Business, Energy

Attack fossil funding

01.18.07 | Comment?

Not a bad ploy really. The Boston Globe reports that a coalition of environmental groups are doing just that as the Texas Utility Corporation (TXU) seeks $11B for funding the construction of 11 new pulverized coal plants which would release some 78 million tons of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere per year.

What else could one do with $11B of investment? Here’s a list:

  • Add 3,600 MW of geothermal power generation (note, this would increase the US geothermal production by 164%) – or –
  • Add 9,200 MW of wind power generation (and one could do this in Texas) – or –
  • Add 1,375 MW of solar power generation (this could work in Texas too) – or –
  • Or if one must do fossil fuel, add 14,600 MW of natural gas power generation

Yes, coal is relatively speaking cheap to acquire, transport, and use. But the cost of the atmospheric impact is huge. Until and unless coal burners have to pay that cost, the true economic impact isn’t being factored in. Even with that, coal prices are up 35% this decade and the rail lines are at (or over) capacity to transport it from point A to point B. Sooner or later, the fact that the fuel is free will make the economics of renewable power generation too attractive to pass up. The environmental benefit will be a nice synergistic effect.

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