Friday, June 20, 2008

The Economist: The Future of Energy

So my understanding is, (and correct me if I'm wrong) The Economist is now free to read online. If so, I highly recommend this issue's special report entitled "The Future of Energy". Some fast highlights:

Costs of different sources: (kwh= kilowatt hour)
coal- 5 cents per kwh (ignoring carbon costs)
nuclear- 6.5 cents per kwh
wind- 8 cents per kwh
solar- 20 cents per kwh

"...American power companies are fearful that they will soon have to pay for one particular pollutant, carbon dioxide, as is starting to happen in other parts of the rich world. Having invested heavily in gas-fired stations, only to find themselves locked into an increasingly expensive fuel, they do not want to make another mistake.

That has opened up a capacity gap and an opportunity for wind and sunlight. The future price of these resources—zero—is known. That certainty has economic value as a hedge, even if the capital cost of wind and solar power stations is, at the moment, higher than that of coal-fired ones."

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