Obama to cave on coal, nuclear power next?

posted at 3:35 pm on December 7, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Maybe there’s something to this triangulation strategy after all.  A day after Barack Obama enraged his base by cutting a deal to extend Bush-era tax rates for another two years, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu signaled that Obama may agree to Republican proposals for coal and nuclear energy as a compromise energy plan:

The Obama administration may consider caving to GOP demands to include nuclear and some coal production in a “clean energy standard,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Tuesday.

A national “clean” or “renewable” energy standard would require utilities to purchase a percentage of their electricity from nonfossil fuel sources and is seen as one of the administration’s few options for a broad energy policy after the death of the cap-and-trade bill. …

He later added that “a renewable energy standard is an important mechanism for stimulating renewable energy, but there are other forms of clean energy.”

Chu cited both nuclear power and coal plants that capture and store their carbon emissions as part of the discussion.

Adding nuclear power back into the mix would mean another difficult fight, this time in Nevada.  Obama refused to proceed with the Yucca Mountain storage program, a move that helped Harry Reid in his home state.  If the US began building nuclear power plants again, though, storage for spent fuel would be a must — and it would have to go somewhere.  Yucca Mountain would be the most logical site, but that would mean that Obama would have to renege on a key political pledge from 2008, one he had actually fulfilled in his first year as President.

That won’t cause as much trouble as reversing on coal, however.  If Obama’s promise to “bankrupt” energy producers who open new coal-based power plants gives way to subsidizing or at least accelerating their success, the global-warming Left will find another reason to abandon ship.  Coal, even in the carbon-capture mode, remains anathema thanks to the methods required to extract it.  The EPA has more or less declared war on mountaintop removal and even new mining operations.  If Obama steps in and starts expediting permit approvals and ramps up mining, expect a revolt among progressives.

However, I’m a little skeptical that Chu is promising anything more than lip service.  Obama may just offer some rhetorical support and rely on a permitorium rather than a moratorium on nuclear and coal to prevent any growth in either industry.  “Part of the discussion” doesn’t equal “part of the solution” in this administration.


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Comments

Oil, Coal, Nuclear and tax cuts… Liberal heads exploding!

upinak on December 7, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Conservatism beats “Conservative Lite” every time, just as “Compassionate Conservatism” eventually led to its own demise by trying to be Liberal Lite.

It’s nice to see them mimic GOP mistakes for a change.

Akzed on December 7, 2010 at 3:40 PM

Glad this has opened up again.

We need coal as a bridge and nuclear in the nearest possible
future if we want to recognize the USA in fifty years

tomg51 on December 7, 2010 at 3:40 PM

In regards to Yucca Mountain, Nikki Haley has already told Obama, open the mountain or give SC our money back. http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2010/dec/05/stay-firm-on-nuclear-waste/

scmommy on December 7, 2010 at 3:42 PM

It’s nice to see them mimic GOP mistakes for a change.

Akzed on December 7, 2010 at 3:40 PM

Huffy-Po has liberals head literally exploding. They are calling Obama a republican and wanting him to step down.

No Joke.

I about died when a friend put this up on a blog.

upinak on December 7, 2010 at 3:42 PM

We need nukes now. It would probably cost billions to build a plant in this litigious and regulatory environment.

Inanemergencydial on December 7, 2010 at 3:43 PM

The left will go absolutely ballistic! May take up pitchforks with McCaskill.
Should be fun…

OmahaConservative on December 7, 2010 at 3:44 PM

“TGWLITWH”

The Guy Who Lives In The White House.

The ONLY reason he’s doing this is to try and salvage his legacy.

About 12 months from now the 2012 campaign will begin, and he will want to show nothing but cooperation and “doing the right thing” at the start.

Does anyone believe that if the Dems had held the House we would ever see a headline like the one above?

Not me.

BobMbx on December 7, 2010 at 3:44 PM

When Obama makes Olbermann’s Worst Person In The World list, you know that will be Endgame.

pilamaye on December 7, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Government control of all energy = Slavery

“All of the above” domestic energy must NOT be perverted into “all of the government-favored”!!!

landlines on December 7, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Does is seem a coincidence that the price of oil is going up significantly just after Obama ordered a moratorium on off shore drilling. Funny that that happened just after a trip to the mid east.

Tommy_G on December 7, 2010 at 3:47 PM

storage for spent fuel would be a must — and it would have to go somewhere.

Pakistan?

John the Libertarian on December 7, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Wow, Obama REALLY wants a 4 more years of Golfing and Public Transportation to foreign countries!

portlandon on December 7, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Obowma’s ego wins out over Obowma’s arrogance. To preserve his “historical standing” he needs to cave in to republican ideas rather than his lifelong, marxist ideology.

dthorny on December 7, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Tommy_G on December 7, 2010 at 3:47 PM

No if they will just let us start drilling
The Gov up here is ready to sue the feds over it

ConservativePartyNow on December 7, 2010 at 3:51 PM

Obama is playing Rope-a-dope with the Indies.

They’re stupid enough to fall for it too.

portlandon on December 7, 2010 at 3:52 PM

Obama is playing Rope-a-dope with the Indies.

They’re stupid enough to fall for it too.

portlandon on December 7, 2010 at 3:52 PM

don’t forget the moderates.

upinak on December 7, 2010 at 3:53 PM

I don’t buy the “triangulation” talk anyway.

The Left, his base, is crucifying him over the tax stuff. As is pointed out, if he were to do this, they would implode.

He’s not getting any votes from the right, who knows he’s jockeying for 2012. He would probably lose many votes on the Left for his supposed ‘treason’ to Lefty causes.

catmman on December 7, 2010 at 3:57 PM

these events are … interesting.

But the prize is DREAM act.

He wants to transform the country into, I don’t know, Belgium or something, so he’s willing to give ground on the GWOT, environment, taxes, whatever.

He wants permanent new majority, necessarily unconnected to America’s terrible awesome history of low taxes, patriotism, and freedom because, hey, they just got here and all the teachers and tv’s say America and capitalism sucks.

So, what’s the movement on amnesty?

joeindc44 on December 7, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Although I support coal and nuclear as energy sources,I would be very concerned about the safety of miners.An abrupt change in permit policies will bring a lot of “fast buck” artists into the industry.Mine safety would then be overlooked and enforcement of safety regulations would be impossible.
Here in W.Pa.,the safety of mine wokers is always a major concern,and the possibility of disaster is always imminate.Even in the best of circumstances,mining is a dangerous job.Creating a coal”bubble” will only make mining even more dangerous.

DDT on December 7, 2010 at 3:58 PM

that Obama may agree to Republican proposals for coal and nuclear energy as a compromise energy plan:
==========================================
Oh boy,Hopey`s base is gonna be all sanctimonious,
as he said,in his Tax Cut Presser about an hour ago!!!

canopfor on December 7, 2010 at 4:00 PM

don’t forget the moderates.

upinak on December 7, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Yep. The Moderates will lap this crap up more than the Indies.

portlandon on December 7, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Hopey is trying hard,to keep his base happy………..

Oh look,the Titanic is righting itself,its not
going to sink after all…………..

Oh wait….it looks as if…oh sh*t,never mind
it just went straight down……..

….disregard….(snark).

canopfor on December 7, 2010 at 4:03 PM

Didn’t Obama also open up drilling offshore only to then ban it for 7 years? Everything he says is a lie.

angryed on December 7, 2010 at 4:05 PM

Obama is playing Rope-a-dope with the Indies.

They’re stupid enough to fall for it too.

portlandon on December 7, 2010 at 3:52 PM

don’t forget the moderates.

upinak on December 7, 2010 at 3:53 PM

There are liberals. There are conservatives. And then there are liberals who prefer to be called moderate or independent.

angryed on December 7, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Nuclear can’t happen in our country no matter what Bammie wants. The democratics over the last thirty years have set up a maze of laws and processes with the result that any moonbat can hire a lawyer and bring billion-dollar projects to a complete halt.

The best part of it for the liberals is that in the end they are the ones hired by the builders to do the inevitable years-long ‘environmental studies’, so they end up making a profit from it. Nothing but a revolution in our legal system can reverse this. We are all headed for California.

Long term we will end up importing electricity from Canada and Mexico.

slickwillie2001 on December 7, 2010 at 4:07 PM

I think the direct link to Soros for directions and instructions must be broken right now and Obama is drifting in the wind, clueless.

WAIT, he was clueless before he was elected!!!

hehe

karenhasfreedom on December 7, 2010 at 4:07 PM

When you’ve lost Obama. . .

Emperor Norton on December 7, 2010 at 4:08 PM

There are liberals. There are conservatives. And then there are liberals who prefer to be called moderate or independent.

angryed on December 7, 2010 at 4:06 PM

wouldn’t that be.. mod’s who pretend they are either liberals OR conservatives? Then you have indies that pretend they are either conservative OR libertarians… which is mostly Libertarian = Liberals.

Oh I could go all day doing this.

upinak on December 7, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Ed … there is no triangulation going on here.

Obama just killed thousands of jobs here on the coast with his drilling moratoriums. After losing the court cases and the election – he doubled down to freeze drilling in the Eastern Gulf.

If he’s including nuke and coal in the energy bill – it’s just as a “sweetener” to get GOP votes for a bad bill. He’ll ensure, through other means, that those nuke and coal power plants are never built.

HondaV65 on December 7, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Obama to cave on coal, nuclear power next?

Not. Going. To. Happen.

As much as I want Obama to cave in, I remember much the same words being spoken about offshore drilling a couple years ago.

steveegg on December 7, 2010 at 4:12 PM

storage for spent fuel would be a must — and it would have to go somewhere.

Chicago?

bopbottle on December 7, 2010 at 4:12 PM

If he’s including nuke and coal in the energy bill – it’s just as a “sweetener” to get GOP votes for a bad bill. He’ll ensure, through other means, that those nuke and coal power plants are never built.

HondaV65 on December 7, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Well put, but as Mary Katharine Ham put it, it’s triangrylation, not triangulation.

steveegg on December 7, 2010 at 4:13 PM

HondaV65 on December 7, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Great comment. Succinctly said what I was in the process of mashing out.

Inanemergencydial on December 7, 2010 at 4:13 PM

Well, at least we know who’s going to primary Palin on the Republican side – Barry!

turfmann on December 7, 2010 at 4:14 PM

Nope, ain’t gonna happen. Just like the oil moratorium. Obama says it’s lifted, but no permits get issued.

Coal? Let’s see the permits, lets see the pits go into production, lets see the environmental restrictions and the cost of those regulations, then we’ll talk. Lets see the smoke stacks venting, lets see the regulations for carbon capture and sequestration.

Skandia Recluse on December 7, 2010 at 4:15 PM

upinak on December 7, 2010 at 4:11 PM

No such thing as a conservative moderate. All moderates, when pushed, will eventually tell you they’re liberals. Conservatives identify themselves as such. Liberals either identify themselves as libs or say they’re moderate to sound more nuanced. But a moderate who isn’t at least center-left is like the loch ness monster, lots of rumors, never actually spotted in real life. Kind of like a conservative Democrat.

angryed on December 7, 2010 at 4:17 PM

“If the US began building nuclear power plants again, though, storage for spent fuel would be a must — and it would have to go somewhere.”

If it weren’t for Carter we’d have been reprocessing all that “spent” nuclear fuel(SNF). At this point, I think it’s better to finish developing Molten Salt Reactors (MSR), use the “spent” fuel start them up. Deploy the MSR in existing nuclear facilities, and don’t even transport the SNF.

LarryD on December 7, 2010 at 4:17 PM

When you’ve lost Obama. . .

Emperor Norton on December 7, 2010 at 4:08 PM

That there’s funny….

The Mega Independent on December 7, 2010 at 4:17 PM

Although I support coal and nuclear as energy sources,I would be very concerned about the safety of miners.An abrupt change in permit policies will bring a lot of “fast buck” artists into the industry.Mine safety would then be overlooked and enforcement of safety regulations would be impossible.
Here in W.Pa.,the safety of mine wokers is always a major concern,and the possibility of disaster is always imminate.Even in the best of circumstances,mining is a dangerous job.Creating a coal”bubble” will only make mining even more dangerous.

DDT on December 7, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Allowing strip mining of coal is the easy answer, but that generally causes a case of the vapors on the left.

slickwillie2001 on December 7, 2010 at 4:18 PM

I didn’t think he would do it, but then I remembered he’s a star, and if he wants to keep his seat in the spotlight he is willing to do anything, even “turn republican” LOL.

The Expert Knows

HAExpert on December 7, 2010 at 4:20 PM

Obama refused to proceed with the Yucca Mountain storage program, a move that helped Harry Reid in his home state. If the US began building nuclear power plants again, though, storage for spent fuel would be a must — and it would have to go somewhere.

This keeps coming up in all the threads about nuclear power. Yucca Mountain would have been nice, but since it’s a government facility the nuclear suppliers and the utilities went ahead and pretty much solved the problem of storage. It’s called above ground storage and it’s being used right now. Most utilities have room on site to store spent fuel for as long as necessary until some extremely long term solution is hashed out. It’s not the most ideal sort of storage but it’s simple, affordable, takes almost no maintenance and doesn’t require massive security. I say that last because I’d like to see someone steal a cask or even damage one in some sort of attack. I’d sell tickets and popcorn to that event. Yucca Mountain is a pipedream that’ll never be realized and is really not needed. Be nice to have though. Here’s a link about dry storage.

Oldnuke on December 7, 2010 at 4:24 PM

There are more ways to do nuclear than just the ginormous multi-billion dollar, waste producing behemoth licensing nightmares of the past.

More nuclear, and faster please!

Allahs vulva on December 7, 2010 at 4:25 PM

B.S

This is just one company; it’s going on everywhere, “under-reported” of course.

They are using the permitting process as well as other regulatory mechanisms to shut down mines left and right, and to prevent more from being opened.

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 4:26 PM

Nuclear can’t happen in our country no matter what Bammie wants. The democratics over the last thirty years have set up a maze of laws and processes with the result that any moonbat can hire a lawyer and bring billion-dollar projects to a complete halt.

slickwillie2001 on December 7, 2010 at 4:07 PM

Do you know of any specific instance where that happened?

Oldnuke on December 7, 2010 at 4:27 PM

Not to mention the plethora of roadblocks they’re throwing up in front of anyone trying to build a coal-fired power plant.

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 4:28 PM

My plans would have worked if it weren’t for you meddling kids!

Lily on December 7, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Meanwhile, Dirty Dingy Harry would like to tell y’all a little tale about a football program…

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 4:38 PM

Well put, but as Mary Katharine Ham put it, it’s triangrylation, not triangulation.

steveegg on December 7, 2010 at 4:13 PM

With MKH, it’s triangyrrlation

tomg51 on December 7, 2010 at 4:38 PM

Does is seem a coincidence that the price of oil is going up significantly just after Obama ordered a moratorium on off shore drilling. Funny that that happened just after a trip to the mid east.

Tommy_G on December 7, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Oil is only going up because the Fed keeps pumping tons of money into economy and eroding the value of the dollar. A Defacto infinite tax increase that has never been voted on by Congress or the President.

Johnnyreb on December 7, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Ojesus is well on his way to doubling the cost of electricity by fiat; the hell with Separation of Powers.

The things that are being done by the Executive Branch bear intense scrutiny, on a number of fronts.

His Majesty hasn’t given up on the damned Green Agenda; he’s just going around Congress to achieve his bastardly dastardly goals.

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 4:42 PM

Oldnuke on December 7, 2010 at 4:27 PM

A bit of long sad history here (or perhaps victorious, depending on one’s point of view); most of these are re nuclear power: Anti-Nuke History

The Hoover Dam could not be built today.

slickwillie2001 on December 7, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Meanwhile, Dirty Dingy Harry would like to tell y’all a little tale about a football program…

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 4:38 PM

Dingy is busy setting up legislation for his Las Vegas cronies to run online gambling in the USA. Another source of political contributions for democratics!

slickwillie2001 on December 7, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Obama and Axlefraud have ties to Exelon, so I don’t know about any “caving”.

OxyCon on December 7, 2010 at 4:59 PM

Barry just needs to have nuclear power plants constructed which power giant fans …that then send constant breezes toward a wind farm set up nextdoor.

It will make sense to the Green Energy folks.

profitsbeard on December 7, 2010 at 5:16 PM

slickwillie2001 on December 7, 2010 at 4:55 PM

What you posted there was a Wiki link about protests. Speaking from experience protests around nuke plants never shut any of them down. You get some blip in the press usually but they never actually amount to anything. At the plants where I’ve worked they never got close to the protected area and never even slowed people coming in to work down. I remember one very civil and orderly protest where there was a county deputy sitting at a table with a line drawn on the road in front. Everybody wanting to be arrested for protesting was asked to cross the line. They actually lined up, stepped across the line up to the table where the deputy told them they were under arrest for disturbing the peace they got on a bus and eventually were transported to the police station about 10 miles away and processed and released. They never even came close to shutting us down or even affecting operations.

Oldnuke on December 7, 2010 at 5:17 PM

Obama’s Energy Secretary in 2007: BP Will ‘Help Save the World’

Way to go Chu.

seven on December 7, 2010 at 5:22 PM

slickwillie2001 on December 7, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Wiki is not the most trustworthy source of information. Gotta take everything there with a grain of salt and a ton of caution. They present the Shoreham plant as being shut down by protesters. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The people who really lost in that deal were the ratepayers. Long Island Lighting made out like a bandit even though they scrapped the plant. Had nothing to do with protesters.

Oldnuke on December 7, 2010 at 5:23 PM

angryed on December 7, 2010 at 4:17 PM

did you not see the “pretend”?

upinak on December 7, 2010 at 5:29 PM

I’ll beleive it when I see it. I hope the Republican congress will do something about the permitorium on offshore drilling ASAP. Lowering our energy costs would be like an instant pay raise for everyone.

Iblis on December 7, 2010 at 5:31 PM

Don’t forget to look beyond our horizon.

Reality is beginning to reassert itself with a vengeance, even if you’re not seeing the headlines.

There are a whole lot of things ‘going south’, at fairly rapid rate.

CPT. Charles on December 7, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Do you know of any specific instance where that happened?
Oldnuke on December 7, 2010 at 4:27 PM

The wiki entry is a bit slanted, but you get the gist…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midland_Cogeneration_Venture

/.

CaveatEmpty on December 7, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Obama may agree to Republican proposals for coal and nuclear energy as a compromise energy plan:

No … dammit. We don’t need or want an energy plan.

darwin on December 7, 2010 at 5:37 PM

Free all our energy sources you friggin’ a$$holes.

darwin on December 7, 2010 at 5:38 PM

The EPA has more or less declared war on mountaintop removal and even new mining operations.

Scrap the EPA …

darwin on December 7, 2010 at 5:40 PM

Don’t worry they will hold the line on bake sales.

They can have my chocolate chip cookie when the pry it form my cold dead hands.

uber on December 7, 2010 at 5:45 PM

BTW–I’m not trying to negate any of the excellent points being brought in this thread.

Many of you are right…talk (and vague promises) is cheap, and many of Obozo’s promises could easily be found in the close-out bins at the Dollar Store.

I’m beginning to think that this ‘appearance’ of retrenchment is coming about because the loss of the House, and the purse-strings it holds. Add to that the various committees that will shortly be in the hands of people who are not interested in ‘looking the other way’; something the WH needed to get as far as they have.

There is more to this than meets the eye.

And not all of the players have entered the stage, yet.

CPT. Charles on December 7, 2010 at 5:47 PM

Well put, but as Mary Katharine Ham put it, it’s triangrylation, not triangulation.

steveegg on December 7, 2010 at 4:13 PM

MKH can say anything she wants to… in a low tone of voice… into my ear…

Khun Joe on December 7, 2010 at 5:53 PM

Can we at least start recycling and reprocessing the waste products like the french do… 50 years of their nuclear waste sits in a single room…

Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on December 7, 2010 at 6:13 PM

Can we at least start recycling and reprocessing the waste products like the french do… 50 years of their nuclear waste sits in a single room…

Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on December 7, 2010 at 6:13 PM

It pains me to admit it, but yes, we should be doing exactly what the French are doing re nuclear power. They got it right.

slickwillie2001 on December 7, 2010 at 6:43 PM

How about we not place stupid percentage mandates on energy producers. It’s almost as bad as the fleet average gas mileage crap.

Count to 10 on December 7, 2010 at 6:50 PM

However, I’m a little skeptical that Chu is promising anything more than lip service.

Is Chu even aware that he’s responsible for nukes and coal? Last I heard he was stunned to learn he was responsible for oil.

Anything beyond rainbow colored unicorns dancing on windmills is probably beyond his comprehension.

GarandFan on December 7, 2010 at 6:55 PM

The spent fuel is safe enough if stored near reactors. In 100 years when it is considerably “cooler” perhaps cooler minds will prevail.

MSimon on December 7, 2010 at 7:03 PM

CaveatEmpty on December 7, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Here again this is not an instance of some group getting a lawyer and shutting this plant down. This was the utility making a business decision not to continue with the construction project due to the economic uncertainty generated by some construction problems and a rather serious accident at another nuclear plant. A lot of utilities made similar decisions. At the plant where I was working we had one unit on line, one ready to load fuel and two under construction when the TMI accident occurred. Our decision was to continue with the two that were ready and scrap the two under construction. I can tell you that they came down a lot faster than they went up. This wasn’t due to activism it was a cold calculated business decision and as it turned out a good one. Radical activists and protesters had no affect on the decision.

Oldnuke on December 7, 2010 at 8:19 PM

The EPA has more or less declared war on mountaintop removal and even new mining operations.

Scrap the EPA …

darwin on December 7, 2010 at 5:40 PM

It’s not just the EPA; it’s the whole damn executive branch acting in concert to damage the coal industry by any means available.

The U.S. Department of Labor had filed an unprecedented lawsuit seeking to close the troubled mine Nov. 3.

Ojesus has been waging an undeclared war on coal, on both production and consumption, since day one of his thuggish administation.

I know y’all are probably tired of my linking of these stories, but the facts need to be laid bare before the nation; this bunch will stop at nothing to achieve their redistributionist agenda.

Even as we “speak”, they’re trying to jam through a massive foreign aid package while there are an unholy amount of American citizens unemployed, homeless, hopeless, and hungry.

2012 is too far away; we’ve got to get our representatives to apply the brakes hard and steady on this out-of-control administration.

The economy is teetering as is, and it seems that the Ojesus Cult wants to kick out the remaining wobbly leg.

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 8:34 PM

administation.

Can I buy an “r”, Alex?

s/b “administration, of course — sorry

hillbillyjim on December 7, 2010 at 8:46 PM

this is a test of html

subject
subject

hoakie on December 7, 2010 at 9:42 PM

First and foremost – RTFB – Read The Full Bill – no trust all verify.

From the top.

If the “green energy” initiatives that have been proposed to date were viable, we wouldn’t need the subsidies they’re getting now.

So let’s take a look at what proven technologies are available today shall we?

Coal
Nuclear
Natural gas
Oil
Hydroelectric

In general, we use energy in the form of transportation, heating and electricity.

Transportation: The most practical at this time is Petroleum based – Gasoline and Diesel. Let’s drill, let’s refine – and build refineries. Right now electric cars just aren’t viable – For all the money that’s been thrown around as “stimulus” a real stimulus would be a $1B prize for a practical electric car. Challenge and reward == clear incentive.

Heating: For efficiency you will have a tough time beating geo-thermal but your upfront costs are a bit steep. After that comes Natural gas. It can be burned with over 90% efficiency and is easily transported. Oil is still in use for heating, but given the cleanliness and efficiency of Natural Gas it’s more of a special fit these days. Unless it’s set up properly from the start, electric will cost many times more than gas.
Electricity: Here’s your mother lode of options. Your practical large scale options are Coal, Nuclear, Hydroelectric and Natural Gas. Let’s reduce Natural gas as a future option – Why? It’s best used for residential heating. Hydroelectric is great if you’re in the right location. If that’s the case, go for it. This leads us to Coal and Nuclear. Cost of construction on Coal is manageable and the scrubber technologies available today will keep the most of the pollutants at bay. Your cost per Megawatt is pretty darn reasonable and there are plenty of coal reserves that have been identified. Last but certainly not least, we have Nuclear. After the plant is built, it’s the lowest cost per Kilowatt. One of the nasty bits of trivia is that there are no two Nuclear plants in the US that of the same design. This makes virtually all of them are one offs (read expensive to design, build and operate). Not only that, thanks to the Carter administration, it’s illegal to build breeder reactors in the U.S. Something the French, who get 80% of their power from Nuclear, have done for decades.

So here’s my energy plan:
Kill any and all Ethanol subsidies.
Drill baby drill –Build the refineries to bring it to market.
Standardize nuclear plants and lift the moratorium on breeder reactors. –Look to the Navy and France for examples.
Use Natural gas for heating and possibly transportation.
Encourage more diesel development and use. It’s far more efficient. My TDI VW will romp stomp and thrash your Prius. (Okay I threw that in for fun)

Nearly all of the technology needed to accomplish this has fully matured. In other words this isn’t a technical problem, it’s a political quagmire.

hoakie on December 7, 2010 at 9:44 PM

It seemed really odd last week when Stephen Chu appeared on C-SPAN talking about, among other items, how China was building 245 nuclear reactors while the US had 2 in planning.

J_Crater on December 7, 2010 at 10:20 PM

If the “green energy” initiatives that have been proposed to date were viable, we wouldn’t need the subsidies they’re getting now.

hoakie on December 7, 2010 at 9:44 PM

All electrical generation plants are Subsidized. Wind power providers want a level playing field.

Slowburn on December 8, 2010 at 12:16 AM

China was building 245 nuclear reactors while the US had 2 in planning.

J_Crater on December 7, 2010 at 10:20 PM

Infinite power is, well, infinite power.

On a practical note – only high power will solve the imminent problem of fresh water – it takes power to desalinate.

tomg51 on December 8, 2010 at 6:51 AM

China was building 245 nuclear reactors while the US had 2 in planning.

J_Crater on December 7, 2010 at 10:20 PM

This needs to be said every time someone quotes their windmill numbers.

tomg51 on December 8, 2010 at 6:53 AM

but that would mean that Obama would have to renege on a key political pledge from 2008

You state that like that would be a problem or is something unusual…

right2bright on December 8, 2010 at 7:01 AM

Nuclear puts money in our pocket (research and development is almost entirely American) and energy in our homes, and people back to work…there is no downside to this.
This was the number one reason I supported McCain, there was supposed to be 30+ plants under development by now.

right2bright on December 8, 2010 at 7:04 AM

A national “clean” or “renewable” energy standard would require utilities to purchase a percentage of their electricity from nonfossil fuel sources and is seen as one of the administration’s few options for a broad energy policy after the death of the cap-and-trade bill. …

He later added that “a renewable energy standard is an important mechanism for stimulating renewable energy, but there are other forms of clean energy.”

Chu cited both nuclear power and coal plants that capture and store their carbon emissions as part of the discussion.

Let’s all parse this statement VERY carefully before falling for this–it could be a trap.

First of all, any government policy to REQUIRE utilities to “purchase” a percentage of their electricity from “nonfossil” sources will run into legal claims about fairness in the market.

There are three types of electric “utility” companies:

(1) Generation companies that run plants to burn fuel to make electricity;

(2) Transmission companies, that buy power from generation companies and transmit it to consumers via transformers and high-tension wires;

(3) Integrated power companies that do both (1) and (2) above.

The “transmission” market is much less profitable than the “generation” market, but both are necessary to get electricity to consumers. How would some regulation “requiring” “utilities” to “purchase” some of “their” power from non-fossil sources apply to each type of company? Would a generation-only company have to buy power from a non-fossil source just to sell it to a transmission company? Would transmission-only companies be forced to buy expensive non-fossil power and be forced out of business, to eventually be bought out by generation-only companies to become integrated companies? For an integrated utility, does generated power “sold” to itself count as part of “their” power? Since hydro power is a non-fossil source, wouldn’t such rules be slanted in favor of power companies located near existing dams?

Chu uses a number of vague descriptions of energy, which are NOT interchangeable.

“Non-fossil” sources include nuclear, wind, solar, and hydro.

“Renewable” sources include wind, solar, and hydro, but NOT nuclear. In some states, including the RGGI consortium in New England, hydrogen produced by steam-reformation of natural gas, is “deemed” to be “renewable”, even though natural gas itself is NOT renewable.

“Clean” energy, by Chu’s definition, may include nuclear and coal plants which capture carbon emissions, but what about power from natural gas, which is intrinsically “cleaner” than coal per kwh produced?

So, if Chu wants to impose a minimum percentage of total electricity from certain sources, what is the numerator?

Non-fossil=Nuclear+Hydro+Solar+Wind?

Renewable=Hydro+Solar+Wind?

Clean=whatever Chu thinks is clean when he opens his mouth?

Chu’s insistence on “coal plants that capture and store their carbon emissions” is essentially a disguised form of Cap and Trade. Large-scale technologies to capture CO2 are tremendously expensive, and the capture processes plus the compression to the critical pressure (necessary to store CO2 as a liquid or supercritical fluid) consume about 25 to 30% of the power produced by a coal plant, which increases the amount of coal burned to produce a net kwh by 33 to 43%. This would be a tremendous waste of one of America’s most abundant natural resources, to reduce emissions of a harmless gas necessary for plant life on earth, in order to MAYBE reduce temperatures by a few thousandths of a degree based on unproven “science”.

Based on these statements by Chu, Obama hasn’t really “caved” on energy policy–it’s all smoke and mirrors and vague terms intended to confuse the public. What SHOULD be done is to ease the regulations on nuclear power plants to enable them to be competitive, then stop meddling with the market.

Steve Z on December 8, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Chu? Chu? Isn’t he the Nobel Winner whom we were so lucky to have in the administration when the BP oil well blew? I’m sure he had a lot to do with fixing it all up because, afterall, Obama said David Chu, the Nobel winning scientist, was on the case. But wait a minute! Isn’t winning a Nobel prize just confirmation by a bunch of nitwit Swedes that the recipient hates America?

kens on December 8, 2010 at 2:21 PM

There is no need for huge nuclear storage facilities if we begin to reprocess spent fuel the same way the French do. Oh silly me, that would make too much sense!

woodNfish on December 8, 2010 at 3:42 PM