NewEnergyNews: COAL CONTROVERSY

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    Wednesday, November 29, 2006

    COAL CONTROVERSY

    Involved consumers? Fighting for conservation? Can this be Kansas, Toto?

    Plan for coal-fired energy plants fires up opposition
    Beverly Corbell, November 27, 2006 (The Daily Sentinel)

    - Resistance is growing over a multistate energy supplier’s plans to build three new coal-fired power plants…Tri-State Generation and Transmission’s plans for the new plants should at least be scaled back, Dan McClendon, general manager of the Delta-Montrose Electric Association, said…
    - Electric rates for homes will go up about 12 percent for association customers in Delta and Montrose counties in 2007 and could go up 30 percent over the next four years, McClendon said, all because of the power plants…
    - Energy conservation is the best way to bring energy costs down, coupled with using renewable resources and allowing more local energy production, whether it’s hydro or biomass, McClendon said…
    - Tri-State is planning to build two large plants in Kansas and a third in southeast Colorado at a total cost of $5 billion…But the board believes the plants could be delayed or shelved altogether through and “aggressive pursuit” of energy conservation…the electric association is also the first electric co-op in the state to adopt the nationwide 25x25 Initiative…25 percent of all energy to come from renewable sources by the year 2025…
    - To get that word out, association customers received a 12-page newsletter last week defining the rate increase and the local co-op’s opposition to relying on more coal-fired plants…“The key to minimizing the number of new, more expensive coal-fired power plants is energy efficiency, demand-side management, demand-response programs and other ways to optimize the plants already in service…If the need for one additional coal-fired plant can be deferred or eliminated through such efforts, all ratepayers will benefit.”

    - The newsletter points out that for many years natural gas was the “fuel of choice” for energy, but when gas prices shot up, utility companies all over the world turned more and more to coal…
    - Coal-fired plants are not only the bane of people who worry about global warming, they also cost too much, according to the association, and are one of the most expensive ways to produce energy…Tri-State uses coal for 68 percent of its energy generation, and the high cost of transporting it also hikes consumer prices…
    - Another factor is the cost of reducing [acid rain, suspended particulates, mercury and other emissions] from coal-fired plants…
    - Not included in the current cost of coal energy is a tax on carbon emissions that’s being proposed in the United States and other countries…
    - Because Tri-State and the association are member-owned…the best thing members can do to avoid the higher cost of coal energy is conserve energy and show Tri-State that it works…

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