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Taiwan Considers Keeping Nuclear Reactors on Emergency Standby

Cindy Wang and Stephen Stapczynski, Mon, May 29, 2023

(Bloomberg) — Taiwan is considering keeping nuclear power plants on standby in case of emergencies, signaling a loosening of policy to phase out the energy source.The government plans to maintain shut reactors so that they could be restarted in an emergency, Taipei-based United Daily News reported, citing Vice President Lai Ching-te, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential candidate. It’s the first time the government has signaled it’s possible to restart plants, United Daily News said.

The use of nuclear as backup generation would be unusual because of the high costs and safety measures required. Taiwan’s plans to phase out its last remaining atomic plant by 2025 go against a global resurgence of the technology to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The island is also seeking to reduce coal consumption, leaving the government under pressure to build out gas-powered generation and offshore wind to avoid power shortages.

A restart strategy would only be needed in extreme emergencies, such as external blockades or serious natural disaster, and would need to be safe and have consensus among lawmakers and the public, Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua told reporters on Monday.

Taiwan got about 11% of its power from nuclear in 2021, according to state-owned Taiwan Power Co. It has two operating reactors that started in the 1980s and which are slated to close next year and in 2025.


May 30, 2023 Posted by | ENERGY, Taiwan | Leave a comment

US Electricity From Renewable Energy Beat Electricity From Coal Or Nuclear In 2022

Since 2007, the use of coal for electricity generation has generally been in decline, while the use of renewables has been on the rise. Electricity generation from nuclear had remained relatively flat over the last two decades but has experienced a slight decline in recent years. In 2022, net generation of electricity from renewables reached 0.91 billion megawatt-hours, topping both coal and nuclear (0.83 and 0.77 billion megawatt-hours, respectively). In 2022, renewables accounted for about 21% of all net generation of electricity.

  • Renewable sources of power include wind, solarhydropowerbiomass, and geothermal energy. “Other” category includes petroleum liquids, petroleum coke, batteries, chemicals, hydrogen, pitch, purchased steam, sulfur, miscellaneous technologies, and non-renewable waste.
  • Electricity net generation is the amount of gross electricity generation a generator produces minus the electricity used to operate the power plant.

SourceU.S. Energy Information Administration, Electricity Data Browser, queried April 21, 2023.

View the supporting data for this Fact of the Week.

May 23, 2023 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Portugal’s renewable energy success

 Portugal reached a major milestone of producing more than half (51%) of
its electricity from wind and solar in April. The previous monthly record
high was 49%, set in December 2021.

According to Ember, Portugal’s record
of 50% from wind and solar comes despite relatively modest wind generation.
Strong deployment of solar capacity pushed solar generation to an all-time
high of 360 GWh in April, significantly higher than the previous record of
300 GWh in July and August of 2022. Last year, the country installed 0.9 GW
of solar photovoltaics, increasing its solar capacity by more than 50% to
2.5 GW.

 Review Energy 18th May 2023

May 23, 2023 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable | Leave a comment

New report finds millions of Britons planning to get rid of their cars 

 How the cost of living crisis and environmental concerns mean 6 million
Britons could ditch their cars.

A new report has found that 6.4 million
people are preparing to sell, or not replace, their motors due to the cost
of living crisis and a growing interest in healthier, more sustainable,

There are currently around 33 million cars in the UK. But while
millions of people may intend to sell their cars in the coming years, how
feasible is it really for such large numbers to switch to alternatives,
such as walking, cycling and e-biking and buses, coaches and trains?

There are signs that a shift is already taking place. This was fueled, in part,
by the pandemic, which prompted people to walk and cycle more to avoid
crowded public transport and reduced car journeys as people worked from

The new report reveals that 9.1 million Britons have already stopped
using their cars for at least some short journeys. In many cases they are
using public transport instead – although nearly 4 million are now
cycling or e-biking to work, according to the report, from Swytch
Techology, a maker of kit to convert regular bikes to e-bikes. This
involved a survey of 2,074 British adults conducted by the Yonder research

 iNews 21st May 2023

May 22, 2023 Posted by | ENERGY | Leave a comment

Germany’s green revolution puts nuclear power in the past

Renewed support for renewables and an end to nuclear power keep Germany on its carbon neutral path

By Linda Pentz Gunter 21 May 23

Germany is a country of sensible shoes. And, I might add, supremely comfortable ones. Germans do buttery leather as well as they do beer.

Germany’s energy policy is similarly sensible. Germans see no reason to choose the slowest, most expensive, most dangerous and decidedly non-renewable energy source with which to address the climate crisis. 

Consequently, Germany rejected nuclear power, and on Saturday April 15, it closed the last of its reactors. Germany, like its even more sensible neighbor, Austria — where nothing nuclear may even traverse its terrain — is now a nuclear-free country. Almost. The next step for the German anti-nuclear movement will be to close the URENCO uranium enrichment facility there and the Lingen fuel fabrication plant. And of course there remain nuclear weapons in Germany, not theirs, but ours.

While France continues to wobble along on its high-fashion nuclear stilettos, turning ankles and snapping off heels whenever the going gets rough, Germany will trudge on inexorably, and comfortably, to its stated goal of carbon neutral by 2045.

Germany also plans to end it coal use possibly as soon as 2030, but certainly by 2038. Although, you’d never know it, with all the alarmist hype in circulation post nuclear shutdown. The nuclear lobby, already in propaganda over-drive, has now gone supersonic in its efforts to persuade the world that Germany’s choice to close those last three reactors — never mind that their energy has already been replaced by renewables —will mean burning more coal.

The decision to prolong the operating time of its last three reactors until April 2023 (they were originally due to close at the end of 2022) was largely political, designed to appease rightwing voices within the governing alliance led by the Social Democrats. “We could, in fact, have already shut down the nuclear power plants by January 1 of this year without the lights going out,” said German economist, Claudia Kemfert. “The extension was more like a psychological comfort blanket, as we had an oversupply of electricity,” she told the Washington Post.

Germany didn’t need those last three reactors to keep its green revolution on track. And it especially didn’t need them through this winter, after rejecting the supply of gas from Russia in response to that country’s invasion of Ukraine. German heating is not electric. So nuclear power had no role to play in easing that situation. 

Meanwhile, power prices on the European Energy Exchange for the first quarter of 2024 were more than twice as high in France than in Germany. Much of this was due to loss of market confidence in French state energy company, EDF, to get sufficient numbers of their troubled nuclear reactors back on line to meet demand. 

This did not change after Germany’s last three reactors closed. As Bruno Burger of Energy Charts noted as a caption to the graphic below [ on original] : “The shutdown of the last three German nuclear power plants has no visible effect on weekly Future Electricity Prices in Germany.”

The nuclear power contribution to Germany’s energy mix has been steadily declining since the renewable energy boom, known as the Energiewende, was launched in 2000 with the Renewable Energy Act. A precondition of the Act’s passage was that as nuclear power was phased out it would be replaced by renewable energy and energy efficiency (although demand should have been brought down much faster, much further) and not by fossil fuels. 

In 2000, the renewables share in German electricity was just over 6%. The nuclear share was 30%. In just 23 years, those numbers have more than reversed, with today’s share of on- and off-shore wind plus solar at just over 46% and nuclear at 4.6% in the last week before the final reactor closures. Germany remains on track to achieve its carbon neutral goal by 2045.

The renewable energy boom was greatly helped by the implementation of a feed-in tariff that helped to create confidence and certainty for renewable energy investors who were guaranteed a fixed price for 20 years, above the standard market price. This spurred a big investment, not just by companies, farmers, and coops, but by individuals and many municipalities.

This led to local success stories such as Morbach, a small town about 92 miles west of Frankfurt that boasts 14 wind turbines, 4,000 square meters of solar panels and a biogas plant. Combined, these generate three times more electricity than the community of 11,000 people needs. They sell the surplus back to the grid.

Simply put, the nuclear phaseout opened the way for renewable energy growth in Germany and put the country on the path to a fossil fuel-free future as well.  Without the former, the latter would not have happened.

Critics who falsely ascribe Germany’s continued use of coal, including brown coal or lignite, to the nuclear phaseout, fail to understand that these upticks are driven by the export market and are not related to domestic consumption or the nuclear shutdown.

Ironically it is nuclear France, dependent on electric heat, that is partially responsible for the demand for German coal. This was especially so this past winter when the French nuclear sector all but collapsed with more than 50% of its nuclear capacity down due to serious safety issues combined with scheduled maintenance.

In contrast, in 2022, Germany succeeded in weaning itself off Russian gas entirely and supplying France with 15 billion kWh of electricity net.

Furthermore, Germany’s lignite and coal production remains well below earlier levels and Germany is legally committed to end coal use by 2038. The current government is working to advance this date to 2030. 

According to the 2022 World Nuclear Industry Status Report: “Lignite peaked in 2013 and then declined—especially in 2019–2020—before increasing again by 20.2 percent in 2021. However, lignite generation remained below the 2019-level and 25 percent below the 2010 level. 

“Hard coal also peaked in 2013 then dropped to 64 percent below the 2010-level. While it has seen, at 27.7 percent, the strongest increase in 2021 of any power generation technology, it also remains below the 2019 numbers. 

“Natural gas fluctuated since 2010 and peaked in 2020 at 2.6 percent above the 2010-level before dropping by 5.3 percent in 2021.”

In fact, Germany’s struggle to get off fossil fuels lies mainly in the transport rather than the electricity sector. The country’s love affair with the car and speed limit-free autobahns is a long engagement that now needs to be broken.  

Germany’s path to a carbon neutral economy is all about the trajectory, which is on track, despite bumps in the road. As always, it is about a political commitment rather than any technological challenges. If the current government sticks to its word to greatly accelerate renewable energy implementation, the Energiewende, by no means a perfect roadmap, will get itself back on track.

Mistakes were undoubtedly made. Even after then Chancellor Angela Merkel had her epiphany in 2011 in light of the Japan nuclear disaster at Fukushima, making an overnight decision to restore Germany on the path to nuclear shutdown, she subsequently made drastic cuts in solar subsidies, something environmentalists described as “nothing less than a solar phase-out law”.

But despite this, Germany remains one of the few Western countries that has demonstrated a consistent commitment both to a nuclear phaseout and to climate chaos abatement.

The German anti-nuclear movement is greatly to be credited with much of this progress. It has long been one of the most powerful and politically effective. Like the sensible shoes they march in, green advocates in Germany understood exactly what their fight was about and the significance of that final nuclear shutdown. I hope they are having a jolly good party. They deserve it. Then it will be back to vigilance over the Energiewende — and hopefully to removing US nuclear weapons from German soil and closing those uranium fuel fabrication plants. Because that is the kind of thing that only people power can get done.

“The German nuclear phase-out is a victory of reason over the lust for profit; over powerful corporations and their client politicians,” read a statement from Greenpeace. “It is a people-powered success against all the odds.”

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for and curates Beyond Nuclear International.

May 22, 2023 Posted by | Germany, Reference, renewable | Leave a comment

The nine hours in which Spain made the 100% renewable dream a reality

Electricity generation through solar, wind and water exceeded total demand in mainland Spain on Tuesday, a pattern that will be repeated more and more in the future

IGNACIO FARIZA 19 May 23 El Pais

The Spanish power grid on Tuesday tasted an appetizer of the renewable energy banquet that is expected to flourish in the coming years. For nine hours, between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., the generation of green electricity was more than enough to cover 100% of Spanish peninsular demand, a milestone that had already been reached on previous occasions, but not for such a prolonged period. The achievement — which was backed up by figures sent to EL PAÍS by the state electricity provider Red Eléctrica de España (REE) — took place, moreover, on a typical weekday, when the consumption pattern is higher, and not on a holiday or at the weekend, when demand falls sharply.

A huge drive in the installation of renewables — especially photovoltaics — is enabling Europe’s fourth-largest economy to cover an increasing part of its electricity needs with renewable energy, something that not only substantially reduces the country’s carbon footprint but also applies downward pressure on prices during daylight hours. Above all, it increases the incentives — both environmental and economic — to invest in storage and to electrify transport, industry, and heating, which are intensive in oil or natural gas consumption……………………………………………………………….

Xavier Cugat, project manager at a photovoltaic company who is at the origin of the statistic. “The nuclear closure schedule is not only carried out well, but it is also conservative: at the rate at which we are installing renewables, it could even be brought forward. What will provide more flexibility is hydropower and, within hydropower, pumping,” adds the expert.

By 2030, Spain will have three fewer nuclear reactors and it turns out that renewables are solving the problem on their own,” says Pedro Fresco, former director of Energy Transition in the Valencia region. Not only is nuclear power contributing less but Spain’s waterfalls, another of the country’s biggest sources of electricity, are being severely hit by the drought, which is reducing productive capacity in many areas. “It is true that it is a one-off, and at a time of very good solar and wind production, but with very little water and with hydroelectric power at a technical minimum… even so, we are covering 100%.

. Where will we be in three years, when we will have between 10 and 15 gigawatts more of photovoltaic and another five of wind? There is a huge window of opportunity for hydrogen and electric cars, especially in the central hours of the day,” adds Fresco. “But we need strategies to take advantage of it.”

May 22, 2023 Posted by | renewable, Spain | Leave a comment

Finance for renewable energy

 The lessons learned from scaling up wind and solar technologies from an
expensive niche option to arguably the cheapest option for new electricity
generation can act as a framework for the continued growth of the energy
transition and its expansion to emerging economies. This is the conclusion
from a new report published this week by the International Renewable Energy
Agency (IRENA) launched in partnership with the Indian G20 Presidency
entitled “Low-Cost Energy Transition Finance”. The report focuses on
the need for low-cost finance to support the development of newer renewable
energy technologies such as green hydrogen, energy storage, and offshore
wind in both emerging market economies and advanced economies.

 Renew Economy 17th May 2023


May 18, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, renewable | Leave a comment

Germany’s Nuclear Energy Phase-Out, Explained

NIRS, May 8, 2023

On April 15, 2023 utilities in Germany shut down the country’s three
last remaining nuclear power plants. These closures mark the successful
planned phase-out of German nuclear energy from the nation’s grid. What does this mean for Germany? What lessons should the U.S. take away from the
German energy transition?

Germany’s Energiewende (“energytransition”) is an overarching policy commitment to achieve a low-carbon, nuclear-free economy and transition to renewable energy. While the recently completed phase-out of nuclear power is a major milestone for Germany’s energy transition, it was by no means a perfect process nor is the current
energy system in Germany a perfect example to follow.

But, Germany’s transition shows that an energy policy grounded in environmental values works – and the earlier climate policy is implemented, the sooner the
climate policy goals can be realized. Above all, the German energy
transition shows the tremendous power of active citizenry, organized social
movements, and activism to transform policy and successfully demand change.


May 13, 2023 Posted by | ENERGY, Germany | 1 Comment

Bristol solar farm connects directly to the grid.

A solar farm near Bristol has become the UK’s first to connect directly to
the national grid, opening a way to unblocking bottlenecks in renewable
energy schemes.

To date, the hundreds of solar farms and 1.2 million homes
with rooftop solar panels have been connected to the electricity grid’s
equivalent of A-roads, called distribution networks. However, the 50MW
Larks Green solar farm, capable of powering 17,000 homes, has instead been
connected to the transmission network, the motorways of the electricity

Solar power is the cheapest electricity technology in many
countries and the fastest-growing electricity source globally. Solar
industry figures said that years-long delays were normal to enable projects
to start producing clean electricity. Some developers are routinely being
told they will have to wait until the 2030s, and in one case a company was
told it would have to wait until 2037. Ministers recently promised to
introduce reforms to speed up connections, but are yet to provide details.

On Thursday a cross-party group of MPs wrote to the government telling it
to work with energy networks, including National Grid ESO, to “unblock
the pipeline of delays”. “There is potential for solar energy to have a
bright future in the UK, but a dark cloud of delays for the industry
hinders the ability to meet its full potential,” said Philip Dunne,
chairman of the environmental audit committee.

Times 4th May 2023

May 9, 2023 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Chart of the day: Germany produces 40GW of solar for first time

Germany has passed through the 40GW mark for solar production for the first
time. The new benchmark was reached at 12.30pm local time on May 4. It
shows that solar output was more than six times bigger than any other
source at the time, and accounted for nearly two thirds of the total
64.6GW, of which around 1.3GW was being exported to other countries. Brown
coal generation was the second biggest at that time, followed by biomass
and onshore wind.

Renew Economy 5th May 2023

May 8, 2023 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

Great Lakes wind power – now is the time

Investing in Great Lakes wind power can help Ontario obtain 100% of its new
electricity supply from renewables.

Clean Air Alliance 17th April 2023

May 8, 2023 Posted by | Canada, renewable | Leave a comment

EDF Q1 revenues rise but nuclear output declines

PARIS, April 28 (Reuters) more Reporting by Benjamin Mallet, editing by Silvia Aloisi – French nuclear power giant EDF (EDF.PA) said first-quarter like-for-like sales rose by 34.6% to 47.8 billion euros ($52.64 billion) thanks to higher electricity and gas prices, though it reported a fall in nuclear output due to reactor outages and strikes in France.

Reporting by Benjamin Mallet, editing by Silvia Aloisi

“This decrease is explained by a lower nuclear fleet availability, mainly due to outages for the controls and repairs on the pipes affected by the stress corrosion phenomenon, and to the impacts of social movements,” EDF said in a statement.

The group, which is in the process of being fully nationalised, confirmed its estimate of nuclear output in France for 2023 in a range of 300-330TWh.

Nuclear production fell to a 34-year low last year due to a record number of reactor outages at EDF, turning France into a net importer of electricity for the first time since 1980.

April 29, 2023 Posted by | ENERGY, France | Leave a comment

Russia’s political and economic winner – its nuclear exports to Western countries

West scrambles as Putin reveals his energy war trump card. Kremlin has
spread its tentacles through the US and Europe – and countries are
struggling to fight back. In an effort to punish Vladimir Putin, western
governments have hit Russia’s energy industry with a barrage of punishing
sanctions since his invasion of Ukraine.

But one sector has conspicuously
escaped their ire so far: nuclear power. Since the conflict erupted,
Russian nuclear exports are actually thought to have increased while those
of coal, oil and gas have been squeezed.

Meanwhile, despite the key role it
has played in Moscow’s takeover of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant
in Enerhodar, eastern Ukraine, state monopoly Rosatom remains untouched by
western sanctions.

The reason, say experts, is the complicated nature of
nuclear supply chains – from the supply of uranium to the construction of
reactors – and the dominant role Russia currently plays in many of them.

Through its global nuclear network, Moscow can exert political and economic
pressure on friends and foes alike, the White House has warned. A new
partnership between the UK, the US, Canada, Japan and France aims to change
this. Together the five countries want to squeeze Russia’s share of
nuclear exports and “ensure Putin, nor anyone like him, can ever think
they can hold the world to ransom over their energy again,” said Grant
Shapps, the Energy Security Secretary. The group aims to become independent
from Moscow and help other countries do the same, the agreement says.

 Telegraph 24th April 2023

April 25, 2023 Posted by | ENERGY, Russia | Leave a comment

 Renewable Energy Is Charging Ahead.

 Renewable energy has seen considerable
growth in recent years, but there is a long way to go to achieve a clean
energy future that averts the worst effects of the climate crisis. The
window is quickly closing on our ability to meet the goal of the 2015 Paris
climate agreement: keeping global temperature rise well below two degrees
Celsius by the end of the century.

The latest report from the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stressed that the world
needs fast and deep emissions cuts to meet that goal and eventually reach
net zero emissions by 2050. Switching to renewable forms of power
generation, such as solar, wind and hydropower, will be a key component of
that effort. “The target is very ambitious,” says Heymi Bahar, a senior
energy analyst at the International Energy Agency.

And every year that goes
by without major climate action, “we are basically losing the carbon
[budget] that is left, and we need to go faster in a more expansive way. In
that sense, most of the job, according to our models, needs to be done in
the coming seven years,” Bahar says.

Globally, renewables account for
about one third of electricity generation—and that share is rising. In
2022 renewable generation capacity grew by a record 295 gigawatts,
according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Further,
renewables accounted for more than 80 percent of all added power capacity
last year, the agency reported. Last year renewables produced more
electricity than coal-powered plants for the first time in the U.S. Wind
and solar now produce about 14 percent of the country’s electricity, up
from virtually nothing just 25 years ago. The U.S. Energy Information
Administration expects that more than half of electric generation capacity
added to the nation’s grid in 2023 will be from solar energy.

The main reason renewable energy has grown so much in recent years is a dramatic
decline in the expense of generating solar and wind power. The cost of
solar photovoltaic cells has dropped a stunning 90 percent over the past
decade, partly because of ramped-up manufacturing—particularly in
China—Bahar says. Government subsidies in countries such as the U.S. also
helped renewables grow in the early years, as did policies making
commitments to renewable adoption, says Inês Azevedo, an associate
professor in the department of energy science and engineering at Stanford
University.* For example, many U.S. states set standards for how much of
their electricity needs should be met with renewable energy by a particular

 Scientific American 21st April 2023

April 25, 2023 Posted by | 2 WORLD, ENERGY | Leave a comment

Earth Day 2023: A Newly Post-Nuclear Germany vs. California’s Reactor Relapse

Germany’s initiative calls out California’s backpedaling.


This year’s Earth Day marks a massive green energy triumph in Germany that stands in stark contrast to a bitter nuclear challenge in California.

A wide range of estimates put the two regions at a virtual tie for the world’s fourth and fifth-largest economies.

They also share a leading growth industry—renewable energy, with unprecedented investments in wind, solar, batteries, and efficiency. 

But when it comes to atomic power, they are headed in very different directions.

On April 15, Germany claimed a huge global landmark by becoming one of the world’s wealthiest nations to renounce atomic power.  

The decision dates back to 2011, when Germany’s powerful Green movement led a national demonstration aiming to shut the seventeen atomic reactors that, at the time, provided around a quarter of the nation’s electricity.

Before the rally took place, four reactors blew up in Fukushima, Japan, sending huge clouds of radioactive fallout into the air and ocean.

Germany’s then-Chancellor Angela Merkel—who has a Ph.D. in quantum chemistry—ordered eight reactors immediately shut, and soon announced a plan to shut the remaining nine by December 31, 2022.

This energiewende, or “energy transition,” substitutes wind, solar, battery storage, and increased efficiency for nuclear power reactors, moving Germany toward full reliance on renewables. Germany, since then, has invested billions  in the renewables sector, transitioning whole towns  to locally-owned rooftop solar and corporate wind power pumped in from large turbines in the North Sea.

The shutdown of the final three reactors was delayed by nearly four months due to natural gas shortages caused by the Russian war in Ukraine. 

It was also complicated by a major atomic breakdown in neighboring France.  Heavily reliant on nuclear power, France’s more than fifty standard-design reactors succumbed to a wide range of problems, including generic structural flaws and warming rivers too hot to cool their super-heated radioactive cores. In 2022, with more than half its fleet of reactors under repair, France made up for the energy shortfall by importing power  from Germany, much of it fired by the burning of coal. 

This prompted the nuclear industry to criticize Germany’s plan by pointing to a rise in the country’s CO2 emissions from burning increased quantities of coal, failing to note that much of that power was being exported to France to compensate for its own shuttered reactors.

California, whose economy may now be slightly larger than Germany’s, has taken an opposite route.

Two of its last four reactors—at San Onofre, between Los Angeles and San Diego—were shuttered in 2012 and closed permanently in 2013 after flaws were found in the turbines and other components.

In 2016, a deal was reached to shut the Golden State’s last two reactors, located at Diablo Canyon, nine miles west of San Luis Obispo. In the 1970s and 1980s, thousands of protestors were arrested at Diablo Canyon, more than at any other American nuclear plant. 

The 2016 shutdown deal involved another energiewende, based on blueprints to replace Diablo’s power with a huge influx of new wind, solar, battery, and efficiency installations. The agreement was approved by the California state legislature, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the state Public Utilities Commission. It was signed by then-Governor Jerry Brown, then-Lieutenant-Governor Gavin Newsom, and a wide range of local governments, unions, and environmental groups, all of whom assumed the state would thus be nuke-free once Unit Two was shut in 2025—the date its original forty-year license would expire.

But along the way, the state experienced two close calls with partial blackouts.  During both incidents, Newsom, now the governor, asked consumers to dial back their energy use. Ironically, independent battery capacity—mostly controlled by individual owners—helped the state stay lit. 

But Newsom reversed course and now argues that California must keep Diablo open. Infuriating the national safe energy movement, Newsom rammed through the legislature a $1.4 billion midnight bailout for PG&E, to be funded by all of the state’s consumers, including many who live hundreds of miles from the plant, and receive no energy from it at all.

The Biden Administration also kicked in $1.1 billion, money that safe energy advocates angrily argue would be far better spent on renewables.

In 2019 a statewide petition signed by Hollywood’s Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen, Lily Tomlin, Eric Roberts, and some 2,500 other Californians demanded that Newsom facilitate an independent inspection. Nearing forty years of age, both Diablo reactors suffer a wide range of structural and age-related defects. 

They are also surrounded by at least a dozen known earthquake faults, sitting just forty-five miles from the infamous San Andreas fault. Former NRC site inspector Michael Peck, who was stationed at Diablo for five years, has warned it might not survive a major earthquake, for which its owner, PG&E, has little or no private insurance. The state has never made public any plans to evacuate Los Angeles or other heavily populated areas in the event of an accident.

Newsom has also supported moves by state regulators to severely slash compensation paid by utilities to solar panel owners who feed their excess energy into the grid. While 1,500 workers are stationed at Diablo, some 70,000 work in the state’s solar industry, which angrily charges that Newsom’s pro-nuclear, anti-green positions are crippling the state’s top job creator.

Indeed,  the irony of these twin economies heading in opposite energy directions is hard to ignore. In the 1970s, much of America’s early anti-nuclear movement was inspired by mass demonstrations led by German Greens (with the slogan “Atomkraft? Nein, danke!”). Both movements succeeded in massively moving their communities toward a renewable future.

But at this critical moment, Germany appears to be moving beyond nuclear power, while California clings to a hugely controversial technology it had once planned to transcend.

April 24, 2023 Posted by | ENERGY, Germany | Leave a comment