Friday, December 02, 2005

Electricity Imports Hurt Environment

Because of regulations in California, many companies (including Los Angeles' Department of Water and Power) have chosen to locate their electric generation outside of the State. To little surprise, this isn't such a great deal for the environment.

California increased its dependence on polluting, coal-fired power plants during the past decade while renewable energy use remained stagnant, according to three environmental groups that released a report Thursday highlighting what one clean-air advocate described as "California's dirty little secret.''

About 20 percent of the state's electricity needs are met by importing electricity produced in other Western states by power plants that would not meet air pollution standards here, according to the report.

That power use has measurable effects on the environment in states like Arizona and Nevada, the report says, noting that California's share of coal-burning plants accounts for more than 200 times the amount of mercury produced by all of the state's natural gas plants, and that the plants release 67 million tons of carbon dioxide annually into the air -- the equivalent of 11 million cars.