From Scott Carlberg

National infrastructure and energy thinking get lots of press. For a realistic perspective on action, look beyond the TV networks and big news magazines.

State and local news sources tell a different story; these places are making bigger bets than the nation considering their size and resources. Good for them!

In the next several days I’ll look at a sampling of states and cities and appreciate their work. Some of the state names may surprise you, too.

Today: Advanced Nuclear Technology.

Wyoming: I repeatedly see Wyoming mentioned in energy news. The well-established coal state is determined to pioneer advanced nuclear energy and teamed with Bill Gates’ nuclear project. (Source/image)

Wyoming has a good cheerleader in its governor: “Wyoming has it all: the best wind, solar, gas, coal, nuclear and the ability to store 50 years’ worth of our nation’s total carbon emissions. Innovation, not regulation, is our way forward to give our nation the energy it requires and simultaneously solve the world’s climate concerns.” (Source – SweetwaterNOW)

Nebraska/Iowa: Here’s a headline: Could Nebraska and Iowa go nuclear as part of shift away from fossil fuels? A state senator sponsored a bill “to encourage companies to pilot new nuclear technology in Nebraska. He said new nuclear plants could be used to replace coal plants or supplement renewables.” (Source – Omaha.com)

“It’s an important thing to do from a business perspective,” said the CEO of the Nebraska Public Power District (which operates a nuclear plant now). “Carbon has business risks as we look to the future.”

Montana: When I talk about states I am thinking about heightened and more persoanl public input, so I needed to include this. A letter to the editor of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle took to task an op-ed that panned new nuclear. The letter said this about the op-ed: “While he listed the challenges of advanced nuclear systems, he failed to address the advantages. Many of these designs are intended to address the very challenges he describes.”

This blog has since 2018 advanced just that idea – consumers should learn about energy issues and constructively express themselves. I applaud that writer for doing just that.

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There are lessons here. A series of columns, What States and Cities Do Right to Promote Innovation, from George Mason University said it well: “With less bureaucracy to enact policies, local governments are able to more quickly react to new products and incorporate them into new or existing structures. State and local governments are also more able to allow experiments and risk and other governments can learn from the results – as opposed to a sudden, often stagnant, national policy that may or may not work.”

The accountability and lack of gamesmanship in personal relationships can mean a great deal in energy innovation. Stay as local as possible for inventiveness. Eye-to-eye is the way to discuss, debate, and decide important energy issues – the place to test and incubate innovation. States get it done.

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Feature image is research being done on nuclear fuel at Idaho National Labs.