"Because... equipment to control the emissions of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) only exists today in R&D environments and not of the size of an industrial plant, GDF SUEZ instead participates in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a ten-state market-based effort aimed at reducing CO2. The company purchases allowances to account for any CO2 emitted at Mt. Tom through an auction, proceeds from which are then invested in renewable energy projects, energy efficiency, and other clean technologies."
In addition to the letter from Gerard Mestrallet, I received an email from Ingrid Nestle, a Green member of the German parliament. I had written to Ms. Nestle about anti-coal activism in Brunsbuettel, where GDF Suez is planning a new coal-burning power station. Although the issue has not been the deciding factor in parliamentary elections, Ingrid Nestle said, the candidates and parties that oppose coal happen to have been successful. And, she explained, the grassroots movement behind the anti-coal candidates is on a winning streak:
In all existing locations that are home to coal power plants in Germany there is heavy resistance towards new coal power plants. The protests are supported by several political parties, citizens initiatives, environmental organizations, churches and trade unions. These protests have in the past resulted in repeated successes; the construction of several power plants fell through. Most recently, the new construction of a hard coal power plant in Lubmin (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) was effectively prevented. The Danish energy company, Dong Energy, pulled back all of its development plans after it failed to successfully negotiate licensing procedures, among other factors.Our counterparts in Germany are winning! This is welcome news, and an inspiring note on which to start 2010. So let's keep the pressure on GDF Suez and its major shareholder, i.e. the French government, to switch Mount Tom from coal to solar.