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”

Renewable Energy: Enabled By, Not Competitive With, Nuclear and Fossil Fuels

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

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

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?”

Oregon Coal Ban


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 Other Face of Energy


The face of climate change just got a lot cuter. It also got a name. Nora the polar bear was introduced a couple of weeks ago at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio and has been touching hearts ever since, particularly the hearts of global climate activists who see Nora as a way to draw attention to climate change. Continue reading “The Other Face of Energy”