Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy
Statement in Support of Plant Vogtle Continued Construction
Georgia Power Company’s Seventeenth (17th) Vogtle Plant Construction Monitoring (VCM) Report
Georgia Public Service Commission
Monday, November 6, 2017
The Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) strongly supports continued construction at Vogtle Units 3 and 4. Nuclear energy is already a critical resource in Georgia, boosting the economy and providing emission-free, base load power for 60-80 years. As a lifelong Georgian, I am proud of the efforts the co-owners have made and will continue to make to expand the state’s nuclear generation fleet.
For nearly a decade, PACE has observed and commented upon the energy policy landscape in a variety of public forums. Our rallying cry is Energy Fairness, and that’s also the web address where anyone can find hundreds of commentary pieces we’ve put our name to. I want to use PACE’s time with the Commissioners today to focus on consumers.
PACE believes consumers need and deserve a strong nuclear portfolio in Georgia. Nuclear generation provides our country with environmental, economic and national security benefits.
Consumers benefit when utilities can fulfill the obligation to serve on a least-cost basis by depending on adequate fuel supplies and with absolute confidence in having the flexibility to rotate among supply options on a daily basis and for the long haul.
Some people want utilities to shelve nuclear and coal generation in favor of only natural gas and renewables. Those advocates have a short memory, as it has been only slightly over a decade since consumers bore the brunt of natural gas commodity prices at 8, 10, 12 and even 14 dollars per MM BTU.
Others dream of a 100 percent renewables future and insist that cities, counties and consumers everywhere zoom toward their dream as fast as possible.
Unfortunately, physics and technology will not allow that dream yet. While, as is frequently said in energy policy forums, storage will be a game-changer, it is an incredibly brand-new industry. We are more than 15 years away from mature development. There are many supply chain, technology and pricing issues to work out with storage, and until then, renewables can only be a slice of the generation pie.
It would be irresponsible for Georgia to kick aside or significantly curb the nation’s most prevalent form of clean energy, nuclear.
Finally, a point that is very personal to me, first as a mother and then as an energy advocate. The world is increasingly dangerous. Over the last 15-20 years, other superpowers and emerging economies have formed alliances around economics, technology and geostrategic goals. China and Russia are building nuclear plants rapidly and taking the United States’ place in guiding other countries to do so. For example, according to a recent piece in Forbes, China has 22 nuclear reactors under construction and is breaking ground on a new nuclear power plant every month. Finishing Plant Vogtle and then allowing other U.S. plants to stay online is critical to keeping our country at the global nuclear table.
Thank you for your time today and for convening this important public hearing.