Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nuclear and Coal - a Bridge to Clean Energy?

Offered for your consideration, the following article published September 23, 2014 on Forbes:

Nukes and Coal:  The Surprising Clean Energy Bridge to Obama's Low Carbon Future.

The author of this piece - Michael Krancer - does a good job in pointing out that Ohio has a fairly unique stand, in terms of legislation, on where nuclear energy fits into the broad scheme.

"With the exception of Ohio, nuclear is currently treated unfairly by being excluded from state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) laws, which is mystifying."
 
"And only Ohio properly considers nuclear to be a clean energy source—which it is."

But, of course, there's also this:

"I mentioned earlier that one state, Ohio, allows for the inclusion of nuclear generation in its RPS law in a special “advanced energy resources” category. Unfortunately, even that law is discriminatory, because nuclear is excluded from half of Ohio’s mandate. So it’s going to take time for states to right this ship."

There's a lot of sense to Michael's approach here - and much of what he says is studied, has merit, even precedent.  I think there might -- might -- be a future for carbon-capture clean coal technology, but the experiences with the Kemper plant are showing that we must face the reality that in all likelihood carbon-capture coal will be in the same range of cost to construct per kilowatt of power as nuclear is.  This is as a result of application of new tech - the costs are likely to come down, but no one's sure how much.  Or when. It's a work in progress.

What we can't do is just shut down coal, decide to arbitrarily phase out nuclear, and hope that Ohio's economy and industry can depend on wind - which is erratic and changeable, especially by Lake Erie - and on the sun, which as you'll all know we seem to see lots less of than other places.  The Forbes piece recognizes these facts and gives us a way out of the dilemma.

October 16, 2014

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