With the best solar resource potential in the nation, high projected energy needs and a considerable existing energy infrastructure, Texas is in a prime position to be a world solar leader. Developing a thriving, self-sufficient solar power market in Texas can have huge benefits for the state—reducing air pollution, protecting consumers from volatile electricity prices, reducing the need to fire up expensive power plants, and avoiding costly upgrades to electricity transmission and distribution systems. A solar market could also bring billions of dollars in investment to the state and create thousands of jobs.
Capitalizing on rising energy prices, growing concern about global warming, and a favorable political climate, the nuclear industry is working to achieve a “nuclear renaissance.” After 30 years without a single new order for a nuclear power plant in the U.S., several companies are now in the early stages of proposing new nuclear power plants. Meanwhile, federal officials have begun routinely approving requests to run existing nuclear plants harder and longer than ever.
America can and must move away from our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels and toward a New Energy Future. We can do this by tapping into our abundant supplies of clean, renewable, home-grown energy sources and by deploying our technological know-how to use energy more efficiently.
Energy companies have proposed building a fleet of new coal-fired power plants across America. As of June 2006, power producers have approximately 150 new coal-fired plants on the drawing board, representing a $137 billion investment and the capacity to supply power to 96 million homes.
If energy companies succeed in building even a fraction of these new power plants, it would have major impacts on America’s environment and economy. Further, this “coal rush” would consume investment dollars that could otherwise promote more sustainable energy sources.
Fortunately, alternatives exist that would reduce or eliminate the need for new coal-fired power plants. By funneling investment instead into improvements in energy efficiency and expansion of renewable energy, the U.S. can avoid the potential impacts of the “coal rush” and improve the economy, the environment and public health.
The “coal rush” would increase U.S. global warming pollution at a time when aggressive action is needed to reduce emissions.
Environment Texas Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.