Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Just Say No to Portfolio Standards

The latest regulatory boondoggle, this time from Illinois:
Omaha-based energy company Tenaska Inc. plans to move forward with building a $3.5 billion clean-coal plant in Illinois after the Illinois General Assembly passed the Clean Coal Portfolio Standard Act.

The new legislation would require large utilities in the state to enter into long-term contracts to buy up to 5 percent of their electricity from clean-coal facilities, such as Tenaska's Taylorville Energy Center in Taylorville, Ill., said Bart Ford, vice president of business development at Tenaska.

Clean-coal facilities must capture at least 50 percent of their greenhouse gas emissions in order to qualify.
This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. But then again, it makes as much sense as portfolio standards for renewables, or nuclear power, or anything else. The problem with portfolio standards is that they are corporaratist giveaways to the manufacturers of various technologies, which mandate the use of certain options whether they make physical, economic, and environmental sense or not. Portfolio standards are bad policy and will not be an effective substitute for carbon pricing. The sooner our country's leaders realize this, the better.

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