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Jim Warren: First, renewables; later, nuclear retirement — The News & Observer

I agree with David McNelis’ Aug. 2 Point of View that retiring existing nuclear plants early is a mistake – with some exceptions. NC WARN has opposed building more nukes since before the failed U.S. “renaissance” wasted billions of dollars and years while stalling the growth of renewables. The climate crisis requires priority replacement of fossil fueled electricity with renewables, efficiency and energy storage; only later can we retire existing nukes.

I also agree that with McNelis on shale gas. The utilities’ mad dash to fracked gas has increased leakage and venting of methane, a super-potent greenhouse gas that’s now the key U.S. driver of global warming. Global temperatures in 2016 are near the tipping point that could cause global warming to surge forward under its own momentum.

Thankfully, many U.S. utilities are rapidly expanding solar and wind power; several now get over 20 percent of their generation from renewables. But Duke Energy, the nation’s largest, is among the laggards – under 3 percent. Its executives are holding back renewables while spending millions to make people believe they’re green.

The climate responds quickly to methane, so reducing emissions can slow global warming in the short term. North Carolinians must require Duke Energy to stop its massive fracked gas expansion and help avoid climate chaos.

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