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Executive Director’s Message By Ches Blevins – All of the Above Energy

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Executive Director’s Message By Ches Blevins – All of the Above Energy

The comments from Peter Luthiger, our TMRA Treasurer, make important points deserving a good read and lots of thought.

An “All of the Above Energy” policy is the ONLY smart choice! If February’s deep freeze in Texas and elsewhere has taught us anything, and that’s still an open question, it’s that picking energy source winners and losers ONLY enables ALL of US to be losers! 

We don’t need to be experts to understand that our transmission and storage technologies and capabilities just do NOT allow reliable reliance on too much wind and solar generation. Certainly not yet and certainly not anytime real soon. And that’s just considering places like Texas and, in general, the United States. When considering all of the countries and millions of people worldwide without ANY, or any reliable, source or sources of electricity, the problem of placing all of our energy eggs in one basket is even more profound and unfair.

Our responsibility as miners and power generators is to make every effort to produce affordable and RELIABLE energy for the safety, health and welfare of those we serve. For years we have done that really well while, yes, protecting and enhancing our environment. Our success is well documented! In my view, tempered by my 40-plus years in this business, it is primarily when political policies take that lead rather than good science and letting our free market work, that bad things happen to good people!

In the last three years, Texas has shut down over 5,000 MWh of coal-fired power plants and, I believe, added something over 2,000 MWh of wind. In addition, Texas is currently scheduled to shut down several thousand additional MWh from coal-fired power plants in the next few years. One reason coal-fired power is being taken offline is because the federal government subsidizes wind generation, often putting the generated power cost below that of coal and natural gas.

While encouraging new technologies and the development of renewables is smart, and TMRA supports an “All of the Above” energy strategy, the playing field must not be tilted so extremely toward renewables. Bottom line is that, today, a free market does not exist between these sources of electricity.

To assure the availability of reliable and affordable energy in Texas, the remaining coal/lignite mines and power plants should remain. They are too reliable to discard. Even more specifically, Texas needs to increase its baseload electricity which MUST include nuclear, coal and natural gas that will consistently provide the most reliable, available and affordable energy mix for Texas.

In my opinion Texas needs more, not less, baseload coal, nuclear and natural gas power facilities. Demand is increasing with more business, industry and residents flocking to our State. We should not count on wind and/or solar to satisfy that demand. Our very recent experience has made that clear. We MUST do better on managing our risks. This includes, for sure, better understanding of and preparation for extreme weather events. We must also not over rely on renewables. Sadly, we are learning these lessons the hard way.

Texas cannot allow politics to outweigh science AND the real world. Our citizens, our businesses and families deserve better!

Take care and stay safe and well!

Ches Blevins,
TMRA Executive Director


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