Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mother Ann Lee Hydroelectric Station

From a story by James Bruggers in the October 28th edition of Louisville's Courier Journal...

PLEASANT HILL, Ky. -- From a small, unassuming plant at Lock and Dam No. 7, not far from historic Shaker Village, the Kentucky River gushes across the propellers of a hydroelectric generator that will soon provide enough electricity for 2,000 homes.

The plant, located under the limestone cliffs of the river as it moves through Mercer County, was built to generate electricity in 1927 for Kentucky Utilities, but became run down and was retired in 1999.

Today, the newly named Mother Ann Lee generating station is one of four new hydropower facilities working or planned in Kentucky -- part of what some see as a step toward meeting the challenges of global warming and an increasing demand for energy security.

"We are at the beginning of a renewable energy revolution," said the plant's co-owner, [Jeff Street's own] David Brown Kinloch, a Louisville engineer. "There will be others that follow."

The plant emits no climate-warming pollution, and has been certified as having little environmental impact on the Kentucky River and its aquatic life. It sells its electricity to the Salt River Electric Cooperative, and renewable energy credits to LG&E and Kentucky Utilities.

Even in coal-dominated Kentucky, renewable energy is getting more attention as federal and state tax incentives add up, and the federal government moves closer to capping carbon dioxide emissions and making coal power more costly.

While other states have abundant wind or sunshine, making them good candidates for wind and solar power, Kentucky has substantial and consistent rainfall, and a lot of rivers. Many of the rivers are already dammed for navigation, flood control or recreation, giving the state a potentially rich hydroelectric resource.

Brown Kinloch, who has worked as an energy analyst for past Kentucky attorneys general, said there are potentially dozens more places in Kentucky where existing dams could use water power to generate electricity safely and cleanly.

In addition to the four under way, Brown Kinloch recently conducted a survey showing 20 other potential hydro projects at existing dams that have received preliminary permits from the Army Corps of Engineers or the Kentucky River Authority. Fifteen others also show potential to produce electricity, he said...

Taken together -- 2 megawatts here, 10 megawatts there -- Kentucky has enough lock-and-dam structures or flood-control dams that could be retrofitted to generate as much as 887 megawatts of electricity, according to Brown Kinloch's survey.

That would be, for example, 137 megawatts more than the proposed new unit at E.On U.S's Trimble County plant. And added up, the new hydro potential could power as many as 877,000 homes.

Brown Kinloch's contract with E.On forbids him from disclosing financial details about the Mother Ann Lee plant, and nobody has done an analysis of how much it would cost to retrofit all the dams he surveyed.

But Brown Kinloch estimates the costs of developing the 887 megawatts of hydropower could range from $1.7 billion to $4.4 billion. By comparison, The Courier-Journal reported in July that the new 750 megawatt Trimble unit will cost $1.2 billion...

Brown Kinloch and his partners have done the renovations for the Mother Ann Lee themselves -- and the work often was grueling because access is only by boat or by a 20-minute walk through the woods.

For example, they used a boat, a crane, and ropes to swing a 2,300-pound circuit breaker onto a hillside ledge. When completed, the plant will be able to be run remotely by computer.

During a recent tour of the plant, Brown Kinloch showed how one of the plant's three 20,000-pound rotors, turning 150 times a minute, runs so smoothly that he could balance a nickel on its edge.

"They call that the nickel test," he said, beaming with the pride of a parent.

Some of the work on the Mother Ann Lee is being paid for by some Kentucky Utilities and LG&E customers, through a voluntary "green energy" program.

As part of the program, residential and business customers can pay extra in monthly increments of $5 and $13 to support renewable energy and offset their "carbon footprints" -- and a portion of that goes to the Mother Ann Lee plant.

So far, 1,180 customers have signed up, said Chris Whelan of E.On U.S., the utilities' corporate parent.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Playin' Ball at the Farm

Molly Batting
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
I would live all my life
in nonchalance and insouciance,
Were it not for making a living,
which is rather a nouciance.

~Ogden Nash

Playin' Ball at the Farm

Paul Pitching
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.

~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Playin' Ball at the Farm

Amos At Bat 1
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
I never did say that you can't be a nice guy and win. I said that if I was playing third base and my mother rounded third with the winning run, I'd trip her up.

~Leo Durocher

Playin' Ball at the Farm

Kevin A tBat
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.

~Charles Schaefer

Playin' Ball at the Farm

Dave Catching
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Some people crave baseball - I find this unfathomable but I can easily understand why a person could get excited about playing a bassoon.

~Frank Zappa

Sunday, October 12, 2008

For Freedom!

MTR Rally
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
An excerpt from an excellent sermon by Pastor Cindy...

The story that I heard when [William Lloyd Garrison] first caught my eye was about how he attended a very important meeting of abolitionists in London. His ship was delayed, and when he got there a few days late, he was disappointed to hear that the delegates to the meeting had already voted that women, among them Lucretia Mott, could not be seated on the floor and that they would not entertain another motion regarding this.

Back in the US, Garrison had worked closely with a number of women abolitionists, and he was adamant in his support for human rights, human rights. “He would not sit at a convention that dishonored his colleagues, but would bear silent testimony against it from the gallery.”

And so he went and sat up in the balcony with the women and some of his male friends. Everyone noticed him, and bit by bit, some of the other delegates joined him. It caused quite a stir. He dominated the meeting without saying a word. Became quite popular, in fact. And it was the it was the beginning of something huge. You see, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was there with her brand new husband, who was opposed to Garrison’s stance. But Garrison’s silent protest lit something in Elizabeth Cady Stanton that would not be silenced.

As his biography, All on Fire, puts it, she had been garrisonized...

...And now we turn to the Apostle Paul, who, like Garrison, believed in human freedom. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

The last several chapters of Acts make for great narrative. Most of what we know today about ships and sailing during Paul’s time is due to the author of Act’s detailed acccount of Paul’s journey to Rome.

As we heard last week, Paul was arrested and imprisoned. Upon hearing of a plot to kill him, the Romans sent him to Caesarea, where he was imprisoned for possibly two years. When his case was finally heard, he appealed to Rome, where he was sent. After a storm at sea, hunger, shipwreck, a visit with the natives on the island of Malta, Paul eventually does make it to Rome, and that’s where our story ends.

[The last two verses of Acts read:

And he stayed two full years [imprisoned] in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered. ]

So the author of Acts either didn’t know what happened to him, or purposefully chose to end the story with Paul imprisoned, and yet free. I tend to think that it’s the latter, because after all, as Frank Stagg said, that’s what the whole book’s about, right? For freedom, Paul says to the Galatians, for freedom Christ has set us free.