Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Improbable Set of Circumstances' Blindsided Southern

Georgia Power told regulators that the Plant Vogtle expansion project would bring low-cost, carbon-free power to Georgia when the reactors started up in 2016 and 2017. Construction on the units continues. (Photo Credit: Georgia Power) Click to Enlarge.
Despite all of the challenges and the changing energy portfolio nationwide, Southern CEO Tom Fanning continues to push nuclear and stand behind his company's decision years ago.  Broadly, if the nation is going to continue its shift toward low- or no-carbon generation, nuclear must remain in the mix, he argues frequently.

What's more, he said, even though natural gas prices remain low, they are up 50 percent over spot prices one year ago.

"Natural gas is by its nature volatile, so there will always be a place in the portfolio for what I would call 'low beta,' kind of low-energy-risk, high-reliability baseload facility like nuclear that doesn't emit any carbon," Fanning said in an interview with E&E News on May 3.

Also, generation planning is long-term by nature, he said.  They have to look 40 to 50 years out, he said.  This includes looking past any administration, including Trump's, which has undone all of Obama's clean energy platform.

"Really, you shouldn't think about any one spot economic reality or any one administration.  We know there will be an administration after Trump, whether he gets elected or not," Fanning said.  "There may be a carbon tax one day, and therefore you're really happy you have a non-carbon-emitting resource.  We have to make these decisions with the longest-term view of almost any industry in the United States."

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