ENERGY INDUSTRY IN CARBON & EMERY COUNTIES
ENERGY 2010 Volume 34 – March 2010
You know that Joy Mining Machinery is an industry leader. But dig deeper and see what you find. Eight out of ten continuous miners working in U.S. mines today are JOY machines.* Nine out of ten longwall shearers operating in the U.S. are JOY machines.** In the U.S. and around the world, more coal producers use high-performing JOY equipment. Joy has more than 90 years of experience as a global leader in the development, manufacture, distribution and service of underground mining machinery. And the way we lead is by innovation, dating all the way back to 1919.
* Joy database ** Coal Age Magazine U.S. Longwall Census 2008
Joy Mining Machinery, Wellington, 1275 West Ridge Road, Wellington, UT 84542, 435-637-6161
March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 3
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ENERGY 2010 For over three decades the Sun Advocate and Emery County Progress have been bringing Eastern Utah our energy guide each winter or spring. The publication has always been for those in our community who provide jobs in the most dynamic industry in the world, energy. It has been for the companies to bring information to the public, for the miners to spread the news about their profession and for the jobbers to show off their part in the coal and gas industry. Most of all, this special is about our readers, who want to know more about the energy industry, its technology, the issues facing it and what its future is. There are many challenges facing the energy industry today. Times are changing and the sure thing of coal being king seems to be waning as people start to look to alternative sources of power for homes and businesses. But coal still provides around 50 percent of the electricity used in the United States. In Utah, it provides over 80 percent. This publication contains articles about coal, its production and what may be happening with it, as well as information about associated industries
and gas production, which has also become a big part of our community’s network of businesses. There are also some stories concerning alternative energy sources that in some cases are pertinent or will be pertinent to the local area. While being rich in coal, this area also has huge amounts of coal bed methane, natural gas and tar sands, which are just in their infancy when it comes to development. The area also has a lot of renewable energy capacity as well. In some parts of the area, the wind blows as much as it does in many other places where turbines churn out power for grids, suppling thousands of homes. The area also has nearly 300 sunny days a year, which could mean it is a good place to generate solar power as well. But for now, the coal-fired power plants are the backbone of our power generation and that is here to stay for some time. We make no pretension that this publication covers every aspect of energy or energy development that is going on in our area, but we have tried to give a snapshot of what is up and what could go on in the future. We truly appreciate the individuals in our area that agreed to be interviewed for this special and those that contributed to it. Without their help we just couldn’t produce this one of a kind guide every year. This is also the second year our annual Carbon and Emery Energy Guide is housed in a slick cover publication. We are very proud of the way this has turned out and look forward to your comments about it. Richard Shaw, publisher Sun Advocate Emery County Progress
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March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 5
ABOUT THE COVER The cover of this publication was painted by Thomas Williams of Helper. Williams and his partner, David Johnsen, have been creating period paintings about the coal industry for years. This painting was done as a collage, depicting coal town life as it was before the middle of the 20th century. The pair presently own the Boxcar Gallery in Helper, but have been featured at shows and galleries throughout the United States. Williams was born in West Virginia to a coal mining family. He eventually migrated to the mines of Eastern Utah where he worked as a miner for some years, until an injury ended that career. It was during his rehabilitation that Williams and others recognized his artistic ability. Soon he was painting what was nearest and dearest to his heart, the coal mining industry, with its storied past, its challenges and its people. Two years ago, Williams was commissioned to produce art for the new public safety building in Park City, where the mining history along with the ski and tourism industry go hand in hand. He produced a series of paintings that currently hang in the foyer and in other places in the building, bringing that legacy to life for all who visit. Over the years both artists’ period and industrial paintings have brought the story of the blue collar worker to a public that knows little about where the energy used in their homes and businesses comes from. Williams and Johnsen have produced a number of paintings for companies connected to the coal and power generation industry. “We hope to continue to do that, and hope that along with more work for the gas and oil industry as well,” Williams said.
Tom Williams, once a coal miner, now uses his experience to create works of art about the industry.
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6 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
Directory of Advertisers * Banasky Insurance .................. 12 Badlands .................................. 45 Bill Barrett Corporation ........... 19 BookCliff Sales......................... 31 Booth Fire Protection ................. 5 Brady Mining .................... 48, 49 Bridge Realty/ Brenda Quick.... 66 Bruno Electric/ Bodec Inc......... 18 Bucyrus .................................. 16 Canyon Fuel ............................ 20 Carbon Chiropractic ................ 60 Carbon Co. Commissioners ...... 21 Carbon County Events Center . 66 Castle Country Oil................... 51 Castle Country Orthopaedics ... 17 Castleview Occupational Med .... 6 CEU Museum .......................... 19 CEU Mining ........................... 54 Chute Supply ............................ 7 Cloyd’s Floor Store .................. 63
Consol Energy ......................... 32 Desert Mountain ..................... 46 Dinosaur Tire .......................... 19 Dyno Nobel ............................. 41 Electrical Contractors Inc. ........ 31 Emery Co. Commissioners ...... 29 Emery Telcom.......................... 37 Fairmont Supply ..................... 11 Filter Service and Testing ......... 15 Golden West Industries ............ 24 Guymon’s ............................... 22 Hydraulic Repair...................... 30 Industrial Electric .................... 28 Johansen & Tuttle.................... 63 JBR Environmental .................. 29 Jones & Demille ....................... 36 Joy Mining ............................... 2 Kaman Industries .................... 22 Kenworth Sales .......................... 8 Landon’s Diesel.......................... 3
* Longwall Associates ................ 14 Mac’s Mining ............................ 8 MB Financial ........................... 42 MHS Industrial Maintenance .. 12 Mine Systems .......................... 62 Morgantown ........................... 39 Nelco ....................................... 47 Nielson Construction........ 25, 26, ........................................43 & 68 Now Cap Respiratory .............. 38 Peterson Chemical.................... 18 Phillips Machine ...................... 43 Pierce Oil Company ................. 24 Price City ................................. 27 Price Insurance .......................... 9 Questar ................................... 39 Rocky Mountain Power ........... 58 Savage ..................................... 44 Scamp Excavation ..................... 4 SGS North America, Inc. ......... 59
WORK POINT Occupational Medicine
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Standard Laboratories.............. 51 Stilson and Sons Construction.. 23 Sun Advocate/ Emery Co. Progress ...50 and 55 Supreme Muffler ..................... 52 Tavaputs Ranch ....................... 26 Tony Basso GM ....................... 53 Tram Electric ........................... 34 Tram Electric ........................... 35 UA Local 140 Pipefitters .......... 27 United Mine Workers of America............................ 57 University of Utah Miners Hospital ...................... 9 University of Utah Mining Department............. 33 Utah Railway .......................... 13 Waste Logistics ........................ 67
March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 7
Modern miners jobs good, here to stay By Richard Shaw As jobs go in Utah, coal mining, based on education and training, is one of the highest paid jobs a person can have. In the state as a whole it is a relatively small proportion of people who do that kind of work, but in Carbon and Emery counties the profession makes up a large amount of the workforce. Coal mining affects Sevier County’s workforce strongly as well. While a high income job, it is also a dangerous one. In the last 25 years that has been proven in such mines as Wilberg, Willow Creek and Crandall Canyon, along with many mishaps with fewer casualties in various other mines and mining facilities. Contrary to local popular belief, Utah is not one of the largest
coal producing states, although it does rank 14th in the United States overall. It does, however, produce more coal than it uses and a great deal is shipped outside the Beehive State’s boundaries. The state only internally uses about twothirds of what it produces each year. In 2008, the largest consumers of Utah coal were California, Nevada and Alabama. Most of the coal produced in the state is used for generating electricity – a great deal of that power is generated within the state’s boundaries. Between some hydroelectric power that the state consumes and the coal-burning, Utah has some of the lowest cost consumer power in the country. The coal produced from the three counties includes 47.5 percent (Continued on page 10)
2010 Energy Edition Published by the Sun Advocate and Emery County Progress
Rick Shaw ............................................................. Publisher Kevin Scannell ........................................................... Writer Jenni Fasselin ............................................................... Sales Cherie Murdoch .......................................................... Sales DeAnna Duncan ......................................................... Sales Lynna Tweddell............................................................ Sales Christa Kaminski ......................................................... Sales
Sun Advocate 845 East Main, Price, Utah 435-637-0732 435-637-2716 Fax www.sunad.com
The days of coal miners working up against the face of a coal seam by hand are largely gone. Today most operations are very automated.
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8 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
Carbon and Emery are unique partners Carbon and Emery counties share a common history, although the general focus of the two counties has differed slightly at times during the years. Energy related industries have played a key role in the initial and continued economic development in the local Castle Valley region. The original boundaries established for Emery County encompassed the majority of Castle Valley, including the Carbon area. But in 1894, the Utah Territorial Legislature created Carbon County from a portion of Emery. Over the years the economic focus of Carbon County shifted to coal, the railroad and industrial development. After the split of the two counties, Emery spent many years relying more on agricultural endeavors. Originally Mormon settlements were established along
the Price River in the late 1870s. Routes into the region included offshoots of the Old Spanish Trail and over Soldier Summit. Farming and ranching became early economic activities in the Castle Valley region. Cowboys and outlaws filled several colorful chapters in Carbon County’s history, with the likes of Butch Cassidy and “Gunplay” Maxwell roaming the local area. During the early 1880s, the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad decided to establish a transportation route from the Colorado city to the Salt Lake Valley. At this point the Nine Mile Canyon freight road from Price to the Uinta Basin became an important transportation link in Carbon’s chain of development. Built by Buffalo soldiers, the road between Myton and Price became (Continued on page 9)
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March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 9
Carbon and Emery are unique partners: (Continued from page 9) a lifeline for the Uintah Basin from railroad they would never have. The railroads efforts served as an impetus in the discovery of the vast coal lands of Carbon County and provided a foundation for opening the natural resource to production. Therefore coal mining rapidly became the major catalyst for economic development in Carbon County. Companies built and ran coal camps in Carbon County, importing southern and eastern Europeans, as well as Japanese laborers, to work in the mines and on railroad gangs. The town of Helper, which is well known for its involvement in the coal mining industry of years past, got its name from being the station where locomotives were utilized to “help” loaded freight trains climb the canyon grades and reach Solider Summit. Helper became
known as the town of “57 varieties” because of the city’s ethnic diversity. Between the coal mining and the railroad, and the influx of immigrants from all over Europe and some parts of Asia, the area developed a more cosmopolitan atmosphere than most other rural areas of the state of Utah, whose immigrants came largely from northern Europe. Over the years the development of electrical generating facilities has changed the entire area. Large electric plants built in Huntington Canyon and near Castle Dale in the 1970s provided the impetus for huge mines to be developed and the output of coal from those and other mines in Emery County far surpassed the coal output in Carbon County in some of those years. Today coal continues to be a large part of both counties livelihood, yet an uncertain one as the
world of energy changes. Environmental challenges and new forms of energy generation are beginning
to affect the use of coal, but it still is the main fuel used to generate power in the state of Utah.
The stacks at the Huntington Canyon Power plant denote the dual partnership that Carbon and Emery counties have in energy projects and the jobs they provide across county lines.
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10 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
Modern miners jobs good, here to stay: (Continued from page 7) from Carbon, 23.9 percent from Emery and 28.6 percent from Sevier. However, the largest producing mine is in Sevier County (Sufco) from which that entire percentage is derived. However in the last 100 years, the dual counties of Carbon and Emery have produced the vast majority of coal in the state. Based on statistics from the Utah Department of Workforce Services, from the last quarter of 2008 through the third quarter of 2009 coal mining accounted for 1997 jobs. More than three-quarters of those jobs were in the eastern Utah counties. These jobs impact the two county area dramatically. While in the state overall coal mining makes up less than one half a percent of the jobs eastern Utah between 12 13 percent of the jobs in Carbon and Emery are coal mining positions, and that is only counting direct employment and not ancillary jobs that exist because of the mining activity. Interestingly, over the past de-
cade coal mining jobs have not fluctuated based on other sectors of the economy very much. In fact as the latest recession has set in, coal mining employment has actually increased. That increase may even be larger as the Lila Canyon Mine is expected to open sometime in the next year. Coal mining wages are high compared to many other sectors. In Emery they are 85 percent higher than other industries in the county and in Carbon the rate is 112 percent. The average coal miner in Carbon and Emery counties earns $5,804 per month, based on the year from the last quarter of 2008 through the third quarter of 2009. While all this seems positive, the growth of the number of jobs, while increasing, has not grown as much as the standard employment within the state in the first years of the 21st century. Some say coal mining is on its way out of the realm of occupations, because of the changes that will be
taking place in energy consumption as more and more people turn toward so called renewable sources of power. However, coal still remains the most stable and reliable power source (along
with nuclear and gas buring plants) that exist to provide electric power. It appears these jobs will exist for a very long time, even if that transition does take place.
Coal mining jobs provide jobs for power plant workers, other jobs with good incomes.
SGS serves electricity, coal producers in Castle Valley
A SGS employee analyzes coal samples. SGS also provides inspection, sampling, testing and analytical services to the the mining industry.
SGS Minerals Services has served the coal mining and electrical generation industries in Castle Valley for more than 30 years. SGS, a major international inspection, testing and consulting firm, acquired Commercial Testing & Engineering Company in 1984. CT&E started in the midwestern United States in 1908 and became a leader in formulating comprehensive testing services to the power industry for nearly 100 years. CT&E played a major role in setting the analytical pace in the coalfields east of the Mississippi River, then expanded to establish service concepts for the mines and power generating stations. SGS provides inspection, sampling, testing and analytical services to the mining, generation and energy companies in Carbon and Emery counties.
The company operates the only full-service environmental laboratory in Castle Valley. The Huntington lab has maintained state NELAC certification for water and A2LA accreditation for coal analysis for many years. Castle Valley’s coal and power companies maintain markets by reducing costs and producing dependable products. SGS Minerals joins the local industries’ efforts by offering technically advanced laboratory services and support. The Carbon-Emery area is home to a hard-working labor force and a business community supplying the state, the nation and countries across the globe with quality products, explained the testing company. SGS plans to continue to provide cost-effective services to local governments and industry.
March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 11
Here it’s all about underground mining Underground or deep mining methods account for around 40 percent of total coal production in the United States today. Although the majority of underground mines are less than 1,000 feet deep, several reach depths of about 2,000 feet. U.S. underground coal production facilities essentially fall into three basic categories: • Drift mine. This is a mine that has a horizontal entry to a coalbed seam in a hillside. • Slope mine. Entry to this kind of mine is inclined from the surface to the coalbed. • Shaft mine. This kind of a mine is equipped with elevators, which provides vertical access to a coalbed generally deeper than one reached by a slope mine. Four major processes are commonly used in mining underground coal in the United States: longwall, continuous, conventional and shortwall, with continuous and conventional being room-and-pillar systems. •Longwall mining. Mining via
a longwall has helped revolutionize underground coal production operations in the past 30 years. Long walls now produce about 20 percent of the coal taken out of mines in the United States. In fact, longwall tonnage was slightly higher than continuous mining tonnage for the first time in history in 1994, and the trend has held true since then. A longwall is one giagantic machine that can cover up to 600 feet of a coal seam. The unit basically holds up the ceiling (the overburden) while it mines the coal and then moves and lets the roof fail behind it. The longwall consists of a rotating drum, which is dragged mechanically backand-forth across a wide coal seam. The loosened coal falls onto a long conveyor that removes it from the mine and onto waiting transportation or into large stock piles. Longwalls have continued to advance with technology since their introduction three decades ago. Newer versions of the longwall employ sen(Continued on page 12)
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A continuous miner in operation.
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Tools of the trade require more than juice These large receiving tanks hold compressed air that power various tools, instrumentation, valves, and other types of equipment that are used in the daily operation and maintenance of Rocky Mountain Power’s Hunter power plant near Castle Dale.
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Here it’s all about underground mining: (Continued from page 11) sors to detect how much coal remains in the seam being mined, as well as robotic controls to enhance efficiency. In general, longwalls can increase the average coal recoverability rate to as much as 80 percent, and they have had an important impact in helping to increase underground coal mine productivity. Largely because of longwalls, productivity in underground mines has increased dramatically since their introduction. • Continuous mining. This process still accounts for a significant amount of coal removed from deep mines. The production process utilizes a specialized cutting machine that mechanizes the extraction procedure: the continuous miner. The continuous mining machine tears the coal from a seam in the mine and automatically removes it from the area by conveyor. Remote-controlled continuous miners allow an operator to direct the machine from a distance, increasing safety. Although still utilized in stand-alone production operations,
continuous miners are increasingly employed for main mine entry and longwall panel development. Some underground coal facilities are hybrid operations, utilizing both longwall and continuous mining methods for coal production. When longwalls are not used, underground fossil fuel can be mined by the room-and-pillar system. Mining crews excavate a series of rooms into the coalbed and leave pillars or columns of coal to help support the mine roof. In this type of mining often nearly 40 percent of the coal must be left in the mine to support the roof. Long steel expansion bolts inserted into holes bored into the roof are also used for support. When production reaches the end of a “panel” the direction of operations is usually reversed, with miners recovering as much coal as possible from the pillars as the roof is allowed to systematically collapse. • Conventional mining. The conventional coal production process is one of the oldest methods of mining
the fossil fuel, although the process is not as commonly used today as earlier in the 20th century. Conventional mining consists of a series of operations that begins with cutting the bed so the coal will break easily when blasted with explosives. Once the coal is blasted, the pieces are removed from the working sites. Conventional mining can be a practical and economical method in situations where seams are thin or the geology prevents the use of a long wall system or continuous mining machine. • Shortwall mining. Shortwall mining currently accounts for less
than one percent of annual deep mine production. It involves the use of a continuous mining machine and accompanying movable roof supports. The continuous miner shears coal panels 150-200 feet wide and sometimes more than half-a-mile long. Once the shearing is done, coal is removed from underground mines by two basic methods: shuttle cars, which take coal to a central loading area in the mine and/or belt conveyors, which remove coal to the surface. In recent years, both the mobility and capacity of conveyor system has increased, helping to improve the efficiency of coal removal.
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March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 13
E EN SEE
Utah Railway Company 1221 South Colorado Ave Provo, UT 84606 801-356-9163
A Genesee & Wyoming Company
Safety is our number-one priority at GWI every day. Since our crews are on and off equipment much more frequently in short line railroading and industrial switching, we’re proud that our safety record rivals the Class I railroads. Utah Railway Company operates freight service on owned track from Mohrland to Helper Terminal, UT (45 miles). URC’s core business is the movement of coal. Our railroad has been an integral part of Utah’s coal industry, having transported more than 140 million tons of coal in its history. Today URC transports some 60,000 carloads of coal each year for movement to power plants and industrial customers. URC has connections with BNSF and UP at Provo and Utah Railway Junction, as well as at Grand Junction, Colorado. We directly serve over 50 shippers of various sizes with volumes ranging from a single car to 100-car unit trains of commodity. Our Rail Link employees loaded 360 million tons of Powder River Basin coal last year -- approximately 35% of all coal burned in America. Rail Link is the only contractor with a service product accepted by both Class I railroads in the Basin. Customer service provided by highly skilled and dedicated employees has been the cornerstone of Utah Railway’s success over the years. We take pride in our can-do attitude toward exceeding our customers’ expectations and attracting new customers to the railroad.
14 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
for the long haul
The cornerstone of any longwall mine is custom engineered and manufactured equipment designed to increase production and work in conjunction with each mines' unique and specific conditions. Longwall Associates is the only OEM longwall conveyor manufacturer specializing exclusively in custom longwall conveyor systems. Since the company's inception Longwall Associates has built a remarkable reputation engineering and handcrafting custom equipment for mines across the USA, China, Mexico and Australia. Whether integrating revolutionary safety features, extending equipment life, maximizing production while simultaneously reducing operating costs, or effectively mining low seam or high seam coal, the experts at Longwall Associates deliver custom high performance, consistent equipment to suit your precise requirements every time. Customizing equipment is just one way Longwall Associates delivers solutions for the long haul, to you. Call us today to see why more top producing mines trust Longwall Associates to supply their equipment.
Tel: 276.646.2004 USA - China - Mexico - Australia Web: www.longwall.com
©2010 Longwall Associates Incorporated
March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 15
Mining department continues quality training The mining department at the College of Eastern Utah continues to provide quality training throughout the state of Utah with over 130 companies a year participating in the courses. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has awarded the state of Utah a grant to help subsidize training for Utah’s miners. The CEU mining department is the state agency program responsible for miners’ health and safety training courses and programs designated to reduce mining accidents, injuries, and illnesses. CEU continues to support the program and recognizes its important roll to the community, industry and the state of Utah. Despite the economic slowdown, the mining department continues to be a viable program at the College of Eastern Utah. The department trained over 1,860 stu-
dents accumulating about 3,900 hours in the classroom during the last grant year. Several types of mining operations such as coal, gold, copper, uranium and sand/ gravel are among the list of businesses that utilized this program. Over 130 participating companies, including businesses from outside the state, were trained and indicated they will be recurring customers. This year’s workload is expected to be about the same. The instructors teach on campus, at the energy training center, and on site. They traveled throughout the state as far north as Weber County and as far south as Wayne County. An ongoing alliance with the Custom Fit Training program helps Utah businesses with limited budgets. Custom Fit Training is available for qualifying businesses needing specialized or upgrade (Continued on page 17)
Miners are trained at a CEU mining department course.
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16 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
on the Surface and Underground
Bucyrus works with you to boost your productivity. That’s our way of doing business. You would not expect anything less from Bucyrus. The news is we now rely on the accumulated experience of 300 years in the design and manufacturing of high productivity equipment for surface and underground mining. With Bucyrus you can rely on a global network of world-class service which will support you in increasing your productivity – for the long run. This is how we have been doing business for a long time. Nothing has changed. It is just getting better. www.bucyrus.com
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March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 17
Mining department continues quality training: (Continued from page 15) training such as 30 CFR Parts 46 and 48 annual refresher (surface and underground), mine rescue, electrical re-certification, surface and underground mine foreman and fireboss preparation; special emphasis safety training which includes classes in roof, back and ground control, powered haulage, machinery safety, electrical safety, handling materials, slip and fall of persons, fall of rib, side or highwall, and handtools; MSHA approved instructor training, supervisory/management training; and 30 CFR Parts 46 and 48 entry level new miner training (surface and underground). Courses can be customized to fit students’ needs, helping with the expansion and revitalization of the company. This partnership allows the Mining Department to continue to offer low-cost, qual-
ity training, when, how, and where the businesses want it. Three dedicated full-time instructors, in conjunction with adjunct instructors and staff, deliver training to operators, miners, prospective miners, contractors, and others working on mine property. Instructors Dale Evans (Dept. Chairman), Randy Mabbutt and Steve Radmall are seasoned miners training miners with decades of experience that they share enthusiastically with their students. Their humor and stories from personal experiences, along with wellequipped classrooms and up-todate teaching materials, captures student’s attention and provides a positive, enjoyable learning experience. Dedicated part-time staff contributes to the success that the mining department enjoys. Office coordinator, Trudy Sherman, pro-
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Ben Mead learns at a training station using an interactive module.
vides office support to the department chairman, instructors, and students. Thanks to great technical support from their part-time media and technical support specialist, Jesse Jensen, the staff and students have state-of-the-art computer labs equipped with excellent interactive, competency-based training where students can learn at their own pace. The modern classrooms and teaching aids run with little interruption due to Jesse’s expertise. Working with other groups helps keep training at the highest standards. The mining department is an active member of the Rocky Mountain Mine Rescue Association and each year hosts the annual coal mine rescue contest. This will be the 34th year it has been held, showing the long-term commitment they have toward mine rescue training. Steve Radmall is the lead instructor who has traveled to several mine sites to train teams on-site and in their underground environment. During the winter months, he trains teams indoors at the energy training facility north of Helper. The old warehouse at the center is marked off with scaled-down entries and pillars, and mine rescue teams are given a recue problem to practice and hone their skills for contests and actual emergency situations in a heated or air condi-
tioned environment. Teams have access to a modern well-equipped mine rescue room for apparatus preparation, care and maintenance. The department continues to work with the Utah Labor Commission and enjoys the association. They work hard together to ensure that the miner certification program is done at the highest standards and meets the needs of the mining industry. The close association with MSHA’s educational fields service specialists is critical to the program’s success. The state’s grant program operates under their guidelines to ensure the safety and health training is done to the utmost standards. They host workshops throughout the year held by the Miner’s Hospital and many other groups interested in educating Utah miners. The CEU Mining Department is a part of the Division of Workforce Education which is under the direction of Miles Nielson, Associate Vice President. Information is available by contacting the Mining Department at the College of Eastern Utah by calling 435-472-4736 or 472-4738 or e-mailing email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. For Custom Fit Training information Utah businesses may call Bill Vande Sluis (435) 613-5460 or e-mail: email@example.com.
18 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
Local coal production down from 2008 totals By Richard Shaw The economy has taken its toll on Utah coal production in the last year and new figures support the fact that the decline could go deeper in 2010 as well. The view is also different for the three counties that produce any measurable amount of coal in the state. Initial figures show that production in 2009 for Carbon County was 9,365 thousand short tons. This compares to 11,533 thousand short tons in 2008. The most the county has ever produced since records was kept passed out of mines in 2007 when 11,811 thousand short tons were produced. For Emery County the drop was much less. In 2009 figures show that the county produced 5,704 thousand short tons, which recording 5,796 in 2008. Emery’s coal production has been going
down for years since it hit its height in 1994 when the county turned out 17,334 thousand short tons. Sevier County production also fell between 2008 and 2009. In 2008 the Sufco Mine (the only mine in Sevier) produced 6,946 thousand short tons while in 2009 that dropped to 6748. The most the county ever produced was 7,908 in 2006. The total production for Utah in 2009 was 21,717 thousand short tons. Nationally that qualifies Utah as the 14th biggest coal producer in the United States. Wyoming continues to be the largest producer of coal in the country with 464,143 thousand short tons (2008 figures). While Utah has all underground mines (nine of them) the cowboy state has only one, but instead has 19 sur(Continued on page 20)
At times this past year Wildcat Loadout in along Consumers Road stood idle as did some other coal facilities in the area this year. The total tonnage produced was down.
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March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 19
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20 â€“ Carbon/Emery Energy Guide â€“ March 2010
Local coal production down from record 2008: (Continued from page 18) face mines, one of them one of the largest in the world. Other states that are in the 13 places ahead of Utah in terms of production include West Virginia (second), Montana (fifth), Colorado (ninth) and New Mexico (12th). The coal produced in Utah is transported to users in three different ways; truck, rail and conveyer. In 2008 14,426 thousand short tons were transported by rail, 7,335 thousand short tons by truck and 3,097 thousand short tons by conveyer. At the present time no coal from Utah is being shipped on water by any means. Utah coal that is produced is used for a number of purposes with the largest amount of coal being consumed by electrical generation (in 2008 21,648 thousand short tons). Industrial use consumes 3,227 thousand short
tons and residential and commercial consumers use nine thousand short tons. While coal is for all purpose produced only in three counties, the largest recoverable reserves of coal lie in Kane County where it is estimated 8,025.5 million short tons of coal lay under the ground. This coal has not been developed and it appears that it will not be because 99 percent of it lies within the boundaries of the Escalante Staircase National Monument. Recoverable reserves in Eastern Utah include 1,007.1 million short tons in Emery County, 988.6 million short tons in Carbon and 889.9 million short tons in Sevier County. These coal deposits lay in a number of coal fields on which mineral rights are divided largely in favor of the federal government (the U.S. government owns nearly 80 of the land in Eastern Utah).
The mineral rights land ownership on the Wasatch Plateau is divided 75 percent federal, 24 percent by the state and one percent private. In Salina Canyon land above reserves takes a 68/32 federal to state split. In Emery private land has a large impact by Utah standards with land over 9 percent of the reserves, while the state has 23 percent and the feds retain 68 percent. The land that has the least amount of federal ownership is the Bookcliffs, where they own 61 percent and the state has 30 percent. The rest is private land.
The gross money that coal brings into Utah depends year to year on the price of the black rock. In 2008 the average price per short ton was $27.68. Preliminary estimates are that in 2009 the price rose to around $29. Consequently in 2008 coal produced in the state brought in $672 million. Estimates are that in 2009 the coals produced value was $629.8 million. (The source for this article was the Utah Geological Survey).
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March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 21
Questar’s new gas plant named for dinosaur Questar Transportation Services (QTSC), a subsidiary of Salt Lake City-based Questar Pipeline (QPC), has been operating a new natural gas-processing plant near Price since last summer. Named in honor of a locally discovered dinosaur, the Price Raptor Processing Plant was built adjacent to QPC’s existing main line 104, an interstate pipeline north of Price. The plant has a processing capacity of up to 120 million cubic feet per day of natural gas. It was designed to help QPC meet hydrocarbon dewpoint tariff requirements for volumes delivered via main line 104 to Kern River Pipeline’s receipt point near Goshen. According to Jack Ahern, the QPC engineer who oversaw construction of the plant, the Raptor plant operates “basically, like a very complex refrigerator.” Using propane as a refrigerant, he ex-
plained, the plant chills gas from main line 104 to as low as minus30 degrees Fahrenheit. The lower temperature causes the heavier hydrocarbons in the gas stream, such as propane, butane and ethane, to condense. In their liquid state, these heavier hydrocarbons can be “stripped” (or removed) from the gas stream, transferred to a stabilizing system, and then stored in pressurized tanks. The remaining “residue” gas stream, with its hydrocarbon dewpoint now signifi-
cantly reduced, is blended with richer, unprocessed gas to produce a combined stream meeting the hydrocarbon dewpoint required by Kern River at the Goshen Tap. Prior to constructing the Raptor plant, QTSC leased three portable chiller units to process gas delivered to Kern River. The Raptor plant can recover up to 700 barrels (about 30,000 gallons) of liquid hydrocarbons per day, which are then sold to local companies for further processing
and resale to retailers such as propane dealers. QTSC began designing the Raptor plant in the spring of 2008 and started construction in April 2009. QTSC began operating the plant last August. Allan Bradley, QPC president and CEO, praised the Raptor Plant project team’s execution saying, “The Raptor Plant was completed 45 days ahead of its anticipated Oct. 1 in-service date and at a cost that was under budget,” said Bradley.
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22 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
Nelco is about four decades of local service For more than 36 years, Nelco has fulfilled the construction needs of communities in the Castle Country area and has truly become the area’s “preferred contractor.” Neil Frandsen founded Nelco in 1973 with a clear aspiration of being an exceptionally reliable and quality contractor. Nelco began as a small contracting firm performing primarily excavation work for residential homeowners and developers. Residential site and utility work continues to remain one of Nelco’s key specialties. By 1980 Nelco was taking on increasingly larger jobs involving trucking and heavy excavation. The early ‘80s marked Nelco’s entrance into the energy industry where they have become highly specialized as a support contractor for the area’s coal and natural gas production companies, building new sites,
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pipelines, roads, performing reclamation work, etc. In behalf of the energy industry, Nelco has excavated hundreds of miles of trench for pipelines, built hundreds of miles of road, excavated untold volumes of earth for sites, hauled millions of barrels of water, and much more. In 1991, with the purchase of their first screening plant and thus entering the aggregate production business, Nelco became a full service contractor capable of completing large heavy construction projects. Today Nelco’s aggregate production operation produces a wide range of high quality, crushed-to-spec aggregates that are used for their projects and are also sold to customers. Nelco has multiple quarries in the area with stockpiles ranging from screened pea gravel to large landscaping (Continued on page 23)
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March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 23
Nelco is about four decades of local service: (Continued from page 22) boulders – all ready for sale. Nelco experienced a great period of growth during the ‘90s as they adapted to meet the mounting needs of their valued customers. The growth Nelco was experiencing initiated Larry Jensen becoming Neil’s partner in 1994. Larry had been a trusted and key employee of Nelco since 1975, and was tremendously influential in developing the company’s excellent reputation. Neil and Larry continue to own and operate the business. The new century is bringing new and exciting opportunities to Nelco. In 2005, having outgrown their old location due to the growth of the company, it became necessary for the company to build a new headquarters a few miles south of Price on state highway 10. This first rate, 20-acre lo-
cation includes a large fleet maintenance, welding and machine shop, a large office building, and plenty of room for storage and parking of the company’s fleet of more than 200 trucks, trailers, and heavy equipment. Since 2002, while continuing their other specialty work, Nelco has developed another area of expertise in commercial site work and has performed site work for a large number of new business and municipal buildings in the area. No job is too big or too small for Nelco to give their best work to perform. Every team member at Nelco is dedicated to being the best at what they do. This company mentality has made Nelco “Castle Country’s preferred contractor.” Nelco’s customers are pleased to refer Nelco’s services to others. Due to Nelco’s exceptional work, some customers even—time and
time again—ask Nelco to follow them outside of the area to carry out their construction work. Nelco’s highly skilled and expe-
rienced management team and crews are eager to do whatever it takes to get the job done right, on time and within their budget.
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24 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
Gas production dominated by Uintah Basin By Richard Shaw While a lot of coalbed methane gas is produced south of the Bookcliffs in Utah, it is the Uintah Basin which knocks the socks off production in the state. The basin sits on gas deposits of associated and non-associated gas that are huge. In 2008 Uintah County produced 273,253,486 thousand cubic feet of natural gas. Carbon was second in the state with 94,546,746 thousand feet of gas, much of which is coal bed methane. Duchesne County was third in the state with 26,575,078 thousand cubic feet of gas production while Emery came in fourth with 16,703,949 thousand feet of coalbed methane. As a state, Utah (in 2008) had a total of 6,643 billion cubic feet of known reserves. Utah is eighth in the nation in gas production with Texas having the largest reserves at 77,546 billion cubic feet.
The producing fields in the Carbon – Emery area include Drunkerd’s Wash (49,378,444 thousand cubic feet), Nine Mile (20,970,638 thousand cubic feet), Peters Point (14,313,577 thousand cubic feet), Helper (13,735,819 thousand cubic feet) and the Buzzard Bench field in Emery County (9,989,197 thousand cubic feet). Mineral rights held by owners of land above gas deposits is important. The federal government owns the majority of the land in Utah, so their cut of the natural gas is larger than other groups with 285,342 million cubic feet of production in 2008. The state had a production from its lands of 93,762 million cubic feet. Native American lands within the state had a production of 28,869 million square feet. (The source for this article was the Utah Geological Survey).
A gas drill derrick stands tall during drilling operations for natural gas.
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March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 25
Types of gas important to extraction process By Richard Shaw It’s hard to believe in this day and age of high energy prices and in times when energy seems to be in shorter and shorter supply from year to year that natural gas was once considered a nuisance. When people began looking for oil to fuel cars and machines, and to lubricate what was rapidly becoming a modern society, gas often accompanied oil deposits. That gas was part of what brought the oil to the surface once it was struck, but developers saw it as a problem. In the early days of petroleum development, probably billions of cubic feet of gas were burned off to get rid of it. Today it has become a valued commodity. Oil wells with gas are often utilized for both forms of energy. The gas that comes with oil is called associated gas. But while
gas can be good in this day of energy capture and use, not all gas it created equal either. Underground natural gas exists in many different kinds of forms and in many different kinds of deposits. And where it naturally occurs is not only important, it is problematic. Gas falls into two categories in terms of extraction – conventional gas and unconventional gas. Generally, conventional natural gas deposits are the most practical, and easiest, deposits to remove from the ground. However, as technology and geology grows as a science, unconventional natural gas deposits are beginning to become more viable as a practical supply. Because of these changes, what unconventional gas is, is difficult define because basically the target (Continued on page 38)
One of the operators on a gas drill derrick.
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26 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
Is the future set for robotic coal miners? By Richard Shaw Not many years ago the United States defense department envisioned fighter planes and bombers that could take the fight to the enemy without endangering a pilot’s life. Even as late as the late 1980s that still seemed the fabric of science fiction. Today drones in Afganistan regularly take off and target enemy leaders and fighters with bombs and missiles as the pilots watch through a screen while they sit at an airbase in Nevada. Drones can stay in the air, high above enemy targets for hours and hours, while a pilot sits back, has a cup of coffee, or even hands off the duties of the mission to another pilot because it is time for him to go home because his shift is over. If this kind of technology can be used to fight a war, in a far off
land, people have reasoned, why can’t this technology be used to mine under the ground, making life safer and better for those who would venture under to get minerals, gems and yes, coal to power the world? When the continuous miner was invented in the 1940s, coal mining took a large step forward. Not only could a lot more coal be extracted from the mine at once, but with remote controls, operators could stand in back of the machine and stay out of the way for roof falls and side tunnel blow outs. Longwalls even took this entire idea ten steps farther, by cutting back the number of people needed underground and almost continually mining with little human assistance. But still miners need to be there; deep in the (Continued on page 40)
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A longwall machine in operation in a coal mine. As mines become more automated robotics will become a bigger and bigger part of coal mining. The process began with the invention of the continuous miner and has resulted in various developments over the years, now culminating in the huge machines that grind away at a seam of coal several hundred feet long.
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Does Sevier experience set stage for future? By David Anderson and Richard Shaw Does the experience that Sevier County has been having over a 270 (MW) megawatt power plant bode poorly for the future of coal generated power plants? That question can only be answered as the plans to build that plant near Sigurd continue, now with a new twist. That twist being natural gas. The plant’s planners are thinking of converting the plant to methane power because opposition of some locals and environmental groups have basically halted the coal generation idea. The plant is to be built by NEVCO Energy Company and has been in the planning (Continued on page 61)
This rendering shows what the proposed Nevco power plant would look like once it is built near Sigurd. The smoke stack on the power plant is planned to be 460 feet high. In comparison, the height of the radio towers at KSVC and KCQY in Richfield – shown red – are about 300 feet high.
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28 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
The future of coal and technology By Kevin Scannell Coal has been considered to be the workhorse of man for centuries, possibly thousands of years. It has been burned in fireplaces and stoves to produce heat in living spaces and in business settings. While it is used on a small scale to heat homes, coal is also used for other kinds of industrial production such as to produce paper and in the cement and man-made stone industry. The largest single consumer of coal in the world is as a fuel for power plants, and since the beginning of World War II, the amount of coal used for generating electricity has doubled each decade. With this history in mind, how will our future be affected by coal? That is one of the major questions currently facing the U.S. at this time. And the answer to the
question is not as easy as it seems. Coal contributes a lot to the world, especially here in the U.S., and trying to move away from it to focus on other sources doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon – not with the knowledge that coal reserves in the U.S. are currently projected to last for at least another 200 years. Utah generates a significant amount of electricity from locally supplied coal, providing the power market with distinct supply advantages and enabling residents to enjoy low energy costs. In fact, coal constitutes the most widely distributed fossil fuel in the world and 92 percent of that coal is used to generate electrical power, providing approximately one-half of the electricity in the U.S. In Utah, coal alone generates about 90 percent of (Continued on page 59)
A Rocky Mountain Power employee tests water samples for usability at a power plant in Castle Valley. Coal’s importance, as well as the technology that drives it, continue to develop as time goes on.
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March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 29
Renewable energy pros and cons By Carolyn Campbell Utah is fortunate to have abundant and diverse energy resources, according to Jason Berry, Manager, Utah State Energy Program. “There is an enormous potential to meet our demand for power,” he said. To promote and identify Utah’s utility-scale electrical renewable energy resources, former Governor Huntsman commissioned the Utah Renewable Energy Zones (UREZ) Task Force to identify Utah’s geographical areas where renewable energy development could occur. The task force assessed the electrical generation potential of wind, solar, and geothermal technologies. They also identified new and existing transmission needed to bring renewable energy generation sources to market. The task force study identified renewable energy zones in
Utah totaling approximately 13,262 square miles, with an estimated 837 gigawatts of electrical generating capacity. One gigawatt equals 1,000 megawatts. One megawatt supplies enough energy to meet the electrical needs of approximately 750 Utah homes at any given moment. The UREZ task force’s goal is to promote the development of renewable energy resources to meet the goal of supplying 20 percent of Utah’s electricity through renewable sources by 2026. Utah’s renewable electric capacity is dominated by hydroelectric power. “Hydro electric power makes up the majority of Utah’s renewable energy, through small hydroelectric power plants along the Wasatch Front and further down on the Wasatch plateau,” Berry ex(Continued on page 31)
These wind mills, located at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon, are a part of Utah’s effort to embrace renewable energy sources.
30 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
Consol Energy donates to safety CONSOL Energy, Inc. has made its second $250,000 donation to support the $1.5 million Western Mining Presidential Chair in Mine Safety in the University of Utah’s department of Mining Engineering. The donation – which brings the endowment to nearly $1 million – was presented to University of Utah officials last week by CONSOL by Bart Hyita, vice president and chief operating officer of CONSOL. The Chair in Mine Safety was established in 2009, with CONSOL Energy and Barrick Gold North America as key contributors. Since then, donations have been received from Rio Tinto Kennecott, Rocky Mountain Power, Arch Coal, Intermountain Electronics, John T. Boyd & Co., and many alumni of the Department of Mining Engineering. “We’re really grateful for CONSOL’s leadership in establishing and supporting the safety chair,” said Professor Mike Nelson, chair of the Department of Mining Engineering. “We’ll soon be able to hire a faculty member who can educate our students in mine safety, and who will also take the lead in establishing a center for promotion and establishment of progressive and
PHOTO BY TOM NELSON
CONSOL Energy, Inc. officials have made a second donation of $250,000 to the University of Utah Department of Mining Engineering to help fund a professorship in mine safety. From left to right: Bart Hyita, CONSOL chief operating officer for coal; Jimmy Brock, CONSOL senior vice president for northern West Virginia; Gary Takenaka, CONSOL general manager for applied improvements; Mike Nelson, chair of mining engineering at the University of Utah; and Frank Brown, dean of the College of Mines and Earth Sciences, University of Utah.
effective safety and health systems in the mining industry, through education, outreach, research, advocacy and development.” CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) is the largest producer of highBTU bituminous coal in the United States. Named one of America’s most admired companies by Fortune magazine, CONSOL Energy has evolved from a single-fuel mining company
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March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 31
Renewable energy pros and cons: (Continued from page 29) plains. “A major one is the Flaming Gorge hydroelectric power plant.” There are also increasing amounts of energy from geothermal power within the state. Raser Technologies plans to build several more 10 megawatt scale geothermal plants in southwestern Utah. The 203-megawatt Milford wind farm came online in late 2009. The biomass portion of Utah’s renewable energy is mainly from Wasatch Front landfill gas operations, according to Berry. He adds that the SunSmart solar array in St George is Utah’s first utility-owned solar installation. Alternative energy is derived from any renewable energy source other than fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. “Alternative energy” is an umbrella term that refers to any usable energy source that is intended to
replace fuel sources without the undesired consequences of the replaced fuels. “A big benefit to renewable energy is that there is no cost once the project is developed,” Berry said. “We don’t have to pay for the wind to blow or the sun to shine.” Renewable energy is also considered clean, because it isn’t taken from fossil fuels and is a product of sources that do not use up natural resources or harm the environment. Biomass energy, solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy and hydroelectric energy are all examples of types of alternative energy. According to Western Resource Advocates’ Renewable Energy Atlas of the West, Utah’s biomass resource potential for electricity generation is approximately one million megawatt hours annually. As of 2006, Utah was producing
4,000 megawatt hours of electricity from biomass. According to the Biomass Task Force report from the Western Governors Association, biomass has the potential to supply 15,000 megawatts of electricity to the Western states by the year 2015. At a production cost of 8 cents per kilowatt hour, 10,000 megawatts could be provided. Biomass energy is composed of organic material obtained mainly from plants and animals. It may consist of fermented animal waste, agricultural crops, grains and other natural products. Biomass materials have the potential to supply 15 times more energy than that produced by the sun and wind. Heat and electricity are generated during biomass energy production. It can be used to produce an alcohol is that is comparable to coal and can be used to replace our current gasoline needs.
A natural gas called biogas and biofuel are products obtained from biomass energy. Biomass briquettes produce electricity. According to Utah Clean Energy, a volunteer-based public interest group that serves as an independent resource for clean energy policy, regulatory, and consumer information, biomass projects can strengthen rural economies, and, in some cases, provide additional income to farmers and ranchers. In rural areas, people use biomass as a source of heat for cooking and heating purposes. Anaerobic digestion systems can provide farms and ranchers with a viable means for reducing waste streams and generating onsite energy and/or fuels. Biomass energy helps in solid waste management by reducing pollution. Daily incineration of biological wastes cuts down (Continued on page 33)
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March 2010 â€“ Carbon/Emery Energy Guide â€“ 33
Renewable energy pros and cons:
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(Continued from page 31) the levels of expulsion into the atmosphere, helping to maintain an ecological balance of carbon present in the environment. The electricity generated from biomass is much cleaner than that obtained from fossil fuels. The concept of biomass has been known to man since the time our forefathers began using it as an energy source. Because there is an abundance of organic waste and agricultural waste generated every day, and because biomass energy is produced from these wastes, it is an easily available, inexhaustible resource. It is also cost effective, because it is usually generated and supplied in the same area, so that the installation of large pipelines is not required. One drawback to biomass energy is the cost of raw biomass mate-
rials. In comparison to fossil fuel as far as being a ready-to-use product, biomass energy carries additional processing costs. The process of extraction â€“ collecting, harvesting and storing raw biomass materials â€“ is expensive, especially considering the large volumes required compared to fossil fuels. â€œThe woody biomass from Utahâ€™s forests is resource-expensive, because you have to pull it out and then truck it somewhere. It involves driving truckloads of wood for miles,â€? Berry said. Too, the extra costs extend to installing technology to process and recycle wastes from biomass materials. Compacting, chipping, shredding or cutting huge volumes of biomass is often necessary. For small biomass plants, such cleaning technology may not be economically feasible. (Continued on page 39)
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34 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
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Growing gasification slated for future By Kevin Scannell Coal is considered, by some, to be the cheapest, most abundant source of power available in the United States. With the research that shows coal providing about 50 percent of the U.S. electricity needs and the U.S. having enough coal for the next 200 years, it can be assumed that coal will play a part in the country’s future. But with the prices and availability of oil becoming future concerns, the push for more renewable and reliable energy sources has been brought back to the forefront. The energy concerns are bringing about a renewed interest in technologies such as methanization, liquefaction and gasification. The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) describes
the gasification process as a process for the conversion of carbon-based materials (feedstock) such as coal into synthesis gas (syngas) that can be converted to separate hydrogen and carbon dioxide gas streams as a way to make clean electricity while preventing the release of carbon dioxide. One goal of the NETL’s program is to be able to sequester 90 percent of the carbon from coal with minimal impact to the cost of electricity. Coal gasification can also convert coal into transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel through the Fischer-Tropsch process. Also the hydrogen obtained from gasification can be used for various purposes such as powering a hydrogen economy, making ammonia or upgrading fossil fuels. (Continued on page 37)
Coal, such as is heaped up near Dugout Mine, can be made into natural gas or into motor fuel through processes developed a long time ago. Cost, resources to do it and now enviromental questions, however, have prevented that from happening to any meaningful degree as of yet.
March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 37
Growing gasification slated for future: (Continued from page 36) There are four coal gasification plants currently in the U.S., but none of them produce fuels. Two of the plants produce electricity: The Wabash River Plant in West Terra Haute, Ind., and Tampa Electric’s Polk Station located near Mulberry, Fla. The other two plants produce chemicals: The Great Plains Synfuels Plant near Beulah, N.D. and the Tennessee Eastman Kingsport Power Plant in Kingsport, Tenn. The Great Plains Synfuels Plant produces pipeline-quality synthetic natural gas and related products and is considered to be the cleanest energy plant operating in the state of North Dakota. Some other interesting facts about the plant listed on the Web site include: Average daily production of natural gas is about 153 million cubic feet, the majority of which is
then piped to Ventura, IA for distribution in the eastern U.S. The Synfuels Plant supplies carbon dioxide to the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project in the world in Saskatchewan, Canada. Dakota Gas currently captures about 2.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. The $2.1 billion plant began operating in 1984. Using Lurgi gasifiers, the Synfuels Plant gasifies lignite coal to produce valuable gases and liquids. About $400 million has been invested in the Synfuels Plant since 1988 to achieve environmental compliance, improve efficiency and invest in new byproduct development. With worldwide gasification capacity projected to grow 70 percent by 2015 – with 80 percent of the growth occurring in Asia, Tom Sarkus, dep-
uty director of the Office of Major Demonstrations with the NETL, said that one ton of coal equals about two barrels of oil and has other associated costs that go with it. With the appetite for energy growing all over the world, he thinks gasification of coal is an interesting, but very costly, way of getting energy sources. It can cost anywhere between $70 to $90 a barrel to make gasoline from coal, according to Sarkus. “Energy appetite and consumption has grown over time,” Sarkus said. “There is going to be a lot of financial heavy lifting that needs to be done. You can’t snap your finger and just have all of these things be done so quickly.” Sarkus said that the country of South Africa has about 40 percent of their gasoline derived from coal. Another fuel that can be derived
from coal is jet fuel, which is made from coal and petroleum. With the large coal reserves available inside of the country, Sarkus believes that building more synthetic fuel plants would benefit the country in more than a few ways. “The price of oil would cause reason to build plants or not,” Sarkus said. “Questions in the future we need to answer are how many plants would need to be built and what would the total cost be. But by building a few plants we could be sending a signal to oil producing countries, possibly creating an insurance policy for the future.” Three things that can come from the gasification process include chemicals, fuels and electricity with integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), according to Sarkus. (Continued on page 45)
38 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
Types of gas important to extraction process: (Continued from page 25) keeps moving. What was unconventional last year, may through some process, become conventional gas tomorrow. In general terms, unconventional natural gas is gas that is gas that is more difficult to extract from the ground, and because of that is more expensive, sometimes to the point of being un-economical. So what is considered unconventional natural gas changes over time, and even from gas field to gas field? The costs of gas extraction plays a part in determining whether or not a particular deposit may be unconventional, or simply too costly to extract. Overall, there are six basic categories of unconventional natural gas. These types include deep gas, tight gas, gas-containing shales (stone that holds gas), coalbed methane, geopressurized zones, and sub-sea hydrates.
• Deep natural gas is natural gas that exists in deposits very far underground, beyond what is termed ‘conventional’ drilling depths. This gas is often 15,000 feet or deeper. This is much deeper than conventional gas deposits, which are usually only 3,000-4,000 feet underground. The gas in the West Tavaputs Field near Nine Mile Canyon, for example, is considered deep gas. However, deep gas has become more conventional. Exploration, and extraction systems have substantially improved in the last 10 years, making drilling for this type of gas cost effective. Producing it to make a profit lies in many factors that must be considered before drilling. Tight gas is natural gas that exists in very tight formations underground, trapped in hard rock, in sandstone or limestone formations that are highly impermeable and
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non-porous. It takes a lot of effort to extract gas from a tight formation. Several technologies exist that allow natural gas to be extracted from tight formations, including fracturing and acidizing. Cost, however, can be high. Tight gas makes up a large portion of the nation’s natural gas reserves. Government agencies estimate that between 15-20 percent of the gas that could be used for practical purposes is tight gas. • Shale gas also is unconventional gas. Shales were created from the mud of shallow seas that existed about 300 million years ago. Shale is a sedimentary rock, which can crumble and sheets into thin, parallel layers. It is a soft rock, but doesn’t break down when exposed to moisture. Shale can contain gas between layers, but it is very hard to remove and thus expensive. With present technology removing gas from shale is a dicey proposition because so little comes out with present technology. Again as processes improve, however, it could become a valuable source of gas sometime in the future. • Coal can also create natural gas called coalbed methane. That is the kind of gas that is being produced by the wells drilled in Carbon and Emery counties. Coalbed methane is trapped underground. It can be released by either mining activity or by drilling. This gas has always been a problem for the mining industry, except unlike with oil, its danger was much higher and has caused a myriad of casualties over the years because of explosions. Coalbed methane could be a large supplier of natural gas for consumer use with this kind of gas being about eight percent of total reserves. • Geo-pressured gas. Geo-pressurized zones are formed by layers of clay that are deposited and compacted very quickly on top of more porous, absorbent material such as sand or silt. Natural gas is present
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in the clay and that gas is squeezed out by the rapid compression of the clay. This gas enters the more porous sand or silt deposits. This natural gas, due to the compression of the clay, is deposited in the sand or silt. Geo-pressure zones are located at great depths between two and four miles down in the Earth. All this makes removing the gas very complicated and of course expensive. While exact estimates of the amount of this kind of gas that exists vary, it appears it may be one of the largest sources of gas available to U.S. suppliers. • Methane hydrates were just recently discovered as a source of natural gas. In these formations, water is frozen around methane, which encases it in a kind of cage. While new to the energy supply, these hydrates may contain more gas than at first believed. However, new discoveries often had downsides that come out in environmental factors. Research on this type of natural gas deposit is now underway. Obviously the world is running out of the easy gas to extract, and these unconventional sources are part of the world’s energy future.
March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 39
Renewable energy pros and cons: (Continued from page 33) Another disadvantage of biomass energy is the greenhouse gases that are produced when biomass is burned, said author Erik Leipoldt, who frequently addresses environmental issues. Exhaust gas-cleaning technology must be applied to biomass energy plants to make them truly environmentally friendly. “Utah’s woody biomass does put out some emissions; there would be an air quality issue,” says Berry. Setting up a biomass power plant also requires huge space and the recycling of wastes requires a large amount of water. Moreover, biomass energy depends largely on grown crops. “These crops will take up huge tracts of land if biofuels are to replace fossil fuels to a significant extent. The land might also require deforestation to clear it first,”
indicated Leipolt. Such land is also needed for feeding Earth’s growing population of billions of people. As another alternative energy possibility, Utah’s solar resources are clearly abundant. Utah has a tremendous and largely untapped solar resource, and the potential for solar development is widespread across the state, according to Utah Clean Energy. The UREZ task force identified 6,371 square miles of land with a theoretical potential of about 826 gigawatts of utility-scale capacity in solar energy. According to the UREZ’s report, this amount of concentrating solar potential could generate over 1.5 million gigawatt hours per year – equivalent to the annual electricity demand of over 150 million average Utah homes. According to Utah Clean Energy, utility-scale solar also has the ability to stimulate needed economic
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development in the state; for example a 100 megawatt concentrating solar power plant has the potential to create over 1,000 new jobs and generate $370 million in private investment. Solar energy comes from the sun, the greatest source of energy known today. It is a free source of efficient energy. It is also a renewable resource. As long as the sun exists, its energy will reach Earth. Solar energy is one of the fastest growing energy resources in the world, providing an inexhaustible and clean source of electricity and heat. Solar’s primary benefit is its ability to provide “peak power” during the hot summer months, supporting potentially strained electricity grids and reducing the need to bring on new peaking capacity. It releases no water or air pollution because there is no
chemical reaction from the combustion of fuels. Solar energy can be used very frequently for practical uses, such as heating and lighting. There is a possibility that solar power can replace traditional electricity sources in many places, especially where there is abundant sunshine. But, on the other hand, solar power does not produce energy if the sun is not shining. Nighttime and cloudy days seriously limit the amount of energy produced. In addition, solar power stations can be very expensive to build. And, unfortunately, not all places are ideal for solar power. Wind power is the conversion of wind energy using wind turbines, which transforms the kinetic energy into mechanical power. Utah’s extreme diversity in landscape and (Continued on page 46)
40 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
Is the future set for robotic coal miners: (Continued from page 26) ground, under tons of rock, risking their lives. In the last ten years, developments have taken place that may put the mining industry where those drones over Afganistan fly today, technology wise – at a day when a miner can sit above ground and totally run a machine that will dig out the coal, load it and bring it to the surface without a human being touching it. And it may be much closer than many think. One of the first mining robots was developed eight years ago at Carnegie-Mellon University’s Robotics Institute. It was called “Groundhog” and it looked like a four-wheeler. It used lasers to “see” in dark tunnels and to map abandoned mines – some of the most dangerous work, according to experts. During a test researchers sent “Groundhog” into an abandoned mine in Pennsylvania where it slogged deep into the orange muck, successfully navigating with its laser rangefinders. If nothing else, the idea of using unmanned vehicles – or robots – to go into mines where conditions are dangerous, or to rescue people, has been one of the main objectives of researchers. In 2005, a robot went into a Kentucky coal mine that had been producing acid-type smoke and heat. The underground passage to the mine could not be traversed by a human without special gear. It was the first time a robot was sent into a coal mine ahead of humans to check the situation and to see if it was safe. Using robots in rescue operations can be complicated however. The lasers that guide robots don’t work well in smoky or misty environments. Scientists are working on using sonar and radar to overcome these problems. Mines around the world are already testing various kinds of
technologies to remove coal from deep under the ground without a human presence. For instance, in Korea mining fields are likely to see a new cadre of remote-controlled robotic coal-miners by about 2014. The state-run Korea Coal Corp. (KOCOAL) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) a couple of years ago with three Korean engineering institutions and companies for the development of intelligent coal-mining robots. It is thought that these robots will increase productivity by working around the clock and going deeper into the ground than humans can safely go. The company has research teams that will be working with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and a Korean university that will jointly work on the project. Once the miners are developed and tested for about half a year they are expected to be in place, actually mining coal, not just doing rescue or dangerous work. The U.S. mining industry, however, has shown little interest in funding such research until very recently. Robots are expensive, and developing them for the exact purposes needed make them even more so. Advances in other technology have already reduced the number of miners in the U.S. by 68 percent over the last 40 years. Today, nationwide, about 100,000 people work in the coal-mining industry, so the incentive may not be there as much as it once was. Safety, one of the biggest reasons to consider robots, has also changed a lot over the years. Since around 1990, fatalities have declined by 67 percent, and injuries by 51 percent, according to the National Mining Association. Certainly some of it is a question of money. Could robots be that much more efficient than a
human being that their cost would be worth what it may be. The industry is talking about hundreds of millions of dollars, maybe even into the billions range to make machines that are viable and durable enough to stand the circumstances in wet, dusty and danger-filled mines. And in today’s depressed economy, where no one is sure which direction economic conditions are headed, with coal under fire from environmentalists and even governments like never before, and with federal funding for such research drying up, the ques-
tions of whether to mechanize more or not is larger than ever. Finally there is also a downside, as there is with any technological development. The coal industry, man-power wise, is already a skeleton of what it was 50 years ago due to technological advances. Eliminating most people completely from a mine would bring the number of people running it down considerably. And with steel hands and claws actually pulling the black material out of the ground, it could be the end of a profession and an era.
Ecoshale tests successful By Mary Bernard In October, Dr. Laura Nelson, vice president of Ecoshale, said the company’s pilot project, in the Bookcliffs, has produced a high quality oil-shale product. “We did so working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency to make an environmentally sensitive product,” she stated. Nelson was briefing the Utah Board of Oil, Gas and Mining at the Uintah Basin Applied Technology College in the success of Ecoshale’s feasibility test. Ecoshale’s synthetic product has properties rated by the American Petroleum Institute (API) as 39 condensate oil and between 34 and 35 prompt oil with no fines, or impurities, in the oil. Based on the test study, Nelson projects full-production at 30,000 barrels a day would cost $20.21 per barrel, not including transportation. Her comments came shortly after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar called for an investigation into Bush-era oil shale leasing practices in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. While Salazar’s comments refer to oil shale leases on federal lands, Nelson says Ecoshale
is developing less obtrusive extraction techniques on state lands. She notes the Salt Lake-based Ecoshale operates a test facility on “17,000 acres on Utah State School Institutional Trust Lands property roughly 60 miles southeast of Vernal.” Geologists estimate that “there’s about 1.5 billion barrels of in-place oil shale resource on these properties,” says Nelson, who adds conservatively that only 500 million barrels are recoverable. Deposits of the Green River Formation oil shale are found from the surface to a depth of 100 feet with the richest strata found inside the parcels occupied by Ecoshale. “Ecoshale has access to the largest block of surface mineable resource in region,” says Nelson. “The resource is called kerogen, an organic matter with petroleum-like qualities which is heated in above ground capsules to extract oil from the shale.” The shale is mined, crushed and placed into a nearby bentonite-line earthen capsule where the oil product are extracted. It’s a slow heating process that produces a high quality product. The capsule and related structures occupy about five acres.
March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 41
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Drilling that well is all very complicated When the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) purchased a 13,200acre parcel of wildlife habitat in western Colorado in the early 1980s, it seemed like a great deal for them and sportsmen. Funds for the purchase of Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area (SWA) came from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, so everyone thought that is what it would only be used for. The purchase of the land was a good thing for hunters and fishermen, who got access to the land. The area around Garfield Creek was always quiet, largely agricultural. Few surmised that the growing technology in the energy industry, natural gas retrieval in particular, would make Garfield County a center of the energy
industry with a growth rate beyond other counties in the state. In 2008, Garfield Creek SWA was opened up to natural gas drilling. Some Coloradoan’s find this to be a rape of land meant for another purpose, while others see it just as the way things are. For those drilling for oil and gas in today’s environment, the steps they must now go through and the time it takes is just as surprising. Even when they do have access to the mineral rights or lease them from state or federal government entities, they must also face a lot of things they didn’t find standing in the way not that many years ago. In the case of Garfield, Orion
Oil is doing the drilling and they are working with state wildlife officials to mitigate the damage to the land, the flora and the fauna. But that doesn’t mean there is still not opposition and concern by many in the surrounding communities and across Colorado. The plan does restrict the company’s operations quite substantially. Orion cannot have any surface activity within the SWA until after the wildlife have migrated back to the higher elevations after winter. In addition, their work needs to be completed each year before the big game rifle hunting season begins in the fall. That leaves only a few months of the year that the energy company can work inside Garfield SWA. Orion has
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also put up a million dollars to install a water supply line that cuts out all the truckloads (estimated to be 2,400) of water that would be needed to operate the wells). Bill Barrett Corporation has faced a similar situation in the local area, but they have not only had to contend with wildlife considerations, but archaeological ones as well. Complex problems often have no easy answers, and conflict does arise between groups, companies and often government. So between exploration costs, permiting costs, and environmental protection costs, the expense of drilling wells is no longer an inexpensive endeavor, as if it ever was.
March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 43
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Miners Hospital brings services to workers By Carolyn Campbell Warren Oviatt began working as a miner in 1970. He started out at Swisher Coal in Carbon County. For a few months in 1972, he mined for Peabody Coal at Deer Creek. From then until his scheduled retirement in July 2009, he has worked for American Coal. Oviatt’s gradual hearing loss began during his first ten years as a miner. He worked 15 or 20 years before the loss was evident in everyday life. “I had to turn the TV up louder and ask people to repeat what they said,” he recalls. Twenty years ago, a Price audiologist prescribed a hearing aid for Oviatt’s left ear. Two years ago, he visited the Miners Hospital and Clinic which is part of the University Health Care Network at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. “A graduate student in audiology
tested my hearing,” recalls Oviatt. “He was supervised by one of the instructors. They determined that I now needed hearing aids in both ears.” Oviatt explains that the hearing aids he received are state of the art. “I got the treatment I needed,” he said. Oviatt is one of 380 patients who have been served by the Miners Hospital since it was established in 2004. Today, he also serves on the advisory board for the hospital. Utilizing his experience in mining, EMT and fire fighting work, he assembled a presentation for the doctors that explained mining machinery and techniques and showed how injuries could result from mining. He continues to interface with medical personnel to provide insight regarding mining operations and subsequent injuries and to increase public awareness of the Miners Hospital. He recalls one individual who suf(Continued on page 60)
Shauna Vincent, Dana Hughs and Holly Horton are members of the staff a the Utah Miners Hospital which is located within the University of Utah Hospital. Carolyn Wiggins, not pictured, is the manager of the hospital. The offices for the hospital are located in Suite 1B295 in the main hospital building.
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Growing gasification slated for future: (Continued from page 37) IGCC is the technology that turns coal into gas – synthetic gas. It then re-
moves the impurities from the coal gas before it is combusted. This results in lower emissions of sulfur dioxide, par-
Mine Systems Company Mine Systems Co. was established by Charles Bardsley in 1996. The operation started at the Business and Technical Assistance Center in Price. As business increased, the company was able to purchase a shop in Helper, and at present, they have a fully-equipped and manned electrical repair and fabrication facility with over 6,000 square feet. MSCO is a family-owned business that is committed to the future. Their vision is to create superior customer value and continue to be a high quality supplier of new, refurbished and repaired electrical systems, components and mining supplies.
In today’s industrial markets and the regulation of these markets there is no room for short cuts. The company’s guarantee to their customers is that they will use only OEM parts in the repair of equipment and that equipment will be worked on or supervised by an MSHA certified Electrician. Mine Systems Company thanks their customers and suppliers that have made MSCO able to offer a quality product for a fair price. “Our employees are constantly striving for excellence. We look forward to working with you in the future,” said a spokesman for the company.
ticulates and mercury. Excess heat from the primary combustion and generation is then passed to a steam cycle, similar to a combined cycle gas turbine. Sarkus said one of the main problems facing IGCC is the high cost associated with it. One of the single biggest issues facing coal gasification is the environmental footprint it has. Because power plants are emitting a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, research is being done on how to capture the carbon dioxide for use. Sarkus said that every ton of carbon dioxide that is injected into an enhanced oil field can possibly recover an additional one and a half to three barrels of oil. That could turn into a possible 40 billion barrels of oil, with another 40 billion barrels of oil after that due to a process called carbon dioxide flooding. The process involves injecting carbon dioxide into an oil reservoir in order to
increase output when extracting oil. If billions of barrels of oil were possible and the technology of gasification is advanced and refined, Sarkus said this could have the potential to reach a trillion dollars or more. “This could be a potentially big, enormous undertaking,” he said. “This could also help with pollution control and have our domestic oil production increase. Energy supply and security that goes with it is very big as well.” Sarkus said that cleaner gasification plants could possibly be built within the next five to ten years and would last about 50 – 70 years. “I don’t believe we can manage right now without coal because of how much we depend on it,” Sarkus said. “We need to develop technologies than can adapt to what the future brings, including gasification plants. “We need to use the source (coal) and use it as cleanly as we can,” he said.
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Renewable energy pros and cons: (Continued from page 39)
climate significantly affect Utah’s wind resources. As a result, Utah has a wide array of locations that may be viable options for wind energy development. The task force determined that the total area of Utah’s 52 wind sites is 1,838 square miles. The greatest concentration of wind resources is located near Milford, with an estimated capacity of 2,500 megawatts. Eleven Utah wind energy sites have a capacity of at least 250 megawatts each, for a total of 2,750 megawatts. According to Utah Clean Energy, this amount of wind would provide enough energy for over 660,000 average Utah homes and yield a net economic benefit of approximately $2.7 billion dollars and would create more than 1,110 long term jobs. Wind energy is particularly efficient at producing electricity, says environmental writer, Ian Callis. “Obviously you need a lot of
wind, like along coast lines and at high altitudes. Wind power could replace up to 20 percent of our total electric consumption in the foreseeable future.” Wind is a clean source of energy with no harmful by-products such as carbon dioxide. On the downside, wind power is intermittent. Consistent wind is needed for continuous power generation. If wind speed decreases, the turbine lingers and less electricity is generated. According to Utah Clean Energy, the prospect of wind-generated energy carries concerns about aesthetics, wildlife, and land use impacts, along with competition for high-demand commodities, such as steel and cranes. Geothermal energy literally means “earth heat.” It is thermal heat derived from the Earth. Geothermal energy harnesses the heat energy present underneath the earth. Hot rocks under the ground heat water to produce steam.
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When holes are drilled, the steam that shoots up is purified and is used to drive turbines, which power electric generators. According to Western Resource Advocates’ Renewable Energy Atlas of the West, Utah’s geothermal resource potential for electricity generation is approximately 1 million megawatt-hours annually. As of 2006, Utah was producing 4,000 megawatt-hours of electricity from geothermal sources. According to the Geothermal Task Force Report from the Western Governor’s Association, geothermal has the potential to supply 15,000 MW of electricity to the Western states by the year 2015. On the plus side, geothermal projects can strengthen rural economies, and. in some cases provide additional income to farmers and ranchers. Anaerobic Digestion Systems can provide farmers and ranchers with a viable means for reducing waste streams and generating on-site energy and/or fuels. Biofuels can also help reduce America’s dependence on imported oil. Challenges to geothermal development include transmission and distribution limitations, high up-front capital costs and limitations relating to water constraints. Hydroelectric energy is an energy source that is mainly derived from dams.
Electricity production from the water movement is clean and does not produce waste material. Tidal energy uses the natural tides of the ocean to produce energy much in the same way as hydroelectric energy, but on a smaller scale. Berry explains that over the past three decades, environmental laws have become more and more restrictive. “You can’t just throw up a dam on a river,” he said. Seeking approval from state and federal regulators can require years of effort. Many Utah hydropower projects are more than 40-years-old, utilizing facilities built in the late 1800s. With current energy high energy prices in a struggling economy, there is great interest in identifying energy resources that aren’t being fully utilized. Also, with many countries signing the Kyoto Treaty, which carries a goal of reducing greenhouse gas, efforts to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases are a primary focus in today’s culture. Alternative or renewable energy sources show significant promise in helping to reduce the amount of toxins that are byproducts of energy use. Not only do they protect against harmful by-products, but using alternative energy helps to preserve many of the natural resources that we currently use as sources of energy.
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Flaming Gorge Dam in Daggett County is a good example of a hydro-electric project built in the middle part of the 20th century. Most of the lake behind it lies in Wyoming and comes from the Cowboy State. The power goes to various venues around the west. Getting a dam built today in that same spot would face strong environmental opposition.
March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 47
Water can be a problem for drilling operations By Mary Bernard Utah’s Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (DOGM) estimates that 90 percent of drilling waste is water. with the rest comprised of drilling mud andsludge. How much water? Roughly “150 million barrels of water (were) produced through drilling activities last year in Utah,” says Gil Hunt, DOGM associate director. Of that, 80 percent of the waste water is pumped underground, 14 percent is treated and discharged over the surface and six percent is transported to evaporation pits in the Uintah Basin’s disposal facilities. It’s six times the volume of drilling waste water disposed in 1999. And, not all of it comes from the Uintah Basin’s drilling activities. “Out-of-state waste comes in from drilling operators with facilities in two states, Utah and Colorado,“ says Hunt,
who explains the division’s regulatory authority doesn’t extend to neighboring states. How much drilling waste for disposal comes from out-of-state? When pressed about this, Hunt admits, “we just do not have an idea of the type or amount of waste being brought in for disposal in the Basin.” Speaking before the Board of Oil, Gas and Mining board meeting in Vernal last fall, Hunt said the problem of waste disposal was one of ever-increasing volume. “The practice of hauling reserve pits material to an off-site disposal facility is fruaght with problems,” Hunt wrote in a March 2009 DOGM memo. The memo states the division’s preferred regulatory stance is that water and other by-products form the drilling remain and be mitigated in place. That means injection over re-
moval. But finding suitable subsurface geology to inject waste materials or completing the regulatory compoliance for the process has been difficult. Hunt says that the alternative involves surface disposal facilities with “evaporation pits, landfarms, compost operations and water treatment surface discharge.” The regulations that govern drilling waste and water disposal are overseen by DOGM. According to the director the division is updating their procedures to face the growing demand for disposal and the abuse of existing regulations. For example, “operators are constructing deeper evaporation pits, taking more out-of-state waste, and placing •unauthorized waste in landfarms,” says Hunt. He recommends in the future that “no drilling mud, sludge or any wet non-water materials from reserve
pits and the drilling process be allowed at landfarms or other disposal facilities.” Some of the abuses of the disposal permits are inadvertent - others are intentional. Regulations regarding the disposal of chemical-ladened waste material and water vary by state. Colorado requires disclosure of chemicals in 50gallon drums to be disposed. But, no state requires complete information about the chemicals from reserve pits for disposal. The chemicals are residual fluids from hydraulic fracturing methods used in drilling. One, chemical compound is hydrogen sulphide, which accounts for the odor generally associated with evaporation pits. Hunt stated that better up-front methods for evaluating and monitoring treatment locations should from the divisions efforts in updating procedures.
48 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
March 2009 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 49
Western mines lead the way New roof bolting technologies are increasing performance and safety in underground mining By Russ Myers Managing Director, Brady Mining The goal in mining has always been to produce the largest possible tonnage at the lowest possible cost under the safest possible conditions. This focus on continuous improvement has always been at the forefront of mining here in the West. The economy may continue to fluctuate; however, demand for power generation remains strong and perhaps is the only constant in an environment of debate and political wrangling. To meet ever-increasing production demands, mine operators must keep their operations running with the latest technology available. A business located here in Utah is investing in developing products and technologies to increase production and safety with the hardest material known to man… Diamond. Mankind has revered the diamond for thousands of generations. It has been a symbol of strength and often associated with mystical properties. The phrase “diamond in the rough” ironically describes the untapped potential uses for diamond today. Brady Mining, located in Orem, has been adapting this technology to roof bolt drilling. It makes sense
to use the hardest material known to man in some of the hardest conditions known to man. Due to its excellent thermal stability and abrasion properties, a single diamond bit is capable of replacing hundreds of carbide bits while improving overall safety. The production challenge for many mine operators can be directly traced to traditional carbide bits, which have been used for decades in mining operations. These outdated bits quickly dull while drilling and need to be frequently replaced. The tedious task of continually replacing bits slows down the bolting process and limits the amount of coal that can be produced. Equipment downtime is opportunity lost, severely decreasing production and creating safety concerns as miners scramble to replace roof bolting bits before mining operations can continue. New and continually advancing diamond technology is delivering results for many mine operators throughout the world. These innovative new tools are allowing miners to drill faster, increase tonnage, reduce equipment downtime and improve overall safety. Using polycrystalline diamond (PDC), Brady Mining ceramic roof bolt bits are delivering unmatched performance and cost savings.
Polycrystalline diamond bits are safer to use and are more efficient than traditional carbide bits.
Brady Mining uses polycrystalline diamond (PDC) to develop arguably the strongest roof bolting bits used in the mining industry.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Mines, “three substantial improvements that make PDC bits more cost effective and safer to use have been reported. First, PDC drill bits have shown to have a bit life of 200-600 times longer than the conventional WC-Co (carbide) bits. Second, the penetration rate of PDC bits is about 40 percent higher than WC-Co (carbide), requiring fewer labor hours to install the bolts. The increase in bit life can also dramatically reduce non-fatal injuries associated with roof bolting because of reduced driller interaction with the roof bolter. Third, when using PDC bits, there is a much smaller chance for frictional ignition of methane, which is present in many mines” (Comparison of Respirable Dust Generation, Laxman S. Sundae, et. al., 1995). The Brady Mining PDC bit design not only saves overall cost by replacing hundreds of carbide bits, but it also results in a large time savings when weighted against replacing carbide bits on a frequent basis. This allows miners to quickly support the roof and reduce their exposure. Additionally, the unique structure of diamond in a PDC bit allows for the diamond edge to maintain its sharpness throughout the life of the bit. In contrast, carbide roof bits immediately begin to dull, creating a wear flat on the
cutting edge – requiring more thrust, which significantly lowers the rate of penetration from the start to the eventual completion of the hole. Unfortunately, this carbide wear flat also begins to pulverize the rock instead of cutting and removing it, generating much more respirable dust than with diamond bits. The U.S. Bureau of Mines further reported, “results show that when drilling dry, the polycrystalline diamond compact bits produced 71–88 percentless dust than the tungsten carbide bit.” Given the many apparent benefits created with the use of diamond miners were quick to accept Brady PDC bits. Brady Mining is the leader in highdensity ceramic roof bolt mining tools for both wet and dust hog applications – focused on improving the production and safety of today’s underground mining operations. The engineering expertise and unique diamond technology built into every product makes Brady Mining tools perhaps the longest lasting and most technically advanced products on the market. Brady Mining offers a proven track record of performance, delivering unmatched durability and toughness from the easiest to the most difficult of roof-bolting conditions. For more information on Brady Mining roof bolt bits and other products, call 800-535-7419 or visit: www.bradymining.com.
50 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
Local news – it’s what we do. And it’s freely available online, 24/7
Sun Advocate www.sunad.com
March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 51
Helping you produce the Energy we all use
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Nothing says ‘power’ like a generator Electrical generators are at the heart of every power plant. While they may vary in shape, size and output, they all do the same thing – convert mechanical energy to electrical energy. Carbon and Emery counties are actually home to more than a half dozen mass-production electrical generators.
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Standard Laboratories, Inc. is an analytical services firm specializing in energy and the environment. We began over a halfcentury ago as a family business in Appalachian coal country, producing accurate high integrity data at a fair price. We’re still committed to those friendly, reliable, cost-effective solutions Standard Laboratories, Inc. has been the contract laboratory for Arch Coal Inc. since 2000, servicing their 3 Utah coal mines with 2 labs in Utah. The labs are located in Salina, servicing SUFCo and onsite at Skyline Mine, servicing Dugout Canyon and Skyline mines. The need for more analysis and service in the Castle Valley has provided Standard Laboratories, Inc. the opportunity to open a lab in Huntington Utah last year. The lab will provide coal analysis, sampling, sampler inspections, as well as gas analysis for underground mines. Standard Laboratories, Inc. currently operates over forty laboratories in the U.S. specializing in coal sampling and analysis, with additional analytical capability in soil, water, environmental and geochemical matrices. Testing capabilities are comprehensive, ranging from routine mine control work and large washability studies to trace analyses for over one thousand analytes and complex research programs.
52 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
Nielsen Construction faces busy year As winter slowly gives way to spring Nielson Construction is preparing to gear up for another busy production season in the Carbon and Emery county area. Nielson crews worked through the winter on a number of projects throughout the area and when spring arrives the workload will intensify as new projects gear up. Nielson Construction started out more than 40 years ago by providing service to energy producers in the area, particularly customers in mining and power and today that tradition continues as the company has expanded its capabilities to provide service in the oil and gas field and many others. It has been the diversity of the compa-
ny and its people that has helped it to weather economic storms throughout the years. One of the newest services the company provides was unveiled in 2009 when the company expanded into the concrete business and opened Nielson Concrete Services outside of Price. New to the concrete business, Wayne and John Nielson, president and vice president, set a goal for their company and people to provide the best service possible for their concrete customers and by year’s end the new plant had surpassed its first year production goals. With the spring thaw Nielson Construction people and equipment are ready to go to work for energy producers throughout the area.
Nielson Construction’s new concrete plant just off of Highway 10.
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March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 53
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54 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
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March 2010 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – 55
Your local news and more...we bring you the latest information on what’s happening in Carbon & Emery Counties
Sun Advocate 435-637-0732
In-County 6 months $25.00 In-State 6 months $28.00 Out-of-state 6 months $36.00
1 year $42.00 1 year $46.00 1 year $61.00
In-County 6 months $12.50 In-State 6 months $16.00 Out-of-state 6 months $19.00
1 year $25.00 1 year $30.00 1 year $35.00
Call 435-381-2431 for out of county or out of state rates. Mail form to: 410 E. Main, Castle Dale, UT 84513
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56 – Carbon/Emery Energy Guide – March 2010
The “houses” that energy built Money from the energy industry has been supporting the eastern Utah region for years. But most people think of it in the form of wages and taxes, and forget about royalties and severance fees companies pay to extract coal, gas and other minerals from the ground. Some of the money they pay comes back to the communities in the area through the special service districts. Some comes from the Permanent Community Impact Board. Some comes to the counties in other ways. These dollars have been spent on a myriad of projects over the years, some of which are pictured on this page.
North Springs Recreation Area (shooting range).
The new senior center at the Carbon County Fairgrounds (and the East Carbon Senior Center, not shown). Dugout Canyon Road.
The Carbon County Ambulance Garage on Airport Road and the Sunnyside/East Carbon Public Saftey building (not shown).
The new Childrens Justice Center/Family Support Center (under construction).
The Carbon County Events Center.
March 2010 â€“ Carbon/Emery Energy Guide â€“ 57
Research shows coal industry, strong industry: (Continued from page 47) indicate the researchers. The coal-fueled electricity study was conducted by Adam Rose and Bo Yang, economists at Penn State University. Professor Rose heads the department of energy environmental and mineral economics. Rose and research assistant Yang used certain economic assumptions to present the findings. In the first instance, the study assumes varying levels of linkage between the coal-based electricity generation industry and other sectors of the economy. The maximum versus minimum linkage variable measures the degree to which coal-based electricity produces ripple effects that benefit other industries and sectors. The data is refined by taking into account the economic effects of using a higher-cost fuel â€“ in this case natural gas â€“ as a substitute for
low-cost coal. By factoring in the substitution prices, the study shows how coalâ€™s economic advantages are even greater when considering the costs of using a more expensive alternative fuel to generate electricity, explain the Penn State analysts. The year 2010 was selected for modeling because regulatory programs aimed at displacing coal would need to be implemented over time, added the researchers. Because reliance on coal as a fuel source for generating electricity varies from region to region throughout the United States, the economic benefits are not evenly spread across the nation. The economic advantages for coal-producing states are evident, confirm the study results. More surprising, however, are the economic benefits realized by states that do not produce coal, but
use it as a primary fuel for electricity generation. The study concludes that coalbased electricity will result in substantial economic benefits for large and small states alike, explain the Penn State researchers. For example, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania stand to gain from $21 billion to $32 billion in increased economic output. Smaller states also share in the advantages provided by coal-generated electricity. For example, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Oregon and South Dakota are projected to gain from $560 million to $720 million in expanded output, according to the research findings. â€œThis new analysis proves what we have known for a long time,â€? points out Stephen Miller, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Energy and Economic De-
velopment. â€œElectricity from coal provides economic empowerment to local communities, small businesses and working families,â€? adds the energy and development centerâ€™s chief executive officer. According to Miller, the study provides an additional level of details relative to the ongoing national energy policy debate. â€œDespite electricity from coalâ€™s low cost and improving environmental performance, some special interest groups still believe we should abandon this abundant domestic energy resource,â€? explained the centerâ€™s executive officer. â€œThe Rose-Yang study provides additional empirical proof that coalbased electricity is an essential element of a balanced energy portfolio that increases energy security and provides economic empowerment for American families,â€? concluded Miller.
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