Many observers are now aware that the mussels in Apalachicola Bay are a red herring. While wildlife in that corner of the world is important, a more important reason for sending lots of water downstream is the generation of electricity.
I was curious what The Southern Company had to say about being the largest user of water in the State. And I found this jaw dropper: "The southeastern United States has abundant rainfall and waterways to supply water for power plants. As with any natural resource, we strive to use water responsibly.Electricity generation requires large amounts of water to produce steam, remove heat, or power hydroelectric turbines. Some of the water naturally evaporates — what you see rising out of the large cooling towers at power plants is water vapor. Some of the water at power plants is cooled and reused. Most of the water is returned back to its source.".
I have questions. Has the Southern Company ever planned for a water shortage? Is there a way to generate electricity that uses less water?Did they think the party was never going to stop?
The Southern Company is a neo government institution, which supplies electricity. The people of the south depend on them for a vital resource. The shareholders make a handsome profit on their considerable investment. How wise has this company been?
According to the site, the majority of the water used is returned to the river. While this is good for the aquatic life in Florida, the majority of the generating plants are south of Buford Dam, where the water is not available for flushing commodes in East Cobb. (Bathroom spray is not needed in that area)
The Southern Company uses hydroelectric, as well as coal and nuclear fired. All three have environmental issues. Hydroelectric is the most benign, but still needs to use water which flows downstream. As a result, the water is not available for watering Dunwoody shrubbery. Nuclear is clean when it works, but is expensive. Nukes require intense regulation by big government, and can literally kill all of us if things go wrong. Coal plants burn fossil fuel, and pump megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere.
When using Nukes and Coal, the company builds a fire. Water is boiled on this reaction and turned into steam, which then drives turbines. It takes a lot of water for this to happen, much more than for a mussel to go swimming.
And how much of this steam is distilled into water, and how much is released into the atmosphere? We have to take the companies word on this.
Have you ever wondered why the Southern Company runs those annoying commercials? Maybe those ad dollars are protection money, and serve to thwart critical scrutiny. This might be another reason why the water talk is about mussels and not about Nuclear Power Plants.