Renewable energy much needed in Georgia —John S. Quarterman

My op-ed in the VDT today; I’ve added links, plus some more after the op-ed.

Finally! Kewaunee, Calvert Cliffs, and now Crystal River permanently closing say it’s time for Georgia to stop wasting money on Southern Company’s already over-budget and increasingly-late nukes and get on with solar power and wind off the coast: for jobs, for energy independence, and for clean air and plenty of clean water.

February 2013:
Duke Energy is closing the Crystal River nuclear reactor (Tampa Bay Times, 6 Feb 2013), 160 miles south of us, because nobody wants to pay to fix it: between “$1.5 billion and $3.4 billion, plus what it costs to buy power to replace what Crystal River would have produced while it is being repaired” [Charlotte Business Journal, 11 Jan 2013].
November 2012:
NRC terminated Maryland’s Calvert Cliffs 3 (NRC 1 Nov 2012) after Constellation Energy dropped out because the cost “is too high and creates too much risk for Constellation” [Bloomberg 10 Oct 2010].
October 2012:
Dominion Power decided to close Wisconsin’s Kewaunee reactor (Dominion Power PR 22 Oct 2012) as not economically viable with no buyer (JSOnline 30 Oct 2012).
January 2012:
leaks shut down California’s
Google already deployed 2 gigawatts of wind and solar power for $1 billion: almost as much as Vogtle 3 and 4’s projected 2.2 GW, for less than Georgia Power customers have already paid.
San Onofre 3 and 4 in (NRC 31 Jan 2012) and their owners want the NRC to let them reopen Unit 4 as an experiment while refusing to show the public any evidence that that would be safe (NRC 18 Dec 2012). [Actually San Onofre 2 and 3 shut down, and it’s Unit 2 they want to reopen; my error. -jsq]
June 2009:
Moody’s called nuclear a “bet-the-farm risk”, and it’s our farms and houses and businesses the legislature is betting.
April 2009:
Georgia’s SB 31 “Energy Rate Increases to Finance Nuclear Power Plant Construction” authorized Georgia Power to charge customers for power nobody is getting from Vogtle 3 and 4, $1.7 billion so far (Kristi Swartz, AJC, 1 Nov 2012), plus about a billion over budget and at least 15 months behind schedule (GPB 18 Dec 2012), with concrete pouring errors (Aiken Leader 14 Jan 2013) much like those that ended Crystal River (NRC 10 Oct 2012).
Vogtle 1 and 2 cost 26 times the original estimate (Kristi Swartz, AJC, 30 Jan 2012).
It’s time for the legislature to revoke SB 31, and to pass 2013’s GA SB 51, “The Georgia Cogeneration and Distributed Generation Act”, which will enable financing for rooftop solar for jobs and lower electric bills throughout Georgia.

And it’s time for Gov. Deal to get on board with ten other Atlantic state governors for wind power off the coast (DOI 8 June 2010).

Google already deployed 2 gigawatts of wind and solar power for $1 billion (David Goldman, CNNMoney 10 Jan 2013): almost as much as Vogtle 3 and 4’s projected 2.2 GW, for less than Georgia Power customers have already paid. Let’s get on with real 21st century renewable energy: conservation, efficiency, and wind and solar power, for jobs, health, air and water!

John S. Quarterman Lowndes County

Since then HB 267 to stop Georgia Power from charging customers for Plant Vogtle cost overruns has been proposed in the Georgia General Assembly, and it turns out reactors closing for financial reasons goes back to Maine Yankee in 1997 and even before. That (plus Kewaunee and Crystal River) bodes well for San Onofre 2 staying closed permanently, although Maine Yankee may close first, and Entergy can’t keep Pilgrim Station up in a snowstorm, not to mention Entergy can’t keep the lights on during the SuperBowl.

How about we stop shovelling money into nukes and spend it on dependable solar and wind power instead?