8. Nuclear industry introduces plans for smaller reactors. The start of 2012 looked bleak for the American nuclear industry: increased scrutiny of facilities after the 2011 Fukushima tragedy in Japan and mounting construction costs had doomed the much-hyped American nuclear renaissance. Then, in late 2012 the industry announced plans to move forward with a new generation of “small modular reactors” — portable, cost-effective reactors that would be designed with unique safety features.
9. Obama administration blocks offshore leasing in Atlantic for oil, moves forward with offshore wind. Despite vocal support for offshore drilling from politicians along the East Coast, the Obama administration announced it would prohibit drilling in the Atlantic in its next five-year leasing plan. A few months later, the administration announced plans for its first-ever renewable energy lease sales on the Outer Continental Shelf, opening significant blocks of the Atlantic to offshore wind development.
10. EPA denies Renewable Fuel Standard waiver despite worst drought in decades. On the heels of one of the worst droughts to hit the United States in decades, nearly a dozen states called on the EPA to waive the federal Renewable Fuel Standard in order to provide some relief to those industries hit hardest by high corn prices, namely the livestock industry. Despite bipartisan calls for a waiver, the EPA rejected the waiver request in November.
David Holt is the president of the Consumer Energy Alliance.