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Win and Solar development hampered by USA subsidies for nuclear power

Lifeline for Nuclear Plants Is Threatening Wind and Solar Power, Bloomberg by  Joe Ryan April 25, 2017, 

  • Five states debating subsidies for struggling reactors
  • Propping up emissions-free nuclear may stall renewables demand

The push to save U.S. nuclear plants for the sake of fighting climate change is threatening support for the bread and butter of clean power: wind and solar. New York and Illinois have already approved as much as $10 billion in subsidies to keep struggling reactors open for the next decade as part of a plan to limit fossil fuel consumption. Lawmakers in Ohio, Connecticut and New Jersey are debating whether to do the same…….

Many environmentalists remain leery of supporting nuclear power, citing terrorism risks, the problem of dealing with spent nuclear fuel, and more. Instead of propping up struggling reactors, states should promote energy efficiency and encourage development of wind, solar and power storage, said John Coequyt, the Sierra Club’s director of climate campaigns.

Nuclear’s economic woes comes as wind and solar are starting to show they’re cheap enough to compete with traditional generators, after years of help from subsidies. …..

There are key differences between wind and solar subsidies and those for nuclear, according to clean-energy developers. Renewable energy credits have spurred an emerging industry, whereas nuclear subsidies are to preserve aging plants. And while wind and solar developers compete against each other for subsidies, those for nuclear benefit a single technology.

Market Rules

“The renewables industry has been playing by competitive market rules that have helped to produce good prices,” Amy Francetic, an Invenergy senior vice president, said in an interview. “This is picking and winners and losers in a way that’s troubling.”

Propping up nuclear plans won’t be cheap. If every reactor across the northeast and mid-Atlantic wins subsidies at the same level as those New York, ratepayers would need to pay an additional $3.9 billion annually, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. The subsides are being challengedin federal court by power generators including Dynegy Inc. and NRG Energy.

“This has taken a lot of wind from the green economy’s sails,” Abraham Silverman, an attorney for NRG, said in an interview. “We see an enormous lost opportunity to invest in truly clean infrastructure.”…..

May 1, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, renewable, USA

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