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sandstone MVP Member

Posts: 461
Location: Sinking Valley
Excellent article in the Wall Street Journal:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 99048.html

Windmills Are Killing Our Birds

One standard for oil companies, another for green energy sources

By ROBERT BRYCE

On Aug. 13, ExxonMobil pleaded guilty in federal court to killing 85 birds that had come into contact with crude oil or other pollutants in uncovered tanks or waste-water facilities on its properties. The birds were protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which dates back to 1918. The company agreed to pay $600,000 in fines and fees.

ExxonMobil is hardly alone in running afoul of this law. Over the past two decades, federal officials have brought hundreds of similar cases against energy companies. In July, for example, the Oregon-based electric utility PacifiCorp paid $1.4 million in fines and restitution for killing 232 eagles in Wyoming over the past two years. The birds were electrocuted by poorly-designed power lines.

Yet there is one group of energy producers that are not being prosecuted for killing birds: wind-power companies. And wind-powered turbines are killing a vast number of birds every year.

A July 2008 study of the wind farm at Altamont Pass, Calif., estimated that its turbines kill an average of 80 golden eagles per year. The study, funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency, also estimated that about 10,000 birds—nearly all protected by the migratory bird act—are being whacked every year at Altamont.

Altamont's turbines, located about 30 miles east of Oakland, Calif., kill more than 100 times as many birds as Exxon's tanks, and they do so every year. But the Altamont Pass wind farm does not face the same threat of prosecution, even though the bird kills at Altamont have been repeatedly documented by biologists since the mid-1990s.

The number of birds killed by wind turbines is highly variable. And biologists believe Altamont, which uses older turbine technology, may be the worst example. But that said, the carnage there likely represents only a fraction of the number of birds killed by windmills. Michael Fry of the American Bird Conservancy estimates that U.S. wind turbines kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds per year. Yet the Justice Department is not bringing cases against wind companies.

"Somebody has given the wind industry a get-out-of-jail-free card," Mr. Fry told me. "If there were even one prosecution," he added, the wind industry would be forced to take the issue seriously.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, the industry's trade association, each megawatt of installed wind-power results in the killing of between one and six birds per year. At the end of 2008, the U.S. had about 25,000 megawatts of wind turbines.

By 2030, environmental and lobby groups are pushing for the U.S. to be producing 20% of its electricity from wind. Meeting that goal, according to the Department of Energy, will require the U.S. to have about 300,000 megawatts of wind capacity, a 12-fold increase over 2008 levels. If that target is achieved, we can expect some 300,000 birds, at the least, to be killed by wind turbines each year.

On its Web site, the Wind Energy Association says that bird kills by wind turbines are a "very small fraction of those caused by other commonly accepted human activities and structures—house cats kill an estimated one billion birds annually." That may be true, but it is not much of a defense. When cats kill birds, federal law doesn't require marching them to our courthouses to hold them responsible.

During the late 1980s and early '90s, Rob Lee was one of the Fish and Wildlife Service's lead law-enforcement investigators on the problem of bird kills in Western oil fields. Now retired and living in Lubbock, Texas, Mr. Lee tells me that solving the problem in the oil fields "was easy and cheap." The oil companies only had to put netting over their tanks and waste facilities.

Why aren't wind companies prosecuted for killing eagles and other birds? "The fix here is not easy or cheap," Mr. Lee told me. He added that he doesn't expect to see any prosecutions of the politically correct wind industry.

This is a double standard that more people—and not just bird lovers—should be paying attention to. In protecting America's wildlife, federal law-enforcement officials are turning a blind eye to the harm done by "green" energy.

Mr. Bryce is the managing editor of Energy Tribune. His latest book is "Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of 'Energy Independence'" (PublicAffairs, 2008).


sandstone MVP Member

Posts: 461
Location: Sinking Valley
The type of cover-up described below is standard practice in PA, where windplant developer who have signed the "voluntary agreement" the Pennsylvania Game Commission routinely block public access to monitoring results. Two years ago, the researcher described in the article below, Dr. Michael Gannon, also warned Tyrone Borough Council about the adverse impacts of the proposed Sandy Ridge Wind Farm. Tyrone Borough Council members Virgie Werner, Jennifer Bryan, Pat Stoner, Jim Grazier, and Mark Kosoglow ignored Dr. Gannon's testimony. The Herald article about Dr. Gannon is at http://www.tyronepa.com/v3/2007/12/03/


Bat-gate: Cover-up at the Beech Ridge wind facility

Since 2003, with the discovery of significant bat kills at the Mountaineer wind energy facility sited on a forested ridgeline in West Virginia, the wind industry has been battling the issue of how best to predict and site wind facilities to avoid, or minimize the problem. High bat mortality has since been reported at project sites worldwide, particularly involving migratory species, prompting concerns of cumulative effects on bat populations.

World renown bat expert, Dr. Thomas H. Kunz, and others, in their peer-reviewed paper entitled "Ecological impacts of wind energy development on bats", detailed the significant risk that industrial-scale wind turbines pose for migratory and local bat populations in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands region of the United States. The authors projected that by 2020, annual bat fatalities at wind energy facilities in this region alone could reach 111,000 bats. They also state that their preliminary projections of cumulative bat fatalities are "likely to be unrealistically low, especially as larger and increasing numbers of wind turbines are installed."

High bat mortality is not limited to the eastern region of the U.S. Drs. Kunz and Merlin Tuttle raised the red flag in Texas where limited or no studies are underway and researchers in Canada, where barotrauma was first identified, are also trying to quantify the problem. When the devastating bat-killing disease white-nose syndrome - which has now spread to much of the East Coast - is factored into the equation, it's easy to understand why leading bat experts are predicting truly dire consequences unless drastic changes are made in the way that wind power projects are sited and regulated.
With that background, we introduce the law suit filed by Animal Welfare Institute, Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy, and others against Beech Ridge LLC.

At issue is whether the massive Beech Ridge project - consisting of over 120 industrial wind turbines spread out over 23 miles on multiple Appalachian ridges in Greenbrier County, West Virginia - will likely kill, wound, harm, harass, or otherwise "take" any federally endangered Indiana bats during the two decades that the turbines will operate. Discovery taken to date by the plaintiff's attorneys reveals the scale of risk to bats as follows:

• that Defendants' own consultant - BHE Environmental ("BHE") - has predicted that more than 135,000 bats would be killed by the turbines, through a combination of direct impacts with the turbine blades and barotrauma;

• that such deaths will likely include other "myotis" species - the taxonomic group that includes Indiana bats - including such species that have been captured on the Beech Ridge site and that resemble the Indiana bat and share similar ecological characteristics;

• that other wind power projects built on Appalachian ridges - including the "Mountaineer" facility in West Virginia, which is close geographically to the Beech Ridge project - have had far higher rates of bat mortality than wind power projects located in other parts of the country, and that the available data reflect that Appalachian projects have killed higher percentages of myotis species than elsewhere in the country;

• that hundreds of Indiana bats presently hibernate in caves within ten miles of the project site - including some that are less than seven miles from turbine locations - and that there are no currently operating wind power projects closer to known Indiana bat hibernacula;

• that Indiana bats can and do migrate between summer roosting and foraging habitat much further than the distance between the hibernacula and the project site;

• that there is in fact "suitable" Indiana bat habitat on the project site itself, as confirmed by the parties' site inspection;

• that the 23 miles of Beech Ridge turbines will be physically located between known Indiana bat hibernacula to the south and east of the project and known Indiana summer foraging and roosting habitat to the west and north of the project;

• that Defendants performed no surveys whatsoever regarding Indiana bat - or, for that matter, any other bat - use of the site during the crucial Fall migration period although both the United States Fish and Wildlife Service ("FWS") and WV DNR sent BHE letters urging that such surveys be performed.

Despite these facts, the developer asserted that Indiana bats were unlikely to be killed, injured, or otherwise taken because Indiana bats have never been detected on the project site itself.

But, in fact, pre-trial investigations uncovered that several such surveys were completed in July 2005. The developer now admits a subcontractor collected "ultrasound" data and the acoustic data sat in a file cabinet unanalyzed. Two experts for the Plaintiffs', Drs. Lynn Robbins and Michael Gannon have analyzed these long-hidden files and have determined that Indiana bats were almost certainly present on the site during the survey.

The trial start date is set for Oct 21; Windaction.org will be watching these proceedings closely. This single project, if permitted to proceed, will pose an alarming risk to bats, including Indiana bats. But what sobers us most is that data involving the Indiana bat was never publicly revealed until a civil suit was filed and the right document requests made. There is no excuse for this cover-up by Beech Ridge LLC and its environmental consultant, BHE Environmental Inc., and they shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.

Ice Man MVP Member

Posts: 467
Dear PA Energy Alliance Members & Friends:

We wanted to remind you of an upcoming event that the Alliance will be participating in. Penn State University's Nuclear Engineering Department is holding a symposium on nuclear power on October 15th and 16th in State College, Pennsylvania. The symposium highlights the economic, research, and innovation opportunities that nuclear power presents to Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic region. The objective of this symposium is to foster interactions among industry, government, and academia in education and research innovation, to support industry's manufacturing and workforce needs. It will also showcase Penn State's contributions to the nuclear power industry. The symposium will take place during the fiftieth anniversary of nuclear engineering education at Penn State.

We welcome your participation in this event and hope to see some of you there. If you are interested in attending or would like to learn more about the symposium, please feel free to visit www.nuclearpowerpa.org.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at awagner@paenergyalliance.com or 717-319-1988.

Thank you for your support!

Best,
Alex

Alexandra Wagner
PA Energy Alliance
(717) 319-1988
awagner@neimangroup.com
PAEnergyAlliance.com


Posts: 53
Ice Man wrote:
Dear PA Energy Alliance Members & Friends:

We wanted to remind you of an upcoming event that the Alliance will be participating in. Penn State University's Nuclear Engineering Department is holding a symposium on nuclear power on October 15th and 16th in State College, Pennsylvania. The symposium highlights the economic, research, and innovation opportunities that nuclear power presents to Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic region. The objective of this symposium is to foster interactions among industry, government, and academia in education and research innovation, to support industry's manufacturing and workforce needs. It will also showcase Penn State's contributions to the nuclear power industry. The symposium will take place during the fiftieth anniversary of nuclear engineering education at Penn State.

We welcome your participation in this event and hope to see some of you there. If you are interested in attending or would like to learn more about the symposium, please feel free to visit http://www.nuclearpowerpa.org.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at awagner@paenergyalliance.com or 717-319-1988.

Thank you for your support!

Best,
Alex

Alexandra Wagner
PA Energy Alliance
(717) 319-1988
awagner@neimangroup.com
PAEnergyAlliance.com



http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 39026.html

By Senator nLamar Alexander

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar recently announced plans to cover 1,000 square miles of land in Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah with solar collectors to generate electricity. He's also talking about generating 20% of our electricity from wind. This would require building about 186,000 50-story wind turbines that would cover an area the size of West Virginia not to mention 19,000 new miles of high-voltage transmission lines.
Is the federal government showing any concern about this massive intrusion into the natural landscape? Not at all. I fear we are going to destroy the environment in the name of saving the environment.

The House of Representatives has passed climate legislation that started out as an attempt to reduce carbon emissions. It has morphed into an engine for raising revenues by selling carbon dioxide emission allowances and promoting "renewable" energy.

The bill requires electric utilities to get 20% of their power mostly from wind and solar by 2020. These renewable energy sources are receiving huge subsidies all to supposedly create jobs and hurry us down the road to an America running on wind and sunshine described in President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address.
Yet all this assumes renewable energy is a free lunch a benign, "sustainable" way of running the country with minimal impact on the environment. That assumption experienced a rude awakening on Aug. 26, when The Nature Conservancy published a paper titled "Energy Sprawl or Energy Efficiency: Climate Policy Impacts on Natural Habitat for the United States of America." The report by this venerable environmental organization posed a simple question: How much land is required for the different energy sources that power the country? The answers deserve far greater public attention.

By far nuclear energy is the least land-intensive; it requires only one square mile to produce one million megawatt-hours per year, enough electricity for about 90,000 homes. Geothermal energy, which taps the natural heat of the earth, requires three square miles. The most landscape-consuming are biofuels ethanol and biodiesel which require up to 500 square miles to produce the same amount of energy.

Coal, on the other hand, requires four square miles, mainly for mining and extraction. Solar thermal heating a fluid with large arrays of mirrors and using it to power a turbine takes six. Natural gas needs eight and petroleum needs 18. Wind farms require over 30 square miles.

This "sprawl" has been missing from our energy discussions. In my home state of Tennessee, we just celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Yet there are serious proposals by energy developers to cover mountains all along the Appalachian chain, from Maine to Georgia, with 50-story wind turbines because the wind blows strongest across mountaintops.

Let's put this into perspective: We could line 300 miles of mountaintops from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Bristol, Va., with wind turbines and still produce only one-quarter the electricity we get from one reactor on one square mile at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar Nuclear Plant.

The 1,000 square-mile solar project proposed by Mr. Salazar would generate, on a continuous basis, 35,000 megawatts of electricity. You could get the same output from 30 new nuclear reactors that would fit comfortably onto existing nuclear sites. And this doesn't count the thousands of miles of transmission lines that will be needed to carry the newly generated solar power to population centers.

There's one more consideration. Solar collectors must be washed down once a month or they collect too much dirt to be effective. They also need to be cooled by water. Where amid the desert and scrub land will we find all that water? No wonder the Wildlife Conservancy and other environmentalists are already opposing solar projects on Western lands.

Renewable energy is not a free lunch. It is an unprecedented assault on the American landscape. Before we find ourselves engulfed in energy sprawl, it's imperative we take a closer look at nuclear power.

Mr. Alexander is a Republican senator from Tennessee and a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
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Posts: 53
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
PUBLIC HEARING INVITATION
SANDY RIDGE WIND LLC
NPDES PERMIT FOR STORMWATER DISCHARGES ASSOCIATED WITH CONSTRUCTION ACTIVTIES APPLICATION

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will conduct a public hearing on an NPDES Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activities application (PAI041409007) submitted by Sandy Ridge Wind LLC to construct gravel roads, parking areas and concrete pads associated with 28 wind turbines, transmission lines and a substation. The project will be located in Snyder Township, Blair County, and Rush and Taylor Townships, Centre County. The applicant’s address is 1801 Market Street, Suite 2200, Philadelphia, PA 19107. The site will be known as the Sandy Ridge Wind Farm. Notification of the Department’s receipt of this NPDES permit application has been published in The Pennsylvania Bulletin on July 11, 2009.

The public hearing will be held at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, November 23, 2009 at the Fraternal Order of Police Bald Eagle Lodge #51, 1979 Reese Hollow Road, Port Matilda, PA 16870. A public meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. prior to the public hearing. During the meeting the applicant and the DEP will provide presentations pertaining to the project and the NPDES permitting process. A question and answer session will then follow.

During the public hearing, individuals may present oral testimony for a maximum of five minutes regarding the NPDES Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activities application. Written testimony of any length also will be accepted that evening. The testimony will be recorded by a court reporter and transcribed into a written document. DEP will respond to all relevant comments at the time it makes a final decision on the application. Citizens who wish to present oral testimony may register to do so the night of the public hearing.

The application is available for public review at the DEP Northcentral Regional Office, 208 West Third Street, Suite 101, Williamsport, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. An appointment must be made by calling Kathy Arndt at 570-327-3693.

Individuals in need of an accommodation as provided for in the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact Daniel Spadoni at 570-327-3659 or through the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at 1-800-654-5984 (TDD) to discuss how DEP may accommodate your needs.
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Ice Man MVP Member

Posts: 467
Dear PA Energy Alliance Members & Friends:

Tom Kauffman, Senior Media Relations Manager for the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and Alliance supporter will appear this Sunday, October 25th on PA Newsmakers, hosted by Terry Madonna.

PA Newsmakers is Pennsylvania's premier politics and public policy talk television show. Television programs with public policy and politics content typically have small, but qualitatively important television audiences. But in the Harrisburg/Lancaster/York/Lebanon television market --where it can be seen at 11:00 A.M. on WGAL-- Pennsylvania Newsmakers continues to maintain substantial viewership and holds a strong competitive advantage over Face The Nation, This Week, The McLaughlin Group and Bill Moyers, equals Chris Matthew's Hardball in audience, and is topped only by nation's most popular Sunday interview program, Meet The Press.

As you may recall, Alliance member Edward Lanza and Advisory Board member, Terry Peck appeared on the show on Sunday, October 11th. During these two appearances the Alliance discussed the importance of including nuclear uprates in House Bill 80 and the important role that nuclear energy plays in making Pennsylvania an energy independent state.

Please be sure to watch PA Newsmakers this coming Sunday, following Meet the Press and if you missed the show on October 11th, please click the link below to view the show in its entirety.

http://www.newsmakerstv.com/shows.php?id=399

Sincerely,
Alex


Alexandra Wagner
PA Energy Alliance
P.O. Box 1530
Harrisburg, PA 17105
(717) 319-1988
PAEnergyAlliance.com

Ice Man MVP Member

Posts: 467
PA Energy Alliance Members & Friends:

We wanted to let you know that Three Mile Island's Unit 1 license renewal was approved today by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

As an Alliance, we could not be more pleased with this news. According to the Bates White, LLC study released in 2008, TMI lowers wholesale electricity prices in Pennsylvania by at least $288 million per year, thus reducing consumer's electricity bills. In addition, the same study found that TMI directly contributes $99 million annually to Pennsylvania's economy through the impact of employee compensation, in-state expenditures on goods and services needed to operate the plant, and local and state property tax.

An additional 24 years of safe, clean and reliable service to Central Pennsylvania by TMI will only further prove its value to our state and local communities.



Kindest Regards,
Alex

Alexandra Wagner
PA Energy Alliance
P.O. Box 1530
Harrisburg, PA 17105
(717) 319-1988
PAEnergyAlliance.com

Ice Man MVP Member

Posts: 467
PA Energy Alliance Members & Friends:

Please find below an interesting article by John Rowe, chairman and CEO of Exelon Corporation, that was published in the Fall issue of Deadalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This article was taken from a speech given by Rowe at the Chicago Economics Club, and it explains not only the benefits of nuclear energy in the United States, but why it is an inescapable portion of the answer to addressing climate change.

Rowe states that traditional ideas about nuclear energy such as low production costs and volatility in electricity prices are joining with increasing concern about climate change to drive what is being referred to as the "nuclear renaissance." Although energy efficiency and renewable power are important, renewables such as wind are intermittent and potentially costly for consumers. Even with the most optimistic scenario possible, using technologies such as wind and solar, the country faces a shortfall of 75 to 100 GW of power simply to meet the projected demand. To fill this gap, Rowe explains, we must use technologies such as natural gas, clean coal, and nuclear energy- of which nuclear is the most reliable, and in 2007 accounted for approximately 74 percent of the electricity from sources that emit no greenhouse gases. While the nuclear industry has made significant progress and is now safer and more stable, no single option is compelling on its own. All of the options together present a realistic chance to meet the country's energy needs, and Rowe feels that global warming forces us to address nuclear power's advantages on not only a national scale, but a global one.

I hope that you find this article to be an interesting and compelling argument for the necessity of nuclear power in our country. We hope that articles such as this will help strengthen support for the PA Energy Alliance and its goals, and we encourage you to share the article and its message with friends and colleagues. The full article is listed below.

Sincerely,

Alex


Alexandra Wagner
PA Energy Alliance
P.O. Box 1530
Harrisburg, PA 17105
(717) 319-1988
PAEnergyAlliance.com


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Daedalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Nuclear power in a carbon-constrained world By John W. Rowe Fall 2009

History of science and technology has consistently taught us that scientific advances in basic understanding have sooner or later led to technical and industrial applications that have revolutionized our way of life. It seems to me improbable that this effort to get at the structure of matter should be an exception to this rule. What is less certain, and what we all fervently hope, is that man will soon grow sufficiently adult to make good use of the powers that he acquires over nature.

-Enrico Fermi, in 1953, the year before his death

I have spent nearly four decades in the utility industry grappling with the effort to "make good use" of the power man has acquired in learning to split the atom. I cut my teeth in private practice licensing the fleet of Commonwealth Edison, one of the nation's most nuclear-intensive utility companies. In my first CEO position, I worked to recover Central Maine Power's economically disastrous investments in the Seabrook plant while fighting referenda to shut down the productive and economical Maine Yankee station. When I later returned to Illinois, this time as CEO of ComEd, I led a dedicated team of nuclear professionals who turned the country's worst-performing fleet into the nation's best. This year I celebrated my 25th year as a CEO in the electric industry. Exelon Corporation, a successor company to ComEd and PECO (another nuclear utility), is the largest commercial nuclear operator in the United States and the third largest in the world.

The politics and economics of nuclear energy represent a nearly complete circle: a burst of building in the late 1960s and 1970s; public concerns and rising costs aggravated by the Three Mile Island accident of 1979; deteriorating economics due to high inflation, poor operating performance, and low-priced natural gas in the 1980s and early 1990s; and now, as of early 2009, 17 license applications filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for the construction of as many as 26 new reactors, including Exelon's application to build a two-unit plant in Texas. Traditional considerations-the low production costs of nuclear power, volatility in electricity prices because of a growing reliance on natural gas, projected electricity demand outstripping supply (a "shrinking reserve margin," in utility parlance)-are driving these ambitious proposals and plans. Increasingly, however, concerns about climate change are also driving the so-called nuclear renaissance.

Dramatic economic growth and projected power demand in nations such as China and India have only accelerated the need for nuclear energy. Even more than in the United States, nuclear power is becoming a more attractive option globally. In a November 2008 survey of more than 10,000 respondents in 20 countries, Accenture found strong growing support for nuclear power as a way to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Moreover, the strongest support came from respondents in India, China, the United States, and South Africa, in that order. Construction plans abroad are as bold as, and in many cases more real than, those in the United States. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency,
13 countries outside the United States are building 44 reactors, and an additional 108 are being planned. This is clearly a positive outcome from a climate change standpoint, but it raises concerns as well -not the least of which are about nuclear security and nonproliferation.

From my vantage point, this nation's energy and climate challenges pose three inconvenient truths (to borrow an already overworked phrase), rather than just one.

Inconvenient Truth #1: Climate Change is Real. Our planet is warming, at least in part due to human production of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Academy of Sciences have issued reports that persuade all but the most skeptical reader. Indeed, one must be almost obstinately skeptical to resist the weight of this analysis, the closest one gets to consensus among scientists.

These reports conclude that global temperatures are rising and that human activity-especially the burning of fossil fuels-is a major contributor to that warming. The reports are less sure about the long-term effects. Predicted outcomes range from comparative nuisance to complete catastrophe. However, our inability to predict the outcome must not be an excuse for inaction. Both governments and industry, including electric utilities, are obliged to make billion-dollar investment decisions in the absence of complete information. We must similarly deal with our climate challenge in a way that is both decisive and prudent.

Fortunately, President Obama and congressional leadership seem to agree there is a problem. As I write this in the spring of 2009, both branches of government are moving forward with proposals and legislation that will place a price on carbon emissions, either through a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax, essential ingredients to encouraging low-carbon investments and discouraging high-carbon ones. We must ensure that this price signal is phased in gradually so as to avoid shocking a weak economy, to give it political stability, and to allow time for better technological solutions to develop. A predictable, economically sustainable price for greenhouse gas emissions is the sine qua non of addressing climate change. I believe that today we are closer to a comprehensive governmental policy on climate change than ever before.

Putting a price on carbon, however, creates another huge challenge. Because the essence of global energy policy has for years been founded on the consumption of low-cost fossil fuels, in a carbon-constrained world new sources and approaches to energy supply will be required.

Inconvenient Truth #2: Energy Ef½ciency and Renewable Power Cannot Meet our Needs on Their Own. The United States' appetite for electricity is projected to grow dramatically, even accounting for the impact of the current recession. Research by The Brattle Group based on the Annual Energy Outlook 2008, published by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the Department of Energy, concludes that the U.S. electric industry will need to build 214 gigawatts (GW) of new generating capacity in the next 20 years to meet projected demand.1 This increase in generation is roughly 20 percent of the industry's current installed nameplate capacity. It is a stark reflection of the fact that as our nation has grown more prosperous and our standards of living have increased, ,so, too, have our power needs. Meeting these needs will be a stiff challenge for the utility industry, even absent the need to adapt ourselves to a low-carbon world.

Energy efficiency will be a critical- and in some ways the most creative- component of meeting that growing demand. Improved efficiency standards have been in vogue for years with policy-makers who have (wisely, in my view) passed laws requiring air conditioners that run on less power, toilets that flush with less water, and other similar measures. When Exelon renovated its headquarters in downtown Chicago, we designed our 10 floors of the 1970s-era building to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum standards. We changed our lighting, put advanced controls on our heating and cooling, and installed Energy Star-rated appliances. In doing so, we reduced our electricity consumption by 50 percent and achieved substantial cost savings. And efficiency is even penetrating the public consciousness. As electricity prices rose in recent years, consumers found themselves more willing to embrace the twists and curves of a compact fluorescent light bulb-even if it did not fit perfectly with their home decor.

Undoubtedly, efficiency is the best first step when it comes to meeting our future needs in the least carbon-intensive fashion. But how much of future demand can be mitigated by improved efficiency? The answer is not at all clear. Technology and the behavior of consumers are both too complicated to be characterized by a supply curve. The items that clearly pay for themselves, such as Exelon's office renovations, will be quickly adopted. Yet I believe that we are still far from the day when consumers will pay $20 for an led bulb, even if it is more efficient than its compact fluorescent cousin. We must find a way to convince landlords to build the most efficient buildings possible when their tenants-not they-will pay the monthly bill. And we must realize that as our economy grows and our standards of living become ever higher, we will find new technologies, like mobile phones and flat-screen televisions, that will use more power, not less. We will not and cannot all live simpler lives consuming less and still providing for ourselves.

The Brattle Group study estimates that in the most realistic case, 38 percent of the projected growth in generating capacity can be eliminated through improved efficiency and conservation. In the best-case scenario-which assumes that we can (and will) change our behaviors and pay the still-unknown costs- 48 percent of projected growth in generating capacity could be eliminated. That is certainly meaningful progress toward meeting our needs in a low-carbon fashion, but assuming the best-case efficiency scenario, we still must build 111 GW of new generation over the next 20 years.

Renewable generation sources-primarily wind, which is the most mature of the alternatives-have also caught the imagination of the public and policy- makers. Subsidies and governmental mandates fueled a wind construction boom in recent years, aided by rising electricity prices (largely due to volatile natural gas supplies) and concerns about dependence on foreign energy sources. According to the American Wind Energy Association, over 5 GW of wind capacity were installed in 2007, and approximately 7.5 GW were projected for 2008. (The previous annual highwater mark for new installed wind capacity was in the neighborhood of 3 GW.) There is something appealing to the public about a form of electric generation that requires no fuel and passively harnesses nature.

But how much generating capacity can renewables achieve? The Brattle Group and the EIA conclude that we can expect to obtain roughly 39 GW of generating capacity from wind and other renewable sources. This amount is roughly the same in the reasonable and best-case scenarios, reflecting current knowledge about the technologies involved. These 39 GW come with a significant cost, though. Exelon's internal economic analysis places the unsubsidized cost of avoiding carbon emissions with wind at between $50 and $90 per metric ton.2 A recent article in The Economist cites a study that places the cost of avoided carbon emissions with renewables at between $70 and $140 dollars per metric ton. This translates into wholesale power price increases between 3 and 14 cents per kilowatt-hour (depending upon the market), which could easily double a consumer's monthly bill. And these figures do not count the attendant investments that must come with renewable power. The most promising regions in the United States for wind development are in the Southwest and Great Plains, far from the population centers that would need the power the most and necessitating the construction of costly transmission lines. A February 2009 report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory summarizing more than 40 existing transmission studies estimates that the average additional cost for transmission-on top of the higher cost of wind energy-is between 1.5 and 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Moreover, renewable power sources are intermittent. According to a 2007 study by the engineering firm Black & Veatch, the newest and most efficient wind turbines have a 35 percent capacity factor (defined as the amount of energy produced over a given time divided by the unit's total energy potential). We would still need to build backup generation from traditional sources, most likely quick-starting natural gas facilities, to ensure reliability of the grid and that the lights come on whenever customers flip the switch, regardless of whether those wind resources are producing power. As for solar power, the same issues about transmission and reliability apply, but the technology is even less mature, and so the costs, according to Exelon's internal analysis, are as much as 10 times higher than the cost of wind.

We can and must invest in wind, solar, and other emerging technologies. But even in the most optimistic of scenarios, we face a shortfall of 75 to 100 GW of power. And it is critically important to remember that this is merely the generation required to meet projected demand. It does not address replacement of any part of the existing and aging carbon-intensive coal-generation infrastructure, which accounts for roughly 50 percent of power generated today and the vast majority of the industry's CO2 emissions.

Inconvenient Truth #3: We Need Low- Carbon Base Load Power, a Substantial Amount of Which Will Have To Be Nuclear. We have three options to fill the gap in our country's future power needs in a low-carbon fashion: natural gas, clean coal, and new nuclear plants. Each has disadvantages and complications.

More natural gas-fired generation is a certainty. The capital investments are manageable for companies the size of the average U.S. utility. It can be dispatched quickly, making it the ideal complement to intermittent renewables and it is relatively attractive from the standpoint of carbon emissions. Current economic conditions, stresses on the ability of utilities to make large capital investments, and today's low commodity prices all but ensure another "dash to gas." In today's environment, natural gas is second only to energy efficiency as a way to provide electricity at the lowest avoided cost for carbon emissions. But we should be wary of the unintended consequences of such a dash. Most significantly, a further build-out of gas generation would lead to an increasingly undiversified generation portfolio. According to the energy data provider Ventyx, approximately 375 GW of nameplate generating capacity have been brought on line in the United States since 1990; more than 85 percent of that capacity is gas-fired. As the percentage of gas-fired generation increases, the volatility in its price will become an even larger problem. The potential volatility was perfectly illustrated in 2008: natural gas prices stood at $7 per MMBtu at the beginning of the year, rose to almost $14 per MMBtu in the summer, and fell to $5 per MMBtu at year's end. By early 2009, it had fallen even further, to less than $4 per MMBtu. Future oscillations in price will translate into power price volatility, and that volatility will become more pronounced as the dash to gas progresses. This outcome is good neither for power generators, whose revenues and cash flows will ride the peaks and troughs of the commodity cycle, nor the customers they serve, who will quickly become frustrated by the uncertainty about what their electricity bill will cost.

Coal, which accounts for roughly 50 percent of the electricity generated in the United States, is a second option. We will not retire existing plants overnight, making coal-½red electricity a reality for many years to come, even in the unlikely event that we never build another new coal plant. Accordingly, we must pursue clean coal technology. Yet this, too, has limitations. Since my first day as a utility CEO, I have been told that the revolution in clean coal is imminent. While we have had success in removing the sulfur and nitrous oxides from the emissions, the challenge currently lies in confronting carbon emissions. Carbon capture and sequestration technology may work; however, it has not yet been proven on a large scale. The most significant project that would do so-the FutureGen project in downstate Illinois-has been in limbo due to tenuous governmental funding and industry support. The technology must be proven on a large scale and made available for both new plants and as retrofits to existing plants. We must understand the cost of coal with carbon capture, which Exelon's analysis estimates to be the most expensive of any base-load generating option, at roughly $150 per metric ton of CO2 avoided. And the public must understand and become comfortable with the risks of sequestration. The process involves injecting a large amount of carbon dioxide into a geological repository, where it must stay for the duration of human existence. If those repositories burp, our planet will have a problem.

The third option is new nuclear power. Today, nuclear is the predominant low carbon base-load generating source. The EIA estimates that in 2007 nuclear accounted for approximately 74 percent of the electricity derived from sources that emit no greenhouse gas. And as an industry, we have made progress on many of the concerns that reared their heads during the 1980s.

• Improved safety and reliability. We have made great progress since the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island Unit 2. According to the NRC, the number of "significant events" at U.S. plants has fallen from an average of 1 in 1989 to somewhere in the neighborhood of between 0.04 and 0.07 in recent years. Capacity factors across the industry are substantially improved as well. At the time of the Three Mile Island incident, the average nuclear reactor in the United States generated power at only 60 percent capacity; today that capacity factor is 91 percent. At Exelon we have had 6 straight years with capacity factors in excess of 93 percent.

• Improved public support. The public perception of nuclear power is improving, due in no small part to efforts by the industry to win back the public's trust through the safety and reliability improvements mentioned above, as well as an increasing recognition of the cost and environmental impacts of other fuel options. A poll by Bisconti Research commissioned by the Nuclear Energy Institute in March 2009 found that 70 percent of Americans supported nuclear power, up from roughly 50 percent in the early 1980s. Among those who view nuclear as a low carbon option, the support level increases to 75 percent. Of those who have a plant within 10 miles of their home, 82 percent view nuclear power favorably. Lest one suspect some bias in the polling based on who commissioned it, an independent poll by Zogby International conducted in June 2008 shows that two-thirds of Americans favor the construction of new nuclear plants.

• Plentiful, stable, and secure fuel source. Nuclear power offers advantages over gas from the standpoint of fuel security. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) noted in its Nuclear Energy Outlook, published in October 2008, that identified uranium supplies could support an expansion of nuclear generating capacity until 2050 without the need for reprocessing; additional suspected reserves could provide enough supply for "several hundreds of years." Moreover, the OECD points out that uranium comes from diverse sources and regions, with the key suppliers operating in politically stable countries. The high energy density of uranium means that its transportation is less vulnerable to disruption, and the storage of reserves is easier. Finally, Goldman Sachs states in its January 2008 report, "Reacting to Climate Change: Considering Nuclear Options," that uranium costs represent only about 10 percent of the overall production cost. This compares to roughly 77 percent for coal and 93 percent for gas, according to data provided by Ventyx. This means that even when uranium prices become volatile, as was the case in the past several years, nuclear power is substantially less vulnerable to price shocks. In the United States, investments are beginning to be made in conversion, fabrication, enrichment, and other parts of the fuel cycle. This strengthened fuel supply chain will support new nuclear facilities as they come on line.

• Spent fuel. Sadly, we are not much closer to a consensus solution on spent fuel than we were when I first became a CEO. The government and the industry have spent approximately $9 billion and countless man-hours over a 20-year period on a permanent repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. The Nevada congressional delegation has exerted a comparable amount of effort to thwart it. Recent policy pronouncements indicate that the game is over, and Nevada has won. Nevertheless, current storage provisions at existing nuclear generating sites are safe. The NRC has certified on-site storage for the 60-year life of the plant plus another 30 years afterward during decommissioning, and the amounts of fuel are relatively compact in physical size. The nuclear industry has paid the federal government $20 billion since its plants entered operation to fund the government's obligation to take possession of spent fuel. Progress is beginning on alternatives to a permanent geological repository. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu plans to assemble a blue ribbon commission to determine the best options for managing spent fuel and the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. I believe that the most likely outcome will be several regional, above-ground interim storage sites, which will serve as a bridge to further development of the technology and a national consensus on the solution. However, all options must be on the table, including developing advanced, safe reprocessing methods to close the fuel cycle.

• Competitive economics. Nuclear generation from existing sources enjoys the lowest production cost of any major form of base load generation in the United States. According to the EIA, production costs in 2007 amounted to 1.8 cents per kilowatt hour for nuclear generation, compared to 2.5 cents for coal, and 6.8 cents for natural gas. Exelon's 17 reactors had an average production cost of 1.5 cents, well below the national average. In terms of newbuild economics in the long-term, nuclear is competitive with gas and coal even without a price on carbon emissions. Goldman Sachs estimates that the construction cost of new nuclear plants is roughly 6.3 cents per kilowatt hour, equal to that of natural gas and scrubbed coal.3 Their analysis assumes a long-term natural gas price of $7 per MBtu, a long-term coal price of $65 per ton, and a new-build cost for nuclear of $6,000 per kilowatt (in nominal dollars). It also ignores any production tax credit benefit nuclear would enjoy under the provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Were that to be included and were there to be a $20 per metric ton carbon cost, nuclear would be advantaged over natural gas and far more attractive than scrubbed coal. Other studies provide different conclusions in terms of absolute generating costs but not in relative ordering.

While nuclear is far from being "too cheap to meter," neither is it too expensive to contemplate.4 At the same time, there are three important caveats to this economic analysis to bear in mind.

• Construction risk remains. The U.S. nuclear supply chain has atrophied, and no major project will proceed without significant engineering and construction support from French or Japanese partners. The industry and the NRC have designed processes to avoid many of the regulatory and design delays that plagued the last cycle of construction, but several projects will need to be completed on-time and on-budget to instill confidence that we truly have learned to avoid our past mistakes.

• Financing risk is more acute than ever. A two-unit nuclear plant is a massive capital investment, greater than the book equity of Exelon, the largest company in the industry. While oil companies can and do regularly undertake capital projects of this size, building a new nuclear plant may be a task too large for the U.S. electric industry in its current state. A few utilities in traditionally rate-based regulatory environments with cooperative state utility commissions might be able to build a plant with the costs and risks borne by their ratepayers through construction-work in- progress (cwip) rate increases, allowing them to recover the costs from their customers even before the plant is placed in service. The federal loan guarantee program is designed to provide additional assistance, offering attractive debt financing for up to 80 percent of the project's costs. For companies like Exelon that operate in competitive markets without the backstop of ratepayers, loan guarantees are essential. Congress, however, has underfunded the loan guarantee program. The allocated $18.5 billion cannot adequately support more than 5 or 6 of the 26 proposed units, which will dramatically curtail construction plans. Whether through cwip or loan guarantees, ultimately all utilities will need some form of assistance until the construction risk diminishes in the minds of investors and a price on carbon translates into power prices that can support a project of this size.

• Current economic conditions are unfavorable. It takes serious courage, if not sheer audacity, to begin a project of this size in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Electricity demand has fallen in the near term and reserve margins are not as tight, creating uncertainty about the revenues of a new project. More significant is the collapse in the price of natural gas. It has reduced the marginal price of electricity dramatically, and at $4 per MMBtu, gas-fired generation is by far the preferred low-carbon base load option. None of this addresses the concerns about energy security, price volatility, and diversity in generation, but the prospect of low gas prices for several years to come may be as powerful as the Sirens' call to Odysseus.

Finally, the U.S. nuclear industry has made progress on proliferation. Our plants have security plans and well-trained security forces in place. These in-depth security measures are designed both to protect public health and safety in the event of a terrorist attack and to safeguard fissile materials. We are confident in our ability to protect against either possibility.

In a larger sense, the industry is ready to contribute to crafting a policy response to concerns about proliferation, but we are only a small part of that response. When a rogue state contemplates building a nuclear weapon, spent fuel sitting in Clinton, Illinois, or Pottsville, Pennsylvania, probably doesn't occur to them as their first or best option. In addition to storage at generally remote locations, the plutonium is mixed with highly radioactive elements that make handling spent fuel dangerous and reprocessing complicated. Nevertheless, we need a comprehensive solution that covers the nuclear power industry and others with potential weapons-making capabilities. The solution needs to be led by public policy-makers who are cognizant of all the issues and competing interests. And the solution needs to be global, accounting for not only the U.S. sources of potentially fissionable material, but also those sources around the world. The American nuclear power community stands ready to contribute to the debate on that solution, and will work to ensure that the ultimate nonproliferation regime is effective.

Nuclear power is inescapably part of the answer to addressing climate change. We face a growing need for power; every available option to meet that demand as its limitations. Energy efficiency is valuable but too limited in its scope to meet all of our future needs without radically changing the way we live. Renewables are too expensive and too unreliable at the current or near-term state of technological advancement. Coal is too dirty, and carbon capture and sequestration is too hypothetical. Natural gas is too volatile. And nuclear, while significantly more attractive today than 20 years ago, still has unresolved issues related to construction, economics, and spent fuel. Nothing is perfect, and none of these solutions is compelling on its own. All of them taken together give us a realistic chance of meeting our future energy needs and adapting our current generation mix for a carbon-constrained world. But construction of new nuclear plants has to be on the table with all of the other options.

Which brings me to one final inconvenient truth: when this nuclear renaissance comes, it will come not only to the United States and Europe, but also to Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Barring a breakthrough on carbon sequestration for coal, there is no other way to meet the needs of the world's fastest growing economies in a low carbon fashion. This clearly creates new challenges for nonproliferation regimes. Despite past stumbles and a couple of near-calamities, the nuclear community in the United States, Europe, and Japan has by and large managed to be, in Fermi's words, "sufficiently adult to make good use" of the power to split the atom. The realities of a warming climate and growing energy needs now force us to address Fermi's challenge amid a new, larger international nuclear-generating community.

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Posts: 467
Fightin' Irish wrote:
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
PUBLIC HEARING INVITATION
SANDY RIDGE WIND LLC
NPDES PERMIT FOR STORMWATER DISCHARGES ASSOCIATED WITH CONSTRUCTION ACTIVTIES APPLICATION

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will conduct a public hearing on an NPDES Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activities application (PAI041409007) submitted by Sandy Ridge Wind LLC to construct gravel roads, parking areas and concrete pads associated with 28 wind turbines, transmission lines and a substation. The project will be located in Snyder Township, Blair County, and Rush and Taylor Townships, Centre County. The applicant’s address is 1801 Market Street, Suite 2200, Philadelphia, PA 19107. The site will be known as the Sandy Ridge Wind Farm. Notification of the Department’s receipt of this NPDES permit application has been published in The Pennsylvania Bulletin on July 11, 2009.

The public hearing will be held at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, November 23, 2009 at the Fraternal Order of Police Bald Eagle Lodge #51, 1979 Reese Hollow Road, Port Matilda, PA 16870. A public meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. prior to the public hearing. During the meeting the applicant and the DEP will provide presentations pertaining to the project and the NPDES permitting process. A question and answer session will then follow.

During the public hearing, individuals may present oral testimony for a maximum of five minutes regarding the NPDES Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activities application. Written testimony of any length also will be accepted that evening. The testimony will be recorded by a court reporter and transcribed into a written document. DEP will respond to all relevant comments at the time it makes a final decision on the application. Citizens who wish to present oral testimony may register to do so the night of the public hearing.

The application is available for public review at the DEP Northcentral Regional Office, 208 West Third Street, Suite 101, Williamsport, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. An appointment must be made by calling Kathy Arndt at 570-327-3693.

Individuals in need of an accommodation as provided for in the Americans with Disabilities Act should contact Daniel Spadoni at 570-327-3659 or through the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at 1-800-654-5984 (TDD) to discuss how DEP may accommodate your needs.


I have registered to testify.

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Posts: 467
Get rational about Appalachian wind energy; The harm is greater than the good

October 25, 2009 by Rick Webb in Roanoke Times

It was only a few years ago that habitat loss was front and center among causes for concern about the future well-being of the American ecological landscape. Not much has changed to allay this concern; sprawling development continues, and the alteration and loss of natural habitat is largely unchecked. What has changed is the focus of many mainstream environmental organizations. Concerns about the projected future effects of climate change have taken precedence over the immediate and observable effects of habitat loss. Some who label themselves environmentalists would now allow and even advocate industrial-scale renewable energy development in our remaining wild areas, including national forests and other lands set aside for permanent preservation.

Notable among the evidence for this shift in perspective was the near silence of environmental organizations when environmental review requirements were eliminated from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, an economic stimulus package that will provide grants to large corporations covering as much as 30 percent of the cost of megamillion-dollar industrial-scale wind energy projects. The act explicitly exempts the award program from provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act. It's fair to say that national environmental organizations simply turned their back on what has apparently become yesterday's issue.

The assumption seems to be that any trade-off is worth it; that long-held concerns about habitat conservation and the need for careful environmental assessment are now irrelevant in the context of climate change. Perhaps nowhere is the need for objective analysis made more clear than in the forested Appalachian Mountains where the wind industry and its advocates argue that ridgeline wind development can replace coal and other problematic energy sources.

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander addressed this thinking recently in a Wall Street Journal commentary with the title "We're about to destroy the environment in the name of saving it."

To put things in perspective, he pointed out that we could line 300 miles of mountaintops from Chattanooga, Tenn., to Bristol with 50-story wind turbines and still produce only one-quarter of the electricity provided by one TVA nuclear power plant.

Similar comparisons can be made even closer to home. For example, it would require more than 300 miles of wind turbines, stretching the entire length of the Blue Ridge Mountain chain in Virginia, from Mount Rogers to Harpers Ferry, to match the August peak-demand period output of Dominion's controversial new coal-fired power plant in Wise County.

It's not necessary to deny that climate change is a real problem nor is it necessary to support either coal or nuclear power to conclude that wind energy development on Appalachian ridges is not a realistic alternative.

One can even acknowledge that industrial-scale wind energy development might make sense in other places with perhaps less environmental trade-off. And certainly the better alternative in the eastern U.S. is offshore, where the wind resource is dramatically more reliable, where deforestation and road construction are not required, and where turbines can be arrayed in relatively compact and efficient grids rather than in single-file corridors along ridge crests.

The next time you see wind turbines portrayed on television and in other advertising, notice that the turbines are depicted in treeless landscapes, typically plains and deserts, or in the ocean, and then ask yourself why it is that images of turbines strung out along forested ridge crests are almost never part of the wind industry's PR campaign. Once enough people ask this question, we will perhaps start to take a more rational and conservation-minded approach to wind energy development and solving the climate change problem.

Webb is a senior scientist with the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia

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Posts: 467
Posted on Thu, Nov. 5, 2009

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
Commentary

Old foes welcome clean fuel
Rising demand for emission-free energy is spurring a nuclear rebirth.
By Patrick Moore

Nuclear energy, a prime source of electricity for Pennsylvania, is finally getting the respect it deserves.

It's not hard to see why: America's power needs continue to grow, and meeting them without harming the environment calls for every available nonpolluting energy source. Nuclear energy is the most dependable and cost-effective such option.

It isn't the only solution, of course. Wind, geothermal, and other renewable energy sources will likely become a bigger part of Pennsylvania's energy portfolio, and America's. But nuclear energy will be expected to shoulder the biggest load.

Because nuclear energy is virtually emissions-free, America's 104 nuclear reactors already account for nearly 75 percent of the country's clean energy, and 93 percent of Pennsylvania's.

Nuclear energy has maintained a strong record of safety, reliability, and efficiency for decades, and Americans increasingly appreciate its environmental and economic benefits. A recent Gallup poll showed that 59 percent of Americans support using nuclear energy to meet the country's energy needs. Support is even higher in Pennsylvania, reaching 82 percent of residents polled last year for the Pennsylvania Energy Alliance.

That support isn't surprising given the benefits of Pennsylvania's nine existing reactors. The plants provide more than a third of the state's annual electricity needs. Last year alone, they helped prevent more than 70 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. State leaders would have had to take all of the state's 5.8 million cars off the road to get the same environmental benefit.

More plants, more jobs

Residents are enjoying these returns because of past investments in nuclear energy. But more investment is needed now. The independent Electric Power Research Institute recently concluded that the nation will need 45 more nuclear plants to meet growing electricity demand and emission reduction targets. That would be on top of plans to aggressively expand wind and solar generation, as well as introduce more efficiency and conservation measures.

To satisfy these demands, the nuclear industry is gearing up for a major expansion, with 25 new reactors on the drawing board and preliminary site work under way in states such as Georgia.

This growth brings with it the promise of much-needed jobs. Facing its highest unemployment in 25 years, Pennsylvania sorely needs such a boost.

Plans are in the works for a new nuclear reactor in Luzerne County, which will create 4,000 construction jobs and 400 permanent positions once it's running, according to operator PPL Corp. These would come on top of 1,600 jobs being created by expansions of nuclear plants in Turtle Creek, Cheswick, and Cranberry Woods.

Each new reactor also generates about $430 million a year in economic output for the local community, according to a report by the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, a grassroots organization I chair along with former EPA Administrator Christie Whitman.

Dealing with risks

But Pennsylvanians want more than jobs; they want safety. As a cofounder of Greenpeace and one of its leaders during the 1970s and '80s, I know how wary people have been of nuclear energy's risks. Nuclear power was once a litmus test for environmental activists, who were worried about waste and proliferation.

Today, however, the nuclear industry has decades of safe operation under its belt, and last year was the safest to date, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's reactor oversight process. It's the most regulated industry in the United States. Furthermore, nuclear plants in 31 states have stored spent fuel rods successfully, protecting them from contamination, sabotage, and theft.

As the industry works to secure a long-term national repository for nuclear by-products, a broad coalition of energy leaders is lending support. Citing nuclear energy's clean-air benefits, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced earlier this year that he is forming a blue-ribbon commission to investigate new ways of managing nuclear waste, including a recycling program that would reduce waste volumes and capture the remaining energy in used fuel.

America needs this kind of commitment and engagement at all levels of its energy economy. It needs to look at all the available options for meeting increasing energy needs without sacrificing environmental principles. Nuclear energy won't be the only answer, but it is and always will be a vital part of the solution.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dr. Patrick Moore, a cofounder and former leader of Greenpeace, cochairs the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition (CASEnergy), which promotes the economic and environmental benefits of nuclear power as part of a green energy economy. For more information, see www.cleansafeenergy.org.

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Posts: 467
http://www.powermag.com/POWERnews/2312.html


Senators Unveil Bipartisan, Nuclear-Heavy Climate and Energy Legislation
Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.) on Monday introduced a climate and energy bill that proposes to spend $20 billion over the next 20 years to fund a series of nuclear-oriented provisions. These include nuclear loan guarantees, workforce development, and reactor-lifetime extensions.

“The Clean Energy Act of 2009” (PDF)—also directs the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct five “Mini-Manhattan Projects.” These will study carbon capture technologies, non-ethanol biofuels, electric vehicles and electricity storage, “cost-competitive” solar power, and Generation-IV reactors and technologies that could “ultimately reduce nuclear waste,” the senators told 1,500 attendees of the American Nuclear Society’s winter conference before they introduced the legislation on Monday.

Provisions to prompt growth of wind power were noticeably absent. “If we were going to war, we wouldn’t mothball our nuclear Navy and start subsidizing sailboats,” said Alexander, a longtime critic of wind energy. “If climate change as well as low-cost reliable energy are national imperatives, we shouldn’t stop building nuclear plants and start subsidizing windmills.” Wind turbines also take up too much space and do not produce enough electricity per structure, he said.

“We have an enormously complex climate change bill that was passed in the House, and we have another enormously complex climate change bill that may be before the Senate. We can’t predict whether those bills will pass. If they do pass, we know there are some detriments,” Sen. Webb said as he introduced the bill (video) on Monday.

“What Sen. Alexander and I are trying to do, on a bipartisan basis, hopefully with the support of our colleagues, is to put a simple piece of legislation forward that will address the areas that are achievable and get this legislation passed while all these other issues continue to be examined.”

In emphasizing the legislation’s key provisions, the senator said that the $100 billion in nuclear guarantees would depend on a success rate. “The basic projection on this would be between 1% and 10% of the $100 billion that our taxpayers would be required to pay.” This would enable “at least” a dozen nuclear power plants to go online—even more, considering the “miniaturization of nuclear power that is now underway,” he said.

The legislation would also allocate $100 million a year to develop a nuclear workforce, including “superb craftsmen as well as nuclear engineers.” This was critical, said Webb, a Navy veteran.


$20 Billion for Nuclear, Non-Wind Renewables Energies

The Clean Energy Act of 2009 provides a framework that will facilitate the revival of nuclear power and the expansion of renewable energies in the United States. The bipartisan plan provides:

• A $10 billion authorization that can leverage up to $100 billion in government-backed loans for the development of clean, carbon-free energy to bring in investors and project developers to jump start efforts that are otherwise too capital-intensive up front.

• $100 million per year for 10 years toward nuclear education and training. The nuclear revival cannot take place without a workforce, and for that reason the bill provides much-needed support to educate and train craftsmen, engineers, operators, and other workers.

• $200 million per year for five years for a cost-sharing mechanism between government and industry to enable the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to review new nuclear reactor designs such as small and mid-size reactors and help bring those technologies from concept into the marketplace.

• $50 million per year for 10 years for much-needed research to extend the lifetime of our current nuclear fleet and maximize the production of low-cost nuclear power.

• $750 million per year for 10 years for research and development of low-cost solar technology, battery technology, advanced biofuels, low-carbon coal, and technologies that will reduce nuclear waste. Each of these will be funded at $150 million, annually.


A Bipartisan Climate and Energy Proposal

The proposed energy bill from the two senators follows a joint announcement by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to widen bipartisan support for climate change and energy legislation facing the Senate.Politico reported that the senators are working on an outline of their own bipartisan bill, and that they plan to release it before the Copenhagen talks this December.

Sen. Webb is one of several moderate Democrats to have voiced recent objections about a draft put forward by Sen. Kerry and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). That measure passed 11–1 in the Senate Environment and Public Committee, which Boxer chairs, despite a Republican boycott of the bill. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.)—chair of the Finance Committee—was the sole nay vote.

Sen. Webb on Monday expressed concerns about the Kerry-Boxer bill, saying he had “real questions about the real complexities on cap and trade.” Last week, 14 senators from the Midwest and coal-dependant states, meanwhile, signed a letter urging Senate committee chairs to revise distribution plans for carbon permits and offer more protection for coal-dependant utilities.

The Waxman-Markey bill—which passed in the House this June—and the Kerry-Boxer bills base allowance allocation for the power sector in part on emissions and in part on sales. “We urge you to ensure that emission allowances allocated to the electricity sector—and thus, electricity consumers—be fully based on emissions as the appropriate and equitable way to provide transition assistance in a greenhouse gas-regulated economy,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Mark Udall (Colo.), Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Al Franken (Minn.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Herb Kohl (Wis.), Russ Feingold (Wis.), Roland Burris (Ill.), Carl Levin (Mich.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), and Robert Byrd (W.Va.).

It is unclear whether the senators’ letter will influence efforts to push forward the climate bill. Debate on the bill has already been delayed: On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) it would be put off until spring so that the Senate could consider legislation relating to healthcare, financial markets, and job creation, reported the The Wall Street Journal.

Sources: webb.senate.gov, Politico, Iowapolitics.com, The Wall Street Journal, POWERnews

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Posts: 467
ICE MOUNTAIN

PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
PUBLIC HEARING INVITATION

The public hearing will be held at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, November 23, 2009 at the Fraternal Order of Police Bald Eagle Lodge #51, 1979 Reese Hollow Road, Port Matilda, PA 16870. A public meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. prior to the public hearing. During the meeting the applicant and the DEP will provide presentations pertaining to the project and the NPDES permitting process. A question and answer session will then follow.

During the public hearing, individuals may present oral testimony for a maximum of five minutes regarding the NPDES Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activities application. Written testimony of any length also will be accepted that evening. The testimony will be recorded by a court reporter and transcribed into a written document. DEP will respond to all relevant comments at the time it makes a final decision on the application. Citizens who wish to present oral testimony may register to do so the night of the public hearing.

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Posts: 461
Location: Sinking Valley
Environmentalists, DEP raise issues with wind farm

http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/conte ... ml?nav=742

By Greg Bock, gbock@altoonamirror.com
POSTED: November 24, 2009

PORT MATILDA - Iron pyrite was among the risks to water quality that opponents of the Sandy Ridge Wind Farm pointed to during Monday's state Department of Environmental Protection public hearing.

"Given the formations, there is a likelihood there's some up there," Michael J. Byle, a civil engineer who is working with Gamesa USA, said after the public meeting and hearing on the proposed wind farm.

Core drilling has just begun, and the company is looking for the acid rock that wreaked havoc on the Interstate 99 project at Skytop but Byle declined to say what has been found.

Bill Fink, mayor-elect of Tyrone Borough, which has leased its municipal watershed in Snyder Township so Gamesa can place 16 turbines there, pressed Gamesa officials to say whether or not they've definitely found pyrite after it was brought up by Save Our Allegheny Ridge representative Laura Jackson.

Gamesa officials said it was too early to report any findings.

David Gurg, program manager for the DEP's Watershed Management Program, said the possibility of pyrite was one of the deficiencies his agency identified in Gamesa's application. The DEP has asked for data on the pyrite and indicated that if it's found, Gamesa would have to change its designs or move roads or turbines to avoid it.

While the DEP doesn't regulate wind farms, it will decide whether Gamesa gets its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.

The federally-mandated permit ensures that any earth moved because of the project, including the building of roads and turbine pads, is done with minimal impact on water quality.

Gamesa's planned one-lane access road near Big Fill Run is another problem the DEP has with the project, officials said.

Ed Shoener, the consultant who prepared the application on behalf of Gamesa, said the company has gone "above and beyond" what is required by the state to protect Big Fill Run, a designated "exceptional value" trout stream that feeds the Little Juniata River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspected the project's sites and determined they won't impact streams or wet lands.

Others on hand for the public hearing Monday at the Bald Eagle Lodge No. 51, Fraternal Order of Police, disagreed.

Representatives from the local Audubon and Sierra Club chapters, along with Little Juniata River Association, joined concerned residents in questioning the wind farm's impact on Big Fill Run and the forests of Ice and Gardner mountains.

Opponents of the project deviated from the hearing's focus on water issues to say that much of the proposed 25-turbine wind farm is in an area of exceptional conservation value and asked why not put the 400-foot-high turbines on tracts of former strip mines to the west.

Little Juniata River Association spokesman Gary Miller said the river is finally making a comeback after decades of pollution and that Big Fill Run is an integral tributary.

"The permit application has issues that raise questions," Miller said.

Not everyone at the hearing was against the project.

Debbie and Mike Flanagan of Hollidaysburg arrived with a petition of more than 200 names in support of the project.

"They're prettier than cell towers and they're nicer than cooling towers," said Mike Flanagan, who has worked to erect about 140 turbines.

"These people obviously couldn't be here but they're showing their support," Debbie Flanagan said.

DEP officials said they will take Monday's testimony regarding water issues into consideration during its review process and will continue to accept written testimony at the department's Northcentral Office in Williamsport until Nov. 30.

Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.

http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/conte ... ml?nav=742

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