| Sustainable energy News - No. 8 March 1995 |
The Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) plans to halt construction on three nuclear reactors will still allow one dangerous reactor to come on line, and could potentially waste billions of ratepayer and taxpayer dollars on natural gas turbines instead of renewable energy supplies.
The TVA operates one of the largest electric systems in the US., serving nearly 8 million people in seven southeastern states. It began its nuclear construction program in September 1966, with 17 plants originally planned. Long after other utilities had dropped construction plans, the TVA, which is owned by the Federal Government and protected to some degree from competitive pressures, continued to press ahead. Three nuclear plants are currently in operation, and they will continue to operate. A fourth plant, Watt Bar Unit 1, is planned to be brought on line next year despite repeated safety violations and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reprimands for shoddy workmanship at the $6-billion-plus facility.
Despite all the recent talk in the U.S. about the coming of a new world of a "restructured" and "competitive" electric utility industry, many people are missing the fact that the utilities are in the midst of remarkable consolidation. Utilities are merging among themselves and purchasing many of the most notable independent power producers. Seven large mergers have been proposed or consummated in the past five years. Utilities are also aggressively seeking complete dismantling of a key federal law, the Public Utility Holding Company Act PUHCA, that curbs the inevitable growth and exccsses of electric utility monopolies. In addition to posing a threat to integrated resource planning (IRP) and sustain- objectives: able energy solutions, the current power-players of the debate on competition care mostly about cheaper electricity rates for large industrial customers and very little about "captive" residential customers who may not be given the opportunity to benefit from retail competition. Environmental Action is working to promote competition in a manner that protects ratepayers and the environment.
U.S. Delegation to the Social Summit Prep Comm
As a result of lobbying by environmental and other groups, the U.S. delegation to the Third Prep Comm (Preparation Committee Meeting) of the UN Social Summit supported to mention Agenda 21 and other environmental protections in the official document.
Sun Day 1995 will be the second annual national celebration of renewable energy as well as of energy conservation and efficiency in the USA. It will be officially celebrated on Sunday, April 23, 1995. Where possible and appropriate, Sun Day 1995 activities will be coordinated with other sustainable energy programs being planned for the 25th anniversary of Earth Day (April 22).
Participant will be sponsoring events, not only on April 23, but also throughout the spring and summer months to October 1995, which is the national energy awareness month in the USA.
Sun Day 1995 has three primary to educate members of the general public, media, and decision makers about the status, potential, and benefits of sustainable energy technologies; to showcase the programs and technologies being sponsored by the participating NGOs, businesses, utilities, and governmental Orgamzatlons; to encourage new public and private initiatives to expand further the use of sustainable energy technologies.
Sun Day 1995 will feature one-day educational activities such as fairs, tours, seminars, news conferences, and exhibits as well as activities that have a longer-term impact, such as announcing changes in governmental policies and building codes, initiation of energy policy reviews, and incorporation of energy materials into school curricula.
Sun Day 1995 is designed to appear to a very diverse mix of interest groups. In 1994, Sun Day included participation of more than 400 organizations, including most of the national renewable energy trade associations, national environmental organizations, national consumer groups, electric utility trade associations, and the U.S.Department of Energy.
Further information: SunDay - A Campaign for a Sustainable Energy Future, 315 Circle A venue #2, Takoma Park, Maryland 20912-4836, USA ph 1-301-270 2258,fax-1-301-891 2866.