By Assemblyman Will Barclay (R-Pulaski)
Our government’s policies are focused on providing renewable energy at an affordable rate and decreasing our dependence on oil. Though wind and solar are among the first sources people think of for green energy, nuclear is considered a green energy as well because it has zero emissions. Scientists and engineers have figured out ways to harness nuclearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s potential and turn it into an affordable commodity.
Oswego County is no stranger to nuclear energy. Our economy has benefited from the Constellation plants and Fitzpatrick plants for several decades. For the past two years, UniStar has planned to site another nuclear facilityÃ¢â‚¬â€a joint venture between Constellation and EDF Group. Lengthy and costly application processes have been undertaken by UniStar in pursuit of a fourth plant. Several public hearings have also been held concerning this facility.
Unfortunately, it recently became clear that the federal government will not guarantee the loans needed to site the new facility. In short, this means that the current federal administration is not in strong support of nuclear energy. My office and I have been told that without these loan guarantees, which would be issued by the Department of Energy, the project is unable to move forward.
The future of nuclear energy requires legislative support from Congress. Federal loan guarantees would lower the cost of constructing new nuclear reactors by lowering financing costs for the lender. In order for more nuclear facilities to be built, the federal government must recognize the future contribution of nuclear and put it on par with wind and solar. To that end, I have urged our federal delegation, including Sen. Schumer and Sen. Gillibrand, to support nuclear energy by securing federal loan guarantees. Their understanding of the matter is integral to our local economy.
Adding a new facility would create jobs and add revenue to the local tax base, which would help ease property taxes for surrounding residents. Experts estimate a nuclear energy facility adds $20 million annually to state and local tax bases. Thousands of construction jobs and about 400 permanent, well-paid operational jobs would also be created. Approximately $430 million would be spent by the facility for goods, services and labor.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve said in the past that Oswego has the potential to be the energy capitol of the country. Our natural resources lend themselves to such. Already, three of the six reactors in the state reside in Oswego County. We should build on this portfolio and work to create policy that supports this endeavor.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding this or any other state matter, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list, contact me by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, 13069, by e-mail at [email protected], or by phone at (315) 598-5185.