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Print 35 comment(s) - last by Nervenkrieg.. on May 20 at 2:52 PM

If you close coal plants and don't build nuclear, what are your options?

The Canadian province of Quebec recently started construction on a major new hydroelectric project that will cost an estimated $6.5 billion dollars (CAD). The Romaine Hydroelectric Complex will have 1550 MW of capacity and produce 8 terawatt-hours of electricity per year. Consisting of four power plants when completed, it will be able to supply electricity for 450,000 households.

Much of that power could end up in New York state and New England. Hydro-Quebec, the province's public utility, generates over 95% of its electricity from hydropower. It currently exports 21.3 terawatt-hours of electricity per year to Ontario, New York state, and New England, generating over $1.9 billion CAD in revenue for 2008.

Several factors are leading to increased hydroelectricity imports. The Obama administration’s policies on renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions trading, and the shift away from coal power plants means that hydroelectricity becomes more attractive to municipalities. On the other hand, growing power consumption along the eastern seaboard means that new and replacement power generation must be brought online quickly.

The Luther Forest Technology Campus in New York state's Capital Region is expected to require large amounts of power. GlobalFoundries is planning to build its Fab 2 CPU plant there, and GE Transportation will build a new battery plant in the region to support its hybrid-electric vehicle efforts.

Hydroelectricity is a source of constantly available baseload power during the day and night. Baseload power is currently only available from nuclear, coal, natural gas, and hydroelectric sources. Solar and wind power require large amounts of reactionary power from coal and/or natural gas plants to ensure stability in the electrical grid and power supply chain.

Hydroelectric dams usually raise environmental concerns due to flooding needed to create reservoirs for the dams. Over $200 million has already been spent or budgeted on environmental studies, attenuation measures, and environmental monitoring, which is planned to continue until 2040.

Power from the project will be initially available by 2014 and all construction will be completed by 2020.



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RE: So we're going to pay money to Canada?
By Jansen (blog) on 5/19/2009 1:57:28 PM , Rating: 4
I would love for the US to build new nuclear plants and replace their old coal-fired plants.

It amazes me that many people are against even replacing 50 year old nuclear reactors with new reactors that have passive shutdown systems and use much less fuel. They are much safer, but extremists would rather focus on stopping new reactors than replacing older, less safe models.

Don't forget too, that coal-fired plants from Michigan and other states upwind of Ontario and Quebec dump their pollution laden with mercury and other chemicals onto Canadians.


RE: So we're going to pay money to Canada?
By matt0401 on 5/19/2009 2:38:19 PM , Rating: 5
Don't remind me...

Come on now, here in Ontario the vast majority of our electricity is renewable. We do import a lot from Quebec but what we generate is either nuclear or hydro, a small remaining fraction being filled in with wind and coal/natural gas. If Canadians can do it, why not the states?


RE: So we're going to pay money to Canada?
By arazok on 5/19/09, Rating: 0
RE: So we're going to pay money to Canada?
By omnicronx on 5/19/2009 3:08:51 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Because the United States is an advanced industrial economy 10 times the size of Canada’s.
Ontario is home to 12 million people, and is the economic powerhouse of Canada.

Simply put, you are not allowed to build nuclear reactors, don't blame it on the size of the economy.

With careful planning there is no reason any water accessible state should not be able to do the same as Ontario. i.e utilizing nuclear power for a large portion (50%+) of your power needs


RE: So we're going to pay money to Canada?
By arazok on 5/19/2009 3:24:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ontario is home to 12 million people, and is the economic powerhouse of Canada.


Yes, and we import Hydro (5%) and rely on Coal (~30%), and Natural Gas (~5%) for some of our needs.

The American industrial heartland dwarfs Ontario. There’s no way they could rely on Hydro to the same extent. I would agree that they need far more Nuclear power.


By FITCamaro on 5/19/2009 10:09:28 PM , Rating: 3
It could easily rely on hydro. Because it isn't a variable source of power. Unless the river dries up. But then you have bigger problems.


By teldar on 5/19/2009 5:37:16 PM , Rating: 2
And Ontario imports electricity from Quebec as well. As the OP said, there are simply not enough large rivers to dam for power for the US to run on.
The only realistic option IS nuclear. But we have too many tree huggers who don't understand how safe it is.


By omnicronx on 5/19/2009 3:01:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If Canadians can do it, why not the states?
Quebec is the only province with a significant amount of population to be pretty much self sufficient. Ontario is not even close to 'the vast majority', it is currently only around 50%.

Quebec cannot really be compared to pretty much anywhere else either. They have huge amounts of accessible water masses, small lakes and rivers which are suitable for hydro installations.

Even with Ontario's numerous Nuclear plants and hydro dams (Niagra is a pretty big hydro producer), we still make use of coal burning and other fossil fuel based power plants (and as the article mentions, we buy from other provinces). Considering this took years of planning even to reach this state (at this point even with two new reactors being built, ontario is only aiming for 50% nuclear power by 2025), it is no wonder the states cannot catch up. It will take years for big states like New York to become self sufficient.


By tmouse on 5/19/2009 3:16:21 PM , Rating: 2
Problem is in NY they want to close down Indian Point, they gave a thumbs down to a new gas line and new proposed power transmission lines. We need more power but no one wants any of the necessary infrastructure. I suppose the magic electric fairy's will beam it to us. made from happiness and sunshine.


RE: So we're going to pay money to Canada?
By SeeManRun on 5/19/2009 4:47:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I would love for the US to build new nuclear plants and replace their old coal-fired plants. It amazes me that many people are against even replacing 50 year old nuclear reactors with new reactors that have passive shutdown systems and use much less fuel. They are much safer, but extremists would rather focus on stopping new reactors than replacing older, less safe models.


It isn't that they think the plants are bad, well some do, but it is the 'not in my back yard' crowd. People are all for new airports, better transit via trains, and more prisons, but as soon as you put plans up people freak out saying they don't want to live near those things. I think most Americans would be fine to have nuclear reactors in Alaska in the wilderness, but they won't do much good way up there...


By Zoomer on 5/19/2009 11:54:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure AMD, oops Global Foundries, wouldn't mind a nuclear reactor, train stations, etc right next to their new fab. Cheap power, cheap freight, woohoo!

No reason why it can't be built at industrial-ly areas like that. I'd be more concerned about the fab's chemicals.


"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch














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