Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Don’t Know How–Edison’s Craver on Nuclear Energy and Carbon Goals

271px-Edison_International_Logo.svgEdison International  CEO Ted Craver and Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good lately appeared at separate forums. They talked about the decisions to close the San Onofre (Edison) and Crystal River (Duke/Progress) facilities, describing them as economic in nature. We already understood that. Here’s the real takeaway:

Despite having taken a financial hit on capital-intensive nuclear power, both agreed that nuclear energy has a place in a low-carbon economy.

“I don’t know ultimately how you get to your goals on carbon without nuclear being a part of it,” Craver said.

Me, either. Neither company is what one would call a nuclear pure play. They have a decided interest in renewable energy, too, and Edison in particular is looking at distributed generation.

Craver said electric utilities would be mistaken to dismiss distributed generation as merely a “fringe” business in the future. The Edison chief said his company initially started in the field by supplying big solar arrays for “big box” stores.

“A lot of this is really experimental,” Craver said. Utility subsidiary Southern California Edison (SCE) used to rely on industrial customers for one-third of its load but that is now probably closer to 10 percent, Craver said.

The article at Electric Light and Power does not say whether that difference is due to increasing use of solar panels in industry, though Craver says that “it’s important to realize that manufacturers are looking to generate more of their own power.” Edison has a lot of information about this at its web site, though, so look around for more.

But the important point? “I don’t know ultimately how you get to your goals on carbon without nuclear being a part of it.” But Craver does know. You don’t get to those goals.

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