Nuclear an economic boon despite high costs –Tim Echols

Some of the “stuff” that happened before and after GA PSC Tim Echols cheered nuclear Friday.

GA Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols wrote in the Athens Banner-Herald Friday Echols: Nuclear power can be economic boon to Southeast,

Just when we thought nuclear power might be on a comeback, well, stuff happened. Only time will tell if Georgia and South Carolina can “jump-start” a nuclear renaissance. Let’s hope we can, because low-cost base-load energy — the amount of electricity available 24 hours a day — is a key to economic growth.

Stuff like this happened:

And since Echols wrote, more stuff happened:

Dear Tim Echols,

You get an A for effort for putting lipstick on the nuclear pig. But it’s still a very late pig that’s hogging resources we could be using to get on with solar and wind. It’s time to insist that Georgia Power and Southern Company come up with an exit strategy for this bad nuclear bet. It’s time to ask, as Gloria Tatum did at the Southern Company stockholder meeting in May,

Tom and gentlemen and ladies, why are you gambling the company’s future and the health of their environment and their citizens on antiquated, dangerous and very expensive nuclear energy, when the Southeast is an untapped gold mine of safe, clean and cheap solar energy. If Germany — which is a much colder country — can meet half of their energy needs from solar in just a few years, why can’t Georgia?

Now SO CEO Tom Fanning doesn’t want “to use Europe as any of my models”, Of course he doesn’t, because Germany added 543 MW of solar in July 2012 alone (more than GA PSC just required of Georgia Power by 2016). Perhaps more importantly, Farmers and other people own most of Germany’s renewable energy production. That’s right, distributed solar power could spell the end of Georgia Power’s and Southern Company’s monopolies. Except they’ll still be needed for power distribution, and they can take a cut to make a profit. Their profit may not be as big, but it’s the Georgia Public Service Commission, not the Georgia Monopoly Maintenance Commission.

Distributed solar power will lower electric bills for Georgians while providing jobs in rural Georgia, many more jobs than the few hundred the new nukes promise. All that plus preserving clean air and plenty of water and delivering on time and on budget, something no nuke has ever been able to promise.

It’s time to get on with the real clean energy future of Georgia: distributed solar inland and wind offshore.