Utility Executives Like Nuclear Power. Climate Science

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February 17, 2010, 3:11 pm

Not So Much. By TODD WOODY EPA Nuclear energy is the utility industry’s preferred “environmentally friendly” technology, followed by wind power and natural gas, a new survey found.American utility industry executives see nuclear energy as the most promising carbon-free power source, are skeptical of climate change science, and are uncertain about the future, according to a report to be issued Thursday by Black & Veatch, the engineering and consulting giant. The survey of 329 executives, managers and engineers, which Black & Veatch shared with The New York Times, comes as the utility industry faces slow growth in energy consumption and a two-year fall in capital spending, the first such decline since the Great Depression. “The industry is facing a lot of demands to spend more money to fix up an aging infrastructure, build smart grids and deal with cybersecurity while cutting carbon emissions,” said Bill Kemp, a Black & Veatch vice president, in an interview. “In the near term, we’ll have a difficult economic environment and a slow sales growth as regulators are reluctant to push through large rate increases while voters are still in pain.” The stalled emissions trading legislation in Congress has added to the confusion about the future shape of the electricity market, Black & Veatch found. Despite a prominent campaign by some utility executives to support an emissions trading market, more than 70 percent of the industry insiders surveyed oppose the current legislation and 52 percent said the United States cannot afford the proposal to cap greenhouse gas emissions. More than 75 percent think there is a future for coal-fired power plants. Read more…

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