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Archive for January 22nd, 2010

Austin is not alone in preparing for clean and affordable energy.

When good news like this comes across the internet like this, we have to share. From the cloudy northwest:

Portland General Electric Co. would shut down the state’s only coal-fired power plant 20 years earlier than planned under a proposal it hopes to finalize with state and federal regulators in the coming months.

Essentially, the new plan to shut the Boardman plant down 20 years earlier than planned is to avoid extra costs for pollution controls (more than $500 million by 2017) and avoid carbon risks.  PGE still owes $125 million on the plant, and replacing the 500 MW of power will have its costs too, but read on…

Based on its analysis of carbon and natural gas prices, however, PGE maintains that a 2020 shutdown would be the low-cost, least-risk plan for utility ratepayers and shareholders [emphasis mine]. Under the existing plan, both face the risk of making the huge investment to control haze causing pollution – which does nothing to control the plant’s carbon emissions — then seeing the plant close anyway if global warming legislation or a carbon tax makes its output prohibitively expensive.

Read the full article here. Coal represents about a quarter of PGE’s generation mix. (Los Angeles also has a goal to get out of coal by 2020.)

Austin Energy has similar plans to get out of its only coal plant, the Fayette Power Project. No target date is set yet, but the utility’s 2020 generation plan would reduce Austin’s dependence on it by 20-30%. The next two years will be important as Austin works with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas  (the grid operator for most of Texas) and the Lower Colorado River Authority (co-owner of Fayette) to see what the most practical and fair way out. Learn more about the resource plan and some excellent additional recommendations at www.cleanenergyforaustin.org. You can also learn a lot from AE’s website www.austinsmartenergy.com.

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By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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Blasting on Coal River Mountain was halted due to a tree sit by three activists: Eric Blevins, 28, Amber Nitchman, 19, and David Aaron Smith, 23.  On standby at the trees’ base were the direct supporters Josh Graupera, 19, and Isabelle Rozendaal, 22. Associated with Climate Ground Zero and Mountain Justice, these activists are opposed to the devastating process of mountain top removal (MTR) going on at Coal River Mountain. Perched 60 feet in the air in tulip poplars and oak trees just a stone’s throw from the blasting site these activists risked their own well being in a direct action attempt to halt the exploitation of Appalachia.

Too often people talk about how terrible something is without any action behind their words. These individuals not only understand that MTR mining must be stopped, they are willing to risk their safety and liberty to non-violently bring its operations to a halt – if even for only a day. If every person in this country who was concerned about MTR mining followed their example it would be shut down forever.

The time is long past when we should have stopped using coal for fuel in general. That we are now destroying the second most biologically diverse ecosystem on the surface of the planet in order to allow companies like Massey to stay competitive with other coal mining companies is grossly obscene. These individuals should be commended by anyone who cares in the slightest about the health of our environment and the health of the general public – and as many people who can should join in their acts of non-violent civil disobedience.

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By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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Live anywhere close to Stephenville?  Next Tuesday, January 26th there will be a forum there titled “Renewable Energy Opportunities for Rural Communities and Agriculture.”  Speakers will present information on how rural communitities, agriculture, and landowners can benefit from partnering to develop renewable resources such as wind and solar.  It will be held from 8 am to 5 pm at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 1229 N. Hwy 281. For more information, read the Jacksboro Newspaper posting.

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By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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SEED Coalition opposes any radioactive waste dumping in Texas, but at minimum seeks to prevent our state from receiving waste from more than just the two Compact States and becoming the nation’s radioactive waste dump. With support from Public Citizen, Environment Texas and Nuclear Information and Resource Service and other groups, they will submit comments today to the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission. The Proposed Import/Export Rule under consideration may open the door for Texas to becoming the nation’s nuclear dumping ground and we’re making recommendations to strengthen the rule and protect public health as safety .

State Rep. Lon Burnam (District 90, Ft. Worth) will ask a series of questions of the Compact Commissioners, and try to get answers as to why they are considering the weak and risky approach taken by the draft rule under consideration.

Some of SEED Coalition’s comments can be summarized as follows:

  • The site should be limited to radioactive waste from Texas and Vermont, and have volume and radioactivity caps that match the license for the facility.
  • Waste from Texas and Vermont would more than fill up the facility, and no Out of Compact Waste should be imported.
  • The proposed import/ export rule needs to be strengthened and deemed a Major Environmental rule, so that more careful analysis can be done.
  • Radionuclides must be carefully tracked and monitored. The public has a right to know what is shipped to the site and the level of radioactivity in curies.
  • The public should be informed as to health risks from various radionuclides and meetings held in accord with the Open Meetings Act

The Compact Commission meets today beginning at 9 AM in Austin, Texas in the State Capitol Auditorium, E1.004, 1400 North Congress.

Visit www.NukeFreeTexas.org to find SEED’s comments, Rep. Burnam’s questions, a NIRS factsheet and the memo by nuclear expert Dr. Arjun Makhijani.  Press release after the jump… (more…)

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