Saturday, October 15, 2011

What Do We Do About Energy Now?

Green jobs and nuclear power had Renaissance potential for a minute.  Now both are sputtering.  What are we left with if these juggernauts are treading water.  Admittedly we need clean green jobs, but wind and solar hover around 1% in providing electricity compared to other sources.  The nuclear renaissance has produced relicenses for numerous commercial nuclear power plants.  Virtually all or most of the current fleet (104 plants) will be relicensed.  This is the equivalent of building new nuclear power plants. 

Clearly natural gas and coal will lead the way in new electricity generation.  That is the real world.  And American coal is a very valuable commodity in Asia, particularly China.  Hydraulic fracturing is being touted as the next new wave in natural gas production.  If it gets going seriously along the Marcellus Shale region, and if it lives up to industry expectations, natural gas could pick up several percentage points in terms of use.

Natural gas and coal currently make up 70% (20% and 50%, respectively) of electricity generation fuel.  Nuclear will remain steady at 20%.  Hydro provides another 8 percent with wind, solar and others making up 2% of the electricity production marketplace.  These percentages will probably remain stable.

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