First offshore wind farm in US completed. Details of FOAK costs & schedule
Deepwater Wind has completed attaching blades to the last of five massive, 6 MWe peak capacity wind turbines that make up the 30 MWe Block Island Wind Farm. That is one of the final steps in the process of installing and commissioning the facility.
By the end of 2016, the developer expects that the project will enter commercial operation and begin providing the first electricity from offshore wind turbines to the US electricity grid. It is a development with far reaching implications and several lessons available to be learned.
Consistently Powerful Political Support Is A Key Component
This modest-sized installation has been in the works since 2008. In April of that year, Rhode Island issued a request for proposals. Eight organizations submitted bids. In September, a five person panel appointed by the Gov. Donald Carcieri Administration selected Deepwater Wind LLC, a then-new entity from New Jersey without prior wind installation experience, to be the project developer.
Initially, the public utility commission (PUC) rejected the project’s negotiated power purchase agreement (PPA) on the basis of excessive cost. In 2009, the state legislature passed a law supported by the Carcieri Administration tasking the PUC to prioritize project benefits like creating a new industry with local employees and producing clean power that are not strictly economic.
The final PPA starts with an electricity price of $244 per MWh. During the next 20 years, National Grid will purchase the full output of the facility at a price that increases by 3.5% every year. In year 20 of the agreement, the price paid for Block Island Wind Farm power will be $479/MWh.
In September 2010, Deepwater Wind hired Jeff Grybowski, Donald Carcieri’s former Chief of Staff as its chief administrative officer and senior Vice President for strategy and external affairs. Mr. Grybowski has since been promoted to to company CEO while developing a strong reputation in the offshore wind industry as a policy guru.
Here is a quote from promotional material published by his alma mater, Brown University, in advance of his giving an invited talk there in the fall of 2015.
Deepwater Wind is now installing the first offshore wind farm in the United States off the coast of Rhode Island, the Block Island Wind Farm. Moving this pioneering project forward has required overcoming unique and complex financial, environmental permitting, contractual, regulatory, and construction hurdles. Jeff Grybowski, Deepwater Wind’s CEO, will discuss this success and what it means for the development of clean energy in the United States.
Grybowski has been at the forefront of shaping the federal and state policies supporting offshore wind in the US, including playing key roles in the development of federal rules governing the leasing and permitting of offshore wind projects, federal tax policies supporting renewables, and policies at the state level throughout the northeast for offshore wind, transmission, and renewables.
The project has overcome a number of challenges and schedule modifications; in an October 2012 issue of North American Windpower it was described as a $205 million project with an expected completion date before December 31, 2012.
It will only miss the initial date by slightly less than four years. That’s not too bad for a first-of-a-kind project developed during trying times in the energy market.
The current tally for the complete project is $451 million, which includes $225 million for equipment, construction and installation, $118 million for design, legal and permitting, and $108 million for the undersea cable needed to connect the facility to the established mainland grid.
Though the project will qualify for the 30% of project cost investment tax credit (ITC) in lieu of the production tax credit (PTC), the developer has not yet made it clear how much of those costs will qualify for the credit.
The undersea cable is an integral part of the project’s operation and economics; though Block Island residents are the customers most often mentioned, the Island’s peak power demand during the height of tourist season is only 5 MWe.
Instead of supplying that small amount of power directly to Block Island, Deepwater Wind’s agreement is with National Grid. That large utility will mix its production with other wholesale power supplies and pass the PPA costs to all of the customers that it serves. Individual homeowners served by the utility will thus pay about $1.35 per month for the small amount of expensive power.
Avoiding NIMBYism With Substantial Local Benefits
One way that the project developers proactively dispelled local objections to the wind facility was to carefully design and package the system so that it provided substantial benefits for island occupants and visitors. It then worked diligently to ensure that people understood how the project would directly improve their lives.
Because the wind farm is only 3 miles off of the southeast coast of Block Island, the island is a good location for the required electrical substation to combine the output of the five turbines and send it to shore. After decades of discussion and dreaming, the island could be connected to the grid and no longer need to generate its electricity by burning high cost, high pollution diesel fuel in locally operated and maintained generators.
Electricity for both commercial and retail customers on the island has cost as much as $600 per MWh (60 cents per kWh) in recent years, with a fuel adjustment surcharge accounting for up to 75% of the total cost.
The new undersea cable allows Block Island Power Company to become a distribution-only utility. It will purchase its power from the New England grid at a much more affordable price than is possible when burning diesel fuel. The undersea cable is robust and fault tolerant; the backup power concept in the remote case of failure will become portable generators transported to the island by barge.
Another pleasant benefit for island residents and visitors will be vastly improved communications capability via the six strand fiber optic cable that was included in the package.
I spoke with Whitney Kneisley of the Storm Trysail Club, which hosts the annual Block Island Race Week. Ms. Kneisley told me that the club’s members — like most sailors — are strong supporters of clean energy projects. They are excited about the Block Island Wind Farm, especially since the five turbine installation does not interfere with the normal routes taken during the round the island race that they sponsor.
State Of The Art Turbines
The project’s wind turbines will be Haliade 150’s, a new design from GE’s recently acquired Alstom division. The nacelles are mounted on towers that are 100 m tall above the water; the height from water surface to the highest swept point is 180 m.
Deepwater Wind announced the contract signing for this cutting edge design in February 2014. The first unit of the new design had completed initial installation in November 2013; the design completed its final type certification in January 2015. (Details from 4Coffshore.com)
Clean Energy Jobs
Some parts of the towers were fabricated by 14 newly hired employees at Specialty Diving Services in a large hanger type building at the Quonset (Rhode Island) Business Park; the turbines and blades were manufactured by Alstom in France; the 20 mile long undersea cable was fabricated in South Korea; and the steel jacket foundations anchoring the towers to the seabed were manufactured in Louisiana by Gulf Island Fabrications, a company with experience building foundations for offshore oil and gas drilling rigs.
Approximately 330 temporary construction and electrical workers were involved in the actual tower, turbine and cable installation.
Once the wind farm is in operation, Deepwater Wind hopes to move on to additional projects, including one that is aiming to serve Long Island, another island with high electricity rates and a power supply system dependent on burning oil.
Note: A version of the above first appeared on Forbes.com under the headline of Is Offshore Wind Finally Ready To Serve U.S. Power Needs?`
I make that about $7.50 per peak watt. What is the projected capacity factor?
This makes Vogtle look cheap. So does Ivanpah. The problem is getting people to actually look at the figures.
Most Storm Trysail Club sailors can say they like tacking around windmills because they’re like Hampton summer crowds; there for sun and adventure and gone when leaves turn, not living there to see these monstrous whirligigs ruining a pristine nautical horizon that their young will never know. Something totally needless that could’ve been avoided (along with expense) had Shoreham been allowed to run.
Well, these are certainly better looking than the oil platforms I routinely encounter while sailing off the coast of Southern California. Frankly, I hope wind energy technology continues to evolve, not as a foe of NE, but as a compatriot. Sometimes the obvious animous expressed here towards wind energy seems emotional, rather than based in concern about our continued, (and if Trump has his way, energized), reliance on fossil fuels. I realize the wind/gas relationship that is so often used here to criticize wind energy. But as I have often argued here, technologies evolve and improve through employment. Wind energy will do so. So too will NE if the industry gets its act together enough to commit the resources to fund an effective PR program that will halt its fall from grace. But to oppose the so called renewables so forcefully as I see here only creates the impression of NE advocates being anti-environment. John Q believes in renewables as a measure to slow AGW. So fight against renewables, and create the impression you are fighting against the efforts to curb AGW. It can only drive NE further in its freefall from public favor. John Q needs to be given the message that you are not an enemy of renewables, but rather that you are a partner to renewables.
Under certain fairly common conditions I can see solar complementing a steady power source like nuclear.
Those conditions are mainly that there is little seasonal variation and/or that air conditioning is a bigger power use than space heating. These 2 conditions tend to occur in the same places. In those conditions peak solar availability tends to coincide with peak power demand, and you use the steady power source for baseload & solar to cover the daytime peak in demand.
If there are places where there is a similar correlation between power demand & wind availability, I am not aware of them.
I rarely see the turbines around Tehachapi when they are not spinning, generating power. It happens, but not near as much as the times that they’re spinning.
Some of the ones that aren’t spinning are old and may have been taken out of services. At least that is what I have heard.
There are hundreds that are no longer in service. Small, with girder style towers, they remind me of Model A fords. They are being removed, but slowly. I’ve often wondered what the hold-up is. Worse than the ones sitting obsolete and idle, is a whole field of older turbines that are in service, but throw oil through bad seals all over the desert floor. Once, quite a while back, I sent Rod some pics of them, in the hopes he’d post them here. For the life of me, I can’t imagine why that particular wind farm is allowed to still operate. You can’t imagine it, unless you actually see it. One after another, badly stained with thick oil. And they have been that way, operating, for a very long time, ten years that I know of. It kinda seems ridiculous seeing bird kills touted as a criticism, when the wind farm workers I know find very few dead birds. Yet I have never seen the critics, here or elsewhere, mention these oil spewing relics, coating the desert floor with long lasting and poisonous pollution.
One reason is that many locales (perhaps not yours, but many others) have no laws on the books requiring owners of the turbines to remove them once they go out of service. Nuclear plants must do so. For awhile there were requirements that strip mining operations “restore” the landscape, although the ones I have seen that are “restored” look pretty barren.
I have not been to the wind farms at Tehachapi, but I have been to the ones at Ka Lae (we call it South Point) on the Big Island (Hawaii). Same deal there. Dozens of derelict turbines and towers literally falling down. The state sued the bankrupt owners and had it declared a public nuisance and hauled away the refuse (taxpayer-paid, of course). That is one windy area. The trees literally grow sideways because of the wind. You stand on those cliffs overlooking the ocean and there is nothing between you and Antarctica but 8,000 miles of open water, and the wind almost blows you off the land.
I get what you’re saying about how demonizing renewables will be counter productive politically. For most of us, all we’re really questioning is the notion that renewables can provide ALL of our electricity (and the associated notion that there is no role for nuclear). And all we’re asking for is to allow nuclear to compete with other clean sources on a fair, level playing field (that is, we decry policies that treat nuclear far differently from renewables).
So, what do you think of the message that we should let all non-emitting sources compete on a fair playing field, as opposed to picking winners? The result of such policies being maximum emissions reduction at minimum cost? In other words, that both nuclear and renewables should be supported, equally.
Getting down to the details, that would mean taxing or limiting CO2 emissions (and possibly air pollution) and letting the market decide how to respond. Barring that, subsidizing all clean sources equally and including all clean sources (renewable and nuclear) in all mandates (portfolio standards).
Well, Jim, unfortunately you aren’t competing in a propaganda free media environment. You can’t compete on an equal basis with an energy source that John Q considers “clean”, when at the same time he considers your energy source as being “dirty”. And its not just John Q. Its pleasant and reassuring to think that our politicians are intelligent. But watching ten minutes of news should convince any discerning and reasonably intelligent viewer that great many of them are idiots. Has it occurred to many of you that FUD is not only propaganda, but it is propaganda that is widely believed, even by many of these so called “leaders” that are deciding NE’s future? So, what becomes of the utmost importance is the message you convey, the manner in which you convince, even the idiots, that your technology is “clean”. Until you do so, you will never compete on an equal playing field with an energy source that is percieved, from the beginning, as “clean”. John Q does not see renewables as a threat to the environment. But he does view NE that way. How does one get from there, to an equal playing field? Thats your hurdle.
The clean air message seems to have made some headway in the latest go-around in central NY State with the Fitzpatrick plant, although some of the die-hard anti-nukes still were pushing the “nuclear is not clean air” bromide. At least we won a (perhaps small) victory in keeping that plant running (hopefully).
What seems to be killing us now are the unreasonable requirements in many of the states’ RPS mandates. When someone forces your customer to take a competitor’s product, even at inflated rates, to satisfy a legal mandate even if you can offer the same product at a better rate, you have a hard time competing. And at other times when your competitor can give away his product but still come out ahead because of subsidies he gets but you don’t, that makes it a tough sell as well.
I don’t always agree with you, poa, but this time I do. It is an uphill fight and sadly, I don’t think we will win it. Future generations will wonder, what the heck were we thinking…
@poa says August 24, 2016 at 9:19 PM
Q: “How does one get from there, to an equal playing field?”
A: By abandoning Light Water Reactor (LWR) technology entirely, as they retire and don’t build any new ones.
But that idea has already been poo poo’d here repeatedly with comments like “But that would only prove the antis right.” How insightful; because they are…
The nuclear dog doesn’t have a right to crap in the neighbor’s yard. And until we accept that, John Q will never accept it; because John Q is RIGHT.
John Q doesn’t want to listen to “but it won’t hurt you, it’s not very likely, blah blah, etc. John Q hasn’t bought it since the inception of LWR technology, and he won’t… ever. Because a LWR is “the bomb without the nuclear blast”, with a proven probability of occurrence.
Alvin Weinburg stated this point decades ago; that the only way to disassociate nuke power from the bomb is to have melt proof cores.
“Education” is not a solution, except for educating the proponents of LWR Tech. But that’s not a “hurdle” it is a brick wall.
(I won’t engage in “arguments” about this. When two ideological belief systems reach an impasse it’s because neither side will consider “do they have a point?”).
It may be an uphill battle to convince the public that nuclear is “clean”. However, it may not even be necessary to do so.
A surprising, and growing, fraction of the electorate supports the idea of putting a price on CO2 emissions, and/or other ideas like cap-and-trade. Both policies are technology-neutral, and give nuclear equal credit for its non-emitting nature (that is, they treat nuclear and renewables the same).
I’m a member of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby group that promotes a carbon fee and dividend (a price on CO2). Some of us are pro-nuclear, some are against, but we all agree on that policy. That is, even people who don’t like nuclear support that policy. One reason is that the policy is not ABOUT nuclear, or giving it fair treatment, etc..
Thus, whereas it may be tough to convince the public to support policies whose express purpose is “treating nuclear the same as renewables”, they are often willing to support policies that would do just that. All you have to do is not have nuclear be the focus, i.e., don’t talk about nuclear. Just say things like, it puts a price on carbon and lets the market figure out the most cost-effective way to respond.
Again, my CCL experience shows that people who don’t like nuclear are willing to support such policies. Also, in internet debates, many of the anti-nukes agree with policies that put a price on CO2/pollution, remove subsidies and leave it up to the market. (They do so out of over confidence about renewables cost and potential, but hey, whatever.)
And who knows, things may not be as bad as we think. After all, New York just went ahead with policies to specifically support existing nuclear plants, i.e., policies that were indeed expressly about helping nuclear. And yet, a liberal state went ahead with them.
The harder political battle will be to eliminate renewables mandate policies, once technology-neutral policies are passed.
Block Island isn’t on Long Island. Shoreham’s completion would have done nothing to provide the Island with power unless there was a plan for a somewhat longer undersea cable than the one from the RI mainland.
Rod, what is your best estimate as to how much 30MWe capacity (not just “peak” capacity — but “capacity”, of course) will cost with FOAK Adams Engines?
I have no current cost estimates. There are too many assumptions to even narrow the ballpark to within +- 500%
That PPA has some pretty expensive costs. Starting at 24 cents/kwhr and going up to 48 cents/kwhr for a 20 year term. The kooks in CNY were squawking about the “subsidies” agreement for Fitzpatrick being “too long” (several years) and too costly (a few cents per kwhr). Why don’t they squawk about this PPA, which is a lot higher price over a lot longer term? I assume the PPA cost is for wholesale to the distributor. I looked at my last electric bill and it was in the range of 6 cents per kwhr, using a mix of coal and nuclear generators. That is the retail price. The wholesale price in the Southwest, provided by the Palo Verde station, was trending around 3.5 cents/kwhr.
Palo Verde: I think a campaign needs to be initiated to start building replacements for these plants. They have another 30 years at least of life left but we should start now. This means building a fourth plant, like an AP1000 to remove some of the coal fired generation now being supplied from the Four Corners plants in Az. This assumes of course that the plant has access to enough cooling water to do so.
In wiki, it notes that in 2002 the plant was supplying power to the grid at 1.33 cents a KWhr. But the *cost* from the plant was now is 4.6 cents a KWhr which means it’s 1.8 cents higher than whole sale prices. Odd, that.
I am speechless about this wind farm.
Is anyone here watching this circus act unfold? Did you ever think you’d see such a spectacle? I’m dumbfounded, flummoxed, floored, incredulous…..
And some of you hold hopes that that this clown, if elected, can formulate positive energy policy? Positive ANYTHING??? Egads, if ever you have a right to be embarrassed to be an American, now is the time.
How’s your optimism meter reading these days, Rod??
I think you could be spot on Rod. As a supporter of both Renewables and Nuclear, I recognize that any and all technologies play a role, but those roles must be appropriate and effective.
I have often stated that while Renewables will certainly be a contributor going forward, there is a serious risk to the environment if Solar and Wind are permitted to be used capriciously – the size of the footprint on nature required to extract, condense and distribute energy from diffuse and often intermittent sources relegates them to very defined roles – utilized when a variety of factors converge making them the technology of choice. This just might be just such a place where those factors do converge.
The comment “Most Storm Trysail Club sailors can say they like tacking around windmills because they’re like Hampton summer crowds; there for sun and adventure and gone when leaves turn, not living there to see these monstrous whirligigs ruining a pristine nautical horizon that their young will never know”, is a bit disingenuous. Living a morning or afternoon sail from Block Island and having participated “Off Soundings” events (though not Storm Trysail) I am acutely aware of the costs associated with providing Electric power from Diesel Generators, as it is a constant refrain and lament of the 1000 or so year round residents who live on Block and try to make a living and raise their kids in a challenging environment much of the year. The locals, not the Hamptons crowd, stand to benefit the most from this project.
As to the visitors to “Block”, “not living there to see these monstrous whirligigs ruining a pristine nautical horizon that their (l assume he means the locals) young will never know”. The locals support this project. Additionally, for well over a century the residents of the mainland coast have had our “pristine nautical horizon” disrupted (in our face, not 3 miles offshore) by the Railroad Lines that cut a scar right along the coastline when railroads replaced the Long Island Sound steamship lines for commerce, but that is a concession that we acknowledge is beneficial to the common good and I still consider the area in which I live beautiful and desirable.
These Wind Turbines should present no navigational difficulty to true mariners. Neither sailors, nor fishermen, nor commercial shipping should object when the benefits that will accrue to the residents of “Block” are evident.
Since No energy producing apparatus lasts forever, so any equipment installed should have decommissioning costs levied on its operating revenues. When Gen IV Nuclear Reactors become commercially viable if it is determined that the Block Island Wind Farm should be dismantled at some point, Block Island will still be connected to the grid as a result of this project so power generated either on the island or on the mainland can be exchanged.
GE built the Wind farm. GE is now HQ’ed in BOSTON MA. GE Built Pilgrim 680 MW Power Plant which has NRC license to run until 2032. GE is NOW a Fossil Fuel Company. GE is investing 10 GigaBucks in fracking with CO2 + their other Oil and Gas ventures, Nuclear Re-fueling is a very small part of their business.
VT Yankee (No Nuke Lawyer Bernie) closed, 12-2014. EPA 2015 Reports 5% rise 2 Mega-tones Emissions to replace VT Yankee in New England + NY + Maryland == RGGI area. Closing Pilgrim 2019 or 2017, will raise Emissions Before any Power from Un-Green Quebec Hydro reaches the RGGI area. The GAS Industry and GE, has a BIG Bull size on any Uneconomic??? Nuclear Power. Drill Baby Drill. Raise Emissions, it is FREE.
I’m confused, what’s the purpose of the five colossal 6MW (largest in world?) offshore wind turbines if $100 million “robust and fault tolerant” undersea cables are being connected to the established mainland grid? Why not just use the mainland grid power transmitted via the cable which costs considerably less than 25 cents per kWh? Why are additional backup power generators being installed? Wouldn’t the existing island diesel generator(s) suffice? What are Block Island residents currently paying for their diesel generated power? more than 25 cents kWh? I just looked it up: residents of the “Big Island” of Hawaii were paying 32 cents per kWh in 2015.
An undersea cable capable of supplying peak island needs of 5MW would probably cost significantly less than undersea cable(s) capable of transmitting 30MW. I don’t know if even an undersea cable could be economically justified to supply at most 5MW, < 40,000 MWh/yr to the island.
Why couldn't Amory Lovins have been consulted (for a mere ~$1million) on how to supply islanders with LED lighting fixtures, micro wind turbines, and rooftop solar panels? Maybe exercise bikes hooked up to mini generators and distributed system of golf cart batteries.
You forgot to include hamster wheels, Leyden jars, and Whimshurst machines. Lovins would be disappointed.
@ Aaron Rizzio
You are no more confused than any of us, you might just be thinking too logically.
The convoluted energy policies that have been promulgated (imposed upon us) require that we not just examine energy production factually but emotionally as well, due to the energy tribalism that is unfortunately part of our world. The “Clean Power Plan”, mandates imposed by RPS in many states, an aversion by many to nuclear, resulting in the shuttering of existing or what had been existing nuclear facilitie, as well as the refusal to accept that advancements in how nuclear power is produced can occur, the current low price of Natural Gas that has had a history of volatility, NIMBY …..Yadda, Yadda, Yadda, all contribute to difficult assessments.
You are right, taken in isolation, a 30MW undersea cable from Block Island to the mainland is absurd….BUT….once the powers that be begin mandating things….
…..the calculus becomes vastly different (i.e. Convoluted)
Who knows though, since a robust undersea cable will be there as a result of the project, perhaps Block Island might be the site for a Gen IV SMR Reactor in the future, either built on the island or on a floating platform as the Russians are now pursuing.
If future changes in attitude were sufficient to allow citing of an off-shore reactor then one probably wouldn’t be necessary, they’d just build it right in Narragansett Bay. Brayton Point, an old coal generator near Fall River is set to close in 2017, has a modern cooling tower which could be adaptable.
RI now pays 15 cents per kWh BTW, so 25 cents per kW isn’t comparatively that bad; question is do Block island residents now get subsidized even more by the electric rate payers throughout the rest of the state (they’re already being subsidized to the tune of 2.3 cents/kWh PTC plus 30% ITC by all US taxpayers)? They were paying 60 cents per kWh and RI rate payers are getting stuck with an added $1.35 in their monthly bill. Real estate on Block Island is pretty expensive I see, islander incomes are already probably significantly higher than the RI median; with high speed internet all types of professionals could now take up residence there year-round, real estate values will/have already doubtless risen significantly.
In fairness, the Deepwater Wind project at least extended a grid service connection to an existing population. The multi-billion dollar Cape Wind project that’s been in the planning/regulatory/litigation stage since 2001 can’t even say that.
Judging by its project timeline, opposition to Cape Wind (led by Walter Cronkite, David McCullough, Ted Kennedy & RFK, jr) has been far more effective than even that against Seabrook Station which was initially proposed in late 60s, Unit 1 (>1GW(e)) construction was started in 1976 and was complete 1986, plus just four additional years of litigation in order to get the switch turned on. Cape Wind has yet to sink a single piling.
Renewable energy projects like Block Island Wind Farm receive EITHER the PTC or the ITC, not both. The selection of the 30% ITC in lieu of the PTC is a more lucrative choice in almost every case because of the time value of money.
I’m pretty sure that the Cape Wind project has been officially abandoned. I believe that is because the project wasn’t structured to alleviate or overcome local concerns. One of the reasons I wrote this piece was to provide marketers and developers of inevitably expensive first of a kind projects a case study of a successful completion because of the way that Block Island wind covered all of the bases that needed to be covered.
I looked it up, the Cape Wind project claims to have $2 billion in financing. They won all their litigation, state & federal, and have been finally & officially “approved”; however apparently their anticipated power purchase agreements with a couple utilities fell through. They still have a website but their “tweets” stopped early last year. They maintain they are still in the financing stage. In 2013 apparently some construction took place qualifying the project for the PTC.
There’s little doubt that the financing promised for the project was contingent on the power purchase agreements. The financiers expect to get paid back. No PPA with firm prices and predictable revenues, no loans.
The project probably made some equipment purchases to qualify for the tax credit. The bar was set pretty low. The good news for taxpayers is that the credits do not actually flow from us to the project until it is completed. I suspect the equipment purchased was carefully selected to be marketable to another wind project if Cape Wind failed.
I’d like to suggest that a number of you pro NE people contact the Trump campaign, and tell them what you’d like to hear him say about NE, so he knows what to say if the issue comes up. I’d hurry though, before the antis get to him first. But if that happens, don’t worry, its not the end of the world. Just issue him a new narrative, and he’ll jump right on it.
(Poor Scottie. She seems really intelligent, this must be very hard for her. Anyone else feel sorry for her?)
Are you referring to Scottie Nell Hughes? All his spokespersons are making fools of themselves, I don’t know how they’ll be employable after this debacle. I wouldn’t want DJT to advocate on behalf of nuclear energy. I’d prefer he come out for more wind subsidies in CA, NY, & MA.
DJT should just vacate the nomination and let the RNC pick a replacement under Rule 9 — should that is if he were a respectable businessman, but we know he’s been working for the Russians all along to elect HRC.
You give these clowns too much credit. They’d have to remember from one day to the next what the active conspiracy d’jour is. The Russians don’t need Trump OR Hillary to bring us down. Obviously we are perfectly capable of doing it ourselves without any outside assistance.
“I’d prefer he come out for more wind subsidies in CA, NY, & MA.”
I have it on good authority he has such a speech coming up this Thursday, strongly supporting subsidies for renewables. For those of ypu opposing such subsidies, fortunately, Friday’s speech will be about ending all subsidies for renewables. So tune in to CNN on Saturday, and Scottie will tell us what he didn’t mean to say on either day.
“All his spokespersons are making fools of themselves, I don’t know how they’ll be employable after this debacle.”
Yes, I just watched another one on the news, rolling her eyes, buying time, trying to figure out how to spin a negative into a positive without appearing to be an idiot. Sadly, she wasn’t able to pull it off. The best she could do was skirt the issue under discussion, and try to deflect attention away from the obvious. Seems to me that we now have a simple layman’s method for accurately testing an individual’s intelligence, character, and integrity. One simple question provides a credible profile….
“Do you plan to vote for Donald Trump?”
Subsidies for renewables are not going to end no matter who gets elected. NE’s fate will be at the state level.
NY was a victory. Illinois is the present battleground.
Neither Trump nor Hillary really discusses the issue seriously although Hillary’s commercials with windmills appearing everywhere is amusing.
I also don’t think a carbon tax will be passed since its not a major federal issue at this time.
The states are it.
Subsidies for renewables are not going to end no matter who gets elected.
I’m not very good at predicting the future actions of politicians. However, current federal subsidies for “renewable” (aka unreliable) energy sources are scheduled to phase out and disappear during the next four years.
Well hey! Maybe Trump, if elected, can get those subsidies switched over to fracking, offshore drilling, ice berg melting, and tundra defrosting!
And if Johnson-Weld, the governor ticket, breaks through the virtual media blackout, perhaps the funds used to prop up technologies that never made any sense as large scale contributors to the grid will be used for real infrastructure needs.
That’s the schedule, so it’s said. But those phase-outs of renewables subsidies remind me a lot of controlled fusion, which has been 20 years away from breakeven for the last 60 years. Renewable subsidies have been scheduled to be phased out in four years for the last 20 years. In my state this past year you had windies and sunnies practically beating down the doors of state legislators to get them to extend the four-year subsidies for another four years. A lot of those, perhaps the majority, were foreign companies who build these huge, industrial-scale windmills.
Its comical seeing the current political furor over “pay for play”, bring used to sully the character of one presidential candidate or the other. Really, John Q has to be an idiot to swallow this garbage. Got news for ya. “Pay for play” is how the political system rolls nowadays. Just what the heck do you think lobbyists do, if not purchase favors for whatever it is they represent? Its a quid pro quo from top to bottom. What the heck do you think “Citizens United” is all about, if not to push the truth under the rug about “pay for play”? Wayne really underscores a huge part of NE’s inability to gain widespread political support. Frankly, it obvious the NE industry’s lobbying efforts are not near as robust, or effective, as that of the renewable or fossil fuel industry. What makes a lobbying effort successful, robust, and effective?? M O N E Y. Thats what. Poor the bribes into the campaign coffers. Give out the occassional red Porsche 911. Stock a traveling politician’s motel room with some long legs and a bottle of Chavez. Fact is, the NE industry sucks at the game they play in DC. And make no mistake, if you wanna win that game, you gotta throw away your scruples, and if you ain’t a cheater, you’re gonna lose. Until NE figures out they gotta step off the curb, roll in the gutter with the rest of the energy heavy hitters, and pony up the bribes, you can expect to see one plant closure after another.
I’m not the problem, and I really don’t appreciate being accused of being so. If it were that simple, you’d just have to get rid of me and problem solved. Engineers are generally not terribly adept at the pay-for-pay game because we are taught to be honest, have integrity, and respect the people we work with. Personally, I think those are admirable attributes. They may not be effective in the political arena, but they make you a better person. In today’s world, more often than not, that makes you a target of derision and ill will rather than admiration. Yet another reason to think it is a world gone mad.
We have discussed here often the fact that there is no “nuclear industry” in the traditional sense, like the oil and gas industry or the automotive industry. There were a few companies that were vendors of NSSS systems but were really into other things for their bread and butter. There are plant owners/operators but those are mainly islands onto themselves. Trying to get them to work together is like herding cats. All we have, really, are grassroots efforts, employees, families, friends and supporters. They stepped up and helped make a difference in NYS. They stepped up in Vermont but did not prevail. Diablo Canyon? I guess we’ll see, but it is like swimming upstream.
I’m with Wayne. Like engineers, naval officers are trained to be honest, prioritize integrity and treat people with respect. I believe those qualities are held in high regard by the majority of the people in this country. I think most of us are becoming quite appalled by the way that our “leaders” act and even MORE appalled by the way the media apologists tell us to simply accept it because “that’s the way things work in Washington.”
Keep your negative outlook. I’ll keep my more optimistic view of humans and our society. We’ll see which one of us accomplishes more by winning friends and influencing people.
You misread the intent of my comment, and thr meaning. I wasn’t accusing you of being the “problem”. I was pointing out that you underscored the problem by mentioning the efforts of the renewable lobby.
OK, I apologize if I misunderstood. You generally have good points to make but sometimes tend to do so in a confrontation manner, so I am a bit sensitized to that. You are correct to recognize the somewhat persistent and strenuous efforts of the renewable lobby to push their products, and correct that those on the nuclear side should do likewise. We have lulled ourselves into thinking the advantages of using nuclear energy would be self-evident to members of the public, but even if that were true at one time, it is not so now.
Rod, I think POA is just calling it like he sees it, negative or not. We have to be honest and admit that recent news has not been all that great for the nuclear business. Just a few short years ago the ANS News magazine had a regular feature about “Renaissance Watch”, with COL applications, plans for new construction, actual new construction news, and the like. Now, seemingly overnight, we’re fighting for our lives just keeping existing plants running.
On the positive side, we really should be looking at the NY State situation with Fitzpatrick and NMP as a model for how to move forward at least in the fight for keeping what we have running. The clean air argument really seems to have swayed a lot of minds amongst the decision-makers. That and the jobs/taxes thing. Those issues seem to be the salient ones that we can use to our advantage. And it will have to be grassroots plus lobbying from the owners/operators. The “industry”, such as it is, seems to be resigned to standing on the sidelines. JMO, of course.
I apologize for the misunderstanding. Sometimes my reaction tends to be more emotional than logical. I agree that the lobbying efforts by the renewables advocates has been effective. Until recently the nuclear efforts along those lines have been pretty marginal. But with the recent change in the landscape in NY State, I have some hopes that we may be able to at least keep the wolves away from the door for a little longer.
“Keep your negative outlook. I’ll keep my more optimistic view of humans and our society.”
I don’t have a problem with “humans and our society”, Rod. I have s problem with the small minority of humans that excel in a system that demands posturing, dishonesty, and hypocricy. And you can be “optimistic” to your heart’s content, but that ain’t gonna change the way things are done in DC. Until we collectivelly realize we are being conned, cheated, lied to, and stolen from, by our so called “leaders”, we will collectively be unable to do anything about it. Your optimism doesn’t fix things. But realistic assessment is, at the very least, the first step in changing it.
I’m fine with recognizing that we have many problems. I’m not so fine with “that ain’t gonna change the way things are done in DC.”
In a pre-Internet, social media and blog era, perhaps you might have had a point. After all, when “the media” really did control the narrative, good people din’t have many ways to take action.
Now we do. Exposing the “way things are done in DC” is a step, but another step is doing things better and not going along to get along.
Rod….do I really strike you as someone that advocates “going along to get along”? If so, you haven’t been paying attention. But I can definitely tell you, using my 64 years as example, that to do the opposite has very real costs, and involves sacrifice.
But on an individual basis, I suppose we make that decision based on values and aspirations. It makes me chuckle, however, seeing you imply that the NE industry is above rolling around in the mud with the other pigs. The huge sums of money involved, and the corporate mentality, virtually guarantee survival above ethics. With NE producing corporations experiencing millions of dollars of quarterly losses, shelving plans for new plants, and being taken over by huge investment entities, do you really think “play nice” is part of their operations manual? Bottom line, the NE industry better grow some gonads, and grow them quick, or they’re going under. And humming catchy little toons ain’t exactly indicative of a rising level of testosterone.
you imply that the NE industry is above rolling around in the mud with the other pigs
Not at all. I said that I was above rolling around in the mud, mainly because I am not a pig. I also believe there are thousands of nuclear professionals — not necessarily those in top management positions within the industry — who are people with high integrity and the habit of doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do.
I don’t believe that the only way to win is to play the game. I acknowledge there are often costs and sacrifices. There’s a good reason why I retired as an O-5 who was working for a classmate who was an O-7 and now have an old friend that I competed head to head with in nuclear power school who is an O-10. I did not always make a lot of friends, got a few less than perfect marks on fitreps and got into a few unbalanced arguments with people who were “well above my paygrade.”
I am pretty happy with the way things have turned out so far. My daughters still seem to love me and respect me. They still seek my advice and are happy to let their children stay with us for weeks at a time. My pension and bank accounts are probably lower than they could have been, but the bills get paid, we still travel, live in a nice home, pay the bills, and plan for improvements in the future.
One more thing – perhaps one of the most important lessons that the nuclear industry needs to learn is that gonads and testosterone are not needed for effectively winning the battle for hearts and minds that are needed if nuclear energy is going to be allowed to make our lives richer.
One of the most important new 501(c)(3) groups formed in the past year is Mothers for Nuclear. The leaders of that organization are real leaders who get things done.
Probably a good re-direction of some of that testosterone would be in two areas. First, in the DC arena, fight back against useless and unproductive regulations coming out of NRC and EPA. Take a stand against them if we truly believe that our plants are safe enough and don’t need any more regulatory ratcheting simply as a response to public pressure or a go-along-to-get-along, take the easy way out approach. I’m not talking about provocative and spurious confrontation, but taking a principled stand and pushing back for a change.
The other would be to tell the naysayers and the kooks to go take a long walk off of a short pier. This will have to come mostly at the plant owners level and the pro-nuclear public. I know Rod Adams has done yeoman’s work, along with others like Jim Conca and Gene Nelson and Meredith Angwin who have waged the fight in public forums, both at open meetings and on the blogs. Yours truly has done likewise under various pseudonyms but unfortunately my years and health no longer allow me to travel much. Still, we do things locally, like fighting for the PPA that has allowed Davis-Besse to keep operating for the foreseeable future without the ever-looming threat of early retirement.
Outside of NEI, which is a minor player on the lobbying scene, and ANS, which while they purport to have a public advocacy operation don’t really have a lot of financial clout, there isn’t much of an industry-wide lobbying effort simply because there is no broad-based industry like the petroleum or renewables business. The latter has skillfully exploited public fear and a picture of a utopian future that has no basis in reality. Engineers are averse to playing that game because we deal with truth and useful solutions to problems. As we have seen, our opponents use those virtues against us. That is one reason why so many holders of high political office are lawyers and not engineers or scientists.
Then again, the only time the NRC seems to have gonads is fighting against nuclear industry types. They have absolutely no gonads when it comes to controlling their public meetings and keeping the anti-nuke kook animals in their cages. Have you read the accounts of some of the “public meetings” about Vermont Yankee that Meredith Angwin has written? Its like a total circus, the animals were running the zoo. And the NRC types, paid to be there by fees charged to reactor operators, let them run wild. And I’m not talking here about reasonable people with opposing viewpoints who are open to discussion of alternate views, I’m talking about costume-wearing, disruptive, vulgar, threatening psychos who seem to have nothing better to do than intimidate and disrupt public meetings.
I’ve made my car into a personal Pro-Nuclear traveling advertising banner. I have five homemade bumper stickers on my back window that say….
1. REAL Environmentalists ARE Pro-Nuclear Power (black with yellow lettering and a nice bright yellow trefoil)
2. Wind and solar require fossil fuel backups when the sun isn’t shinning and/or the wind isn’t blowing, but how often does that happen……
3. NUCLEAR POWER…..clean, safe, efficient energy 24/7
4. We ARE Pre-Nuclear (also on my wife’s truck)
5) Nuclear Power produces ~65% of all the clean power in the USA. Educate yourself on the positives of going Earth friendly Nuclear.
And soon to be stuck……
6. Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons ARE NOT one in the same, so PLEASE stop the Fear-Mongering.
7. (With a picture of a wind turbine in a circle with a line through it) “Stop Scenic Pollution……build a Nuke Plant”
When it comes to Nuclear Power, we are battling the Western side of Washington, and I will do almost anything to rally my Eastern brothers and sisters.
Please correct #6 to read “one AND the same” or you’ll do more damage to your case than good. Or just write “not the same”; verbosity and bumper stickers mix poorly.
When I see a car festooned as a billboard, with multiple stickers,I usually pass on reading them ’cause I figure the driver is a fanatic. And even if I wanted to read them, I’ve got the common sense to pay attention to the road, and not the rolling tome in the next lane. My personal suggestion would be to take one GOOD bumper sticker, that presses your point, and go with that. That WILL get read.
This is my job. I am a Nuke. Nuclear Power is what my family relies on to put bread on the table. If I have to put 50 stickers on my car to get the WHOLE point across about the benefits of Nuclear Power…then I dont give a sh*t if people like you think im a fanatic. I have no intention of people reading them while they are actually driving. There are plenty of opportunities at stop lights, in stop and go traffic and certainly while my car is parked at the grocery store.
“I have no intention of people reading them while they are actually driving.”
Well, I’m quite sure you can telepathically prevent them from doing so.
I’m sure they can’t read them while I’m passing the idiots on the right who are going 10 mph under the posted speed limit. That’s literally my driving life. Worst drivers in the USA.
Nuclear Power literally has no affect on your home life. Nuclear Power IS my life. This means your suggestions don’t mean shit to me. I will continue to do everything possible to represent my Nuke Plant. In the slight chance these assholes on the west side get us shut down…..I will be waiting for them in the parking lot.
Mr. Larsen (to Shooter McGavin) “And you can count……. on me waiting for you in the parking lot”
Well, that is very creative, and certainly no one will have any doubts where you stand on the issue. IIRC there was one organization, I don’t know if it was NEI or ANS, that sponsored a racecar.
Mothers for Nuclear has symbolic testosterone in the sense that they are not afraid to hit the streets to get their message out. They take on the naysayers and FUDdites head-to-head and give as well as they get. They get props from me for that alone, aside from the work their members do behind the scenes.
My point is that using the metaphor of “testosterone” and “gonads” to imply strength, courage, go get ’em attitudes and a thirst for victory is SO pre title IV. In fact, it was a silly metaphor even in the “old” days. One of the strongest people I’ve ever known was my grandmother – 1899-1996.
The only solution is compensation at the state level for CO2 free generation.
NY plants saved. IL plants? The NY decision has even prompted some talk about Pilgrim.
Nothing will happen at the Federal level. The EPA rules don’t explicitly reward operating nuclear but the CO2 goals can’t be met without it.
That’s the present path to preservation of operating plants. There is going to be no Federal rescue.
All effort should be local to pound this home.
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