Skip to main content

With Duke Energy’s James Rogers

clip_image001The Council on Foreign Relations has an interesting interview up with James E. Rogers, Duke Energy’s CEO. Right at the start, interviewer Roya Wolverson notes that Duke is the country’s third largest producer of carbon emissions and stands to  be a “loser” in any climate change legislation. Rogers takes that on directly:

We know the transition is going to be expensive. We know it's not going to be easy, because every technology that generates electricity needs advances to be an equal contributor in a low-carbon world. We know that it won't be quick. But we believe that the transition needs to be fair and the cost impacts to consumers need to be smoothed out over a period of time so it's not disruptive to U.S. businesses or families.

And as you might expect, the nuclear takeaway is significant, and Rogers is right on top of current events:

But the difference in the jobs [at solar and wind plants vs. nuclear plants] is quite different, because if you're wiping off a solar panel, it's sort of a minimum wage type of job, [with] much higher compensation for nuclear engineers and nuclear operators. If our goal is to rebuild the middle class, nuclear plays a key role there, particularly if coal is out of the equation.

And, he hasn’t much time for the anti-nuclear advocate’s occasional “no need for base load energy” argument:

Job one for me is affordable, reliable, clean, 24/7, 365 days a year. So, given the technologies that we have today, nuclear is the only 24/7 product we have--unless you do natural gas, which has 50% of the carbon footprint of coal. And its price is quite volatile.

And the bottom line on nuclear energy:

If you asked me today based on current technologies--and assuming we have no advances in technology with respect to decarbonization of coal--I would say nuclear would trump coal because it produces zero greenhouse gases, it provides power 24/7, and, probably most importantly, it probably produces more jobs than even solar or wind on a per-megawatt basis.

We could go on stealing Wolverson’s work all day, so do go over to the site and read the whole thing.

Comments

perdajz said…
I don't buy this line of thinking, and NEI has to be careful with it. The best technology is that one that requires the fewest number of workers per unit output.

The economic benefit from nuclear power is the increase in productivity that society as a whole sees from reliable, cheap and safe production of electricity. It's not about the number of jobs nuclear power "creates".
Scott said…
I understand your concern perdajz, but we have to accept support from where we can get it. It is obviously tailored to the current flavor of the week but in essence, with all the regulations and procedures NPPs have to abide by, his statements are not exactly in error. Nuke plants do create a lot of high paying jobs in the current regulatory climate. Some of these I would deem to be redundant or even completely unnecessary but we cannot expect a lean Nuclear world anytime soon. Build the plants first, then ease off the ratcheted regulations which will lower the number of workers per output and therefore cheaper electricity for all.
Anonymous said…
The important point to remember is that nuclear energy consumes almost no natural resources, both in construction and in operation. This is seen in life-cycle analysis for the construction materials ($36/kW for the commodity materials needed to build a nuclear plant) and in the low cost of fuel. When you buy nuclear energy, most of the money goes to pay salaries. So its not surprising that nuclear can produce the greatest number of well paying jobs, and still be affordable.

Popular posts from this blog

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.


Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?