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FERC chair on new nuclear and coal plants: “We may not need any, ever.”

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"FERC chair on new nuclear and coal plants: “We may not need any, ever.”"

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The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Jon Wellinghoff, said today of new coal and nuclear plants, “We may not need any, ever.”  Greenwire (subs. req’d) reported his remarks at a U.S. Energy Association forum:

“I think [new nuclear expansion] is kind of a theoretical question, because I don’t see anybody building these things, I don’t see anybody having one under construction,” Wellington said.

Building nuclear plants is cost-prohibitive, he said, adding that the last price he saw was more than $7,000 a kilowattmore expensive than solar energy. “Until costs get to some reasonable cost, I don’t think anybody’s going to [talk] that seriously,” he said. “Coal plants are sort of in the same boat, they’re not quite as expensive.”

Between energy efficiency and demand response and wind and concentrated solar power (CSP) and biomass and even new hydro (blog post forthcoming) and natural gas — all of which Wellinghoff discussed (see below) –  we certainly have more than enough capacity to deliver as much low carbon and no-carbon power as we need whenever and wherever it is needed:  (see “Intro to the core climate solutions” and “If Obama stops dirty coal, as he must, what will replace it? Part 1” and “Part 2: An intro to biomass cofiring“).  And that’s not even counting cogeneration/recycled energy and geothermal.

Nuclear is indeed wildly expensive, more expensive than the best solar today (see “Exclusive analysis, Part 1: The staggering cost of new nuclear power” and “The Self-Limiting Future of Nuclear Power.”).  And new dirty coal is climate destroying and likely to be increasingly viewed as unfinanceable.

Wellinghof is a key climate and clean energy pick by Obama.  I will excerpt his remarks at length because they debunk many widely held myths about electric power:

Wellinghoff said renewables like wind, solar and biomass will provide enough energy to meet baseload capacity and future energy demands. Nuclear and coal plants are too expensive, he added.

“I think baseload capacity is going to become an anachronism,” he said. “Baseload capacity really used to only mean in an economic dispatch, which you dispatch first, what would be the cheapest thing to do. Well, ultimately wind’s going to be the cheapest thing to do, so you’ll dispatch that first.”He added, “People talk about, ‘Oh, we need baseload.’ It’s like people saying we need more computing power, we need mainframes. We don’t need mainframes, we have distributed computing.”

The technology for renewable energies has come far enough to allow his vision to move forward, he said. For instance, there are systems now available for concentrated solar plants that can provide 15 hours of storage.

“What you have to do, is you have to be able to shape it,” he added. “And if you can shape wind and you can effectively get capacity available for you for all your loads.

“So if you can shape your renewables, you don’t need fossil fuel or nuclear plants to run all the time. And, in fact, most plants running all the time in your system are an impediment because they’re very inflexible. You can’t ramp up and ramp down a nuclear plant. And if you have instead the ability to ramp up and ramp down loads in ways that can shape the entire system, then the old concept of baseload becomes an anachronism.”

Asked whether his ideas need detailed studies, given the complexity of the grid, Wellinghoff said the technology is already moving that way.

“I think it’s being settled by the digital grid moving forward,” he said. “We are going to have to go to a smart grid to get to this point I’m talking about. But if we don’t go to that digital grid, we’re not going to be able to move these renewables, anyway. So it’s all going to be an integral part of operating that grid efficiently.”

… Wellinghoff’s statement — if it reflects Obama administration policy — would be a huge blow to the U.S. nuclear power industry, which has been hoping for a nuclear “renaissance” based on the capacity of nuclear reactors to generate power without greenhouse gas emissions…..”I think [new nuclear expansion] is kind of a theoretical question, because I don’t see anybody building these things, I don’t see anybody having one under construction,” Wellington said.

Building nuclear plants is cost-prohibitive, he said, adding that the last price he saw was more than $7,000 a kilowatt — more expensive than solar energy. “Until costs get to some reasonable cost, I don’t think anybody’s going to [talk] that seriously,” he said. “Coal plants are sort of in the same boat, they’re not quite as expensive.”

There’s enough renewable energy to meet energy demand, Wellinghoff said. “There’s 500 to 700 gigawatts of developable wind throughout the Midwest, all the way to Texas. There’s probably another 200 to 300 gigawatts in Montana and Wyoming that can go West.”

He also cited tremendous solar power in the Southwest and hydrokinetic and biomass energy, and said the United States can reduce energy usage by 50 percent. “You combine all those things together … I think we have great resources in this country, and we just need to start using them,” he said.

Problems with unsteady power generation from wind will be overcome, he said.

“That’s exactly what all the load response will do, the load response will provide that leveling ability, number one,” he said. “Number two, if you have wide interconnections across the entire interconnect, you’re going to have a lot of diversity with that wind. Not all the wind is going to stop at once. You’ll have some of it stop, some of it start, and all of that diversity is going to help you, as well.”

But planning for modifying the grid to integrate renewables must take place in the next three to five years, he said.

“If we don’t do that, then we miss the boat,”Wellinghoff said. “That planning has to take place so you don’t strand a lot of assets, a lot of supply assets.”

Unlike coal and nuclear, natural gas will continue to play a role in generating electricity, he said.

Note to Greenwire:  Wellinghoff did NOT say coal and nuclear would not continue to play a role in generating electricity.  He said new dirty coal and nukes would not.  Big difference!

“Natural gas is going to be there for a while, because it’s going to be there to get us through this transition that’s going to take 30 or more years.”

Kudos to Wellinghoff for speaking the truth to power — literally.

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26 Responses to FERC chair on new nuclear and coal plants: “We may not need any, ever.”

  1. Robert says:

    “…the United States can reduce energy usage by 50 percent. “You combine all those things together … I think we have great resources in this country, and we just need to start using them,”

    True for the US. Big empty country with massive solar and wind resources. The problem is the rest of the world (EU, India, China), where populations are more dense and renewable resources less abundant.

    [JR: Uhh, no. Both China and India have massive solar and wind resources. They are both perfect for concentrated solar power.]

  2. paulm says:

    Not only is it expensive its… dirty, hazardous, security threat, unsustainable & foreign dependent. Is it even carbon neutral?

  3. NanoLepus says:

    Joe,

    Beautiful. Rational leadership. Facts are all correct. Hope and Progress!

  4. Robert says:

    Joe – True, but population density is far higher than the US, so to match per-capita energy consumption … you get the picture.

    [JR: I don't get the picture. China is relatively even more inefficient than we are.]

  5. SecularAnimist says:

    It’s very exciting to hear the chairman of the FERC saying these things. All of this information and these ideas have been around for a while, but you had to gather them from various sources and put it all together.

    The electric grid of the future will be as different from the grid we have today, as personal computers and Internet are different from dumb terminals hard-wired to mainframes, as different as iPhones are from old rotary dial phones wired to Ma Bell.

    And most likely, most of the electricity we use in the future will be generated locally from distributed windpower and ubiquitous, ultra-cheap, high-efficiency thin-film photovoltaics.

  6. SecularAnimist says:

    Robert wrote: “The problem is the rest of the world (EU, India, China), where populations are more dense and renewable resources less abundant.”

    One of the world’s big energy problems that we in the USA don’t think about that much is the hundreds of millions of people in the developing world — in Africa, in rural India and China — who suffer a lot because they don’t have any electricity. It is simply not possible economically, technologically or environmentally to provide electricity to all of those people by building giant centralized generating stations and a power grid to distribute the centrally-generated electricity to rural consumers. The only way to provide electricity to those people is with small-scale, distributed, locally-owned wind and solar. This is already happening although it is under the radar of many people who think about energy issues from the point of view of the wealthy, technologically advanced West — a point of view that favors large-scale, industrial strength solutions. But there are villages in rural India right now that have NEVER had electricity for 10,000 years — and today they have electric lights, electric sewing machines, refrigeration, radio, TV and even Internet access, thanks to locally-generated solar electricity.

  7. Robert says:

    SecularAnimist – Except that your romantic view of idyllic rural India and China is being shattered by fast-track industrialisation. CO2 emissions are rising faster there than anywhere:

    http://photos.mongabay.com/07/co2_country_area_2030-max.jpg

    [JR: As the figure makes clear, the issue is China far more than India. And China has both the renewable resource and industrial base to go as green as it wants.]

  8. Dean says:

    The big issue in a place like India is whether as it develops and gets wealthier, they will move to an energy-intensive lifestyle. It’s not hard to see Indians getting lights and computer power from wind and solar. But what if they all want a set of air conditioners in their windows? Most of India is incredibly hot in the spring. And I think it’s just going to get hotter. . . I sometimes wonder about positive feedback projections for A/C given the coming heat waves.

  9. Leland Palmer says:

    This is great. Rational leadership.

    Certainly, solar thermal can be built with heat storage. Biocarbon could also be used as a carbon neutral backup for these plants, even without CCS.

    Certainly, no new coal plants is good news.

    But we currently put about a billion tons per year of carbon into the atmosphere every year from coal.

    If we were to convert some fraction of those coal plants to solar thermal, some fraction of them to engineered geothermal, and some fraction of them to biocarbon/oxyfuel/CCS, then we would be on the path not just to emission reductions but also to carbon neutrality, and then carbon negativity.

    Here’s a link to an Australian/Japanese project to retrofit an existing coal fired power plant to oxyfuel combustion and deep injection of the resulting nearly pure stream of CO2:

    http://www.callideoxyfuel.com/Why/CallideAPowerStation/tabid/73/Default.aspx

    Watch the video, if you like. Stripped of the “happy talk” it does seem to outline a realistic process.

    In the long run, or even in the short run, oxy-fuel offers the potential of higher temperature combustion and increased Carnot efficiencies, potentially providing enough extra efficiency to pay for the cryogenic separation of oxygen from air and compression of the CO2 for deep injection.

    Apply this technology to biocarbon, and what results is carbon negative energy production.

    Long term, CCS should be replaced by carbon sequestration by mineral carbonation, I think.

  10. Hmmm. So why is natural gas – which if it leaks is a very nasty greenhouse gas in its own right, and only represents a 50% cut in emissions intensity over black coal – OK?

  11. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi Dean-

    I sometimes wonder about positive feedback projections for A/C given the coming heat waves.

    I’ve seen articles containing projections like this:

    http://www.csm.ornl.gov/~fj7/USAEE_paper.pdf

    The analysis conducted so far provides interesting insights into the interplay between climate change, energy use,
    and economics. While cooling needs increase energy use, heating needs reduce the amount. Since cooling (using
    electricity) is more inefficient than heating, the increase in primary energy use is amplified. Over time, the
    increase in cooling outweighs the decrease in heating leading to an overall increase. The variety of energy sources
    used for these services, the regional variation in energy requirements, and the market impacts on other energy
    consumption all combine to complicate the calculation of the net impact on the U.S. A trend of increased net
    energy use, cost, and carbon emissions are observed. Other economic changes such as prices may mitigate the
    increase, but with concomitant change to economic growth. Regional analysis shows a much larger impact in the
    southern regions of the U.S., while some northern regions have energy and cost savings.

    There are some remedies that can be applied to existing structures, of course. Rock bed heat storage systems can be partitioned into modules, and some of the modules chilled at night, perhaps with the addition of a swamp cooler to chill the rock bed. There are also solar powered air conditioning systems, which work like the old propane powered refrigerators, I think. Attic fans are fairly cheap, and pretty effective. Ground water and earth loop heat pumps might make sense in some locations. Trees can be planted to shade the house at certain times of the day. Roofs can be painted white, etc.

  12. Col says:

    This is freakin RIDICULOUSLY good news.

  13. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi Robert Merkel -

    Natural gas is not OK. I think that the 50% figure in terms of greenhouse impact is exaggerated, too. I think the greenhouse impact of natural gas is more like 80% of that of coal. Maybe Joe or somebody else knows more about this.

    But oxy-fuel and CCS could work for natural gas, too, and conversion of natural gas plants to powdered biocarbon or pyrolysis gas from conversion of biomass to biocarbon might not be too difficult.

    With coal plants, conversion to biocarbon is easy – biocarbon is essentially the same stuff as coal, it just comes from biomass. Density, fuel value, etc. are essentially identical. It should be possible to totally convert existing coal plants to biocarbon, without any real trouble.

    Oxyfuel is also a “bolt on” or retrofit technology, as the Australian video points out. So it should also be easy to convert existing coal plants to oxy-fuel and CCS, perhaps with some loss of efficiency, but perhaps not, due to the increased Carnot potential of oxy-fuel.

    Natural gas plants would probably be slightly harder to retrofit, so maybe they should be left alone, for a while.

    If we can put a billion tons of carbon from the coal plants back into the ground each year in the U.S., though, we could burn over a billion tons of natural gas to get us back to carbon neutral.

    We should certainly look at existing natural gas power plants that could possibly be turned into solar thermal or engineered geothermal power plants.

    And long term, the natural gas plants will have to be converted at least to carbon capture, too, I think, and possibly biocarbon or pyrolysis gas.

    One interesting option is biomass gasification. I need to find out if pyrolysis gas from biomass conversion to biocarbon could be burned in a converted natural gas power plant, and if there are any plans to convert natural gas power plants to oxy-fuel.

    It might also be possible to take pyrolysis gas from biomass, locally separate out and burn the hydrogen, and transmit the carbon monoxide long distances by pipeline, to be converted to hydrogen and CO2 by the water gas shift reaction, and then have the hydrogen burned in existing natural gas power plants, while doing deep injection on the CO2. I have seen ideas to use carbon monoxide as an energy transmission medium, and if I recall there is a solvent system to separate CO from gas streams, and pumping losses for 400 mile transmission are only something like 12% of the energy contained in the carbon monoxide.

    I don’t really know about carbon negative natural gas ideas, I’ll have to research it.

  14. jorleh says:

    Having a summer cottage twenty miles of Olkiluoto nuclear plant I sometimes thought that perhaps a good idea, but now the third reactor (1600 MW) which is under construction by Areva has delayed three years by mistakes and so on and the price tag going up to 4 billion euros. Perhaps nuclear after all isn´t the best choice???

  15. Rod Adams says:

    I am now reassured. A career lawyer who has spent 30 years focused on clients from the renewable energy industry has declared that his former and future clients can save the world. All they need is a smart grid that can shape the load to meet what they can provide.

    By his own description the grid controllers have to be smart and automatic load controllers rather than trained and knowledgeable human beings who control the power production to meet the demand.

    The demand controllers will have to work fast – the wind and sun often disappear at the collectors with little to know warning and then come back almost as quickly. Anyone who has tried to fly a kite or sail a boat understands just how variable the wind is in any given location. Those demand controllers will also have to be programmed with cold logic so that they can curtail any and all loads necessary to keep the grid from collapsing – anyone who has ever studied the weather knows that the wind and sun can be non-existent for days at a time over wide swaths of land. No caring or trained human could manage that job given the tools of just renewable energy as described by Wellinghoff.

    I guess all those years I spent studying electricity, power, energy, fuels, chemistry, physics, mechanics, and national policy were as wasted as the lessons that I learned in church about caring for the needs of my fellow humans or the ethics that I learned as a leader.

    I should have just become a lawyer so I could learn that there is a way to pass laws to make electrons do as they are bid.

  16. Pangolin says:

    Kudos on the logical demise of new coal and nuclear power plants. I believe that at some point we may want to build certain types of fast-neutron reactors simply to consume nuclear waste.

    As to the tone of the comments…….

    Seriously, who wants to be down-slope from a CO2 injection well or a CO2 pipeline? If that puppy leaks in the middle of the night you get a short period where your eyes are burning and then you die. If it leaks during the day you might get to watch your neighbors drop as an invisible wall of poisonous gas rolls towards you. The Lake Nyos disaster in West Africa where 1,700 people died due to CO2 asphyxiation could be coming to a town near you.

    http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Glossary/Lakes/description_volcanic_lakes_gas_release.html

    The idea of putting carbon monoxide in a pipeline staggers the imagination. The stuff is deadly in very small amounts. In slightly smaller amounts you have a handy source of organ donor parts.

    Carbon capture and storage via CO2 collection and injection makes about as much sense as hydrogen cars. You can do it; but it’s always cheaper, better, faster and safer to do something else to reach the same goals.

  17. NanoLepus says:

    And now a message from Clean Coal:

    “(Alexandria, VA) The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) is deeply troubled by comments attributed today to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Wellinghoff. The Chairman’s remarks show a fundamental misunderstanding of vital steps needed to keep energy prices affordable, promote greater energy independence and reliability, and accelerate the deployment of new, advanced technologies that will help to address concerns about climate change.” (hey, where did our indentured servants go?)

    http://www.pressreleasepoint.com/accce-president-and-ceo-steve-miller-response-ferc-chairman039s-comments

  18. Leland Palmer says:

    If you look on the Carma database, at carma.org and set it up in Google Earth, you can cruise around the U.S. and see where these coal fired and natural gas fired monster plants are located, as well as the hydropower and nuclear plants.

    Ominously, if you toggle the time controller forward to 2019, you can see what power plants are planned by the industry in the next decade. They planned a lot of growth. Existing coal plants, spewing 20 to 30 million tons of CO2 per year, become twins. More red dots, representing new coal plants, spring up, like smallpox.

    No more new coal plants is wonderful, wonderful news. Just terrific.

    Now, we need to convert all of the existing coal plants to biocarbon/oxyfuel/CCS, solar thermal, engineered geothermal (hot dry rock), and possibly nuclear.

    Then, we need to develop ways to convert the natural gas plants to carbon negative plants, and convert those too.

    Biocarbon, by the way, could provide a carbon neutral way to turn renewable power plants into baseload power plants.

    Combined with CCS, biocarbon could provide a way to convert renewable power plants into carbon negative baseload power.

    Here is a link to an Australian/Japanese conversion of an existing coal plant to oxyfuel combustion.

    http://www.callideoxyfuel.com/Why/CallideAPowerStation/tabid/73/Default.aspx

    If you wade through all the misty-eyed happy talk, it does show a practical process, as other pilot plants and small retrofits around the world confirm.

    Burn biocarbon in such a power plant, and replant the biomass, and you have carbon negative power.

    We ought to just seize the coal fired power plants and convert them, on an emergency schedule, I think.

  19. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi Pangolin-

    Seriously, who wants to be down-slope from a CO2 injection well or a CO2 pipeline? If that puppy leaks in the middle of the night you get a short period where your eyes are burning and then you die. If it leaks during the day you might get to watch your neighbors drop as an invisible wall of poisonous gas rolls towards you. The Lake Nyos disaster in West Africa where 1,700 people died due to CO2 asphyxiation could be coming to a town near you.

    http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/ Glossary/ Lakes/ description_volcanic_lakes_gas_release.html

    The idea of putting carbon monoxide in a pipeline staggers the imagination. The stuff is deadly in very small amounts. In slightly smaller amounts you have a handy source of organ donor parts.

    Carbon capture and storage via CO2 collection and injection makes about as much sense as hydrogen cars. You can do it; but it’s always cheaper, better, faster and safer to do something else to reach the same goals.

    Thanks for the input, but…

    We need to develop a quantitative view of the world, if we want to solve this problem.

    Leaks and so on might kill individuals, but they won’t kill the biosphere. CO2 is routinely transported on the freeways by truck, and in the decades that the oil industry has been doing deep injection for secondary oil recovery, I’m not aware of any catastrophes. A “smart” constantly monitored CO pipeline might be fairly easy to build, for example by encasing a pipeline within an outer pipeline, and shutting down the system if leaks in the inner pipeline occur.

    Runaway global warming could credibly kill the biosphere, and I think personally that is the path we are on.

    It’s all about billions of tons of carbon. Billions of tons of carbon are being emitted. If we want to solve this problem, billions of tons of carbon will have to be put back underground.

    I don’t know of any other practical way to do it, other than CCS, right now. Long term, carbon sequestration by mineral carbonation would be better, but right now it’s very expensive.

    Multiply your disaster concerns by a billion times, and you still could not credibly destroy the biosphere, which runaway global warming appears to be in the process of doing, right now.

    Carbon negative energy schemes appear to be necessary to solve the runaway global warming problem:

    http://www.etsap.org/worksh_6_2003/2003P_read.pdf

    Bio-Energy with Carbon Storage (BECS):
    a Sequential Decision Approach to the threat of Abrupt Climate Change

    Abrupt Climate Change (ACC – NAS, 2001) is an issue that ‘haunts the climate change problem’
    (IPCC, 2001) but has been neglected by policy makers up to now, maybe for want of practicable
    measures for effective response, save for risky geo-engineering. A portfolio of Bio-Energy with
    Carbon Storage (BECS) technologies, yielding negative emissions energy, may be seen as benign, low
    risk, geo-engineering that is the key to being prepared for ACC.

    I just don’t think any other options other than carbon negative energy schemes are big enough and fast enough to turn the corner on this problem. Minor risks – short of danger to the biosphere itself- are very acceptable trade-offs in this process.

  20. Sasparilla says:

    This seems like great news, if this guy’s opinion decides whether new coal plants/expansions are allowed or not – but that seems like a thin branch to be counting on (IMHO) especially in Washington.

    All that said I would gladly take some new expensive nuclear power if it took some coal plants offline sooner – it’d be great without them but if it would take some coal plants offline early, I’d take them.

    As far as Natural Gas power plants go, we want to get rid of them too and financially they’re very vulnerable to the price swings in world natural gas prices (we don’t want to be counting on them) – keep in mind Natural Gas prices were in the stratosphere last summer (higher than any winter prices we’ve ever seen even though winter is normally the high price period) – because natural gas price tracks that of Oil (presumably since it is such an easy replacement for Oil based fuels) and you know where Oil (and hence Natural Gas) will go once demand gets back up to last years levels.

  21. josol W says:

    Nuclear power is inevitable. Its a constant source with zero C emissions, and its cost is more to do that we have not been building them here in the US for 30 years – which has turned out to be a disastrous move. We are not getting to the promise land on wind and solar alone. Sorry Wellinghoff you are sorely out of touch. Too bad. Obama needs some good advisors and you sound like you need to go back to school.

  22. David B. Benson says:

    Leland Palmer — Pyrolysis gas is nasty stuff and is ordinarily burnt immediately to keep the pyrolysis reactions going.

    Far better is to use aneorbic digestion to produce biogas. The biogas can be separated into pure methane and acid gas. The methane goes into the natural gas pipelines and the acid gas is mostly CO2, now captured and ready for sequestration; carbon negative biomethane for the natural gas burners.

  23. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi David B. Benson-

    Thanks for the input, and the suggestion. I’ll look more into biogas. I need to research the alternatives more, of course.

    I finally remembered the name of the carbon monoxide energy transmission scheme: it is called COSORB:

    Google “cosorb” and this proposed process pops up, including papers on using carbon monoxide as a fuel, and calculation of energy losses for distances of CO transmission

    These seem like a fairly well worked out schemes, allowing 400 plus miles of distance between the biomass source and the power plant, with energy losses due to pumping of less than 15 percent at this distance, and probably much less if the route was mostly downhill, which could easily happen with biomass sources in the mountains.

    The weak link is of course the pipeline itself.

    A “smart pipeline” with an inner liner and an outer shell, or a hugely instrumented one covered with CO sensors and numerous shutoff valves, might solve this. It might also be possible to simply over-engineer the pipeline, and build large safety margins into the construction.

    The advantage, of course, is that this allows transmission of biomass energy long distances, without hydrogen embrittlement of the pipeline.

    Last I heard, hydrogen embrittlement was still a significant problem with most alloys, which is why I started thinking about CO.

  24. Theodore says:

    reply to josol W – you said: We are not getting to the promise land on wind and solar alone.

    This is true. You forgot geothermal.

    If solar is cheaper than nuclear, there is no possible rational explanation for your continuing support of nuclear energy. It’s simply a waste of money. If nuclear power is truely inevitable, then it is solely because of unjustified political support for the industry, and not for any real-world technical reasons.

  25. Pete Roche says:

    Didn’t notice any coverage on Climate Progress of this:-

    Offshore wind turbines could meet all of the US’ electricity needs, according to a report from the country’s interior department. Speaking at a renewable energy conference, secretary of the interior Ken Salazar said wind off the coasts of the lower 48 states had the capacity to generate a total of 1,900 gigawatts. This actually exceeds the entire US electricity demand.

    Low Carbon Economy 3rd Apr 2009 http://www.lowcarboneconomy.com/community_content/_low_carbon_news/5200?09042009

  26. Deb Arnason says:

    Thank you, John, for your public comments. I used them at the Duke energy shareholders meeting to call their bluff on the need for continued building of coal fired and nuclear energy plants. For too long, power generation corporations have been reluctant to do anything but token efforts towards solar, wind, geothermal and green efficiencies.

    Now is the time for real change. I attended workshops on solar energy distributed into the grid by covering existing parking lots with photovoltaic panels. Power the business, park underneath out of the weather, not a tree or wetlands to destroy and a place to plug in when you get your electric hybrid. See http://www.ieer.org, Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free Roadmap for US Energy Policy for up-to-date details. Other plans abound.

    Cloudy Germany and even France are now going solar because of the problems with nuclear waste. China is building self-generating buildings far in advance of US technologies. Coal, nuclear and energy corporations are stalling here in the US by pretending to go green or grabbing Congress to rewrite energy bills to their extreme advantage.

    It’s a good idea to contact your legislators at 202-224-3121 to request that they not give $billions away to the corporate lobbyists who helped write the 900-page Waxman-Markey “clean” energy bill.

    Another way to help would be to write or e-mail the EPA regarding coal’s evil twin, auto emissions. Until June 23, 2009, they are accepting public comments as to the need to regulate fossil fuel gases like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrate oxide, fluorocarbons and sulfur that threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations. Scientific types might do well since they question whether the science is too uncertain regarding climate change. That sounds silly to me as we are actively pumping greenhouse gases into the 6-mile high “garage” that is our atmospheric envelope. E-mail to: ghgendangerment@epa.gov Be sure to refer to EPA Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0171. You can also call 202-343-9927 for more info or look it up yourself at http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment.html.

    Together, we do make a difference. Thanks again John for taking a public stance.