May 2, 2013
Real Clear Energy
Is coal dead? Well maybe not entirely. Coal’s share of the electric grid has declined to 43 percent but companies are finding they can sell their surpluses abroad. Europe is moving back to coal after being stretched to the limit by Gazprom on natural gas prices. Illinois reports a record year for exports and Oklahoma is talking about a coal comeback. The railroads are gaining on new shipments. But Patriot Coal, one of the largest domestic producers, is caught in a vice with its unions and facing bankruptcy.
Nuclear continues to thrive abroad and wither at home. Mitsubishi and Areva have won a joint bid to develop a reactor in Turkey. Russia has announced it will invest $31 billion in developing its nuclear technology. But Southern California Electric says it may close its huge San Onofre Reactor if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission doesn’t allow it to reopen soon. And in Texas, the NRC has killed the South Texas project on the basis of – get this – the two reactors were going to be built by a foreign company, Toshiba. Do they think there are any American companies left in the nuclear construction business?
Colorado will up its renewable requirement from 10 percent to 20 percent under a law now awaiting Governor John Hickenlooper’s signature. He’ll sign. But in Connecticut the state senate has undercut environmentalists’ push for more renewables by allowing Canadian hydropower to count under that category. The enviros wanted the mandate to be satisfied only by solar and wind.
Finally, Stuart Barns suggests on OilPrice that maybe the current energy boom is going to lead to a revival in manufacturing. There have been a lot of conflicting claims on this lately. In National Interest, Amy Harder notes that we have lots more oil and gas than we thought and the Texas Tribune says there’s lots more shale out there to be discovered And on Atomic Insights, And on Atomic Insights, NuScale CEO Paul Lorenzini tackles a ridiculous study that claims nuclear reactors kill more birds than windmills. He makes a good case for scientific fraud.
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