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Richard Brooks's picture
Co-Founder and Lead Software Engineer Reliable Energy Analytics LLC

Dick Brooks is the inventor of patent 11,374,961: METHODS FOR VERIFICATION OF SOFTWARE OBJECT AUTHENTICITY AND INTEGRITY and the Software Assurance Guardian™ (SAG ™) Point Man™ (SAG-PM™) software...

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  • Oct 2, 2020

I know many of my green friends won't like what I'm about to say, but we cannot escape reality: New England desperately depends on Natural Gas fired generators to keep the lights on. That's a fact. We cannot have reliable electricity, given today's generations fleet, without natural gas units and they need to have a secure supply of gas available in order to produce enough electricity to keep the lights on.

Personally, I have no desire to live through rolling blackouts and would much prefer that we keep the lights on, reliably, using the means available, as we work to reduce air polluting GHG.

The next time you think we should "turn off the Gas", place yourself in the following situation then tell me what's important to you in the moment:

You're riding in an elevator with 20 other people, ranging in age from 6 months to 97 years, to the top of a Skyscraper when the lights go out. You're stuck between floors 71-72 for the next 12 hours. Stress levels are rising and remember, biological functions do not stop just because the lights go out. By hour 8 it is becoming unbearable and unhealthy to be in that environment and you begin to realize just how important reliable electricity is to your health and happiness. You might be saying to yourself, darn we should have built that gas pipeline 5 years ago to keep the lights on so that I wouldn't have to endure this situation, today. I welcome all comments to support shutting the gas off, when you picture yourself in this scenario.

IMO, we must have both reliable electricity and clean air, but this will require a transition, there is no "big bang" solution available today. This is a journey, let's make sure we have reliable electricity throughout as we transition to cleaner solutions.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 2, 2020

New England desperately depends on Natural Gas fired generators to keep the lights on

Maybe that's true today, Richard. NYISO would need a lot less of it if Vermont Yankee if Pete Shumlin hadn't allowed Canadian gas giant Gaz Metro to close Vermont Yankee; if Andrew Cuomo hadn't accepted bribes from gas develooper Competitive Power Ventures to close Indian Point; if Massachussetts Senator John Kerry hadn't led the charge to kill the Integral Fast Reactor in 1994, the first meltdown-proof nuclear reactor in the world."

NYISO. to its shame, has allowed its dependence on gas to be manufactured by the people selling it. But that's changing: in 2019 Connecticut Gov. Ted Lamont helped to secure a 10-year PPA for Millstone (nuclear) Power Station, preventing a 25% increase in NYISO carbon emissions. Maybe Cuomo will take a lesson from Lamont - instead of selling out to fossil fuel interests, maybe he'll keep Indian Point open, and do what's right for the people of New York and the environment. Hope springs eternal.

*On this video nuclear engineers at Idaho National Laboratory run the EBR-II Integral Fast Reactor at full power - then deliberately turn off cooling pumps and disable all shutdown systems (control room engineers have no control over the reactor). The EBR-II functions exactly as designed, shutting itself down without any human intervention or external power.

The public is still being led to believe "one day we'll have safe, meltdown-proof nuclear reactors" - when we've had one for over 30 years.

Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on Oct 2, 2020

Thanks, Bob. I'm a strong proponent for safe, clean nuclear power as a menas to reduce/eliminate GHG emissions. Plus, nuclear is really cheap and reliable! Just need to address the public safety concerns and we'll have a feasbile solution for climate change, that also enables broader electrification across heat and transportation sectors.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 3, 2020

"Just need to address the public safety concerns and we'll have a feasbile solution for climate change..."

Any ideas on how to address the "concerns" part? As I pointed out above, public safety has already been addressed.

Climate change, at least, is rapidly putting them in perspective.

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Oct 2, 2020

I have to point out that there is plenty of reliable hydro power available from Canada.  What is lacking is the infrastructure to get it where it needs to go. However, that is being addressed.

In the meantime, it is incorrect to associate the increased use of natural gas with the closing of Vermont Yankee. As has been pointed out numerous times on these pages, CO2 emissions in New England have decreased since Vermont Yankee and other nuclear generators closed.  There has been an increased use of natural gas to replace the use of coal and oil.   At the same time, a remaining nuclear generator at Seabrook has excess capacity.  It is a question of cost.  Nuclear could not compete.

New England has decided that the long term solution is renewables. Nuclear was a dead end.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 3, 2020

"As has been pointed out numerous times on these pages..."

Your anti-nuclear talking points - every one of them - has been debunked numerous times on these pages, Mark.

If "nuclear could not compete", why did owner Entergy sue the state of Vermont to keep it open? Like Cuomo, Shumlin was on the payroll of big gas - and Vermont Yankee, like Indian Point, was closed down because a governor was paid to get it done.

Shumlin administration, Gaz Metro seal merger deal


Richard Brooks's picture
Thank Richard for the Post!
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