Monday, August 30, 2010

Go! Green Tulsa Expo to Promote Sustainability

Tulsa Business Staff

The 2010 Go!Green Tulsa Expo will be Sept. 18 and provide information about saving money and the environment. The expo will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the University of Tulsa’s Allen Chapman Activity Center, 440 S. Gary Ave.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr. is slated to open the event at 9 a.m. and begin the program with a discussion of City of Tulsa sustainability initiatives.

The remainder of the day will feature seminars led by regional experts. Every seminar is designed to help people learn more about many topics related to sustainability, including “Building a Sustainable City,” “Understanding Your Environmental Footprint,” “Sustainable Food Movement,” “Green Cleaning,” “Sustainable Personal Care” and “Green Renovation & New Construction.”

A special presentation will offer a panel of Tulsa-area university representatives who will talk about the leadership these institutions are providing in sustainability. Other presentations will address home design and finance and the benefits of community medicine.

Registration is required so adequate lunches are available. Registration materials and additional information is available on the AIA Eastern Oklahoma website,, and City of Tulsa website.

Friday, August 20, 2010

EQ purchases hazardous waste facility in Tulsa

Tulsa Business Staff

The Environmental Quality Co., based in Michigan, recently announced the company has purchased a hazardous waste management facility located in Tulsa from A Clean Environment Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“The addition of the Tulsa, Okla., facility into EQ’s extensive facilities and services network enhances our western U.S. presence,” said David Lusk, president and CEO of EQ. “We currently conduct business across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. EQ Oklahoma brings us strategically closer to our western customers with new waste treatment and recycling capacity and capability.”

The facility, which will be known as EQ Oklahoma Inc., is an RCRA-permitted hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facility that can accept and manage nearly all waste types and waste codes in drum and bulk containers.

The facility consists of treatment operations for both hazardous and nonhazardous wastewaters and solids. Wastes accepted include spent acids and caustics, chemical process wash water, off-specification or discarded chemicals, rinse waters, degreasers, coolants and other processing waste suitable for on-site treatment. Other services include transportation, emergency response and industrial cleaning.

EQ now includes 24 service locations in North America. This is EQ’s second acquisition in 2010.

Friday, July 30, 2010

OG&E wind farm gains regulatory approval

Tulsa Business Staff

OG&E announced yesterday that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission has approved a settlement agreement reached by all parties to the company's application to build and operate a new wind farm in northwestern Oklahoma. Known as "Crossroads," the wind farm is expected to be running in the second half of 2011.

"This is a good outcome resulting from collaboration of the various parties interested in the expansion of renewable energy in Oklahoma," said Jesse Langston, vice president of utility commercial operations for OG&E. "We reached unanimous agreement with customer and shareholder groups, state agencies and regulatory officials, which culminated in today's 3-0 Commission vote to approve the Crossroads project."

Crossroads, to be built in Dewey County near Canton, will add at least 198 megawatts of renewable generation. Pending the results of a Southwest Power Pool regional transmission study, today's Commission order allows for Crossroads to be constructed with up to 227 megawatts of generating capacity. Average residential customers could see an increase in their monthly bills of somewhere between 59 and 65 cents per month when Crossroads is in full production in 2012. Beginning in 2013 or 2014, the lower-cost energy produced by Crossroads is expected to result in a net decrease in average monthly residential electric bills and to reduce customer bills every year the wind farm is in operation.

The new wind farm, to be constructed by Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc., will have at least 86 Siemens turbines rated at 2.3 megawatts each and will connect with OG&E's new Windspeed transmission line to Oklahoma City, which was energized earlier this year.

In 2007, when OG&E had 170 megawatts of wind energy on its system, the company set a goal to quadruple that amount by 2012. Today, OG&E has 270 megawatts of wind power capacity, with projects under construction that will bring the total to 550 megawatts this year. With the addition of the Crossroads project, the company will have at least 750 megawatts of wind capacity; approximately 10 percent of OG&E's total from all sources, including natural gas and coal.

OG&E, which serves approximately 779,000 customers in a service territory spanning 30,000 square miles in Oklahoma and western Arkansas, is a subsidiary of Oklahoma City-based OGE Energy Corp., which also is the parent company of Enogex LLC, a midstream natural gas pipeline business with principal operations in Oklahoma. RES Americas has been active in North America since 1997 and during this time has developed and/or constructed more than 3,800 MW, with another 1,000 MW currently under construction.

Friday, July 16, 2010

PSO Signs New Wind Power Agreement

Tulsa Business Staff

Customers of Public Service Co. of Oklahoma, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, may soon have new options for the purchase of renewable energy as the result of an agreement reached with NextEra Energy Resources for the long-term purchase of 99 megawatts of renewable energy from a wind farm currently under construction near Minco.

If approved by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, a portion of the electricity generated at the Minco wind farm will be set aside specifically for PSO customers who want to purchase more of their power from renewable resources.

“There is an interest on the part of some PSO customers to be able to have a certain portion, if not all, of their energy coming from renewable energy resources,” said Kathy Champion, PSO’s consumer programs manager. “The addition of this new wind energy resource will provide PSO the opportunity to address our customers’ preferences to have more electric energy from renewable resources and will allow individual customers to decide how much renewable energy will be used to serve their loads.”

PSO is proposing a voluntary program that allows customers to designate the amount of their energy requirement that will be provided by renewables. The program will allow customers to buy their preferred number of fixed kilowatt-hours blocks. Every block would equal 100 kWh. Customers may elect to purchase from a minimum of one block a month up to a maximum of 100 percent of their monthly use.

Champion said PSO chose this format because of the certainty block pricing gives to customers, ease in pricing and billing under the plan and ability to track the results of the program.

The program will also be the first in Oklahoma to have the Green-E certification. Green-E is a nationally recognized, independent certification process that provides, among other things, certainty to the claims of the green utility price offering.

“PSO believes offering a Green-E certified program will add credibility to our program, and we are excited to be the first in Oklahoma to pursue this certification,” Champion said.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wind energy transmission line proposed

Tulsa Business Staff

Yesterday, Plains & Eastern Clean Line Oklahoma LLC, an affiliate of Clean Line Energy Partners of Houston, filed an application with the Oklahoma Public Utility Commission to become a public utility in Oklahoma. This filing is an essential part of the development of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project. The company filed a similar application in Arkansas in May.

The Plains & Eastern Clean Line will consist of approximately 800 miles of overhead, high voltage, direct current transmission lines, which will be capable of transmitting up to 7,000 megawatts of electricity. Running from the Oklahoma panhandle to the southeastern U.S., the project, when built, will make possible the construction of billions of dollars of new wind energy generation. Currently, these investments cannot be made because there is not enough transmission.

“Oklahoma provides a remarkable supply of renewable energy, but the infrastructure to build more projects and move the electricity from the resource areas to consumers in the mid-south and southeast regions is insufficient,” Clean Line President Michael Skelly said. “This transmission line will create new opportunities for wind energy from Oklahoma and will pave the way for additional development in the wind energy industry.”

Skelly continued by indicating that, in addition to providing utilities with affordable access to renewable energy, the development of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line will provide economic development benefits while addressing the nation’s ongoing efforts to increase energy security. This transmission project will not only increase the region’s attractiveness to wind farm developers, but will also contribute local tax revenue for schools and other local needs.

The project is in the early stages of development and is expected to take five to seven years to complete and cost approximately $3.5 billion. Clean Line will fund all development costs and will not seek cost recovery through the electric rates paid by consumers in Oklahoma. Once built, the project will enable an additional $12 billion in investments in new wind projects which today cannot be built because of the lack of transmission. These projects could ultimately power over 2.1 million American homes.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Company to Use Oklahoma Wind for Power-Hungry States

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Houston company has designs on building an 800-mile high-voltage transmission line to take wind energy from the Oklahoma Panhandle to power-hungry states in the Southeast.

An affiliate of Clean Line Energy Partners has applied to become a public utility in Arkansas. Company officials expect to file a similar application in Oklahoma on behalf of affiliate Plains & Eastern Clean Line LLC in the next couple of months, with an eye toward building a direct current transmission line from Texas County to near Memphis, Tenn.

"There is a tremendous untapped renewable energy resource in the Great Plains, but the infrastructure to move the electricity from the resource areas to consumers in the mid-South and Southeast regions is insufficient," Clean Line President Michael Skelly said last week as the Arkansas application was announced.

"This transmission line will provide a solution to that problem and will enable utilities in Arkansas and the Southeast to provide their customers with access to the most affordable clean energy available," he said.

The $3.5 billion project is in the early stages of development.

Officials hope the 7,000-megawatt transmission line will be operational by the end of 2015, but the schedule depends on permitting and environmental authorities.

The line will use high voltage direct current technology that Mario Hurtado, Clean Line's executive vice president of development, said is well suited to moving large amounts of power over distance with minimal loss.

"This is the only thing that we do," he said.

Transmission projects are typically done by utility companies interested in providing more reliable service to their customers, but independent transmission companies are becoming more common. A spokeswoman for the Southwest Power Pool said those companies are important to the region's power grid.

"Our region needs more electric transmission to maintain grid reliability and to bring economic benefits by improving access to the region's variety of generating resources such as wind, nuclear, natural gas and coal," spokeswoman Emily Pennel said. "Independent transmission companies offer additional opportunities to build new transmission that has been identified as needed in the region."

Oklahoma only has one other transmission company that has been granted utility status, as Clean Line intends to pursue.

Hurtado said Clean Line is looking to facilitate the development of renewable energy.

He said wind is the most commercially competitive source of renewable power.

"Our company is just focused on going from where there's a really strong wind resource ... to where there's demand," Hurtado said. "When you look at the map ... the Oklahoma Panhandle and the region around that is one of the richest veins, if you want to call it that, of wind."

"It's a relatively flat area with large open spaces."

Hurtado said Texas County is a natural choice to be the starting point for the new transmission line, citing Southwest Power Pool reports that about 10,000 megawatts worth of wind farms are in development within 100 miles of there.

"It's a good place to be," he said. "It's in the middle of a lot of very good prospects."

Those prospects are expected to develop into electrical power for states in the Southeast that have little access to renewable sources, Hurtado said.

"When you start to think about the kind of volumes you need ... the cheapest resource is really going to be the wind from Oklahoma Panhandle, southwestern Kansas, north Texas," he said. "That's why we thought this project ... makes a lot of sense."

Hurtado said there aren't any arrangements in place yet with wind developers or utility companies, but those will come.

"We're probably talking to every generation developer that's active in the Panhandle," he said.

There are a lot of developers working in the area, Hurtado said, noting the Southwest Power Pool's efforts to connect the region's wind resources to the areas that need that power.


Information from: The Oklahoman,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Notes from November Green Office Committee Meeting

1. The Green Office Committee met on 11/10/09. Present were Dave, Neta, Clint, Kimberly, Scott, and Adrienne.

2. Discussion:

a. To-do list from last meeting: Scott has not set up computers for two-sided printing. Scott brought in an additional recycling bin, but has not bought another one. We decided that since we are now keeping recycling in the cabinets, there is not room for a large recycling bin. Instead, we will continue to use cardboard boxes.

b. Recycling cardboard: Adrienne sent an email asking for volunteers to take the cardboard boxes to the food bank for recycling. Billy told her that he would drive them to the food bank if someone would put the boxes in his truck. Dave and Scott volunteered to take care of that. We decided that it was too much trouble to recycle cardboard boxes in the future.

c. Garden: we discussed problems with the idea of locating a garden on the roof of the parking garage. Someone else suggested using pots in Scott’s office, where there are lots of windows and plenty of extra room. We will continue to discuss.

d. Dishwasher: We now have a dishwasher. People do not seem to be using it. Scott will send an e-mail publicizing the dishwasher, explaining how to use it, and asking people to opt out of a schedule to wash dishes. Members of the Green Committee will keep an eye on the dishwasher and fill in when people forget to wash dishes. Dave pointed out that since we leave the water on at the tap when we are washing dishes, we should make sure that we turn it off before finishing a load and leaving for the weekend.

e. Newspaper: one way to cut down on our recycling needs is to stop the newspaper subscription. Scott said that he subscribes to the paper because the Tulsa World occasionally runs articles supporting Legal Aid, and he wants to support the paper. We discussed whether our subscription makes a difference. The consensus seemed to be that since we can read the paper online, the paper version is a needless expense. Scott will look into terminating the subscription.

3. Next meeting: February 11, 2010, 3:00.

4. To-do:

a. Scott

i. Send memo publicizing dishwasher.

ii. Create dishwashing schedule.

iii. Stop newspaper.

iv. Get cardboard to Billy’s truck.

v. Set up computers for two-sided printing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

85 Ways to be Green

Tulsa Area United Way published the following in honor of its 85th anniversary.
*Click on image to enlarge

Major Energy Initiative For Tulsa County

Tulsa Business Staff

Tulsa County creates energy efficiency initiative.

"The rising cost of energy and its impact on the operations of Tulsa County government requires that we develop a state of the art energy sustainability and efficiency program,” said Commissioner Fred Perry, citing the rising cost of energy use for all of the properties owned by Tulsa County.

In making the announcement, Perry tabbed Chief Deputy Terry Simonson to lead the energy team which will be comprised of Ray Jordan, County Engineer, Jim Smith, County Fiscal Officer, Linda Dorrell, County Purchasing Director and Jim Fissel, Director of Building Operations.

Commissioners awarded Johnson Controls an energy savings performance contract, which covers up to 40 county buildings.

Simonson says commissioners will decide which buildings will get an energy makeover after Johnson conducts an audit. The improvements won't cost taxpayers a dime, Simonson said.

The improvements are paid for by the savings that Johnson Controls, guarantees.

Simonson takes on a variety of activities including meeting with energy company managers and consulting with the National Association of Counties to determine the best practices in developing a county energy program.

“I have found that there are many good practices we can learn from other counties around the country and many resources we can call upon to make the Tulsa County program the best it can be for the citizens of Tulsa County,” Simonson said.

The previously released Performance Audit cited the need for a comprehensive energy policy and plan as a key area where Tulsa County can not only save taxpayers money on current operations but to also prepare Tulsa County for the expected rise of energy costs in the future, Perry said.

“All across the country, county governments are adopting “green” standards and Tulsa County intents to be a leader in Oklahoma in this area” Perry said.

It is expected by the beginning of 2009 the energy team will present to the Board of County Commissioners an energy plan for implementation considerations.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

TLO Green office committee: Notes from August 11th meeting

Thursday, August 13, 2009

1.                 Present were Billy, Clint, Judy Monroe, Scott, Eric, Sara, Juana, Adrienne, Neta, Julie, and Sunny.

2.                 Discussion

a.      Judy reported on colored paper. She said that pastel paper has very little environmental impact with regard to recycling. Neon colored paper, however, is viewed as detrimental. Neta will stop ordering neon colored post-it notes.

b.     Judy also said that manila envelopes with metal clasps present a problem because of the clasps. We decided to stop ordering envelopes with clasps.

c.      Adrienne asked if we could get permanent recycling receptacles, rather than using cardboard boxes. Scott said he would bring an extra recycling bin from home and buy another one.

d.     Adrienne also asked for a box cutter, so she can break down cardboard boxes. Billy said that he has a box cutter in his office that people can borrow. Julie also volunteered to help break down boxes.

e.     Adrienne noted that the newspaper recycling box is full. Scott volunteered to take the papers to the recycling center.

f.       Scott noted that Bud had compiled a list of green office efforts undertaken by the various LASO offices. Scott will circulate the list, so we can discuss it at the next meeting.

g.     We talked about where to put a community garden next year. Discussion focused on the top level of the parking garage. It is all concrete, so the heat might pose some problems. But, it is unlikely that anyone will use it for parking, and we can drive supplies directly to the garden area. We talked about how to get water up to that level. We will look for a connection for a hose, or a way to transport water in vehicles. Approval from the building management would be required, but we can probably get that.

h.     Scott reported that our request to sign up with Show, Inc., for recycling was turned down by OKC for budget reasons. We may be able to sign up for the service in the future, but not until the budget stabilizes.

i.       We talked about getting a dishwasher. With no dishwasher, people are using Styrofoam cups. OKC has approved a dishwasher, but we are holding off until we see if the kitchen is going to be remodeled as a part of the Day of Caring on September 11th.The plan is to buy and install a dishwasher as a part of the Day of Caring project. If that project is not picked up by someone, we will buy a dishwasher and install it in September, in advance of the open house on September 30th.

j.       Reducing paper consumption: We took an inventory of our paper supplies as of June 1, 2009. We will now be able to determine how much paper we have used in a given time period. It is evident that we have reduced our paper consumption considerably. The family attorneys have stopped using paper in the intake process. They are using the Jumbotron instead. We can also use two-sided printing for intake sheets. Scott was planning to set up all computers for two-sided printing as an option, but that effort was disrupted by the move. Billy will show him how to set up two-sided printing, and Scott will set up individual computers. When we print intake sheets, we will be able to choose two-sided printing, which should save a considerable amount of paper.

3.                 To-do

a.      Billy: show Scott how to set up printers for two-sided printing.

b.     Scott

                                                                                     i.      Recycle newspapers

                                                                                   ii.      Bring in recycling bin from home.

                                                                                 iii.      Buy additional recycling bin for office.

                                                                                 iv.      Set up computers for two-sided printing.

c.      All: consider how to set up and maintain a community garden on the top floor of the parking garage.

4.                 Next meeting: November 10th at 3:00.

Scott Hamilton