U.S. Energy Policy Needs Stability and Nuclear Power

Energy Policy for the U.S. Power Sector Must Include Stability And Nuclear Power

The marginalization of nuclear power is arguably the most egregious development to come out of environmental organizations that claim to be concerned about climate change. While historical opposition to nuclear power can be attributed to a range of social, political and environmental concerns, current efforts to exclude this zero-carbon resource are a travesty of environmentalism. It’s long past time to allow the U.S. nuclear industry to do its part to help us meet climate and economic objectives. [Full Commentary Here]

Georgia Magazine, a publication of Georgia Electric Membership Corporation, recently published my commentary on U.S. energy policy as it pertains to the U.S. power sector. Our efforts to address economic and climate issues at the U.S. and global levels will be greatly improved by incorporating stability in our energy policy but will be impossible without nuclear power.

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EPA’s Clean Power Plan: We Can Do Better

How Can Someone Who is Concerned About Carbon Emissions and the Potential Impacts of Climate Change Be Opposed to EPA’s Clean Power Plan?

[A version of this post entitled, “U.S. Missing the Mark on Climate Policy” was published in GeorgiaPol as a guest Op-Ed]

The old expression, “Every little bit helps”, doesn’t hold true for global CO2 emissions if the little bit that helps in one country doesn’t translate and scale up to something systemic and impactful in emerging economies throughout the world where billions live in energy poverty and more energy is needed, not less. EPA’s Clean Power Plan is such an example as it gives the appearance of commitment to addressing climate change issues, yet will have little-to-no impact on the actual issues of energy, carbon, and climate at the scale of concern: the global scale. We don’t need this sort of regulatory greenwashing to respond to an issue of this magnitude.
We can do better than this…we have to.

Top 15 GDP’s in the world (based on 2015) ranked by CO2 intensitytop-15-gdp-for-cpp-blog Continue reading “EPA’s Clean Power Plan: We Can Do Better”

Pragmatism and Stability in Energy Policy for the U.S. Power Sector

Energy Policy Recommendations
for the Trump Administration

This is a summary of a paper (In-Press Article Here)that will be published in the January-February 2017 issue of The Electricity Journal.

Overview
The 2016 U.S. presidential election has generated concern within the environmental community, particularly with respect to climate change, as President-elect Trump has conveyed his intent to address what he considers regulatory overreach in the U.S. energy sector and unleash an energy revolution in America (Trump, 2016a). This includes expanding U.S. oil and natural gas development, reviving the coal industry, rolling back EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement (Mufson and Dennis, 2016; Schoof, 2016; Trump, 2016a). All combined, this would extract from current U.S. energy policy the core of President Obama’s climate agenda and effectively put the Obama climate legacy into hibernation—a legacy that, if elected, Hillary Clinton would have likely kept intact and expanded upon (Clinton, 2016). How this projects forward remains in question. What is clear is this: the election of Donald Trump has triggered what will be an ideological shift in energy policy. While this may bode well for upstream and midstream oil and gas sectors in the near-term the impact on the power sector is not as certain (Rapier, 2016). Continue reading “Pragmatism and Stability in Energy Policy for the U.S. Power Sector”

Nuclear and Renewables: Georgia is Zeroed-In on Zero-Carbon

Nuclear and Renewables:
Georgia is Zeroed-In on Zero-Carbon

Good news on nuclear and renewables coming out of Georgia as the Georgia Public Service Commission voted to preserve nuclear energy as a future option for the state by approving Georgia Power Company to conduct preliminary studies at a site in Stewart County, GA that has been proposed as the location for a potential nuclear plant. The Commission also approved Georgia Power to move forward on 1,600 MW of renewable energy projects, which includes utility-scale solar, distributed generation, wind and energy efficiency. Georgia Power also received approval to retire one coal unit and three combustion turbines. This is a wise, long-term move on nuclear power along with smart, calculated incremental steps on renewables. Continue reading “Nuclear and Renewables: Georgia is Zeroed-In on Zero-Carbon”

Overselling California Solar

Overselling California Solar

A couple of days ago the headlines read: “California Powers 6 Million Homes With Solar Energy, Slays Record.” The reference was to a record amount of solar power generated in California on July 12, 2016. I wonder how the general public interprets a headline that implies solar energy can sustain meeting the power requirements of six million homes for an appreciable period of time. Continue reading “Overselling California Solar”

Renewable Energy Cannot Substitute for Nuclear: A Georgia Perspective

Renewable Energy Cannot Substitute for Nuclear:
A Perspective on Meeting Power Generation Needs in Georgia, USA

The often-discussed issue of replacing nuclear with solar or wind is a false choice—solar and wind energy cannot substitute for nuclear energy. With respect to how we should move forward in our energy policy, everyone is entitled to their own convictions, but not their own math and not their own science and engineering. Continue reading “Renewable Energy Cannot Substitute for Nuclear: A Georgia Perspective”

Oregon Coal Ban

OREGON PASSES LAW, BANS COAL: A BROADER PERSPECTIVE

Scattered between our current energy economy and a future lower emission energy economy are numerous and varied obstacles that present society with formidable challenges. Some are technical; some are social, economic and political. Yet others are a wicked complex of all the above with serious implications for overly simplified solutions that fail to account for these complexities. As such, if society is to transition from where it is today to a much different day in the future, the space in between now and then must be strategically navigated and the challenges must be met and resolved. We can’t just be there…we have to get there. And getting there will require nuclear, natural gas, renewables, and advanced coal technologies ( e.g., CCS, IGCC).
Moreover, not every state and country should be required by law to get there the exact same way. To do so would reflect an egregious misunderstanding of economic development, power generation and the ongoing challenges facing the industry.
Continue reading “Oregon Coal Ban”

The Paris Climate Talks

ECONOMIC IMPERATIVES OF
THE PARIS CLIMATE TALKS

One analogy used in characterizing global climate change is: “Earth has a fever”. To extend the analogy a little further, when a body has a fever it’s expedient to provide a diagnosis, prognosis and, if possible, therapy. In this case, the diagnosis has been determined to be greenhouse gas emissions, particularly CO2, and the prognosis is that Earth’s climate system will change with consequences detrimental to human society. As for the therapy, that’s where the politics, rhetoric and posturing begin, with rationale, logic and common sense often being the first casualties. Continue reading “The Paris Climate Talks”

California’s SB 350 Legislation

Post written by Haley Daniel

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed new legislation, SB 350, to set renewable energy goals for the state to be reached by 2030. The new legislation builds off of California’s existing Renewable Portfolio Standard of 33%. SB 350 sets a new goal for 50% of energy to be generated from renewable sources by 2030 and for the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings to double by 2030. This legislation is part of an overall goal for the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by the year 2030, and also before the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. The image below shows current trends and forecasted plans for the percentages of various renewable sources in California’s energy mix. Continue reading “California’s SB 350 Legislation”