Bacon Bits: Coal Ash, Eclipses and Online Learning

Moon as energy conservation device. During the solar eclipse Monday, local temperatures dropped five to six degrees and electric consumption reported by Bristol Virginia Utilities, which serves Bristol, Va., fell five megawatts — or about 7.6%. So reports the Bristol Herald-Courier.

Dominion launches coal ash study. Dominion Energy has hired AECOM, a multinational engineering firm, to conduct an independent assessment of how to dispose of the ash in the utility’s coal ash ponds. Dominion is evaluating whether to close and cap the coal ash in place, recycle it, or transport it to a lined landfill, reports the Chesterfield Observer. Dominion is required to submit a report to state government by Dec. 1.

VCU Engineering joins the online parade. Thanks to a $25 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering will launch an online program in conjunction with VCU’s Medicines for All Institute. The purpose of the Institute is to  reduce costs of manufacturing pharmaceutical products and increase global access to medications. Read more at Richmond BizSense.

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3 responses to “Bacon Bits: Coal Ash, Eclipses and Online Learning

  1. In that case I vote for more solar eclipses

  2. The problem with Dominion is that they see everything in terms of dollars now rather than the cost and risks of not taking action and waiting to see what happens later …

    I can see an engineering firm tasked with “do the dollars only right now today ” is going to “independently” come up with the most “cost effective” way of dealing with the issue -right now and not look at the potential risks and costs of spreading contamination later on – 20-30 -50 years from now.

    That’s why a TRULY independent report should be done – by having someone other than Dominion pick the company and doing the tasking.

    A study that is commissioned by Dominion is not truly “independent”.

    I presume they know this.. and are being cynical in using the word “independent”.

    the more Dominion talks.. the more I am convinced they are not a good corporate citizen.. I’m not sure they actually know how to be one.. other than to hire a PR firm to generate back-patting commercials about little old ladies having smiling DOminion guys insulating her attic”!!!

    • Isn’t it pretty easy to convert future expenditures into their present worth? We should try to fix things when the long-term cost of fixing them is less than the long-term costs of not fixing them. And the costs for not fixing them should be forward-looking costs that are foreseeable and reasonable and not speculative. For example, if we know the existing ponds have a life span of only 20 years, we ought to look at what is most likely to occur in 20 years when the ponds fail. That should be built into the study.

      On the other hand, if we know that the ponds have a life expectancy of 250 years, it may be too speculative to consider what might happen in 250 years to build it into the study.

      Also, I think it’s reasonable to probe the Consultant’s credibility both long-term and in connection with this project. What exactly did Dominion commission the Consultant to do?

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