A welcome delay

Published 8:47 am Friday, September 10, 2010

Old Dominion Electric Cooperative’s voluntary delay of its plan to build a coal-fired electricity plant in Surry County is welcome news.

We say so not because we outright oppose the project. Electricity is essential to the functions of modern society, most notably the economy that creates people’s jobs and income. Until this country gets past its heartburn with nuclear power and explores plentiful resources like natural gas, coal will remain a necessary method of producing power at a price that Americans can afford to consume it.

Rather, Wednesday’s announcement by ODEC cheered us because of the reason for the delay: The demand for electricity isn’t as great as what the cooperative had projected when it conceived the Surry plant.

Such a plant, which almost certainly would pose environmental risks, should be built in Western Tidewater’s back yard only if it is absolutely necessary to meet demand. When demand increases, the project will resurface quickly. The shrill debate that has surrounded the plan can resume then. For now, let’s all enjoy the reprieve.