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California abandons nuclear power, New York does the opposite

Flag-USAThese two huge states are both going green. But only one is sticking with nuclear, WP 

 By Chris Mooney August 1 In June, the state of California — which has led the U.S. in putting electric cars on the road and switching to so-called clean electricity — took a decisive turn in its quest to move away from carbonemitting fuels. An agreement between the large utility Pacific Gas and Electric and environmental and labor groups set a path for retiring the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, and thus, for a state in which “carbon free” will not include energy generated through the splitting of atoms.

On Monday, though, New York — also a leader when it comes to greening power supplies — announced a very different route. The state’s Public Service Commission approved a Clean Energy Standard backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s backed Clean Energy Standard. It seeks to get New York to 50 percent renewable electricity by the year 2030 — while also retaining the six nuclear reactors that currently provide more 30 percent of the state’s electricity. (These reactors would not count as part of the renewable 50 percent.)……….

many critics of nuclear energy persist, in the environmental community and elsewhere, and not all observers think New York necessarily made the right move.

“By not making them compete for a place in the low carbon portfolio, the state is almost assuring that the customers are going to pay more than they have to, and that some desirable alternative sources won’t get developed, because nuclear’s place in the picture is locked in,” said Peter Bradford, a former chair of the New York Public Service Commission and an adjunct professor at the Vermont Law School………

All sides will now watch how these two experiments — in New York, and California — play out. Nuclear provides a major stream of what is often termed “baseload” electricity, which is continuous and thus very different from wind and solar, which are much stronger at key times (solar, for instance, in the afternoon) and less available at others. Thus, integrating more wind and solar with less baseload, as California aims to do, presumably puts a greater emphasis on the use of energy efficiency measures (less electricity use over all), or energy storage (using electricity at a different time from when it is generated), to deal with these sources’ intermittency………


August 5, 2016 - Posted by | climate change, ENERGY, politics, USA

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