Jennifer Runyon, Managing Editor, RenewableEnergyWorld.com
November 20, 2012 | 14 Comments
As Sandy ravaged parts of North America three weeks ago, hundreds of power generation assets were threatened. According to SNL Energy, there were 731 operating power plants of 10 MW or larger in the path of the storm. Among these facilities were 20 nuclear plants, 80 coal-fired plants, 237 gas-fired plants and 394 plants of various other fuel types, including hydropower, solar, biomass and wind power plants.
Even though Sandy left many customers in the dark, most of the power outages were caused by distribution and transmission line damage rather than damage to actual generating assets. That said, at least three nuclear power plants were ramped down to “guard against grid overload” said SNL, which also reported that one nuclear plant, Exelon's Oyster Creek in New Jersey, declared an emergency event during the storm, due to flooding of the plant's circulating water system. The emergency event was the third most severe on the NRC event matrix.
As survivors sift through the wreckage and those hardest hit work to restore some semblance of the life they had before the storm, we are all reminded of the power of mother nature and its ability to destroy what mankind has spent decades building. The widespread damage that resulted from the storm has left many people calling for more use of “safer” forms of energy and meaningful action to combat climate change.
Renewable energy answers both calls. Lessening our dependence on CO2 spouting fossil fuel-fired power plants will serve to reduce the alarming amount of pollution that has been warming our planet since the Industrial Revolution. In addition, renewable energy assets are strong, safe and resistant to damage.
Here we offer a few tidbits of encouraging news for renewable energy. With many people still suffering from the damages the storm caused, here are a six ideas to get excited about.