Palo Verde NPP Threatened By Renewable Power Initiative

Renewable energy could hit the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Arizona with a fatal body blow, plant officials have said.

Palo Verde NPPAccording to senior vice president of site operations Jack Cadogan, a statewide initiative called the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona, would require the plant to shut down, because it would not be economically or technically feasible to continue operating under the restrictions in the proposal.

If the proposal then passes, Cronkite News reported, the state would have a resident approved mandate to create 50 percent of its electricity through renewable power by 2030, which would require a big push in electricity generated through solar and wind.

However, Palo Verde is the largest power plant in the United States, generating about 35 percent of the state's electricity, according to the U.S. Energy information Administration.

The plant furnishes 4 million people with electricity. However, "Palo Verde … could not operate at levels low enough to satisfy the initiative's requirements,” and would, as it stands, have to shut down if the initiative passes, the article says.

Cadogan told reporters during a recent tour of the plant that solar power's inherent imbalance – generating power only during the day – would require the state to over-compensate for that, which would mean it would have to create enough power when it could run -- during the day -- that Palo Verde would be forced to shut down every day during daylight hours. 

However, Cadogan said, you can't shut a nuclear power plant off once a day and turn it back on when it is needed at night.

That's not how nuclear plants really work. Nuclear plants can't just be shut down and then started up again" on a daily basis, Cadogan said.

The issue of power storage also comes into play. Currently, California pays Arizona to take some of its solar power-generated electricity, because it has an excess. However, the initiative would put an end to that, because Arizona would then have more than enough solar power to meet its target. Cadogan said that would upset the balance enough to potentially force both states to spend billions of dollars create solar power storage systems.

It will take about 226,000 signatures by a July 5 deadline to have the Clean Energy Initiative put on the ballot.

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  • Anonymous

    APS reported that this could potentially double the electric bill of homeowners. No thank you!

    The teenage kid who tried to get me to sign one of these petitions didn't even know what a baseload plant was,  why we need them, or how energy peaks work.

    Arizona I beg you, please learn how electricity works before blindly signing up for something you don't understand the effects of! I really can't afford a $840+ power bill, or the chance of the AC losing power on one of our 115° days.

  • There are already two known reliable ways to create renewable nuclear fission power, both of them proven in labs of the USA, decades ago. There is no way to make solar origin RE produce power that is responsive to demand AT ALL.  So-called "storage" whether chemical, thermal, or gravitational energy constitutes a doubling of power plants, and is prohibitively expensive even if wind and solar devices cost nothing, which they damned well Do Not!