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.



Gundersen: Forever deadly radioactive waste, versus renewables

Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer, Fairewinds Associates, Inc.As Fairewinds Associates, Inc.'s Chief Engineer, Arnie Gundersen (photo, left), concluded his keynote presentation at the Beyond Nuclear/FOE/NEIS "Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High" conference in Chicago in Dec. 2012:

"What we're seeing is that the cost of solar is plummeting while nuclear is rising," Gundersen said, adding that he often hears the rebuttal that the sun doesn't shine day and night. "But if you believe that man can build a repository to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years, surely those same people can find a way to store electricity overnight.", November 16, 2012

Gundersen serves as the expert witness for an environnental coalition (Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and Sierra Club, Ohio Chapter) that has challenged the risky, experimental steam generator replacements at Davis-Besse.

An overlapping coalition (including the Green Party of Ohio) has raised the radioactive waste dilemma and the renewables alternative as major arguments against the 20-year license extension at Davis-Besse.


Opponents to 20 more years at Davis-Besse cite renewable alternatives

Environmental coalition attorney Terry Lodge of ToledoThe environmental coalition opposing the 20-year license extension sought by FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) at its problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor on the Lake Erie shore east of Toledo has spoken out at NRC Environmental Impact Statement public comment meetings. The coalition issued a press release, focused on the unsolved dilemma created by Davis-Besse's ongoing generation of forever deadly high-level radioactive waste, as well as the renewables alternative (wind power, solar PV, etc.) to a risky, dubious 20 more years of atomic reactor operations.

The press release quoted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps: “The worsening cracking of Davis-Besse’s concrete containment, the corrosion of its inner steel containment vessel, the risks of its experimental steam generator replacement, and its recently revealed Shield Building wall gap are clear signs that this atomic reactor is overdue for retirement and decommissioning.”

The coalition includes Beyond Nuclear, Citizens Environment Alliance of Southwestern Ontario, Don't Waste Michigan, and the Green Party of Ohio. Terry Lodge of Toledo serves as the coalition's legal counsel.


Renewables outcompete fossil fuels in Germany

As reported by Reuters, former giant of the German power sector, RWE, is posting multi-billion dollar losses at its fossil fuel power plants, due to the market competition by renewables such as solar PV and wind power.

Germany's response to the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe was quick and clear. Even the Conservative Party realized nuclear power needed to be phased out. The Social Democrats figured that out after Chernobyl. The Greens figured it out decades ago. So, all three major political parties in Germany agree, nuclear power must be phased out. They plan on doing so by 2022.

Germany also plans to almost entirely phase out fossil fuel use by mid-century, as a response to the climate crisis.

If Germany, a northern country with limited solar PV as compared to other countries, and the fourth largest economy in the world, can go fossil-free and nuclear-free, so can the rest of the world.


"Nuclear giant taps wind tax credit that it's trying to kill"

Greenwire has published an article by Hannah Northey, E&E reporter, exposing the hypocricy of Exelon for exploiting the very wind power subsidy that it has attacked as giving the wind power industry an unfair competition advantage.

The article reports: "Amy Grace, a North American wind analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, pegged Exelon's wind PTCs [Production Tax Credits] for 2013 at $75 million to $100 million based on the company's 1.3 gigawatts of wind projects."

The American Wind Energy Association expelled Exelon from its membership in 2012 for Exelon's lobbying to kill the wind power production tax credit.


Obama drags a nuclear Trojan horse along with his “clean” energy plan

President Obama recently announced his “blueprint” for addressing global climate change in a recent speech at Georgetown University. The President had plenty to trumpet about his Administration’s “clean energy” achievements. In 2012, the Administration’s Department of Interior permitted the development of 10 gigawatts of renewable wind, solar and geothermal energy on federal lands in the United States. By the end of July 2013, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will have launched the first-ever offshore auction of federal land along the Atlantic coast for offshore wind energy development between Martha’s Vineyard, MA and Block Island, NY. According to Stanford University, interconnected offshore wind farms positioned ten to fifity miles out along the Atlantic Seaboard from New England to Virginia could produce one third of the entire nation’s electrical energy just from renewable wind energy. Obama’s speech comes just weeks after the first-in-the-world offshore floating wind turbine was commissioned on June 13, 2013 in the Gulf of Maine and began transmitting renewable generated energy to the land-based electrical grid.

But the President could not shed the nuclear industry’s yoke that he has been harnessed in since the beginning of his first Administration. With the collapse of new reactor applications for lack of industry willingness to risk their own financing, President Obama once again took the opportunity to call upon the nation, (i.e. taxpayers) to buck up to an unknown amount in investment in  “emerging nuclear technologies--including small modular reactors.” Nuclear power has forever been an “emerging” technology where after decades of financial subsidies and liability protection still fails the economic test. Now the industry and it’s champions’ latest new hope hangs on the development of new infrastructure, the equivalent of atomic big box stores for untested and uncertified reactor systems rated under 300 megawatts.  According to a recent webinar on Small Modular Reactors sponsored by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, what was indisputably unaffordable as a behemoth “economy of scale” experiment will be even more expensive as a mini-nuke factory assembly line.  To continue to stake addressing the climate crisis on a historically failed and dangerous nuclear industry represents a colossal energy policy blunder.