Mourning the loss of New Coal?!

A new Op-Ed by Nolan Finley in the Detroit News titled, Cap and Tax Fight Already Being Lost, mourns the increasing regulation blocking new coal plants from being developed.

Worse, the article references new DTE CEO Gerry Anderson whom unimaginatively critiques renewable energy in Michigan and the article fails to even consider energy efficiency – the cheapest form of energy:

“Realistically, over time they may account for 15 to 20 percent of our power generation…But you can’t substitute intermittent sources for base load power — coal, nuclear, hydro, natural gas.” – Says new DTE CEO Gerry Anderson.

The lack of imagination and desire to innovate exemplified by such statements is really stunning given everything we’ve learned in the last few decades.  Here’s a few examples:

1. Energy Efficiency is always cheaper than new coal! And Michigan’s not going to need new “baseload” generation or much increased capacity for years.

2. Advanced Demand Management techniques such as real-time information feed back and incentive pricing is just gearing up – the potential is proven and outstanding.

3. Smart-grids and net-metering will connect renewables, create more small scale distributed generation and will be MORE reliable than the current outdated forms of centralized fossil fuel production plants that pollute and lose energy over long transmission lines.

4. The pollution and health costs, such as Mercury in Great Lakes fish and asthma from burning coal and dirty fossil fuels, are high enough on their own to never build a new coal plant.

5. Why bet against Michigan entrepreneurialism and innovation instead of investing in it?  This cynical take on our energy future makes a bet against Michigander and American ingenuity.

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