Texas Electric Energy Shortage

by Tashun Chism The Electric Reliability Council of Texas believes Texas will be at dangerously low energy levels by the year 2008. Texas Association of Business president Bill Hammond visited Lufkin to warn East Texans about the possible energy shortfall. "It's a pressing issue because we're facing a shortfall as soon as a couple of years. And from the perspective of economic development if we don't have power to meet the needs of a growing Texas, economic development will come to a screeching hault. Businesses will not expand and Texas jobs will not be created," Hammond stated. "There's a lack of reliable power in the state because much of our generation is built on gas fuel. We have an over reliance in other words of gas fired generation in the state. Something like 72 percent of our energy comes from gas fuel, and that's much more than you'll see in other states," TXU Spokesman Tom Kleckner said by phone from Dallas. Hammond thinks his proposal provides the state's best option for avoiding an energy shortfall. "What we're talking about is the proposal to build some 19 coal fire plants across the state. Theses plants will be used to the best available technology, and they will actually result in a net reduction in emissions and they will result in reduced cost for texans," he said. Hammonds knows his plan has its share of critics, but he believes the state needs to start taking action now to avoid future problems. "Some people believe that we should wait on other technologies as they're developed. We don't have the luxury of waiting. We need to use the best available technology today. It's our hope that a new style of energy will be created in the future and that it'll be brought to texas. But in the meantime, these plants are important to the future of Texas."