An LA Times editorial, No to nukes, came out strongly in favor of building thousands of coal power plants:
On average, coal plants operate at 30% efficiency worldwide, but newer plants operate at 46%. If the world average could be raised to 42%, it would save the same amount of carbon as building 800 nuclear plants.
(Coal power plants tend to be smaller.) Strong support was also made for natural gas:
One fast-growing technology allows commercial buildings or complexes, such as schools, hospitals, hotels or offices, to generate their own electricity and hot water with micro-turbines fueled by natural gas or even biofuel, much more efficiently than utilities can do it and with far lower emissions.
The assertions aren’t true. It is true that increasing use of natural gas would require increasing imports of natural gas.
California can’t even use the coal power plants, as this Times article explains:
The California Energy Commission … imposed new rules that effectively forbid the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and all other municipal utilities in the state from signing new contracts with coal-fired power plants.
So where will we get our electricity from? Well, the LA Times omits that detail. Wind is not an important resource in CA. We are already highly dependent on natural gas — how many liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals would CA need, if we eschew nuclear power? It is unlikely that hydro will become increasingly more important, given assumptions that we have moved into a drought. California’s population is expected to increase by 20 – 30% in the next two decades, our contracts with the current coal power sources (21% of CA electricity) can’t be renewed. Biomass is probably not an important source of electricity for a state with our air pollution laws, and besides, the plan is to use it for biofuels.
Should Fresno build plants to produce electricity from biomass (except we’ve planned to use it for our fuel) or even more natural gas?
Nope, not well thought out.
There are a number of mistakes in the article, as well as statements that are true but irrelevant.