April #CleanTechBacon Recap: Now is the Time to Talk Nuclear

Mark Reddemann
CEO, Energy Northwest

The CleanTech Alliance recently hosted Mark Reddemann, CEO of Energy Northwest, for the April #CleanTechBacon breakfast event. Reddemann opened the discussion with: “Things are changing… now is the perfect time to talk about nuclear.” And talk about nuclear he did.

Energy Northwest provides its public power members and regional ratepayers with safe, reliable, cost-effective, responsible power generation and energy solutions. It generates this power for users through solar, wind, hydro and nuclear. Specifically, that generation includes our state's nuclear energy facility, the Columbia Generating Station, as well as the White Bluffs Solar Station, Packwood Lake Hydroelectric Project and Nine Canyon Wind Project. These four facilities provide clean, low-cost electric power to more than 1.5 million residents via 27 of our state's utilities.

Reddemann called nuclear a “premium product,” because it supports the grid, provides price stability, complies with clean air regulations and anchors the local community with jobs and tax base. The Columbia Generating Station located, north of Richland, employs more than 1,000 people and, to quote Reddemann, is “safer to work at than an office.”

In conjunction with renewable energy, nuclear energy helps provide the baseload or full-time, electricity essential for a stable grid. Fun fact, nuclear energy provides 9 percent of Washington State’s overall electricity supply. In 2015, Energy Northwest generated more than 8 million MWh of energy.

The Pacific Northwest is well suited for renewables, but Reddemann made the case for Nuclear as a source working in combination with the intermittent energy sources. He also explored the worldwide use of nuclear energy and examined global access to energy. As breakfast attendees looked out on the clear blues skies over Puget Sound, Reddemann showed a photograph of China where the smog is so bad, the only blue sky people see is on a screen. Nuclear, which generates emission-free electricity, could prove to be a vital resource as we work globally to fight climate change.

Reddemann finished his presentations and took questions from the crowd, a group made up of several former nuclear engineers, climate activists, educators and cleantech industry professionals.