Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

09 July 2008

Electricity Cost by Power Source

The 21 July 2008 issue of Forbes has a table on p.37 giving the share of U. S. electricity output and the cost per KWH for a number of fuel sources. Note that nuclear, wind, geothermal, and solar costs are after government subsidies and no information is provided on the cost without the subsidies. The table says:

Coal 50% 6.2 cents/KWH
Natural Gas 20% 6.8
Nuclear 20% 6.3
Hydroelectric 6% NA
Biomass 1% 8.1
Wind 1% 6.2
Geothermal <1% 7.4
Solar <1% 28.9

Even with subsidies, it is clear that solar energy, so beloved by the socialist elements, is in left field with respect to being competitive as a power source for electricity generation plants. Each of the socialist solutions to our future energy needs now provides 1% or less of electrical power, so a huge growth of usage is required before any of them will be capable of replacing a significant portion of the power supplied now by coal, oil, or nuclear plants. It is likely that this will take many years, if it ever happens at all.

Meanwhile, of 114 proposed coal-fired plants, 67 are still awaiting permits. The Peabody Energy 1,600 MW Prairie State Energy Campus in Illinois was projected to cost $2 billion and take 4 years to build. Legal battles with the Sierra Club ate up 6 years and now the plant will cost $3.5 billion to build. Electricity users will just have to pay more for their electricity.

2 comments:

miss breeziness said...

You know how people say "For every action, there is equal and opposite criticism"? That certainly seem to apply with electrical generation and environmentalists.

Coal and oil? Produces carbon dioxide. Hydro? Dams up rivers. Nuclear? Too dangerous. Wind? Kills birds.

It seems that solar and gas are the only ones they haven't gone after yet. (Maybe I'm wrong.)

A while back, there was a bit of an "argument" of sorts between the prime minister of Australia, John Howard (he isn't prime minister now), and the prime minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark. John Howard proposed to combat global warming by building more nuclear power plants in Australia. Helen Clark said in response to that: "Global warming is a real problem, but we need to use other methods to combat it."

You see, this is why it's so difficult to build anything in New Zealand right now.

Charles R. Anderson said...

Because the use of gas is relatively pollution free, it is in such high demand that its cost has gone up greatly. This is likely to continue. Of course, it also produces CO2, just not as much as coal does for a given BTU output.

While solar is still a favorite of environmentalists, it will not be when thousands of acres of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and California are covered with solar panels. They will object then. In addition, they will not like the actual manufacture of the panels either when that becomes a big business.

Geothermal might seem likely to please them, but geothermal operations sometimes cause earthquakes and so there will at least be an outcry of not in my backyard you don't!

It will be very interesting to see how far people are willing to go with this CO2 emissions minimization process and how many goods and services they will be willing to give up.