Friday, May 16, 2008

Nukes are not 'renewable'

Read the following carefully. Is John McCain saying that he does NOT support subsidies for the nuclear energy industry?

The last time I looked, nuclear power plant developers were seeking status as renewables so they could qualify for federal production tax credits and state renewable energy credits. (GW)

McCain Raises Concerns About Subsidies for Solar Power

Laura Meckler and Stephen Power
Wall Street Journal
May 13, 2008

Sen. John McCain made clear today that he is not comfortable with subsidies for solar power, though he has supported incentives for nuclear power plants and thinks more federal support is needed to encourage the industry.

At a roundtable conducted in the foggy foothills of the Cascade Mountains in North Bend, Wash., McCain listened to the chief executive of REI, the outdoor recreation and clothing cooperative, explain what her company is doing to minimize its impact on the climate. He asked her a simple question: “What do you want me to do?”

Sally Jewel replied, “It’s a great question,” and went on to explain that REI plans to open 10 solar-powered stores in Arizona, California and Oregon (in sunnier markets, she noted, than the rain-soaked one he was in at the moment). The problem, she said, is there are no federal incentives to help defray the costs.

“There isn’t anything significant on the federal side to help us make the right decisions,” she said. “We’re trying to do the right thing without really any incentives.”

McCain replied that he preferred for the federal government to invest in research and development, not subsidies.

“I’m a little wary–I have to give you straight talk–about government subsidies,” he said. He cited his long-time opposition to ethanol subsidies, which have helped push up the price of corn and increase the price of food.

“When government jumps in and distorts the market, then there’s unintended consequences as well as intended,” he said.

He said over-subsidization of the solar industry in the 1970s led to “some pretty shoddy material.”

But he does support help for nuclear power plants, which he hails as a clean technology that can help reduce carbon emissions. He told reporters at a news conference that a pending Senate bill on climate change, which would establish industry limits on emissions that he favors, needs to add more help for nuclear power.

“It doesn’t go far enough as far as nuclear power is concerned in my estimation,” he said.

An aide to the Arizona senator said Tuesday that McCain hasn’t decided exactly what form of support is needed, but that it likely will be “consistent with” past measures he has supported that would have directed hundreds of millions of dollars to the construction of new nuclear plants.


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