Re "States’ Battles Over Energy Grow Fiercer With U.S. in a Policy Gridlock" ("The Energy Challenge" series, March 20):
Proponents of coal-fired power argue falsely that coal is cheap. Coal is a cheap fuel. But who cares? Coal can’t run an iPod. And electricity from coal — which also includes fuel, maintenance and capital recovery costs — is expensive.
Indeed, no one is building coal plants without first securing regulatory guarantees of equity recovery. But when we guarantee that equity, we commit to significant electric rate increases — in the name of cheap coal.
We have cheaper and cleaner options: Co-generation and energy recycling have the potential to generate 40 percent of our nation’s electricity, slashing power costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
But our regulations, which reward monopoly utilities for investing capital, but provide no reward should they find ways to generate cheaper power, are blind to these opportunities.
Worse, they impose barriers to entrepreneurs who would otherwise build these projects with private capital. We can do better. And we don’t need dirty, expensive power.
We need to confront the elephant in the room: a regulatory model that is hostile to efficient power generation.
President, Recycled Energy Development
Westmont, Ill., March 20, 2008