Opinion

Big power plants are producing energy we don't need. Why build more of them?

To the editor: I recall warnings that if the San Onofre nuclear plant was not allowed to restart, Southern California would likely experience rolling blackouts. (“Californians are paying billions for power they don't need,” Feb. 5)

Those dire predictions never did come to pass because California had an excess of power. Electricity demand has fallen due to energy efficiency and conservation measures as well as distributed energy sources like rooftop solar. 

I suggest that utility companies travel into the 21st century and obtain excess power capacity from renewable, distributed sources. If utilities worry about a “glut” of green electricity, my electric car and thousands more will help to address that “problem.” 

We don’t need more behemoth, antiquated power plants. 

Linda Nicholes, Huntington Beach

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To the editor: TURN, The Utility Reform Network, is the “consumer advocate” alluded to in your article that challenged an unneeded power plant in Contra Costa County. We actually took the Public Utilities Commission to court twice over its votes to authorize customer funding for the unneeded Oakley plant, the first time in our more than 40 years of representing consumers that we’ve been forced into two appeals of almost identical, blatantly illegal commission decisions.

Part of the reason for continued approval of unneeded plants is the mistaken idea that our “energy crisis” was a crisis of need. It was in fact a crisis of greed, fed by the deregulation fervor that allowed companies to withhold power as a way to push prices upward.

Having the governor’s support can also boost a power plant’s chances. Commissioners are chosen by the governor and often remain in lockstep with whoever has appointed them. 

Mindy Spatt, San Francisco

The writer is communications director for TURN.

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