|Clip Art Courtesy of Jim Scherrer|
And when I say "surprising facts," I mean that I was surprised. And I love nuclear energy!
The biggest power plants in America are nuclear
James Conca at Forbes describes the Ten Biggest Power Plants in America---Not What You Think. They are "not what you think" because Conca looks at the power produced by these plants, rather than the nameplate size of the plants.
Yeah, yeah, we all know that nuclear has a great capacity factor. But in terms of power-produced, did you know that the biggest plant in America is Palo Verde? It is the plant that produces the most electricity. The Grand Coulee Dam comes in third, after Palo Verde and Brown's Ferry Nuclear Station. As a matter of fact, seven out of ten of the "biggest" are nuclear.
Vermont Yankee made more power per year (lifetime average) than Hoover Dam
There's a comment on Conca's post by Edward Leaver. Here's part of the comment:
Lake Mead is still the nations largest artificial reservoir…..Hoover Dam’s generation capacity is 2.1
More massive than Vermont Yankee
Less electricity per year
Something to think about the next time someone explains how Vermont absolutely NEEDS to buy power from HydroQuebec, no matter how many Canadian rivers are impounded and how many square miles of forest are drowned.
Hydro Power makes 7% of U.S. Electricity. Nuclear makes 19%
Well, yeah. I knew that nuclear made 19% of U.S. electricity. But somehow, I thought nuclear was running neck and neck with hydro power as the best source of low-carbon power. I mean, there are big dams all over the U.S.: TVA, the dams on the Colorado, the dams on the Columbia. Not to mention dams on smaller rivers.
And all those hydro plants add up to less than 7% of U. S. electricity. About a third of what our nuclear plants made. And they take a lot of land and they change their local ecology.
In the old days, I was a member of the Sierra Club. I was in college and the club was for "Atoms not Dams." And the club advocated for Wilderness Areas instead of ridge-top wind turbines. And it was truly about saving the earth and the wilderness.
Sigh. I am showing my age.
But I am still young enough to be surprised by how good nuclear energy is. Every day is Earth Day when you support nuclear energy!
Wikipedia lists Hoover Dam as having a capacity factor of 23% not 24%. In his comment, Mr. Leaver seems to be giving Hoover the benefit of the doubt.
Well, okay. I still love the Grand Coulee Dam song by Woody Guthrie.