Archive for the ‘Regulations’ Category
Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
February 2, 2011
From the Editors
Prospective President candidate Newt Gingrich wants to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency altogether and some people think he may have a point. More and more, the federal agency appears to be on the verge of regulatory proliferation.
As reported in The Wall Street Journal this week, the EPA has now decided to apply federal oil spill regulations adopted in the 1970s to dairy farms. The agency has discovered that milk contains “a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil.” So does every human being on earth, but we’ll skip over that for now.
Based on this insight, the EPA will now require farmers to draw up emergency preparedness plans to deal with pending milk-spill catastrophes. “Among dozens of requirements, farmers must train first responders in cleanup protocol and build "containment facilities" such as dikes or berms to mitigate offshore dairy slicks,” reports the Journal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture already has a $3 million program in place “to help farmers and ranchers comply with on-farm oil spill regulations.” As the Journal comments, “You cannot make this stuff up.”
Remarkably, the EPA was originally hoping to extend its jurisdiction to design specifications for "milk containers and associated piping and appurtenances.” Unfortunately, it discovered, the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration have already claimed jurisdiction.
The velocity of regulations flowing from the EPA are showing obvious symptoms of “regulation mania,” a condition that inevitably strikes people who spend many months and years sitting in bureaucratic offices in Washington. The prescribed treatment should involve long periods of rest and relaxation in a quiet, non-stressful environment outside-the-Washington-Beltway – say on a dairy farm.
Read more about it (subscription needed) at the Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
January 18, 2011
From the Editors
The President of the United States took his case to the public this morning with an editorial in The Wall Street Journal promising a “21st century regulatory system” that will couple health and safety concerns with economic growth.â€¨
â€¨“[T]hroughout our history, one of the reasons the free market has worked is that we have sought the proper balance,” wrote the President. “We have preserved freedom of commerce while applying those rules and regulations necessary to protect the public against threats to our health and safety and to safeguard people and businesses from abuse.â€¨
â€¨“From child labor laws to the Clean Air Act to our most recent strictures against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies, we have, from time to time, embraced common sense rules of the road that strengthen our country without unduly interfering with the pursuit of progress and the growth of our economy.”
â€¨While citing instances where regulation is needed, the President said “we are also making it our mission to root out regulations that conflict, that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb.â€¨"
â€¨“For instance, the FDA has long considered saccharin, the artificial sweetener, safe for people to consume. Yet for years, the EPA made companies treat saccharin like other dangerous chemicals. Well, if it goes in your coffee, it is not hazardous waste. The EPA wisely eliminated this rule last month.”â€¨
â€¨The editorial was part of on-going, post-election charm-offensive by the President to reach out to the business community and mend some fences in the wake of the health care battle and the EPA’s accelerating crackdown on all forms of pollution, including carbon emissions. Yet even the President’s one claim to regulatory improvement was met with skepticism. “The immediate claim of the article is disingenuous,” wrote Journal reader Ethan Farber in one of the 166 comments already posted early this morning. “Saccharine is classified as hazardous waste because it’s derived from coal slag. When we’re talking about this particular chemical being hazardous waste, we’re not talking about a few ounces of it getting spilled on a table, we’re talking about thousands of tons of it being spilled out in a vile pastiche of other coal-mining byproducts.”
â€¨â€¨Also left open was the question of whether the regulatory streamlining would lead to an improved business climate or simply more aggressive regulations. “One important example of this overall approach is the fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks,” wrote the President. “When I took office, the country faced years of litigation and confusion because of conflicting rules set by Congress, federal regulators and states. The EPA and the Department of Transportation worked with auto makers, labor unions, states like California, and environmental advocates this past spring to turn a tangle of rules into one aggressive new standard.” It sounds like the auto companies got outvoted.
For nuclear, of course, the big question will be: Can licensing procedures at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission be streamlined so that it doesn’t take the better part of a decade to approve the construction of reactors that are already nearing completion in other parts of the world?” Stay tuned.
Read more about it at the Wall Street Journal
Friday, December 24th, 2010
December 24, 2010
Lo and behold, no sooner does Exelon announce it will close Oyster Creek ten year ahead of schedule but New Jersey suddenly discovers it will be needing base load power.
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities announced it will begin holding hearings next year to figure out where and how it might come up with new power plants. During U.S. Senate hearings last year, former Governor John Corzine blithely announced that the state would be replacing Oyster Creek with offshore wind. Apparently no one told him the state would have to line its entire 125-mile shoreline with windmills to equal Oyster Creek’s output – and then it would work only when the wind blows. Governor Chris Christie has taken a more realistic viewpoint – but that still leaves the problem, how to come up with a few thousand spare megawatts.
“Baseload nuclear and coal fired plants cost more and take longer to build than natural gas plants, but generally produce power at lower cost and operate around the clock. Gas plants usually only operate during the peak demand hours of the day,” says Reuters. Sorry, but this is wrong. The reporter is describing gas turbines, which are jet engines bolted to the ground and used for peaking power. Combined-cycle gas turbines, which use both the jet exhausts and steam, are almost 60 percent efficient and provide base load power that is more expensive than coal or nuclear but not outrageously so – for now, at least.
Anyone who knows the industry knows what the outcome of these hearings is going to be – built more natural gas. It’s clean, it’s cheap, it’s relatively carbon-free. It’s also seductive and potentially catastrophic. Ninety percent of the cost of natural gas plants is in the fuel. They’re cheap to build but potentially expensive to run. With nuclear it’s almost the opposite – 75 percent construction, 25 percent fuel (and the spot price of uranium only represents one-third of the fuel cost). They’re a good 20-to-80 year investment, whereas natural gas – who knows?
"The goal [of building new base load] is to reduce energy costs and make New Jersey more competitive to help encourage businesses to come and create more jobs," Greg Reinert, spokesman for the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU), told Reuters Thursday. To see where this is going, the regulator should check out California, which is already two decades down this road. California gets 40 percent of its electricity from natural gas, as opposed to 20 percent nationwide, and has the most expensive electricity west of – well, New Jersey.
Read more at Reuters
Thursday, December 9th, 2010
December 9, 2010
From the Editorsâ€¨ â€¨
Exelon finally succumbed to pressures from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and announced it will close Oyster Creek, the nation’s oldest operating reactor, in 2019, ten years ahead of schedule.
â€¨The reactor is one of three older installations that has come under intense political pressure to close down in the past year from politicians who also claim to be highly concerned about global warming. Vermont Yankee and New York’s Indian Point, both owned by Entergy, are in similar crosshairs, much for the same reasons.â€¨
Exelon’s decision is hardly a win for hysterical anti-nukes, since the reactor will remain open another nine years. The time lag will give both Exelon and New Jersey officials plenty of time to reconsider. The 600-megawatt plant, originally licensed in 1969, supplies 8 percent of New Jersey’s electricity. The state has three other 1000-MW installations – Hope Creek and Salem I and II – and altogether gets 50 percent of its electricity from nuclear, the 10th highest ranking in the nation.â€¨
After operating efficiently for 36 years, Oyster Creek applied for a 20-year license extension in 2005. Opposition groups filed a petition arguing that corrosion in the plants drywall container posed a safety problem. The Atomic Safety Licensing Board dismissed the claim. Then in 2007, the state Department of Environmental Protection weighed in with an argument that the plant was not safe from airplane attacks. The ASLB also rejected this petition. Nevertheless, the relicensing went right down to the wire, with the renewal issued only a few days before the old one was about to expire. Opposition groups continued to file petitions long afterwards but to no avail. In 2008, Oyster Creek experienced small tritium leaks of the kind suffered by Vermont Yankee. The ASLB said they did not pose a public hazard and the leaks were quickly fixed.â€¨
â€¨While Oyster Creek passed all the federal tests, however, it finally ran aground last year when the ever-diligent New Jersey DEP came back with an announcement that it would require the plant to build cooling towers in order to avoid raising temperature in Barnegat Bay. DEP said that the warm water from the once-through cooling cycle was adversely affecting fish life. Exelon disputed the claim and said that spending billions to build the towers it would not be economically feasible. If the state persisted, it would close down the plant. Yesterday’s decision appeared to fulfill that promise.â€¨
â€¨Although the announcement may bring hosannas from the anti-nuclear crowd, there is probably less than meets the eye. The plant will remain open another nine years, long enough to reap a few billion in profits while fending off the state’s environmental demands. Many nuclear engineers may breathe a quiet sigh of relief, since there are inherent risks in running a 50-year-old plant.
â€¨Most of all, the loss of 8 percent of its electricity will give New Jersey officials the chance to deliver on their promise to replace Oyster Creek with thousands of 40-story windmills planted along the 125-mile New Jersey coastline. When the state drew up a long-term energy plan in 2006, nuclear expansion was given a big role. Environmental groups quickly beat up on Governor John Corzine, however, and by the time the plan was finalized in 2008 wind had replaced nuclear. New Republican Governor Chris Christie may have different plans but minus 600 MW of electricity the state will have to come up with something. Maybe a new nuclear reactor?
Friday, October 29th, 2010
If Republicans achieve their expected gains in next week’s election, probably the first Obama Administration position they will attack will be the coming EPA effort to regulate carbon emissions.
A broad coalition of business and industry groups – including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute, the National Manufacturers Association and the American Chemistry Council – fired the first shot yesterday, asking Republican leaders to take on the EPA as soon as the House and Senate reconvene for the lame-duck session. The most likely target is a moratorium on the rulemaking attached to either an omnibus budget or new continuing resolution.
The threat to allow the EPA to start writing carbon regulations was the sword the President held over Congress’s head during his efforts to pass cap-and-trade or some other carbon regime. Many speculated it was only a gambit but now the Administration is obligated to follow through.
Business and industry, on the other hand, argue that the EPA effort would impose “substantial costs and burdens on U.S. jobs and state resources while intruding on Congress’s important leadership role in developing energy policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The EPA regulations, based the U.S. Supreme Court decision that declared carbon dioxide a “pollutant,” are aimed mainly at stationary sources, notably power plants. Significantly, they will require clearance before any new sources can be added to a state’s air shed. Utility owners are already arguing they will be forced to delay the construction of new capacity, even relatively clean natural gas plants intended to replace old coal plants.
The business and industry group’s letter was addressed to two Republicans and eight Democrats, including Mary Landrieu, of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, all of whom represent states with strong dependence on coal.
Read more at the Hill
Thursday, October 28th, 2010
Veteran journalist Llewellyn King, host of PBS’s “White House Chronicles,” says the Office of Management and Budget “strangled [Calvert Cliffs] in its crib” and is pushing us back toward a nuclear “dark ages.” “By effectively axing a new reactor, OMB was acting against the Department of Energy, Congress, and possibly the wishes of President Obama,” wrote King in his regular weekly column.
“Strangely, Congress and the Obama administration have declared the revival of nuclear power as national policy and money has been appropriated for loan guarantees. But both are seeing their desires frustrated by OMB and its formula for calculating the chances of success or failure for new nuclear projects.”
King draws an apt comparison between Calvert Cliffs and the Cove Point liquefied natural gas terminal build just down the Patuxent River in the Chesapeake Bay during the 1970s. “[T]he Cove Point terminal and gas plant has been a symbol of the vagaries of the gas market,” he writes. “Much of the time it has stood idle, with fishermen maneuvering their boats among its piers.” The reason is unpredictable gas prices, which have yo-yoed between $2 per $11 per mcf in the last decade.
“The joker is wild-and the joker is natural gas, aided by the OMB bureaucracy,” he says “The nuclear renaissance may be delayed again in the United States, but 58 nuclear plants are under construction in 14 countries, including 24 in China alone,” King concludes in a very insightful and well informed analysis of the Calvert Cliffs situation.
Read more about it at Stock Markets Review
Wednesday, October 27th, 2010
The development of the Marcellus Shale gas reserve hit a speed bump yesterday when Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell placed a moratorium on drilling in state forest land.
Both environmentalists and local residents have raised concern that fracking – the new high-pressure technique for tapping these reserves – is polluting groundwater supplies. Rendell – who will step down after declining to run for re-election this year – couched his objections in more general terms. “Drilling companies’ rush to grab private lands across the state has left few areas untouched by this widespread industrial activity,” he said in signing the order. "We need to protect our unleased public lands from this rush.”
While publicly voicing its objections, the gas industry said privately that the moratorium would make little difference. About one-third of the 2.2 million acres of state-owned forest have already been leased and 160 wells are operating. Earlier this year drillers signed an agreement with state environmental regulators putting additional state lands off limits until the end of 2011. The vast majority of drilling – 2,300 wells – has taken place on private land.
Fracking involves pumping millions of gallons of chemical-laden water into shale strata in order to crack the rock and release the gas. Drilling companies say the process causes no damage, but have generally declined to disclose the chemical content, claiming it a trade secret. People in surrounding areas often claim their well water has been contaminated after fracking.
The shale gas boom has been the principal rival of new nuclear. Several utility executives have said that, without carbon legislation, cheap gas has become the unavoidable alternative. Although the Pennsylvania moratorium will put more pressure on fracking, it is unlikely to derail the shale boom.
Read more at the New York Times
Thursday, October 21st, 2010
Small modular reactors – anything from 25 to 150 megawatts – have created tremendous excitement in the nuclear industry. Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu has said they offer the best opportunity for America to regain the lead in technology internationally.
Yet building small modular reactors (SMRs) in this country will require threading them through the licensing and review process at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the gigantic Washington Beltway bureaucracy that sits atop the American nuclear industry. So far, according to perspectives offered at a Washington SMR symposium this week, the NRC has responded at a glacial pace.
Can America become a center for international innovation again? Or will homegrown SMR developers be forced to go abroad in order to bypass the logjam at the NRC – as some are already starting to contemplate? That was the question discussed for three days at the Small Modular Reactor conference in Washington this week, sponsored by Infocast.
Overall, the mood of the conference was one of excitement at the opportunity that SMR technology represents. “We’ve reached our debt limit and we’re not going to be building any more large reactors for awhile,” said Jack A. Bailey, vice president for nuclear generation development at the Tennessee Valley Authority. “So small reactors are going to be important to us. For one thing it allows us to spread the wealth. Nuclear jobs pay $125,000 but it’s all concentrated in one community. Now we could distribute them throughout the region.”
David Mohre, executive director at the National Rural Electrical Cooperative Association, was equally enthusiastic. “SMR’s make a lot of sense to our members. Eighty percent of our generation is from coal and the EPA is about to come at them. They don’t have enough customers to absorb a large nuclear reactor but small ones would fit just fine.”
One entire panel dealt with the possibilities of introducing SMRs to remote populations or isolated industrial enterprises.
“I was up in Yellow Knife recently,’ said Jay Harris, of the Canadian Nuclear Society, referring to the remote capital of the Northwest Territories that now subsists on diamond mining. “I tell, you, if I had had some SMRs with me, I could have sold them off the back of the truck. Those people are desperate for energy sources.”
The ferment of innovation in the industry was often compared to Silicon Valley in the 1990s. “Every great era of innovation has produced a bubble,” said Matthew Nordan, of Venrock, the venture capital firm. “We had a railroad bubble, we had a computer bubble, we had an Internet bubble. They all burst eventually but when they do there are a lot of good businesses left standing. Right now people in the SMR business are asking me, `How can we get one of those bubbles?’”
Companies have had their ups and downs. The “Traveling Wave” reactor, investigated by TerraPower, the Bill-Gates-funded firm, has not panned out as yet. “They haven’t been able to achieve what they wanted,” said Irfan Ali, president of Advanced Reactor Concepts. The pebble bed reactor scalable down to small size, recently fizzled in South Africa. “”They never had a customer,” said Jeffrey Harper, manager of the SMR program at Westinghouse.
But there have been successes as well. Hyperion, whose 25-MW Power Module was born out of Los Alamos, recently signed a memorandum of understanding to build a prototype at the Savannah River Nuclear Fuel Site. “Savannah River was a big win for all of us,” said Deborah Deal-Blackwell, vice president of Hyperion. And Babcock & Wilcox has a similar MoU with the Tennessee Valley Authority for its 125-MW mPower SMR.
One question that emerged from the discussion was whether small reactors and conventional big reactors are rivals. “I believe if the nuclear industry is going to succeed, we have to succeed as a whole,” said Gary Barbour, senior advisor for regulatory affairs at NuScale Power, which has a 45-MW reactor developed at Oregon State. Most panelists agreed that overcoming public fear and opposition to nuclear was much more important and would benefit both.
Despite the excitement, there was a lingering sense that the nuclear industry is stagnating in this country and that all the action is shifting abroad. “There’s more excitement in emerging markets right now,” said Ali, of Advanced Reactor Concepts. “Nuclear is sexy right now in India and China. That isn’t happening here.”
“How are we going to compete with China if we don’t innovate in this country,” asked Dr. Robert Schleicher, project manager of General Atomics’ EM2, a 240-MW reactor that runs on spent fuel. “The tradition of the U.S. is innovation. New reactors are important to this.”
To some surprise, venture capitalists on the Wednesday panel seemed very enthusiastic about nuclear. “Most of our investments have been in biotech and nuclear seems much less risky to me than biotech,” said Richard Kreger, senior managing director at the Source Capital Group.
“Only one out of 100 drug properties ever make it through the FDA approval process. To me a nuclear reactor with a license is a much better risk.”
Yet it was the licensing issue that hung like a cloud over the three-day proceedings.
“The NRC is the gold standard,” said Ali, of Advanced Reactor Concepts, in a comment often repeated throughout the week. But the question remained whether the U.S. would get stuck on a decade-long quest for gold while the rest of the world moves ahead with silver and bronze.
“The FDA is a `Yes, if’ organization,” said Nordan, of Venrock. “They try to help you through the process. The NRC is a `No, because’ agency. You get the feeling they’re not concerned whether you make it or not. The words `generating electricity’ do not appear in the NRC’s mission statement.”
Representatives from several SMR companies said they are already looking abroad as a way of risk-managing the NRC licensing process. “”We’re exploring licensing in Britain,” said Deal-Blackwell, of Hyperion. “We may be dealing with Canada before the U.S.,” said Paul Farrell, president of Radix Power and Energy, an outgrowth of Brookhaven National Laboratory. “There’s a big need for isolated power up there.”
Ifran Ali, of Advanced Reactor Concepts, complained that his company’s sodium-cooled SMR had been virtually eliminated from the competition because the NRC can only deal with light water reactors. “The regulatory process is making decisions," he said. "Already we’ve been moved to the back of the line without having the chance to demonstrate our technology. These decisions should be made by the market, not the bureaucracy.”
Perhaps the most dramatic confrontation of the conference came when William A. Macon, Jr., of the Department of Energy, tired of hearing criticisms of the government, pronounced, “Nobody is going to bypass the NRC.”
“I disagree,” responded Hawaii State Senator Fred Hemmings, a big supporter of nuclear, who also sat on the panel. “If Congress decides the NRC is holding up progress, it should change the law. This country is run by Congress, not by the NRC. ”
Monday, October 18th, 2010
If the Nuclear Renaissance is ever break out of the jungle of over-regulation that has ensnared it, a sensible re-evaluation of its public risks is going to be required.
Harvard instructor David Ropeik, author of a book on risk evaluation, takes a step forward in an article entitled “Why are we afraid of nuclear power?” That he had to go to the Turkish newspaper, Zaman, to get it into print may say something about the receptivity of American and European audiences.
But Turkey just closed a deal with Russia to build a new reactor and at least the article is printed in English. Ropeik begins with a simple observation well known in the scientific community but almost completely unknown to the public: Radiation is a very weak carcinogen. The worst case of radiation exposure in history the bomb victims at Hiroshima and Nagasaki gives unfortunate but instructive evidence to the case: For 65 years, researchers have followed nearly 90,000 hibakusha, the name in Japan for atomic bomb survivors who were within three kilometers of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki explosions in 1945. Scientists compared them to a non-exposed Japanese population in order to calculate the effects of the radiation to which they had been exposed.
The current estimate is that 572 hibakusha — a little more than 0.5 percent — have died, or will die, from various forms of radiation-induced cancer. By comparison, the cancer rate for people who smoke cigarettes is about 20 percent. Why do people fear radiation more than so many other risks? Ropeik offers a few suggestions:
- Radiation is colorless, odorless and cannot be detected by the senses. (But nuclear expert Ted Rockwell turns this around “If radiation were really that dangerous, we would have developed some evolutionary organism to warn us about it,” he says.)
- Radiation causes cancer, which is a painful and often deadly disease
- Radiation from nuclear energy is “man-made” and therefore subject to the idea that it can be held to a zero standard.
Yet as Ropeik points out, the death and destruction doled out by coal plants which nuclear would replace far exceeds the worst-case scenarios of nuclear. The estimates are that 4,000 people may eventually die from Chernobyl. Yet according to some estimates, America’s coal plants cause 24,000 fatalities per year. This is the kind of sensible evaluation that must slowly make its way into the public mind. “[W]e must recognize,” Ropeik concludes, “that our response to risk can pose a danger all by itself.
Read more at Zaman
Tuesday, September 21st, 2010
You knew it was going to happen. After 21 months of wrestling with climate legislation, a group of Senators has thrown in the towel and decided to solve everything a national mandate for “renewable energy.”
According to Politico, the standard will be salvaged from the energy bill bounced out of Senator Jeff Bingaman’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee a year ago and therefore eligible to make it to the Senate floor. The standard will probably be that the country must get 15 percent of its electricity from “renewable sources” by 2021.
It’s hard to imagine anything that is going to sink the American economy faster than this bill. Never mind what it will do to kill the Nuclear Renaissance. Just look what has happened in California. The Golden State has been laboring over this task since 1980, when then Governor Jerry Brown (yes, the same Jerry Brown running for governor this year) announced that California would stop building power plants but rely instead on “conservation and renewables.” California conserved electricity and built renewables – 11 percent of its grid by 2000 – but also got the Great California Electrical Shortage because supply wasn’t keeping up with demand.
The state dug itself out of the hole by throwing up natural gas plants as fast as it could. Today California gets 40 percent of its electricity from natural gas- twice the national average – yet still fancies that it is living on “renewable energy.” In fact, renewables (wind, solar, geothermal, mini-dams, methane from garbage dumps – you name it) now constitute a smaller percentage than they did in 2000 – down to about 10.5 percent. But the state covers this up by listing signed contracts for all the solar facilities it is going to build as part of its renewable portfolio. Meanwhile, the goal has been raised to 20 percent next year (it won’t even come close) and a ridiculous 30 percent by 2020. All this makes for breathless stories in the press about how California is leading the world to solar utopia. Meanwhile, it has made a wreck of the California economy.
As Max Schulz wrote two years ago in City Journal, California’s renewable economy is essentially “Potemkin environmentalism.”
The state now imports 40 percent of its electricity from beyond its borders – some even from Mexico. All this is coal and nuclear. Coal plants in Utah and Nevada belch huge clouds of smoke night and day just so California residents can imagine they are living on clean energy. Meanwhile the state has covered so many mountaintops with windmills that it is now building most of its new facilities in Oregon. All these wind farms, of course, are measured by their nameplate capacity rather than their actual output in meeting the renewable standards.
The effect on the economy has been devastating. Electrical rates in California are almost double that of surrounding states. Manufacturers have left in droves. The aircraft industry – once a mainstay of Southern California – is long gone. Even high-tech companies such as Google and Yahoo are moving their server farms out of state in search of cheaper electricity. Unemployment stands at 12.3 percent – third highest in the nation – and the state is losing population for the first time in its history.
So what are the chances that this delightful scenario will be imposed on the rest of the country? To date, the key opposition to a national renewable standard has been the Southeast. The Southwest has lots of sun, so the logic goes, the Midwest has wind, the Northeast may be able to plant windmills offshore, but the Southeast has none of these and so will be stuck with higher costs. Renewable advocates have tried to buy off the South by saying it can burn down its forests as “renewable energy” – and in fact many power plants around the country are switching from coal to wood wastes on the grounds that wood is “renewable.” But the logistics are horrendous. Wood has only half the energy content of coal and is scattered all over the landscape as opposed to concentrated in coal mines. The task of gathering and hauling it will consume far more energy than is ever saved – but of course none of this figures into the the equation of a “renewable mandate.”
And so the next week will be crucial to the fate of the country. If the Senate adopts a national renewable portfolio, we’re in for a decade or more of misplaced investment, marred landscapes, serenaded by fatuous newspaper articles celebrating about how headed toward renewable utopia. Utility companies will play along, putting glossy pictures of windmills and solar panels on the cover of their annual reports, while quietly building more natural gas plants. Nuclear will be completely shunned because it’s “not renewable.” By 2020 we’ll probably be where California is now, with 40 percent of our electricity coming from natural gas and supplies running low. Will we then importing natural gas? Who knows?
Stay glued to your C-Span. The country’s energy future is at stake.
Read more at Politico