Sierra Club: Dynegy is cracking!

The Sierra Club has been waging war against Houston-based power plant operator Dynegy in the last few months, using a new web site and about a half-dozen demonstrations here and across the country to tar the company as “the new King Coal.”

Un-cracked cougar: Dynegy CEO and UH alum Bruce Williamson. (Houston Chronicle/Ben DeSoto)

The heart of their complaint: Dynegy (along with its partner LS Power) is planning six new coal plants around the country, which will increase the amount of CO2 the company emits the future. They want Dynegy to invest in energy projects like wind and solar power.
The environmental group now claims comments made by Dynegy CEO Bruce Williamson are signs its campaign is beginning to work. In a Bloomberg story Williamson says (or rather is paraphrased as saying) … environmental opposition is making it more time-consuming to build coal-fueled plants, making it tougher to align the elements of a project that have to come together at the same time: prices, financing, approvals and escalating construction costs.
“I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a lull in new plant development,” Williamson is quoted as saying.
In a release with the headline “Dynegy Shows Signs of Hesitation” the Sierra Club says:

These words show a clear success on the part of the Sierra Club and others, which just launched the campaign to stop Dynegy’s proposed plants less than two months ago.”

Dynegy spokeman David Byford said the notion of a lull in coal development “is not a new concept for us or the sector,” however.

Bruce has stated on numerous occasions that the U.S. needs leadership in Washington that will help the country find a balance among 1) responsible environmental practices, including the reduction of greenhouse gases; 2) affordable, reliable supplies of electricity for consumers; and 3) energy independence.
“We firmly believe that the country needs a balanced portfolio approach that includes a wide range of fuels and technologies, including advanced coal-fired generation that will help us bridge to the future when new technologies for controlling carbon will be commercially available and affordable for consumers.

Until then, as Williamson said in the Bloomberg story:

“We won’t build something unless there’s customers that want to buy the output, and it’s not going to be anything that moves forward unless regulators and communities have their say and it gets the approvals,” Williamson said.