Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oh, so green

Eco-merge may have been unmasked but ‘green’ hype is still very much a part of the proposed Central Texas Airport’s marketing strategy.

In the previous post, Exposing the hype, we learned that the Corps suggested that the applicant should give themselves credit for work they had done for energy and “green elements. ” Item 13 of the October 25, 2011 conference call also addressed the “green” aspects of the project:

13. Energy requirement and conservation potential, including information on the “green” elements of the proposed project.

Steve Paulson [aci] asked what we meant by this.

[The Corps] explained that they discuss “green” aspects of the project in their EID and website but never say what they are. For example, are they using solar arrays? If so state it in the EID.

In response to these suggestions, three sections of the revised EID touch on green aspects of the project. The most extensive presentation begins on page 43. It is brimming with lots of ideas and generalizations but the specifics still seem to be missing:

4.18 Natural Resources, Energy Supply, and Sustainable Design

Executive Order 13123, Greening the Government Through Efficiency Management (64 FR 30851, June 8, 1999) encourages federal agencies to expand the use of renewable energy within their facilities and activities and requires a reduction of petroleum use, total energy use, air emissions, and water consumption by federal agencies in their facilities. It is also the policy of the FAA to encourage the development of facilities that exemplify the highest standards of design including principles of sustainability.

The proposed CTA is designed to be a green airport demonstration project, conceived and developed to achieve balance between technology and nature. The proposed CTA is designed to provide a privately owned and operated business facility and environment that recruits third-party businesses to demonstrate new and emerging technologies in alternative renewable energies; patent-pending energy management and communications applications; and integrated environmental design and development standards. The proposed CTA is designed to provide convenient, safe, and efficient general aviation accessibility to the Central Texas region.

The proposed CTA plans to implement unique environmentally compatible design features, and utilize demonstrations by other parties with renewable energy generations and management capabilities and scalable smart grid communications infrastructure.

The smart grid network proposes to provide secure and efficient infrastructure connectivity for the airport buildings and businesses, offering real-time, point-source energy consumption data collection and management capabilities for individual buildings or the entire airport.

A local Bastrop County company has been recruited to utilize the roof surface areas of the hangars and other structures on the airport for rainwater collection and harvesting for commercial reuse and bottling. Airports such as the proposed CTA do not have high water requirements so utilizing gray water systems for irrigation and other uses offer a potential model for sustainability.

Landscape planners propose utilization of certain trees, plants, and grasses for carbon mitigation and deterrents to undesirable bird species. CTA will consider these proposals and may implement testing areas to determine the effectiveness of these practices. Many airports utilize vegetation and mowing practices that attract wildlife species that are not suitable for airport environments. CTA is not bound by governmental guidelines or practices for such activities and plans to utilize best management practices.

The “green” aspect of the airport is mentioned briefly in two other places in the revised EID - one on page 53 under 4.21.21 Natural Resources, Energy Supply, and Sustainable Designand the other on page 1 of the Compensatory Mitigation Plan.

Private ownership and freedom from regulation are the pillars on which this project is built. The CTA has made it very clear that their private funding status exempts them from FAA regulation and that they are NOT an FAA project yet here an FAA policy comes in very handy.

Renewable energy is a good thing but weren’t the “patent-pending energy management and communications applications” and “smart grid network” connected to Tiga Energy Services? On August 08, 2012, eight months after the revised EID was submitted, Tiga Energy Services filed for “Securities registration termination” with the SEC. What does that mean for the project’s master energy plan? Is Tiga toast?

Rainwater collection is also a good thing but would you want to pay a premium for bottled water that was collected in a toxic airport environment? How green is that?

And finally the idea of deterring ‘undesirable bird species’ with vegetation while constructing a permanent level pond that will be a wildlife attractant is just plain ludicrous.

All this ‘green’ talk seems like just a lot of hot air to us.

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