Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Rolling Blackouts in New England?

After reading an article in the Boston Globe on the possibility of rolling blackouts in New England, my friend Chris Lynch had this to say:

1. At no point in the article do the words "nuclear energy" appear. Nuclear power is the cheapest and cleanest power available but a nuclear boogey man exists which clouds common sense out of people's minds. It should have been at least been mentioned as an option.

2. This "we need to conserve" is a sham. Yes we need to conserve just on basic principle (good old Yankee "waste not - want not" - the environment, etc), however, the power companies want to raise prices and they will this summer (and may even have a few rolling blackouts just to make it look good).
I can understand my friend's frustration with the current situation in the Northeastern U.S. when it comes to electric power generation. The best description of what's happening now that I've read comes from Geoffrey Styles, who wrote the following a little less than two weeks ago:
First, there's the inherent incompatibility of economic growth facilitated by increasing energy consumption with regulatory policies that make it extremely difficult to build new energy facilities near population centers. This is compounded by the sort of NIMBY-ism that takes no account of the economic benefits of the facility in question. Add to this the current strain of unprioritized environmental concern, and you have a recipe for disaster.
UPDATE: Chris responds:
You can't have economic growth without addressing energy concerns and you can't be an Al Gore environmentalist without eventually embracing nuclear energy. You can feel good about yourself driving to work in your hybrid car but what good is that if your workplace is fueled by coal-burning plants? It is time to stop being ampere wise and kilowatt foolish.
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1 comment:

Paul Primavera said...

The Northeast of the US has significant opposition movements against new and existing power generation, including the Cape Wind Project off the coast of Massachusettes, similar wind projects in central NY, and anti-nuclear opposition against Vermont Yankee and Indian Point - opposition to which politicians (local, state and congressional) ingratiate themselves.

As the South supports new nuclear build, it will prosper. As NY, VT, and MA in the Northeast, and CA, WA and OR in the West oppose new nuclear build, they will decline in prosperity.

The solution does NOT rest solely on nuclear power. But without nuclear power there will be NO solution.