TXU is trying to scare Texans by telling them the new plants must be built quickly, or Texas will suffer a shortage of electricity. Our governor, who has either been paid off or has fallen for the TXU propaganda gibberish, has "fast-tracked" the new coal-burning plants.
ACT wants the legislators to stop this fast-track process so a thorough study can be done on the pollution effects of the new plants. They believe a study will show the plants will increase pollution in Texas, including ground-level ozone. The DFW area is already having trouble meeting federal pollution regulations, and the new plants will only worsen the problem.
ACT believes Texas' energy needs can be met with solar and wind power combined with a more efficient use of our energy. TXU says this won't be sufficient to meet Texas' needs. I tend to believe ACT since their motivation is to clean up the air we all breath. TXU's motivation is bigger and bigger profits.
While I approve of ACT's program, I believe it ignores a couple of other clean energy options. Both of these options involve gasification.
A plant is being built near Stephenville that will turn cow patties into a clean-burning gas. There is no reason more plants of this type can't be built. Texas certainly has the raw material needed, and more is being produced every day.
The other option is the gasification of coal. We do have an abundance of coal in the United States, and the technology exists to turn this coal into a clean-burning gas. This would cost more than just burning straight coal, but it would result in a cleaner Texas for all of us. ACT is right that coal-fired plants would worsen Texas' pollution problems, but that doesn't mean that coal cannot be used in a cleaner way.
Wind and solar power and conservation may or may not be all we need, but if we combine these with gasification of coal and cow patties, I believe all of Texas future electric needs can be met without further polluting our air.