USA: Proposed coal-fueled power plants criticised for contributing to global warming, damaging air quality - many to be built by TXU, which says its plants will be cleaner than those currently online

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Article
21 July 2006

As Emission Restrictions Loom, Texas Utility Bets Big on Coal - Planned TXU Plants Raise Global-Warming Concerns; Rivals Try New Technology

Author: Rebecca Smith, Wall Street Journal

Top executives at many utility companies have reluctantly accepted that coal-fired power plants contribute to global warming, and they have begun planning for a more restrictive future. Then there is C. John Wilder, chief executive of TXU Corp...[which] is racing to build 11 big power plants in Texas that will...[release] substantial amounts of carbon dioxide...Critics of its $11 billion construction program see...[the following] motivation: The federal government may slap limits on carbon-dioxide emissions. If it does, plants completed sooner may have a distinct advantage. That's because the government may dole out "allowances" to release carbon dioxide, and plants up and running when regulations go into effect may qualify for more of them than those built at a later date. TXU opposes such regulations... Other big utility companies, including American Electric Power Co., Xcel Energy Inc. and Duke Energy, have proposed newer-style plants that release fewer pollutants and make it easier to control carbon-dioxide emissions... TXU says it has already reduced carbon-dioxide emissions per unit of electricity produced by adding wind turbines and nuclear power to its mix... J. Wayne Leonard, chief executive officer of Entergy Corp.,...says the science behind global warming is persuasive and carbon-dioxide regulation is inevitable and necessary. He calls it "unacceptable" for power companies to build lots of new plants heedless of the environmental effect of carbon dioxide... Bechtel Corp. and General Electric Co. are working together to design a gasification power plant [with lower emissions] that would cost about as much to build as the [higher-emission] type of plant that TXU intends to build... Some companies think allowances should be doled out in a way that rewards companies for early, voluntary reductions. In 2002 the state of California created an organization called the California Climate Action Registry to document and verify reductions of several greenhouse gases by companies and public agencies...to secure credit for companies that take early action. Energy producers such as PG&E Corp., Mirant Corp., BP PLC and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power are participants.

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Article
21 July 2006

Coal plants blasted in new national report - Texas leads country with 17 proposed plants [USA]

Author: Asher Price, Austin American-Statesman [USA]

Texas could see a 30 percent increase in greenhouse gases if all 17 of the coal-powered plants proposed for the state go online, according to a national report released by an environmental group Thursday. The report, called "Making Sense of the 'Coal Rush'" and published by Washington-based National Association of State PIRGs, says Texas' coal plants could accelerate climate change. But the company proposing the lion's share of the plants, TXU Corp., says its generators will be cleaner than any plants currently online.... Environmentalists have said the proposed Texas plants, many of which expand existing plants, will damage air quality in the Austin area... The company has committed to lowering its emissions 20 percent while doubling its coal-burning capacity.

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Article
1 July 2006

Making Sense of the “Coal Rush”: The Consequences of Expanding America’s Dependence on Coal

Author: Travis Madsen & Rob Sargent, U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Education Fund & National Association of State PIRGs

As of June 2006, [US] power producers have approximately 150 new coal-fired plants on the drawing board...[that] would increase U.S. carbon dioxide pollution from electricity generation by more than 25 percent above 2004 levels...a 10 percent increase in total U.S. emissions and a 2.4 percent increase in world emissions. The vast majority of proposed plants use traditional coal-burning technology, which emits massive amounts of carbon dioxide... Even [certain more efficient] plants would require costly future upgrades to avoid large releases of global warming pollutants... Companies that build coal-fired power plants today knowingly and significantly contribute to the public health, environmental and property damage that will result from global warming. [refers to Tucson Electric Power (part of Unisource), LS Power Development, Xcel Energy, MidAmerican Energy (part of Berkshire Hathaway), Omaha Public Power District, Santee Cooper, NRG Energy, General Electric; lawsuit against American Electric Power, Southern Company, Tennessee Valley Authority, Xcel Energy, Cinergy (now Duke Energy) over emissions; energy-efficient plants & technologies developed by Solargenix Energy, San Diego Gas and Electric (part of Sempra), Southern California Edison (part of Edison International)]

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