Quote Of The Year: "We may not need any (new nuclear or coal plants), ever..."

Jon Wellinghoff chairman ferc photo
Portrait of Jon Wellinghoff. Image credit:FERC
Scientific American presents some provocative and wonderful insights from the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Jon Wellinghoff.

He thinks it may be possible that no additional nuclear or coal plants will needed in the United States.

"We may not need any, ever," Jon Wellinghoff told reporters at a U.S. Energy Association forum.

Even if he were only half-correct in this assertion, it would be a delight.

Stretch goals; and, optimism about the climate future: more like that please!

Catch some of Mr. Wellinghoff's rationale below.

Wellinghoff said renewables like wind, solar and biomass will provide enough energy to meet baseload capacity and future energy demands. Nuclear and coal plants are too expensive, he added.

"I think baseload capacity is going to become an anachronism," he said. "Baseload capacity really used to only mean in an economic dispatch, which you dispatch first, what would be the cheapest thing to do. Well, ultimately wind's going to be the cheapest thing to do, so you'll dispatch that first."

He added, "People talk about, 'Oh, we need baseload.' It's like people saying we need more computing power, we need mainframes. We don't need mainframes, we have distributed computing."

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