Energy Sovereignty

Archives from the Stop the PSU Pipeline Campaign and the early days of CITY-GREEN

That Damned Elusive “Alternatives Analysis”

Interesting recent developments on the Penn State strategic energy planning process. More commentary on these developments later. First impression is that David Stone’s claim in his EPA filing on September 27 regarding a DEP-required “alternatives analysis,” coupled with Ian Salada’s abruptly rescinded offer to allow me and Matt Dahlhausen to review the PSU Energy Strategic Master Plan, means that the alternatives analysis was never conducted and does not exist.

August 16, 2013 – Matt Dahlhausen to Sustainability Institute (online contact form)

I noticed that Penn State’s Sustainability Institute will be hosting a public informational meeting on Wednesday, September 4, from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM in the HUB Auditorium on the University Park campus. The topic will be “Our Energy Future: A Long-Term Commitment to Reduced Consumption and Emissions: 2013-2050.”

I was wondering if it would be possible for one or several community-based engineers/ scientists could present for 20 minutes as part of the meeting.  It would be worthwhile to coordinate beforehand.

August 23, 2013 – Alex Novak to Matt Dahlhausen (Email)

I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. [Assistant Vice President for Physical Plant] Steve Maruszewski actually asked me to respond to your letter to him from several weeks ago, but working out the specifics of this public meeting has been tricky, and I wanted to wait until I knew the format before responding.

Just so you know who I am, I head up communications both for OPP and the Sustainability Institute. My commitment to sustainability at Penn State actually long pre-dates my time at OPP. I was the writer for the Strategic Plan for Sustainability at Penn State and have been the architect of the University’s new portal at

I want to thank you for reaching out. You’ve been a clear and rationale voice throughout this entire process.

I also want to make you aware of a few updates.The event is now taking place the following Thursday, September 12, at the same time (6:30 to 8:30 pm) and place (HUB Auditorium). I was responsible for scheduling the event and mistakenly forced it into conflict with Rosh Hashanah. So it’s been pushed out a week.

The host for the meeting has also changed after a great deal of conversation. I deliberately scheduled and announced the public meeting in the press release about the pipeline that followed the last Board of Trustees meeting. I knew that we wanted to talk about the new route, but I also wanted to encourage the dialogue you have been advocating all along, which is to share in the planning for our energy future (hence the name). My thought had been to have the Sustainability Institute (of which I am also a part of the leadership team) moderate the event.

Once this idea was discussed further, however, we quickly realized that there was a greater need for general education about our current energy usage, our compliance requirements, etc. than could be fit into a portion of a larger meeting. So the purpose of the September 12 meeting will be to talk about how we got to this place and how we are going to reach 2016 MACT compliance. Rob Cooper and Paul Moser will be the primary speakers for approximately an hour, and then we will have an hour of questions and answers in the style of the National Press Club sessions and will be moderated.

Obviously, we are anticipating a number of questions, and everything will not be answered in one hour. What I have proposed is posting ALL of the questions and comments on the site along with responses and areas for comment. We will also shortly be scheduling a follow-up meeting that will be the first of several follow-up meetings where we talk about 2016 and beyond. This will be a true dialogue and WILL be hosted by the Sustainability Institute. I believe the first of these meetings will take place 2 or 3 weeks after the 9/12 meeting, but it has not been scheduled yet.

So, to answer your question, with my OPP hat, and I encourage you (and all community scientists, engineers, and generally interested) to come to the 9/12 meeting and bring questions. With my Sustainability Institute hat, I encourage you to come to the subsequent meetings and invite the same cohort.

I’m happy to discuss any of this with you in person if you like, and I would even be happy to meet with a group of you in person in advance of the 9/12 meeting to further explain the rationale for the format and how we in the Institute envision the future dialogue taking place.

August 23, 2013 – Matt Dahlhausen to Alex Novak (Email)

Thanks for getting back to me.  This makes good sense.  I’ve been impressed with the communication/transparency from OPP.  It’s often a bit delayed, but I understand this is to ensure that the responses are appropriate and accurate.  I’ll reach out to inform the community side of the date change.

August 23, 2013 – Alex Novak to Matt Dahlhausen, Katherine Watt, Johan Zwart, Smita Bharti, Vincent Crespi, Janet Engeman, Javan Briggs, RJ Briggs, Mike Rybacki, Susan Venegoni, Denice Wardrop (Email)

My offer to meet with Matt extends to all of you as well. Straddling two worlds in the Office of Physical Plant and the Sustainability Institute has given me a unique purview of this complex process. I know that several of you have had conversations with Rob Cooper [OPP Director of Energy & Engineering] and Paul Moser [Steam Services Supervisor] already. Katherine, I also understand that Denice Wardrop (director of the Sustainability Institute) has reached out to you personally, and I hope you will accept that invitation.

I look forward to seeing all of you on the 12th, if not before, as well as at the future meetings where we discuss our shared energy future.

September 13, 2013 – Katherine Watt to Alex Novak and Rob Cooper (Email)

Thanks again for putting together a good forum last night – a lot of useful information shared in a respectful format. I’m working on my piece about the forum this morning and wondered if you could send me the quote from Rob’s comments – the paragraph near the end of his remarks to the effect that “if we want to maintain…our current standard of living…”

September 13, 2013 – Alex Novak to Katherine Watt and Rob Cooper (Email)

I’m really glad you were able to come out and that we had a chance to chat a bit after. Here’s Rob’s quote straight from his script.

“But even this diverse approach of continued energy conservation mixed with carefully targeted renewables is likely to leave us short of our 2050 goal. Technological breakthroughs will be needed for us to affordably maintain our current standard of living and satisfy our projected appetite for energy while simultaneously meeting our GHG emission reduction obligations. Perhaps Penn State faculty or students right here in this room will develop the breakthrough technology for Penn State to reach its 2050 GHG reduction goals.”

We are planning on having all questions and responses up next week at [No content as of October 5, 2013]

September 20, 2013 – Katherine Watt to Rob Cooper and Alex Novak, cc: Matt Dahlhausen (Email)

I’m working on some more writing about PSU energy issues. Awhile ago I asked a few of the community-side engineers about specific conservation measures that would cut energy demand. Matt Dahlhausen listed load reduction measures including “stopping air infiltration, improving windows and insulation, updating ventilation schedules, switching to demand-control ventilation.”

I asked a question at the Sept. 12 forum about an estimate for the amount of demand reduction that would be feasible with near-complete compliance with behavioral things (turning off lights, etc.) along with retrofits similar to the soffit project at the Bryce Jordan Center, and you estimated about 25% net reduction, even factoring in projected campus growth (at some point, more detail about those projections would be helpful).

Having looked through the two PSU brainstorming documents Dave Stone located online [12.18.09 PSU Energy Strategic Master Plan Brainstorm7.22.10 PSU Energy Strategic Master Plan – Tab 12], and their limited analysis of load reduction strategies, my followup question is whether you would add any other measures to Matt’s list to make it a more complete list representing your views of effective load reduction strategies.

September 20, 2013 – Matt Dahlhausen to Rob Cooper and Alex Novak, cc: Katherine Watt (Email)

I also have some questions about demand-side in the energy master plan.  I’m also interested to see Rocky Mountain Institute’s work for Penn State. It seems like it’d be best to have a meeting instead of email tag.  How about the second week in October? I’m flexible with my time; I can do any day except 9-10am MWF and 1-2 TT.

September 20, 2013 – Katherine Watt to Rob Cooper and Alex Novak, cc: Matt Dahlhausen (Email)

Second week of October (week of Oct. 7) I could participate in an ESMP binder review any day between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

September 20, 2013 – Rob Cooper to Ian Salada [OPP Engineering Services Manager], Katherine Watt and Matt Dahlhausen, cc: Alex Novak (Email)

Ian, Please work with Katherine and Matt to set up a meeting date.

September 23, 2013 – Ian Salada to Katherine Watt and Matt Dahlhausen, cc: Alex Novak and Tammy Steiner (Email)

I’d like to propose two meetings, one focused on the ESMP binder review (and related energy studies), and a second focused on energy conservation.  Attendees from OPP will vary with the two topics, and it might allow for more detailed discussion on the two topics to have 2 meetings. Would you both like to participate in both meetings?

The conservation measures suggested (“stopping air infiltration, improving windows and insulation, updating ventilation schedules, switching to demand-control ventilation”) can be quite effective, and are frequently part of our energy conservation projects and programs.

September 23, 2013 – Katherine Watt to Ian Salada, cc: Matt Dahlhausen, Alex Novak and Tammy Steiner (Email)

Thanks for your email. I talked it over with Matt, and for the first few sessions, we don’t want to take up valuable OPP employee time, since all we’re planning to do is read the ESMP (as many drafts as you have available), take notes and begin digesting the information.

That process may take several sessions spread out over a couple of weeks, but doesn’t require OPP staff time to dialog – just the documents and a place to sit to read them.

Once we’re done with that initial review process, and have had a chance to think about what’s in the ESMPs, we could schedule meetings with appropriate OPP staff to discuss next steps. Please let me know if that document review plan works for you.

September 23, 2013 – Ian Salada to Katherine Watt and Matt Dahlhausen, cc: Alex Novak and Tammy Steiner (Email)

Looking at your availability and Matt’s, how does starting the ESMP review on 10/7 at 10:00 AM to noon sound? I’m guessing Matt may have some travel time after his appointment ending at 10:00 AM so we’d probably end up starting at about 10:15.  I can actually go to 1:00 PM that day if you wish.

We’d like to spend the first meeting providing an overview of the entire document, and probably some related studies/efforts.  We’d also like to discuss the procedures for arranging additional time that week for reading and taking notes on the documents, and have a discussion on future publishing of the ESMP.   I’ve noticed that you’ve published Tab 4 on your website, and you have some draft versions of other documents published as well; we should discuss whether there are other sections that could be posted, and perhaps replacing the draft documents with final versions.

September 23, 2013 – Matt Dahlhausen and Katherine Watt to Ian Salada, cc: Alex Novak and Tammy Steiner (Emails)

(Matt) 10:00 a.m. on Oct. 7th works for me.

(Katherine) 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday October 7 works for me also. Roughly how long will the orientation portion take? My goal for my time allocation – from prior experience such as the Williamsport DEP review and paralegal work in document review for litigation – is to orient myself to the documents, as in, “Here’s the material. Dig in. Leave the pages in the order you find them. Bathroom’s down the hall.”

As for the drafts currently posted on the website, any more finalized documents you have in electronic format that I can post to update the database, I’d be more than happy to receive those from you and post them for public review. If you have them in paper copies only, I’m also happy to make arrangements to scan them, post them and return the paper copies to you.

September 24, 2013 – Ian Salada to Katherine Watt and Matt Dahlhausen, cc: Alex Novak and Tammy Steiner (Email)

I don’t know for sure, but I estimate 60 minutes.

September 29, 2013 – Katherine Watt to Ian Salada, cc: Matt Dahlhausen, Alex Novak and Tammy Steiner (Email)

Rough agenda sounds fine – one hour of orientation, up to two hours of document review. Where is the meeting taking place?

[No response from Ian Salada]

October 4, 2013 – Katherine Watt to Ian Salada, cc: Matt Dahlhausen, Rob Cooper, Steve Maruszewski, Alex Novak and Tammy Steiner (Email)

Confirming that Matt Dahlhausen and I will meet you at 10 a.m. Monday at your office (101P Physical Plant) to begin our review of the PSU Energy Strategic Master Plan. See you then.

October 4, 2013 – Ian Salada to Katherine Watt and Matt Dahlhausen, cc: Rob Cooper, Steve Maruszewski, Alex Novak and Tammy Steiner (Email)

Thank you for your message. Unfortunately, in light of the legal proceeding that has just been started (Petition filed with EPA), I need to cancel for Monday. We will have to see how that proceeding unfolds before making any decisions about review of the Plan. I apologize for the late notice, but this development was unexpected. If and when things change, I will let you know.

October 4, 2013 – Katherine Watt to Ian Salada and David Stone (Email)

Hi Ian – Thanks for the update. Just so I report this development accurately, is it an EPA petition filed by Dave Stone?

Dave – If you filed the petition that has rendered moot Penn State’s public offer (Sept. 12) to allow people to review the Energy Strategic Master Plan by appointment, could you please send me a copy of your final submitted petition? Thanks.

October 5, 2013 – David Stone to Katherine Watt (Email)

Here is my TVOP1400003 Petition to the EPA Administrator and the transmittal letter…

…My alternatives analysis discussion was an outgrowth of my previous 14-00003 f comments [7.31.13 Stone Comments DEP8.30.13 Stone Comments to DEP]. Struck a nerve I guess. But it turns out that PSU really should have submitted an alternatives analysis to PA-DEP as part of the TVOP 14-00003


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