Vermont Yankee Study Identifies Major Environmental and Economic Benefits

first_imgVermont Yankee Study Identifies MajorEnvironmental and Economic BenefitsVermont Energy Partnership Urges Policy Makers andthe Public to Review Independent Expert’s FindingsMontpelier, VT/November 17, 2008 – An independent assessment of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant finds that the facility provides major economic and environmental benefits to Vermont and that the consequences of closing it would be significant. In addition, the only potential solution to replace all or the vast majority of its power near term is to construct a combined cycle natural gas plant.The effects of such a plant and the loss of Vermont Yankee include:* Statewide average retail electric prices are estimated to increase by 19 to 39 percent.* Without Vermont Yankee’s power, carbon dioxide emissions, from all sources statewide, would likely increase by two million tons annually, a 100 fold or 10,000 percent increase.* Emissions of nitric oxide, a toxic substance which causes the weakening of the earth’s ozone layer, would increase by 550 tons, a twofold increase from current levels.* The potential costs to Vermonters stemming from the need for pollution allowances could exceed $60 million annually for carbon dioxide and $3 million for nitric oxide. These costs would be in addition to the retail price increases.* The loss of Vermont Yankee would deprive the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund $4-$7 million per year.The study’s author is Dr. Howard Axelrod, president and founder of Energy Strategies, Inc. of Albany, New York. Dr. Axelrod has been a management consultant for over 25 years and has been engaged by a wide range of energy clients, state and federal regulatory agencies, and large industrial users of energy.Dr. Axelrod evaluated various alternatives to Vermont Yankee and the feasibility of having these power sources online by March 2012, when Vermont Yankee’s current license expires.With respect to renewable resources, Dr. Axelrod found, “There is no question that wind energy and other renewable resources will play a vital role in meeting Vermont’s growing energy needs. However, it is highly unrealistic to assume that between the end of 2009 when the NRC [U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission] is expected to rule on the Vermont Yankee relicensing application, and 2012, when the original operating license expires, Vermont could add the necessary magnitude of renewable generation.”In fact, there are formidable challenges to bringing large amounts of renewable power online, especially near term. Dr. Axelrod’s study found the following.* Wind power. “To replace Vermont Yankee …. with an equivalent number of wind-derived electricity would require the installation of more than 1,500 wind generators. Given that the largest wind farms install only a few hundred generators, the addition of 1,500 generations with the associated transmission lines needed to connect to the Vermont network, 2012 is an unrealistic completion date.”* Solar. “The equivalent number of solar collectors (to replace Vermont Yankee) would require over 2,000 acres of dedicated space just for the solar collectors. To maximize exposure to the sun, an untold amount of land will have to be cleared in order to capture as much sun energy as possible.”* Wood. “The amount of wood and waste wood materials needed to produce the same amounts of electricity as from Vermont Yankee would exceed two million tons of bond-dry wood per year … a Vermont Yankee biofuel replacement would require over 200,000 acres of woodlands to be cultivated each year, which represents nearly five percent of Vermont total geographic space.”Dr. Axelrod does find, “There is one alternative to Vermont Yankee that might meet the tight time schedule, namely the installation of 620 MW (megawatts) of combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT).”He adds, “Unfortunately, CCGTs require large volumes of natural gas and will produce significantly more nitric oxide and carbon dioxide, the latter a major source of global warming. From a cost perspective, a new CCGT will be twice as expensive and significantly more uncertain as the price of natural gas represents more than 70 percent of a CCGT’s operating costs.”Dr. Axelrod emphasized, “It should not be misconstrued, solar, wind and biofuels can and should all contribute to Vermont’s portfolio of energy resources, but to assume that 620 MW of Vermont Yankee power can be replaced by 2013 is unrealistic.”In fact, the expanded use of renewable electricity power sources longer term will help reduce Vermont’s carbon footprint further. Currently, automobiles account for 46 percent of the state’s carbon footprint, almost twice the national average of 25 percent. With the electrification of automobiles expected to become more popular in the near future, there will be even more need for clean sources of electricity.Commenting on the study, Brad Ferland, President of the Vermont Energy Partnership said, “There are many intriguing findings in this study that should be part of the discussion not only about Vermont Yankee but of Vermont’s overall energy future. At a time when it is critical to keep and expand clean sources of power, Vermont Yankee has a paramount role to play in Vermont’s energy and economic infrastructure. We look forward to discussing the findings and ramifications with policy makers.”Jennifer Clancy, an environmentalist and board member of the Vermont Energy Partnership said, “While there is no silver bullet to Vermont’s vast and growing energy challenges, a combination of Vermont Yankee and expanded use of renewable sources are central to the state’s energy future. This report shows the respective roles, and time frame, that these sources can and should play in the coming years.”To view a full copy of the study, “An Independent Assessment of the Environmental and Economic Impacts Associated with the Closing of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant,” visit www.vtep.org(link is external). For more information on Energy Strategies, Inc. visit www.energystrategiesinc.com(link is external) .The Vermont Energy Partnership (www.vtep.org(link is external)) is a diverse group of more than 95 business, labor, and community leaders committed to finding clean, affordable and reliable electricity solutions. Its mission is to educate policy makers, the media, businesses, and the general public about why electricity is imperative for prosperity, and about the optimal solutions to preserve and expand our electricity network. Entergy, owner of Vermont Yankee, is a member of the Vermont Energy Partnership.last_img read more

USC implements plan to address student well-being

first_imgThe Engemann Student Health Center will install vending machines that will dispense self-care supplies by the end of the semester. (Daily Trojan file photo)USC is taking a new approach to address student well-being on campus with Collective Impact, a new plan that has been in the works for several years. The strategy aims to encourage everyone across campus to work together toward common health goals. The new strategy is based on a Stanford University study from 2011. “Large-scale social change comes from better cross-sector coordination rather than from the isolated intervention of individual organizations,” the Stanford study states.In other words, it’s harder to achieve positive change in any environment — business, school or government — without everyone involved having shared goals, according to the study. The Office for Health Promotion Strategy will serve as the “backbone” of this new strategy. Director Paula Swinford stressed the need for a common agenda, continuous communication, an alignment of activities and shared metrics. “If you go to some office, and you start talking about how drunk you were over the weekend, and the staff member says, ‘That’s just college,’ that would be a misalignment of communication, that we’re not communicating the same message,” Swinford said. She credits Vice President for Student Affairs Ainsley Carry with the new effort to prioritize student well-being on campus.Critics of the study complain that the approach strays too far from direct service and harms minority groups. However, much is still unknown about the implementation of Collective Impact; USC is one of the first universities in the United States to adopt the approach campus-wide. Currently, there are four primary goals the strategy aims to achieve: equity and inclusion, individual and communal well-being, curbing substance abuse and healthy relationships. Students will see the plan start to take effect in the coming weeks and months, including self-care vending machines and increased funding for safer sex resources. Students can expect to see a self-care vending machine on campus by the end of the semester. It will contain Plan B, condoms, Tylenol and pregnancy tests, among other health supplies. According to Associate Vice Provost for Student Health and Chief Health Officer Sarah Van Orman, the idea was suggested to Student Health by USG in the spring.The change comes at an opportune time, after the CDC reported on Aug. 28 that there were almost 2.3 million cases of STIs in the U.S. last year, the highest number ever reported.“The fear of sexuality and sex is alive and well … California is ahead in many ways, but in other ways not so much,” said Diane Medsker, the senior learning and development specialist in the Office for Health Promotion Strategy.In addition to the changes taking place on campus, USC Residential Education has begun to contribute additional funding for condoms and other sexual safety supplies. Emily Sandoval, the senior director of Residential Education, works closely with the new Collective Impact approach and is co-leading the third goal, addressing alcohol and substance abuse. “Paula had asked if I would be able to continue supporting the work that that office did with the condoms in the buckets, [and] I told her that I would be able to continue purchasing the condoms in bulk,” Sandoval said. In the past, RAs retrieved condoms from the Engemann Student Health Center to distribute to their residents. This year they are able to go directly to the ResEd offices, which orders thousands of condoms each month.“It’s definitely been a change for RAs, because now all of [the resources] aren’t in a centralized space, but we know where to get them,” said Divya Sripathy, a third-year RA. The Office for Health Promotion Strategy wants to encourage students to participate in the new changes on campus. “I would say that anybody who wants to get involved in helping us get out a message around student well-being [should] email and say, ‘Hey, I want to get involved,’ because we are trying to be really organic in our creation of this process,” Swinford said.last_img read more