Workshops for the proposed Hydrogen Energy California (HECA) project will be held in Buttonwillow this week by the California Energy Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Three days of workshops, each focusing on a different technical area of the project, will be used to answer questions as well as receive comments from the public.
The project has been proposed by SCS Energy, LLC and will be located near Tupman, about seven miles west of Bakersfield, on about 1,106 acres of agricultural land. HECA will use coal and petroeum coke to produce a hydrogen rich syngas as well as urea fertilizer and other nitrogenous compounds. The syngas will be used to generate over 400 MW of electricity.
Additionally, the facility will capture about 90 percent of the carbon dioxide produced from the gasification process and transport it several more miles by pipeline to the Elk Hills Oil Field, where Occidental of Elk Hills, Inc. will use it for enhanced oil production. Although project proponents are referring to this aspect of HECA as carbon sequestration, opponents counter by saying that since the captured CO2 will be used to produce several million barrels of crude oil, the CO2 generated from that "new" oil negates any sequestration claim.
The schedule for the workshops, and topics to be discussed in each, is as follows:
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - Commission workshop from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., public comments for the Energy Department from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Topics: air quality; carbon sequestration and greenhouse gases; noise and vibration; power plant efficiency; power plant reliability; public health; and traffic and transportation.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - Commission workshop from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., public comments for the Energy Department from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Topics: alternatives; biological resources; hazardous materials management; waste management; water resources; and worker safety and fire protection.
Thursday, September 19, 2013 - Commission workshop from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Topics: cultural resources; facility design; land use; paleontology/geology; socio-economics; transmission line safety/nuisance; transmission system design; and visual resources.
The workshops will be held at the Buttonwillow Recreation and Park District Multi-Purpose Facility, 556 Milo Avenue, in Buttonwillow.
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