Plenty of Money for Energy and Nuclear Power

President-elect Barack Obama has put forth a goal to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. by 80% by 2050, using $150 billion over 10 years to create a “clean-energy” future.

Cambridge Energy Research Associates has estimated that the potential for world-wide investment in clean energy, of which nuclear generation is the focal point, will reach $7 trillion in real 2007 dollars by 2030.

China Energy Investment plans still on track as of Jan 13, 2009 according to the Director of China’s National Energy Administration.

In the coming years, China should allocate more investment to the following projects: nuclear power plants, wind farms and large-scale coal bases which could improve the energy mix and increase domestic demand effectively; cross-region transmission projects of coal, electricity, oil and gas and the construction of state reserves of oil and uranium, and the construction of power grid and pipelines.

  China’s power production and supply went down sharply recently and in some areas the energy shortage in the first half of last year turned into a surplus after the credit crunch slowed the Chinese economy, and we should take this as an opportunity to improve our energy mix.

  First, China’s power industry will continue building more big thermal power generators [coal power] while closing down smaller ones.

  Second, China should push forward the consolidation of coal resources by closing and regulating small coal mines and speeding up the construction of 13 large-scale coal bases approved by the government.

  Third, China will invest greater efforts to build more nuclear power plants in the years to come. In 2009, the nation will start building four nuclear power plants in Haiyang, Rongcheng in eastern Shandong province, Sanmen in eastern Zhejiang province, and Yaogu in southern Guangdong province.

  Fourth, the country will invest great efforts to boost its renewable energy sector and it will make favorable policies to speed up the development of its wind-power, hydro-power and solar-power industries. Domestic wind power generation capacity is expected to grow by 4 million kW to 10 million kW by the end of 2008. The country will try to raise its total generation capacity to 100 million kW by 2020. Large-sized wind farms are being planned for construction in Gansu, Hebei and Jiangsu provinces as well as Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

  Fifth, the country will nurture more big-sized energy groups by encouraging the integration of companies in the fields of coal, electricity, chemicals, roads and ports construction. In this way, the country will have stronger control of energy resources.

A November 2008 review of nuclear energy related stocks

Energy and Transportation infrastructure investment are also tops in Canada

The energy and transportation sectors are on top of a new ranking of Canada’s biggest infrastructure projects for 2009 that estimates $61 billion in public and private capital investments will soon be pumped into the country’s economy for construction.

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4 comments

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1

Thats a good point that the price of a petaflop will be declining each year, maybe 40%. If they decided they were going to spend 200 million a year on supercomputers they'd be able to buy more petaflop supercomputers by 2012, or buy a more powerful system.

I'd like to see the pharma companies go after some of the SENS aging obstacles. Like design twenty different molecules or enzymes that break up different kinds of junk that accumulates over a lifetime outside of cells, as one example. Doing it through simulations and where the computer searches for solutions.

The market for such anti-aging medicine would be enormous, allowing them to deploy yet more supercomputer resources.

--aa2

2

Looks like I had a lower estimate of the cost of the current systems.

Here is a good article that discusses cost and power (operating costs) for petaflop systems and using FPGAs for semi-custom systems that would have lower cost and lower energy usage and high performance.

http://www.hpcwire.com/hpc/2112632.html

3

The price of a petaflop is coming down. It is $100-200 million now, but the GPGPU version of 2010-2012 might only be $200K-3 million.

In terms of the number of companies that need whatever the highest-end of computing power is one for each trillion of normal economy and for some parts of the economy like oil and pharma could need one for every 50-100 billion of economy. At least a $50 billion for enough research budget. although like China a government could boost the high end with a national supercomputer network and increasing demand and access.

More industries are becoming information base and driven which should also increase the supercomputer to economy ratio. I also foresee the new Dwave quantum computer being part of the computing arsenal of many companies. Giving billions or more boost using quantum annealing and computing over conventional computing.

4

One thing I'm interested to see is how the market for supercomputers expands in the coming years. I remember reading maybe 3 years ago that the pharmacuetical industry can make use of supercomputers over 1 petaflop. And the more powerful they get from there, the more simulating they can do on the supercomputer.

You figure a company like Pfizer spends 7 billion a year on research, a 100 or 200 million dollar supercomputer really isn't that much in light of their total expenses. Especially if it replaces money currently being spent elsewhere.

And there are a number of pharma companies with annual research budgets in the 4+ billion range.

--aa2