Judd Gregg: A real green energy plan

Judd Gregg: A real green energy plan
© Anna Moneymaker

The Green New Deal as proposed and authored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHouse progressives call on Biden to end all new fossil fuel permitting Schumer endorses democratic socialist India Walton in Buffalo mayor's race Toomey takes aim at Schumer's spending windfall for NYC public housing MORE (D-N.Y.), the 29-year-old former bartender from the Bronx — and now sponsored by numerous other Democratic members of Congress — reminds one of the lists of goals set forth as “five year plans” in the old Soviet Union.

It is all about the few telling the many how they should lead their lives.

It aims for universal employment, universal free higher education, nationalized medicine, 100 percent electric cars and trucks, and breaking up large corporations, among other things.


It also demands a carbon-free country in the arena of electricity production, with the ultimate goal of having wind and solar energy replace coal and gas-fired generation.

This proposal is as trite and improbable as most of the other ideas propounded in the Deal.

Wind and solar are positive alternatives. But today they make up less then six percent of our energy supply.  Even if one assumes their most aggressive expansion, their use cannot pick up anything more than a minority of the production necessary to keep America’s businesses and households running, and lights on across the country.

There is a real green option, however.

It is nuclear energy.

Today, nuclear power supplies approximately 20 percent of the nation’s energy and almost 60 percent of its non-carbon-producing energy.

Nuclear power’s non-carbon footprint dwarfs that of solar and wind.

Ironically, many of those who claim to be concerned about the effects of carbon on global warming oppose the expansion of nuclear power. Not only that, many of them are against keeping existing nuclear plants that have many useful years of production ahead of them.


If one is truly concerned about carbon emissions and the resultant global warming, it is hard to argue against the idea that nuclear is a big part of the solution.

The good news is that there are some real ideas and proposals coming forth.

They involve taking seriously the contribution that nuclear power makes to our existing power supply and can continue to make as we seek ways to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions.

Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderMcConnell gets GOP wake-up call The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats return to disappointment on immigration Authorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate MORE (R-Tenn.) has called for a “New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy”.

This plan, rather then being a picked-over collection of collectivist failures like the Green New Deal, is actually a serious and realistic initiative that would move the country down the road towards a cleaner, less carbon-reliant electricity supply.

One of its primary components is the promotion and maintenance of nuclear power plants.

This commitment makes sense not only because these plants are carbon-free and are already producing such a large percentage of the nation’s electricity. It would also help to meet our goal of having diverse sources of energy.

We cannot afford to put all our energy production in one basket. We must have a variety of sources carrying our base load.

In 2014, during the polar vortex, the northeast and Midwest came close to suffering massive brown outs and even a black out because all the energy sources other then nuclear essentially froze up.

Having numerous types of energy is critical to ensuring an uninterrupted electricity supply, which is critical to the nation’s wellbeing.

We should also be investing in advanced nuclear technologies in order to maintain a competitive position with other nations such as China that are building new plants around the globe.

The United States developed this source of energy, and we should not surrender our leadership to other countries. The New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy would promote our leadership.

Alexander’s proposal represents a rational, constructive path for the country to follow if we want to reduce carbon emissions while maintaining a growing economy.

It is not a mish-mash of unattainable socialist aspirations parading itself under the feel-good name of the Green New Deal.

Alexander has put forth a Real Green Clean Energy Plan, based on the honest recognition of the important role nuclear power can play in our country’s future success.

The author is a member of the advocacy council of Nuclear Matters, a group that promotes nuclear energy. 

Judd Gregg (R) is a former governor and three-term senator from New Hampshire who served as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, and as ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee.