Liquefied Natural Gas Facility Application Suspended for Insufficient Information
The U.S. Coast Guard just announced a 90-day hold on processing the proposed Liberty LNG Port Ambrose offshore deepwater liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility due to a lack of critically important information, several major application deficiencies and many unaddressed federal requirements.
The decision came three days after a letter requesting the stoppage was sent on behalf of a coalition of organizations which includes fishermen, coastal business owners, and environmental, civic, community and religious groups opposed to the project. The Clean Ocean Action-led coalition declared a short-term victory today with the announcement.
“After three similar requests by this coalition—which represents the voices of over 130 organizations from around the region—the U.S. Coast Guard finally made the right decision,” said Andrew Provence, of Litwin & Provence, LLC., who sent the most recent request on Oct. 18.
The announcement was made in a letter to Liberty Natural Gas dated Oct. 21, which was posted yesterday on the project’s federal docket. In the letter, the U.S. Coast Guard—the agency in charge of reviewing Liberty LNG’s application at this stage—cited more than 100 new “data gaps” which needed to be addressed before review of the Port proposal could continue. These 100 new items, which nearly doubled an already-unaddressed list of 150 other unique data gaps, ranged from calls for more information on water, air, sediment and historic resources impacts this port would have to study on how Superstorm Sandy would have affected the port.
The Coast Guard also called for information on how LNG port emergencies could affect shipping into and out of the Port of New York, and how this LNG facility stacks up when compared to the offshore wind farm proposed in New York (which could be entirely displaced by Port Ambrose, according to the federal agency in charge of permitting offshore wind).
Under the federal Deepwater Port Act, applications for LNG facilities in the ocean (like Port Ambrose) must be processed, from application submission to final agency approval, within 356 calendar days. All public input, environmental review and economic analyses of proposals happen within that timeframe in a 240-day “clock.” This decision to “stop the clock” for Port Ambrose review was made after more than half of the public’s review timeframe had already elapsed.
“Liberty LNG had already been scolded by the Coast Guard for submitting an application riddled with data deficiencies and information gaps,” noted Sean Dixon, coastal policy attorney for Clean Ocean Action. “Once the public and other federal agencies had a chance to review Liberty LNG’s proposal, even more holes and unverifiable claims were exposed.”
“The Coast Guard did the right thing when it 'stopped the clock' on Port Ambrose,” said Bruce Ferguson of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy. “In announcing the delay, the Coast Guard made it clear that the delay is largely the fault of the project’s sponsor, which has failed to provide the government, or the public, with critical information needed to evaluate the project.”
“This is good news for the ocean,” said Cindy Zipf, of Clean Ocean Action. “Liberty Natural Gas will have to provide more information to government regulators and the public regarding the true impacts of its ill-conceived proposal.”
The coalition is continuing to call on Gov. Christie (R-NJ) and Gov. Cuomo (D-NY) to exercise their legal right to veto this proposal. Such a veto, under the law, can be transmitted to the Coast Guard and the Maritime Administration (the other agency in charge of reviewing Liberty LNG’s application) at any time.
By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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