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Screeds are often tedious and therefor meriting disregard yet when screeds contain vitriol and misstatements that reach the public sphere by being printed in a widely read paper details may need honest clarification.
George Ericsson's LaForge watch article is here:
Here I will try my best. As an unrepentant capitalist and profiteer in the field of renewable energy I can testify that Mr. John LaForge is not a profiteer. I have known Mr. LaForge for all of my life and most of his. During the years before I became acquainted with my brother I guarantee that he could not even make change much less a profit. My brother has been so disinterested with money making that it occasionally was of some concern for myself and other family profiteers. So perhaps we can put that slander to bed in reference to Mr. John.
All humorous economic analysis aside, with regard to radioactive sources of electrical generation I can testify here that the industry is dead and has been for many years. Making electricity with radioactive materials is analogous with cutting butter with a chain saw – you can do it, but it will be messy, dangerous and wasteful both of our environment and our money.
Economists in the current energy economy agree with Jeremy Rifkin who said two years ago: “Well, nuclear’s gone. Siemens has gotten out. Westinghouse has just declared bankruptcy. The companies are leaving because they can’t compete.” (Business Insider July 16, 2917 by - Elena Holodny)
Nuclear industry insiders agree - Exelon currently operates 23 reactors. William Von Hoene, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Exelon, said that he doesn’t foresee any new nuclear plants being built in the United States due to their high operating costs. “The fact is - and I don’t want my message to be misconstrued in this part - I don’t think we’re building any more nuclear plants in the United States. I don’t think it’s ever going to happen,” Von Hoene was quoted at the annual U.S. Energy Association’s meeting in Washington, D.C. “I’m not arguing for the construction of new nuclear plants. They are too expensive to construct, relative to the world in which we now live.” (US News and World Report - April 16, 2018 By Alexa Lardieri, Staff Writer).
When we look at the costs of different sources of electricity the industry uses the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) which Measures lifetime costs divided by energy production. It calculates present value of the total cost of building and operating a power plant over an assumed lifetime, and it allows the comparison of different technologies (e.g., wind, solar, natural gas, nuclear) of unequal life spans, project size, different capital cost, risk, return, and capacities.
From the financial advisory and asset management firm Lizard’s web page on LCOE we find Nuclear to be cost prohibitive with respect to all other competitors and Solar and Wind generation are the cost leaders.
During my 31 years in the Renewable Energy industry we have brought the cost of solar modules down 98%, I like to say that my partner A.C. Wilson and I have done this singlehandedly, but really, we did have the help of a few hundred thousand friends.
To see just how little area we will be using to power the entire nation with solar and energy storage take a look at Elon Musk’s informative promotional video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvCIhn7_FXI.
For some very hopeful reading I suggest the following:
The Zero Marginal Cost Society - https://www.thezeromarginalcostsociety.com
And finally for people like myself and Mr. Erickson who are truly concerned about the challenges presented by a rapidly changing climate I suggest Drawdown – the book and movement - https://www.drawdown.org/the-book .
There are so many good things to do. Let’s work together positively and create a good future.
Christopher LaForge is an IREC Certified Master Trainer and is a NABCEP Certified Photovoltaic Installation Professional Emeritus (ID# 041704-24). He has run Great Northern Solar for 31 years. Great Northern Solar has designed, specified, sold and deployed systems since 1988 for both the grid-intertie and off-grid markets. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council recognized LaForge as the 2016 IREC Certified Clean Energy Instructor/Master Trainer of the Year.