A NEW COAL-BURNING PLANT OFFERS A GLIMPSE OF A NONNUCLEAR FUTURE

This story from 1984 on Kitgah Generating Station aka AES Someset, illustrate the paradox of what is now New York's dirtest industrial plant, when it comes to air pollution, and requires a landfill that nearly twice as much waste as Albany's Rapp Road Landfill:

"The biggest is in the the cost of preserving the environment. Somerset is described as a $1 billion plant, but actually is a $650 million power generating station, with a coal furnace at one end and a smokestack a quarter-mile away."

"That quarter-mile is filled with a jumble of buildings containing $350 million in pollution-control equipment, a complex of machines and treatment facilities that takes a score of workers to operate, and uses enough electricity to supply a city of 35,000."

"The result is that the long, low plume of smoke that drifts from the 625-foot stack over the fields of cows and crops is relatively benign, the utlility says."

"The sulfur and soot that would normally go up the stack are collected in solid form. And to avoid creating sulfur dioxide, an ingredient of acid rain - which has been blamed for damage to lakes and forests in the Northeast and Canada - the equipment uses large amounts of limestone and other substances to bind the sulfur chemically."

"The result is that the plant produces 1,250 tons of calcium sulfate and 600 tons of fly ash a day that must be hauled away."

"Disposing of this amount of material is not quite as much of a challenge as bringing in the 5,000 tons of coal that the plant burns each day. That required the construction of a 15.5-mile railroad, for $53.5 million, that connects the plant with the Conrail network."

"To supply the monthly electric needs of a family using 500 kilowatt-hours from Somerset, the utility hauls 333 pounds of coal from Pennsylvania to the site, and disposes of 110 pounds of waste."

Good morning! Happy Saturday. Another very mild day on tap. Partly cloudy and 61 degrees in Albany. There is a south breeze at 14 mph. The dew point is 53 degrees. Almost feels like a summer morning with the windows open with a bit of a chill in the air. The fresh air is nice although the road noise is not quite as nice. 

Today will have more clouds and an increasing chance of rain showers later. High of 66 degrees at 2pm. Only 29 degrees above normal. Maximum dew point of 52 at 6am. Breezy, with a south wind 14 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. A year ago, we had fog, rain, snow and a high of 58 degrees. The record high of 67 was set in 1976. We could possibly break the record again. 16.8 inches of snow fell back in 1966.

The sun will set at 5:40 pm with dusk around 6:09 pm, which is 1 minute and 15 seconds later than yesterday. Tomorrow will have 11 hours and 8 minutes of daylight, an increase of 2 minutes and 51 seconds over today.

Tonight will rain showers before 2am, then a slight chance of rain and snow showers. Some thunder is also possible. Low of 33 degrees at 6am. 12 degrees above normal. Breezy, with a west wind 17 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 39 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Little or no snow accumulation expected. In 2016, it got down to 21 degrees with periods of snow. The record low of -11 occurred back in 1950.

Next Saturday is when the Average High reaches 40 when the sun will be setting at 5:49 pm with dusk at 6:17 pm. On that day in 2016, we had snow and temperatures between 38 and 18 degrees. Typically, the high temperature is 40 degrees. We hit a record high of 59 back in 1919. That’s colder then this morning.