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Obama promises to boost nuclear power January 29, 2010

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in balanced approach, Barack Obama, economic benefits, Energy policy, Politics and nuclear, President Obama.
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President Obama appears to be warming to nuclear power in a big way. In his state of the union speech this week, he said “to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country.”

Obama stated his support for nuclear power while campaigning, and several times since then. Today, however, his administration said it will press for $54 billion in new loan guarantees for new plants. Loan guarantees have proven the least costly form of energy assistance – so far, the government hasn’t had to pay any for nuclear plants – and give private investors some assurance. That’s needed in the face of excessive and unreasonable opposition to nuclear power, which drives up costs.

Last week, Obama issued an executive order to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions 28 percent by 2020. The only way to do that and keep our economy healthy is with an all-of-the-above approach embracing conservation, renewables, clean fossil and nuclear.

Obama appears to be backing up his words with specific financial proposals and that is most welcome. Another $54 billion would greatly assist utilities and private investors companies, such as ours, move forward on our plans to keep clean, reliable, secure nuclear energy a vital part of America’s infrastructure.

Obama supports "all of the above" approach to energy generation October 16, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in balanced approach, Barack Obama, coal power, President Obama, Steven Chu.
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It was very refreshing to hear President Obama restate his support for nuclear energy yesterday. At a townhall meeting in Louisiana, Obama states support for all clean energy sources – a view held by mainstream America – and singled out nuclear power. His remarks, beginning 5:45, were

“We need to increase domestic energy production. Theres no reason why technologically, we can’t employ nuclear energy in a safe and effective way. Japan does it and France does it, and it doesn’t have greenhouse gas emissions. It would be stupid for us not to do that in a much more effective way.”

Obama’s energy secretary, Steven Chu, has also strongly supported nuclear’s role in our national energy policy, as he realizes nuclear alone can provide low-cost, emissions-free, baseload energy.

With around 65 new nuclear reactors under construction worldwide, the U.S. needs to follow up these words with commitment, or risk being left out of the global economy, falling further behind in reliable power generation, industrial capacity and carbon reduction.The words supporting an all-of-the-above stance are nice, Mr. President, but now back them up with policy.

World increasingly supports nuclear March 12, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in approval process, balanced approach, Chinese nuclear energy, Energy policy, environmentalists, nuclear Europe.
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Due to the rigorous approval process, the United States lags in its implementation of building nuclear power plants. However, countries worldwide are preparing for the next generation of nuclear power, spurred by concerns about global warming and the need to remain economically competitive.

Environmentalists, too, are increasingly supporting nuclear. Recently, three prominent Greenpeace officials announced their support for nuclear, joining Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore. Unfortunately, Greenpeace is preparing to excommunicate these representatives, showing the limits of open-mindedness and tolerance.

Countries such as Germany, Great Britain and Italy, which had planned to decommission their reactors, are now moving forward on plans for their own Saudi Arabia, China, South Korea and other technically advanced nations are planning to build nuclear plants because they see the importance ofalways-on, carbon-free, safe and affordable base load power, and nuclear is the only source that can deliver. Given that the annual spent fuel from atypical nuclear plant can fit under a desk, it’s a very low-waste way of generating energy.

Signaling an increasing preference for nuclear energy in Europe, the European Parliament has voted to approve a nenergy report that favors nuclear power as a tool for meeting greenhouse gas emission targets. The report recommends a “specific road map for nuclear investments” and rejected an amendment that favored phasing out nuclear energy in the EU.

Nuclear-generated electricity from 146 reactors made upabout 37% of the EU’s total in 2008 – all of it carbon free. The EU Parliament also stressed that nuclear energy is to be used “at the highest technologically possible level of safety.” Other recommendations made in thereport are mandatory emergency action plans in case of gas supply shortages.

According to a 2006 poll by Eurobarometer, 48 percent of EU citizens would like to maintain or increase level of nuclear power, while 39 percent would prefer to reduce the share of nuclear energy in the overall energy mix.

Obama signals pro-nuke stance in Steven Chu pick January 20, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in balanced approach, Barack Obama, Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, international, nuclear industry, Politics and nuclear, President Obama, reprocessing, Steven Chu.
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I welcome President Obama to the leadership of the United States. While Obama has always been a supporter of nuclear power, his pick for Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, is especially encouraging.

On Jan. 13, Chu sat before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and confirmed the Obama administration’s strong desire to push our country “towards energy independence, ” including a “continued commitment to nuclear power.”

Chu affirmed he was “supportive of the fact that the nuclear energy industry is, and should have to be, a part of our energy mix in this century.” Alluding to the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, Chu said he’s “confident that the Department of Energy, perhaps in collaboration with other countries, can get a solution to the nuclear waste problem” and that reprocessing of used nuclear fuel “can be a part of that solution … certainly recycling is an option that we will be looking at very closely.”

Chu also told Senators that he supports the loan guarantee program to use $18.5 billion as security to encourage lending for low-carbon generation technology.

“Nuclear power, as I said before, is going to be an important part of our energy mix. It’s 20 percent of our electricity generation today, but it’s 70 percent of the carbon-free portion of electricity today and it is base-load. So I think it’s very important we push ahead.”

As I blogged previously, Obama also made a good pick in his National Security Advisor, James Jones, a retired Marine general and former president and CEO of the Institue for 21st Century Energy, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Jones advocates a comprehensive overhaul to U.S. energy policy in the name of national defense.

Environmentalists continue fight against renewable energy January 6, 2009

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, anti-renewable energy, balanced approach, Energy policy, environmentalists, renewable energy, Snake River Alliance, Solar energy, Wind energy.
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Normally, the media are very starry-eyed when reporting on renewable energy. When it comes to coverage of nuclear power, the media are extremely skeptical and ask the tough questions (as all good journalists should), but renewable get a pass and questions about reliability, viability, environmental impact and public support are rarely raised.

That’s not the case in last week’s Idaho Statesman and kudos to Rocky Barker for taking a realistic look at renewable energy. He writes, “Greener energy sources such as geothermal wells and sprawling wind farms are being touted as the nation’s environmentally friendly answer to energy independence, but so far, alternative energy developers are finding that they face many of the same conflicts as traditional generation plants.”

Among other projects, Barker looked at “the most controversial wind farm in the state,” the proposed China Mountain project, a 185-turbine farm in Twin Falls County. The project, on 30,000 acres of public land, would produce more than 400 megawatts of electricity (by comparison, our plant would produce four times that amount of energy on four percent of the area, and at 95 percent reliability, compared to around 20 for wind). Environmentalists have opposed wind farms nationwide, not just Idaho.

As Barker reports, in July, a regional Fish and Game supervisor voiced concerns about the effects the wind farm could have on wildlife, including the endangered sage grouse. Neighbors complained about the effect the wind farm would have on the views from their cabins and Advocates of the West, a group that provides lawyers for environmental groups, is preparing to challenge several wind projects planned in sagebrush habitat.

July 1, 2008, was a good example of where the priorities of some environmentalist lie. The embattled China Mountain wind farm was facing a crucial public hearing, but it was the same night as a meeting to organize opposition to our nuclear plant. When push came to shove, “We were not present at the China Mountain scoping meeting because it occurred the same night as our public meeting about the AEHI plant.” Liz Woodruff, SRA energy policy analyst, said the SRA “submitted comments regarding the proposal” but tellingly doesn’t say if they actually supported China Mountain or urged officials to approve it. The Snake River Alliance’s own mission statement declares that it can oppose specific facilities, but advocating for specific facilities isn’t part of the mission (at least give the SRA credit for sticking to its real game plan).

I think the radical environmentalist veneer is starting to fall. Something tells me the SRA didn’t try to “educate and inform” residents opposed to China Mountain, as they have done to rally opposition to our plant. Personally, I think the SRA lacks the stomach to face an angry group of neighbors and declare that a wind farm should be approved because it’s in the broader public interest. If the Snake River Alliance is out there directly supporting specific renewable facilities in public hearings, they’re doing a good job keeping it quiet.

Some environmentalists take opposition to renewable a step further. Laird Lucas, lead attorney for Advocates of the West, says he’s “skeptical that wind, solar and geothermal plants spread out across the wide open spaces of the West and linked to populated areas through vast transmissions systems are the answer to increasing carbon-free energy supplies,” according to Barker’s story.

“I think there’s a chance that these big solar farms and wind farms will be obsolete almost as soon as we develop them,” Lucas says in the story. “We need to somehow get people engaged directly in producing our own energy.”

I think some environmentalists are really aiming for a larger target and their ultimate goal is to “power down” and de-industrialize our society. I’m not making any of this up – see it at http://www.postcarbon.org and similar sites, where discussion of “societal collapse” and hopeless peak oil scenarios are enough to make you end it all today. An industrial society needs industrial energy sources and combating those sources is one way to “power down” our civilization.

In the meantime, out-of-the-mainstream environmentalists will have to content themselves with paying lip service to renewable energy, by opposing it or failing to speak up for it every chance they get. I hope the media educate the public about this more.

State makes right move in shifting focus away from wind December 30, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in balanced approach, Energy policy, Idaho leadership, Politics and nuclear, Snake River Alliance, Wind energy.
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The Associated Press, with a clear bias for wind energy, reports that Gov. Otter has disbanded the Idaho Wind Power Working Group, the state’s wind promotion think tank, and reassigned its staff member to work on energy efficiency instead. The Idaho Strategic Energy Alliance, a panel Otter created to plan for the state’s energy needs, will assume some of the working group’s functions. Energy office director Paul Kjellander said he made the changes to better coordinate renewable energy development, including biogas from dairies, solar and geothermal, under Otter’s new alliance.

This is a very wise move on the part of the state government. Before I am pegged as being anti-wind, one of AEHI’s subsidiaries, Energy Neutral, works to put wind, solar and other renewable into new and existing homes and businesses, so I understand the potential and proper place for wind energy.

As far as a statewide policy for Idaho, energy efficiency is a better goal than wind promotion. Wind is a niche power source at best and the real energy issue in Idaho is no base load plants have been built in 30 years. The Associated Press, the Snake River Alliance and other wind promoters like to say Idaho ranks 13th among states for wind power potential. That figure comes from the American Wind Energy Association which obviously has in interest in promoting wind development.

A rank of 13 is actually misleading, because wind potential, like fossil fuels, geothermal, hydro or solar power potential, is a gift that nature does not share equally. Taking a look at the wind potential map from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory below, we can see that only a few areas nationally reach Class 3, the minimum required for utility-scale power generation, and 95 percent of Idaho ranks as Class 1 or 2; indeed, most of the U.S. ranks as Class 1 or below. Only in the very center of the nation – from about North Dakota to straight down to northern Texas – are there large contiguous areas necessary for large-scale industrial wind production.

Idaho has few areas suitable for utility-scale wind production

Idaho has few areas suitable for utility-scale wind production

According to the NREL, “Areas designated Class 3 or greater are suitable for most utility-scale wind turbine applications, whereas class 2 areas are marginal for utility-scale applications but may be suitable for rural applications.”

The 50-meter wind resource map below presents the same information a bit differently, showing wind speed estimates at 50 meters above the ground and depicting the resource that could be used for utility-scale wind development. Of the developable areas in Idaho, most are fair-to-marginal for utility-scale generation.

irwm-1

Still, savvy wind developers are finding and harnessing Idaho’s wind potential and I wish them the best of luck. We can and should be developing every green energy source at our disposal.

These maps are further evidence that Gov. Otter and Paul Kjellander made the right decision. If Idaho were one of the few states that had an abundance of utility-scale generation, then a state office dedicated to wind energy would make sense. As it stands, however, Idaho’s wind energy resources are more suitable for smaller-scale rural production, which has an important role to play in the scheme of things. But Idaho definitely doesn’t have the concentration of wind resources for any sizeable utility-scale generation.

Thanks to the Mountain Home news December 16, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Agriculture, approval process, balanced approach, Elmore County, Energy policy, Greenfield nuclear development, Mountain Home News, nuclear industry, Politics and nuclear, reactor types, renewable energy, Snake River Alliance, Water policy.
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As our application in Elmore County moves forward, there is understandably some debate on the issue. Recently, the Mountain Home News published a letter by Leonard Hutterman. The paper was kind enough to provide us space to respond to Mr. Hutterman and our response is reprinted below:

Gillispie says nation will depend on nuclear power

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dear editor:
Leonard Hutterman’s recent letter in the Mountain Home News is thought-provoking and will surely increase discussion of our region’s and nation’s energy future.

While we agree with many of Mr. Hutterman’s statements about the need for a balanced energy portfolio in Elmore County, we should clarify some of his assertions about nuclear and renewable energies.

We agree that renewable, nuclear and clean fossil generation all have a place in our energy portfolio. That’s a stark departure from the Snake River Alliance, which claims to favor an unbalanced approach of renewables only (curiously, they cannot bring themselves to show up at public hearings and testify in support of embattled wind farm developers; I personally think they don’t have the stomach to face a roomful of angry citizens, but that’s another story).

Our economy and security depends on a diverse energy portfolio and base-load electricity — power that is affordable, stable and absolutely reliable.

Mr. Hutterman ranked his preferences for power, quoted below in italics. We’d like to add some information to his ranking so people can make more fully informed decisions.

1. “Wind requires no water and uses little productive space and take[s] advantage of wind, of which we have plenty.” In reality, except for a few locations, Idaho only has mediocre wind potential suitable for large power production, according to www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_maps.as…; wind cannot fill the power demands of Idaho, let alone the region. Also, wind farms require large amounts of land and roads, can kill many birds and bats, create annoying low-frequency sounds and throw dangerous ice from turbine blades. To produce as much electricity as our proposed nuclear plant, a wind farm would require about 100 times as much area (and only produce energy 17 percent of the time, compared to 92 percent for nuclear).

2. “Solar requires little or no water, uses a lot of space, and needs more sun then we have.” A new generation of thermal solar installations use sunlight to heat water to drive turbines. This improves reliability over photovoltaic solar, but does require water. So far, solar has been only 25 percent reliable.

3. “Geothermal is available in the county but the technology is not yet available to recover it efficiently.” True. Most geothermal in Idaho is marginal for electrical generation. Its best use is for heating homes and greenhouses.

4. “Natural gas based power has been developed and will likely continue to be developed in the county but it has a high cost and so many things can be made from it that using it for more than back-up power is a waste, and we are only converting it to electric not producing.” True. Natural gas is most efficiently used for heating water and buildings. While it is expensive for generating electricity, it is good for meeting summer peaking power demands, because natural gas can be brought online quickly. It emits half the carbon dioxide of coal, contributing to global warming.

5. “Nuclear based power uses water, the design determines the amount and it can be held to reasonable amounts. The public perception of the safety is out of line with reality but it is nonetheless their reality.” True. Dam collapses killed 8,000 people in the 20th century, coal pollution tens of thousands, and there are zero radiation deaths from Western commercial nuclear power. You’d have to live next to a nuclear plant for several thousand years to get as much radiation as a typical X-ray. Yet thanks to environmentalist hysteria and bad science fiction, some people still cling to the belief that nuclear power is dangerous. But, as I’ll explain in a bit, public opinion now solidly supports nuclear.

6. “Coal-based power and the clean coal technologies is an improvement over the old coal power plants but it still has a way to go.” Ironically, extreme environmentalists have contributed to global warming through their maniacal opposition to nuclear. Without nuclear, coal is the only suitable base-load source and environmentalists for decades have been content to let America meet half its power needs through coal.

It’s true that nuclear power requires water. In fact, any form of thermal power (boiling water to drive turbines) requires water for generation and cooling. Old-style nuclear reactors, with their oddly-shaped cooling towers, are notorious for consuming 30 million gallons a day, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

We will be using a hybrid cooling system, commonly used on fossil thermal plants in dry areas. Instead of the large cooling towers, we will cool our plant by circulating water through a system of fans, heat sinks and ponds. While we will need to run fewer than 10 million gallons of water a day through our plant, we will only consume 100,000 gallons. The rest of the warm water will be returned to productive agricultural use through farming, greenhouses and a biofuels plant. We will have to obtain existing water rights, since new water rights are not obtainable for the Snake River. The rumors that we will suck the Snake River dry are simply false.

For more than a year now, we’ve made these facts very clear, yet our opponents continue to insist our plant will use 30 million gallons a day. Every time we present this information to them, they do the equivalent of staring at us, blinking hard, then turning around and repeating the misinformation in an even louder voice.

Regarding public opinion, a record 74 percent of Americans favor nuclear energy, according to a September 2008 Bisconti survey. The survey also found only 11 percent of Americans strongly oppose new nuclear plants. Both presidential candidates and all Republican and Democrat candidates for federal office in Idaho supported nuclear.

It was unusual to read Mr. Hutterman’s comment that we should publish more information about our company. We have two Web sites, www.idahoenergycomplex.com and www.alternateenergyholdings.com, and a blog at www.cleanidahoenergy.wordpress.com, and we have had many news stories written about our company, technology, intentions and financing. The extensive information about our endeavors and personal histories on each of these sites should answer many questions and I invite anyone to email us questions at info@aehipower.com.

Also on my blog, I address the economic impact of our plant, how nuclear power plants are very compatible with rural areas, the out-of-state selling of Idaho’s wind and geothermal energy, and many other matters, so I won’t repeat them here. Suffice to say I answer many of the very valid questions Mr. Hutterman and others pose.

I look forward to working with Mr. Hutterman and other progressive-minded Elmore County residents on the county’s and the nation’s nuclear future.

Don Gillispie

president and CEO

Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc.

Obama appoints pro-nuke December 6, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in approval process, balanced approach, Barack Obama, Energy policy, national security, nuclear industry, Politics and nuclear, Uncategorized, Wall Street Journal.
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Because of his relative lack of experience, Barack Obama is largely an unknown. However, I applaud his pick for National Security Advisor: James Jones, a retired Marine general.

What does the National Security Advisor have to do with nuclear energy? Jones advocates a comprehensive overhaul to U.S. energy policy in the name of national defense. In this case, I have to say Obama truly “gets it.” A stable, reliable and affordable supply of energy is key to our national security. Jones also comes with solid business credentials, having been president and CEO of the Institue for 21st Century Energy, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this group last month published a detailed set of recommendations on energy policy, written as a memorandum to Obama.

The policy recommendations cover a broad swath, including support for clean technologies, such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as further investments in climate science. In the transition paper, Jones says “our country urgently requires a balanced and enduring strategy to meet our growing needs. America stands at a defining moment where the decisions made today will influence the economic prosperity, global competitiveness, and national security of future generations.”

The plan argues for increased domestic oil and gas drilling, a commitment to so-called clean-coal technology and increased use of nuclear energy. It also calls for an upgrade to the U.S. power grid electricity distribution network.