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The Renewable Energy Renaissance

The real Renaissance is in renewable energy whose sources could meet 25% of the nation's energy needs by 2025. Renewable technologies can help restore political and economic stability as well as save money…and the planet.

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Friday
Aug262016

Resources on just economic transitions when renewables/efficiency force atomic reactors to permanently shut down

Some resources (in backwards chronological order) on just economic transitions, for atomic reactor workers, municipalities dependent on their tax revenues, low-income households vis-a-vis electricity cost, etc., when atomic reactors permanently shut down:

Joint Proposal, between Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), environmental groups (Friends of the Earth (FOE), Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, Natural Resources Defense Council), and unions (including International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, IBEW), for the closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant at the end of its 40-year operating license in 2024-2025, and its replacement with energy efficiency and renewable sources of electricity, June 21, 2016.
http://www.pge.com/includes/docs/pdfs/safety/dcpp/JointProposal.pdf

Beyond a Band-Aid: A Discussion Paper on Protecting Workers and Communities in the Great Energy Transition, Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D., President, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), Takoma Park, MD, June 10, 2016.
http://ieer.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/beyond-a-band-aid-just-energy-transition_2016_LNS-IEER.pdf

[Note that this discussion paper is mostly focused on the phaseout of fossil fuel industries in Maryland. However, nuclear power is touched upon. Even though it is Maryland- and fossil fuels focused, the concepts can and should be applied to atomic reactor shutdowns nationwide.]

April 23, 2016. NIRS and AGREE submit extensive comments to New York PSC that show how NY can meet its 2030 carbon emissions goals without nuclear (and thus without nuclear subsidies).

October 22, 2015. NIRS/AGREE analysis finds FitzPatrick reactor can be replaced with clean & renewable energy at a lower cost. Press release; full analysis

THE NEED TO FORMALLY ESTABLISH A PLANNED ECONOMIC MITIGATION FUND FOR REACTOR COMMUNITIES IN ILLINOIS, David Kraft, Director, Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), Chicago, IL, May 7, 2015.
http://neis.org/wp-content/uploads/THE-NEED-TO-FORMALLY-ESTABLISH-A-PLANNED-ECONOMIC-MITIGATION-FUND-5-5-15.pdf

In addition, there must be some great resources coming out of Germany. After all, the fourth largest economy in the world is phasing out both nuclear power (completely, by 2022), and is decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 85% (as compared to 2005 levels) by mid-century, through the expansion of renewables like wind and solar, as well as maximized energy efficiency. An Oct. 15, 2015 National Geographic article entitled "The Will to Change," in an issue entitled "Cool It" about the climate, appropriately gave much of the credit for the German energy transformation to the anti-nuclear movement.

Monday
Aug222016

America's First Offshore Wind Farm May Power Up a New Industry

Two of the project’s wind turbines, about three miles away, can be seen from shore on Block Island, but island residents have been largely supportive. Credit Kayana Szymczak for The New York Times As reported by Justin Gillis in the New York Times, the Block Island wind power development off of the Rhode Island coastline may be but a small beginning to what could grow into a major renewable energy industry in the U.S., as it has in Europe.

Beyond Nuclear raised offshore wind as an alternative to 20 more years of nuclear power at Seabrook, NH license extension proceeding. The Gulf of Maine has some 5,000 Megawatts-electric of offshore wind power potential, several times more than the Seabrook atomic reactor generates. But the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was not interested to hear about it. Nor did the courts require NRC to examine such alternatives when Beyond Nuclear raised a legal appeal under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Beyond Nuclear also raised offshore, and on shore, wind power as an alternative to 20 more years at Davis-Besse in Ohio (Lake Erie has significant offshore wind power potential). But again, NRC refused to examine it, despite its NEPA obligations to do so.

In both proceedings, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board panel voted to grant an evidentiary hearing on the wind power alternative to 20-year atomic reactor license extensions. But the nuclear utilities appealed those rulings to the NRC Commission itself, which then overturned the ASLB rulings, in the companies' favor. An appeal by Beyond Nuclear et al., at the Boston U.S. Court of Appeals, was rejected.

Monday
Aug222016

New Study Shows How Clinging to Nuclear Power Means Climate Failure

A sign held at an anti-nuclear demonstration in Germany. (Photo: Michaela/flickr/cc)An article by Andrea Germanos, subtitled "By suppressing better ways to meet climate goals, evidence suggests entrenched commitments to nuclear power may actually be counterproductive," has just been published at Common Dreams.

It reports:

The researchers found that "progress in both carbon emissions reduction and in adoption of renewables appears to be inversely related to the strength of continuing nuclear commitments." (emphasis added)

..."Looked at on its own, nuclear power is sometimes noisily propounded as an attractive response to climate change," said Andy Stirling, professor of science and technology policy at the University of Sussex, in a media statement. "Yet if alternative options are rigorously compared, questions are raised about cost-effectiveness, timeliness, safety, and security."

"Looking in detail at historic trends and current patterns in Europe, this paper substantiates further doubts," he continued. "By suppressing better ways to meet climate goals, evidence suggests entrenched commitments to nuclear power may actually be counterproductive," he said.

Thursday
Aug182016

How wind turbines work


An interesting info-graphic from SaveOnEnergy, explains how wind turbines work, who uses them and the jobs wind energy provides.  More here.

Saturday
Jul092016

UK solar expert, Prof. Keith Barnham, to speak in Takoma Park

At the invitation of Beyond Nuclear, Professor Keith Barnham, a U.K. solar expert, will give a talk in Takoma Park on Thursday, July 21st 7-9pm at the community center at city hall. For more information, please see our flier.

Could the rooftops of our homes generate unlimited supplies of solar fuel from sunlight and carbon dioxide?

How can the example of Takoma Park help lead a nationwide renewable energy revolution?

What can we learn from renewable energy policies and programs in Europe that could apply here?

Why will closing nuclear plants lead to more renewable energy and not more fossil fuels?

Keith Barnham, Emeritus Professor of Physics and Distinguished Research Fellow from Imperial College London, England, will discuss these questions and other ground-breaking steps toward a 100% renewable energy economy.

Learn about the “artificial leaf”; about solar cells with three times the efficiency of today’s rooftop panels (developed by Barnham’s research group); and about the GIFTS campaign (Get It From The Sun) now underway in the U.K. 

Barnham’s talk will include questions from and discussions with the audience.  Barnham is the author of The Burning Answer: the Solar Revolution, a Quest for Sustainable Power.  Copies of the book will be on sale and signed by the author. More about Barnham's work.