An Unprecedented Challenge:
Climate, Energy Poverty, Reliable Electricity and Economic Aspirations
Developing countries need surges of energy to meet their economic development needs and to alleviate energy poverty—they don’t need an approach based predominantly on trickle-down renewables and the hope that energy storage technology will eventually mature to stand up intermittent resources. Meeting these challenges at the scale of billions of people is unprecedented and will require more energy-dense resources…not less…and these countries deserve the chance to deploy the technological resources to meet these needs. As such, try as we may to squeeze additional drops of CO2 out of the U.S. economy, if what we do doesn’t transfer to India and other developing countries, all bets are off and everybody loses for generations to come. Moreover, if we believe we can meet this unprecedented challenge without nuclear power and other carbon-reducing technologies, we’re ignoring the numbers, we’re fooling ourselves and we’re doing a grave injustice to billions of people in this world. Continue reading “An Unprecedented Challenge”
The Georgia PSC Made the Right Decision on Nuclear
(This was published as an editorial in the the Newnan Times-Herald on August 20, 2016)
The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) recently decided to maintain the nuclear energy option for the state while also increasing renewables-based power generation. This represents long-term integrated resource planning that’s in sharp contrast with states that have allowed their beliefs in renewable energy to override the realities and limitations of nature and engineering. Continue reading “Georgia PSC Made the Right Decision on Nuclear”
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
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 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”
Comprehend Your Environment, Do the Math, and Know Your Limitations
Some energy satire, as a follow-on to my previous post on nuclear and fossil fuels enabling renewable energy. Continue reading “Energy Satire: Comprehending Your Environment”
Renewable Energy: Enabled by, Not Competitive With, Nuclear and Fossil Fuels
Overstating renewable energy’s potential and real contribution toward meeting the dual challenges of reducing global carbon emissions and providing reliable energy for developing economies over the next 35 years cannot mask the reality that zero-carbon power generation shares are decreasing globally or that solar and wind are not cost-competitive with nuclear and fossils. Continue reading “Renewable Energy: Enabled By, Not Competitive With, Nuclear and Fossil Fuels”
Natural Gas and Renewables:
Lessons from California on Overdependency
But for the grace of nuclear, there go we.
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” isn’t holding true in California’s ongoing experiment with natural gas and renewables, and it should serve as a warning to states that see gas and renewables as their lifeline to a reliable, low-carbon future. The warning being that the individual attributes of natural gas and renewables are adding up to an overdependency that is creating problems. Continue reading “Natural Gas and Renewables: Lessons from California on Overdependency”
Nuclear vs. 100% Renewable Energy: An Unnecessary Battle
The debate around carbon emissions and the energy path forward should be a deliberation that acknowledges realistic constraints and concedes that whichever path we take will require trade-offs since there is no zero-risk technology. In the case of the daunting energy-climate-economic issue staring us squarely in the face and the global scale at which we’re trying to work, prudence and pragmatism would call for negotiation and compromise. But that doesn’t seem to be an option with the 100% renewable energy movement. Instead, its supporters have mandated a false choice between two necessities that are not mutually exclusive. Two perfectly compatible zero-carbon energy resources, nuclear and renewables, have been forced into the center ring of an unnecessary and regrettable battle, even though both resources are needed. Not everyone wants this death match to continue—some of us want the fight to stop with both declared as winners, still standing and ready to fight the bigger battle of reducing carbon emissions, providing dependable electricity to billions living in energy poverty and supporting global economic development. Continue reading “Nuclear vs. 100% Renewable Energy: An Unnecessary Battle”
RENEWABLES, NUCLEAR OR BICYCLES?
Want to Reduce CO2 by 35%? Ride a Bicycle…Or, Build a Nuclear Power Plant.
It’s commonly reported that electricity production is the largest source of CO2 in the U.S. That’s barely the case.
In 2013, the U.S. emitted 5,278 mmtons of CO2. A breakdown of CO2 emissions per sector (Table 1) indicates that the transportation sector contributed 1,740 mmtons of CO2 (33% of U.S. total) while electric power contributed 2,022 mmtons (38.3% of U.S. total). The most recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicate that in 2015 the U.S. emitted 5,271 mmtons of CO2. Of this, the transportation sector contributed 1,869 mmtons (35.5% of U.S. total) while the electric power sector contributed 1,925 mmtons (36.5% of the U.S. total). Recent emission trends have been up for the transportation sector and down for the power sector (Figure 1). Continue reading “Renewables, Nuclear, or Bicycles?”