This is the biggest story Mercury Falling will hopefully ever post. And probably the last. If this was a newspaper, the headline across the top would be huge -- like the classic from The Onion's "Our Dumb Century" on the beginning of Wold War II which featured huge print for the headline "WA-" and then below it wrote "(headline continued on page 2)"
JEA IS LOWERING MERCURY EMISSIONS!
As a loyal reader of Mercury Falling, you can see every other post on here concerns how much JEA emits from its coal-burning power plants. And from any public information you can find, the answer is...a lot. But here's the kicker. Thanks to federal regulations known as the Clean Air Interstate Rule, calling for lower emissions of other pollutants like Nitrous Oxide and Sulfur Dioxide, JEA is installing equipment known as selective catalytic reducers (similar to the catalytic converter in your car) that will lower mercury emissions by as much as 90%, perhaps more. To be more specific. Northside Generating Station has already installed this equipment and St. Johns River Power Park is set to be fully up and running with the pollution-reducing by January 2009. These mercury emissions are estimates, so in addition, St. Johns River Power Park will have active monitoring technology installed as well by January 2009, to comply with the federal Clean Air Mercury Rule. Here is a more technical description, straight from JEA:
St. Johns River Power Park (SJRPP) includes an electrostatic precipitator (ESP) and a flue gas desulfurization system (FGDS). SJRPP is currently installing Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) primarily for the removal of nitrogen oxides. However, just like the other controls already deployed, the SCR aids in the removal of mercury. With the addition of the SCRs in 2009, SJRPP expects to be removing 90% of the mercury from its air emissions. In addition, Northside Generating Station Units 1 & 2 already have a boiler technology known as circulating fluidized bed (CFB)combustors, complimented with dry flue gas scrubbing, that are currently removing 90% or more of the mercury from their emissions.SO WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
Ninety percent (90%) is the level of mercury removal that many environmental groups sought from the federal government during its promulgation of the first rule ever to regulate mercury emissions from power plants.
- The big picture...cleaner air and water for Jacksonville! Hooray!
- Maybe this blog was pointless? The blog did not achieve its intended effect, convince JEA, the city council, and the city that its a good idea to produce cleaner power. And most of what this blog reported about JEA was inaccurate and not up-to-date thanks due to inaccurate information that was publicly available.
- Federal regulations are extremely important. It seems that the only reason JEA is reducing mercury pollution (as well as Nitrous Oxide and Sulfur Dioxide) is because federal regulations are forcing JEA to be cleaner. Without them, these pollutants would still be pumped into Jacksonville's air, and at least in the case of mercury, fall into Jacksonville's water at unknown expense to residents' health and the local economy. Any time you hear a politician berate the federal government and so how ineffectual it is, consider this point. Any time you hear a business complain of regulations, consider this point. And, of course, VOTE! In every race. Always.
- Should JEA ever act solely because it is the best thing to do for the community? Again, seems like the only reason that JEA is reducing pollution is because Washington told it to. But the city of Jacksonville owns JEA, not Washington. So should, and will, and can JEA ever take actions like this simply because it is best for the community? Or will JEA only act when the federal government forces it to? Don't have any clue to the answer, but the question is worth asking.
- JEA needs to communicate more with its customers/owners. As a monopoly, JEA has recently been criticized for seeking to spend $7 million over the next 5 years on advertising. But, clearly, JEA is not even doing a good job of letting the public know the positive things it is doing in the community, let alone seeking to change behavior (i.e., teaching users the how and why to conserve) that can save the utility the huge expense of having to add new capacity. There have been several articles in the local media as well as big pushes by groups to publicize how much mercury JEA emits. If JEA had a good story to tell, that it is lowering pollutants, it should have done so. As far as Mercury Falling knows, the entry you're currently reading is the only publicly available information about JEA reducing mercury emissions. Just search "JEA mercury emissions" and you'll see all the information still out there, unrefuted, that shows JEA is a huge mercury polluter. JEA has been reaching out to the community about its stewardship in general and appears to be attempting to do more (Mercury Falling was at a meeting called to inform a few groups about the proposed Southside Generating Station) and should be applauded for that. But, hey, let JEA have the money to educate the community on saving energy and money. And then let's hold JEA accountable for doing a good job on that.
- Goodbye, Mercury Falling. This will be the last post of Mercury Falling since JEA is reducing its emissions by 90%, which is all Mercury Falling was looking for anyway.