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.
Beyond Nuclear board member and journalist, Karl Grossman, describes the exciting plans for East Hampton, NY to become powered by 100% renewable energy by 2020:
East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell sat back the other day and spoke with satisfaction about the town’s plan to have 100% of its electricity come from renewable energy—safe, clean, green power—by 2020. That’s just four years away!
After the East Hampton Town Board in 2014 unanimously adopted a resolution to have all the town’s electricity come from renewable sources, Mr. Cantwell said: “Making the switch to clean energy is just the right thing to do, both for the environment and for keeping more money in the local economy and creating jobs here.”
At East Hampton Town Hall recently he commented: “We’re doing it!”
East Hampton is to meet its 100% renewable energy goal through solar energy, from panels on town-owned land and rooftops, and from wind energy from off-shore wind turbines like those Deepwater Wind is now completing east of the town in the ocean near Block Island. Read the full article.
Resources on just economic transitions when renewables/efficiency force atomic reactors to 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.
[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).
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.
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.
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.
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.