NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 29, 2007

Until a month ago, TXU Energy had proposed a solution that promised to meet two of the greatest energy-related objectives Texans face today: increased supply and lower prices.  But that was yanked off the table by the investment group that plans to buy out the company, and cancel construction on eight new coal power plants, says Rep. Joe Barton, member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Texas Public Utility Commission and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state power grid, say that without the 6,000 megawatts of new energy that TXU's cancelled coal power plants would have generated, Texas could soon be short on power at any price.

This isn't about air pollution, either, says Rep. Barton:

  • The eight coal-fired power plants that the buyers were so proud to cancel would have been among the cleanest ever built, anywhere.
  • They would have eliminated 90 percent of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury and 99 percent of fine particulate matter that they created.
  • Canceling the plants won't put a dent in greenhouse gas concentrations, especially when China adds the equivalent of one power plant every week.

Meanwhile, electricity supply tightens, costs stay far above the national average for Texas homeowners, and businesses start to question whether they can afford to come to Texas and whether they can afford to stay, says Rep. Barton.  In a globalized economy, plenty of businesses are willing and able to take their jobs, growth and opportunity to the Pacific Rim and other distant places.  Unlike residents of Texas, they can vote on high electric rates with their feet.

Source: Rep. Joe Barton, "Joe Barton: We need more plants," Dallas Morning News, March 27, 2007.


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