Tuesday, November 12, 2013

“I think nuclear will have to be an option.”

Southern Co. has not had a bad time putting up two new reactors at its Plant Vogtle site in Georgia, so maybe they can do a little more of that (behind a pay wall, though you can join for the day for 99 cents – though your email will never see the end of solicitations):

The company — convinced natural gas and alternative fuels will not satisfy future demand — is already considering whether to start the process toward another, post-Vogtle nuclear project, a top executive says.

“I can tell you that we want to keep nuclear as an option on the table, so don’t be surprised if we start a licensing process to keep that option alive,” President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Bowers said in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “(It’s) a 10-year, 10-to 12-year process to build. So keeping it alive, I think we have to keep that in consideration.”

Bowers says the idea would be to consider new build after determining Georgia’s electricity needs in 2025. But what about renewables. Meet the knights who say Niche:

The falling cost of solar makes it a more viable resource, but the utility and its parent, Atlanta-based Southern Co., say renewables will remain a “niche” in the Southeast for now.
“If you’re going to take coal out of the mix, then you’re left with two options for diversity: that’s nuclear and natural gas,” said Chuck Eaton, chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission. “We’re expecting the economy to get better … there will be more demand on the grid, (so) I think nuclear will have to be an option.”

Kristi Swartz’s story does not expand on why Southern Co. considers renewables a niche, but Southern Co. Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Fanning certainly has done so:

Fanning said renewable sources of energy like wind and solar tend to be available in sparsely populated areas, requiring expensive transmission lines to distribute the electricity.

Renewables rely heavily on federal tax credits, making the industry vulnerable if those go away, he said.

Fanning said renewable energy also is intermittent by nature.

“What do you do when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine?” he said.

He does say, though, that renewable energy could become more economical – or more stably economic - over the next decade and, then, maybe. And it looks like Southern Co. and Georgia Power are pacted with Ted Turner on some renewable projects, so there’s that.

1 comment:

trag said...

So there's what? You make it sound like a good thing. Mark, are you writing a pro-nuclear blog, or just cheer leading for the wind and solar crowd?