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Friday, March 2, 2007

Ripple effect from TXU buyout sure to impact Coal Industry

Despite the media frenzy caused by the TXU buyout last week, Coal powered electricity plants are not going away. Coal is too cheap - 3 times cheaper than Solar Power. With increasing demand for power plants and coal being an abundant natural resource, a homegrown resource no less, we will see coal continue to play a huge role in our electricity supply. That is, unless a couple things happen.

First, the nuclear waste issue has not been solved. If it is ever solved, and the public can be confident in the government's ability (ha!) to store and manage the waste safely, we could see a resurgence in Nuclear Power.

Secondly, Solar Thermal, in my opinion, has the greatest upside. Two large scale (400 to 500 MW) solar thermal plants are currently under construction in Southern California and additional plants are under consideration for Nevada. If these solar plants, which can produce as much electricity as a conventional gas or coal plant, ever achieve economies of scale great enough to encourage more investment in the construction of more plants, it is possible that the majority of our electricity could someday come from solar thermal technology.

The TXU buyout will still have a huge impact industry wide- companies will now be under greater pressure by consumers and environment groups to increase their capital spending on clean burning technologies. Utility firms better wake up - if they refuse to invest to reduce their toxic emissions and greenhouse gases they are sure to see an uprising from their customers.

1 comment:

GerryWolff said...

Further information about concentrating solar power (CSP) may be found at:

http://www.trec-uk.org.uk/index.htm

and

http://www.trecers.net/index.html

and

http://www.trec.net.au/

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