Jobs from wind; needed nuclear

From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in

Best of luck to public officials and some businesses in Southeastern Massachusetts who are trying to get a bigger emphasis on onshore investment –- e.g., building more port infrastructure – in state negotiations with offshore wind farm companies on the price of power generated by their turbines. Their central argument is that more of what may well become a major industry should include considerably more direct local jobs.

But the main economic benefit of these wind farms will not be in direct jobs to install and service the wind farms but in making New England less dependent on polluting fossil-fuel from outside the region, and, as wind-power technology continues to improve, eventually lowering electricity costs for business and everyone else.

Meanwhile, Connecticut’s new governor, Ned Lamont, has helped the environment by backing an agreement to keep open the largest nuclear-power plant in New England, the two Millstone reactors, in Waterford.

He said: “The shutdown of the plant would have exposed the New England region to a nearly 25 percent increase in carbon emissions, increased risk of rolling blackouts, billions of dollars in power-replacement costs, and the loss of more than 1,500 well-paying jobs.”

We will need at least some nuclear power to keep the lights on during the long transition off fossil fuel.

The biggest challenge of nuclear power is where to store the radioactive waste; though there are geologically safe places to store it, such as Yucca Mountain, in Nevada, politicians hear the cries of constituents and keep rejecting proposals to store the stuff.

The Millstone Nuclear Power Plant, on Long Island Sound

The Millstone Nuclear Power Plant, on Long Island Sound