Bachus leads energy forum at Jeff State

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) led an energy forum Tuesday at Jefferson State Community College to speak about his commitment to exploring all energy sources.

Bachus spoke about several energy sources that show potential, including solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, coal and propane.

His talk mostly focused on nuclear and coal power as possible primary sources of energy.

“(Nuclear) is really the only cost-effective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” he said. “Other countries are going to nuclear.”

For example, China will have 32 new nuclear plants by 2020. The country currently has 11 nuclear plants in operation, and six are under construction. India also has 17 nuclear plants in operation and six under construction.

Bachus said nuclear power could bring a lot of perks to Alabama.

“Building a nuclear power plant in Alabama would bring 6,000 new high-wage construction jobs,” he said.

Mike Stinson, vice president of fleet operations support for Southern Nuclear, said nuclear energy currently provides 20 percent of the energy in the United States, and that energy is clean.

“From an emissions standpoint, nuclear is one of the cleanest forms of energy available,” he said.

Bachus said coal also has a lot to recommend it as an energy source.

“Its advantages are that it’s abundant and relatively low-cost,” he said. “The United States has over a 200-year supply of coal. Our coal deposits contain more energy than all the world’s oil reserves.”

Alabama’s coal production is a huge source of revenue, as the total annual value of coal produced in the state exceeds $1 billion.

Vicky Sullivan, the climate strategy manger for Southern Company, said Alabama is a leader in renewable energy.

“We are actually one of the leading states in the country in terms of renewable energy. We are ranked sixth,” she said. “Coal is by far our most abundant domestic fuel.”

Bachus said he would like to see an energy policy based on a balance among all types of renewable energy.

“I think the solution is to use all our resources. We should not eliminate any of them,” he said.