The Nuclear Option

Jack Spencer and Nicolas Loris make a convincing argument for nuclear power as part of a solution to assuage a Maryland’s future energy crisis.

Unfortunately, instead of loosening regulations to encourage building or expanding power plants, state and federal governments are moving toward rationing electricity.
Gov. Martin O’Malley for example, wants a 15 percent reduction in electricity use by 2015 (based on 2007 usage rates) and for state utilities to produce 20 percent of their energy from solar, wind and other renewable fuels by 2022.

Proponents make it sound so simple. Just buy a new dishwasher, build a couple of windmills, put some solar cells on the roof and – voila! – energy problem solved.

Not really. Maryland would have to reduce its electricity consumption by about a fifth of today’s use to meet Mr. O’Malley’s objective. Since Maryland produces only 1.3 percent of its electricity from renewables, increasing that to 20 percent in the next 14 years would be daunting, to say the least.

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Some may ask: What’s wrong with some aggressive conservation? Well, there’s a lot wrong when it’s unjustifiably forced upon consumers.

Think about it. The legitimacy of these draconian efforts is rooted in the notion that there is an energy shortage. Conservation, after all, makes sense when there is a shortage of something.

But energy is not in short supply. There are fossil fuels, and lots of them, right here in America. Yet America is one of the few nations that chooses to leave much of its own reserves untapped. Yes, wind and solar power are options. But the technology hasn’t advanced yet to the point where these are affordable enough or reliable enough to satisfy our growing energy demands.

Then there’s nuclear power. It is emissions-free, affordable, proven and safe. It already provides the U.S. with 20 percent of its electricity, and it has the advantage of being recyclable.

Expanding nuclear powered energy supplies make sense and is sound policy in an era of every increasing demand. However, Governor O’Malley and his environmental backers would rather drag us into energy rationing; freezing Peter to heat Paul.

I don’t necessarily have a problem with wind and solar being in the mix, but they are not yet, and should not bee seen yet as a renewable panacea. The unreliability of wind power led to a power grid emergency in Texas last week, where power was cut to customers.

crossposted on The Main Adversary

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