Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The energy market outsmarts the politicans.

Turning green.
The cost of making electricity has dropped in half thanks to cheap gas from fracking.  That trumps all political hot air about turning shades of green.  That trumps all the new wind farms and nuclear plants, the solar panel extravaganzas, and all the coal and oil permitoria in America. 

Money quote at Bloomberg (h/t Smalldeadanimals): “A shale-driven glut of natural gas has cut electricity prices for the U.S. power industry by 50 percent and reduced investment in costlier sources of energy.” Wholesale electricity is selling at an average 3.9 cents/kwh, down from 8.7 three years ago – less than half price. The story links examples of a coal, nuclear and wind project being shelved.
This is a big deal:  Electric power generation uses 38% of all the energy in America. (See 2004 chart from Drive Architecture.) An updated chart would show natural gas (freckled blue) beginning to crowd out the others:

1. "Permitoriums" or "Permitoria"? I've used the "a" ending in honour of my Latin teacher, Mr. Thompson, but I think "ums" is more honest as the word is a modern chimera from 'permit" and "moratorium".

2. The chart shows waste energy with the colour grey. The power grid and the generators account for half of all the waste, followed by transport. Waste by homes, stores, and industry is minor.

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