That's why half of all electricity in the U.S., and in Georgia, comes from coal-based power plants. The U.S. holds 25 percent of the world's supply of coal, so no dependence on foreign coal supply. The average household uses 1 megawatt hour of electricity per month. The cost of 1 megawatt hour of electricity from coal is only about $100, while wind is about $150, and solar thermal about $250.
Not only are solar and wind expensive, they're land intensive, unreliable, and risky. If you converted every inch of land in the entire Southeast into wind-powered electricity production, you still wouldn't have enough capacity to match what was generated in Georgia in 2009. More than a fourth of Georgia's land mass would have to be converted to solar to match current electrical capacity.
Unlike other types of electrical plants, you can't count on wind and solar plants to be producing energy all the time because the wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine. Even worse, most of the components used to build U.S. solar and wind plants aren't produced in the U.S., making us dependent on foreign sources of supply.
You'll hear coal called "dirty," but my rough estimate shows that the annual CO2 likely to be generated by Plant Washington is equivalent to what 2,000 citizens of Cobb County exhale in a year. And, if every Cobb household used only compact fluorescent light bulbs, that's twice as much mercury as what Plant Washington's air permit allows.
The only reason that EPA regulations pose a risk to Plant Washington is because citizens have allowed unelected federal bureaucrats to violate Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution by circumventing the power vested in Congress to legislate.
The Department of Energy has introduced risk into nuclear power by failing to complete the construction of the Yucca Mountain national nuclear waste disposal site. The real toxic waste is the billions of dollars paid by nuclear utilities to the government for the last 30 years to fund construction of waste disposal sites, like Yucca Mountain, that have never materialized.
About one-fourth of Georgia's electricity is generated by nuclear power plants. While the cost per megawatt hour of nuclear is very low, nuclear plant construction costs are very high. Construction of the two Vogtle plants will cost $5.8 million per megawatt compared to Plant Washington's bargain price of $2.4 million.
Our government loves squandering our money. Millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars have been wasted in funding risky green energy projects like solar companies Solyndra and Evergreen Solar which have closed factories, laid off workers, and even moved production overseas. Remember the corn ethanol hoopla? Three major ethanol producers (Verasun, Aventine and Pacific Ethanol) went bankrupt within six years despite heavy subsidies. What do we have to show for those tax dollars?
So don't be suckered into this "risky" investment and "dirty" energy crapola about coal. The government wouldn't know a good investment if it zapped them. Plant Washington is a good decision by Cobb EMC because it's good for Cobb EMC customers. However, we'll still hear lots of glowing praise for renewable energy.
Liberals never let facts interfere with their utopian fantasies.
Patti Gettinger is marketing manager for a major packaging company and the vice chair of the Georgia Tea Party.