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State makes right move in shifting focus away from wind December 30, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in balanced approach, Energy policy, Idaho leadership, Politics and nuclear, Snake River Alliance, Wind energy.
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The Associated Press, with a clear bias for wind energy, reports that Gov. Otter has disbanded the Idaho Wind Power Working Group, the state’s wind promotion think tank, and reassigned its staff member to work on energy efficiency instead. The Idaho Strategic Energy Alliance, a panel Otter created to plan for the state’s energy needs, will assume some of the working group’s functions. Energy office director Paul Kjellander said he made the changes to better coordinate renewable energy development, including biogas from dairies, solar and geothermal, under Otter’s new alliance.

This is a very wise move on the part of the state government. Before I am pegged as being anti-wind, one of AEHI’s subsidiaries, Energy Neutral, works to put wind, solar and other renewable into new and existing homes and businesses, so I understand the potential and proper place for wind energy.

As far as a statewide policy for Idaho, energy efficiency is a better goal than wind promotion. Wind is a niche power source at best and the real energy issue in Idaho is no base load plants have been built in 30 years. The Associated Press, the Snake River Alliance and other wind promoters like to say Idaho ranks 13th among states for wind power potential. That figure comes from the American Wind Energy Association which obviously has in interest in promoting wind development.

A rank of 13 is actually misleading, because wind potential, like fossil fuels, geothermal, hydro or solar power potential, is a gift that nature does not share equally. Taking a look at the wind potential map from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory below, we can see that only a few areas nationally reach Class 3, the minimum required for utility-scale power generation, and 95 percent of Idaho ranks as Class 1 or 2; indeed, most of the U.S. ranks as Class 1 or below. Only in the very center of the nation – from about North Dakota to straight down to northern Texas – are there large contiguous areas necessary for large-scale industrial wind production.

Idaho has few areas suitable for utility-scale wind production

Idaho has few areas suitable for utility-scale wind production

According to the NREL, “Areas designated Class 3 or greater are suitable for most utility-scale wind turbine applications, whereas class 2 areas are marginal for utility-scale applications but may be suitable for rural applications.”

The 50-meter wind resource map below presents the same information a bit differently, showing wind speed estimates at 50 meters above the ground and depicting the resource that could be used for utility-scale wind development. Of the developable areas in Idaho, most are fair-to-marginal for utility-scale generation.

irwm-1

Still, savvy wind developers are finding and harnessing Idaho’s wind potential and I wish them the best of luck. We can and should be developing every green energy source at our disposal.

These maps are further evidence that Gov. Otter and Paul Kjellander made the right decision. If Idaho were one of the few states that had an abundance of utility-scale generation, then a state office dedicated to wind energy would make sense. As it stands, however, Idaho’s wind energy resources are more suitable for smaller-scale rural production, which has an important role to play in the scheme of things. But Idaho definitely doesn’t have the concentration of wind resources for any sizeable utility-scale generation.

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Idaho Statesman publishes our response December 24, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Agriculture, economic benefits, Elmore County, Energy policy, Greenfield nuclear development, Idaho Statesman, nuclear industry, Politics and nuclear, reactor types, reprocessing, rural nuclear, Snake River Alliance, Water policy.
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For the past 30 years, the nuclear industry has kept a low profile, producing more energy with fewer reactors and with the best safety record imaginable. The industry is now making an effort to better publicize itself and that includes responding to misinformation.

The Idaho Statesman was kind enough to print this response to a recent Sierra Club column. You can see the online version at The Statesman’s site as well as the ensuing discussion.

Jennie Ransom: Nuclear power is very much a part of our green energy future

READER’S VIEW: ENERGY
Edition Date: 12/23/08

jennifer-ransomJessica Ruehrwein’s Nov. 12 Reader’s View repeats many of the same myths about nuclear power and we must present the truth. (While we disagree with Ruehrwein, her tone is a welcome change from the trademark incivility of the Snake River Alliance.)

Anti-nuclear activists are becoming increasingly isolated. Indeed, Scott Howson, one of Ruehrwein’s colleagues and chairman of the Rappahannock Group of the Sierra Club, said, “I see a solution ultimately in nuclear energy. It’s non-polluting, and that’s what we’re all looking for.”

The Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Wildlife Habitat Council, African-American Environmentalist Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Environmental Defense are also willing to consider nuclear as part of a solution to global warming. In this past election, both Barack Obama and John McCain supported nuclear, as did all Idaho Republican and Democrat congressional candidates. A record 74 percent of Americans favor nuclear energy, according to a September 2008 Bisconti survey.

Like many people, I used to be opposed to nuclear power, until I did my homework. There is no other source of carbon-free power that can provide the reliable, low-cost energy our nation needs to remain secure and prosperous.

Alternate Energy Holdings is proposing the Idaho Energy Complex (www.idahoenergycomplex.com), the first base-load power plant in Idaho in 30 years. In contrast to first-generation reactors that need 30 million gallons of water daily, we’ll consume as few as 100,000, thanks to a hybrid cooling design. Water will move through the facility for cooling and go to farmers, a biofuels facility and greenhouses. Our opponents know this, yet they continue repeating misinformation (see our blog at cleanidahoenergy.wordpress.com).

It is true nuclear plants have high capital costs. The trade-off is that nuclear fuel is very inexpensive. A pound of uranium sells for about $45, yet a fuel pellet the size of your fingertip produces as much energy as 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas or 1,780 pounds of coal.

Despite the supportive rhetoric, environmentalists routinely oppose wind farms because of their potential to decimate bird and bat populations and the large amounts of land they consume. In contrast, nuclear plants take up relatively little land, fit both urban and rural areas and the land around them typically becomes habitat. Ruehrwein also omits mention of the subsidies that all forms of energy require, including renewables.

The spent fuel from American reactors over the past 50 years could cover a football field about 15 feet deep. That’s not much when you consider nuclear provides 20 percent of our nation’s energy and 80 percent of its carbon-free energy. All this spent fuel can be reprocessed into more fuel, as in other countries, but we don’t reprocess because of environmentalist opposition.

Our opponents conveniently forget to mention the merchant wind farms and geothermal producers that are already exporting Idaho power. They join the merchant farmers, food processors and computer chip makers who bring money and provide jobs in Idaho. The IEC would generate more energy than we could consume in the current market and help capture some of the $2 billion that Idahoans send out of state for power annually.

Oddly, critics seem to have no problem with merchant renewables. And neither do we. In truth, we have much in common with opponents in our support of renewable energy. However, we – and most Americans and political leaders – know national economic and security interests demand a mainstream, inclusive approach that recognizes renewable, nuclear, natural gas and other clean and low-carbon approaches.

Given nuclear power’s contributions and stellar safety record, we believe it is extremist and closed-minded to exclude any form of energy from our nation’s future.

Jennie Ransom is vice-president of administration of Alternate Energy Holdings Inc.

Idaho’s leading business organization endorses Elmore County nuclear plant December 17, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, approval process, Elmore County, Politics and nuclear, rural nuclear, Snake River Alliance, Uncategorized.
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The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, representing 300 businesses and employers in Idaho, has endorsed the Idaho Energy Complex and urged local officials in Elmore County to approve our request to rezone land for the 1,600-megawatt nuclear plant.

“Elmore County and the State of Idaho must focus on a diverse mix of resources in our energy infrastructure,” states the letter. “Nuclear energy should be a part of that equation, as it bring a safe and clean alternative to Idaho’s base load along with significant economic opportunities for Idahoans to secure high-paying jobs.”

Needless to say, I am pleased at the endorsement. IACI is the voice of business in Idaho and has consistently taken positions that advance the economic interests of Idahoans and the businesses that employ them. We look forward to becoming one of Idaho’s major employers and furthering our relationship with IACI as we develop our plant.

The endorsement contributes to the increasing marginalization of opponents such as the Snake River Alliance. Both presidential candidates, Idaho’s governor, most legislators, the entire Congressional delegation and but one Idaho congressional candidate (Pro-Life) support nuclear energy.

Anti-nuke groups are finding themselves more and more on the fringe economically, politically and scientifically. Our opponents suggest we should put all our eggs in the renewable basket, but extremist policy and over-the-top rhetoric aren’t going to provide the jobs and energy Idaho and our nation desperately need. Until the Snake River Alliance comes up with a plan to put people to work, they should heed IACI’s advice.

Thanks to the Mountain Home news December 16, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, Agriculture, approval process, balanced approach, Elmore County, Energy policy, Greenfield nuclear development, Mountain Home News, nuclear industry, Politics and nuclear, reactor types, renewable energy, Snake River Alliance, Water policy.
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As our application in Elmore County moves forward, there is understandably some debate on the issue. Recently, the Mountain Home News published a letter by Leonard Hutterman. The paper was kind enough to provide us space to respond to Mr. Hutterman and our response is reprinted below:

Gillispie says nation will depend on nuclear power

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dear editor:
Leonard Hutterman’s recent letter in the Mountain Home News is thought-provoking and will surely increase discussion of our region’s and nation’s energy future.

While we agree with many of Mr. Hutterman’s statements about the need for a balanced energy portfolio in Elmore County, we should clarify some of his assertions about nuclear and renewable energies.

We agree that renewable, nuclear and clean fossil generation all have a place in our energy portfolio. That’s a stark departure from the Snake River Alliance, which claims to favor an unbalanced approach of renewables only (curiously, they cannot bring themselves to show up at public hearings and testify in support of embattled wind farm developers; I personally think they don’t have the stomach to face a roomful of angry citizens, but that’s another story).

Our economy and security depends on a diverse energy portfolio and base-load electricity — power that is affordable, stable and absolutely reliable.

Mr. Hutterman ranked his preferences for power, quoted below in italics. We’d like to add some information to his ranking so people can make more fully informed decisions.

1. “Wind requires no water and uses little productive space and take[s] advantage of wind, of which we have plenty.” In reality, except for a few locations, Idaho only has mediocre wind potential suitable for large power production, according to www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_maps.as…; wind cannot fill the power demands of Idaho, let alone the region. Also, wind farms require large amounts of land and roads, can kill many birds and bats, create annoying low-frequency sounds and throw dangerous ice from turbine blades. To produce as much electricity as our proposed nuclear plant, a wind farm would require about 100 times as much area (and only produce energy 17 percent of the time, compared to 92 percent for nuclear).

2. “Solar requires little or no water, uses a lot of space, and needs more sun then we have.” A new generation of thermal solar installations use sunlight to heat water to drive turbines. This improves reliability over photovoltaic solar, but does require water. So far, solar has been only 25 percent reliable.

3. “Geothermal is available in the county but the technology is not yet available to recover it efficiently.” True. Most geothermal in Idaho is marginal for electrical generation. Its best use is for heating homes and greenhouses.

4. “Natural gas based power has been developed and will likely continue to be developed in the county but it has a high cost and so many things can be made from it that using it for more than back-up power is a waste, and we are only converting it to electric not producing.” True. Natural gas is most efficiently used for heating water and buildings. While it is expensive for generating electricity, it is good for meeting summer peaking power demands, because natural gas can be brought online quickly. It emits half the carbon dioxide of coal, contributing to global warming.

5. “Nuclear based power uses water, the design determines the amount and it can be held to reasonable amounts. The public perception of the safety is out of line with reality but it is nonetheless their reality.” True. Dam collapses killed 8,000 people in the 20th century, coal pollution tens of thousands, and there are zero radiation deaths from Western commercial nuclear power. You’d have to live next to a nuclear plant for several thousand years to get as much radiation as a typical X-ray. Yet thanks to environmentalist hysteria and bad science fiction, some people still cling to the belief that nuclear power is dangerous. But, as I’ll explain in a bit, public opinion now solidly supports nuclear.

6. “Coal-based power and the clean coal technologies is an improvement over the old coal power plants but it still has a way to go.” Ironically, extreme environmentalists have contributed to global warming through their maniacal opposition to nuclear. Without nuclear, coal is the only suitable base-load source and environmentalists for decades have been content to let America meet half its power needs through coal.

It’s true that nuclear power requires water. In fact, any form of thermal power (boiling water to drive turbines) requires water for generation and cooling. Old-style nuclear reactors, with their oddly-shaped cooling towers, are notorious for consuming 30 million gallons a day, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

We will be using a hybrid cooling system, commonly used on fossil thermal plants in dry areas. Instead of the large cooling towers, we will cool our plant by circulating water through a system of fans, heat sinks and ponds. While we will need to run fewer than 10 million gallons of water a day through our plant, we will only consume 100,000 gallons. The rest of the warm water will be returned to productive agricultural use through farming, greenhouses and a biofuels plant. We will have to obtain existing water rights, since new water rights are not obtainable for the Snake River. The rumors that we will suck the Snake River dry are simply false.

For more than a year now, we’ve made these facts very clear, yet our opponents continue to insist our plant will use 30 million gallons a day. Every time we present this information to them, they do the equivalent of staring at us, blinking hard, then turning around and repeating the misinformation in an even louder voice.

Regarding public opinion, a record 74 percent of Americans favor nuclear energy, according to a September 2008 Bisconti survey. The survey also found only 11 percent of Americans strongly oppose new nuclear plants. Both presidential candidates and all Republican and Democrat candidates for federal office in Idaho supported nuclear.

It was unusual to read Mr. Hutterman’s comment that we should publish more information about our company. We have two Web sites, www.idahoenergycomplex.com and www.alternateenergyholdings.com, and a blog at www.cleanidahoenergy.wordpress.com, and we have had many news stories written about our company, technology, intentions and financing. The extensive information about our endeavors and personal histories on each of these sites should answer many questions and I invite anyone to email us questions at info@aehipower.com.

Also on my blog, I address the economic impact of our plant, how nuclear power plants are very compatible with rural areas, the out-of-state selling of Idaho’s wind and geothermal energy, and many other matters, so I won’t repeat them here. Suffice to say I answer many of the very valid questions Mr. Hutterman and others pose.

I look forward to working with Mr. Hutterman and other progressive-minded Elmore County residents on the county’s and the nation’s nuclear future.

Don Gillispie

president and CEO

Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc.

AEHI honored for philanthropy December 12, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in Uncategorized.
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I am pleased to announce that Operation Warm Heart, a charity that helps military families and other people in Elmore County, has honored Alternate Energy Holdings Inc. for its support.

The award, presented by 366th Fighter Wing Master Sergeant Jeff Waters, is the second year the charity has honored AEHI for its financial support.

Serving our nation imposes great sacrifice on military personnel, their families and communities and it’€™s good to know Operation Warm Heart is there to assist them. Our military is there for us when we need them and Operation Warm Heart is there for our military families.

The award was presented Dec. 6 at a celebration Silver Crest Retirement Community in Nampa. Also attending were 366th Wing Commander Col. James Browne, Support Group Commander Col. Jeff Maxwell, Operations Group Commender Col. James McGovern, Chief Master Sergeant Ron McCarthy and Nampa Mayor Tom Dale.

Operation Warm Heart is a non-profit organization that provides year-‘round food, blankets, clothing, volunteer, Christmas toys, Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets, housing assistance, and other assistance to needy military personnel, their families and members of the public. Volunteers will deliver about 700 holiday food baskets this year. For more information, call 828-6596. If you are looking for a charity to support this year I would strongly encourage you to consider Operation Warm Heart.

Obama appoints pro-nuke December 6, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in approval process, balanced approach, Barack Obama, Energy policy, national security, nuclear industry, Politics and nuclear, Uncategorized, Wall Street Journal.
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Because of his relative lack of experience, Barack Obama is largely an unknown. However, I applaud his pick for National Security Advisor: James Jones, a retired Marine general.

What does the National Security Advisor have to do with nuclear energy? Jones advocates a comprehensive overhaul to U.S. energy policy in the name of national defense. In this case, I have to say Obama truly “gets it.” A stable, reliable and affordable supply of energy is key to our national security. Jones also comes with solid business credentials, having been president and CEO of the Institue for 21st Century Energy, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this group last month published a detailed set of recommendations on energy policy, written as a memorandum to Obama.

The policy recommendations cover a broad swath, including support for clean technologies, such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as further investments in climate science. In the transition paper, Jones says “our country urgently requires a balanced and enduring strategy to meet our growing needs. America stands at a defining moment where the decisions made today will influence the economic prosperity, global competitiveness, and national security of future generations.”

The plan argues for increased domestic oil and gas drilling, a commitment to so-called clean-coal technology and increased use of nuclear energy. It also calls for an upgrade to the U.S. power grid electricity distribution network.

Exactly right December 4, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, national security, nuclear industry, renewable energy, rural nuclear, Uncategorized, Water policy.
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Sometimes, newspapers get it right. This editorial from the Colorado Springs Gazette hits the nail on the head about our venture there. I hope Idaho newspapers will also rise to the occasion.

An excerpt:

In Colorado, construction of a simple underground water pipeline can involve years of obstruction by environmentalists and political opportunists, so one can only imagine what Colorado activists might do to stop a nuclear power plant. Even though Colorado Energy Park hasn’t moved beyond the idea stage, Boulder environmental activist Leslie Glustrom told the Denver Post that it would face “fierce opposition,” because of the nuclear power aspect of the plan. The fierce opposition should be met with fierce opposition, courtesy of citizens who’ve grown tired of irrational fears about nuclear power standing in the way of this country progressing into the future with an obvious source for clean, sustainable power. We have the land, the resources and the wealth to address our country’s future energy needs in a way that doesn’t produce greenhouse gases. We just need to minimize needless artificial barriers to success, and we can start in our own backyard.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Our recent international trip December 2, 2008

Posted by cleanidahoenergy in AEHI, China, Chinese nuclear energy, Energy policy, international, nuclear industry, Politics and nuclear.
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Regardless of whether you’re a renewable, nuclear or coal developer, this is a tough time to get funding for a major project.

The Wall Street Journal reports that

“power companies across the U.S. are slashing capital budgets and canceling projects for clean electricity. Financing for new nuclear power plants appears shaky … Forging a new energy future by creating vast amounts of wind, solar and, possibly, nuclear energy is one of Mr. Obama’s highest priorities. But enacting that policy depends to a large degree on the ability of energy companies and utilities to finance the massive new investments that would be needed.”

Even energy developers that have utilities lined up to purchase power can’t get financing, according to the article.

We recently completed a three-week tour of China, Dubai and South Korea, to secure strategic partners for the company’s nuclear-renewable energy projects in Idaho, Colorado, Mexico and other pending international locations. Our initiative has taught us international investors understand the benefits of nuclear and the great profit potential for nuclear plants – more than $3 million a day in most cases, which will go higher if carbon trading becomes widespread. These investors know the U.S. has a fundamentally sound economy and has a great emand for stable, base-load electricity.

With the current financial situation in the U.S., we are fortunate to have an international reputation which allows us to obtain some funding outside of the U.S. AEHI’s internationally recognized senior nuclear executive team is highly regarded in the management of construction, operations and maintenance of commercial nuclear reactors.

There will always be investors on the lookout for power companies. We are optimistic that we have the necessary contacts internationally to find the required funds and/or strategic allies. For example, the company is considering opening an office in Beijing, China to facilitate several joint ventures.

To my left is Bo Song; father is founder of nuclear energy in China and one of the founders of the Communist Party (how far we have come!). Nan Shi, to my left, has relatives who tie to the last emperor of China.

To my right is Bo Song; his father is founder of nuclear energy in China and one of the founders of the Communist Party (how far we have come!). Nan Shi, to my left, has relatives who tie to the last emperor of China.