electricity plans. Natgas is more expensive that coal so it makes renewable energy more cost effective. Natgas plants are also easier to adjust power output to immediate demand needs so if it is a bad day for renewable generation then the natgas plant can provide the needed power.

If the environmental rules create a fair playing field then 20 mile coal should be used to replace coal mined in the eastern half of the country for power plants in the midwest. Also, other western mines are having success selling coal to China.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 12 months ago

BTW, the impressive part of T Boone Picken's energy plan is that it is well researched science and engineering. The plan he lays out is not just cut foreign oil and cut greenhouse gas, but it is efficient and addresses engineering concerns on how to make it happen. Such as plug in electric cars appear unlikely to cause problems for the electricity grid. The electricity grid has all sorts of extra capacity during the night when cars would be recharging so EVs would actually make the grid more efficient. It is even possible that EVs not being used during peak electrical usage could be instructed by their owners to sell back electricity to the grid and thus actually stabilize the grid. Thus, EV are not going to overwhelm the electricity grid.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 12 months ago

Karen: Unless Scott F has hidden sources of data, the data for those sort of detailed questions are not released on a monthly basis. So his answers to those questions would not have changed since his interview in the Pilot a month or so ago.

From what I can find from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they still do not have Q4 2009 detailed data. Their overall number shows a minor increase in weekly wage and total wages for Q1-2 2009 over 2008. Then Q3 showed a 10% reduction in total wages while weekly wages actually increased. So the job losses was concentrated in the lower paying jobs. Note that average construction job pays less than the average job.

2008 showed a 14% gain in total income over 2007 with a 5% average increase in weekly wage so the economic gains were being driven by the expanded workforce.

  1. Your question "do you think we will see our personal income increase, decrease or remain the same?" (maybe accidentally) is a very deep question because what is meant by "our personal income"? Is it average income for the county that includes rich people moving here? Does it include the rich people that are already here? Or does it mean average salary for a person that goes to work at a local business? What is meant by "our" goes to the heart of politics and public policies.

Quick answer regarding income is that all will probably see income increase since hard to go down from here, but the statistics are likely to show that the income for the wealthy increased more than for local workers.

  1. "Could you share an opinion about whether or not you think additional diversification is economically necessary or desirable to the local economy?" Obviously, it is not necessary because there exists less diversified economies than ours, but since when, in any place, is diversification not desirable?

  2. "If & when the construction related industry bounces back, do you think further diversification would help keep the % for which that industry accounts in check?" The construction industry is not going to bounce back to anything like 2007/8 until the lessons are completely forgotten which apparently takes at least 30 years around here (boom and bust of the 70s). Diversification does not keep any one industry "in check". Diversification is having more jobs in more sectors so that a decline in any one sector has less of an impact on the overall economy.

I am not Scott Ford, but not everything dealing with numbers is requires his level of expertise. And I tried to be fair since it is data and simple economic questions.

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aichempty 3 years, 12 months ago

Switching to natural gas is going to raise our electricity rates. Prices have skyrocketed due to deregulation, as have Propane prices, which are on a par with gasoline in many parts of the country.

People who don't care about the price increases either don't pay those bills, don't pay them directly and so don't realize they have increased, or have so much money that doubling a utility bill means nothing.

When I heated with gas, my bills were 1/4 the cost of electricity and 1/2 the cost of propane. That was before deregulation and speculation shot the prices up.

Natural gas is not an option for me in my current home, but I realized a while back that propane prices make it cheaper to heat with electricity. A space heater in every room cuts my monthly utility costs (combined electricity and propane) in half during the winter. The propane is a backup, and electricity replaces 75% of the propane usage in the coldest months.

If I installed a coal stove, the price of that heat would be about 10% of the cost of Propane. Coal just takes a little more work in return for the benefit, but I guess it depends on where you want to spend your effort; earning money to pay for Propane or spending four or five hours a week maintaining a coal fire.

So, closing the mines, converting our local generation to natural gas and making electricity as expensive as propane might double the cost to heat your house (it would mine). But if that's what you're going for, this is a great idea.

There was once an idea to bring LNG into the country in huge tanker ships, but it was abandoned when oil prices dropped and made LNG uncompetitive. Oh, and a LNG tanker fully loaded would go off with the force of a small nuclear weapon if it was compromised. You can walk out to the railroad tracks and hold a cigarette lighter next to one of the coal hoppers all day long and not get an explosion; you might not even get a fire with good anthracite coal.

A terrorist with a stick of dynamite can attack a gas pipeline, put it out of business and kill thousands if it's in the right spot. Service and electrical power generation can be knocked out for weeks. A stick of dynamite and a pile of coal just makes a little mess you can clean up with a broom and a shovel.

Pickens' ideas will work, but only because he assumes costs are so high already that conversion will be a wash. It has many benefits. It's a way to set a benchmark price and prevent OPEC from messing with our energy supply in the future. It also depends on supporting his benchmark price by eliminating competition from cheaper coal.

Given a choice, would you build a campfire to stay warm, or be content staring at a propane stove that's out of fuel? The campfire option should be kept open, and so should the coal mines, just "in case."

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aichempty 3 years, 12 months ago

Oh, I left something out.

I was sorta surprised to see one of the comments above until I realized that underground pipelines are the safest way to transport natural gas.

That's means you need many miles of ditches. Hmmmm . . . I wonder how you make a ditch happen?

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kathy foos 3 years, 12 months ago

That oil rig explosion last week says it all,if this country goes to oil instead of moving away ,,that is a step backwards.Pollution,death,the ocean in spoil.Go ahead and rape the planet,no problem.

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sledneck 3 years, 12 months ago

Wind power is un- reliable and we don't yet have the technology to store the wind power and release it when needed. Windmills are also bird cusinarts. Electric cars? Where the hell do you think the electricity for the batteries comes from? The batteries are toxic! Where will they be disposed? Solar? It takes almost as much energy to make a solar panel as it produces in its lifetime. Environmental groups killed the biggest solar project in the nations history last year in Nevada because it used ridiculous amounts of scarce water. Thats right ENVIRONMENTALISTS killed it! Ethanol? Less efficient than gas and highly corrosive. Bad for engines. Drinks up huge ammounts of irrigation water otherwise used for food crops. I prefer food to ethanol. Our water is way more important than to be used for ethanol production.

Oil companies are "killing the planet all for the dollar"? You're kidding me, right? If YOU personally use an internal-combustion engine or purchase ANYTHING manufactured or transported by one then YOU are killing it! YOU are feeding the oil companies. YOU!

How dare you presume to perch yourself above others and preach of the virtues of an oil free world while consuming your share of its products and benifits? How dare you tell others they suck because they refuse to embrace your religion? Who are you, a user of big oil, to damn others for the same?

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trump_suit 3 years, 12 months ago

Everyone wants to discuss "the environment" when it comes to Oil/Coal/Natural Gas. The really HUGE advantage for the US would come if we transitioned our trucking industry to Natural Gas. Dealing with just that aspect of our oil use first gives some major financial incentives. If Oil imports average 700 Billion annually, we can transition 350 Billion dollars a year from Saudi Arabia to American infratructure, companies and JOBS. Cutting Coal for electricity is just silly when what we should be concentrating on is energy independance.

  1. We can cut our Oil imports in half from just Truck Transportation alone.
  2. The infrastructure required is more concentrated along major highways and lends itself more easily to a change
  3. Consumer demand could be jump started off of the highway infrastructure.
  4. American Resources, Companies, Jobs Smaller Trade Deficeits.....
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sledneck 3 years, 12 months ago

Trumps idea sounds good and sounds well thought out. Lets do it! Nat gas for big rigs... I like it! But can they run and produce the HP on Nat gas that they can on diesel?

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ybul 3 years, 12 months ago

Wind power is un- reliable and we don't yet have the technology to store the wind power and release it when needed. Windmills are also bird cusinarts.

Wind power is very reliable, when taken as a whole. The potential for a stable base load comes from turbines from North Dakota to Texas, yielding enough energy for the entire country.

Windmills are not bird cusinarts, their blades are so slow that any bird can evade them.

Electric cars? Where the hell do you think the electricity for the batteries comes from? The batteries are toxic! Where will they be disposed?

Batteries are remanufactured regularly. Unfortunately the best energy storage device to date, that I have seen has been taken off the market and shelved. Anuvu had a fantastic fuel cell but their product was bought out and has disappeared.

Another great idea to eliminate energy consumption would be to eliminate grain subsidies and get back to pastoral farming. The ag sector uses 25% of all energy and moving away from row crop production to sustainable methods would do as much good or more than switching from oil to natural gas in our trucks. A combination would be far better. Better yet, would be to return to local ag systems that were prevalent in the early 1900's, yielding a much more stable economic base and more nutrient dense food, thus we would not need so much trucking.

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ybul 3 years, 11 months ago

I should have put in regional ag systems not local as yes we still will have to get some stuff from other areas. Yet I am eating potatoes and onions which I grew last year.

The thought is to reduce the layers of the distribution system such that the distance, and number of hands needing fed, between the producer and consumer are reduced. This happened when producers went right to the groceries they served, yet with the massive grocery stores/chains that exist today there is little ability of the small producer to supply.

This valley should be looking at what it can do well (and less expensively) ship that to areas that produce something we do not and bring back what they produce in what would be an empty truck in many cases. This area can finish beef better than anywhere else in the country in the summer (yet we have a hard time wintering cattle as the energy/feed costs are too high). So bringing in yearlings from The far reaches of colorado, Utah and SW WYo from areas that are far better at wintering livestock than an area known for four wire winters. Harvesting them here in the fall when tourism is down and shipping them off to other regions for products that store and can not be produced here (rice, beans, winter squash, freezing some stuff as if we get it in the late fall early winter energy costs are minimal.

It would not happen over night, but if the competitive advantages that government has provided can be eliminated (easier access to cheap capital through stocks and bonds which guaranteed pensions buy yet an individual is hard pressed to invest locally with an IRA because of rules and regulations), then maybe you will see more small companies able to compete on a more level playing field with the big grocery corporations.

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Jeff Kibler 3 years, 11 months ago

Is CH3 a stable molecule? Did the physician not take organic chem?

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ybul 3 years, 11 months ago

What if by changing your grazing methods you could increase forage growth by 4 fold? If you could not find slicks but were able to improve your forage yields, through intensive management running twice the number of animals yet your pounds per animal dropped from 3 to 2 how much better off would you be?

Some here fertilize their fields an added expense. So what if you could find someone to chase your cattle with turkeys to be raised for thanksgiving in Denver. Those turkeys would eat the bugs in the manure and the short green grass all the while adding more fertilizer to your field such that you would probably no longer need to fertilize if you still do. If you do not this would still probably yield higher crop yields as you are adding diversity and our landscape did not evolve as a monoculture as many hayfields are today.

By doing that you have taken a piece of ground that currently only yields a beef product and taken it to the point where it is now yielding multiple products on the same landscape. This then increases the ability of your land to actually pay for itself. There are several other what ifs out there.

On the grazing management having higher yields I suggest reading this. Individuals in Montana are using the same techniques to realize a 6 fold forage increase over their neighbors traditional haying operations.

http://www.acresusa.com/toolbox/reprints/May08_Salatin.pdf

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ybul 3 years, 11 months ago

What if by changing your grazing methods you could increase forage growth by 4 fold? If you could not find slicks but were able to improve your forage yields, through intensive management running twice the number of animals yet your pounds per animal dropped from 3 to 2 how much better off would you be?

Some here fertilize their fields an added expense. So what if you could find someone to chase your cattle with turkeys to be raised for thanksgiving in Denver. Those turkeys would eat the bugs in the manure and the short green grass all the while adding more fertilizer to your field such that you would probably no longer need to fertilize if you still do. If you do not this would still probably yield higher crop yields as you are adding diversity and our landscape did not evolve as a monoculture as many hayfields are today.

By doing that you have taken a piece of ground that currently only yields a beef product and taken it to the point where it is now yielding multiple products on the same landscape. This then increases the ability of your land to actually pay for itself. There are several other what ifs out there.

On the grazing management having higher yields I suggest reading this. Individuals in Montana and Missouri are using the same techniques to realize a 6 fold forage increase over their neighbors traditional haying operations. The guy in Missouri runs 4 fold the number of cattle the local NRCS office says is possible and has been doing so for years, yet his ground looks better than his neighbors.

On that note, you ever look at where the cows urinate, much like a dog in ones backyard (as long as not overdone as any good thing in excess is usually bad), those spots are far greener than the non urinated areas. Unfortunately in most operations the cattle are too widely spaced to achieve an even spacing of urine and other byproducts of ruminating species. Our prairies and other landscapes evolved with ruminating animals in LARGE herds with predators surrounding them, this interaction of the large herds trampling much of the feed back into the ground building organic matter is gone on most farms as we seek to maximize our hay yields all the while failing to optimize the natural system yielding better results for the livestock, land and rancher.

http://www.acresusa.com/toolbox/reprints/May08_Salatin.pdf

pax

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John Fielding 3 years, 11 months ago

One way to make wiser use of resources and boost local production is to utilize the "waste" heat from coal fired generation plants. Everyone who has looked west from Mt. Werner on a crisp winter day has seen the columns of white steam from Hayden and Craig. If that was piped underground and simple hoop houses were placed over the area we could have local tomatoes in June and hardy greens in February. The utility could lease the facility and sell the steam.

Another co-generation prospect is already on the shelf. Some units such as the ones from Aegis Energy (http://www.aegisenergyservices.com) are turn-key, weather tight, self contained and self regulating. As single family residence size models become available huge savings are available. If the utility company was to provide them on a lease basis to businesses and homeowners it could eliminate the need for some new large plants, and the capitalization would surely be supported by tax credits.

As it is, units such as the Aegis are a smart choice for snow melt projects like the promenade, and for medium to large businesses, especially if they have substantial electrical demand.

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ybul 3 years, 11 months ago

John,

I think that you are going after the highest hanging fruit there is to increase food production in the region. As the movement of heat was probably not designed into the plant and probably not to where you want it, it seems to me that you are going after what would require a lot of capital.

Could that capital be better used, what I discussed above would really take only about an additional couple thousand dollars to attain (plus the investment in stockers).

You really need to think in terms of what is going to provide the greatest return on the minimal investment of capital. The greenhouse/hoop house tries to circumvent nature, which generally is a losing proposition. And will require a lot of capital investment to get it up and running hear the power plant.

By saying yes to a greenhouse, what are you saying no to? As once that investment is made it will most likely be gone. Unfortunately we have been trained in this country that money is not an object, the government will provide for you. Money is a store of hard work and needs treated with more respect by lenders, politicians and the general population.

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John Fielding 3 years, 11 months ago

I agree that the utilization of waste heat from the existing plants will be more work than if that feature had been designed into the scheme.But its still just a retrofit, similar to say conversion to a different fuel.

But the point is not necessarily to increase local food production, that is only one option for the use of this wasted resource. The point is to stop designing waste into the process, to think of effective use of resources. Our utility providers are violating their public trust by wasteful practices. It was not allways so. The old generating plant that is now part of Centennial Hall piped waste heat to nearby buildings, it is not a new idea. Suppose the distribution pipes under-laid a geothermal grid and used the surrounding earth for storage? Suppose a new housing and business complex was build close enough to the plant to use the steam for heating?

Many utility providers are realizing they can provide less expensive product by these means as well as decentralization of production. The second point is that, each building in the north regions has the opportunity to heat with the byproduct of electrical generation, especially where the fuel is natural gas (or in the future, hydrogen).

My suggestion is simply that the major utility companies be the providers of the thousands of small co-generators, using their vast capital resources and political influence to make the program work better and quicker than if it comes up slowly from the grassroots. The Federal Govt. would get on board to provide start up capital far domestic manufacture of the product, thousands would be employed as installers and service technicians, and it would all be paid for with the savings accrued from using something we used to throw away.

Again, check out this link, http://www.aegisenergyservices.com ,and it is only one view of what the future holds for those willing to go there.

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ybul 3 years, 11 months ago

I would agree that in life we need to think more wholistically. I have seen similar proposals to what you speak of. Distributed generation would be a great thing for the country.

They already are moving in that direction in paying for capital improvements to add solar and geothermal in some cases. Should not be all on the power plant though.

With the legislation introduced in CO to convert front range power to nat gas, they might do something similar with mini nat gas power plants. Though I think that imposing an impact fee on emissions which are harmful (CO2 may not be as troublesome as thought) and let market forces help move us in the direction we should be going. We need to internalize the costs of mercury and NOX from the plants which would help in bringing about wind power and micro turbines in business' and homes using the waste heat for another prospect.

Pax

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