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Archive for February, 2012

Ellen Vancko, nuclear energy project manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists, writes in the Tampa Bay Times that Florida Citizens would be better served by investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy than by investments in nuclear plants. In fifteen years, ratepayers are going to be stuck paying high rates for nuclear power plants while consumers and states that are concentrating now on improving energy efficiency and converting to renewable, distributed energy sources will have lower stable rates and all the energy needed. Efficiency upgrades, Solar PV, biomass and waste conversion, landfill gas and offshore wind are the proven technologies that are changing the dynamics of energy. The “cost recovery” idea, where ratepayers have been forced to start paying for expensive nuclear plants before the land is cleared or the permits granted, is going to lead to greater financial hardships for everyone.

Take a look at the video on the FREA home page by Jeremy Rifkin. Mr. Rifkin talks about the economic misconceptions and unresolved health risks of nuclear and he adds some new issues I don’t think many legislators have considered.

Photovoltaic production by the dominating Chinese has brought down prices worldwide. American investors have not been reluctant to get their money into the Chinese market while Energy Secretary Chu continues to funnel grants to American PV manufacturers. Photovoltaics will soon be economically preferable even in the short term. Whether on rooftops or solar farms, PV installations only take months to install, not years.

Utility spokesmen say we are in a period of “flat” electricity demand. This is the time for Public Service Commissions to be concentrating on energy efficiency so that consumers can be saved the cost of building new plants. As the price of uranium increases in years ahead, electric monopolies will still probably find a place to operate in the new world of distributed electricity production. They just won’t be able to rely on increased sales for their regulated profits. The risky, nuclear financial demon is going to be divided and conquered by each and every safe, local, job-creating PV installation.

Sam Kendall

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