Our Stand
(Apologies to Stephen King.)
When we started this web site, we just wanted to share what we thought was neat stuff, mostly pictures of dams, with other folks. The last thing we wanted is yet another site pontificating magnanimously about yet another cause, and throwing rocks at non-believers. We have our ideas, and we know that others will have some different ideas, and yet we can live together with mutual respect for each other and the freedom that we have to not agree on everything. That is what America is all about. Unfortunately, we see a situation unfolding that has too many voices on one side, and almost none on the other side. The situation involves something at the very root of our civilization: Electric Power.
Maybe we had our heads in the sand like everyone else, but it seems that in just the past two or three years we see developments that disturb us greatly concerning the generation or distribution of electricity. Things like the power shortage in California. The fact that the only new generation plants being built are natural gas-fired turbine plants meant only to supply peak power at exorbitant prices. That the "grid" is overloaded and antiquated... are you aware that a not insignificant portion of the power put into the grid is lost as heat? TVA estimates the average loss is 3%. Some research is being done to deploy superconducting technologies to reduce this loss, but for now we are complacent enough to just expect the lights to come on when we flip the switch, especially here in the southeast because we supposedly have a surplus of power: a surplus generated mostly with coal. Coal by far generates most of the power in the US, and it is not-so-slowly destroying the environment. Another disturbing fact: did you know that to burn a 100 watt light bulb for one hour requires burning about a pound of coal to generate the necessary power? These events have been occurring or developing all along, but we have just started to learn about them while doing research for this web site, or when they become sensational enough to make the news, like the situation in California.
One situation we learned of was the re-licensing of the Tapoco Project. At first we were pleased because it made information that we had been seeking about the dams available on the internet, which is our primary research tool. As we learned more about the process, however, we were appalled. It is almost reminiscent of the "process" that eventually killed Nuclear Power. Using a bureaucratic ambush to bury the licensing procedure under a suffocating pile of red tape, and sensationalizing beyond belief the accident at Three Mile Island, opponents of Nuclear Power killed it, and an unenlightened, uncaring, and sometimes misinformed public let it happen. The FERC re-licensing process is a long, arduous affair that leaves Alcoa Power Generating, Inc. (APGI) vulnerable to losing partially or completely the power that the project provides. But since the dams are privately owned by Alcoa, a multi-billion dollar multi-national corporation, who cares?
We do! This is exactly the type of situation that comes in under the radar for most folks. We think it illustrates beautifully how the general public could not care less, and a vocal minority uses the system to accomplish their goals, thinking that this "small" amount of power (about 325 MW, not exactly a small amount!) can easily be made up somewhere else. We think that if the general public knew about the situation, and looked at it within the big picture, they might start to think twice about how the light comes on when they flip that switch instead of taking it for granted. Our goal is to educate the public, not to throw rocks. We apologize in advance to those whose toes we step on, but we must make our stand.
We reiterate: we are NOT shareholders of Alcoa, nor are we affiliated with Alcoa or any of its subsidiaries, particularly APGI. We do have a small amount invested in the Dividend Reinvestment Plan of Southern Company, but that has nothing to do with our motivation. Indeed, if Southern makes a move toward nuclear power as we advocate here, the short term outlook for that investment will be very questionable, due to mass hysteria, especially on Wall Street (maybe they should rename it "Lemming Street").
On this page we will have links to various writings, ours and others, to educate and illustrate the case for Hydro Power, Nuclear Power, new generation technologies, and the distribution of electricity. Pertinent and reasonable comments will be displayed also. Rocks will be ignored.
The Case for Tapoco
Our Email to the Tennessee Clean Water Network
Our Comments to the FERC
Air Quality in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park