Over on the Cleantech Blog, Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers posted a statement on some of the proposed carbon legislation, specifically, the cap and trade system proposed by Senators Joe Lieberman and Mark Warner. I think it's great that a CEO of a major coal burning utility steps up and attempts to reach out to the clean tech crowd - but his statement doesn't offer up anything new. Instead, Mr. Rogers pits electricity customers against carbon trader who would stand to profit from the proposed system at the expense of the homeowners, who he says would feel the burden of the costs associated with the Lieberman - Warner legislation. He then goes on to give a number of arguments for coal as a source of electricity generation. Yes, we know we have a 200 something year surprise of the black stuff. No surprises there.
There was one paragraph from his statement where we were in agreement. Many of us have accepted that coal, for now, is a necessarily evil until Nuclear waste storage is figured out and renewable energies such as solar, wind, and geothermal are ready for prime time on a large scale. So, with that said, for now Rogers says the government's carbon legislation should focus on the following.
The goal for carbon legislation should not be to punish utilities for building coal plants to keep the lights on in the past. It should be to create the incentives to put new clean technologies in place for the future – not just clean coal, but also nuclear and renewable energy, natural gas and the “fifth fuel” – energy efficiency.
I'm with the first commenter on that blog post, who stated that he wanted to hear specifics on Duke Energy's commitment to rolling out clean coal technologies, rather than the PR blah blah and coal cheer leading:
I would be interested in hearing your quantifiable commitments to improving the energy efficiency of your company. We are long past the time when a few encouraging words or PR spin in a forum like this would have sufficed. In case you haven't noticed, most of the rest of the world has moved far beyond this.