Wind industry pioneer talks about U.S. electricity mix of the future

Renewable energy advocate Dr. Jim Walker, an energy advisor in the Nixon and Ford administrations, has been voicing his views on what he sees as the energy mix for the US for the rest of this century.

Dr Walker helped pioneer the utility-scale wind industry and now sees the need for a “portfolio” energy policy.

“If we keep wind, solar, natural gas, nuclear and strengthen the grid,” he explained, “that would be a pretty good electricity system.”

There is a place for nuclear but not coal, according to Walker. “You’d want to keep the nukes,” he said, “but you’re going to have a hard time keeping the nuke output where it is.

Coal is going to be gradually phased out. I don’t see the breakthroughs coming in CCS (carbon sequestration) that you see in gas and wind and solar.”

Walker said wind and natural gas will lead because they are economically competitive. But with Congress denying the domestic wind industry an extension of its vital production tax credit (PTC), much new wind development will go abroad in the near term.

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