Generation Atomic's Comment on the Recent NOPR

Generation Atomic submitted an official comment on the US Department Of Energy's recent Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. You can read the full transcript of the comment here.

Generation Atomic submitted an official comment on the US Department Of Energy's recent Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  You can read the full transcript of the comment here.

To​ ​the​ ​FERC:

On​ ​October​ ​12,​ ​2017,​ ​Secretary​ ​of​ ​Energy​ ​Rick​ ​Perry​ ​appeared​ ​before​ ​the​ ​US​ ​House​ ​Energy and​ ​Commerce​ ​subcommittee,​ ​emphasizing​ ​that​ ​his​ ​recent​ ​Notice​ ​of​ ​Proposed​ ​Rulemaking (NOPR)​ ​was​ ​intended​ ​to​ ​spark​ ​a​ ​national​ ​discourse​ ​on​ ​energy​ ​resilience.​ ​The​ ​position​ ​of Generation​ ​Atomic​ ​is​ ​that​ ​this​ ​dialogue​ ​is​ ​long​ ​overdue​ ​and​ ​the​ ​United​ ​States​ ​public​ ​is​ ​ready​ ​for it.

Generation​ ​Atomic​ ​is​ ​a​ ​501(c)3​ ​nonprofit,​ ​incorporated​ ​in​ ​the​ ​state​ ​of​ ​Minnesota​ ​on​ ​December 23,​ ​2016.​ ​Generation​ ​Atomic​ ​was​ ​founded​ ​to​ ​energize​ ​and​ ​empower​ ​citizens​ ​of​ ​all​ ​generations to​ ​engage​ ​in​ ​our​ ​national​ ​discourse​ ​on​ ​the​ ​need​ ​for​ ​clean,​ ​reliable​ ​energy​ ​-​ ​specifically,​ ​our nation’s​ ​largest​ ​and​ ​most​ ​reliable​ ​source​ ​of​ ​carbon-free​ ​electricity:​ ​nuclear.​ ​Through​ ​its​ ​501(c)4 affiliate,​ ​the​ ​Generation​ ​Atomic​ ​Movement​ ​Mobilizing​ ​Alliance​ ​(GAMMA),​ ​Generation​ ​Atomic​ ​has begun​ ​the​ ​work​ ​of​ ​engaging​ ​thousands​ ​of​ ​citizens​ ​in​ ​that​ ​discourse.

In​ ​Ohio​ ​alone,​ ​Generation​ ​Atomic​ ​has​ ​knocked​ ​on​ ​46,741​ ​doors,​ ​held​ ​9,047​ ​conversations,​ ​and committed​ ​5,348​ ​supporters​ ​of​ ​nuclear​ ​energy.​ ​Door​ ​to​ ​door​ ​campaigning​ ​and​ ​other​ ​grassroots organizing​ ​efforts​ ​have​ ​resulted​ ​in​ ​9,015​ ​direct​ ​actions​ ​to​ ​the​ ​state​ ​legislature.​ ​The​ ​high​ ​level​ ​of conversion​ ​indicates​ ​to​ ​us​ ​that​ ​the​ ​public​ ​in​ ​Ohio​ ​is​ ​inclined​ ​to​ ​support​ ​nuclear​ ​power​ ​for​ ​a variety​ ​of​ ​reasons​ ​that​ ​cut​ ​across​ ​the​ ​political​ ​spectrum​ ​including​ ​economic​ ​factors​ ​(50%​ ​of supporters),​ ​community​ ​and​ ​tax​ ​implications​ ​(32%),​ ​and​ ​support​ ​for​ ​nuclear​ ​as​ ​a​ ​carbon-free energy​ ​source​ ​(18%).

Through​ ​our​ ​work,​ ​we​ ​have​ ​found​ ​that​ ​thousands​ ​of​ ​thoughtful​ ​citizens​ ​understand​ ​and​ ​have​ ​a desire​ ​to​ ​participate​ ​in​ ​a​ ​discussion​ ​about​ ​how​ ​we​ ​power​ ​our​ ​economy​ ​and​ ​our​ ​lives.​ ​Based upon​ ​those​ ​conversations,​ ​Generation​ ​Atomic​ ​would​ ​like​ ​to​ ​observe​ ​the​ ​following​ ​to​ ​the Commission:

Our​ ​work​ ​indicates​ ​that​ ​the​ ​public​ ​values​ ​nuclear​ ​as​ ​an​ ​energy​ ​source.​ ​As​ ​the​ ​Department​ ​of Energy’s​ ​own​ ​Staff​ ​Report​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Secretary​ ​on​ ​Electricity​ ​Markets​ ​and​ ​Reliability​ ​(“Grid​ ​Study”) suggests:​ ​“Most​ ​…​ ​benefits​ ​[specific​ ​power​ ​plants​ ​offer]​ ​are​ ​not​ ​recognized​ ​or​ ​compensated​ ​by wholesale​ ​electricity​ ​markets,​ ​and​ ​this​ ​has​ ​given​ ​rise​ ​to​ ​a​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​state​ ​and​ ​private​ ​efforts​ ​that include​ ​keeping​ ​open​ ​or​ ​shutting​ ​down​ ​established​ ​baseload​ ​generators​ ​and​ ​incentivizing [variable​ ​renewable​ ​energy]​ ​generation.”​ ​Indeed,​ ​the​ ​public’s​ ​interest​ ​in​ ​energy​ ​resilience appears​ ​to​ ​end​ ​at​ ​the​ ​outlet,​ ​and​ ​is​ ​disconnected​ ​from​ ​state​ ​and​ ​local​ ​initiatives​ ​that​ ​are increasingly​ ​altering​ ​the​ ​energy​ ​policy​ ​landscape.​ ​As​ ​the​ ​Grid​ ​Study​ ​notes,​ ​policy​ ​instruments like​ ​Renewable​ ​Portfolio​ ​Standards​ ​(RPS)​ ​currently​ ​enacted​ ​in​ ​29​ ​states​ ​and​ ​the​ ​District​ ​of Columbia​ ​that​ ​represent​ ​55%​ ​of​ ​electricity​ ​sales​ ​are​ ​driving​ ​deeper​ ​penetration​ ​of​ ​variable renewable​ ​energy​ ​(VRE)​ ​technologies.​ ​These​ ​policies​ ​have​ ​created​ ​market​ ​pressures​ ​that​ ​favor generation​ ​sources​ ​-​ ​such​ ​as​ ​natural​ ​gas​ ​-​ ​that​ ​can​ ​more​ ​quickly​ ​ramp​ ​up​ ​and​ ​down​ ​to​ ​track VRE​ ​output.​ ​The​ ​contours​ ​of​ ​this​ ​emerging​ ​policy​ ​landscape​ ​uniquely​ ​disadvantage​ ​nuclear,​ ​as evidenced​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Grid​ ​Study’s​ ​citing​ ​of​ ​“market​ ​conditions”​ ​as​ ​a​ ​contributing​ ​or​ ​decisive​ ​factor​ ​in the​ ​closure,​ ​announced​ ​closure,​ ​or​ ​averted​ ​closure​ ​of​ ​12​ ​of​ ​16​ ​nuclear​ ​facilities.

Policymakers​ ​and​ ​the​ ​public​ ​must​ ​be​ ​better​ ​engaged​ ​in​ ​a​ ​holistic​ ​discussion​ ​around​ ​energy policy​ ​to​ ​align​ ​its​ ​stated​ ​values​ ​with​ ​the​ ​instruments​ ​that​ ​drive​ ​electricity​ ​markets.​ ​Our​ ​data supports​ ​the​ ​assertion​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Grid​ ​Study​ ​that​ ​foremost​ ​among​ ​these​ ​values​ ​is​ ​economic​ ​growth; yet,​ ​despite​ ​the​ ​Nuclear​ ​Energy​ ​Institute’s​ ​finding​ ​that​ ​nuclear​ ​energy​ ​creates​ ​ten​ ​times​ ​the​ ​jobs of​ ​either​ ​wind​ ​or​ ​natural​ ​gas​ ​per​ ​megawatt​ ​of​ ​generating​ ​capacity,​ ​market​ ​conditions​ ​are​ ​driving up​ ​the​ ​share​ ​of​ ​electricity​ ​generated​ ​from​ ​VRE​ ​and​ ​gas​ ​sources​ ​at​ ​the​ ​cost​ ​of​ ​nuclear generation.​ ​Nuclear’s​ ​waning​ ​contribution​ ​to​ ​the​ ​nation’s​ ​electricity​ ​generation​ ​mix​ ​also​ ​directly undermines​ ​the​ ​goals​ ​of​ ​energy​ ​security​ ​and​ ​resiliency;​ ​nuclear’s​ ​performance​ ​during​ ​extreme weather​ ​events​ ​such​ ​as​ ​the​ ​2014​ ​Polar​ ​Vortex​ ​and​ ​Hurricane​ ​Harvey​ ​underscore​ ​the importance​ ​of​ ​nuclear​ ​energy​ ​to​ ​grid​ ​resiliency.​ ​Ironically,​ ​the​ ​public’s​ ​environmental​ ​goals​ ​have been​ ​undercut​ ​by​ ​the​ ​very​ ​state​ ​and​ ​local​ ​initiatives,​ ​designed​ ​ostensibly​ ​to​ ​lower​ ​emissions, that​ ​have​ ​contributed​ ​most​ ​significantly​ ​to​ ​these​ ​new​ ​market​ ​conditions;​ ​according​ ​to​ ​the​ ​US Energy​ ​Information​ ​Administration,​ ​the​ ​lost​ ​low-carbon​ ​electricity​ ​generation​ ​from​ ​the​ ​five nuclear​ ​generating​ ​stations​ ​closed​ ​between​ ​2013​ ​and​ ​2017​ ​are​ ​nearly​ ​equal​ ​to​ ​that​ ​of​ ​all​ ​US solar​ ​generation​ ​in​ ​2015.

The​ ​facts​ ​are​ ​on​ ​the​ ​side​ ​of​ ​nuclear,​ ​and​ ​exposure​ ​to​ ​these​ ​facts​ ​through​ ​candid,​ ​thoughtful conversation​ ​leads​ ​to​ ​a​ ​high​ ​percentage​ ​of​ ​support​ ​from​ ​all​ ​types​ ​of​ ​citizens.​ ​Nearly​ ​three decades​ ​of​ ​state-​ ​and​ ​locally-led​ ​policymaking​ ​around​ ​VRE​ ​technologies​ ​have​ ​provided​ ​a​ ​clear path​ ​for​ ​achieving​ ​a​ ​robust​ ​policy​ ​framework​ ​that​ ​is​ ​federally-backed.​ ​Secretary​ ​Perry’s leadership​ ​in​ ​calling​ ​for​ ​a​ ​national​ ​dialogue​ ​by​ ​issuing​ ​this​ ​NOPR​ ​is​ ​therefore​ ​appreciated​ ​by Generation​ ​Atomic.​ ​Our​ ​work​ ​demonstrates​ ​that​ ​citizens​ ​do​ ​have​ ​a​ ​clear​ ​grasp​ ​of​ ​their​ ​values and​ ​goals​ ​with​ ​regard​ ​to​ ​powering​ ​their​ ​communities​ ​and​ ​our​ ​nation​ ​-​ ​even​ ​if​ ​current​ ​state​ ​and local​ ​policies​ ​neither​ ​reflect​ ​these​ ​values​ ​nor​ ​achieve​ ​these​ ​goals.​ ​Individual​ ​states​ ​must, therefore,​ ​be​ ​active​ ​participants​ ​in​ ​engaging​ ​the​ ​public​ ​in​ ​a​ ​discussion​ ​about​ ​resilience, carbon-intensity,​ ​and​ ​security​ ​of​ ​our​ ​energy.​ ​Much​ ​as​ ​state​ ​and​ ​local​ ​leaders​ ​have​ ​crafted​ ​policy instruments​ ​that​ ​have​ ​led​ ​to​ ​market​ ​conditions​ ​requiring​ ​this​ ​discussion,​ ​Generation​ ​Atomic submits​ ​that​ ​the​ ​next​ ​three​ ​decades​ ​of​ ​energy​ ​policy​ ​should​ ​follow​ ​a​ ​state-led,​ ​federally-backed pathway,​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​clearly​ ​enunciated​ ​values​ ​instead​ ​of​ ​preferred​ ​technologies.​ ​FERC​ ​can play​ ​a​ ​valuable​ ​role​ ​by​ ​directing​ ​states​ ​and​ ​regional​ ​transmission​ ​organizations​ ​to​ ​properly​ ​value the​ ​important​ ​attributes​ ​that​ ​nuclear​ ​power​ ​provides.

-The Generation Atomic Team