June 28, 2008

EFH CEO Sees Need for Action on Energy

By Jim Fuquay, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas

Jun. 28--DALLAS -- U.S. policymakers need to give the nation's energy security more attention, equivalent to the 1960s goal of reaching the moon or the 1930s creation of public-works programs, Energy Future Holdings Chief Executive John Young said Friday.

Young, who took the top post at EFH, formerly TXU, in January, said the nation faces the need to spend upward of $1.5 trillion on new electricity-generating capacity and transmission lines in the next 25 years.

"It's going to be at least that, probably," Young told a Dallas audience. Meeting electricity demand will require new capacity from all potential sources, including nuclear power, he said.

"I cannot see a future that addresses climate change and energy independence without a huge commitment to nuclear," Young said. He said EFH's generating arm, Luminant, most likely will file by October for a federal license to add two nuclear reactors to its Comanche Peak power plant.

Although the final decision to build those reactors is "years away," he said, the company anticipates that the state will maintain an adequate reserve margin of electricity-generation capacity for at least four or five more years. New capacity from wind- and coal-fired plants, along with measures to reduce demand, should be adequate to meet the state's electricity use, which he said would rank No. 12 in the world if Texas were counted as a separate country.

Although Luminant last year scrapped eight of 11 planned coal-fired units as part of its $45 billion buyout by private investors, Young said that decision led the company to reverse plans to retire ol- der natural-gas-fired power plants. Although the steep rise in natural gas prices in recent years has made those less-efficient plants even more costly to operate, he said, they will probably be economic in the future with relatively high electricity prices.


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