October 26, 2011

Locking in a 30 years mistake in Taylorville.

Tenaska is making yet another push for their so-called clean coal plant proposed in Taylorville. They need the legislature to give the plant special help because it's not economically viable in a competitive energy market.

Last year, Tenaska threatened that they would abandon the project if the General Assembly didn't quickly approve their bill. But, like a Kiss farewell tour, they keep coming back no matter how many times we think it's over.

The biggest special favor Tenaska demands is mandatory thirty-year contracts at a rate which guarantees their profits. Nearly all Illinois utilities will be forced to participate and rate increases will be passed on to their customers. It's socialism for the company, which gets guaranteed profits, while us taxpayers assume all the financial risk.

The Illinois legislature is being pressured to pass this bill because it will create temporary jobs for a few years while the plant is built. Even after those jobs are long gone, the state will be forced to carry the burden of overpriced, dirty power for the nest 30 years.

It's important to consider that the Illinois Commerce Commission study determined that the proposed Taylorville plant would produce some of the most expensive energy on the market, costing even more than current wind power prices. Will overpriced power from this plant still make sense 10, 25, or 30 years from now after wind and solar come down even further in cost?

It's amazing how far a bad idea can go when it's being pushed by every other lobbyist in town. Burdening the next generation with a 30-year mistake would rank as one of the legislature's most short sighted failures.