Bibliographic References: 2016 and 2017
CleanTechnica, California Poised To Hit 50% Renewable Target A Full Decade Ahead Of Schedule, by Steve Hanley, December 21, 2017
Now that California is approaching its goal of 50% of its energy from renewables, Governor Brown acknowledges that increasing the amount of renewables will be problematical. While there could be some ways to get closer, Brown is once more focusing on emissions. Here is the money quote: “Is 100% renewable power a possibility? Brown thinks it is, but that it’s not the most important thing to focus on. ‘I think of 100% as a bit of a red herring. If you want 100%, it should be 100% zero carbon electricity. Climate change is the existential threat and I don’t want to waste time arguing about what’s renewable or not. You have to get the carbon out of the energy system as quickly as possible.‘” [Emphasis added.]
Georgia Power announced that it received unanimous approval from the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) to complete construction of Vogtle 3 & 4 power reactors – the nation’s first new nuclear units in 30 years. Expected online in November 2021 (Unit 3) and November 2022 (Unit 4), the units will generate enough emission-free electricity to power approximately 500,000 homes and businesses. “The decision to complete Vogtle 3 & 4 is important for Georgia’s energy future and the United States,” said Paul Bowers, chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power. “The Georgia Public Service Commission has shown leadership in making this complex and difficult decision and recognized that the Vogtle expansion is key to ensuring that our state has affordable and reliable energy today that will support economic growth now and for generations to come.”
Reuters, Nuclear, renewables to help French CO2 reduction goals, Macron says, Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by Adrian Croft, December 17, 2017
This article articulates pretty well byrenewable energy only amounts to a tiny share of French electricity production, which is dominated by nuclear for 75 percent of it, Macron was disdainful of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to phase out nuclear energy, one of her landmark policies. Why? “They developed a lot of renewables but they also massively reopened thermal and coal. They worsened their CO2 footprint, it wasn’t good for the planet. So I won’t do that.”
BioScience, World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice, Signed by William J. Ripple, Christopher Wolf, Thomas M. Newsome, Mauro Galetti, Mohammed Alamgir, Eileen Crist, Mahmoud I. Mahmoud, William F. Laurance, and another 15,364 scientist signatories from 184 countries, November 13, 2017
William J. Ripple and his colleagues provide an update to 1992’s landmark “World Scientists΄ Warning to Humanity,” (www.ucsusa.org/about/1992-world-scientists.html), which was issued by the Union of Concerned Scientists and some 1700 signatories. The “Second Notice” published here (BioScience, Volume 67, Issue 12, 1 December 2017, Pages 1026–1028, https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/bix125), which was signed by over 15,000 scientists from 184 countries, tracks humanity’s progress in addressing the threats outlined in the original letter.
New York Times, Wind and Solar Power Advance, but Carbon Refuses to Retreat: Or Why Slashing Nuclear Power May Backfire, By Eduardo Porter, November 7, 2017
Two decades have passed since the conference in Kyoto, Japan, billed as the first deal ever to limit emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases that are relentlessly warming the earth’s atmosphere. Climate diplomacy has made a lot of progress since then. All but one of the world’s nations — the United States — have enlisted in the cause, making concrete commitments to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. Yet, there is a gloomy statistic: the world’s carbon intensity of energy—the measure of the amount of CO2 spewed into the air for each unit of energy consumed—has not budged since that chilly autumn day in Kyoto 20 years ago. Even among the highly industrialized nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the carbon intensity of energy has declined by a paltry 4 percent since then, according to the International Energy Agency.
As the nation’s first secretary of homeland security, it was my privilege to lead the department in those uncertain times after the 9/11 attacks. The department was and remains hyper-focused on events with substantial economic and security implications. Any contingency affecting the grid — polar vortex, terrorist act, cyber attack — certainly falls within that category. Only a grid built on diverse and stable sources of energy can withstand evolving threats and keep the lights on throughout America. The goal of grid resilience cannot be met without nuclear power.
The Nature Conservancy, Don’t Panic, Do Act: A Climate Resource With Real Solutions, Reporting by Mark Tercek, July 13, 2017
Some very smart climate change reporters such as David Roberts at Vox think it is valuable to discuss and understand worst case outcomes, whereas others such as the scientist Michael Mann, writing for the Washington Post, worry that fear-mongering only turns people off when doomsday is described as inevitable. Whatever your take, how we communicate about climate change matters. But what we do about it matters, too. Building on the current conversation, I want to share my thoughts on another climate publication we should all be talking about—one that approaches the issue from a very different angle. “Drawdown,” edited by Paul Hawken and written with support from two hundred climate analysts, provides a much more hopeful prognosis than Wallace-Wells’ piece, arguing that we can reverse climate change by scaling up technologies and practices that are fully mature today. Mr. Hawken’s book is paired with an extensive website, www.drawdown.org, that describes 80 strategies for battling climate change (along with another 20 that are on the horizon). Ranging from onshore wind energy to “alternative cement,” these solutions—in combination with existing strategies and pushed hard by governments, businesses and individuals—could not only stop the growth in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases but also reduce them. This work builds on the reports of Princeton in the last decade that identified “wedges” that would hold global warming pollution to safe levels. These include strategies like energy efficiency to nuclear power to biofuels (emphasis added). Back when the papers were published, eight one-billion-ton reduction wedges would have done the job, and most were focused on the energy sector.
Power Technology, Are public attitudes to nuclear power still holding it back?, Analysis, May 10, 2017
A new Lloyd’s Register report into low-carbon energy concludes that nuclear power is clean, affordable in the long term and reliable, but that challenges remain around public acceptance – but not everyone agrees. Heidi Vella spoke to US and UK-based experts to find out if public opinion is a major factor in prohibiting new nuclear capacity. The industry also faces other challenges, such as increasing cost competitiveness from renewables and cheap natural gas, especially in the US, which has an abundant supply from domestic shale reserves. Yet, as the Lloyd’s Register report states, nuclear power’s low-carbon credentials ensure it will be integral to lowering global carbon emissions.
Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com, Michael Shellenberger: End the Discrimination Against Nuclear, by Akron Beacon Staff, April 28, 2017
In the 1950s and ’60s, air pollution in Ohio’s cities was so bad that people had to turn on their car headlights during the day to see through the smoke. In response, Ohio’s electric utilities sought to build eight nuclear reactors across four different nuclear power plants, which do not emit harmful air pollution. “People just aren’t afraid of atomic energy anymore,” a gas station attendant told the Pittsburgh Press afterward. But Ralph Nader, the Washington D.C.-based consumer rights attorney, and the San Francisco-based Sierra Club wanted Ohio residents to be afraid, and worked to kill Ohio’s nuclear plants.
Environmental Defense Fund Blog, Why We Still Need America’s Nuclear Power Plants — At Least for Now, by John Finnigan, April 17, 2017
When a nuclear plant is retired today, there is a greater chance the plant will be replaced by a natural gas plant than a renewable energy plant. This might change in the future as the cost of renewables continues to decline, with more grid modernization and improved capability to integrate renewables. ZEC programs can postpone the retirement date for some nuclear plants, until a time when the retiring nuclear plant might be more likely to be replaced by a renewable energy plant than a natural gas plant. Energy efficiency should also be part of the discussion, because it is the lowest-cost option (you don’t pay for energy you don’t use).
Business Insider, A forgotten war technology could safely power Earth for millions of years. Here’s why we aren’t using it., by Dave Mosher, February 25, 2017
Humanity may face an energy crisis as the world’s population rapidly grows. Nuclear power plants can generate bountiful, carbon-free electricity, but their solid fuel is problematic, and aging reactors are being shut down. A Cold War-era liquid-fueled reactor design could transform thorium — a radioactive waste from mining — into a practically limitless energy source. US engineers proved such a system works during the 1960s. However, the military canceled the project and it was nearly forgotten. Companies and governments are now trying to revive and evolve the design, but development costs, engineering challenges, and nuclear-weapons concerns all pose hurdles.
Rolling Stone, Will We Miss Our Last Chance to Save the World From Climate Change? Jeff Godell, December 22, 2016
Hansen, 75, retired from NASA in 2013, but he remains as active and outspoken. He is deeply involved in a lawsuit against the federal government, brought by 21 kids under the age of 21 (including Hansen’s granddaughter), which argues that politicians knowingly allowed big polluters to wreck the Earth’s atmosphere and imperil the future well-being of young people in America. For his interview, he seemed downright cranky, as if he were losing patience with the world’s collective failure to deal with the looming catastrophe that he has articulated for the past 30 years. “It’s getting really more and more urgent,” Hansen told me. “Our Founding Fathers believed you need a revolution every now and then to shake things up – we have certainly reached that time.”
Union of Concerned Scientists, A Huge Success in Illinois: Future Energy Jobs Bill Signed Into Law, by Jessica Collingsworth, December 8, 2016
The Illinois legislature passed the Future Energy Jobs Bill (SB 2814). This is no small feat. The bill is one of the most comprehensive state energy bills ever crafted and is the most important climate bill in Illinois history. The Illinois General Assembly passed the bill with bipartisan support, and it was signed into law by Governor Rauner. The Union of Concerned Scientists is a member of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition, which has been working on this energy bill for nearly two years. We are thrilled to see this bill pass, and be signed into law. The bill includes a lot of great things for clean energy as well as funding to help protect clean nuclear power, in what is the nuclear subsidy portion of the bill. The bill creates a Zero Emission Standard (ZES) to subsidize two of Exelon’s nuclear plants (Clinton and Quad Cities) in Illinois. There is a cap on the total number of credits to provide, and a cap on the total program cost of $235 million per year. This subsidy is based on the economic value of the avoided carbon emissions from these facilities using the federal social cost of carbon, which represents the avoided economic damages from climate change. This program will last for 10 years, and in return Exelon will keep the two plants open. The ZES ensures that any financial assistance to existing nuclear power plants will not dilute or otherwise come at the expense of the incentives for energy efficiency, grid modernization, or renewable resources.
Huffington Post: BlogRenewables and Nuclear Can No Longer Afford To Be Foes by David Duchovny and Jigar Shah, December 12, 2016, (updated November 22, 2017)
“Nuclear and renewables need to join together in the climate fight, not compete. That’s been the conclusion of nearly every study of this subject — from the UN’s panel on climate change, to the best work of our national laboratories. The case for nuclear energy is strengthened by an emerging generation of nuclear plants that are likely to be much less expensive and safe, with lower waste. Managing climate change is going to be a generational battle. We need all of the ammunition we have, and then some. New York’s recent decision wisely recognizes that extending the life of existing nuclear power plants is part of the solution. With the national climate change agenda now more uncertain than ever, it’s time to collectively get behind a pragmatic path forward.”
In July of 2015, two dozen experts met in Cambridge, Massachusetts to consider lessons from a suite of studies on strategies for developing electric systems that are decarbonized, reliable, and affordable. The workshop, sponsored by the Clean Air Task Force and the Energy Innovation Reform Project, found that 1) Near-total decarbonization of the electricity sector should be the primary goal for policymakers. This requires a focus on the long-term transition of energy systems, rather than short-term policies and narrow preferences for particular technologies. 2) Effective and affordable decarbonization of the power sector will require building a reliable and integrated system of multiple low-carbon technologies. 3) Current business investments, policy decisions, and research and development can facilitate the development of a zero-carbon future—but they can also lead to dead ends that constrain or prevent future progress. 4) Technological advances and system adaptations have increased our ability to integrate variable generation sources such as solar and wind. However, the best available information and analysis indicates there are important technical and economic constraints on the extent to which variable resources can be used to achieve the required level of zero-carbon supply. 5) Avoiding low-carbon dead ends will require the pursuit of a diverse portfolio of low-carbon resources and technologies, including a mix of variable and fully dispatchable generation resources. Innovation is urgently needed to develop more options for affordable, dispatchable, synchronous zero-carbon power sources that will be required in a nearly completely decarbonized power system.
Syracuse.com, Governor Cuomo says Fitzpatrick nuclear plant saved: Whole state should be smiling, Sarah Moses, August 9, 2016
This is an article that accurately reflects the jubilation felt by those working to save clean energy in New York State when Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a deal to keep the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear plant open and save 615 high-skilled, well-paying jobs and avoid shut-down costs of $.5 billion and the loss of clean energy for 800,000 homes. He and his energy czar, Richard Kauffman, prevented New York from seeing a spike in natural gas and increased emissions.
Vox, Nuclear power and renewables don’t have to be enemies. New York just showed how, by Brad Plumer, August 2, 2016
With slow-growing nuclear power the country’s largest source of carbon-free energy, supplying about 19 percent of our electricity combined with fast-growing wind and solar, which provide about 8 percent, you’d have an intuitive blueprint for reducing US carbon dioxide emissions pretty quickly by preserving the nuclear base, scaling up wind and solar on top of that, and displacing fossil fuels as you go. Unfortunately, according to Brad Plumer “oddly enough, many states have struggled with this simple concept. Even as policymakers have stepped up subsidies for renewable energy, they’ve been letting their nuclear plants shut down prematurely — to be replaced by dirtier natural gas. We’ve already seen this in California, Vermont, Wisconsin. And it’s going to keep happening in the years ahead without serious policy changes. These early nuclear retirements are poised to wipe out many of the impressive gains made by renewables.”
This article describes the innovative clean energy standard approved by New York’s Public Service Commission approved 2016 which requires that half of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030 but also provides subsidies to help keep the state’s all-important nuclear power plants running. Govenor Andrew Cuomo (if not the author) identifies what they did as a new “Clean Energy Standard,” as it maintains New York’s nuclear power as a way to avoid new carbon pollution as the state. In this way, New York has become the national leader in clean energy by working to add new clean generation without sabotaging the state’s existing clean generation from nuclear.
Forbes, Are Fossil Fuel Interests Bankrolling The Anti-Nuclear Energy Movement?, by Ken Silverstein, July 13, 2016
In 1970, a leader of the petroleum industry and the head of the Atlantic Richfield Co. named Robert O. Anderson contributed $200,000 to fund Friends of the Earth, an organization that is strident in its opposition to nuclear energy, citing both safety and cost issues. The topic is part of a book by F. William Engdahl titled Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Orders, says Rod Adams, author of the blog Atomic Insights. “The discovery moved Anderson up to exhibit number one in my long-running effort to prove that the illogically tight linkage between ‘environmental groups’ and ‘antinuclear groups’ can be traced directly to the need for the oil and gas industry to discourage the use of nuclear energy,” writes Adams.
U.S. News and World Reports, The New Nuclear Renaissance: The Future of Nuclear Energy in the U.S. is Bright, by Jim Inhofe, Sheldon Whitehouse, Mike Crapo and Cory Booker, July 11, 2016
Nuclear energy used to be just another partisan issue. Thankfully, that is changing. The four of us represent opposite ends of the political spectrum in the Senate, but we are all pulling in the same direction, backing various pieces of legislation to promote advanced nuclear innovation and development. One bill would open the doors of our national laboratories to entrepreneurs and their innovative new companies to develop public-private partnerships with the potential to bring new ideas to market. Another bill looks to build a sensible regulatory framework to allow diverse advanced reactor concepts to go from the drawing board to reality. . . . Though we may come to this issue for different reasons, our end goal is the same. We want to promote new technologies that provide cleaner energy and get them built by and for Americans. We can’t take a back seat as China and Russia build test reactors and lure away American innovators. This new nuclear renaissance is primed for success. It has broad bipartisan support in Congress, serious private capital investment and the ability to help address environmental challenges – all while encouraging American innovation. The world is heading into a new age of nuclear energy, and the United States must lead the way.
Environmental Leader, Three Amigos Work to Cut Carbon while California’s Amigos Work to Cut Carbon-Free Nuclear, , J
While the “Three Amigos” (President Obama is meeting with Justin Trudeau of Canada and Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico) are meeting in Ottawa to discuss ways to limit their carbon emissions, a different group of friends — or shall we say ‘adversaries’ — are meeting in California to ditch its remaining nuclear plant. That provides 8 percent of the state’s electricity and that is also carbon free. The task of setting a target of producing half of North America’s power from carbon-free sources by 2025 is already a hard task—one that goes further than the COP21 agreement signed in Paris last December— but it will be even harder without nuclear power. To that end, the closure of PG&E’s Diablo Canyon, now scheduled in nine years, on top of the roughly five or so plants that have already shut down, may make this an impossible goal.
The Wall Street Journal, Environmental Groups Change Tune on Nuclear Power: Focus on climate change has raised profile of reactors, now viewed as reliable, carbon-free source of energy, by Amy Harder, June 16, 2016
Some of the nation’s most influential environmental groups are softening their longstanding opposition to nuclear power, marking a significant shift in the antinuclear movement as environmentalists’ priority shifts to climate change. The change is lowering one of the biggest political hurdles facing the nuclear power industry in the U.S. and comes at a critical time, as several financially struggling reactors are set to shut down. “Because the historical context is that these groups were opposed to nuclear, their absence on the opposition front is noticed,” said Joe Dominguez, executive vice president for governmental and regulatory affairs for Exelon Corp. , the biggest owner of nuclear plants in the U.S. “I think it’s pretty significant.”
Financial Times, Boost to nuclear energy as Sweden agrees to build more reactors, by Richard Milne, June 10, 2016
Sweden has reached an agreement under which it could build up to 10 new reactors in the coming years, in support of its goal for reducing emissions by 2040. Despite the political controversy that swirled after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011, Germany’s experience attempting to close all its nuclear plants by 2022 — its Energiewende — has failed to reduce emissions. Sweden already gets 40 per cent of its electricity from its nine nuclear reactors and recognizes that it can’t afford to lose this source of clean energy. The agreement does not indicate which technology the new plants would use, but there are many options that are available from France’s Areva, Russia’s Rosatom and others. The deal was reached between the governing Social Democrats and Greens as well as the opposition Moderates, Centre party and Christian Democrats and, despite a stated goal of “100 per cent renewable energy by 2040” the politicians emphasized that this did not mean that nuclear plants would be closed then. “This is a goal, not a cut-off date that would prohibit nuclear power, and it does not mean either the end a closure of nuclear power,” the agreement stated.
The 1st Advanced Nuclear Summit & Showcase, hosted by Idaho National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Third Way, January 27, 2016
Third Way and the Idaho National Laboratory partnered with Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory hosted the first Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase in Washington, D.C. Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, gave opening remarks, and Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) provided closing remarks for the Nuclear Summit attendees, showing bipartisan support for advancing nuclear innovation in the United States. (See the provided links for key pages and video for all sessions from the event.) (Also see Third Way’s The Advanced Nuclear Industry and video from the White HouseNuclear Summit on Nov. 6, 2015, (at which Obama Administration announced $900,000,000 to support the use of the National Labs to help Advanced Nuclear technology companies)