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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
Oct222010

Vermont buys wind power while Yankee reactor leaks

"Vermont's two largest electric utilities say they've signed contracts to buy power from a wind-power project in northern New Hampshire even as the debate over in-state wind projects rages", writes David Gram in the Associated Press. "Rutland-based Central Vermont Public Service Corp. and Colchester-based Green Mountain Power Corp. will take more than 80 percent of the power to be produced by the Granite Reliable Power Windpark in Coos County, N.H."

Thursday
Oct212010

Beyond Nuclear challenges twenty year license extension of the Seabrook nuclear power plant with the renewable energy renaissance

Beyond Nuclear has partnered with the New Hampshire Sierra Club and the New Hampshire Seacoast Anti-Pollution League to intervene before the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to oppose the relicensing of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant on the New Hampshire Seacoast (scene of large protests in the 1970s and '80s as pictured).

Florida Power & Light has submitted its application to relicense the nuke 20-years in advance of Seabrook's current operating license expiration date in 2030 in an effort to ignore the renewable energy renaissance and dodge its responsibilities under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) to evaluate  energy alternatives that are less harmful to the environment. 

Beyond Nuclear wants a fair and accurate assessment of the region's renewable energy potential and the inclusion of current plans for the advancement of clean, safe and renewable energy as an alternative to an additional 20-years of dirty, dangerous and expensive nuclear power from the Seabrook nuke. 

In fact, Florida Power & Light  omitted numerous significant current events, scientific analyses and expert documents, as well state and federal agreements to responsibly advance the generation and transmission of electricity for the region through interconnected offshore and deepwater wind turbine farms located 10 to 50 miles off the coast. Among the company’s many omissions are the specific collaborative plans by the State Maine and the US Department of Energy to be generating five (5) Gigawatts of offshore wind energy within the Gulf of Maine by the requested relicensing period of 2030.   

A copy of Beyond Nuclear's legal filing to the NRC can be viewed here along with the 21 exhibits of scientific papers, expert evaluations and current events documenting the advent of the deepwater wind contribution to the renewable energy renaissance.

Tuesday
Oct192010

Farewell to a Michelangelo of the renewable renaissance

It is with great sadness that we must note the passing of a pillar of the renewable energy movement, Hermann Scheer. As Kate Connolly writes in The Guardian, Scheer, of Germany, "who died unexpectedly aged 66 after suffering from chest pains, was a tireless campaigner for the promotion of renewable energies, in particular solar power, a cause he championed long before it was fashionable to do so, even in a country with such long-established environmental consciousness as his native Germany. He is credited with boosting the status of alternative energy, both at home and abroad, thanks to his visionary zeal." Scheer was the creator of the feed-in tariff by which individuals and businesses that generate power through renewable energies are able to sell it back to the grid at above-market prices, thus encouraging the spread of wind, solar and hydro power. It is now used around the world. More recently, he founded the International Renewable Energy Agency to counter-act the International Atomic Energy Agency, and was about to publish a book that showed it was technically and economically feasible for renewable energy to fully replace fossil and nuclear energy within just a few years, if the political will existed. (Pictured are Scheer and IRENA executive director Hélène Pelosse, at IRENA’s headquarters, in June 2010).

Monday
Oct182010

The U.S. doesn't need new nukes

An excellent conclusion (see headline) and a great lead in this excellent piece in Green Energy News by Bruce Mulliken: "Why would anyone in his right mind want to build a large, complicated conventional power plant when simpler, more sophisticated technologies to generate power are available?"

Sunday
Oct172010

Low prices for natural gas undermine new reactors, but also renewables like wind

As the Associated Press reports, low prices for natural gas associated with "hydraulic fracturing" ("fracking") have helped make new atomic reactors even less economical than they already were. However, wind power is also feeling the competition, as the hazardous chemicals used in "fracking," and their risks to drinking water supplies, seem to be getting a pass, as is the prospect of even more widespread natural gas usage becoming "the next big climate problem." Of course, Arjun Makhijani's Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy has shown since 2007 that phasing out not only nuclear power, but also all fossil fuels, including natural gas, is not only technically feasible but also affordable. Those dirty, dangerous and expensive energy sources can be replaced with efficiency and renewables, it's simply a matter of political will.