Alachua County ’s contracted expert review of the Alachua County Environmental Protection Advisory Committee’s (EPAC) report on Gainesville Regional Utilities’ power plant expansion plans is now available to the public.
Alachua County hired Numark and Associates, a Washington, D.C. energy consulting firm, to perform an expert review of the EPAC report. In providing this review, Numark assembled a multi-disciplinary team of national experts knowledgeable on health effects of coal combustion, reducing electrical consumption, available alternatives for generating electricity, and carbon emission regulation.
The Numark review supports many of the conclusions of the EPAC report, finding it, “reasonable, thoroughly researched, well informed and devoid of serious errors”. This expert review validates most of the concerns previously expressed by the EPAC report regarding the proposed GRU expansion of the coal-fired power plant.
In addition, the Numark review raises additional concerns about the validity of GRU’s previous proposal for power plant expansion beyond the scope of the EPAC report:
- Concerns regarding health effects to downwind communities should be expanded to include communities located outside of Alachua County
- GRU could reduce the need for additional electrical generating capacity by more effective demand side management plans, and such strategies should be evaluated
- The EPAC report may have underestimated the potential for GRU to incorporate alternative power generation strategies such as the use of biomass, other renewable energy technologies, and distributed generation
- EPAC did not address GRU’s projections of future electrical generating capacity that likely overestimate projected future demand.
The Numark review suggests that the EPAC report may have been overly concerned about the stringency of future U.S. carbon emission regulation. However, the review does affirm EPAC’s finding that the proposed coal-fired plant expansion would increase the risk of financial penalties for carbon emissions.
The Numark review concludes an extensive effort by EPAC to address environmental concerns regarding the validity of GRU’s power plant expansion plans. Over the span of 18 months and 55 meetings, EPAC conducted an extensive evaluation of the GRU power plant expansion plans and provided their final report to the Board of County Commissioners in September, 2005.
The Numark review is available in pdf format and may be downloaded from the Environmental Protection Department’s main website at: http://environment.alachua.fl.us
The EPAC report may be downloaded at the Polution Prevention section of the EPD website.