Here's the big news out of California, where the state legislature has just passed a bill, certain to be signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, pledging to cut the state's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. From Marketwatch:
The California Assembly on Thursday approved, as expected, a bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state to 1990 levels by 2020.But that isn't all that took place in Sacramento:
The state Senate earlier in the day approved the measure, which was forged by a compromise reached Wednesday between the legislature's Democratic Party leadership and Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Only one Republican assemblymember, Shirley Horton of San Diego, voted for the measure, which passed 46-31. Not one Republican in the state Senate voted for Assembly Bill 32, which was sponsored by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles.
"Today, we are taking a stand to curb this crisis. We have the will, ability and solutions to slow global warming and encourage technology that can help the rest of the world," Nunez said after the bill passed.
In a separate but related bill approved Thursday, the state is moving to ban new long-term contracts for power supplies from coal-fired plants, at least until such plants operate with equipment still under development to control carbon dioxide. Though California doesn't have any coal-fired power plants, it gets about 20% of its electricity from such plants located in other western states. The second bill, Senate Bill 1368, was passed by the legislature Thursday, and it too is expected to be signed into law by Schwarzenegger.So here's what we have: California wants to throttle back emissions while curbing the use of coal, source of 20% of the state's electricity. Also remember that California has a moritorium on new nuclear build.
What does it all add up to? From the Los Angeles Times:
But executives in industries that consume large amounts of electricity fear that putting caps on greenhouse gas emissions only in California could drive employers and jobs across state lines. They say the state's electricity prices, already among the highest in the nation, could soar as utilities stop using electricity generated from cheap coal and increase their reliance on costly natural gas.More, here. As we know, North American natural gas reserves are running down, which means that over the long haul California will have to increase its reliance on foreign sources of the fuel -- and going forward that means importing liquified natural gas from countries like Russia and Iran. That is, if the state can actually decide where it might be able to build an LNG terminal.
What the state is doing here is kicking two legs out from under a three-legged stool, while still expecting to be able to keep their balance. Can the state manage it? We'll find out, but in the meantime, if California wants to add some stability to its electric generation portfolio without emitting additional greenhouse gases, it's time to reconsider nuclear energy. If they don't, the state is headed down a road paved with skyrocketing electricity rates, power supply disruptions and long-term depenence on sources of natural gas that don't have the state's or the nation's best interests at heart.
In the meantime, it looks like it's time to revisit this post from January.
Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Power, Environment, Energy, Politics, Technology, Economics, California, GHG