Anti-Nuclear Chickens Coming Home to Roost

Ted Nordhaus is a highly respected expert who, as executive director of the Breakthrough Institute, has been on the bleeding edge of those pushing more effective solutions to our energy and environmental woes for decades. His opinion piece, “In Global Energy Crisis, Anti-Nuclear Chickens Come Home to Roost,” he provides a bold assessment of how badly the progressive agenda for climate has performed. Wherever “green” policies hold sway and nuclear power plants have been closed, clean electricity has been replaced with dirty power.

Contrary to what many people think, the rapid growth of renewable energy has led largely to increases in emissions, sky-high electricity prices and the loss of some of our most critical clean energy assets, which have caused power shortages and life-threatening energy crises. Germany, which persists in closing its nuclear power plants, has been reduced to decimating ancient forests and villages in its desperate pursuit of new coal resources for the resulting surge in demand for coal power.

California has been forced to build new gas plants and to demand that utilities with backup diesel generators, operate them non-stop when demand is high and renewable generation is down—not the outcome that those who support renewables want to see. In particular, the planned closure of Diablo Canyon, which was approved with the hope that its generation would be replaced by renewables, is nowhere near on track to do so. As a result, the CPUC is both bending and breaking rules to enable coal and gas to replace the clean generation provided by Diablo, while planned geothermal and battery storage are taking longer than had been assumed. Nordhaus calls out the “Pollyannish assumptions” and unrealistic plans that find California in the position of prematurely shuttering its largest single source of clean energy, only to add back more fossil power, to the delight of the fossil fuel industry.  

Nordhaus doesn’t explicitly ask “How’s them chickens?” but you can almost hear him pose that question to those who read this assessment and care to adddress climate change with smart, effective solutions.

Read Foreign Policy’s In Global Energy Crisis, Anti-Nuclear Chickens Come Home to Roost, by Ted Nordhaus, published October 8, 2021.