Our Goal: ZERO Greenhouse Gasses

The goal of Energize NorthWest (ENW) and this website is the energizing of the Pacific Northwest’s economy by reducing our emission of Global Warming Greenhouse Gasses (GHG) to ZERO. This will be a multifaceted effort involving increased production of clean energy, replacing the use of fossil energy with clean energy, and energy conservation.

Presently it is not practical to power some things like airplanes with clean energy. So until bio-fuels or cleanly generated liquid fuels are readily available, our goal is to achieve Carbon Neutrality, also known as Net Zero Carbon Footprint (NZCF). We do this by exporting to other regions enough clean energy to offset our remaining fossil fuel consumption.

First time visitors please read

Welcome to our website! Energize Northwest was founded by Herbert Burke as an outgrowth of an unpublished editorial he wrote in 2011. He began thinking about what we in Washington (state) can do to expand our economy since Washington (D.C.) was doing very little. Washington State has some great economic engines in Boeing, Microsoft, biotech firms, and other high-tech businesses, but Burke wanted to develop a unique economic engine that could not be moved or duplicated elsewhere. Thus he founded Energize Northwest. On the Internet, we answer to energizenw.com or energizenorthwest.com. Burke started researching with only Washington State in mind. We plan to cover the whole Northwest, but until Burke gets more help, (Hint, Hint) most of our numerical data is limited to Washington State.

We are not to be confused with Energy Northwest, a Joint Operating Agency (JOA), comprising 27 member public utilities from across the state. They are doing a great job of running our state’s only operational nuclear power reactor, the Columbia Generating Station, and several other hydro, wind and solar generating facilities.

Our goal of Carbon Neutrality is clear but our ability to overcome the inertia of society is not. We need you to get involved. If you like what we are doing, spread the word to your friends. At the moment we are a one-man show and have not linked to various social medias as we do not have the time to monitor them. So for now, we have limited our contact to email via our Contact Us page or email at contact@energizenw.com. Your comments are welcome. Please read on! There is a lot to learn here.

Click these links for more information about Our Founding and the nature of Our Content.

NOTICE!  The author of this website, me, Herbert Burke has been working on several other projects for the last two years. I have done little to update the content since the “What’s New New” entry was created over two years ago. It is November 9, 2017, and I will be updating the content as fast as I can. Entries that have been updated will be marked on the menu with a *.

WHAT’S NEW NEW !!!  The Viewpoint Opinion by State Senators Sharon Brown and Tim Sheldon in the August 16, 2015, News Tribune. It is wonderful to read an article written by elected officials that understand the difference between “clean” energy and “renewable” energy. They realize our need for clean nuclear energy. However, their support of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) overlooks the fact that no SMR company has an active design certification application. The Senators urge immediate action to satisfy our needs for clean power and for nuclear power that means the construction of reactors that HAVE NRC approval. Their suggestion of converting the state ferry fleet to liquefied natural gas would reduce ferry carbon emissions by two thirds. However, our proposal to convert them to nuclear power would completely eliminate their carbon emissions. Here are links to the Senators’ TNT Viewpoint Editorial, our Ferry Proposal and our Analysis of SMRs. 

What’s New??  We have just added our suggested improvements to William Shatner’s California Drought Solution.

We will be regularly adding new material so occasionally check our What’s New? 

Serious comments are welcome! We have not linked to various social media as we do not have the time to monitor them. So for now, we have limited our contact to the reply form at the bottom of the main pages, our Contact Us page, or email at contact@energizenw.com

Since Energize Northwest’s conception, we have been directing our efforts toward educating our readers about the global warming problem before we addressed how to fix it. On December 13, 2013, we attended the public meeting of the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup (CLEW) in Olympia. Here we learned that our Governor and key legislators recognize that our planet is warming and the major cause is the huge quantities of fossil fuels we use.

Our Governor, Jay Inslee, believes we must act to control global warming. He even wrote a book, Apollo’s Fire: Igniting America’s Clean Energy Economy, believing that we needed an Apollo Moon Project type effort. As a United States Representative, Inslee submitted legislation urging Congress to act. However, his legislation H.R. 2809 (110th): New Apollo Energy Act of 2007 gained little traction. Governor Inslee was just ahead of his time!

In addition, we learned of a Stanford University study stating that three-fourths of Washington residents concur. If our state leaders, three-fourths of our public, (President Obama did but now there is no link), the Pope, and now the U.S.Senate, all seem to agree that global warming is a problem, it behooves us to get right to our proposed solution.

As a part of CLEW’s effort, the State hired a consultant to evaluate the options available to the State to reduce its GHG emissions. The results of this $300,000 study, which became known as the Liedos report, concluded that the State could only reach its 2020 emission reduction goal the addition of a Cap and Trade plan to all the existing efforts. However, no combination of the studied proposals could reach the 2035 and 2050 goals.

The report could have guided the State to meeting and even exceeding their goals if the consultants had included the impact of expanding nuclear power in their calculations. Instead, they followed a decade’s old policy of not studying nuclear energy in deference to the public’s exaggerated fear of Nuclear Energy. This fear was shown by entries like “No nuclear – Nuclear is killing the planet” and “No Nuclear ENERGY!!!!!” submitted on the committee’s public comment forms. For years, this fear has been reinforced by renewable energy supporters who claim that Wind and Solar can provide a safe replacement for polluting energy sources. These beliefs continue even in light of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

However, we were encouraged to see that State Senator Doug Erickson asked the consultants for information on the effects of expanding Nuclear Power. In the final report, Representative Shelly Short joined with Senator Erickson in suggesting that we “Replace fossil fuels with nuclear generation.”

We have studied the effect of expanding nuclear power. The result is that the construction of one large nuclear plant would provide more than enough electrical energy to replace ALL the Coal generated electricity currently used in Washington State. This would allow the State to reach its 2020 goal on time without resorting to a program that includes tax increases.

Building a second reactor would provide enough energy to replace all of the natural gas generated electricity Washington State uses with enough left over to wean Oregon and Idaho off coal. This would get Washington State halfway to its 2035 goal for GHG emissions reduction. In reality, it is not that simple. Most natural gas generation is used for peaking, not for supplying base load. Such a source switch would require the expansion of our dams’ peaking capacity and replacing their reduced baseload generation capacity with Nuclear Power. 

Table 5-1b on page 60 of the State’s 2013 Biennial Energy Report with Indicators shows that the State consumed over 12 million MWh of coal-generated electricity. The chart on page 8 of the Liedos Report shows that generating this electricity produced GHG emissions of 15.8 MMTCO2e (million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents). Replacing this coal-generated electricity with clean Nuclear energy would allow the State to exceed its 2020 GHG reduction goal. Subtracting 15.8 from the state’s projected 2015 level of 99.6 MMTCO2e (Liedos Report, page 50) gives you 83.6 MMTCO2e. This is well below Washington State’s 2020 goal of 88.4.

For the fiscal year ending 2014, the Columbia Station, our only nuclear plant, set a new record by generated 9.8 million MWh (from 7/14/2014 press release). A new GE ESBWR nuclear plant is rated at about 12.6 million MWh or about 25% more powerful than the almost 30 year old GE BWR powering the Columbia Station. Therefore, a single new reactor would be able to replace the 12 million MWh of coal generated electricity we consume in the Washington.

After several years of research, we concluded that the only way to drastically reduce our CO2 emissions was to replace fossil fuel energy with clean Nuclear Energy supplemented with Wind and Solar. We should start by replacing all the electricity currently generated by fossil fuels with nuclear generated electricity, and for the Northwest, Hanford is an ideal place to build nuclear plants.

We will be bucking the well-financed Natural Gas, Petroleum, and Coal industries who are bombarding us with advertising to make you feel good as their emissions destroy our planet. You can counter these ads by printing out this HCE Graphic from the article Human Cost of Energy in the September 2011 issue of Scientific American. Tape it to the side of your TV as a reminder that the production of energy from fossil-fuels is about ten times as deadly as the production of energy from any other source including nuclear. The graphic also illustrates the health burden on the United States caused by particulates from fossil-fueled power plants. These particulates cause about 30,100 Americans to die prematurely as well as cause workers to miss over five million days of work each year.

Like everything, nuclear power has its dangers, but for years nuclear power opponents have at best been exaggerating or simply just lying about them. The following quote from the 2013 NASA research paper, Coal and Gas are Far More Harmful than Nuclear Power, by Pushker Kharecha and James Hansen, says it all.

“Using historical electricity production data and mortality and emission factors from the peer-reviewed scientific literature, we found that despite the three major nuclear accidents the world has experienced, nuclear power prevented an average of over 1.8 million net deaths worldwide between 1971-2009. This amounts to at least hundreds and more likely thousands of times more deaths than it caused.” Emphasis ours.

Renewable energies, specifically wind and solar, have the obvious shortcoming of not generating 24 hours a day. Their proponents make all sorts of claims to downplay this obvious flaw. The ultimate test of renewables’ viability is real-world usage. Several years ago, Germany made the decision to mount a multi-billion dollar effort to generate their electricity with renewables like wind and solar. They even closed three nuclear power plants as a sign of their resolve. At first, emissions went down helped by a poor economy and their conservation efforts. Over time the economy recovered and their conservation efforts maxed out. All of a sudden they were short of dependable 24 hours a day power. As a result, they had to start building new coal fueled generation plants, which caused their CO2 emissions to increase for the last two years. This link will take you to a translated version of the German Newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s, article on the CO2 increase. As of 2014, the residential power rates in Germany are almost double the rates of adjacent France, which generates most of it electricity with nuclear power. This report from the U. S. Energy Information Agency (eia) graphically compares European rates with ours. (Also note that Washington State’s average rate is less than a quarter that of Germany’s)

On our Wind Energy page, we document how our investment of billions of dollars in wind energy has done little to reduce Washington State’s use of fossil fuel generated electricity.

The Northwest is not a prime location for centralized solar electricity generation as are the Southern states. However, the Solar Energy they produce should be factored into the West’s total energy mix. In the long-term, like millennia, we residents of earth, will have to learn to survive solely on the energy from the sun.

To achieve Carbon Neutrality, we must replace all the fossil fuel energy we are using with non-polluting energy. This is a major undertaking, but it is doable! It can be done with Nuclear Power and we explain how on our page, Achieving Carbon Neutrality.