The country’s first offshore wind farm to be built 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard has been hailed by the Biden administration, but a better alternative would have been a nuclear power plant, according to an “environmental hero” from Time magazine.
Michael Shellenberger said the 800-megawatt Vineyard wind power project, presented as part of the administration’s goal of generating 30 gigawatts of power from offshore wind by 2030, would likely not produce than half the energy of a nuclear reactor.
“The production of wind farms would be intermittent,” he told a Zoom conference organized by the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. “In fact, it puts a strain on the (power) grid to have to adapt to very unreliable intermittent wind power. And so you have to maintain a supply of natural gas… it’s not something you need if you have nuclear power plants.
Wind farms also pose serious risks to critically endangered North Atlantic birds and right whales, said Shellenberger, author of “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All”.
Pam Bechtold Snyder of the New England Aquarium said there are only 360 North Atlantic right whales left. The number has dropped over the past four years or so due to collisions with vessels and entanglements in fishing gear, she said. And it is believed that these stresses cause female right whales to give birth less often and at an older age.
All of these things have converted Shellenberger from a supporter of wind power to a supporter of nuclear power, he said.
Nuclear power provides “cheap and reliable electricity that is also carbon-free,” Shellenberger said.
But when nuclear power plants fail, they fail with devastating results. Ten years after an earthquake and tsunami killed more than 18,000 people and triggered a nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, more than 40,000 people still cannot return home, most of them from from areas near Fukushima Daiichi, where the triple fusion forced the immediate evacuation of 160,000 people.
“Nuclear power does not emit CO2, but requires significant amounts of water, environmentally costly extraction of raw materials and requires the transport and disposal of radioactive waste,” said Stu Webster, director Chief Wildlife and Federal Lands of the American Clean Power Association.
“After more than 20 years of responding to concerns about research funded by government, conservation, the private sector and universities,” he added, “there is no evidence to suggest that wind power has population-level impacts on birds. In addition, offshore wind developers and federal regulators have taken similar steps to reduce impacts on marine mammals, including whales. “