Consumers in New England got a shock in their utility bills this month. A 40% increase over the previous month. National Grid , the largest utility in Massachusetts, decided that electricity prices for this winter would rise to 24¢/kWh, a record high.
But peak electricity prices could exceed 100¢/kWh like they did last year during the polar vortex (Forbes).
Not sure why New Englanders are so surprised. It was their choice to throw all-in for natural gas and renewables in a land of harsh winters. But they’ve refused to build new gas pipelines. And they’re shutting a nuclear plant that has 20 years of cheap reliable cold-resistant energy left on it.
New England already has the highest electricity prices in North America – about 18¢/kWh averaged over the whole year. The national average is 12¢/kWh.
You have to be smart. Gas needs pipelines. Reliability requires nuclear. You better get that infrastructure built. And it’s not too late to keep Vermont Yankee running.
There aren’t enough gas pipelines serving New England and much of New York, as seen from the lack of blue lines in this region of the map. Along with shutting Vermont’s only nuclear plant and various coal plants, this will continue to cause electricity shortages, and higher prices, during every winter for years to come. Source: US DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
A strong chorus of voices from many organizations has pointed out obvious problems with how existing nuclear generation is treated by the plan. Specifically, the issue is that only 5.8 percent of existing nuclear generation counts toward the state-by-state goals of reducing the tons of CO2 emitted per MW-hr of electricity generation. With respect to the state CO2/MW-hr goals, the EPA (in a bizarre fashion) defined MW-hrs as something other than the total MW-hrs generated in the state. Instead, the MW-hr total was defined as the sum of all MW-hrs produced by fossil and renewable sources, plus only 5.8 percent of the MW-hrs generated by nuclear. (Some existing hydro sources also had their generation similarly discounted.)
Many responding organizations pointed out that treating non-emitting sources differently, under a plan whose stated objective is reducing CO2 emissions, is indefensible.
* India and Germany will be utilizing more coal power
* USA will continue a boom in natural gas
* Japan could begin quite a few nuclear reactor restarts
* China will approve more coastal units and authorize the first instances of construction of its indigenous design, the ACP1000. Chinese nuclear firms will continue to seek equity deals in other countries plus provide engineering services.
* India’s nuclear program will remain more-or-less stalled due to its intransigent stance on its draconian nuclear liability law.
Is the Japan election a nuclear restart mandate?
Despite a few Japanese news reports to the contrary, there is no reason to think the timetable for restarts will speed up or the number of nukes allowed to come on line will swell because of a Lower House election that did nothing more than maintain the status quo on nuke restarts.
China’s experimental fast neutron reactor has been successfully operated at full capacity for the first time, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced.The sodium-cooled, pool-type fast reactor was constructed with Russian assistance at the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIEA), near Beijing, which undertakes fundamental research on nuclear science and technology. The reactor has a thermal capacity of 65 MW and can produce 20 MW in electrical power.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
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