The Make Connecticut Plan Part 2

I have been thinking about a way to get our beautiful state of CT off of nuclear power and transitioned to renewable sources instead. I have been inspired by Germany and their efforts to do just that.

I am also very concerned about our loss of manufacturing jobs.

The solution to address job and economic growth while ending our use of nuclear power plants, is renewable energy. Specifically, a state wide massive transition from nuclear power replaced by both centralized and de-centralized solar and wind power.

The decommissioning and replacement of nuclear power plants in CT with renewable sources will create thousands of jobs and promote economic growth, just as the transition from y2k related issues and widespread adoption of the internet, created massive economic growth back in the 90’s.

CT and Germany both have a long history of manufacturing and innovation. Both CT and Germany have utilized nuclear power.  Yet Germany, has been moving away from Nuclear power and transitioning to renewable energy sources on a very large scale. They have had a great deal of success and according to the New York Times, (in an article dated Feb, 18, 2014), “renewable energy sources have expanded to 23 percent of the country’s supply”. Yet there are ominous signs that this has lead to an increase in coal dependence.

CT should learn from the German experience of moving away from nuclear power, using the ideas and policies that worked in Germany and adapting them to work in our state. Regarding the things that are not working in Germany, CT needs to innovate and find solutions that will work here.

In 2014, CT generated 49.5 percent of its electricity using nuclear power and 44.9 percent using natural gas.  (Source – The dangers of nuclear power have been thoroughly demonstrated by both Chernobyl and Fukushima. Because CT has limited capability to import natural gas via pipelines, we have faced some of the highest electricity prices in the country( See previous article , “The Make CT Plan Part 1” for details).  If CT turns to more natural gas plants, that would mean expanding pipeline infrastructure in CT to import more gas.

Every time CT residents have to import a fuel like natural gas to generate power, they export their money to the states that produce that fuel and the result is an awful lot of capital leaving our state. In addition, by relying on a fossil fuel such as natural gas, CT is relying on a fuel that is produced using a method called Fracking, which is short for hydraulic fracturing.  Fracking is a method that uses high pressure fluid composed of chemicals, sand and water, to unlock natural gas in deep rock formations. Fracking  been found to cause earth quakes, air and land pollution, in addition to depleting local water supplies. There is a very ominous production issue with fracked wells, several reports from many sources including Bloomberg and the University of Texas are showing that production from Fracked wells will decline more abruptly than anticipated. This could leave the US with a real energy shortfall in a few years.

If CT could find a way to replace nuclear power with domestically produced wind and solar, it would create jobs, keep more money in our state and put and end to relying on expensive and unstable natural gas supplies.

The Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Lab has shown that CT has a large portion of viable wind power offshore, extending from Stamford all the way to New London.  In addition, CT residents have increasingly been turning to solar to power their homes and businesses.  Combining increased solar with both on and offshore wind power, could be a very good resource of safe, nearly unlimited and stable power for CT.

The Renewable Energy Association of CT calls on our academic and political leaders to determine a viable way to decommission all nuclear power plants in CT and replace them with renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind.  This transformation has the potential to create thousands of jobs all over CT.

We stand on the precipice of an enormous opportunity to move away from nuclear power and transition our energy supply to a more stable, safe and renewable source of power for generations, let’s not waste it.

Photographer: Armin Kübelbeck, CC-BY-SA, Wikimedia Commons