“We don’t need no stinking baseload,” FERC Chairman

Okay, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Jon Wellinghoff didn’t actually say America doesn’t need coal-fired and nuclear power plants. He stopped short of openly embracing the We Can Solve It! agenda of “repowering” America” with zero-emissions, non-nuclear electricity in 10 years.  He is not an avowed apostle of Gorethodoxy.

But he’s close enough for government work. Wellinghoff told reporters (Greenwire, subscription required) that we “may not need any [new coal and nuclear power plants], ever.” One reason being that new coal plants will be “too expensive.” Huh?

If coal plants are too costly, then why have eco-litigation groups fought so hard to stop coal plants from being built?

Silly me, Wellinghoff undoubtedly means that once Congress enacts the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, it will be too expensive to own and operate a coal plant. 

Wellinghoff, after all, is a member of Team Obama, and when the President was a candidate, he candidly admitted that his cap-and-trade plan would cause electricity prices to “skyrocket” and would “bankrupt” anyone foolish enough to invest in coal-based power.

Wellinghoff believes that wind, solar, and biomass are poised to take off as sources of “distributed” generation, turning coal and nuclear baseload power into an “anachronism.” Funny, that’s what eco-visionaries told us in the 1970s. Yet, despite decades of taxpayer and ratepayer support and market-rigging rules, non-hydro renewables today provide about 3% of all U.S. electric power.

Does it worry you that folks like Obama and Wellinghoff are the anointed stewards of our economy in these troubled times? It does me.