It Gets Cold in Wisconsin, Doesn’t It?

By November 14, 2008Energy, Global Warming

From the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, November 11.

MADISON – In a unanimous decision today, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) denied Wisconsin Power and Light’s plan to build a new 300 megawatt coal-fired electric generation facility at either their Nelson Dewey Generating Station property in Cassville or the Columbia Energy Center in Portage.

The PSC decided that the $1.26 billion project was too costly when weighing it against other alternatives such as natural gas generation and the possibility of purchasing power from existing sources. Concerns over construction costs and uncertainty over the costs of complying with future possible carbon dioxide regulations were all contributing factors to the denial.

Purchase power from existing sources? Sure, we’ll just get the baseload electricity from Utah…

Oh, right.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency was blocked Thursday from issuing a permit for a proposed coal-burning power plant in Utah without addressing global warming. The ruling by an agency appeals panel means the Obama administration probably will determine the fate of other similar plants.

How about Kansas?

WICHITA — State efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could have an effect not only on Kansas power plants, but on agriculture and anyone who owns a vehicle, according to a state audit for the Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy group.

The audit for the group, which was created to find ways to combat climate change, said electric utilities would be most affected by changes, although other people would also likely feel the affects. David Springe, consumer counsel for the Citizen’s Utility Ratepayer Board, said any costs to utilities would just be passed on to customers.

“Ratepayers are going to pay for everything regardless,” Springe said.

In the final week of the campaign, there was quite a furor over the San Francisco Chronicle having (miserably) failed to report comments by candidate Barack Obama to the effect that, yes, utilities could build new coal plants but the costs from environmental regulations would “bankrupt” them.

But at least he envisioned the possiblity of new coal-fired power plants, which is more than you can say for a lot of decision-makers.

Meanwhile, back in the world of reality (from the Edison Electric Institute)…

In 2007:

48.6 percent of our nation’s electricity was generated from coal. Nuclear energy produced 19.4 percent. Natural gas supplied 21.5 percent. Hydropower provided 5.8 percent of the supply. Fuel oil provided 1.6 percent of the generation mix. Other renewable resources, such as geothermal, solar, and wind, provided 2.5 percent, with other miscellaneous sources providing the balance.
The following amount of electricity, in gigawatt-hours (GWh), was generated from the nation’s fuel mix:
Coal: 2,020,572 GWh
Nuclear: 806,487 GWh
Gas: 893,211 GWh
Hydro: 241,319 GWh
Fuel Oil: 65,708 GWh
Other renewables (geothermal, non-wood waste, wind, and solar): 102,988 GWh
Other: 29,230 GWh

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