Former Dallas mayor Laura Miller don't waste no time. After her initial e-mail blast early this a.m., I asked her precisely what she means when she writes that she's "negotiating" to get an Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle, carbon-capture power plant built in Texas, courtesy a Washington State-based energy company. And this morning she wants to make two things perfectly clear: She's not a publicist. And she's not a lobbyist. Which makes her? Well, let her explain.
I've got to get the plant built -- from these early stages through commercial operation. That includes making the plant financially viable since, unlike all these other IGCC plants that have been proposed and then withdrawn, we won't be waiting for or relying on a big federal subsidy to build. Otherwise, what's the point? If you have to rely on the federal government to fund the plant then it's not commercially viable and other companies won't follow suit in the US, or other countries like China and India. You're not doing anything to advance the ball technologically speaking.
So my job is to find off-takers for the plant's byproducts, make sure there is plenty of local transmission capability for 600 MW to the grid, get the permit applications for the power plant and the carbon sequestration through the process, and obtain standard business incentives from communities that are interested in having a $2.5B facility built in their area with 120-150 FTE at the plant when operational and 1,000 construction jobs during the build.
It's the perfect job for me when you consider that I spent a year opposing pulverized coal plants, and the opposition insisted that neither IGCC nor carbon capture was ready for prime time either financially or technologically. It is. And once you build the first plant it will become the new standard, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will have to acknowledge it.
This is the main reason Laura Miller left the Dallas Observer a long time ago, while I still struggle, 17 years later, to end everything I write with a crummy joke. Because I understood every other word of that response, usually the shorter ones. --Robert Wilonsky
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