The End of the U.S. Nuclear Age?

According to this Bloomberg article, electricity in the U.S. is slowly but steadily replacing nuclear power with renewable wind energy. In 2012, wind-generated electricity supplied about 3.4 percent of U.S. demand, and that is predicted to grow up to 4.2 percent in 2014 according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The phasing out of nuclear power is eerily similar to that of coal; with new environmental laws, states are looking to both natural gas and wind power to supply their electricity. Wind farms have governmental backing as well. For every megawatt-hour generated, wind farms get a $22 federal tax credit, making them profitable even when grids do not need supply. This is highly significant when considering nuclear power does not receive as high subsidies, and therefore end up running “negative profits”.

Does this wind trend mean the same for the entire country? Likely not, considering certain regions like the Midwest generate more wind power than others. The five states with the gustiest wind include Texas, California, Iowa, Illinois and Oregon. For other regions like the Northeast, wind energy may not trump nuclear power natural gas just yet.

Still, as the wind energy market continues to grow, large corporations are taking notice. Google Inc. is investing $1 billion in wind and solar projects, setting not only the energy trend but also stimulating public interest in renewable energy.

As a consumer, do you feel the U.S. should move towards wind energy? Why or why not?

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-11/nuclear-industry-withers-in-u-s-as-wind-pummels-prices-energy.html

Lindsay Finan

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