Kate Sheppard of The Huffington Post reports that Nebraska Utility Is Phasing Out Some Coal Units, And It Won't Cost That Much. The Omaha Public Power District in Nebraska will shut down three coal powered electrical generation units in the next two years and phase two other into using natural gas withing in a decade, a spokesperson for the utility said this yesterday.
The three coal units will be retired by 2016, the public utility said. Another two units at that plant will get updated pollution controls by 2016 as well, and will transition to burning natural gas by 2023. OPPD will similarly retrofit its Nebraska City coal-fired station and implement new energy-efficiency programs to reduce demand.These changes will reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 49%, cut nitrogen emissions by 74%, and sulfur oxide by 68%. Exactly, the goals of President Obama's recently announced proposed goals by the EPA for reduced carbon emissions, with a bonus of the reduction of the other pollutants.
The utility said it was responding to "customer opinions."
And, what kind of economic pain and disaster will this cost the rate payer of Nebraska?
Well, after several weeks of "the sky is falling" kind of predictions that the EPA's carbon rules will make "energy unaffordable in the state, and even just this Tuesday"
In a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday morning, Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) said that members of the board of directors at OPPD and the Nebraska Public Power District have told him that "the only conclusion they've come to so far is that it's gonna cost them, quote, 'a hell of a lot of money,' end quote."Ken Winston, of the Nebraska Sierra Club, set this is a big deal, and the fact that the utility admitted this was their lest expensive option undercuts the industry's major talking points, "that this is going to cost more, that it's going to cost jobs."
But OPPD said Thursday that its plan to phase out coal "is only slightly more expensive than if we didn’t change our current generation portfolio to adapt to future regulations." Rates for consumers are expected to increase between 0 and 2 percent under the plan.
All Democrats and opponents of global warming should memorize this case and point out that not only did we will get a vast reduction of carbon emission for a negligible amount of cost but also a vast reduction of two of the most noxious atmospheric pollutants around. This would have been worth doing just to achieve the 74% reduction of nitrogen, and 68% reduction of sulfur oxide.
We should all call our local utility and ask if we have any coal plants we can shut down now. Why wait for the EPA regulations? Deal like this are too good to wait for. Spread the good news.