Search Results for power-sector
37 item(s) were returned.
Discussion

Cheap Natural Gas & U.S. Power Supply

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: April 18, 2012 at 7:16 AM

Last week the EIA reported that natural gas-fired power generation will increase by as much as 17% in 2012, while coal is expected to decrease 10%. This shift away from coal and toward natural gas is largely tied to gas’ low price, as well as projections of the impacts of increasingly strict federal regulation on power plants. In March, natural gas spot prices averaged $2.18MMBtu, their lowest level since 1999. Then on April 11th, the NYMEX May gas futures contract settled at a 10-year low of $1.984/MMBtu [EIA]. Despite low gas prices, some utilities express hesitancy about over-committing to gas-generated… [more]

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Will Fusion Realize Its Potential?

Author(s): Michael S. Lubell
Professor of Physics
City College of the City University of New York
Date: April 2, 2012 at 6:16 AM

For decades many have considered nuclear fusion to be the brass ring of energy technologies, believing that – were it to be successful and commercially viable – it would offer sustained electricity production with no CO2, particulate pollution, or radioactive waste. Research into safely and consistently harnessing fusion’s potential for civil use has been ongoing since the mid-Twentieth Century. Yet to date no viable commercial applications have been developed. Two prominent fusion research efforts – ITER and the National Ignition Facility (NIF) – are facing potential problems. ITER may be at risk of diminished U.S. funding due to tightening Congressional… [more]

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Impact of EPA’s Proposed Greenhouse Gas Rules

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: March 29, 2012 at 7:56 AM

On March 27, 2012 the Environmental Protection Agency, under the authority of the Clean Air Act, released proposed greenhouse gas standards for newly constructed power plants. The rules would require that “new fossil‐fuel‐fired power plants meet an output‐based standard of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt‐hour (lb CO2/MWh gross).” Combined-cycle natural gas plants should be able to meet this requirement, and coal- or petroleum coke-fired plants would be able to with emerging technologies such as carbon capture and storage. The proposed rules elicited varied response from advocacy groups, many of which were highlighted in this Los Angeles Times article. Environmental… [more]

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Is Carbon Capture A Viable Option?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: March 27, 2012 at 7:19 AM

In a study of U.S. carbon capture and storage (CCS) potential published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found “that the United States can store enough CO2 to stabilize emissions at their current rate for over a hundred years. This result suggests that with a favorable political and economic framework, carbon capture and storage can be a viable climate change mitigation option in this country for the next century.” The video below explains their findings:  

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Discussion

What’s Holding Electric Vehicles Back?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: March 16, 2012 at 7:40 AM

On March 13th, C2ES held a panel discussion in Washington, DC titled “Electric Vehicles Plugging into the U.S. Grid.” The panel addressed the opportunities and challenges surrounding broad roll-out of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). A key point of discussion was the need for harmonization between the auto industry, utilities, and government so as to optimize the electric grid as PEVs become a larger proportion of the vehicle fleet. Another key point was the need for consumers that are well-educated on PEVs. What’s keeping PEVs, and other alternative fuel cars, from breaking into the market? Is it simply a lack of… [more]

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Discussion

Fukushima Crisis One Year Later

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: March 13, 2012 at 8:09 AM

March 11th, 2012 marked the one-year anniversary of a severe earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan. This natural disaster killed 20,000 people, and led to the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility. The anniversary offered a chance to reflect on the events surrounding the nuclear crisis, and responses to it in Japan and around the world. In a New York Times op-ed, Richard Brodsky sees the Fukushima crisis as an opportunity to reform the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “In order for nuclear power to play a significant role in our energy future, the American public needs… [more]

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Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 Introduced

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: March 2, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Senate Energy & Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) has introduced the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012, which would require electric utilities to derive increasing percentages of their supply mix from low-CO2 sources. The bill would take effect in 2015, and would require that by 2035 84% of power from large utilities come from low-CO2 sources. Sources eligible under the legislation include: renewables, such as wind and solar, “qualified” renewable biomass and waste-to-energy, hydropower, natural gas, and nuclear. Facilities with CO2 capture and storage, and some combined heat and power facilities, are also eligible. The bill establishes a market-based… [more]

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NRC Approves First Nuclear Reactors in more than 30 years

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: February 10, 2012 at 8:20 AM

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved by a 4-to-1 vote Southern Company’s bid to build two nuclear reactors along the Georgia-South Carolina border. These are the first new reactors to be approved by the NRC in more than 30 years. The reactors will cost a Southern Co. led investment group around $14 billion, and will begin producing power as soon as 2016 or 2017. “Today’s licensing action sounds a clarion call to the world that the United States recognizes the importance of expanding nuclear energy as a key component of a low-carbon energy future that is central to job creation,… [more]

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Coal Companies Shuttering Mines on Low U.S. Demand

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: February 9, 2012 at 7:59 AM

Alpha Natural Resources, the nation’s third-largest coal producer, has announced that it will “close four mines in Kentucky and West Virginia and idle two more over the next 12 months.” [E&E ClimateWire (sub. req.)] 152 Alpha employees will lose their jobs, while another 182 will be offered reassignment. The coal industry has been challenged recently by low natural gas prices and new federal clean air regulations. These factors have compelled some electric utilities to close their coal-fired power plants, or to switch them to natural gas or other, cleaner coal sources. Utilities such as FirstEnergy, Duke Energy, and American Electric… [more]

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Can Electric Markets Ever Be Truly Free?

Author(s): OurEnergyPolicy.org
Administrator
OurEnergyPolicy.org
Date: December 28, 2011 at 8:28 AM

Earlier this month Sean Casten published an op-ed on Grist.com arguing that “further deregulation of electricity markets is a good and necessary thing”, but that “full and total deregulation of electricity markets is probably impossible, and certainly amoral.” Casten argues that “parts of the electric system warrant full deregulation, while other parts would be better suited to fully regulated economic models.” Certain aspects of electricity markets, for example the “last mile” of transmission, impose natural barriers to new market entrants in a truly free market, he says, thereby undermining the market’s efficiency. Further, Casten argues, in truly free electric markets,… [more]

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