Wednesday, November 22, 2017
News Roundup

Power plant at St. Joseph's Hospital cited as 'creative' answer to carbon pollution

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — Amid growing controversy over new carbon pollution standards, a pair of Democratic lawmakers visited St. Joseph's Hospital on Monday to learn about its alternative energy initiatives.

U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, of Tampa, and Frank Pallone, of New Jersey, toured the hospital's cogeneration plant. Its natural gas-fired combustion engine can produce enough electricity to power the entire complex.

The system serves another purpose: Its heat can be turned into steam, which can be used to clean medical equipment.

Castor said the technology is particularly important in light of the new Clean Power Plan, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that sets limits on carbon pollution from power plants.

"We've got to get creative," she said. "In Florida, we have to reduce our carbon pollution by well over 30 percent over the next 20 years."

Castor acknowledged the Clean Power Plan, established by the Obama Administration in August, is facing a court challenge from 27 states including Florida. She said the lawsuit could "put us further behind."

"We've got to focus on these innovative solutions now like this cogeneration plant, like energy efficiency, like renewable energy conservation so we can meet those targets," she said.

But Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi stood behind Florida's involvement in the challenge.

"As I have said in the past, Florida needs a diverse energy portfolio," she said in a statement. "However, the rule of law matters — states' rights matter — and the federal government must respect our sovereignty."

Bondi added: "Unfortunately, the congresswoman cares very little about the increasing costs associated with these burdensome regulations."

St. Joseph's has had the cogeneration plant since 1993. It saves about $200,000 a year and reduces the reliance on TECO Energy, said Tom Davidson, director of facilities for BayCare Health System's east region.

"It provides energy back to our hospital so we don't have to buy so much from the provider," he said.

The system also allows St. Joseph's to generate its own power in the event of a hurricane.

Davidson said the generator is one of only two like it in the country. Nearby Tampa General has four diesel gas generators for emergency standby power, but is exploring co-generator options, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Pallone, the ranking member of the powerful U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee, said the model could be easily replicated elsewhere in the nation.

"It creates more efficiency and therefore saves energy, which is so important given climate change," he said.

He said he planned to take the idea back to Washington, and possibly incorporate it into future policies.

Contact Kathleen McGrory at [email protected] or (727) 893-8330. Follow @kmcgrory.

Comments
Alton White, civil rights leader who loved ‘every blade of grass in Tampa,’ dies at 77

Alton White, civil rights leader who loved ‘every blade of grass in Tampa,’ dies at 77

TAMPA — Born into the civil rights movement, Alton Maurice White Sr. embraced it as his own while playing college football in Tallahassee.He brought his passion home to Tampa and for decades, played a guiding role in advancing the cause.By his count,...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

ST. PETERSBURG — After six years of negotiations, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air and its flight attendant union reached a tentative contract to improve worker pay and benefits and solidify airline policies."We feel like it’s an agreement that is certa...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

When it comes to weighing the options for regulating medical marijuana through the law passed this year, Dunedin city commissioners declared local governments face a "conundrum" and "a false dilemma."They said they would welcome a dispensary in the c...
Updated: 1 hour ago
What’s in theaters for Thanksgiving: ‘Coco,’ ‘Last Flag Flying,’ ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

What’s in theaters for Thanksgiving: ‘Coco,’ ‘Last Flag Flying,’ ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

NOW IN THEATERS:COCODisney-Pixar’s animated dramedy Coco (PG) is inspired by Mexico’s annual Dia de los Muertos, the "day of the dead" when departed ancestors are celebrated. Good for diversity, although the movie isn’t as good as its intentions.Migu...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Future of Hernando Beach water tower up in the air

Future of Hernando Beach water tower up in the air

HERNANDO BEACH — Perched high above the coastal neighborhood, the water tower at Hernando Beach has been a unique watchman and highly visible welcome sign for drivers and boaters although it has not held water for years.Now there is some question abo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

Details emerge in suicide of Hernando school volunteer accused of sexual abuse

A former Brooksville school volunteer accused of sexually assaulting teenage foreign exchange students who were under his care was found dead last week, a day before he was due in court on the charges.The body of Bruce McAllister was found at the bas...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pasco students score big at Junior Thespian Festival

Pasco students score big at Junior Thespian Festival

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco schools brought home 20 top honors from the District 11 Junior Thespian Festival, which included 22 schools from Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Manatee counties and took place at the new River Ridge FAME Academy on Nov. 17 and ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 2 hours ago