My op-ed in the VDT today; I've added links, plus some more after the op-ed.
Finally! Kewaunee, Calvert Cliffs, and now Crystal River
permanently closing say it's time for Georgia to stop wasting money
on Southern Company's already over-budget and increasingly-late
nukes and get on with solar power and wind off the coast: for
jobs, for energy independence, and for clean air and plenty of
Seen today on the
WACE facebook page
is an image of an op-ed in the VDT, and alongside it I include here
Michael Noll's initial comments, plus a few links.
There is good reason why Stephen Hawkins once said "the greatest
enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of
knowledge." When entities like Fox News can claim that "solar won't
work in America because it's not as sunny as Germany", we shouldn't
be surprised by the results of such "educational" efforts. The fact
is that we have a number of clean and renewable forms of energy
(e.g. wind, solar, geothermal) that already work. Just go to
Denmark, Iceland, or simply stay in the US and visit places
these pieces of a larger energy puzzle with meaningful initiatives
energy conservation and energy efficiency, and we find a way out
of our current predicament (i.e. continuing dependence on finite and
dirty sources of energy), while saving money (see
solar vs. nuclear),
preserving our natural resources (e.g. water, forests),
and providing clean, healthy and safe environments to live in (e.g.
wind and solar do not produce radioactive waste, pollute our air and
The guest columnist appearing above is the same individual who
a bipartisan bill was filed Thursday to stop Georgia Power from
charging for nuclear cost overruns on Plant Vogtle; this could free up some financing for Georgia to move ahead on solar and wind power.
A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Code Section 46-2-25 of the
Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the procedure for
changing any rate, charge, classification, or service and the
recovery of financing costs, so as to change the calculation used
under certain circumstances to determine the costs of financing
associated with the construction of a nuclear generating plant that
a utility may recover from its customers; to provide for related
matters; to provide an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws;
and for other purposes.
The bill would add this text to Georgia Code:
...provided, however, that in the event the amounts recorded in the
utility's construction work in progress accounts plus the amount of
all financing costs accrued on any construction work in progress
accounts exceeds the costs approved by the commission in the
original certificate of the nuclear generating plant granted under
Code Section 46-3A-5, the cost of equity portion of the financing
costs shall be calculated using a rate no higher than the utility's
actual cost of debt.
Let's see what Georgia Power does to fight this one.
So far, it's
Georgia Power released
20-year energy plan Thursday,
because they have file one every three years with the PSC.
It includes far less solar power than tiny little far-north-of-here
Denmark is busily deploying.
The good news:
Georgia Power is closing a bunch of coal plants.
And this plan makes a nod towards
"demand response programs, energy efficiency programs, pricing
tariffs and other activities".
Do you know how many outages nuclear reactors near here have had?
Probably not, because that's usually not in the news,
and you have to dig into day by day NRC reactor status reports
to find out.
It turns out nuclear power is 0/7 instead of 24/7 on many a day.
The available data on NRC's website and graphed here goes back to 31 March 2006,
through 29 January 2013.
Let's look at each of our closest reactors one by one. Hatch 1 on the Altamaha River,
in addition to its recent
40% power on 21 January and 87% on 5 January,
has had quite a few outages:
Ignore the fastest-growing curve for a moment; I added that.
All the other curves start with the December 2012 gigawatts
for each power source in the FERC table, and an annual compound
growth rate computed by comparing that installed operating capacity
to the capacity added in 2012 for that power source.
That compound annual growth rate for solar is 60.9% and for wind is 22.8%.
Nothing else comes close.
Solar passes coal in about 8 years, wind in about 9, and natural gas in
Georgia Power is set to release a 20-year energy plan on Thursday
which will outline a way for the company and the state to be less
reliant on coal power. The AJC reports that just 5 years ago, the
company's reliance on coal was at 70 percent.
That number has now dropped to 47 percent. These changes are coming
in the wake of Georgia Power's parent, the Southern Co., being
pushed by environmental rules to rely less on coal. Georgia Power
won approval to buy electricity produced by natural gas from its
sister company Southern Power, which may be part of the company's
So, get out the popcorn and take your bets.
Will it be (1) or will it be (2)?
I'm betting this time it will be (1), but sooner or later it will be (2),
and even Georgia Power, and yes, even Southern Company,
will stop digging in their heels and get on the solar
train to profits, jobs, energy independence, and oh, by the way, clean
air and plenty of clean water.