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Proposed plants prompt environmental concerns

CEDAR RAPIDS - Officials will soon consider plans to build two coal-fired power plants that critics argue would offset some of Iowa's efforts to cut air emissions and reduce global warming. A proposed 750-megawatt plant, led by LS Power Group, would be built on farmland near Waterloo. Alliant Energy has filed an application with the Iowa Utilities Board to build a 630-megawatt unit in Marshalltown......... Developers of new coal-fired plants in Iowa say coal has been the best choice because it allows them to make electricity at the reasonable and predictable costs their customers want. Soaring prices have made natural gas undesirable. In addition, wind energy is not viewed as an option because wind speeds are seasonal and unpredictable.

CEDAR RAPIDS - Officials will soon consider plans to build two coal-fired power plants that critics argue would offset some of Iowa's efforts to cut air emissions and reduce global warming.

A proposed 750-megawatt plant, led by LS Power Group, would be built on farmland near Waterloo. Alliant Energy has filed an application with the Iowa Utilities Board to build a 630-megawatt unit in Marshalltown.

The plants, if approved by the board, would join a new coal-fired MidAmerican Energy generating unit in Council Bluffs that began operating June 1.

Such plants employ more efficient technology that emits about 10 percent less carbon dioxide for the equivalent amount of power than previous generations. Yet a typical coal-fired plant generates as much carbon dioxide as putting thousands more automobiles on the road, making them a big contributor to the emissions blamed for climate change.

About 150 new coal-fired power plants were planned in the United States as of May 1.

‘‘We are in the early stages of an incredibly intense coal rush to get as many plants built as possible,'' say Henry Henderson, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Midwest Program, which plans to fight some of... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

CEDAR RAPIDS - Officials will soon consider plans to build two coal-fired power plants that critics argue would offset some of Iowa's efforts to cut air emissions and reduce global warming.

A proposed 750-megawatt plant, led by LS Power Group, would be built on farmland near Waterloo. Alliant Energy has filed an application with the Iowa Utilities Board to build a 630-megawatt unit in Marshalltown.

The plants, if approved by the board, would join a new coal-fired MidAmerican Energy generating unit in Council Bluffs that began operating June 1.

Such plants employ more efficient technology that emits about 10 percent less carbon dioxide for the equivalent amount of power than previous generations. Yet a typical coal-fired plant generates as much carbon dioxide as putting thousands more automobiles on the road, making them a big contributor to the emissions blamed for climate change.

About 150 new coal-fired power plants were planned in the United States as of May 1.

‘‘We are in the early stages of an incredibly intense coal rush to get as many plants built as possible,'' say Henry Henderson, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Midwest Program, which plans to fight some of the Midwest plants in court.

Opponents say construction of the coal-fired plants will undo much of what Iowa's renewable energy boom has done to reduce regulated air emissions and slow climate change.

Carrie La Seur, an attorney with the Mount Vernon-based environmental law firm Plains Justice, says a coalition of environmental groups will challenge Alliant's plans. Much of the coalition's case will focus on how ethanol plants are creating much of the power demand that Alliant's new Marshalltown plant is designed to serve.

Building coal-fired stations to power ethanol plants brings into question the clean air benefits of ethanol, La Seur says.

Developers of new coal-fired plants in Iowa say coal has been the best choice because it allows them to make electricity at the reasonable and predictable costs their customers want.

Soaring prices have made natural gas undesirable. In addition, wind energy is not viewed as an option because wind speeds are seasonal and unpredictable.

Lately, some utilities are rethinking their plans to use more coal. Plans for about two dozen coal-burning plants have been canceled since early 2006, according to the National Energy Technology Laboratory, part of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Don Shatzer, vice president of Community Energy Solutions, a local group opposing LS Power's plans, says his firm has received strong support from people who understand the health risks of coal-burning plants.



Source: http://www.timesrepublican....

AUG 19 2007
https://www.windaction.org/posts/10689-proposed-plants-prompt-environmental-concerns
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