Former Greenpeace member Patrick Moore and reborn nuclear power champion has had a busy schedule as a paid promoter of atomic energy, most recently glad-handing with the Victoria Economic Development Corporation.
Excelon wants its next plant to be in Victoria County. The company, you may remember, is the owner of the leaky old nuker that was discovered to have flushed millions of gallons of radioactive effluent into Illinois groundwater undetected for a decade.
To understand where Moore is coming from, it is interesting to see where he’s been since leaving Greenpeace in 1986.
Patrick Moore was a leading figure with Greenpeace Canada and subsequently with Greenpeace International between 1981 and 1986. In 1991 he established a consultancy business, Greenspirit Enterprises, “focusing on environmental policy and communications in natural resources, biodiversity, energy and climate change.” He has worked for the mining industry, the logging industry, PVC manufacturers and in defence of biotechnology.
Moore describes himself as “chairman and chief scientist” of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd., a PR company that “work with many leading organizations in forestry, biotechnology, aquaculture and plastics, developing solutions in the areas of natural resources, biodiversity, energy and climate change.” He is also a Board Member of NextEnergy, a Canadian energy services company.
Apart from stumping for logging and mining industries, Moore claimed just 8 years ago that the Amazon Rainforest is not disappearing but is the “healthiest forest in the world.”
“I was against nuclear energy when I was with Greenpeace, and I think we made a mistake,” Moore, now 60, said. “Those were the days when we were concerned the whole world was going to be blown up by nuclear bombs.”
Moore said he lumped any positive benefits of nuclear energy with the negative aspects of nuclear war. He now promotes nuclear energy as a clean, safe and reliable alternative to coal and fossil fuels.
But environmentalists point out that the Nuclear Energy Institute, the policy organization for the nuclear technologies industry, funds the CASE coalition. Moore said the coalition receives money, but operates independently.
“We are very critical of Patrick Moore and his so-called greenwashing of nuclear power plants,” Tom “Smitty” Smith, director of the Texas office of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said. He added that Moore works for various corporate entities who look to environmentally spin their products and services.
“About the only green left of Patrick Moore is the money that’s left in his pocket,” Smith said.
Moore denounced environmentalists for attacking his opinions. He added he could work in a number of occupations or fields, but chooses to promote nuclear energy to create a sustainable energy future. Nuclear energy won’t produce air pollution or emit greenhouse gases, he said, adding that it’s more cost-effective and reliable than wind and solar.
“I work for the nuclear industry in that sense because I support it,” Moore said.
Greenpeace nuclear policy analyst Jim Riccio said Moore flip-flopped on nuclear energy when he realized its profitability.
“He can deny it all he wants,” Riccio said. “I have to question his motives. He’s a front group for the nuclear industry.”
Kudos to Tara for pointing out Moore’s paid connection to the nuke industry, a fact that media across the country constantly fail to divulge.
His statements about the cost of nuclear and its supposed carbon neutrality are so far from true, their only value in ink is exposing his willingness to twist truths for his clients. Perhaps the most subsidized energy source in our country’s history, nuke power is still more expensive that coal and natural gas, according to analysis by both the DOE and MIT researchers.
Most sane minds understand that with a limited supply of uranium in the U.S. (about 40 years worth), that renewable resources are the undeniable way forward.
And the connection between nuclear power and nuclear weapons proliferation is real. India’s first bomb was made with materials intended to be reprocessed from its power plants under international treaty. Didn’t turn out that way. (For more on this point, see this NEIS release.)
This fact alone (and there are plenty others) makes the decisions of city and county governments in San Antonio and Victoria County a most definite moral decision they cannot shake — nor should the watchdogs of the media, activist community, and public allow them to.
It is interesting that the same week that CPS Energy backed away from including expanded nuclear power development in a proposed rate hike, the same week Moore was speaking in Victoria, there was another appearance… Environment Texas swept in with killer arguments for increased solar options.
We’ve had a lot of distinguished visitors in San Anto in recent months talking renewable energy. My favorite plans to date involve covering all our box stores and parking lots with solar arrays. It would make park-charge-drive of electrics and hybrids practical (not to mention gobs of urban shade) and reduce transmission line loss.
But, as the Environment Texas pitch points out, for all of Texas it just takes 30 square miles…
Here is their release:
Texas could generate as much as 148,000 megawatts of electricity or more than twice our current use from solar power plants, according to a report released today, “On the Rise: Solar Thermal Power and the Fight Against Global Warming” by Environment Texas. These solar thermal power plants covering an area of 30 x 30-mile area in west Texas, could power the entire state; while slashing global warming emissions. Because solar thermal energy storage allows electric generating capacity even when the sun is not shining, it can replace traditional energy sources like coal, natural gas and nuclear power.
“Solar thermal power is ready for primetime,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “With support from policymakers, Texas could quickly get much of its energy from this abundant and clean domestic energy source at prices competitive with new nuclear or ‘clean coal’ power plants. If we are going to get serious about fighting global warming and addressing our nation’s energy woes, solar energy must be part of the solution.”
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has identified the potential for more than 7,000 gigawatts (GW) of concentrating solar power generation on lands in the southwestern United States alone – more than six times current U.S. electricity consumption. Other areas of the United States, such as the mountain West, the Great Plains and Florida, can also generate significant power from the sun.
Concentrating solar power development has accelerated dramatically since the beginning of 2007. More than 4,000 MW of solar thermal projects are in some phase of development nationwide and could be completed by 2012. However, solar energy tax credits that are helping make these projects cost-effective are set to expire at the end of the year, putting their future in doubt.
“Federal clean energy tax incentives are spurring investment, creating thousands of “green-collar” jobs, and helping reduce global warming pollution,” said Russel Smith, Executive Director of the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association. “If Congress lets them expire, clean energy projects will be severely curtailed.”
Concentrating solar power plants are increasingly cost-competitive with other power generation technologies that do not produce carbon dioxide, the main global warming pollutant. The cost of energy from solar thermal power plants is estimated to be competitive in cost with theoretical coal-fired power plants that capture and store their carbon dioxide emissions and with new nuclear power plants.
The report concludes that with leadership at the state and federal level and the right policies, that, putting 80 gigawatts, enough to power 25 million homes, of concentrated solar power in place by 2030 is within reach. This would have the potential to generate between 75,000 and 140,000 permanent jobs and cut global warming pollution from U.S. electric power plants by at least 6.6 percent by the year 2030.
One critical policy currently under review by the Public Utilities Commission is the construction of new transmission lines to areas with the best wind and solar resources.“Transmission lines are the key to unlocking the door to vast wind and solar energy use in Texas” said Mike Sloan, President of Virtus Energy. Solar and wind power are natural partners to share new transmission lines to serve sunny and windy West Texas. Adds Sloan, “New power lines that Texas is looking to build to support major new wind regions will serve as the same highways to carry clean West Texas solar power to customers throughout the state.”
Electricity generation accounts for more than a third of America’s emissions of global warming pollution. “Concentrating solar power can make a large contribution toward reducing global warming pollution in the United States, and do so quickly and at a reasonable cost,” said Metzger. “The Legislature should jump on this economic and environmental opportunity and work to make Texas a world solar leader.”
“Texas’ combination of land, wind, and solar resources positions Texas to profit from a fleet of solar thermal power plants up and running within the next five years, helping to stabilize Texas energy prices while meeting Texas’ growing need for peak power to grow the state economy,” said John O’Donnell, Vice President of Ausra, Inc, a global corporation which develops utility-scale solar thermal power technology.
B-roll footage of an Ausra solar power plant in Australia is available at: http://www.ausra.com/documents/0718_ausra.mov . A computer-generated flyover of a PG&E project in central California at www.ausra.com/documents/fly1.wmv.
Oh, and we can’t blame the .. for this one: Germany, Japan, and China are kicking our butts in PV production, up 51 percent worldwide last year. While the U.S. almost kept pace at a respectable 48 percent growth nationally, “the nation’s share of global production and installations continued to fall in 2007.”
So while we’re willing to talk about Canadian tar sands and energy independence in the same breath, this solar thing? Well, Environment Texas may have a point…