NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 2, 2006

As natural gas prices rise to historic highs, the need for fuel diversity in Texas has come into sharp focus; Texas needs immediate investment in new power plants to meet needs in 2009, when the current excess of electric supply will be consumed by our growing economy, says Mike McCall, chairman and CEO of TXU Wholesale.

TXU -- the largest purchaser of wind energy in Texas and the Southwest -- plans to meet Texas' electric needs with a new coal generation facility. While today's modern coal plants meet all environmental standards and will be a significant contributor to the Texas economy, there is some delay and inaction regarding power plant construction because of reliability issues and rolling blackouts in California.

However, there are a number of reasons a delay in the permitting process is unnecessary and unwarranted, says McCall.

  • Impacts are known, but if TXU's proposed plan applies to power plants, it will impact all plants -- new and old permitted facilities.
  • In 2005, the federal government adopted new stringent emission-reduction standards -- like a reduced cap on total power plant emissions -- for power plants that should provide a direct input into the plan for Dallas-Fort Worth.
  • TXU recognizes that the Dallas-Fort Worth area has a significant air quality problem and has cut its area nitrogen oxide emissions by 88 percent ahead of the schedule defined by the state.
  • The best emissions technology is already being utilized; waiting for new technologies to emerge and be tested means years of delay.

Furthermore, Texans need power and the current timeline gives Texans a chance to weigh in and regulators a chance to evaluate all the data available. The power plant proposed by TXU is the right project at the right time for the right reasons on the right schedule to meet Texas' demands, says McCall.

Source: Mick McCall, "Coal plant will help give Texas the energy it needs," Dallas Morning News, February 27, 2006.


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