A Globe article today on meeting the area’s power needs presents us with a stark choice:
Facing a worsening crunch in the supply of electricity, soaring prices, and rolling blackouts, top New England utility officials are thinking about some once-unthinkable solutions: more coal and nuclear power.
Officially, no proposals for new nuclear reactors or coal-fueled power plants are in the works. But in an interview with the Globe, Gordon van Welie, chief executive of Independent System Operator New England, which runs the six-state power grid, broached the idea of coal and nuclear plants — along with better conservation and wind power — as steps the region, overly reliant on natural gas, must consider to stave off a power crisis.
“We don’t want coal. We don’t want nuclear power. We don’t want windmills off the coast of Massachusetts. We don’t want windmills in Vermont,” van Welie said. “We don’t want any of that stuff, but then once you’ve made that decision, acknowledge what the costs are. You can’t have it both ways.”
Again, conservation is the elephant in the living room, which van Welie acknowledges. But beyond that, let’s stop pretending about our options: it’s either wind, or something dirtier. We can piss off the Kennedys and some other rich folk on the Cape, who define “the commons” as “a breathtaking view that makes my property valuable”; or, we can have more nukes and coal. Choose.