A burning issue for GRU

Published: Friday, January 28, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 27, 2005 at 9:51 p.m.
This reader wishes to send laurels to The Sun staff writers covering the burning local and regional energy issues of money, power and environmental impact.
A cumulative review of very informative articles and letters since mid-November 2004 convince me of this: GRU's Preliminary Integrated Resource Plan of December 2003 about Gainesville's and Alachua County's long-term electrical needs is not an example of due diligence.
Its coverage of costs and benefits, as one would expect from a regional citizen-owned public utility, is incomplete.
The City Commission will be well-advised to assess the real costs and consequences of the proposed 225-megawatt, primarily coal-fired plant in light of these considerations: GRU does not address its current annual "transfer" (i.e., profits) of $27.2 million to the city's general fund.
It is a potential fractional source of budgeted incentives to achieve an integrated generating strategy of hydrocarbon and alternative energy sources.
GRU can do better than their proposed 2005 set-aside, annual "greenhouse gas fund" of $125,850.
GRU does not assess the plant's projected, environmentally noxious byproducts within the context of untoward emissions of other proposed factories for the North Florida region.
The tire-burning Florida Rock Co. cement plant addition and another asphalt-making plant come to mind.
Of equal concern is GRU's incomplete impact assessment of particulate, gaseous and effluent emissions of plant operations.
More detail is needed about anticipated side effects from carbon dioxide, hydrochloric and sulfuric acids, mercury and lead, as well as more information on a safe mix between recyclable treated and only partly treated or still polluted, but deep well injectable effluent.
GRU should be able to spell out a consistent professional phase-in plan of alternative energy sources, including regional bio-mass harvesting and photovoltaic power co-generation, special energy conservation measures and retro-fitting the existing power installations with the latest technology.
Only a fully informed City Commission can make the essential executive decisions to have GRU staff draw up a fully professional IRP.
Its implementation should assure long-term energy security and optimum quality of life for Gainesville and North Central Florida.
Otto Von Mering, Gainesville

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