Indiana News

Experts Ponder Future of Energy at IUPUI Conference

Energy efficiency, nuclear power among topics

10/3/2012

Utility industry stakeholders have turned their attention to the future of energy, at IUPUI's annual energy conference.

Speakers discussed prospects for increased use of natural gas or nuclear energy, or for energy-efficiency measures that would produce more bang for the buck.

Anna Chittum with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says Indiana could add more than three gigawatts of generating capacity by offering utilities incentives to build plants which produce both power and heat. The Obama Administration has set a goal of adding 40 gigawatts of co-generating capacity in eight years.

Lieutenant governor candidates Vi Simpson and Sue Ellspermann laid out the energy planks of their running mates, Democrat John Gregg and Republican Mike Pence. Both campaigns have pledged to embrace Indiana coal and make it a priority to keep Hoosier energy costs low, but they differ on Pence's suggestion that it's time to revisit the idea of adding nuclear power to the mix.

Darren Gale, a vice president with nuclear-reactor manufacturer Babcock and Wilcox, says a joint venture with Bechtel has produced a reactor a fraction of the size of those used in past nuclear plants. He says that would reduce the scale of future plant construction, which in turn would decrease the costs representing one of the barriers to nuclear energy.

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