To reduce carbon emissions, let’s build another nuclear power plant

The Climate Commitment Act (CCA) will not be effective at reducing carbon emissions.

I am writing in response to Ms. Atkins’ letter in the Aug. 24 edition of the Courier-Herald, titled “The problem isn’t rising gas prices, it’s climate change”.

While I certainly support working towards a cleaner environment, the Climate Commitment Act (CCA) is not effective in doing what it is designed to do.

Increasing the proportional use of electricity as an energy source doesn’t effectively decrease the use of natural gas. The state must be able to cover its electricity demand using baseload energy; battery storage isn’t sufficient to make solar and wind reliable sources of electricity production. When the state can’t supply all of its electricity demand with hydroelectric and nuclear, it must plan on natural gas power plants to make up the difference. Thereby, switching energy usage from natural gas to electricity requires increased reliance on natural gas.

Furthermore, the market for buying carbon credits is problematic. The market is not set by supply and demand, but by the Department of Ecology, which decides the number of credits available. The floor and ceiling price will increase every year by 5% plus inflation. Additionally, third parties can buy and sell credits, thereby profiting from your higher energy bill. The carbon market is designed to make carbon prohibitively expensive, but fails to take into account how this impacts overall affordability in Washington. Remember, energy prices don’t just affect heating and cooling, but also transportation – and the increased transportation costs get passed along to you in groceries and the goods that you buy. This bill will make every Washingtonian poorer, and the people struggling the most disproportionately so.

Washington already has one of the cleanest energy grids in the country due to its reliance on hydroelectric power, nuclear power, and natural gas. If the state is serious about further reducing carbon emissions it should explore options to increase the supply of cleaner energy, such as building a new nuclear plant. The CCA is poor policy; it increases costs amid historic inflation without effectively addressing the issue it is designed to solve. We can do better.

The opinions of herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect the Enumclaw City Council as a whole.

Chris Gruner