Friday, August 18, 2006

Social Barriers to Clean Energy

In response to yesterday's editorial in the Washington Post concerning expanded use of nuclear energy, Geoffrey Styles writes that opposition to nuclear power is tied up in larger issues concerning public reluctance to back large-scale power projects:

Nuclear power isn't a panacea, but it is the largest-scale, most readily-available source of emissions-free primary energy, and it can expand enough to displace--not merely augment--large quantities of fossil fuels. Rather than competing with wind and solar power, it complements them nicely, providing steady base-load power to support their intermittent contribution. And by recharging plug-in hybrid cars, it can deliver transportation energy in direct competition with petroleum products. None of that will happen, however, unless we overcome our aversion to all of the less-attractive foundations of our economy. Unless we come to grips with our post-industrial squeamishness about large energy facilities and infrastructure, we will foreclose some of our best options for energy that is cleaner and less reliant on unstable or unpredictable foreign governments. That applies not just to nuclear power, but to offshore gas drilling and large-scale wind power.
Styles is a must-read every day. Bookmark him.

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