“Those who seek to demonize coal or eliminate its use are, quite honestly, disconnected from reality.” Dominion Resources CEO Thomas F Farrell, II
What is the reality that we are disconnected from?
- The 3.5 million tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxide, 10 million tons of sulfur dioxide, 48 tons of mercury, 56 tons of arsenic, 134,000 tons of hydrochloric acid and 130 million tons of toxic-laden waste from US coal-fired electricity plants each year?
- A warming planet? And, the quite likely possibility that we need to figure out how to reduce not our emissions, but how to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere?
- Mountain-top removal’s devastation?
I’d ask “what planet do you live on, Tom”, but really the question is:
What planet do you want my and your children to live in?
Farrell spoke publicly at the Energy Technology Summit at UVA-Wise, near Dominion’s proposed new coal-fired electricity plant which earned Farrell a Fossil-Fool Award. As for those seeking to “dominize coal”, we “are placing ‘pie in the sky’ above practicality.”
What, I wonder, is practicality? Desiring and striving for a livable planet for our future and future generations isn’t “practical”?
“We do not have the luxury of limiting ourselves to a few sources of energy and excluding others,” Farrell said. “We need to draw on every resource at our disposal – coal, nuclear, oil, natural gas, renewable power and aggressive and smarter conservation and efficiency programs.”
Only a fool doesn’t seek to have a portfolio of solution sets, but coal is only the centerpiece for those who are denying the very reality and the serious implications of Global Warming. But, yes, a sensible policy would combine a mix of energy source and serious conservation/efficiency. Pursuing these paths, “aggressive and smarter” pursuit, would enable retiring coal from the US electricity grid in a few decades rather than fostering introduction of new coal plants.
Aside from climate change, other energy issues that should not be overlooked are tightening supplies, skyrocketing demand, volatile and escalating fuel costs, aging infrastructure and a shortage of scientists and engineers, Farrell said
Yes, Tom. Absolutely, Tom. But, let us go back to that “aggressive and smarter conservation and efficiency”. Might that have something to say about “skyrocketing demand”. “Volatile and escalating fuel costs” includes the skyrocketing price for coal? In addition to the fuel price, perhaps your rate payers might be concerned over the risk of future carbon prices which will truly make the Wise plant an unwise decision. This point is true. Energy is a quite complicated issue, with Global Warming being only one of the implications of energy policy decision-making. But, it is an issue that merits being on the table, perhaps the center piece of the table, and an issue that highlights the foolishness of pursuing the Wise County plant.
Dominion is promoting conservation and energy-efficient light bulbs, he said, but “even with effective customer conservation, we still are going to have to build new power plants … to produce the amount of electricity our customers will need.”
Should we laugh or cry at this? “Dominion is one of the nation’s largest producers of energy.” Dominion’s conservation program: some cute material on their website on “Energy Conservation and the Environment”, a 4500 resident energy conservation pilot program by Dominino Virginian Power (remember, from “one of the nation’s largest producers …” 4,500, get serious!), and a discount program for CFLs. With a serious effort, “aggressive and smarter conservation and efficiency programs,” the entire need for this plant’s electricity could be obviated. And, the introduction of renewables and additional nuclear capacity could enable a gradual shut down of Dominion’s existing fossil-fuel in the coming decades rather than expanding Dominion’s already massive carbon footprint.
Yes, those “who seek to demonize coal or eliminate its use are, quite honestly, disconnected from [the] reality” that alternatives exist. That a holistic approach toward our energy challenges could produce a more prosperous union and a more climate-friendly one. Sadly, Fossil Fools stand in the way of taking this smarter path.
Hat tip to Raising Kaine and Dr. James Hansen vs Dominino Executive Tom Farrell.