NewEnergyNews: COAL PLANT TO OFFSET EMISSIONS

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    Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    COAL PLANT TO OFFSET EMISSIONS

    This is a huge step toward the future: It puts a price on the greenhouse gases this plant emits. When the cost of emissions must be paid, renewable energy becomes more competitive.

    Coal, presently supplying just over half of US electricity, will be a necessary part of the power supply picture in the short term, like it or not (and NewEnergyNews does not like it). The folks in the upper Midwest have got to have heat in the winter.

    With this measure, the utilities begin to pay for what heretofore consumers have had to suffer, the harm done by emissions (what economists call externalities). No doubt the utilities will want to pass the costs along to ratepayers. Maybe then the ratepayers will start asking about emissions-free energies like wind and solar.


    Proposed power plant promises to offset carbon emissions
    Leslie Brooks Suzukamo, August 31, 2007 (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

    WHO
    Minnesota Department of Commerce (Edward Garvey, Deputy Commerce Commissioner) and 7 regional utilities, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC), Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy and other environmental groups

    click to enlarge

    WHAT
    Big Stone II, a controversial coal-fired power plant, will offset all emissions on power sold to Minnnesota customers in order to win approval from MPUC.

    WHEN
    Big Stone II is expected to be operational in 2012.

    WHERE
    Big Stone II will be built next to Big Stone I just over the border from Minnesota near Big Stone City, South Dakota. It will serve 2.3 million customers in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa, eastern Montana and Wisconsin.

    WHY
    - The 630 megawatt power plant will cost $1.6 billion to build.
    - This is thought to be the first time a coal-fired power plant has committed to offset any of its emissions.
    - Only the emissions from power generated for Minnesota customers will be offset.

    Here is a picture of the TRUE costs of using emissions-generating energy sources. When the cost of all this gets included into the price consumers pay for electricity, consumers will DEMAND renewables. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    Garvey: "It's aggressive and it is the first plan in the country to deal with carbon…"

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