On June 14, 2010, Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), a New Jersey utility, was the recipient of the 2010 Edison Award presented by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI.) Watch PSEG’s submission video of how they are grabbing climate change by the tail and never letting go.
Now, for those of you who know PSEG as solely the utility company supplying gas and/or electric to your house or business, think again. PSEG is a diversified energy group with annual revenues in excess of $12 billion from its three different subsidiaries: PSEG Power, Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) and PSEG Energy Holdings.
When I was sent the press release about PSEG’s honor, I wondered who is the Edison Electric Institute? And why is this award so important? Sure. I know all about Thomas Edison. Heck, he is a New Jersey son. The press release describes the Institute as follows:
“The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is the association of U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies. Our members serve 95 percent of the ultimate customers in the shareholder-owned segment of the industry, and represent approximately 70 percent of the U.S. electric power industry. We also have more than 65 International electric companies as Affiliate members, and more than 170 industry suppliers and related organizations as Associate members.”
So, why did PSEG win this coveted award? According to the EEI’s press release,
“PSEG was recognized by the judges for its bold and innovative growth strategy that is geared toward clean energy, energy efficiency and jobs. Specifically, the company focused on combating climate change and creating jobs through energy efficiency efforts, the development of renewable resources and developing clean central station energy, investing up to $5 billion dollars in the process.”
I praise the Company for funding area hospitals’ energy efficient renovations and upgrades, energy audits for homes, and replacing old inefficient municipal lighting. And what’s not to love about PSEG Solar Source’s large scale mega watt producing farms in Ohio and Florida? In addition, PSEG is exploring the development of a 350 MV wind farm off the coast of New Jersey. (See here about offshore wind farms being proposed in New Jersey.) When you think a company can’t do more, well PSEG is just full of surprises. It has invested $20 million in compressed-air energy storage. For green energy geeks like me, well, let’s just say, I am pretty impressed.
Plus, here is the kicker. PSEG is creating jobs!
On the flip side… (yes, Virginia, there is a dark side. No on is perfect.) I am not particularly thrilled with the Company’s clean coal and nuclear facilities. Why not? According to Seed Magazine
“Coal-fired plants, of course, spew out CO2 and toxins like nitrous oxide and sulfur dioxide. The cumulative greenhouse effects promise catastrophic weather phenomena, widespread flooding, food shortage, displacement, and extinction. If we proceed with carbon-capture-and-storage technology, we will have to find a safe way to store the CO2; so far, the most promising method—burying it underground—seems to have its own dangerous side effects, including acidified ground water and weakened rock.”
The article further states;
“Nuclear plants produce radioisotopes with half-lives ranging from a few days to a few million years. Their pollution tends to occur in bursts—either in catastrophic accidents or waste leaks—but, as with CO2, the effects can propagate for decades or centuries. Storage and disposal of nuclear waste are longstanding problems, complicated by President Obama’s plan to abandon the long-term nuclear storage project at Yucca Mountain. Both uranium and coal mining wreak havoc on nearby communities. And then there is the looming danger of uranium finding its way into weapons.”
So in my humble opinion (and also the opinion of Edwin Lyman, a physicist, is a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Global Security Program in Washington, DC), we should stick to renewable energy. In fact, Lyman stated in the Seed Magazine article,
“Both coal and nuclear power pose serious risks to human health and the environment, but there is no consistent way to compare their very different risks on an apples-to-apples basis. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has developed an energy strategy, “Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy,” which shows that the United States can dramatically cut global-warming emissions and still enjoy robust economic growth over the next several decades without substantially increasing the use of either coal or nuclear power.”
Here. Here. I like this man.
So, congratulations, PSEG! Drop the nuclear and coal part and I will love you even more. So, is your utility company making a difference with regards to climate change? Tell me in the comments what efforts your utility is making.
Readers, don’t you think PSEG’s actions should be the norm not the exception? Thoughts?
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