Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Focus On the Energy Bill: Peaking power plants or baseload power plants?

The Christian Science Monitor has published an article entitled: Cost of electricity rising like summer heat. In the article, they summarize the difference to a utility (and the consumers) whether electricity demand is met with baseload plants or peaking plants, which are more expensive, often higher in emissions, and are designed and built to run only for short periods of the year when demand is highest.

But this summer has been so hot that to meet the soaring demand, many utilities have had to turn to more expensive power plants, known as "peak generating plants." Instead of relying on coal or nuclear fuel, many of these power producers use more expensive oil or natural gas to power their turbines.
The article also includes an illuminating quote the demonstrates conservation at its absolute worst.
"The reason we are calling on the president is our concern about the impact of high temperatures on people's health, and we know that many low-income and elderly people don't turn on their air conditioning because they are afraid of the bills," says Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association in Washington.
How do we lower the electricity bills for those who can least afford (yet most need) the benefits that abundant, inexpensive power can provide? More of the cleanest baseload power stations: nuclear power is best positioned for expansion, in ways that hydropower cannot.

Support for the energy bill is critical at this juncture, as a good policy for all Americans, particularly the portions of the policy that advance construction of new nuclear power stations.

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