Cuomo should subsidize wind, not nukes

Cuomo Needs to Subsidize Off-Shore Wind, Not Nukes

“New York’s clean energy future needs to increase its financial support for off-shore wind, solar and energy conservation. Investing in renewable energy is the best way for Governor Cuomo to create jobs, lower electric rates and reduce climate change. He is wrong to support plowing more tax and consumer dollars into propping up old failing nuclear and coal plants”, said Mark Dunlea, Chair of the Green Education and Legal Fund.

A NY Times story today said that the Governor wants to subsidize nuclear power plants under the guise of meeting the state’s goal for more renewable energy by 2030. He is concerned about the loss of jobs in upstate New York, where he did badly in his recent election. However, the Jacobson study on transition to 100% clean energy by 2030 showed that New York would create more than a quarter-million 40-year jobs (over 4 million individual jobs) during the build out, while lowering electric rates by more than 50% compared to continued reliance on fossil fuels.

In an interview publishing today, Cuomo’s energy czar stated that he does not support having the state agree to make a long term commitment to purchase off-shore wind. Advocates want the state to jump start off-shore wind by agreeing to a Power Purchase Agreement of 5,000 MW of off-shore wind by 2025, and 10,000 by 2030.

Last week the PSC suddenly pulled the Clean Energy Fund off its agenda prior to its meeting. The Fund will use $5 billion of consumer funds over 10 years to promote the development of renewable energy. Some had speculated time that the Fund was being postponed as the Governor worked on a bailout package for the Fitzpatrick nuclear power plant.

Kauffman is quoted as stating that “The wind industry, for example, would like to know that we’re going to have a certain amount of dollars dedicated to wind every year — X amount of dollars or X amount of megawatts. And that’s not really the way we want to do it. We’re sympathetic, we want to give a long-term signal to the renewable energy industry, but the objective isn’t to procure a certain amount of wind per year. “

Besides the environmental dangers posed by nuclear power plants, they are too expensive and require government subsidies and protections (e.g., Price-Anderson Act) to exist. If a meltdown were to occur, the accident could kill and injure tens of thousands of people, leaving large regions uninhabitable. And, more than 50 years after splitting the first atom, science has yet to devise a method for adequately handling long lived radioactive wastes. For years nuclear plants have been leaking radioactive waste from underground pipes and radioactive waste pools into the ground water at sites across the nation.

Nuclear power plants are not “carbon free.” They do not emit carbon or other greenhouse gases as they split atoms during the fission process, but their carbon footprint must be assessed on the basis of their complete nuclear fuel life cycle. Significant amounts of fossil fuel are used indirectly in mining, milling, uranium fuel enrichment, plant and waste storage construction, decommissioning, and ultimately transportation and millennia-long storage of waste. In addition, the nuclear industry’s false refrain that nuclear power plants have no carbon footprint is an attempt to obscure the fact that nuclear power plants’ radiation footprint is far more lethal than the carbon footprint of any other industry.

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