No New Coal or Nuclear Plants necessary

At the US Energy Association forum, Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, announced that no new nuclear or coal plants may be needed in the United States. The Chairman's views go beyond those of other Obama administration officials, who have strongly endorsed greater efficiency and renewables deployment but feel nuclear and fossil energies will continue playing a major role.

There's enough renewable energy to meet energy demand, Wellinghoff said. "There's 500 to 700 gigawatts of developable wind throughout the Midwest, all the way to Texas. There's probably another 200 to 300 gigawatts in Montana and Wyoming that can go West."

He also cited tremendous solar power in the Southwest and hydrokinetic and biomass energy, and said the United States can reduce energy usage by 50 percent. "You combine all those things together ... I think we have great resources in this country, and we just need to start using them," he said.

He went on to say that planning and modifying the grid to integrate renewables must happen in the next three to five years or we will have "missed the boat".

Perhaps Wellington needs to be one of the many experts speaking at hearings this week on the draft energy bill introduced by Henry Waxman. While the draft under discussion does have provisions for a renewable energy standard of 25% by 2025, it also includes enormous handouts to the coal industry and language that will hinder the EPA's ability to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants under the Clean Air Act.

The bill would allow for carbon "offsets" to be purchased by industry to meet reductions. So rather than becoming more efficient, closing the oldest and dirtiest plants and tranisitioning to renewables, the coal industry will be able to simply pay others to offset their emissions.

And if you, like Wellington, agree that no new coal or nuclear power is needed to meet US electricity demands, then you would also agree that we dont need to hand $10 billion hard earned taxpayer dollars given to investments in CCS technology over the next ten years.

It is important that in determining energy policy we base decisions on facts and science, not the potitical desires of those profiting from our continued reliance on dirty fossil fuels like coal.

For more on Wellington's comments read the New York Times Article: No need to build new U.S. coal or nuclear plants.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman says renewables like wind and solar will be enough