Feds boast that nuclear energy is the ‘real new green deal’

Vogtle nuclear power plant, Waynesboro, Georgia.

Georgia Power

At a speech to nuclear power plant employees in Georgia, where the two new reactors are being built, Perry highlighted the administration’s broader goals of “making America great again,” opening his address by saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, look around you. This is the real new green deal.”

The financial boost for the pair of reactors being built at the Vogtle power station near Augusta, Georgia is but a drop in the bucket, considering the cost overruns already incurred by the owners. The project was originally approved in 2012, with a price tag of $14 billion.

Today, with overruns, the price is double that amount and growing. The new guaranteed $3.7 billion in financing comes on top of another $8.3 billion in loan guarantees from the Energy Department under Barack Obama. Completion is now set for sometime in 2022.

Nuclear becomes part of clean energyCongressional members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey introduced their “Green New Deal” in February that calls for a rapid shift to carbon-free energy. The plan calls for drastic measures to reduce carbon emissions across the economy, from transportation and agriculture to building efficiency upgrades and energy generation.

“We’ve drafted it in a way which can get the support of progressives and moderates inside of our caucus,” Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), one of the lead sponsors of the Green New Deal resolution, told reporters last month.

But, Forbes notes that at first, nuclear power plants were left out of the plan. The deal actually called for phasing out all nuclear power plants and included a fact sheet that also killed any ideas of building new ones.

The plan immediately ran into a roadblock because nuclear, a clean form of energy, was left out. So, a section of the new green deal was rewritten that while making no mention of nuclear power, does include it as a source of clean energy. This is why Perry made a reference to the new green deal on Friday.

Now, the text of the plan includes the goal of “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources, including— (i) by dramatically expanding and upgrading renewable power sources; and (ii) by deploying new capacity.”

If the new green deal continues to gain traction, we will have to have serious discussions on how we go about meeting the goals set force in the plan while insuring that our electricity generation needs are met. Clean energy – carbon emissions-free – does not include fossil fuels or natural gas. The proposed “new Green Deal” will be voted on today.