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Kulongoski should spell out what 'green' power will cost

Albany Democrat-Herald March 2, 2007

Caught up in the global warming cult, Oregon has joined four other states in an agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. It sounds harmless, but nobody knows exactly what it means.

The idea seems to be to cause utility companies to burn less coal. 'sounds great, but only if it gives us as much electricity on demand as the people in these five western states need, and at prices no higher than today because they are already high enough.

Governor Kulongoski is the driving force in Oregon behind this push to set targets for reducing greenhouse gases. He owes it to himself and the people of the state to project just what this drive is going to cost the average household - and then to let everybody know.

The costs are just one aspect that has been ignored. In the face of a growing population and economy, the reliability of the electric supply system is another subject that doesn't get a lot of attention.

If coal-burning plants can't be used because of emission caps, if dams are being shut down to restore salmon runs, if nuclear plants are no longer being built, if geothermal and wave energy don't come close to meeting the demand, and if the wind doesn't blow to keep the windmill farms churning away, then what happens if we turn on the switch?

It is easy, as Oregon and the other states have done, to write down targets for future years. It would be a lot more useful if, before these targets are set, somebody penciled out how we are then going to get the energy we need and just exactly how much more it will cost.



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