TXU buyout painted green

Bloomberg reported yesterday that KKR, the LBO firm bidding to buy out Texas utility TXU, would abandon plans to build 8 of 11 coal plants, the New York Times gives more background on KKR’s courting of environmental groups. This is excellent. TXU had been pulling strings and bending rules to get the plants — with the most polluting design possible — rushed through the regulatory approval process before anti-greenhouse policies closed the door on maximally polluting plants that would double TXU’s carbon pollution, not to mention smog and various other poisons. TXU had been garnering opposition from the mayors of Houston and Dallas, and members of the Texas business oligopoly, in addition to local residents and environmental groups.
Tom Evslin takes a contrarian approach, arguing that Texas needs the energy, and this is a sign of a buyout firm getting green cred for their selfish interest in treating the buyout property as a cash cow. Still, there isn’t any good reason to build power plants with the dirtiest possible technology. Texas faces an energy shortage, but the 11 polluting coal plants were the worst of all possible ways to address the shortage.

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