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.



Chicago Sun-Times: "Renewable energy is the future..."

Both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times editorial boards have come out against Exelon Nuclear's attempt to gouge Illinois ratepayers to the tune of hundreds of millions per year, to prop up allegedly failing atomic reactors. "Allegedly," because, as both papers point out, Exelon refuses to open its books to the public.

Both editorial boards come at the problem from the perspective of free market capitalism. Which is fine -- no other energy industry has enjoyed more public subsidization than the nuclear power industry, which makes Exelon's latest bailout demand all the more objectionable.

And, despite their disadvantage over the course of decades, in terms of public subsidies secured by politically powerful nuclear lobbyists, renewables like wind and solar have nonetheless remained competitive. In fact, they are outcompeting the nuclear power industry. Efficiency is even more competitive and cost-effective.

As the Sun-Times so wisely understands, "Renewable energy is the future, and the state should be making that a priority, not nuclear plants."

After all, while Germany's Conservative parties may have belatedly, and reluctantly, agreed to the nuclear phase out for political survival post-Fukushima, they do not see the domestic expansion and export of renewable energy as a charitable undertaking. They see it as a huge money making opportunity on the international marketplace.

It's high time for the U.S., and states like Illinois, to either wake up and smell the coffee, or get left in the dust.


"Plenty of electricity in the air, study says"

DOE imageAs by reported by Joby Warrick in the Washington Post, the first such study by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in seven years predicts that easily a third of U.S. energy needs could be supplied by wind power by 2050.

The DOE report is entitled "Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States." The analysis estimates that wind power could support 600,000 jobs by mid-century.


Beyond Nuclear interviewed on EV World about Fukushima

Beyond Nuclear's radioactive waste watchdog, Kevin Kamps, was interviewed by Bill Moore, founder of EV WORLD: WORLD OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES on his inFOCUS video program. Their 30-minute dialogue covered a lot of ground, focusing on the latest news from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe four years after it began on 3/11/11, but also touching on Nebraska nuclear issues (Moore is based in Papillion, NE, near the troubled Fort Calhoun and Cooper atomic reactors), renewable and efficiency alternatives to nuclear power, and what folks can do about it all.


"Industry tries to cast cloud over solar use"

As reported by Joby Warrick in the Washington Post, dirty energy industries such as fossil fuels (not to mention nuclear power) have been leading a largely unsuccessful lobbying effort in state legislatures to block rooftop solar photo-voltaics (PV) across the U.S. A part of their defeat was due to support for solar, not only from progressives, but also from conservatives and evangelicals.

But more recently, the cynical utility lobbying effort by the biggest electricity retailers in the country has found more success at friendly state-level public utility commissions, where such impediments as costly surcharges for solar PV panels and net metering have been approved, over widespread protests.

It all boils down to dirty, dangerous, and expensive energy industries -- fossil fuels and nuclear power -- trying to kill the competition from renewables, so they can maintain their century-old electricity sales monopolies.

Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) of Chicago put out a press release on Feb. 26th, the day Exelon unveiled its mega-bailout request to the State of IL legislature, for ratepayer subsidies to prop up five uncompetitive atomic reactors. NEIS entitled the press release "Exelon Legislation, FERC Comments, a 'Declaration of War' on Renewables and Efficiency, Group Asserts." NEIS Director, Dave Kraft, lays out all the ins and outs of Exelon lobbyists attempted money grab, at the expense of ratepayers' pocketbooks as well as the renewable energy and energy efficiency future of Illinois.

An interesting overlap between the Washington Post's national coverage above, and NEIS's press release: Exelon Nuclear of Chicago wants to takeover the Mid-Atlantic utility Pepco, which serves Washington, DC, Maryland, and Delaware. As the public interest coalition PowerDC has warned, if Exelon does take over Pepco, rooftop solar will be among the first casualties, as Exelon seeks to roll back the competition to its nuclear business model. In fact, Exelon can be expected to jack rates in the Mid-Atlantic, in order to prop up its uncompetitive nukes in IL. In fact, after taking over Baltimore Gas and Electric (Constellation Nuclear) in 2012, Exelon has sought four rate increases since.


VT Gov. Shumlin: "An energy innovation program for Vermont"

VT Gov. Peter Shumlin, who also serves as the chairman of the Democratic Governors AssociationAs reported by the Mountain Times of Killington, VT, Governor Peter Shumlin (D-VT) is calling on the State of Vermont Legislature to join him in passing major legislation that would make the Green Mountain State a cutting-edge center for clean, renewable energy and efficiency.

Vermont already boasts 15,000 clean energy jobs, but Shumlin wants to add another 1,000 with this bill.

He also wants a dramatic increase in rooftop solar photovoltaics state-wide. This would be paid for with efficiency cost savings, applied toward solar PV panel installation on customers' monthly bills.

The legislation sets a very aggressive schedule for clean energy implementation. It would require utilities to provide 55% of energy from renewable sources just two years from now, and 75% by 2032.

Shumlin cites job growth, to retain young people in Vermont, and lowering residents' electricity bills, as major motivations for his Energy Innovation Program.

In 2010, Shumlin was the Democratic candidate for governor most opposed to Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee's (VY) license extension, and rode that wave of popular support into the governor's mansion. Before becoming governor, he had led the effort in the Vermont State Senate that culminated, in Feb. 2010, in a 26 to 4 vote to block VY's 20-year license extension. In August 2013, Entergy announced it would permanently shutdown VY. At 12:12pm Eastern on Dec. 29, 2014, it did so.

A reflection of VY's and nuclear power's irrelevance to VT's clean, safe, and affordable energy future? Gov. Shumlin doesn't even mention VY in his op-ed!

Shumlin's op-ed also ran in the Brattleboro Reformer, published very near VY.