Alpha Natural Resources--a coal company with mines in eastern Kentucky, as well as throughout Appalachia--reported its second quarter earnings yesterday and the news wasn't good. The company had a net loss of $2.2 billion in the second quarter of 2012. That compares to a $50 million loss for the same period last year.
A new safety standard that took effect Monday is aimed at better protecting underground miners from the types of conditions that contributed to a deadly blast at a West Virginia mine in April 2010, according to federal regulators. Mine operators are required to look for and correct hazardous conditions in mines during pre-shift and on-shift examinations, and at other times. The new rule requires them to also look for violations of nine specific health and safety standards, according to a news release from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.
A new laboratory complex at the University of Kentucky is expected to earn a high grade for ‘energy efficiency.’ The Center for Applied Energy Research facility hopes to earn a ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’ gold certification. U-K sustainability coordinator Shane Tedder says it’s a multi-stop process. “It’s gonna’ have a tighter building envelope with a more efficient heating, ventilation, and air condition system. It’s gonna’ have on-site recovery of storm water. It’s gonna’ have plumbing features that are more water efficient,” said Tedder.
Kentucky’s largest county in geographic terms is also a top producer of coal and natural gas. Now, Pike county officials want to offer a natural gas service station for public and private motorists. It’s not something likely to occur anytime soon. But, Pike County Public Information Director Brandon Roberts is confident it will happen. Roberts admits some residents in coal-rich eastern Kentucky may find natural gas as a motor fuel a hard pill to swallow.
Portable generates could hum right into the weekend in eastern Kentucky. Heavy weekend weather knocked out power to thousands of households. A generator may be a short term source of electricity, but, Andrew Melynykovych of the State Public Service Commission warns improper use can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. “Don’t put it in your basement, don’t put it on a patio, don’t put it in your garage. Just have it well away from any place where those fumes which contain carbon monoxide can get into a confined space and create a problem for whoever is in that place,” said Melnykovych.
FRANKFORT – The Kentucky Public Service Commission has approved the renewal of residential and commercial energy conservation and efficiency programs for Duke Energy Kentucky Inc. In an order issued Friday, the PSC authorized Duke Kentucky to consolidate 13 existing programs for residential or commercial customers into 10 offerings and to add three new programs. The PSC also allowed Duke Kentucky to test new small-scale programs without prior PSC approval, subject to reporting requirements and limitations on cost, according to a PSC news release.
Unlike its Appalachian neighbors, Kentucky has no large or small-scale wind farms. And a study says that’s only partly due to the state’s low wind potential. In the report, the authors identify a number of barriers to more wind development in Appalachia. There are obstacles like rough terrain, which makes it difficult for large trucks with wind turbines to get through. And then there’s small-scale land ownership means wind companies have to negotiate with several property owners to lease the land. But policies also play a large role.