A Heads Up to Look Down
Article was added on Friday, July 03, 2009
When promoting overhead power line safety, electric
cooperatives always say, "Look up and live." These days, however,
we have a new message: "Look down."
This time, we're talking to our nation's leaders. Why? As Glenn
English, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
recently noted, "We're standing at the edge of a cliff and our
lawmakers are oblivious to the fact the cliff even exists."
The "cliff" is a looming crisis in electric generation capacity.
In other words, we're close to running short of power. As English
says, Congress is devoting attention to vague climate change
targets and goals for 75 to 100 years from now at the expense of
fundamental, immediate issues such as "where and how will we get
the power we need -- and how will be pay for it?"
Climate change legislation as proposed could leave "an entire
segment of our society" unable to pay skyrocketing power bills,
The Department of Energy forecasts that the nation will need
almost 120,000 megawatts of additional power in the next 10 years,
English says. Here in South Carolina, one of the fastest growing
states, the electric co-ops and our chief power supplier, the
state-owned utility Santee Cooper, will need 1,704 additional
megawatts in the next decade.
Unfortunately, experts agree that an important element in most
climate change proposals, commercially available carbon dioxide
capture and storage technologies, will not be ready by then. (FYI:
Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is one of the "greenhouse gases" that trap
heat in the Earth's atmosphere, which most scientists agree causes
our atmosphere to become warmer. This contributes to "global
warming" or "climate change.")
Fortunately, as English notes, electric co-ops are well-suited
to play a role in the energy debate. Co-ops nationwide speak for
more than 40 million members. "Others will not speak out," he said,
"but electric cooperatives in this nation have a long history of
looking after our members. They have a long history of doing what's
right for our country."
Being a co-op, Santee Electric Cooperative always involves its
members. To get involved in the energy debate if you haven't
already, click on the "Our Energy, Our Future" link on our home
page. The information you provide will help elected officials keep
our country on sure footing, energy-wise.
As always, we're looking out for you. With your help, we can
get our leaders to "look down" before we step off the cliff.
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