Enlightened Dynamo Or An Electric Opportunist?
According to the Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran, Izzo is the energy industry's enlightened dynamo because he wants to reduce reliance on coal by making it much more expensive to burn. Fifty percent of the electricity in the U.S. is generated by coal so we’re talking about big bucks and major economic repercussions if his idea was adopted.
"Ralph Izzo is a visionary," says Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, a major green lobby in Washington. "He's really willing to buck the system. I think that's huge, politically."Is Izzo a visionary or just a politically savvy guy exploiting the global warming craze and working the system for profit?
Izzo’s pushing for state regulators to approve utility price hikes to pay for lost business due to conservation. He’s announced a solar energy program*, that will generate more in positive company PR and ultimately dollars to PSEG’s bottom line, than electricity. He’s also proposing a plan that would jack up the cost American consumers pay for electricity, excluding the poor who would be subsidized by regular ratepayers, while improving his company’s advantage in the marketplace.
Izzo wants the federal government to cap emissions of greenhouse gases and require utilities to purchase credits at auction for any carbons they do emit. The proceeds could be used to fund research into alternative fuels and to help low-income households purchase the higher-cost power.We are also fans of nuclear power, but it certainly seems Izzo is more of an opportunist than an environmentalist. A new study appearing in the April 1 issue of the journal Environmental Science and Technology notes:
Izzo is a fan of nuclear power, which produces no greenhouse gases.
The coal-burning utilities call Izzo's approach simple self-interest. PSEG relies so heavily on nuclear power that it would not pay as much.
No new nuclear power plants have been built in the United States in 29 years, in part because they've proved to be poor investments, producing far more expensive electricity than originally promised. In 2005, about 19 percent of U.S. electricity generation was produced by 104 nuclear reactors.Those two major pieces of federal legislation not only promote nuclear energy but, cover all energy sources and uses. Plans for improving energy efficiency and conservation, the development and use of alternative and renewable energy, and the modernization of the country’s electricity grid were among the many initiatives advanced in the laws.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Advanced Energy Initiative of 2006 sought to change that, offering financial incentives for new plant construction that employs new reactor and new safe-operating technologies. Current nuclear plant operators have given notice that they intend to apply for approval of 27 new "generation III+" reactors.
However, Tom Moran scoffs at these measures and points to actions by New Jersey lawmakers as momentous.
New Jersey, like California, is getting tired of watching the glaciers melt while the Bush administration does nothing to slow global warming.Great goal, what’s the plan?
This year, the Legislature is almost certain to approve a bill that requires deep cuts in emissions -- an 80 percent drop by 2050. The governor has already signed an executive order embracing the same goal.
So far, though, no one has spelled out how that can be done. The bill would require that we fill in the details within a year. So the hard work lies ahead.In other words, Trenton has produced nothing but hot air. These political gasbags won’t come up with the “details” before the next ice age, so can we skip the talk and start building some nuclear power plants. Make them safe and efficient Mr. Izzo and your competition will follow.
* PSEG solar energy program
PSEG will put up a $100 million for solar energy projects and earn a nice profit on this fairly complicated scheme. The plan calls for the company to provide loans to customers to cover as much as half the cost of a solar installation project, with the utility getting repaid, with interest, over 15 years. Customers would pay the remaining cost directly or through an equity partner, such as a bank or investor, that is eligible to collect the federal investment tax credit.
PSEG would also recoup its investment though the existing “societal-benefits charge” that all customers pay. In addition, the company will receive credits called solar renewable energy certificates, or SRECs, which have value in the energy marketplace. The plan calls for them to be valued at $475 for each megawatt generated, about 50 percent higher than SRECs that are included in a solar program run by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU).