12 August 2009 1 Comment

Public Hearing part 2 – Nuclear Si o No

Day two of the City of San Antonio’s “public hearing” on CPS’ plan for nuclear energy uber alles!

Citizens had from 1p-2p to sign up to speak – it’s a Wednesday during a work week.
Citizens were given 3 minutes to speak – great! from 2-4pm (still in work hours)

There are 40 people here, some of those work for CPS, some are media. Monday night the place was close to being packed – well over 150 or more seats. It was also pointed out that the activists know what is going on, but the general populace does not. The CPS hearings are a start, but they are not televised on free television. The newspapers are covering this, but their readership is a minority of the community.

This is in a town of how many millions? the seventh largest city in the US!

How can citizens speak out when they have to work to pay their bills?

Now for the questions/comments made by citizens:

Will the CEO of CPS be going to work for NRG or one of its subsidiaries? (NRG is the company who wants to build our new nuclear reactors.)

One citizen continued to educate the council on Solar Technology
some examples:
solar energy generation system – SEGS – new tech
nevada solar one plant – 64MW generating capacity 250million dollars to build
bright source energy – 400MW solar building plant in mojave desert
and more….so where’s the baseload problem with Solar????

Human Error!

Rate hikes, we don’t want them for this type of investment

Redundancy of computer systems – these reactors will only have ONE computer system

i repeat

These two new reactors will ONLY have ONE computer system

cps sidestepped the water issue on monday, reduction of ground water supply, unregulated dilution of pollution to meet standards, lacks consideration of water issues at mining and disposal sites, and more…

What does CPS think the definition of sustainability is? based on my work with sustainability, nuclear does not meet the definition of sustainability. they are not taking into the account the whole process from start to finish, uranium mining through waste storage.

then there’s the guy who keeps saying the same thing and claims that the federal government is responsible for the waste produced by the nuclear plants, not the people who built it….or maybe he’s saying something else, but it’s not understandable. he supports nuclear.

i came to support nuclear on monday but then i heard the arrogance of CPS in responding to citizen questions. CPS said that they have their assumptions posted on the internet, i went back and looked and could not find any supporting information. if ppa’s are appropriate for renewables, wouldn’t they be appropriate for nuclear? recommend set up a non-cps, non-city, citizen input session to address this issue.

CPS keeps saying that nuclear is the cheapest energy, but the federal energy regulatory agency figures do not support their claim. Risks: cost/time to complete, rate increases, no need for power, and more.

Real costs for building the plant, cps is only looking at fuel costs, not the externalized costs. the costs of degradation of public health and environment must be included. these costs are not there with renewables. nuclear safety is a concern. we haven’t had a major incident since three mile island, but there have been small incidents that could have lead to meltdowns. we don’t hear about them. we need to look forward not return to the stone age.

Councilmember from Hondo, they buy energy from CPS and want CPS to invest in renewable energy and spark the green economy in south texas. this is a regional issue.

Since i didn’t get permission to quote these people, i’ve not cited them here, but the above paraphrases were the general gist of what was said.

interestingly the people who speak for nuclear either work for the nuclear industry or work for CPS…gee what does that tell you?

now to councilmember questions to cps:

Ivy Taylor (District 2): 1. comment – chart given out at public hearing, was helpful, is the info on the website and in the libraries.
cps: it should be on the website and we’ll include it in the library report
(note the chart is bogus)
2. does this chart include the external factors and costs – that’s rhetorical i’ll move on (exactly!)
3. citizens advisory committee have been briefed as often as the board over the last three years.
4. recurring question comes up on fire at plants toshiba built in japan
cps: the fires associate with earthquake in 2007, plants of same style for new project, abwr type, nothing was related to safety at the nuclear plant
(wait WHAT, how can a fire not be related to the safety of the plant????)
5. referencing comment by former council woman patty radle regarding father who worked on nuclear sub and that no strides made in relation to storage of nuclear waste. what breakthroughs will be made in renewables in the next 9 yrs that would make them better options?
cps there are advances in tech for reusing spent fuel, we aren’t using the tech as a matter of public policy (yeah cause the use is for killing people and contaminating the land). we anticipate continued progress in renewables so we will continue to be focused on pilot projects and we are pioneering the breakthroughs in wind and solar.
(BOGUS!!! well i’m sure it’s a half truth, but for real, pioneers?)

MAry Alice Cisneros – District One (my council person):
followup to question on monday night adopting mission verde principles of sustainability. where are we in our plan in providing green jobs for our community?
cps: vision 2020 document outlies two goals 1200 MW of renewable energy, close to 750MW today, looking to expand goals in upcoming months. balancing out issues. 200MW solar RFP out right now, for geo-thermal as well. ready to partner on those projects.
MAC – give us your plan, us on council. follow up: in what year will plants one and two need to be decommissioned?
CPS: current license expire 2027, 2028, we will be filing for a 20 year extension and are confident we’ll receive that through 2048, 2049.
MAC: cost involved, what will it take plant was built for 50 year life?
CPS: millions of dollars for license extension, $115million for the package, and takes about a year. they look at variety of things to extend and we will apply in the next two years to extend. (he didn’t want to say the figure and was really quiet when he did – they tried to just say “it is an application fee”) we can keep it operating beyond it’s lifespan.

Mayor Castro: will the largest users subject to the general public rate increases?
CPS: yes
Castro: to the same extent? 1:1 ratio?
CPS: based on rate classes, but the increases will be based on CLASS, all classes subject to increases
Castro: concern in community about keeping rates low and in the business community as well. to what extent does CPS have the latitude, regardless of the rate, to accomodate the deal to bring jobs to SA
CPS: developed economic development rate for city council in discussion with various companies to give locating companies a rate for 5-6yrs that is then raised. that is our only latitude.
Castro: violations at STP 1 and 2
CPS: we sent an email to staff, the nrc routinely inspects plant, so far there are no actual firm violations. We’ll report back when we have any more info from the plant
Castro: please provide us a list of all violations. Rate hikes for fixed income users. rates will go up no matter what we do to address the needs. CPS offers different discounts for low income. are you going to allocate more money to those programs?
CPS: we designed a low income discount offset rate increases who were eligible under that discount. we also doubled the funding in REAP program – .5 million before, apply through city department of community initiatives, raised the funding to 1 million. We’ll revisit the rate discount with new rate hikes.
Castro: commend for increasing REAP, but we agree 1 million is very small part of the budget and in these times, it would be appropriate to increase during these times regardless of what we do.
regarding geo-thermal is not on your chart. there is community question about geo-thermal – what is the price per kilowatt hour?
CPS: we had biomass and geo-thermal but it was a busy chart, we don’t have the figures with us today, we can provide by the end of the day. we have the figures.
Castro: process for the structure of the hearing on monday, questions in advance to allow you to research and have answer. my understanding is that you will have answers to ALL questions that were submitted even though they were not included Monday.
CPS: no later than Aug 20th we’ll have all answers to the 18 pages of questions.
Castro: how many years will rates go up? difference between nuclear at 40%, 20%, and natural gas – what impact on rates?
CPS: every option capped rate increases at 5% every two yars. don’t have the figures today, but we have the figures and can get them to you. consistent strategy, for ten years and enough in the base rates to cover. the amount of leverage we keep on our books. (i have no idea what she is talking about do you?)
Castro: carrying higher debt impacts our ability to engaged in capital costs in other projects in the future.
CPS: no doubt this will limit out ability in the future. the rate structure covers the amount of the new plants and estimates for other projects. we have extra money for other projects.
Castro: but that money for extra projects that are already in the bucket. but there is nothing in the model to consider new technology developments that we may want to invest in?
CPS: it includes stuff that we already are working on but that we haven’t given the city
Castro: list of projects assumed in the model to council. some suggest CPS hasn’t given
CPS: from the financial perspective, we use estimates on what we know on how the tech would work. costs to build solar and backups.
to do that in 2009 or in 2016
CPS: today’s tech. the tech isn’t there and uncertainty of whether it will be in the next decade. this decision we are making is not the last decisino we will be making. in 5 or 6 years we’ll need a new decision. it may be the next major decision could be solar. we don’t have luxury today to guess. we have to go with the tech and prices we have today to make a decision. a decsion on a new tech five years from now does not make the previous decision
Castro: last year CPS came to council to approve the STEP program for energy conservation, weatherization, etc. if you took 800+million between now and 2020 771MW cumulative savings by 2020. if you took the 5million dollars and invested in STEP, would that cover the needed increase in energy?
CPS: there is a crossover point, it can be done cheaper than building a new plant, but then energy becomes very expensive because you used up the low hanging fruit.
Castro: is that cost greater than the cost of investment in nuclear or natural gas
CPS: energy efficiency is the lowest cost. as we go and it becomes harder to get people to participate so it would go from 2cents – 4cents/KWH. the full 5 million could not be slotted for
Castro: you say this much and i want to know how much it costs
CPS: we’ll have to get you figures. we’ll need more and more power as we go through the decades.
Castro: i want an exact analysis from CPS
(yay castro)

Clamp (District 10): ppa’s existing for STP1 and 2 or any baseload we have now? (power purchase agreement) and what about 3 &4?
CPS: NO we don’t. we give them to other communities we sell power to in the outlying areas. 40% ownership in this project is the threshold for veto rights in the process. 60% for affirmative action in the agreement.
CLAMP: PPA’s are cost based, not fixed. what percent for PPA
CPS: 20% option is achievable (owning 40% and finance 20%)
Clamp: decommissioning trust federal law
CPS: included in the cost factor included compares costs.
Clamp: is it a percentage or set dollar amount
CPS: targets updated with the NRC and collect based on that
Clamp: City’s 14% included in factors
CPS: yes
Clamp: talk to me about geo-thermal, where in the market cycle geo thermal is
CPS: currently there are none operating in texas, operating in western us. it is expensive. we know the geology of texas, the resource is not as rich as in the western us. there is a lot of research going on. it is difficult to use the energy to generate electricity. harder to generate electricity. study in the 80s wasn’t viable (that’s two decades ago!) will be pilot projects in texas and we want to keep an eye on.
Clamp: wholesale sales grid sales, how important is that to the city of sa and payments to the city.
CPS: eat what we can and sell the rest like blue bell ice cream. last year was a good year and we made a healthy margin with our excess coal generation. coal marginal costs 1MW hours after building plant – operation costs only $15/MWH and sell for $30-40 and spikes to $100 and $2000 spikes when natural gas spiked. this year way down.
Clamp: how is grid cells going to go into the future?
CPS: if we go 40% with PPAs at 20%, we would cost based contract and the primary benefactor would be CoSA (city of sa).

David Medina (District 5):
how much money for weatherization program set aside?
CPS: roughly 18-20% of STEP Funding 150 million through 2020, and extra 12.3 million for the next two years with stimulus funds

Reed Williams (District 8):
Rate issue, i understand your model and 5% increase assumption every two years. this causes confusion with constituents if we could say if there is no nuclear project, what are the increases?
1. no project, 2. nuclear, 3. combined cycle. what is the revenue requirement if we do nothing?
CPS: the presentations we have been making, the last slide compares the rate adjustments over the next 20 years and contrast with rates needed if we don’t build anything with the assumption that we’ll buy power off the grid if we need power. less than 3% if we don’t build. and maybe not increase in some years.
Williams: we need perspective of the revenue requirement under various scenarios but not out of your average rate case graph.
CPS: what we can do is a bill analysis for 1000KW/month under a no bill scenario for various levels of consumption.
Williams: if you think it is going to take a 2% for a no build in 2010 and maybe 3% in 2013, we want to see the reality not the fixed 5% in the model
CPS: we have that info and can do it that way, you can still see the incremental in the model. the majority of the rate increase in 2010 is not for nuclear, it is needed for infrastructure etc.
i’m losing battery and i’m getting lost in the rhetoric and proprietary terms…