By Kennedy Maize
Washington, March 22. 2010 — Remember all that hype about a nuclear renaissance? Push it all a couple of years into the future, as the economy has caused growth in demand for electricity to slow considerably, making the need for new baseload capacity less pressing.
In a wire service interview, Marvin Fertel, CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the Washington-based lobbying group for the nukes, said he figures new nuclear plant completion dates are probably two or three years later than forecast. “The recession has decreased demand of electricity everywhere,” he said. New plant predicted to come on line in 2017 or 2018 are now probably “2020 projects.”
But that doesn’t mean a decline in the need for baseload generation, as predicted by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chief John Wellinghoff. He told an energy meeting last year that new coal or nuclear baseload may not be needed “ever”. That assertion drew derision from many electric industry analysts.