Expect to hear a lot about Dynegy in the coming months, especially if you live in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada or Texas.
The Sierra Club is trying to pressure the company to reverse its decision to build coal-fired power plants in those states, hoping it will take the tack of the investors who purchases TXU with the promise to scuttle its plans to build eight of 11 new coal-fired power plants.
Since that plan was killed, Dynegy (also known in some parts of the country as LS Power) has emerged at the top of the list of companies planning to build new coal-fired power plants, according to the Sierra Club. It has plans for six plants in six states. (That is a small fraction of the coal plants on the drawing board for the entire U.S., a number estimated at 94, down from 157.)
A Dynegy spokesman, David Byford, was quoted in the Houston Chronicle as saying the short-term demand for electricity necessitates the building of new coal-fired power plants.
"It would take a lot of wind to meet those needs," he told the Chronicle. "This is really part of a larger national debate on the country's future and meeting its energy needs."
Dynegy has paid some hefty fees in recent years to keep its existing coal-fired power plants running. The company, like others in the business of making electricity by burning coal, has faced more strict regulations on pollution controls linked to acid rain, smog and toxic mercury.
The big wild card, though, is carbon, which can now be emitted without a cost. Various strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that fuel global warming are being considered, and many analysts (including energy company executives) expect a new U.S. law to be enacted by 2009.
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