FERC says no more nuke or coal plants needed

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I think he's right. But, instead of saying "improved efficency" he should have said (really meant?) reduced demand.
The economy is tanking -- that will reduce demand substantially. Cap and trade could double prices and that will reduce demand still further -- many of us simply won't be able to afford it.
Slowing down the economy and jacking up prices will certainly reduce the need for more generating capacity. This may be a good thing, or not, depending on your point of view.
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snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote in wrote:

if you're out of work,you don't need to be driving around in a car. Just stay home and wait for your government handout.Walk to get groceries. Lights out at 8 PM,thermostat set to 65 in winter,82 in summer. (but the White House stays comfy...)
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Manufacturing will flow to the countries that can produce the most and cheapest electricity, period. China is building a coal plant every few months (of course the world excludes them from Co2 rules because they are "poor"). We wont need a lot of power simply because we wont be making very many things is the admin's unsaid implication. A country cannot be a powerful manufacturer without making a lot of electricity. I guess electric (essentially coal/nuclear) powered cars are also out of the question. If every household had to re-charge a pair of Chevy Volt's for 8 hours every night it will make our seasonal AC usage look like a pittance. We will regret the day we said no to nuclear investments now, as that is the basis of all this electric car talk. If I were running GM and I heard this, I would stop further investment in the Chevy Volt today, until the admin assured me electricity will be both abundant and cheap in 10 years.
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wrote:

Manufacturing will flow to the countries that can produce the most and cheapest electricity, period. China is building a coal plant every few months (of course the world excludes them from Co2 rules because they are "poor"). We wont need a lot of power simply because we wont be making very many things is the admin's unsaid implication. A country cannot be a powerful manufacturer without making a lot of electricity. I guess electric (essentially coal/nuclear) powered cars are also out of the question. If every household had to re-charge a pair of Chevy Volt's for 8 hours every night it will make our seasonal AC usage look like a pittance. We will regret the day we said no to nuclear investments now, as that is the basis of all this electric car talk. If I were running GM and I heard this, I would stop further investment in the Chevy Volt today, until the admin assured me electricity will be both abundant and cheap in 10 years. ==================
If "great country" is defined as manufacturing lots of stuff and to hell with the mess it makes, perhaps it's time for a new paradigm. Ya know what I mean?
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JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

No, not exactly. If you mean to indicate the U.S., you should remember the United States makes more than any other country yet it has the cleanest environment of any heavily-industrialized nation.
By every objective standard, industry in the U.S. has gotten cleaner every year since the late '60s (probably since about 1890). This curve is, however, an example to many of "steady progress is the enemy of the perfect."
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On Wed, 22 Apr 2009 13:42:14 -0700, David Nebenzahl wrote:

Tell that to the Californians who have to endure roving brown-outs and black-outs.
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On 4/23/2009 10:45 AM Michael Dobony spake thus:

What "roving" (I think you meant "rolling") brownouts and blackouts? That hasn't happened here since the Enron era, and at that time they had *nothing* to do with any actual lack of supply and *everything* to do with some greedy bastards' manipulation of the electricity market.
Sheesh. Just believe everything you hear on right-wing talk radio ...
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No it had to do largely with California's desire to legislate wishes instead of reality (something that continues to this under Ahnold). They made the integrated companies break off into two separate entities (one generation and one distribution/delivery). They let the generators charge whatever they wanted and kept the delivery (since that was where the citizens were getting charged and we can't get them pissed at us) closely regulated. The electicity went other places where the money was and California was hoist on its own petard.

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On 4/23/2009 11:32 AM Kurt Ullman spake thus:

Thank you for confirming what I wrote: "greedy bastards' maniuplation of the electricity market". Why didn't you just say "I agree"?
By the bye, it should be pointed out that California's disastrous flirtation with electricity deregulation was masterminded by a *Democrat*, Steve Peace, with the blessings of then-governator Gray Davis (also a Democrat).
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You missed the essential element of his point. And that was that CA only partially de-regulated the electric markets. The consumer side of the business continued to have fixed rates, while CA required electric companies to buy electricity in the unregulated spot markets. Gee, it doesn't take an economic genius to figure out where that will lead..... Bankruptcy and lights out.

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Becuase I don't. It wasn't greed it was normal commerce. Sorta shows how detached from the marketplace the regulated utilities are in real life. Or more likely shows WHY the regulated utilities should be regulated completely or not at all. This half way stuff did not work out all that well.
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California merely moves their pollution and energy production to other states, then claims falsly that they are the "green leaders".
A celebrated green economy produces pollution elsewhere, ongoing power shortages, and business-crippling costs.
1 Apr 2008
QUOTE: The Rancho Seco story helps explain California's infamous turn- of-the-millennium energy crisis. In 2000 and 2001, numerous rolling blackouts and power outages caused billions of dollars in damages in the state.
QUOTE: dirty secret about California's energy economy is that it imports lots of energy from neighboring states to make up for the shortfall caused by having too few power plants. Up to 20 percent of the state's power comes from coal-burning plants in Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and Montana, and another significant portion comes from large-scale hydropower in Oregon, Washington State, and the Hoover Dam near Las Vegas.
QUOTE: "California practices a sort of energy colonialism," says James Lucier of Capital Alpha Partners, a Washington, D.C.-area investment group. "They rely on western states to supply them with power generation they are unwilling to build for themselves"-and leave those states to deal with the resulting pollution.
QUOTE: Another secret:
California's proud claim to have kept per-capita energy consumption flat while growing its economy is less impressive than it seems. The state has some of the highest energy prices in the country
QUOTE: heavy manufacturing and other energy-intensive industries have been fleeing the Golden State in droves for lower-cost locales. Twenty years ago or so, you could count eight automobile factories in California; today, there's just one, and it's the same story with other industries, from chemicals to aerospace.
QUOTE: It isn't just the high price of power that's compelling California businesses to shift operations to other regions. The state's unreliable power grid has its economic costs, too.
QUOTE: The irony is that the Silicon Valley companies that have become the face of California's twenty-first-century economy are increasingly building the facilities that will give them their future value in other states.
QUOTE: Environmental groups like the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense are working to get dams torn down, even though large-scale hydropower supplies nearly one-fifth of Californians' electricity.
QUOTE: California's economic prosperity has relied on the fact that other states have built power plants and established sensible regulatory regimes that don't force businesses to flee. The power plants scattered throughout the western United States, as well as the factories in the American Midwest and South, have consistently saved California from the folly of its own anti-energy agenda.
QUOTE: It's hard to claim credibly that California illuminates the world when it has trouble illuminating itself.
Further, California's particular path makes sense only if the rest of the country refuses to follow it.
In truth, however, the Golden State's energy leadership is a mirage.
California's environmental policies have made it heavily dependent on other states for power; generated some of the highest, business-crippling energy costs in the country; and left it vulnerable to periodic electricity shortages. Its economic growth has occurred not because of, but despite, those policies, which would be disastrous if extended to the rest of the country.
[.]
To understand better how California's environmental policies have played out, however, consider what two of them-opposition to nuclear energy and promotion of solar power-have done to Clay Station, California, 25 miles outside Sacramento, where two gigantic cooling towers rise up over rolling fields and farmland. This facility was once the Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station, capable of generating over 900 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to power upward of 900,000 homes. Rancho Seco opened in 1975, when antinuclear fervor in California was just beginning to gain momentum, and at one point, it generated more electricity than any other nuclear plant in the world.
Over the years, though, management missteps led to several shutdowns, including one that lasted 27 months. Antinuclear advocates seized on the fact that the reactor's design was similar to Three Mile Island's in Pennsylvania, which had suffered a partial meltdown in 1979, and demanded that it be closed. In a 1989 referendum on whether to decommission Rancho Seco, 53 percent of Sacramento voters agreed. Just 14 years after powering up, and nearly two decades before its operating license was to expire, the nuclear reactor shut down.
The facility didn't entirely close, though. In 1984, trying to position itself as a national leader in solar power, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) began building photovoltaic solar panels on the site, taking advantage of the already constructed infrastructure to transmit power. At the same time, in a bid to position itself as a national leader in solar power, SMUD instituted programs subsidizing the construction of photovoltaic panels for Sacramento homes and businesses. The utility halted the installation of new panels in 2002, after it became clear that the program would cost perhaps three times more than projected and had lost millions of dollars, falling well short of its modest goal to install 2 MW of solar energy that year.
Today, Rancho Seco possesses one of the largest photovoltaic arrays in the world. Yet it provides less than 4 MW of electricity, or less than half of 1 percent of what the closed nuclear plant optimally offered. Total solar capacity for the Sacramento region is less than 50 MW, or about 6 percent of the nuclear plant's output. In fact, after millions of dollars in subsidies and other support for solar power, the entire state of California has less than 250 MW of solar capacity.
The Rancho Seco story helps explain California's infamous turn-of-the- millennium energy crisis. In 2000 and 2001, numerous rolling blackouts and power outages caused billions of dollars in damages in the state.
The degree to which rapacious power-company executives and traders were responsible for the shortages remains open to debate. But what isn't in question is that California had insufficient power to meet demand and that officials had let the state's infrastructure for moving electrons become frayed and overloaded. Having adequate power supplies would have shielded consumers from any private-sector perfidy.
Republican state senator Tom McClintock underscored the real problem, which went well beyond Rancho Seco, in a speech to a Silicon Valley group in 2001. "From 1979 to 1999, generating capacity of over 45,000 megawatts was proposed to the California Energy Commission," he said. "Only 4,500 megawatts was approved. Nuclear power plants were forbidden, and Rancho Seco and San Onofre Unit One," another nuclear reactor, "were shut down prematurely. . . . For 27 years, this state has actively discouraged the construction of new power plants, and the day finally arrived when we ran out of power." Indeed, California's capability to generate electricity actually decreased slightly from 1990 through 1999.
Not even California's flat per-capita energy consumption could save it from blackouts, since its population had been soaring. During the 20-year period that Senator McClintock noted, the number of California residents jumped from about 23 million people to 33 million. Today, the figure is closer to 38 million, and it could top 45 million by 2020. The cumulative demand proved too much for the aging system.
A dirty secret about California's energy economy is that it imports lots of energy from neighboring states to make up for the shortfall caused by having too few power plants. Up to 20 percent of the state's power comes from coal-burning plants in Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and Montana, and another significant portion comes from large-scale hydropower in Oregon, Washington State, and the Hoover Dam near Las Vegas.
"California practices a sort of energy colonialism," says James Lucier of Capital Alpha Partners, a Washington, D.C.-area investment group. "They rely on western states to supply them with power generation they are unwilling to build for themselves"- and leave those states to deal with the resulting pollution.
Another secret:
California's proud claim to have kept per-capita energy consumption flat while growing its economy is less impressive than it seems. The state has some of the highest energy prices in the country-nearly twice the national average, a 2002 Milken Institute study found-largely because of regulations and government mandates to use expensive renewable sources of power.
As a result, heavy manufacturing and other energy-intensive industries have been fleeing the Golden State in droves for lower-cost locales. Twenty years ago or so, you could count eight automobile factories in California; today, there's just one, and it's the same story with other industries, from chemicals to aerospace.
Yet Californians still enjoy the fruits of those manufacturing industries-driving cars built in the Midwest and the South, importing chemicals and resins and paints and plastics produced elsewhere, and flying on jumbo jets manufactured in places like Everett, Washington.
California can pretend to have controlled energy consumption, but it has just displaced it.
It isn't just the high price of power that's compelling California businesses to shift operations to other regions. The state's unreliable power grid has its economic costs, too.
A 2003 U.S. Department of Energy report noted that "a recent rolling blackout in the greater San Francisco Bay area caused an estimated $75 million in losses in the Silicon Valley." A 20-minute outage at a Hewlett-Packard circuit-fabrication plant, the report observed, "would result in a day's production loss at a cost of $30 million." As Jack Gerard, then-president of the National Mining Association, put it in a 2001 speech: "Events are proving that the most expensive kilowatt is the one that's not there when needed."
The shortages are starting to rattle some Silicon Valley heavyweights. Intel chief executive Craig Barrett, for instance, vowed in 2001 not to build a chip-making facility in California until power supplies became more reliable. This October, Intel opened a $3 billion factory near Phoenix for mass production of its new 45- nanometer microprocessors.
Google, meanwhile, has chosen to build the massive server farms that will fuel its expansion anywhere but in California. The most celebrated is an enormous installation along the Columbia River in The Dalles, Oregon, a facility that will house tens of thousands of computers, requiring mind-boggling amounts of power. A 1.8-gigawatt hydroelectric power plant will offer Google power for a small fraction of what it would cost in the Golden State.
The irony is that the Silicon Valley companies that have become the face of California's twenty-first-century economy are increasingly building the facilities that will give them their future value in other states.
Despite California's desperate need for more power, opposition to energy projects remains nearly as prevalent today as at any time during the previous three decades.
State law explicitly prohibits the construction of new nuclear plants, and legislative efforts last summer to repeal it went nowhere, even though more and more states are looking to nuclear power as a clean energy alternative. A de facto moratorium on conventional coal-fired power plants (which generate half of America's electricity) has been in place for decades in California; none exists anywhere in the state.
Environmental groups like the Sierra Club and Environmental Defense are working to get dams torn down, even though large-scale hydropower supplies nearly one- fifth of Californians' electricity.
[.]
With such widespread opposition to energy projects, where will California get the power its economy needs to flourish? Since the 2000-01 electricity debacle, the state has overseen the construction of some natural-gas power plants, whose added generation has helped relieve the pressure slightly. But Californians have continued to face the threat of blackouts or brownouts almost every summer since 2001.
California's inability to provide the energy that its economy needs hasn't stopped its leaders from setting wildly unrealistic goals for safeguarding the environment. In 1990, for instance, the state's Air Resources Board sought to encourage the development of an electric car, decreeing that by 1998, 2 percent of all new cars sold by the major automakers had to meet zero-emissions standards; by 2001, 5 percent; and by 2003, 10 percent.
But by 1996, it was clear that there was simply no technological way for the automakers to comply with the mandate. The regulators first eliminated the 1998 and 2001 benchmarks, later announced that gasoline-battery hybrids could count toward the 2003 requirement, and then, faced with the reality that the automakers could not come close to meeting even the newly relaxed standards, relaxed the mandate once again and moved the deadline to this year. Doubtless that goal will prove impossible to meet as well.
California's efforts to implement a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and to become the nation's leader in wind-energy production have hit similar stumbling blocks. In 2002, California enacted an RPS that called for 20 percent of the state's electricity to come from clean energy sources (excluding nuclear energy and hydropower) by 2017.
When Schwarzenegger became governor, he moved the target to 2010. But recent reports, including one from the state's Public Utilities Commission, signal that California will very likely not meet the 2010 target.
In September 2006, reports emerged that Pacific Gas & Electric, the Northern California utility serving San Francisco, had actually reduced the share of renewables in its portfolio between 2003 and 2005. And Texas, of all places, has outpaced California as America's leader in wind-power generation. High costs, excessive regulation, and litigation from environmental groups on how to limit bird deaths have all hampered California's effort; Texas has just built lots of wind turbines.
Now California is embarking on its most ambitious project yet: an attempt to combat global warming by reducing its greenhouse-gas emissions. The devil will be in the details of how the Global Warming Solutions Act (or AB32, for its legislative number) is enacted-details that state regulators don't have to unveil until January 2009. Already there's widespread skepticism that the state can succeed. Margo Thorning, chief economist at the American Council for Capital Formation, testified before Congress last July: "The economic burden of California's new climate policy legislation is likely to be high, and the targets in AB32 are unlikely to be met." Even the California Energy Commission hints that the targets might be unreachable.
It's certainly going to cost a lot to find out. Analysis from the Electric Power Research Institute pegs AB32's cost to the California economy at anywhere from $100 billion to $511 billion. "What will it take to achieve the benchmark? Consider that California could take every one of its 14 million passenger cars off the road, and still be less than halfway toward its goal," observed Sacramento Bee columnist Daniel Weintraub. "Shutting down 100 state-of-the-art, natural-gas-fired power plants still wouldn't get us there. Closing the entire cement industry, although it is a major source of greenhouse gases, wouldn't finish the job."
Given all its failings, what sort of leadership example does California offer the rest of the country?
It's hard to claim credibly that California illuminates the world when it has trouble illuminating itself.
Further, California's particular path makes sense only if the rest of the country refuses to follow it.
Yet California's economic prosperity has relied on the fact that other states have built power plants and established sensible regulatory regimes that don't force businesses to flee. The power plants scattered throughout the western United States, as well as the factories in the American Midwest and South, have consistently saved California from the folly of its own anti-energy agenda.
California isn't content to keep its energy policy within state limits, however. Recently, it passed a law barring state utilities from entering into long-term contracts to buy electricity from out-of-state producers if coal is used in generating it. "They are clearly trying to trim down the growth of coal, not just in California, but elsewhere," said a top official at the U.S. Department of Energy. "California is using their regulations to direct the economic development of the West. And it is arrogant and it is appalling."
California is certainly within its rights to set policies for itself and to live with the consequences. But everyone can't do what California does.
Someone needs to build power plants and oil refineries.
Someone needs to manufacture the cars, trucks, airplanes, and other pieces of heavy equipment that enrich Americans' lives, till our fields, and grow our economy. Someone needs to produce the plastics and chemicals that undergird our prosperity.
Those things require energy, and lots of it-growing amounts of it.
All the wisdom of Athens and all the power of Sparta won't change that fact.
http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_2_californias_environmentalism.html
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It's possible that "The U.S. may never need to build new nuclear or coal-fired power plants because renewable energy and improved efficiency can meet future power demand". It is also possible that it might never rain again...but it ain't likely. This is perhaps the most stupid statement I have ever seen come out of Washington in 65 years.
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