Exelon fights back, even amid growing earnings

Is Quad Cities uneconomic or making money? Probably the former, but some of Exelon's other reactors may be doing better than the company has let on.

Is Quad Cities uneconomic or making money? Probably the former, but some of Exelon’s other reactors may be doing better than the company has let on.

The nation’s largest nuclear utility, Exelon, has launched a new website intended to encourage people in Illinois to write their state legislators in support of Exelon’s nuclear reactors–especially the five the utility has said are currently uneconomic and need financial help to keep open. Despite its repeated protestations that it isn’t asking for a bailout, Exelon has asked the state for $580 million in rate increases for those reactors, although it hasn’t promised it will keep them open in any case. Couldn’t sound more like a bailout to us… Continue reading

Within 2 years, Deutsche Bank says rooftop solar will be the cheaper option for everyone

deutsche-us-solar-590x216Deutsche Bank has released a new report predicting that rooftop solar will reach “grid parity” in all 50 states of the U.S. in just two years–by the end of 2016. “Grid parity” means that the cost of obtaining electricity from rooftop solar–including installation–is equal to or less than the cost of obtaining electricity from traditional utilities operating in the state. Continue reading

With a reliance on nuclear industry talking points, Carol Browner continues to embarrass herself

Carol Browner. Photo from wikimedia commons.

Carol Browner. Photo from wikimedia commons.

Former White House climate “czar” and now Nuclear Matters shill Carol Browner continues to embarrass herself with her ill-informed, although presumably lucrative, rants in support of nuclear power no matter its bevy of environmental, safety and economic failings.

One hopes that, if not Browner herself, at least the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the nation’s most prominent organization supporting environmental candidates in elections, is embarrassed by Browner’s antics. After all, she is chair of the LCV Board, which always has been at least skeptical of nuclear power and certainly has never fallen to the level of uncritical support for the industry espoused by Browner.

Exhibit A is a speech Browner made Friday on Capitol Hill, in a Nuclear Matters-sponsored event for policymakers. Continue reading

Is storage the new solar? And other news from our solar future…

Ramping-Up-Renewables-Infographic_FINAL_Full-Size-Panel-1-Web-VersionIt wasn’t that long ago–what, just seven, eight years ago now–that solar power was considered, justifiably, an expensive niche technology. Sure, environmentally solar power has always reigned supreme and there were enough people wanting clean energy for their homes to keep the industry in business, but solar was just too costly for mainstream use.

But behind the scenes, the technology was improving and its costs began dropping. China went into solar in a big way, further reducing costs through mass production. Germany’s long switch to renewables, accelerated by Fukushima, meant another giant market for solar, and solar’s costs didn’t just drop over the past several years, they plummeted. Continue reading

Aging reactors: a failure to plan that will haunt nuclear utilities

Exelon's aging GE Mark I reactors at Peach Bottom. Photo by cryptome.org

Exelon’s aging GE Mark I reactors at Peach Bottom. Photo by cryptome.org

One reason that giant nuclear utilities like Exelon, Entergy, Duke and others are so aggressively taking extraordinary steps to force ratepayers to keep their obsolete, aging reactors operating at any cost is that these utilities have failed to adequately plan for the reality that reactors have a limited operational life and at some point will have to be retired.

The issue is global, it isn’t confined to the U.S., but the ramifications of this failure to plan, or perhaps to accept the reality that no machinery lasts forever–especially not the kind exposed to the tremendous heat and radiation levels that nuclear reactors are–will have its greatest impact in the deregulated states of the U.S.  Continue reading

The return of Yucca Mountain?

yucca102The tortured history of the Yucca Mountain radioactive waste project took another twist Thursday as the NRC released a key portion of its Safety Evaluation Report (SER) for the project.

Judging from the reaction of the nuclear industry and its backers, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the release of Volume 3 (of five volumes, three of which are not yet completed) meant that the radwaste trains would begin rolling into the mountain this morning.  Continue reading

Why Nuclear Matters doesn’t matter

Nuclear Matters doesn't matter because its fundamental argument doesn't make sense. Not to these marchers, not to the general public, not even to politicians.

Nuclear Matters doesn’t matter because its fundamental argument doesn’t make sense. Not to these marchers, not to the general public, not even to politicians.

Regular readers of GreenWorld know that we have dropped a lot of digital ink writing about Nuclear Matters, the astroturf group launched by Exelon early this year to try to make the case to save the utility’s aging and uneconomic nuclear fleet.

Exelon and the PR firm Sloane and Company that runs the public end of Nuclear Matters have assembled a seemingly potent team of paid-for spokespeople to make the utility’s case: former Senators like Evan Bayh and Judd Gregg; former DOE secretary James Abraham; and the big catch, former EPA Administrator, Obama climate czar, and current League of Conservation Voters board chair Carol Browner.  Continue reading