Posts Tagged ‘natural gas’

PG&E Announces “Pipeline 2020,” A Five-Part Plan to Increase Safety of Natural Gas Transmission System

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

I don’t know, PG&E, this whole “Pipeline 2020″ initiative sounds like a job description for any entity that specializes in “ultra-hazardous activities,” you know, stuff like moving natural gas around.

But I guess you are saying that this will be a ten-year process. That’s my only take-away from your press release today. (Am I missing something? Were you going “well beyond regulatory requirements” back  before San Bruno as well? I mean, you and the CPUC are 100% responsible collectively – maybe there should be changes with how the CPUC deals with you as well? And you talk about ”best practices?” What was your policy before? “Good enough practices,” perhaps? And who is going to pay for PL2020? The ratepayers, primarily?)

Anyway, let’s get started on this process then. Sounds like it’ll be a long road.  

A shot from the San Bruno aftermath from photographer David Yu:

PG&E Announces Pipeline 2020 Program for Enhancing Natural Gas Pipeline Safety and Reliability

PG&E Aims to Advance Industry Best Practices

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 12 — Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today announced Pipeline 2020, a program with five areas of focus to strengthen the utility’s natural gas transmission system through a combination of targeted investments, research and development, improved processes and procedures, and tighter coordination with public agencies. Going well beyond regulatory requirements, Pipeline 2020 will augment a series of safety and reliability initiatives that PG&E began or expanded in the wake of last month’s San Bruno tragedy.

“Pipeline 2020 will guide PG&E in fulfilling our pledge to customers and the public to ensure the safety and integrity of our gas transmission system,” said Chris Johns, President, Pacific Gas and Electric Company. “PG&E will collaborate with state and federal regulators, industry and scientific experts, and local agencies to enhance our ongoing efforts to adopt industry best practices, invest in system upgrades and, where possible, advance the state of the art of gas pipeline inspection procedures and technology. Pipeline 2020 represents a substantial and long-term commitment of people and resources to restore confidence and trust in PG&E’s gas transmission system.”

The “five major areas” of PL2020, after the jump

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The Audis are Coming! The Synthetic RenDiesel-Powered Audis are Coming to San Francisco – Is This “Clean Diesel” or Not?

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

I suppose the Fischer–Tropsch process of turning various things into liquid fuel isn’t just for Nazi Germany anymore – news comes today about some Audis powered by synthetic diesel that came from natural gas.

They’ll be touring the state soon, starting off up in tiny Eureka and then hitting San Francisco on October 19th.

The whole point is to show off RenDiesel fuel made at America’s only synfuels plant. (The place in Mississippi makes just ten barrels a day - not very much but they have plans to expand production.)

I get the feeling that this effort won’t impress the StreetsBlog people, but I could be wrong. Anyway, all the deets are below.

From natural gas to diesel to your Audi A3 TDI:

Click to expand

To the pilots of these Audis, I have four words:

Samoa Cookhouse (up near Eureka); und

Bon voyage

All the deets:

‘Eureka! Diesel Driving the Future’ to Feature Audi A3 TDIs Running 1,000 Miles — the Length of California — on Synthetic RenDiesel®

Clean diesel journey a part of Green Car of the Year Tour(TM)

EUREKA, Calif., Oct. 12– A pair of 2010 Audi A3 TDI cars are scheduled to embark on a four day, 1,000 mile journey beginning October 18, 2010 driving exclusively on synthetic RenDiesel® fuel produced from natural gas by Rentech, Inc. (NYSE AMEX: RTK). The Audi A3 TDI® is Green Car Journal’s 2010 Green Car of the Year®.

The drive by Green Car Journal editors and invited VIPs is part of the magazine’s Green Car of the Year Tour(TM), which this year focuses on the important role that advanced clean diesel vehicles play in efficiency and CO2 reduction, plus the potential that lies ahead for sustainable non-petroleum fuels. Clean diesel models have captured top honors as the Green Car of the Year® the past two years. This California stage of the tour follows the magazine’s August 2010 Green Car of the Year Tour(TM) activity at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago.

The two A3 TDIs will leave on their 1,000-mile journey from Eureka, California’s largest northernmost city located on Humboldt Bay, heading toward San Diego, the state’s largest southernmost city. Stops along the way include Sacramento (October 18), San Francisco (October 19), and San Diego (October 20), with a return northward to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles for a Green Car of the Year Tour(TM) wrap-up event on October 21.

“With many thousands of miles already behind the wheel of Audi’s outstanding A3 TDI over the past year, Green Car Journal editors are well acquainted with the model’s thriftiness and fun-to-drive nature,” said Ron Cogan, Editor and Publisher of the Green Car Journal and Editor of GreenCar.com.  “Running on a 100% low carbon fuel will make this 1,000 mile journey all the more satisfying.”

Ever more deets, after the jump

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Is It Really Worth $1000 a Day to Pump the Water of Vaillancourt Fountain?

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

What makes the water in Vaillancourt Fountain (aka Québec libre !), that boxy water sculpture down in Justin Herman Plaza, go? Natural gas, most likely. All that methane energy gets converted into electricity and that’s what powers the pumps.

Of course it costs money – a quarter million per year back in aught-four, back when ‘lectricity was cheaper. So is it a reasonable guess that the bill is substantially higher these days?

Here it is, at its most beautiful, as captured by the talented David Yu:

Click to expand

What is this thing, a monument to graffiti?

What does it say to you, “Canada out of Québec,” or something?

Is this thing destined to burn money and take up space in perpetuity, all because some people, some people lost to history, made a bad (or good, You Make The Call) decision four decades ago?

The Pickens Energy Plan vs. the Anschutz Plan vs. the Mt. Shasta Ski Bowl

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Well the T. Boone Pickens medicine show came to town yesterday, so San Franciscans got the chance to see details of the Pickens Plan at the Commonwealth Club, the Western Hemisphere’s oldest and largest public affairs forum. 

The Plan is another one those ever-popular ”public private partnerships,” which in this case has the federal government paying a couple hundred spare billion dollars to build electric transmission lines for proposed windmills in the Midwest.

Making the pitch last month with Al Gore in Washington D.C.:

via the Center for American Progress Action Fund

But what about the Phil Anschutz (yes, the very same Anschutz billionaire dude with a longtime interest in the Bay to Breakers civic event!) Plan? Let’s see:

On July 29, The Anschutz Corp.,through its affiliate Transwest Express LLC, said it had acquired the rights to develop a proposed $3 billion, 900-mile transmission line capable of moving 3,000 megawatts of power from wind farms in southern Wyoming to markets in Southern California, Las Vegas and Phoenix.”

See? Somebody is trying to get something done without asking for hundreds of billions of your money. And that brings us to the white elephant on the white mountain up in northern Northern California.

Back in the 1950′s, the Everitt Memorial Highway on Mount Shasta was built so that the Mount Shasta Ski Bowl resort could be built. Did that project make sense?

The old Mount Shasta Ski Bowl had been built in 1958 in a huge open cirque much higher up on the southern flank of the volcano, with a lodge at 7,800 ft and lifts topping out above timberline at 9,200 ft. However, the ski area had often been in financial trouble over the next two decades, and a massive avalanche in January 1978 which destroyed the main chairlift was the finishing blow. The Ski Bowl closed permanently after that…”

So just as the risk of this Shasta project was building an expensive road to nowhere, one of the risks of the Pickens Plan is building power lines to nowhere.

How is the Anschutz Corporation’s wind energy project working out? That’s a good thing to keep an eye on when you’re considering building a Bridge to Nowhere, or a Pickens transmission grid, or things like that.

O.K. fine.

Oh, and speaking of the Commonwealth Club, its ridiculous website’s popup ads remind us all of the upcoming Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner, coming up on Fiday, April 17, 2009 at the Fairmont Hotel. Enjoy. 

Each year, The Club honors individuals who have made significant and enduring contributions to the Bay Area and California community, and who embody the principles and values of The Commonwealth Club.

The Annual Dinner is also The Club’s most significant fundraising event, raising funds to support its important nonprofit public forum mission throughout the year.