NJ Renews Nuclear Contract, Promises More Alternative Production in the Future

Nuclear power will stay as New Jersey’s main power source, with the state renewing its contract with Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station. This news came as state officials announced it will be pushing for the use of clean power sources, such as solar and wind.

It appears that the Garden State will not be going green for now. It will be drawing 53% of the state’s electrical demand from four nuclear plants. This number is much higher than the country’s average of 20%.  Along with the Oyster Creek Plant, New Jersey will be getting its electricity from the Salem Creek and Hope Creek reactors. One of every two houses within the state relies on these reactors. Without them, there would be darkness, under such a setup.

On the brighter side, however, Governor Jon Corzine has promised to produce 30% of the total state’s power through clean alternatives by 2020. This is a very ambitious statement and a promise which the governor can hopefully keep.  At present, only 3% of the state’s energy comes from alternative sources, such as landfill gases, wind, and solar plants.  20% comes from coal power plants, 21% from natural gas, and 16% from petroleum power plants.

Citizens of New Jersey know that it will take time before the nuclear power plants are replaced by cleaner ones.  The state must first look for reliable options before cancelling its nuke contracts.  The New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, or NJPIRG, estimates that it will take around 2,139 windmills to replace the four nuclear plants.

Improvements in turbine technology are said to be needed, for it to become a viable source of energy for the State of New Jersey.  The downside where windmills are concerned is that they take up lots of space, and some civic and environmental groups are against the building of windmills off the Jersey Shore.  Some groups are saying that it could have a major impact on the marine and aquatic life.  It is also said that Wind Power is more expensive than conventional sources.

Another issue is that the sun does not always shine through clear skies, and the wind doesn’t blow strong every day.  Concerns about solar and wind power being able to provide constant electrical energy or baseload is being debated throughout different forums.

Will New Jersey have a windy and sunny future?  This will probably depend on how its officials rise to the challenge presented by its governor.

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