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View Diary: Energize America - A Blueprint for U.S. Energy Security (Fourth Draft) (311 comments)

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  •  Co-gen has its problems too (none)
    I work at a university that is powered by a first of its kind (in 1980s) co gen plant.  It has been a proud fixture for the administration . . . until natural gas prices EXPLODED this season.  

    Co-gen has the environment and efficiencies covered, but in terms of the geopolitical and macro-economic arguments I feel it is distant to the renewable investment and real nuclear solutions presented in Energizing America

    Gosh its fun to use it as a reference point!

    •  There's nothing to say (none)
      you can't co-gen with coal.  Traditional boilers, fluidized bed, ICGCC all can be co-gen sources.  Go to any older norther large city.  The older powerplants are nearly all co-gen sending steam under the streets to building all over town.  
    •  NG & Co-Gen (none)
      The problems with Co-Gen are two-fold.  As Sherlock noted, there's a siting issue -- not many urban facilities are sited so that co-gen could be easily put in place (though many cities had co-gen facilities decades ago and foolishly knocked them down in the spirit of "energy is cheap, land is valuable").  The bigger issue is probably the one you cite: gas prices.

      All the economic models that brought gas into the electrical generation market assumed prices of $3-4/MMBtu or less.  With gas prices more than three times that at the moment, even the additional economies that co-gen brings to the game can't make gas-fired electricity competitive.

      Gas has gone from the rising star of the electrical generation field to yesterday's news in record time.  Unless pricing changes, it may soon be restricted to just those areas where other fuels are unavailable or can't be used.

      Political Cortex -- Brain food for the body politic.

      by Mark Sumner on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 11:53:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There will soon be cheaper gas (none)
        Lots of it.  Right now We have only 4 bcf/day of NG a day. 17 more bcf/day is already approved in new LNG terminals, while over 2 bcf/day will be added to current facilities.

        So the amount of natural gas available is about to quintuple!

        THis will drive down prices.

        As of June 29, 2005, there were five operating liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals in North America with a combined peak sendout capacity of  4.4 Bcf/d and expansion plans for another 2.44 Bcf/d of peak sendout capacity:

          Excelerate Energy's Gulf Gateways Energy Bridge offshore Louisiana, the newest North American LNG terminal;
          Dominion's Cove Point LNG in Lusby, MD;
          Suez Energy North America's Everett LNG terminal in Everett, MA;
          El Paso Corp.'s Elba Island LNG terminal in Elba Island, GA; and
          Southern Union's Trunkline LNG terminal in Lake Charles, LA.

        In addition, there were plans for another 55 LNG import terminals with an expected total combined peak sendout capacity of nearly 62 Bcf/d. Of those 55 terminals, 13 terminals with a combined peak sendout capacity of more than 17 Bcf/d had received final regulatory approvals in the United States, Canada or Mexico:

          Irving Oil's Canaport LNG terminal in St. John, NB, was approved by Canadian authorities;
          Anadarko Petroleum's Bear Head LNG terminal in Cape Breton Island, NS, also was approved in Canada;
          Freeport LNG Development's terminal in Freeport, TX, was approved by FERC;
          Cheniere LNG's Sabine Pass terminal in Sabine Pass, LA, was approved by FERC in March 2005;
          AES Corp.'s Ocean Express Pipeline was granted a certificate by FERC in 2004 but is awaiting Bahamas approval of its Ocean Cay LNG terminal;
          Suez Energy North America's Calypso Freeport Bahamas pipeline was granted a certificate by FERC but its LNG port has not received a permit from the Bahamas;
          Sempra Energy's Cameron LNG terminal in Hackberry, LA, was approved by FERC in September 2003;
          ExxonMobil's Vista del Sol LNG terminal and pipeline were approved by FERC;
          Chevron's Port Pelican LNG port was approved by the Maritime Administration (MARAD);
          Shell's Gulf Landing LNG port also was approved by MARAD in February 2005;
          The Altamira LNG terminal proposed by Shell, Total and Mitsui, in Altamira, Mexico on the Gulf Coast was approved by Mexican authorities;
          Sempra Energy and Shell's Energy Costa Azul LNG terminal in Ensenada, Baja California Norte, Mexico, was approved; and
          Chevron's Terminal GNL Mar Adentro project offshore Tijuana, Mexico, received final authorization from Mexican authorities in January 2005.

        Out of the 55 planned terminals noted above, about 26 LNG import projects were on file at regulatory agencies in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, but had not yet received final approvals. If approved and constructed, those projects would provide more than 31 Bcf/d of additional peak sendout capacity to the North American gas grid. Meanwhile, about 16 additional LNG projects with 12.8 Bcf/d of peak sendout capacity still remained in the planning stages as of mid June.

        Much of the gas delivered to the Canadian and Mexico terminals by the way will end up in the US.

        Yes, we got gas!  We got no bananas, maybe--but there will be PLENTY of cheap gas it appears.

        •  Yes, nat. gas prices are coming down (none)
          but these imports still do not solve the macro-scale problem of exporting energy dollars or the geopolitical issues. I'm working on the nuclear comment below, its much more difficult (considering your strong arguments against the energy bill provision and my own developing stance on nuclear).
          •  I would agree with that we do have to import (none)
            the natural gas.  But that is a small price to pay if we can conserve imports in other ways.  Besides this is going to happen whether we blog about it or not.

            So within a few years we will be awash in much cheaper gas, I think we are now agreed...

    •  Natural Gas prices are actually going to come down (3.66)
      by the end of the decade.  Huge LNG terminals are currently approved and will soon be built.  Many more are proposed.  

      Saudi Arabia and Russia, along with Canada and many more areas in the Americas have huge super-giant fields that have never been tapped.

      There will be plenty of natural gas in a few years and we have to plan for it.  

      What is the real nuclear solution you speak of in Energizing America?  Nukes take 15 years to design site and construct.  You can't get around that.

      Plus the government pays for catastrophic insurance and tens of billions more every year in unfair subsidies.  Which nuclear subsidies would you eliminate to make it a level economic playing field?  Energizing America appears to keep them all.

      The energy bill conference report (H.R.6, "The Energy Policy Act of 2005") negotiated between House and Senate conferees contains more than $13 billion in cradle-to-grave subsidies and tax breaks, as well as unlimited taxpayer-backed loan guarantees, limited liability in the case of an accident, and other incentives to the mature nuclear industry to build new nuclear reactors.

      Given the latest revelations about data falsification in analyses of the proposed Yucca Mountain repository site - in addition to other numerous unresolved problems at the site - and the reports by the National Academy of Sciences and the Government Accountability Office pointing out security vulnerabilities of the highly radioactive waste stored at reactor sites, the government should not be promoting the construction of new reactors, which will only add to the nuclear waste problem.  More taxpayer handouts to the nuclear industry are not part of a sensible and responsible energy plan.

      Nuclear subsidies in the conference report include:

      R&D subsidies = $2.9 billion

      • Authorization of more than $432 million over 3 years for nuclear energy research and development, including the Department of Energy's (DOE) Nuclear Power 2010 program to construct new nuclear plants, and its Generation IV program to develop new reactor designs [Sec. 951 and 952]

      • Authorization of $580 million over 3 years for DOE's program for research and development of nuclear reprocessing and transmutation technologies, which reverses the long-standing U.S. policy against it and needlessly augments security and environmental threats [Sec. 951 and 953]

      • Authorization of $420 million over 3 years for DOE to develop a plan to improve infrastructure at national laboratories for nuclear energy R&D, including a plan for the facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory [Sec. 951 and 955]

      • Authorization of $149.7 million over 3 years for DOE to invest in human resources and infrastructure in the nuclear sciences and engineering fields through fellowships and visiting scientist programs; student training programs; collaborative research with industry, national laboratories, and universities; upgrading and sharing of research reactors; and technical assistance. This program would further subsidize the nuclear industry and entrench nuclear power research within the university system. [Sec. 941 and 944]

      • Authorization of $1.1 billion over 3 years for the Fusion Energy Sciences program for fusion energy R&D. Authorization for DOE to negotiate an agreement for the United States to participate in the ITER (International Fusion Energy Project). Requirement of DOE to submit a plan for a domestic burning plasma experiment if ITER becomes "unlikely or infeasible." The fusion process requires deuterium and tritium, and would produce low-level radioactive waste [Sec. 961 and 962]

      • Authorization of $100 million for DOE to establish two demonstration projects for the commercial production of hydrogen at existing reactors [Sec. 634]

      • Authorization of $18 million over 3 years for DOE to survey industrial applications of radioactive sources and develop a R&D plan for developing small particle accelerators [Sec. 951 and 957]

      • Requirement of DOE to use 0.9 % of its applied energy R&D budget for matching funds with private partners to promote "promising technologies" for commercial use, which could include nuclear power technologies [Sec. 1001]

      • Authorization of $60 million over 3 years for DOE to give grants to train technical personnel in fields in which a shortage is identified, including the nuclear power industry, which has been very vocal about its shortage of skilled workers [Sec. 1101]

      • Authorization of $250,000 for research and development to use radiation to refine oil [Sec. 1406]

      Construction subsidies = $3.25 billion +

      • Authorization of $2 billion in "risk insurance" to pay the industry for any delays in construction and operation licensing for 6 new reactors, including delays due to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or litigation.  The payments would include interest on loans and the difference between the market price and the contractual price of power [Sec. 638]

      • Authorization of more than $1.25 billion from FY2006 to FY2015 and "such sums as are necessary" from FY2016 to FY2021 for a nuclear plant in Idaho to generate hydrogen fuel, a boondoggle that would make a mockery of clean energy goals [Sec. 641-645]

      • Exemption of construction and operation license applications for new nuclear reactors from an NRC antitrust review [Sec. 625]

      • Unlimited taxpayer-backed loan guarantees for up to 80% of the cost of a project, including building new nuclear power plants. Authorizes "such sums as are necessary," but if Congress were to appropriate funding for loan guarantees covering six nuclear reactors, this subsidy could potentially cost taxpayers approximately $6 billion (assuming a 50% default rate and construction cost per plant of $2.5 billion, as Congressional Budget Office has estimated) [Title XVII]

      Operating subsidies = $5.7 billion +

      • Reauthorization of the Price-Anderson Act, extending the industry's liability cap to cover new nuclear power plants built in the next 20 years [Sec. 602]

      • Incentives for "modular" reactor designs (such as the pebble bed reactor, which has never been built anywhere in the world) by allowing a combination of smaller reactors to be considered one unit, thus lowering the amount that the nuclear operator is responsible to pay under Price-Anderson [Sec. 608]

      • Weakens constraints on U.S. exports of bomb-grade uranium [Sec. 630]

      • Production tax credits of 1.8-cent for each kilowatt-hour of nuclear-generated electricity from new reactors during the first 8 years of operation for the nuclear industry, costing $5.7 billion in revenue losses to the U.S. Treasury through 2025. Considered one of the most important subsidies by the nuclear industry [Sec.1306]

      Shut-down subsidies = $1.3 billion

        - Changes the rules for nuclear decommissioning funds that are to be used to clean up closed nuclear plant sites by repealing the cost of service requirement for contributions to a fund and allowing the transfer of pre-1984 decommissioning costs to a qualified fund, costing taxpayers $1.3 billion    [Sec. 1310]

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