ENERGY BLOG -- SCOTT SUTTELL
Public's enthusiasm for renewable energy is fading
10:39 am, March 20, 2012
Americans still support the development of renewable energy sources, but their enthusiasm is waning.Green light
The New York Times says a new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press suggests “that more Americans may be moving toward the Republican way of thinking on conventional energy.”
A majority of Americans “still view developing alternatives like solar, wind and hydrogen power as more important than increasing production of oil, coal and natural gas,” according to The Times.
“But that majority has narrowed markedly from a year ago, the Pew poll showed,” the newspaper notes. “In the study, conducted this month, 52 percent of the 1,503 adults surveyed deemed developing alternative sources as the more important priority in meeting the nation's energy needs. Thirty-nine percent said that expanding exploration and production of conventional sources was more important.”
A year ago, 63% said alternative energy development was more important while 29% favored oil, coal and gas.
You will not be surprised to learn there's a significant partisan divide in the survey.
The Times says 89% of Republicans favored allowing more offshore drilling as opposed to 50% of Democrats, with independents falling in between at 64%. Conversely, 81% of Democrats and 70% of independents favored more federal spending on alternative energy, as opposed to 52% of Republicans.
Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp.'s Beaver Valley nuclear reactors in near Pittsburgh operated safely in 2011, according to an annual assessment report by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.Details, details
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that according to the assessment, released Monday, “performance indicators for Beaver Valley Units 1 and 2 were all ‘green,' indicating very low safety significance.” (The NRC rates higher levels of safety concerns with a color code that progresses from "white" to "yellow" to "red.")
"There were no significant safety issues at Beaver Valley in 2011," Neil Sheehan, an NRC spokesman, told the Pittsburgh newspaper. "As a result, our level of inspection at the plant this year should be comparable to that of last year. There will not be a reduction in the number of inspection hours."
In 2011, NRC inspectors spent 5,600 hours reviewing and inspecting operations at the nuclear power plant located about 20 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.
A large-scale wind project that would build at least 54 wind turbines in Champaign County in southwest Ohio “still faces hurdles — including possible tax breaks and road agreement issues with county officials — before it can move forward,” according to this story from the Springfield News-Sun.
The first phase of the $20 million Buckeye Wind project is moving ahead after a 4-3 ruling in the Ohio Supreme Court this month. But the newspaper says talks on taxes and on how to protect roads during construction have not yet begun between county officials and Everpower Renewables, the company in charge of Buckeye Wind.
Everpower, not surprisingly, “has said some form of tax abatement is needed to allow the project to continue,” the News-Sun reports.
The newspaper says county officials have expressed concern about several aspects of Buckeye Wind, including “its effect on property values, and the county's legal and financial responsibilities if the project should fail.” Company officials “said those scenarios are unlikely and 70 conditions set by the Ohio Power Siting Board ensure the project will protect the public.”
Jason Dagger, a spokesman for Buckeye Wind, tells the paper the earliest construction could begin is late this year or early next year. A road agreement is needed protect county and township roads as heavy equipment travels through during construction.
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