Coal, Nuclear

Calif. needs fossil-fired power plants: officials

19 June 2007 — The Reuters news agency quoted two California state energy officials as saying natural gas plants and possibly nuclear power would be needed to meet the state’s energy needs. Coal power was ruled out unless “clean coal” technologies could capture most of the carbon emissions. “We can’t do everything with renewables,” Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, was quoted as saying at a clean energy forum at the San Francisco offices of Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

Some of California’s older fossil-fired generating plants will need to be replaced with fuel-efficient combined cycle units to provide reliable baseload electricity to the state, Peevey also was quoted as saying.

Nuclear power was not completely rejected but officials said that California, which has two nuclear power stations, barred new nuclear plant construction in 1976 until the U.S. Department of Energy develops a permanent site for the disposal of radioactive spent fuel rods.

“Nuclear sounds better than coal for global warming but California is not the place to start,” Arthur Rosenfeld, a member of the California Energy Commission, told the meeting.

California’s energy plan puts energy efficiencies and renewable electricity supplies such as wind, solar and geothermal ahead of fossil-fuel generation.

State regulators have directed utilities to make renewable power 20 percent of their electricity supplies by 2010, a deadline that Peevey said may slip to 2011.

That figure would rise to one-third of supplies by 2020, which Peevey called a “difficult task.”