Front Porch Blog

Plant studies

More issues need coverage on Duke Energy’s Cliffside power plant. What is the rationale for Public Staff approval? Has there really been any serious study of conservation/efficiency/alternative energy routes? With the attorney general skeptical, something is really wrong with this picture.

It is well known that the United States is far less efficient in energy use than Europe or Japan. It is less risky in a climate of uncertainty to do things to reduce demand, as these are quick to implement and do not involve 30-year investments that have to be paid off regardless of whether your forecasting was good.

Further, it is morally wrong to subsidize electricity by ignoring real costs like air pollution and mountaintop removal. Polluters should pay, and full costs of their operations should be reflected in the cost of their product. This is the only way the “market” gets good price information so consumers can make informed choices.

We should take a go-slow approach while these things get sorted out and the Public Staff does a good least-cost analysis looking at a longer-term future. It seems clear that Duke’s urgency is being driven by fear of more regulation rather than by current need.

Bill Thomas

Cedar Mountain
The News Observer

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