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oil-fired plant. The Brayton Point 4 conversion is more similar to that, however. While it is not a new plant, neither is it antiquated, and there we are just substituting natural gas as the fuel.
The question, I think, is not the feasibility, and at current prices it is not even the economics, it is simply a matter of how large a portion of a region's fuel supply does one want to put on to one fuel, natural gas. We have scheduled increasing our gas commitment from 3 percent to 27 percent. If these projects go well, we are prepared to investigate going somewhat further.
Mr. STUDDS. And one final question, if I may, on renewables. You said that your RFP's generated interest from a couple of hundred developers. There clearly is no dearth of possibilities. You mentioned advanced wind, biomass, landfill methane, solar. Which of these do you think holds the most promise for New England?
Mr. RowE. I think each of them is promising for a small niche. I understand, based on California experience, that the new generation of wind technology is economical in uses where being able to meet peak loads is not critical. As I have said previously this morning, I am a very big fan of the landfill methane projects. With biomass, it is an issue of whether you have a renewing wood base or fiber base for the use or whether you are, in fact, stripmining woods. But I think each of these technologies is promising for niche use. Fortunately or unfortunately, the technology that has the major impact on CO2 quickly tends to be the use of natural gas.
Mr. STUDDS. I appreciate that. I just commend you for the initiative and imagination and hope that it is catching.
Mr. Rowe. Thank you.
Mr. Rowe, our colleague, Claude Harris from Alabama, had some questions he wanted to ask you and needed to go on to another committee, and, if I might, I'll give these to you, and if you and your folks could respond to him and for our record, I would appreciate it.
Mr. ROWE. We will do that, sir.
Question 1. Mr. Rowe, I note in your testimony that you support a “no regrets” strategy on global climate change, are you against the use of environmental externalities, but support a carbon dioxide tax? Isn't this inconsistent?
Response. As scientific understanding of the global climate phenomena progresses, a “no regrets” strategy is prudent. This strategy merely means that we should now implement low-cost measures, such as conservation, that would not only reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, but would have additional benefits to society as well.
We oppose the environmental externalities process because it is inconsistently applied by regulators and suffers from economic shortcomings including the piecemeal problem of only addressing externalities associated with regulated electric utilities.
My recommendation to consider a carbon dioxide tax includes a number of conditions or assumptions: There must be an international agreement in place on global climate and greenhouse gases (this implies there must be at least some scientific consensus on the next steps to take); the conditions of the agreement must be verifiable; the tax must be broad-based; the tax must be modest and not exceed scientific evidence on the cost of damage and cost of control; and credits must be given for offsets. These conditions and assumptions should result in a scientifically justified program with a market-based lowest cost solution.
Question 2. How much would the carbon dioxide tax that you propose cost your customers in higher energy bills?