A Scientific American article provokes a lot of reaction
An article in the recent April edition of Scientific American discusses the statement of Jon Wellinghoff that the U.S. will never need to build another coal or nuclear power plant. He claims that all of the new capacity that is required could be delivered by new wind, solar, and biomass plants and — in a transition period — new natural gas plants. 'Nuclear and coal plants are too expensive,' he claims.
Jon Wellinghoff is the new chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. With this statement, he goes beyond those of other Obama administration officials, who have strongly endorsed renewables and energy efficiency, but also say nuclear and fossil energies will continue to play a major role.
Scientific American noted that Wellinghof’s statement generated some sceptical reactions from leading experts at universities, research institutes, and energy associations. A lively debate on this topic has also taken off on the Power Globe expert forum (see April 2009 - Week 4).
Is baseload an anachronism?
Jay Apt, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, reacted to Wellinghoff by saying renewables are not suitable for delivering baseload because of their intermittent character. This provoked Wellinghoff to respond that 'Baseload is an anachronism'.