Why Texas *really* needs more electricity
The pages of the Houston Chronicle have been full of advertisements featuring the filthy faces of men, women, and children and bearing the slogan "Coal is Dirty." They were part of an advertising campaign against utility company TXU's proposal to build 11 new coal-fired electricity plants in Texas.
Luckily for Texans who think that clean air is important, TXU was just bought out by a larger utility firm that will only build 3 of the coal-fired plants, instead of the original 11. But that hasn't ended fears from certain quarters that Texas, whose population is set to double in the next fifteen years, won't have enough electricity to serve all those new Texans.
I was thinking about this yesterday as I walked through my neighborhood a little after 6pm. The sun was setting, and it was about 70 degrees. There was a light wind from the north, and none of the humidity that usually characterizes Houston. It was a beautiful evening. At home I had left my windows open and my house fan humming. I've been pleased by this weather because I haven't had to run my gas-powered furnace or my electric-powered air conditioner in about a week. My utility bills will be small next month! Of course, as I walked, I heard the sounds of birds settling down for the evening and the hum of air conditioners.
Air conditioners? Huh? In this beautiful weather?
As I walked yesterday evening, I noticed that about 3 out of five houses were running air conditioners. Many of these houses didn't even have screens on their windows, indicating that invariably some form of climate control is running in those houses, even when the weather is gorgeous.
I suggest that perhaps Texans need to learn something about conservation *before* any utility firm builds new electrical plants, whether it be three coal-fired plants or 11.