Thursday, September 13, 2007

Virginia's Energy Plan

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has just released his state energy policy, and while the media coverage doesn't talk much about the role of nuclear energy, our old friend Lisa Stiles says in a note that the details of the report are another story entirely:

The article in the Times Dispatch doesn't talk much about nuclear other than the issue of uranium mining, but if you go through the actual plan (PDF) there is plenty of discussion. All in all I'm impressed with this Democratic governor's embrace of nuclear as one of Virginia's core energy assets, though there are a few lines here and there that rankle me (operational costs [for] nuclear are higher than solar and wind?).
Interesting stuff. Again, click here (PDF) for a copy of the plan.


Anonymous said...

the story probably doesn't discuss nuclear much beyond uranium because the Virginia energy plan says that any new nuclear plants built in the state would be outside the 10-year time horizon of the plan, and hence are not considered in the plan.

Lisa Stiles said...

That's true, but nuclear is discussed extensively throughout the document in sections like Ch 2 on Energy Resources (where the "core strength" quote is), Ch 4 on Energy Infrastructure, Ch 6 on Energy R&D, and there is a recommendation related specifically to nuclear.

I would have thought that if they read the report the media would pounce on a statement like:

"Virginia has unique assets in the nuclear industry that provide an opportunity for it to be the leader in nuclear energy."

I'm lovin' it!

Rod Adams said...

I think that there were several writers for the report, some of whom might not have talked to each other. For example, on page 49 under the heading of Role of New Technologies, there is the following sentence: "Near term generation options include clean coal, solar, wind, nuclear, and waste and biomass."

Also, on page 18, under the heading of Nuclear Infrastructure, there is the following statement - "New nuclear energy production is not expected to come on line over the ten-year term of this Plan. However, a new nuclear power plant may be under construction during the term of this plan and come on-line shortly thereafter."

As Lisa has pointed out, there are a number of places where Virginia's unique nuclear assets are mentioned. The report is quite clear about the value of developing those assets in a time of growing interest in nuclear power around the world. As a potential customer of that Lynchburg cluster that is mentioned, I think that is great news.

In the all important Executive Summary, however, there is the following statement - "New nuclear power generation, hydrogen, methane hydrates and ocean power are beyond the ten-year scope of this plan." I would bet a nice chunk of money that the Executive Summary was written by a shy PR type who advised a more cautious stance than the actual report.