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Diddy backs up his CHavez post with some more OT.
In all seriousness I'd like to hear from some of our energy consigliares.
Also the poli-sci literate.
Urban 2 Hoke 0
Follow me on twitter: @JWagner11W
So I have done enough investing in energy an utilities to be dangerous, so here are my thoughts:
- By-products: it's unclear how much water is polluted and how much coal ash is produced in this process. Coal ash is regulated in the latest round of EPA bullshit through CSPAR and probably in some of Lisa Jackson's other brilliant legislation
- Existing clean coal: clean coal technology is fairly good but there is a problem. A lot of the old facilities are simply too small to make it viable. A coal plant must be a certain size or the cost is spread over too little output to make it economically feasible. Hence, why a lot of older plants are getting shutdown. It isn't necessarily that they are too old...just too small to justify complying with the new regulations.
- economic feasibility - a power plant is either regulated or unregulated/merchant. If a regulated plant wants to put on scrubbers, it has to be able to recover the cost through rate increases approved by the state utility comission. If it is a merchant, power prices have to be high enough to justify the capital investment. With natural gas prices in the toilet, power prices generally will be low. Shale gas is driving that and will for decades to come, hence why merchants aren't putting them on small plants. In general, this economy can be as clean fueled as you want....but somebody has to eat the cost. Whether that is the consumer or the government, it doesn't matter. But, it won't be utilities voluntarily cutting profit.
Size: that brings me to size. Wind and biomass isn't feasible because it costs 1500/MW to build and you cant buildore than 50MW or so i think. This reminds me of that. Then, you have to build the infrastructure to pipe that into the population centers (wind farms take up a lot of space which isnt near population centers). This article says that maybe that you could see 20-50 MW of this technology by 2020. As an example of size, a single nuke generator could be 1,000 MW. ERCOT region (Texas) has 75,000 of capacity give or take. This chemical coal generstion is a pimple on the elephants ass.
In general, this is a very interesting technology but I wouldn't hold my breath on this being commercially viable for decades. With the low cost of natural gas, power prices will be low and investing in these plants won't be profitable. That is unless the government incentivizes companies to build shit like this by distorting the market (tax breaks, punishing coal more than the have, forcing plants to close for tighter pollution levels, etc). If the environmentalists/liberals push more of this regulation through like this, that is fine....but when the average consumer's power bill skyrockets, those same people better not be complaining.
Excellent stuff, nyc.
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