Leading from the Left

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Guest Post--Senator Ellie Kinnaird

(Note: I am in the process of soliciting guest posts for this blog. Our first guest post is from State Senator Kinnaird, who follows up with her perspective on the Duke Energy's proposed new coal-fired powerplant, Cliffside. Ellie joined a number of other progressive state legislator's this week in asking the Utilities Commission to delay a vote on this project. There will be other guest posts on other topics in the coming weeks.)

Guest Post: State Senator Eleanor Kinnaird

Cliffside Coal Plant

Energy use and production has gained priority in the General Assembly. From the Energy Independence Act to the Global Warming Commission, the awareness of the seriousness of the problem and solutions North Carolina can enact are at the forefront of discussions. The Legislature last session ordered the Utilities Commission to study the issue of energy in our state. The Report found that North Carolina could reduce future need by 10% with a rigorous development of alternate energy and efficiency and just plain not using power.

In the light of the interest and proposed solutions, it is disappointing that Duke Energy is asking for permission to build two coal-fired power plants west of Charlotte. Last session, the environmental community opposed the plants, but the holy grail of "jobs" led to approval by the legislature. It was sold to the legislature by saying the plants could be built right over the line in South Carolina just as easily and there would go millions of dollars of jobs marching south.

But the fact is, Cliffside Plants will pollute (11.5 tons of carbon dioxide that is equal to 1 million autos a year), will cost customers dearly, with a 50% cost overrun estimate. Contrast that with the minimal impact alternate energy and efficiency has and it is hard to justify Duke’s plans. In addition, alternate energy promotes small businesses and creates jobs. Writing to the commission may stop the Cliffside application by showing citizens care about their future and are willing to invest in the right energy policy.