Wind, Solar negate Nuclear

by Scott D. Portzline

The good news for energy reliability is that wind and solar are stealing the show. Just last week, the North American Electrical Reliability Corporation testified to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that over the next 10 years 260,000 megawatts of new nameplate electrical capacity will be added. A whopping 96% of that will come from wind and solar. The NRC was told they might have to back down some of their nuclear plants during off-peak loads because of new wind-powered generation.

The claim by former NRC Commissioner Forrest J. Remick that nuclear power is “the most cost-effective way to boost capacity while meeting climate change goals” is hardly the truth. (Allentown Morning Call, Your View, 3/22/2010) The so-called nuclear renaissance is already on “life support” with taxpayer loans. Some proposed new plants are being canceled by utilities as costs double and even triple. Ratepayers in Florida are already paying for new nuclear plants that haven’t even begun construction let alone generate a watt.

In San Antonio Texas, the city-owned utility filed a $32 billion lawsuit against their nuclear construction partners alleging they had concealed rising cost information and thereby threatened the city’s credit rating. In South Carolina, the Public Service Commission ruled that the cost of proposed new nuclear plants does not have to be disclosed. How can anyone determine its cost effectiveness with a secret nuclear price tag? Meanwhile nuclear plant owners are suing the US over their current nuclear waste burden.

On the question of operating capacity, even if the new wind and solar generators were to operate at 20% capacity, that’s still double the output of the 26 proposed nuclear plants touted by Professor Remick. There’s no perpetual waste bill, no security force, no government subsidized catastrophic insurance, and no need for evacuation plans with these renewables.

The US is already ahead of schedule for the Department of Energy’s 2030 energy plan to have 20% of our electricity supplied by wind. Just last year 9,900 megawatts of new wind power came online. That increase in a single year represents 4 times the rate of growth provided by nuclear plant power uprates as calculated over a 15 year period. Best of all, it relieves us of the financial entanglement of 2 new nuclear plants. It should soon be obvious that Public Utilities and Wall Street favor these renewables and have all but closed the door on nuclear.

Scott D. Portzline
Harrisburg PA Security Consultant to Three Mile Island Alert