Scientists: New England States That Closed Nuclear Plants Have Higher Emissions

Whoops! Nuclear plants help reduce carbon emissions and states that close nuclear facilities see emissions go higher. According to E&E News, shortly after several New England states shut down nuclear power plants saw large increases in emissions.

E&E reports, shortly after New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania shut nuclear energy facilities in their states during 2019, New England’s overall emissions are up 12 percent collectively, while Pennsylvania’s emissions alone are up 3 percent and even New York’s went up 11 percent. This after each state expanded the use of renewable energy and using natural gas to make up for the loss. Even scientists are noticing the difference too. From the article:

“The increase is further fueling a raging debate within climate circles over the role of nuclear power in the transition to a zero-carbon grid. Some researchers argue nuclear provides a reliable source of emissions-free power that can complement wind and solar.

“If the goal is that we’re moving to 100 percent zero carbon electricity,” said Melissa Lott, director of research at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, “closing zero-carbon resources doesn’t make a lot of sense. We’re just digging the hole deeper.”

Others see nuclear as a short-term climate fix, at best. They note that recently closed plants were plagued by operational issues, and they point to the exorbitant price of building new nuclear facilities. While some greens have grudgingly embraced a collection of state deals to keep struggling nuclear plants open in recent years, they say such rescue efforts should be tailored to well-operating facilities.

“I have been convinced by the point that nuclear provides a lot of greenhouse gas benefits,” said Ben Inskeep, a policy analyst at EQ Research, a clean energy consulting firm. “However, I still have a lot of concerns about subsidizing a legacy industry that, perhaps in many places, does not need additional financial incentives to keep those power plants open today.””

Efforts to shutter nuclear plants have backfired to the point where Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and New York are now offering assistance to distressed nuclear facilities realizing that doing so will not save jobs and keep carbon emissions down but also affordably keep the lights on for their state’s residents.

However, California is still on track to end up in a new dark age with the state’s politicos tightening emissions goals while using natural gas as a back up when their renewable boondoggles flop while conducting their mission. Unfortunately, despite the recent cultural shift along with a number of academics urging the state to reconsider their closing the Golden State’s last nuclear plant (Diablo Canyon) in 2025, E&E points out state regulators show no signs of backing off.

Europe’s experience with renewable energy has been an unmitigated disaster and after California started shutting down Diablo Canyon, the result has been rolling blackouts throughout the state. Ultimately, environmentalists could care less that their proposals to use renewables to replace fossil fuels or even that their hostility to nuclear energy has resulted in a lower quality of life for people. Deny people reliable, cheap sources of energy, then the population will shrink and that’s all that matters to them.

Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay