Monday Morning Pipeline News – May 13, 2013

OFFICIAL ACTION

May 16 – Planning Commission Meeting

On Thursday, May 16, Penn State will present plans for converting the West Campus Steam Plant building from coal to natural gas. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. at the Borough Building, 243 South Allen Street. Planning Commission meetings are broadcast on C-NET and archived on the Web in the same way as Borough Council meetings.

An abbreviated agenda is online and includes:

  • “Preliminary Plan Land Development Plan for the PSU Steam Plant Renovation Work for the conversion of the plant to natural gas, Corner of South Burrowes and West College Avenue,  Zoning UPD, Sub-District 5, Buchart Horn, Inc., Engineer”
  • “Planning Commission Sub-Committee report on review of Planning Commission responsibilities within Current Borough Zoning Ordinance and the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Code.”

Planning Commission members include Chairman Evan A. Myers, Jon Eich, Scott M. Dutt, Anita Genger, Richard L. Kalin, Michael E. Roeckel and Erin Murtha. The lead Borough staff member who reports to the Planning Commission is Carl R. Hess, Community Development & Planning Director.

May 17 – Borough Council Executive Session, Maybe

“After the meeting, council President Donald Hahn said more information will be available in the future, but he declined to elaborate. Hahn said the council might meet in an executive session May 17 to discuss the issue.” (CDT May 7, 2013)

CITIZEN ACTION

Residents are planning to attend and/or submit written comments for Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting, and are currently working to develop specific policy and practice proposals. Residents also plan to sit in the hall outside the meeting room, if the Borough Council meets in executive session Friday.

Some of the current ideas: lobbying to tie any withdrawal/rescind scenario to a moratorium on new right-of-way permit application filings, pending a thorough overhaul of the permitting process to incorporate community safety and community-led sustainable energy goals in a meaningful way.

ENGINEERING

Dahlhausen Number-Crunching

Matt Dahlhausen prepared several energy use and cost projections in preparation for the April 25 debate organized on the Penn State campus by the Society for Energy Engineers:

Community-based engineering analysis has been severely hampered by the lack of data on Penn State’s current energy  use and strategic planning. Matt has requested the following documents and to my knowledge, they have not yet been released by University officials:

  • PSU Master/Strategic Utilities Plan
  • PSU Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan
  • Existing renewable energy feasibility studies, especially geothermal, or written confirmation that no such studies have been done.
  • Existing reports or disaggregation studies on campus buildings and retrofitting plans currently underway, or written confirmation that no such studies/plans have been done.
  • Monthly utility for steam, chilled water, electric, service water for all campus buildings, plus hourly data for large/high use buildings on the district systems.
  • Hourly fuel consumption (gas, coal, diesel), steam output (pounds per hour), make-up water, condensate return, power production from cogen for the West Campus Steam Plant and the East Campus Steam Plant.
  • Hourly and/or daily electric consumption, gallons per minute and temperature of supply, gallons per minute and temperature of return, for chilled water plants.
  • Electric feed for campus: Megawatts of power – 15 minunte interval data (to get peak), and costing data ($/mwh, $/peak kw)
  • Current annual fuel use and fuel price data
  • Current water use/water loss charges incurred by the current steam system.

Other engineering information to consider:

On October 26, Penn State spokesdude Alex Novak prepared a list of sample questions and answers to guide responses to resident questions, including:

“Q: How much more gas will this project be bringing to the Borough?

CG: While we don’t know the exact number, this line alone will provide more gas than the whole Borough uses now.” (10.26.12 Novak Email to PR Team)

At least one resident raised a similar point at the April 1 Borough Council meeting. Mayor Elizabeth Goreham’s recollection in an April 3 email to Council members Peter Morris, Sarah Klineton and Don Hahn:

“…what about the statement made by the last fellow who spoke (from Hoy Street, remember?) He stated that the 70,000 T of coal used to fuel the plant = less than half the capacity of the 12″ pipeline. This is a very strategic piece of information. Could the long term reason for such a large pipeline be the transmission of much more gas to the entire Centre Region – not just PSU or the power plant? If the intent is really the construction of a transmission line, we have further grounds to oppose it, and PSU will be more tenacious in defending it…” (Hard copy only)

RIGHT TO KNOW

Large format plans of the proposed West Campus Steam Plant are available for viewing at the Borough Building, 3rd Floor Administrative Offices. They were included in the documents available via Right-t0-Know during our last review session on April 30, 2013. I’ll be submitting a Right-to-Know form later today or tomorrow, seeking documents related to the drafting, revision and adoption of Ordinance #2005, the Right of Way ordinance under which Columbia Gas filed its March 18, 2013 permit application.

LITIGATION

No lawsuits have been filed yet, to my knowledge.

MEDIA

Centre Daily Times

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