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  • Sep 17, 2020
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Doug Hunter, CEO & GM of Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems shares why community-owned utilities 'have more freedom to do the right thing' and explains real emissions-free energy plans.

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Sep 17, 2020

"In the electricity business, people sometimes hesitate to go first. It’s a conservative business model."

Doug, for investor-owned utilities selling electricity was a conservative business model thirty years ago. But since electricity was deregulated in 2005, selling electricity has become like any other business. Long-term investments are quaint anachronisms; any project that doesn't feed next year's profit margin is a "boondoggle".

Community-owned utilities are indeed different. They have more freedom - and responsibility - to do the right thing for the community, and for the future. A perfect example is the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which in 2016 finished the first U.S. nuclear build of the 21st century, on-time and on-budget (Watts Bar II).

For UAMPS and NuScale, the Carbon-Free Power Project will be an opportunity to set an example for the nation. And not just for new nuclear technology: it will show what can be accomplished when electricity is provided by local public agencies, and why de-regulation was a mistake.

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PJ Davis on Sep 30, 2020

Thanks for commenting Bob!

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Gary Hilberg on Sep 22, 2020

Very good article, well written and accurate.  Trying to build infrastructure that lasts 20 to 50 years with regulations that change every couple of years; consumers who are influenced by social media and marketing;  and an investor set looking at quarterly results makes for difficult times.  Hopefully UAMPS can get this first SMR project built and establish a model that those with a shorter time horizon can fit into their planning and investment cycle.  Doug's point about long term base load power is so important, as gas/oil heating is replaced by high efficiency electric heat pumps and some transportation energy moves to electricity, utilities will have a larger base load.  Trying to meet this with intermittent generation and battery storage will be very expensive, nuclear power is a great fit for this base load.  

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PJ Davis on Sep 30, 2020

Thanks for your comments Gary! Great perspective. 

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