Bernie Sanders is passionate about a lot of things: Socialist utopias, raising the minimum wage, growing hair in places where you should not grow hair and, of course, energy efficiency.
In 2014, Bernie actually got his wish.
The forty-two-year-old Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant was shuttered and everyone was happy and healthy and the planet was a better place because of it!
Goodnight, America! . . . Just kidding! There’s more to this story.
When the nuclear power plant closed, another environmental activist, Bill McKibben, confidently wrote that Vermont was “completely capable of replacing its power output with renewables . . .” That’s certainly a nice, happy, green thought --- but that’s not exactly what happened. Vermont Yankee’s power supply was replaced with something else: Natural Gas.
The thing about natural gas is that it sounds pure and clean, but it’s still a fossil fuel that releases --- you guessed it --- CO2. What happened? Did the New England area continue to experience the annual decrease in emissions it was accustomed to with the switch to natural gas? In a word, no. The region saw a five percent increase in carbon emissions --- the first year-to-year increase since 2010.
The jump from 28 million tons of carbon emissions to 30 million tons was blamed by some on the cold winter of 2015 and the uptick in the use of electric heaters. I mean it’s not like New England ever gets cold in the winter --- every single year --- That never happens! No one could predict that! The real reason the area saw a five percent increase in carbon emissions was because Vermont Yankee was no longer in operation.
What happened with Vermont Yankee is not a freak accident or an isolated incident. Carbon emissions are increasing all over the country in the name of decreasing carbon emissions. When Kewaunee Power Station in Wisconsin was shut down in 2012, emissions rose by six million tons --- a more than 15 percent increase in the area.
But that’s nothing.
When the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station closed in 2012, emissions increased by 24 percent. Hmm, I’m beginning to see a trend. You see, people like Bernie Sanders forget that nuclear power is largely carbon-neutral. It’s clean and can operate 24/7 because it doesn’t depend on the sun or the wind. It’s pretty much an environmentalist's dream --- a dream that is falsely labeled as a nightmare.
As of right now, seven more nuclear plants are scheduled to close between now and 2025. According to data compiled by the Energy Information Administration, these closures could result in an increase of 30-46 million more metric tons of CO2 in the environment. The whole thing seems pretty counter-productive if you ask me.
Why would anyone with a brain take away a technology that accomplished the very thing they set out to do? (I’m looking at you, Bernie!)
And that is why getting rid of Nuclear Power, a zero-carbon power source, in order to make room for nicer sounding, less dependable renewables is a major GREEN FAIL!