Latest by Dragonpipe Diary: Laughable

One of the major downsides to the dawning of technology is a growing lack of fact-driven reporting and journalistic integrity. These are standards that most expect from news sources, but with the decline of professional journalism, fringe activists have had an increased opportunity to play journalist, spreading misinformation.

Dragonpipe Diary is one site that falls into this category. The site’s operator is an admitted fringe, activist whose blog falls more in the category of ideological diatribe than fact-based reporting.

In a recent blog titled, “Two of Sunoco’s favorite myths: ethane is “energy”; propane is “needed.” According to Websters Miriam Dictionary, ethane is “found in natural gas and used as a fuel.” We here at the Pennsylvania Pipeline Review do not admit to be chemists by training; however some of us have taken advanced chemistry classes. To us, “fuel” sounds like energy, but how about we ask Websters Miriam Dictionary this as well. Fuel is “a material used to produce heat or power by burning.” Can we agree that power means energy?

It appears that Websters Miriam Dictionary disagrees with Dragonpipe Diary. The facts also disagree with Dragonpipe Diary. They question whether ethane is used as a fuel source for the new Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) Fairview Plant in Cambria County. According to the company’s website, “the plant is now supplying natural gas and ethane-fueled combined-cycle electric power to more than one million Pennsylvania homes and businesses.”

And now that we have that settled, what does American Ethane say are the benefits of ethane are? “Ethane is a clean burning fuel and can be liquefied at a higher temperature, which decreases infrastructure transport costs. As a result, ethane is being looked to as a more efficient fuel source for fast growing and developing countries.”

More here from a Power Engineering article form March 24th:

The Fairview Energy Center successfully completed ethane testing and is now ready for commercial use. CPV called Fairview the only power plant of its scale globally to have ethane blending with natural gas.

Using GE’s DLN2.6+ AFS combustion system, CPV reported, Fairview can use ethane for enhanced plant economics such as when the price of natural gas might increase.  CPV completed the $1 billion, 1,050-MW Fairview project in Johnstown, PA., late last year.

“We are proud to announce the completion of commissioning with 25 percent ethane mixed with natural gas at our Fairview Energy Center, making it the first plant of its kind as well as one of the most efficient combined-cycle power plants in the world,” said Gary Lambert, CEO of CPV. “CPV’s continual deployment of cutting-edge technology has propelled us to the forefront of the competitive power industry in clean, efficient as well as renewable generation. We are grateful to chart this course alongside our partner GE as we continue to build upon our longstanding, prosperous relationship.”

The Fairview Energy Center utilizes GE equipment, including turbines, generators, combustion and software systems. Kiewit was the main construction contractor.

“GE’s innovative combustion technology at CPV Fairview enables industry-first levels of ethane fuel flexibility and greater efficiency,” said Scott Strazik, CEO of GE Gas Power. “We are proud to work with CPV to help provide highly efficient, reliable and affordable electricity for their customers across the region.”

And who supplies the ethane to CPV Fairview? Mariner East is according to many articles in Cambria County papers such as this OpEd by former Congressman Charlie Melancon from January in the Johnstown Tribune Democrat. Melancon toured the facility during construction.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “slightly more than half of Pennsylvania households use natural gas as their primary heating fuel.”

What the diarist doesn’t want to discuss with his readership is not only propane absolutely necessary in Pennsylvania, the larger issue as it pertains to Mariner East, is what is his alternative plan for transporting propane to consumers. He fails to understand the countless propane uses and lacks an ability to face reality that propane is absolutely needed right now.

Last fall there were many in the agricultural sector raising alarm over the low propane supply across the country to dry crops. There was even a House Agricultural Committee letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to increase propane supply. Last we checked, Pennsylvania is an agricultural state. We have access to these products, but would prefer that the transportation by more dangerous modes such as truck and rail are minimized. Pipeline is the safest way to transport these products according to the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Additionally, the diarist prefers to sidestep the countless propane uses. A quick search online took us to the Home Advisor website where they list the number of home propane uses. The top one is, “Heating Your Home or Office.”

Last June, Thom Ferro, owner for Ferro Fuel, which transports a variety of fuels to homes in businesses in Southeast Pennsylvania said this in an OpEd that ran in the Delco Times:

Mariner East and the revitalization of the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex is huge for my business as a transport operator for a variety of fuels such as propane to local residents in Southeast Pennsylvania. Some have tried to act like mariner East provides zero local benefit, which couldn’t be further from the truth. My employees visit Marcus Hook daily to fill up with products shipped by Mariner East and deliver those fuels to local residential customers.

There is a lot of misinformation spread about the Mariner East and Marcus Hook projects. Misinformation that must be called out. Having an opinion or having a certain ideology is and forever will be a very positive thing. We just wish that those opinions are backed up by facts instead of baseless rhetoric.