The historic F.X. Matt Brewery, maker of the popular Saranac line of beers, is getting more "green" next month. It won't be making green beer on a regular basis, as some brewers do for St. Patrick's Day, but it will flip the switch on a new anaerobic digester.
For those on the pro-fracking side, the newest regulations are both a good sign and a troubling one. On the one hand, they're a light at the end of the tunnel, proof that permits for hydrofracking aren’t far off. But, on the other hand, fracking supporters say that the Department of Environmental Conservation has only answered the concerns of the anti-fracking lobby.
BP held a presentation last night in Cape Vincent on the Article X process for siting power projects under New York state law. It was another contentious encounter between local anti-wind power activists and BP representatives over the proposed Cape Vincent Wind Farm.
Town officials and community members from the Jefferson County towns of Cape Vincent and Lyme gave energy company BP a clear signal at a meeting last night in Cape Vincent: a wind farm isn't welcome there.
With a wind project proposed by BP, the town of Cape Vincent recently passed strict new regulations for commercial wind turbines. Then BP began seeking state review under the Article X law. That process could bypass local laws, if they're deemed “unreasonable.” Now the company has called a meeting with town officials, scheduled for Tuesday night.
The walls around Pat Dundon's desk are slowly filling up with white printouts. Some have the letterhead of the state's energy research organization NYSERDA, and others are lists he's created. His involvement in a program called Green Jobs Green New York has produced all this paperwork. Through the program, NYSERDA offers low-interest loans for energy efficiency upgrades.
Transporting the millions of gallons of water, as well as equipment, sand, and other materials needed to hydraulically fracture a natural gas well requires quite a few truck trips, to put it mildly.
One well site could require up to 3,399 one-way truck trips [PDF], according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's 2011 draft environmental impact statement (dSGEIS) on hydrofracking.
All those trips by heavy trucks can quickly beat up and wear out roads if they're not built to handle it.
Special bacteria will munch on the yeast and grains left floating around. The process will get the water about 85 percent cleaner before it's discharged into the sewer system, according to CEO Nick Matt.
But the digestion process also gives off methane gas and carbon dioxide.
That methane will be used to power a generator. CEO Matt says the new system will cover up to 40 percent of the brewery's electricity needs.
Earth Day came and went in New York without too much discussion of what many environmentalists believe to be the biggest issue facing the state- when and where the gas drilling process known as hydrofracking will occur.
We're drilling for gas, planning pipes from Canadian tar sands, and pumping millions of dollars into green energy projects.
But the energy mix that we'll end up with in New York State is still a work in progress. What do we want to see powering our toasters and laptops in the years to come?
We've posed those questions to a panel of experts, to find out what's being built, how the marketplace might shake out, and what the social and political ramifications are of how we produce and consume power.