Could Nuclear Power Crowd Out Solar in Arizona?

During his State of the Union address, President Obama sent a cheer amongst Congressional Republicans when he announced (confirmed) his support for nuclear power as a source of clean energy. Obama followed through with his promise when he announced last week $8 billion in loan guarantees for building two nuclear plants by Southern Company in eastern Georgia.

It now appears that nuclear fever is in full swing. An Arizona state bill, sponsored by Republican Senate President Robert Burns and Republican Speaker of the House Kirk Adams, will redefine “renewable” to include nuclear power and thus include nuclear under the umbrella of the Renewable Energy Standard (RES). The Arizona RES requires utilities to generate 15% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The Phoenix Sun notes:

“Since the state’s largest utility, APS, already gets approximately 27 percent of its electricity from a nuclear power plant outside of Phoenix, HB 2701 would allow the company to stop adding any new renewable power sources.”

State Republicans claim that solar installations will proceed unhindered. Since solar still requires major subsidies from the government and given tightening government budgets, I am very skeptical of such claims. See “Arizona Bill Would End Key Support for Solar” for more details on this story. You can also get an understanding of Republican opposition to solar at the Federal level by reviewing the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works “Full Committee and Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy Joint Hearing: Solar Energy Technology and Clean Energy Jobs” held on January 28, 2010.

Be careful out there!

Full disclosure: long various solar stocks (including net long FSLR, long SPWRa, long TSL, and long AKNS)

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