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The EPA Carbon Plan: Coal Loses, But Who Wins?

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the probably-the-mets dept.

Earth 268

Lasrick writes: Mark Cooper with one of the best explanations of some of the most pressing details on the new EPA rule change: 'The claims and counterclaims about EPA's proposed carbon pollution standards have filled the air: It will boost nuclear. It will expand renewables. It promotes energy efficiency. It will kill coal. It changes everything. It accomplishes almost nothing.' Cooper notes that although it's clear that coal is the big loser in the rule change, the rule itself doesn't really pick winners in terms of offering sweet deals for any particular technology; however, it seems that nuclear is also a loser in this formulation, because 'Assuming that states generally adhere to the prime directive of public utility resource acquisition—choosing the lowest-cost approach—the proposed rule will not alter the dismal prospects of nuclear power...' Nuclear power does seem to be struggling with economic burdens and a reluctance from taxpayers to pay continuing subsides in areas such as storage and cleanup. It seems that nuclear is another loser in the new EPA rule change.

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No winners economically (5, Insightful)

Langalf (557561) | about 2 months ago | (#47285275)

I think you can be sure no matter how this plays out, power is going to be more expensive. In addition, if the coal-fired plants are removed from the equation before replacement sources of power are in place, there will be power shortages.

Re:No winners economically (2, Informative)

Ichijo (607641) | about 2 months ago | (#47285365)

I think you can be sure no matter how this plays out, power is going to be more expensive

If you ignore external costs, yes.

In addition, if the coal-fired plants are removed from the equation before replacement sources of power are in place, there will be power shortages.

If electricity will be priced below market equilibrium, yes.

Re:No winners economically (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 months ago | (#47285805)

If you ignore external costs, yes.

Those "external costs" are unproven and in fact highly questionable. You don't get to just assume they are there, any more than others may assume they're not. Prove the case if you want us to take you seriously.

Many economists have said that even if those external costs are all true, that's still not the real question here. The real question is: how much will mitigation cost in proportion to how much good it does, and versus how much harm it causes. Because make no mistake: there will be harm.

If electricity will be priced below market equilibrium, yes.

"Market"??? Either you're a fool or you think we are. This isn't "market". This is government fiat. It would remove any remaining pretense of free market.

Re:No winners economically (0, Flamebait)

Ichijo (607641) | about 3 months ago | (#47286023)

Those "external costs" are unproven and in fact highly questionable.

The cost of air pollution is up to $1,600 per person annually [fullerton.edu] according to Cal State Fullerton.

This isn't "market". This is government fiat. It would remove any remaining pretense of free market.

That's the same thing monopolies claim when they are broken up.

Re:No winners economically (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47286443)

Your source for an economic study is CSU Fullerton? You do understand that each state has a governmental electricity commission that authorizes prices. Call it what you want but it's already government Fiat and with half the country forced to shutdown their primary source of electricity you can imagine how this will punish everyone, especially the poor, as I've mentored previously.

Re:No winners economically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47286193)

Who cares about a few dollar when faced with FUCKING EXTINCTION.
Also, once again, you, Jane Q, prove you know nothing about government, fiat, or the market.
Yet you just keep posting stupid crap.

Re:No winners economically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47286293)

You mean like "government fiat" removed slavery from the free market?

Re:No winners economically (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 months ago | (#47285417)

Well... there's the beachfront property market.

Re:No winners economically (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47285473)

Right. You'll just need to accurately predict the new shoreline, and you, too, can sell overpriced lots in hurricane alley.

Re:No winners economically (4, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#47285427)

Why is the government supposed to pick winners?

I was under the impression that public health was a principal concern, not determining which industry gets to make windfall profits for the luck few that manage to hold stock.

What I think needs to happen is for power-generating companies to not also own the power grid. That's one of the problems right now with trying to get residential solar adoption going- the power companies want to throw up roadblocks to anyone else putting solar on and tying to to the grid. The "buy" excess power at the lowest possible price (ie, about what someone would pay for power if they have a time-of-use plan, if they were using their power in the middle of the night when demand is bottomed out) and they want to charge solar-producing customers extra fees to even be connected to the grid.

Power companies at least need their power generation units and power distribution units to be separate items on the customer's bill. That should hold true for all customers, even those that don't produce power themselves. Everyone should be charged the same grid connection price (relative to the kind of connection they have, a residential or light commercial 240V single phase center-tap-neutral should cost less than a 460V three phase industrial or commercial connection) and then their power's metered cost should be line-itemized separately. If a customer produces more power than they use, that should reduce the price they pay for their grid connection, and if they produce above and beyond that then they should receive payment, instead of a bill.

I am fairly heavily convinced that regulation like this would do wonders for residential solar adoption, which then do wonders for reducing fossil-fuel generation, at least in Southern states where peak demand is during daylight hours.

Re:No winners economically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285505)

It does not help that nuclear activists are marxist...

Re:No winners economically (1)

Hussman32 (751772) | about 2 months ago | (#47285551)

The grid is a conduit from the generating station to the customer, and is effectively a capital expense that is most likely paid for already. The grid operating costs are very small compared to the generation costs, and there wouldn't be a revenue source for a grid company if they were forced to separate (if there were it would be artificial and in unregulated markets they would eventually zero this value out). Note that because storage isn't really practical yet, any time there is a change in electricity demand, the generating station needs to follow the load by increasing/decreasing the fuel that is consumed and reducing the generator load. This would have to happen regardless of who ran the grid, and the same operating challenges would be present, it wouldn't help solar adoption. The best way for solar to be adopted more readily is to make the solar panels cheaper.

Re:No winners economically (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#47285937)

Note that because storage isn't really practical yet, any time there is a change in electricity demand, the generating station needs to follow the load by increasing/decreasing the fuel that is consumed and reducing the generator load.

Not necessarily. An alternative is to keep the power constant, but change the spot price. If the price spikes, marginal users (aluminum smelters, bitcoin miners, electric car chargers, etc.) would temporarily drop off, freeing up power for others.

Re:No winners economically (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 3 months ago | (#47286139)

Aluminum smelters can't afford to have the power cut off for any length of time. Once the aluminum hardens in the furnaces it's a long costly process to clean them out so they can be used again.

As far as load following, all of the natural gas turbine generators that have been built lately can be spun up in a matter of minutes.

Re:No winners economically (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 3 months ago | (#47285993)

No, I'd have to say the best way for solar (and other renewables) to be adopted more readily is to make *batteries* cheaper. The panels will already often pay for themselves in a few years, but they can't handle the ever-changing power loads without batteries - and the batteries for an off-grid house can easily match or surpass the cost of panels. The system will still pay for itself, but it takes a lot longer.

Which raises a point - there are definite advantages to grid-scale battery banks over having all storage at the edges, and that means grid build-out and the necessity to charge for battery usage to fund ongoing maintenance. It won't be cheap, but it could help kickstart the grid as a stand-alone utility. Consider - the connection expenses are already mostly paid, and there is plenty of room to profit from the convenience of not needing batteries for your home solar. Or heck - charge power users 10-20% more than you pay suppliers and you'll have a nice fat revenue stream. And if you change your purchase price in line with demand-based billing you can even encourage edge nodes to invest in storage facilities - buy power during peak sun and sell it back in the evening during peak demand - you make a few cents per kWh for your investment, and the grid takes a 20% cut.

Perhaps it would be worth it to make the distribution grid a public utility - as you say it's already paid off, often with the aid of large government subsidies. If the power companies wont play fair with independent power generation and storage entrepreneurs then perhaps it's time to cut them out of the equation. Inform them the cables have been claimed via eminent domain and will be paid for at an amount of (materials - subsidies) amortized over the next N years. They still control the bulk of power generation, at least at first, and get paid the same rates as everyone else. It would probably raise energy prices at first, but I don't see any way to get off fossils that doesn't, and it would facilitate a much faster and market-driven adaptation period.

Re:No winners economically (3)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 months ago | (#47285701)

Why is the government supposed to pick winners?

The government is damned if it does pick winners (Solindra), and damned if they don't. These new rules target emissions without prescribing the solution, It has "free market" solution written all over it.

My own government (Australia) is disappointingly doing everything they can to avoid even talking about climate change, however they are taking a proposal to the G20 to eliminate the $500M or so of FF subsidies the G20 nations are currently providing to the industry. They are doing so on economic grounds since Australian coal would be more competitive against other nations without the subsidies. They are however ideologically opposed to mitigating climate change. For example, they are currently battling the senate to dismantle the clean energy fund. The fund doesn't provide grants, it provides loans to commercial clean energy projects at reserve bank interest rates and makes a modest profit for the taxpayer. There's no economically rational reason to dismantle a profitable scheme that performs a social good other than to protect their coal mining mates.

Re:No winners economically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285849)

Please. Do you have some reason to believe that anything happening in Australia could possibly have any affect on global anything? I submit that all the good citizens of the land down under could commit suicide tomorrow and the affect on global weather, temperature, sea level, or any fucking things else would be ZERO. If you think different, please educate us with a few calculations on heat, energy use, CO2 output and just how the fuck that compares to the global numbers. Yes, sorry Australia, you are insignificant to global weather or warming, so quit wasting your fucking money. That ain't "social good".

Re:No winners economically (2, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47285983)

Do you have some reason to believe that anything happening in Australia could possibly have any affect on global anything?

Yes. The countries that actually matter (China and India) use the inaction of rich countries as an excuse for their own inaction. So Australia needs to set an example, along with the rest of the rich world. Also, solutions developed by scientists in rich countries can be applied in poor countries too. Nothing has done more to reduce CO2 emissions than the American development of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, which is now being applied around the world to replace coal with gas.

Re:No winners economically (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 3 months ago | (#47286367)

The countries that actually matter (China and India) use the inaction of rich countries as an excuse for their own inaction.

Unless, of course, they'll use the "action" of rich countries to take advantage of and ruthlessly surpass them. I think "setting an example" here is economic suicide for whoever does it. Anthropogenic global warming simply has not been shown to be urgent or dire enough to where this sort of demonstration is necessary.

And in the absence of that urgency, China and India have no reason to go along with the game aside from getting economic opponents to commit to crippling positions.

Re:No winners economically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47286155)

Australia exports hundreds upon hundreds of tonnes of Coal to China and other countries.

If our coal disappeared they would buy other coal; but it would cost more (less supply) and cause other technologies to become more competitive.

That is not to take away from the argument that our government doesn't want to make our coal more competitive; despite us selling so much they want to sell more.

Re:No winners economically (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 3 months ago | (#47286205)

Every little increment no matter where it comes from makes a difference and a ShanghaiBill points out leading by example takes the moral pressure off you and puts it on others.

Peak? (3, Interesting)

stomv (80392) | about 2 months ago | (#47285869)

Peak demand isn't as close to daylight as you might expect in the South. In fact, many systems are winter peaking (central Florida and Appalachia come to mind). Those systems peak winter 7-10am. Sure, the sun is just starting to come up, but PV isn't going to have a significant impact on that peak. Similarly, peak is 3-6pm. PV produces it's best power at high noon. As more PV comes on the system, the "net"-peak will push to 4-7pm, then 5-8pm. Again, solar contributes to meeting some of that peak, but depending on geography it isn't always going to align as well as you might think, including in the south.

As soon as you add in industry (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#47286067)

As soon as you consider places where there is industry consuming electricity instead of merely residential usage then you get plenty of consumption in full daylight. Slicing the top off that big daytime peak has resulted in a couple of coal fired units being mothballed near me and some expensive to operate gas turbines having a lot less running time.

Re:No winners economically (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#47285985)

Why is the government supposed to pick winners?

Because banks and private enterprise don't care enough to put up their own money.

Re:No winners economically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285811)

'I think you can be sure no matter how this plays out, power is going to be more expensive.'

No, we can't be sure of this at all. Already in Germany they are beginning to experience days where so much renewable power is being generated that German industry is paying close to zero for it. As time marches on, more of the days will be like this until the point is reached where power becomes close to free. The US is falling behind with it's stubborn resistance to change and it will end up paying for that stubbornness as her remaining industry flees to the green pastures of cheap energy.

For fuck's sake, how does this get a 5, Insightful (3, Informative)

stomv (80392) | about 2 months ago | (#47285813)

> I think you can be sure no matter how this plays out, power is going to be more expensive.

No, you can't be sure of that. Wind power in the central portion of the country is cheaper than coal now. PV is cheaper than market power in the Southwest and the Northeast now. Many coal plants in tUSA are 50+ years old -- they're going to retire soon one way or another. And, not for nothing, wholesale electric power is cheaper now than it was five years ago due to cheap natural gas (and, by the way, switching from coal to gas helps comply with 111(d) and saves money).

> if the coal-fired plants are removed from the equation before replacement sources of power are in place, there will be power shortage

If my aunt had nuts, she'd be my uncle. There's absolutely no chance that 111(d) will result in reliability performance below the industry standard 1-day-in-10-years. Just won't happen. Retiring a unit requires years of planning. Google "integrated resource plan IRP" for your favorite utility and hunker down to a ~120 page report, produced every 3-5 years, laying out the company's plan, including projected retirements, new units, new transmission, etc.

111(d) doesn't require any coal plants to retire. It requires our fraction of electricity generated from coal to be reduced. The coal plants can still be "plugged in" and operated during times of peak load (weekday summer afternoons and winter mornings); what they can't do is operate much the rest of the time. Instead, a combination of new energy efficiency measures, new renewable energy production, more frequent operating of combined cycle natural gas generators, and squeezing even more MWh out of existing nuclear units through uprates or reduced downtimes will be the way states will comply with 111(d).

Seriously slashdot. Pithy remarks more frequently display ignorance than insightfulness.

Re:For fuck's sake, how does this get a 5, Insight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47286279)

You express way too much faith in politicians. Your responses are technically sound, but fail the classic "great idea checklist" that slashdot comments used to post routinely.

Re:No winners economically (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 months ago | (#47285955)

That's extremely short-sighted. Eventually the economy wins because we have less of the pollution and other environmental damage from coal.

Re:No winners economically (4, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 3 months ago | (#47286191)

In addition, if the coal-fired plants are removed from the equation before replacement sources of power are in place, there will be power shortages.

When the Clean Air Act was amended in the 70s, coal plant emissions were grandfathered in.
The assumption was that, over time, the plants would either be retired or brought into compliance as major upgrades were made.

Except there was a loophole of sorts... plants did not have to comply with the new emissions rules if their upgrades were less than XY% of the plant's value. The result was that plant operators never ever made any major upgrades. Instead, they used incremental upgrades in order to stay under the legal requirements for coming into compliance.

The end result is that most coal plants in America date back to the 1970s, specifically because of this regulatory loophole.
I have little sympathy for an industry that could have spent the last 40 years reducing their emissions.

What kind of burdens? (1)

jamesl (106902) | about 2 months ago | (#47285277)

Nuclear power does seem to be struggling with economic burdens and a reluctance from taxpayers to pay continuing subsides in areas such as storage and cleanup. It seems that nuclear is another loser in the new EPA rule change.

Make those Regulatory burdens.

Re:What kind of burdens? (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 months ago | (#47285441)

Are you suggesting we should deregulate nuclear power and just trust the industry to do the right thing? I think not, especially as long as US taxpayers are on the hook for any major failure of a nuclear power plant via the Price-Anderson Act.

Re:What kind of burdens? (1)

Hussman32 (751772) | about 2 months ago | (#47285567)

Economic burdens too. Natural gas is much cheaper than before (about half from 2008), and as it was the most expensive fuel for the major generating stations, its cost basically controlled the minimum profit obtainable (the plants are relatively cheap to build on a per megawatt basis compared to coal, nuclear, wind).

Re:What kind of burdens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285683)

By regulatory do you mean to imply that taxpayers should be on the hook to pay for the clean up, disposal and storage of nuclear wastes?

better than the burden (1)

publiclurker (952615) | about 2 months ago | (#47285735)

of burying everyone because some company decided to cut a few corners in order to get a bigger bonus.

Re:What kind of burdens? (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 months ago | (#47285773)

You do realise that regulations are what forms an economic market, right?

For instance, how would a stock market operate without property law? This is not to say that all regulation are good or even necessary but if your are going to bitch about them you need to be specific, precisely which regulations/policies do you see holding back the uptake of safe and clean nuclear reactors? - The one that says they are responsible for cleaning up their own mess and cannot rely on the taxpayer to do so in 40yrs time? Should we make a rule that forces insurance companies to underwrite nuclear reactors against their better judgement? Should the NIMBY's be excluded from the decision process by law?

Re:What kind of burdens? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#47286097)

They had those burdens earlier which did not slow them down due to a nice big money supply from the taxpayer. Banks and private enterprise haven't stepped in even in places where there are little or no regulatory burdens. I suggest you consider that before suggesting that lowering safety standards is going to magically make Bill Gates or Rupert Murdoch want to build a nuclear power station.

Stupidity is keeping nuclear back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285307)

Why does nuclear cost so much? Cause we're stupid, ignorant, and afraid. Nookyuler is scary black magic.
So because our government decision are determined by a stupid electorate, something has to be done to level the playing field.

Re:Stupidity is keeping nuclear back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285331)

It is more fear than stupidity. Stupidity is trying to sell an energy source that generates waste that we have no ability to recycle or mitigate, just bury.

I'd call that fear well-founded at the present moment.

Re:Stupidity is keeping nuclear back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285399)

Stupidity is trying to sell an energy source that generates waste that we have no ability to recycle or mitigate, just bury.

I'd call that fear well-founded at the present moment.

Excuse me? We do have the ability to recycle, mitigate, utilize, etc. We are not ALLOWED to, as that would create small amounts of bomb grade material, rather than large amounts of dirt bomb grade material. It would solve a lot more problems than just the waste if we were allowed to recycle it; like the medical grade isotope shortages that plague the world and make proper treatment expensive. We are long past those fearful days where nuclear material was a problem we couldn't handle.

Re:Stupidity is keeping nuclear back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285663)

Tell that to the Japanese.

Re:Stupidity is keeping nuclear back (5, Informative)

Chas (5144) | about 2 months ago | (#47285907)

Yes. Because STORAGE was the problem at Fukushima.

Sorry son. Shitty MANAGEMENT and lazy engineering practice, plus a metric fuckton of "Mother Nature Always Wins"

The plant actually SURVIVED a magnitude 9.0 earthquake.
The reason it finally overheated was because the asshats at TEPCO ignored the calls of real engineers for a MUCH higher sea wall. So the tsunami set off by the TÅhoku quake may as well have had valet parking at the reactor when it hit land.

Right now we have the ability to build reactors that are PASSIVELY safe. It means you don't have to worry about failures in ACTIVE, mechanical cooling systems. When such a reactor is shut down, it dumps its fuel into a dump tank and the entire reactor simply cools off. No need to worry if the generators will kick in. No need to worry if the facility loses power. Natural, powered by a little thing we call GRAVITY. It's about as idiot proof as you're going to get until we figure out how to spot-reverse gravity.

And yes, there's always going to be SOME waste.

The stuff that they're pulling out of reactors today? Mildly radioactive. And will be for hundreds or thousands of years.

The stuff you would pull out of a liquid fuel reactor?

1: Medically useful.
2: Shitty bomb-making material.
3: Scientifically useful (and an element we actually can't get any more of).
4: HIGHLY radioactive. But INCREDIBLY short-lived. Some of it is gone within hours of extraction. The longest lived stuff will be a few years cooking off. As opposed to MILLENNIA with current solid-fuel reactors.

Ideal application for reactors such as these is to take them and bury them in concrete. Let them run their usable lifetime and then decommission them. Once it hits EOL, you drain the device and cap it. Then give it a decade or two to cool off (radiologically speaking).

Maybe we CANNOT guarantee that we can build a facility that'll last thousands of years, through god-knows-what. But storage bunkers intended for product with a 10-50 year shelf-life? Pfft.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

Half a century (plus) and counting.

And remember, these things can be fairly compact and relatively light (they were initially designed as a power system for a plane). These things could replace diesel generators and even small hydro installations. WORLDWIDE.

Yes. Dropping one into the San Andreas Fault, or Yellowstone National Park, or the New Madrid Fault would probably be a FUCKING DUMB IDEA.

So here's a smarter one. We don't DO that. We drop them in more geologically stable areas instead.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Stupidity is keeping nuclear back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285949)

People are ALWAYS going to be fallible. One mistake is all it takes to have an accident like Fukushima. The fact that every design which produces any substantive amount of power will always require active cooling. Any interruption in that cooling and the reaction is completely out of control always and [practically]forever.

Until we find some unobtainium which is impervious to the worst-case temperatures of typical fission reactors it will never be safe.

Re:Stupidity is keeping nuclear back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47286007)

Actually, storage "is" a problem. There are spent fuel rod pools which are a serious issue around the plant right now. They only exist because there is no where else to put the stuff.

Re:Stupidity is keeping nuclear back (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 3 months ago | (#47286021)

I'm sure they're quite aware of that fact, and probably rather annoyed that they had so much nuclear waste stored near the reactors instead of recycling the stuff.

At least Coal loses (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285311)

Even if nuclear isn't properly supported (as many of us agree it's the only pragmatic long-tem solution currently viable), at least coal's on the way out.

A world deprived of proper nuclear power *but also* deprived of coal power is *still* a net gain in terms of health, ecology and overall evolution of the power infrastructure.

Re:At least Coal loses (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 3 months ago | (#47286043)

The next challenge will be natural gas - it's a decent improvement over coal on paper, but only if leakage is kept to a minimum, and the evidence right now is that NG leakage is high enough that it's forcing global warming faster than te extra CO2 from coal would be doing. But at least the environmental damage is hidden deep underground in contaminated water supplies.

There aren't supposed to be corporate winners (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 months ago | (#47285327)

The idea is that we reduce carbon emissions to slow the rate of the effects on climate. They're not trying to pick winners and losers; why would you try and make winners and losers out of this?

All of the non-coal fuels each have their own challenges, and this rule doesn't alter that. It's like free market, but with the addition that the cost of altering the climate is factored into regulation because a commodity-priced market is unable to react to a result with a 100 year return period.

You still can't find anybody willing and able to properly store spent nuclear fuel, nor someone looking to invest billions of dollars and a decade of zero income in an industry which has a low-growth potential.

Re:There aren't supposed to be corporate winners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285367)

The way the EPA pitched this several week ago, it is up to the states to decide how they want to meet their goals. There is a broad range of things the states can do, so they can tailor their approach in the best manner to meet their needs. If coal is an important industry to a particular state, then they can choose from other options available to them.

I can't say I know too many of the details, but it sounds like the commentator is picking winners and losers based upon a one-plan-fits-all approach, which is not the intent of what is being proposed.

Missed one (4, Funny)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 months ago | (#47285333)

We freeze in the dark.

Re:Missed one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285419)

We freeze in the dark.

you are literate?

Re:Missed one (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 months ago | (#47285475)

Quit being an alarmist.

Re:Missed one (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 months ago | (#47285959)

Despite John Ringo's alarmist fantasies, no.

Oy You! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285355)

Nuclear reactors stand and fall mostly on their own, what the government does is determine if you can open one. Because of our dear presidents own stance, we will not be opening new nuclear plants until he's gone. Nuclear is the cheapest per megawatt power source we currently have. Renewable are nice, but they cannot provide base load, they take a far longer payback time period than nuclear, they continue to advance(meaning the new stuff will be out dated before it pays for itself), they are only usable in certain areas, etc. You want to tell me that the government screwing nuclear power by making reprocessing illegal is a subsidy? If they were allowed to reprocess then the amount of nuclear waste would drop dramatically, costs would drop further, we wouldn't have such a shortage of medical isotopes, etc. The problem is that nuclear power has been demonized and made to seem useless. You think that if nuclear couldn't compete it would be the heart of all of the most effective warships on the planet, the reasons it isn't used in satellites are mostly treaties and laws, the other is mass and heat dissipation from higher power plants. Hell, nuclear is the most viable option to reduce environmental impacts in a manner which preserves quality of life, requires minimal governmental interference, and does not require that researchers create regular miracles just to keep society working.

Re:Oy You! (5, Informative)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 months ago | (#47285577)

Because of our dear President's own stance, we will not be opening new nuclear plants until he's gone.

Perhaps you can explain why the two new units at the Vogtle Plant in Georgia [wikipedia.org] were allowed to go through then and even offered federal loan guarantees.

(From the article): On February 16, 2010, President Obama announced $8.33 billion in federal loan guarantees toward the construction cost,

Would Obama have done that if he was against nuclear power like you believe?

Nuclear is the cheapest per megawatt power source we currently have.

What have you been smoking? The main reason so few nuclear plants have been built in the US since the 1970's was that it was far more expensive than building a coal plant. Now planned coal plants have been cancelled because they weren't expected to be able to compete with solar when they were finished.

I agree with you that we should reprocess the spent fuel rods.

Re:Oy You! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285873)

But Obama has helped quelch new coal plants in the developing world by withholding loans thru the IMF and World Bank.
But fuck those 3rd worlders anyway, fucking climate is happening!!

Re:Oy You! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47286213)

He cant, because he's full of crap.

Re:Oy You! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47286333)

1. It's cheapest if you don't do stupid things, like use 10% discount rate. At that rate even hydro is too expensive, but all historical examples point that such discount rate is too high. How much will $10b be worth in 100 years? That's what nuclear brings in - power plant lasting for 120 years.

But clearly, this is not economical. Time scale too long since we need to worry about the next quarter profits and next 4 year election cycle instead. Ever wonder why AGW gets nothing but lip service?

2. All long term power projects get federal loan guarantees. You can't issue 50 year bonds on your nuclear plant or hydro plant or even coal plant.

As for waste management, nuclear power is the only power source that actually does that, from cradle to grave. And that the principal reason why I support nuclear power.

Regardless what replaces them, fossil fuel really need to be replaced by something else. What is happening is the opposite - world usage of oil alone is up 50% in just the last 15 years. Coal usage more than doubled. And environmentalists spew shit how nuclear power is bad when the planet is on fire ...

Re:Oy You! (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 3 months ago | (#47286217)

Renewable are nice, but they cannot provide base load

I have nothing against nukes and you raise some good points. However the "base load" thing is absolute bullshit, a modern city does not have a flat demand curve, so why would you want a flat supply curve? Coal and Nuclear cannot work by providing a flat supply they must have supplemental technology to meet fluctuating demand. They must store energy (say in a hydro dam) when it's output is running above demand and it must have a bunch of gas powered generators to prevent brown-outs during the daily peaks. I don't know what the maintenance requirements are for a reactor but with coal fired "base load" you will need to build seven plants to get the advertised base load of six.

In some specific situations solar is much better at meeting the demand curve than "base load" generation, for example air-conditioners are at peak consumption at precisely the same time as solar is at peak output. The answer is not a binary choice, it's a combination of different low/zero emissions technologies that are tailored to suit local resources and demand. It would be economically foolish for Arizona not to take advantage of it's sunshine, it would be economically foolish for Chicago not to take advantage of it's famous winds. It would be environmentally foolish to stick with coal in Wyoming. I don't know much about Wyoming but if it doesn't have a lot of sun or wind then that's where nukes may make the most economical/environmental sense under these rules. Outside of the US, nations such as Japan with a high density industrialized population and very few natural resources may have no other choice than to go nuclear.

As for economic viability of coal over renewables, the proposed coal mines in Queensland's Galilee basin are currently uneconomical to develop [indexmundi.com] . Demand for coal from China has dropped quite dramatically as they push ahead with their well funded renewables program. This hasn't stopped our far-right government from pushing ahead with dredging for the "world's biggest coal port" at Abbot point to serve said mines. However HSBC bank, the royal bank of Scotland and other large financiers of the port project have all walked away citing economic and environmental concerns as the reason.

It really does not help the Australian economy when the PM goes around saying things like "It would be a crime to leave our coal in the ground". If the rest of the world is busy trying to make it worthless via renewables then acting like a stubborn buggy whip manufacturer will significantly harm our economy in the not too distant future.

only winners are (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285391)

The companies the EPA likes--which never end up working. Solyndra anyone?
These hippies won't be satisfied until we are living in holes in the ground like hobbits.

Re:only winners are (5, Informative)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 months ago | (#47285621)

Solyndra was just a talking point for the Republicans to pound the President on. The program that the Solyndra loan was a part of was budgeted for a 10 or 11% loss rate and even with Solyndra it still had less than 5% losses. Solyndra lost out because of the unexpected drop in prices of solar modules from China that it couldn't compete with. It's unreasonable to expect that everything that gets tried like this will work out.

Re:only winners are (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285775)

Solyndra's bankruptcy wasn't unexpected by anyone who looked over their finances. BEFORE the government guaranteed a loan. Actually the bank that did give the loan to solyndra tried to warn the government that by the business plan Solyndra had submitted they would be bankrupt within one month of their actual bankruptcy. So we can't even say Solyndra was dishonest in its loan files. But I do think they were given the loan guarantee to as a political favor. Since the investors took back their money after the loan came through and they had donated money and arrange large donations to the obama campaign.

Re:only winners are (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 2 months ago | (#47285861)

The fact the Government is planning to lose so much money in the first place by betting on players in the market is disturbing. Accepting it and justifying losses that weren't as big as planned as a good thing is downright insane.

Re:only winners are (4, Informative)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 3 months ago | (#47286017)

The government has been running different programs like that for a long time (more than 50 years) to help encourage new technologies to get off the ground. They always write in a 10 or 15% loss rate into them and the programs seldom reach that rate. In fact the boost to the economy for the ones that do succeed probably far outweigh any losses in the programs.

Re:only winners are (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 months ago | (#47286453)

So the US has been using similar failed approaches for half a century? I'm supposed to be impressed by this why?

In fact the boost to the economy for the ones that do succeed probably far outweigh any losses in the programs.

What boost? Perhaps we could discuss some of these examples and see if they really live up to your claims.

Re:only winners are (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 3 months ago | (#47286219)

The government didnt plan to lose money.
In fact, the government didlost lose money at all.
The energy program that the Solyndra loans were a part of has not only NOT lost money, it's turned a profit with the overwhelming majority of participating companies repaying their loans in full. Tesla is merely the most famous example.
So once again, you prove yourself an ignorant dingbat.

Re:only winners are (2)

dywolf (2673597) | about 3 months ago | (#47286299)

Source:
http://www.energyfactcheck.org... [energyfactcheck.org]
-----
(copypasta)

The DOE loan guarantee program is an overwhelmingly successful program that played a critical role in the development of new renewable energy technologies by offering long-term capital when private financing was not available.

        The Department of Energy Loan Guarantee Program has an approximately 97% success rate. As of late July, 2012, Solyndra, Abound Solar and the handful of other DOE-backed renewable energy companies that went bankrupt represented total investments of less than 3% of the entire DOE portfolio. (Source: U.S. Department of Energy, April 2013, http://1.usa.gov/Nv1OeU [usa.gov] )
        It was well-known that the DOE’s loan programs would include a measured amount of risk. Before offering loan guarantees, Congress moved to protect taxpayers by appropriating nearly $10 billion to cover potential losses, acknowledging the risks of funding new technologies in industries that were facing significant market and economic challenges. (Source: Department of Energy, April 2013, http://1.usa.gov/10dWZIE [usa.gov] )
        Following reports of Fisker Automotive’s financial difficulties, the Department of Energy acted decisively to protect the taxpayers’ interest. In June 2011, the Department ceased making disbursements to Fisker after the company began to fall short of the milestones required in the loan agreement. (Source: Department of Energy, April 2013, http://1.usa.gov/10dWZIE [usa.gov] )

        There is no evidence to suggest that Fisker Automotive’s loan was a political handout. Fisker was approached by the Bush administration about a potential loan in 2008. In early 2009, Fisker underwent a nine month-long review by DOE and several independent consulting firms to assess all aspects of Fisker’s business plan, technology, and finances. In 2009 – nearly 4 years ago – their business was deemed sound. (Source: House Oversight Committee, April 2013, http://1.usa.gov/10dWgY6 [usa.gov] )

        The Loan Guarantee Program (LGP) and Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program have many success stories. For example, as the American automobile industry fought to recover from the brink of collapse in 2008, DOE provided a $5.9 billion loan to Ford Motor Company to upgrade and modernize thirteen factories across six states. (Source: Department of Energy, April 2013, http://1.usa.gov/10dWZIE [usa.gov] )

        Another success story: In early March, 2013, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla will pay off their $465 million federal loan in five years, rather than the 10 years specified in the loan. The company made its first payment of nearly $13 million in December 2012 and hopes to pay off the loan by 2017 – 5 years ahead of the 2022 deadline. (Source: Associated Press, February 2013, http://bit.ly/WpP4b1 [bit.ly] )

        Loan guarantees have a long history in the United States, and have been used to support many of America’s critical industries, including housing, transportation and agriculture. (Source: DBL Investors, September 2011, http://bit.ly/uV14lf [bit.ly] )

        The Loan Guarantee Program is not part of the Obama stimulus. The LGP was created in 2005 with bipartisan support under the George W. Bush administration and designed to provide government support for “innovative technologies.” (Source: CNNMoney, June 2012, http://cnnmon.ie/LBryTy [cnnmon.ie] )

        The Loan Guarantee program has received bipartisan support in Congress. In 2010, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) wrote Energy Secretary Steven Chu to support an Energy Department loan for Aptera Motors Inc., a Carlsbad, California, electric-car maker, according to a letter received by the department Jan. 14, 2010. Aptera went out of business in 2011 due to lack of financing. (Source: Bloomberg, September 2011, http://bloom.bg/rehAzh [bloom.bg] )

        According to Richard Stuebi, managing director at clean tech venture capital firm Early Stage Partners, a 30% success rate is required for a “successful VC investment strategy” in the renewable energy sector. The DOE Loan Guarantee Program greatly exceeds this. (Source: Clean Technica, October 2011, http://bit.ly/oFRkJN [bit.ly] )

        The attacks on clean energy companies are generally blown out of proportion. A Bloomberg Government analysis concluded that the “focus on Solyndra is not proportional to its impact.” (Source: Bloomberg Government, December 2011, http://bit.ly/rCXgZP [bit.ly] )

Re:only winners are (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 months ago | (#47286413)

LOL. It's remarkable how minimal expectations are for government work and "investment". A few years in and there was already a 3% default rate on the loans.

And they're comparing this to a "successful VC strategy"? VC don't guarantee a half billion in loans to businesses that will clearly go bankrupt. They start small.

Nor do VC guarantee loans for crap, over-priced projects. For example, several of these projects are run by career public works businesses like Abengoa SA. They specialize in turning public funds into green elephants. I notice also that the price on these projects tends to hang around $4-8 per watt of generating power. That's not good enough to be competitive.

My view is that in twenty years not a single one of these projects will be relevant to the renewable energy technologies of that future. They'll be a historical footnote about the US blowing a bunch of money on projects that didn't go anywhere and completely ignored by the people who think this approach works.

Re:only winners are (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 3 months ago | (#47286307)

I forgot to add: in light of all these actual facts...would you care to retract your ignorant bullshit statement sir?

Re:only winners are (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#47286127)

It could even be argued that the competition in China is entirely due to years of political pressure in the USA to not develop the results of US research and have a viable US photovoltaic industry based in Texas or Silicon Valley where items were developed almost to the point of the current Chinese products. By actively opposing a domestic solar industry that left the Chinese plenty of room to take over the market.

Re:only winners are (0)

dywolf (2673597) | about 3 months ago | (#47286359)

Solyndra is a bullshit distraction from reality for conservatives appealing to their base and ignoring facts.

Fact: Typical, average, VC firm turns a profit with a 30% success rate, depending of course on individual circumstances.
Fact: The DOE loan program is rocking a 97% success rate to date.

Yes Solyndra failed. Epically.
But the program as a whole is succeeding. Epically.

Therefore, repetition of Solyndra, just like Benghazi, just like the IRS, just like most everything else, is nothing more than handy diagnostic tool to determine how intelligent and well informed someone is.

American People will be the losers ! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285395)

The American people lose as more expensive less reliable power is substituted for base load coal power.

Obama said the price of electricity will necessarily sky rocket...yup for once he told the truth.

And for what? Some green energy pipe dream. If their plan works as they intend, according to EPA's own models (MAGICC) we would avert 0.02 degrees of warming !
Industry, especially high tech industry like chip fabs cannot have power interruptions, even a few seconds shuts the line down, scraping wafers and days at best. This past cold winter here in Illinois, the grid was taxed to the maximum. If we remove solid base load power there will be brown or blackouts when it is minus 10 degrees .

The earth atmosphere has not warmed for 12-17 years depending on which temperature series you look at. This shows at a time of the most CO2 emitted (25% of historical amounts) temperature has not gone up, so the computer models are wrong.

It is not about air pollution, which is declining in the US, it is about destroying the energy and manufacturing infrastructure in the US.

Re:American People will be the losers ! (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 months ago | (#47285919)

The earth atmosphere has not warmed for 12-17 years depending on which temperature series you look at.

That only works if you ignore the oceans where over 90% of the heat goes.

Re:American People will be the losers ! (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 3 months ago | (#47286245)

Anonymous Luddite would be a more accurate handle.

Last time I voted... (2)

towermac (752159) | about 2 months ago | (#47285423)

EPA wasn't on the ballot.

If they were though, I might not have voted for them, because they are such hypocrites. Get caught by them with so much as a dirty old eagle feather found in a ditch, and see what happens to you. Yet windmills in CA are up to 3000 Golden Eagles killed, and like 1 point something million birds total. Free pass. Doesn't matter if I love windmills or not; the birds are worth protecting with felonies and giant fines for regular citizens, or they are not. I'm a big fan of equality under the law.

My power bill is high as fuck now. So are other peoples'. I can't think of a reason why the EPA would care about that though.

Where is my Congress?

Re:Last time I voted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285533)

Are you willing to fight the Texas Militia... /s

Re:Last time I voted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285597)

Perhaps you should not derive your rage from poorly written article summaries or blog postings that either misunderstand or misrepresent the proposed regulations, just like you should not derive your rage from what someone on talk radio tell you to believe regrading politics.

Re:Last time I voted... (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 months ago | (#47285965)

Some people aren't intelligent enough to understand that things are complicated and there are no simple answers, no one thing to blame for our problems. Those people tend to be teabaggers.

Re:Last time I voted... (2)

dywolf (2673597) | about 3 months ago | (#47286445)

The EPA isnt responsible for the windmills.
They also arent the ones to blame for your eagles, niether the enforcement of having a feather, nor for the ones hit by the windmills.

You didnt vote for the military either. But you enjoy the benefit of their presence.
You didnt vote for the IRS either. But you enjoy the benefit of their presence (like it not, someone has to collect the revenues).
You didnt vote for the Dept of Treasury. But you enjoy the benefit of their presence.
You didnt vote for the FBI. But you enjoy the benefit of their and other law enforcement's presence.
You didnt vote for the FCC. But you enjoy the benefit of their presence every time you sit down to the watch the game at night.
You didnt vote for the FDA. But you enjoy the benefit of their presence, everytime you eat a steak or take a drug without dying.

I could go on. There's a lot of independent agencies with different tasks.

Point is this: The EPA is an independent agency with essentially one mission: Enforcement of the Clean Air and Clean Water acts.
That means dealing with pollution. That means regulating the creators of pollution.

When it comes to our electric grid coal generates ~40% of our juice. At the same time, it's our single biggest source of air pollution, coming to nearly 65%. It also generates a lot more than just air pollution. There's the mercury and other toxic chemicals released. There's the waste slag, and dirtied water. the coal ash waste.

There's all the infrastructure to support coal burning:
-mining: Miners work in a .... less than ideal ... environment shall we say. Their health problems really dont need repeating; they're legendary. That costs the economy (and taxpayers) money.
-transporting: takes fuel to get it around.
-washing: remember the little accident they had in WVa, minor spill...contaminated 300,000 people drinking water? Bunch of folks got sick? Kind of a big deal.
There's more but you get the idea.

So again: The EPA is charge of dealing with the environment, and that means regulating the creators of pollution.
They do this because most people rather dislike the idea of losing cities to rising seas. They dislike the idea of the planet getting warmer, shifting weather patterns, killing crops, reducing food supply, making places uninhabitable, increasing population pressures, decreasing water availabilty, sparking conflicts.

In short: the idea of potentially losing the human race, of pushing so far we can't recover, is kind of a bad idea.
There is no argument you can make that absolves you of that. That makes it ok.

No it's not going to be easy. After you break a window, is it easy to put it back together? Is it free? Is it without consequences? But does that difficulty mean you should do nothing?

The only thing in your favor is this: you post quite clearly communicates that you have little idea of what the EPA even does, how our government and agencies work, what the problems facing us are.

In short: you are ignorant and need to just. shut. up.

Water Reactors are Teh Suck (5, Informative)

Scottingham (2036128) | about 2 months ago | (#47285451)

Of course nuclear power doesn't seem viable if you look at it's current state! All the reactors we have now were designed in the '50s. They use water as a moderator (ie thermal neutrons) and coolant, requiring complex assemblies of fuel rods and control rods. Thermal neutrons also cause way more incidental nuclear waste (irradiated steel cores, wires, etc). They use
It doesn't have to be that way! The most recent design for a fast reactor seems to be the most legitimate and feasible new design to date. It's called the dual fluid reactor. http://dual-fluid-reactor.org/ [dual-fluid-reactor.org]

It separates the fuel loop from the coolant loop. This has numerous advantages. You can alter the rate of either independently to best suit the current need. The coolant used isn't liquid sodium. Which, aside from not playing nice with air and water has a low boiling point and high neutron cross section. This reactor uses liquid lead as its coolant. Its so stable and resistant to radiation that the coolant loop can be piped into the non-containment area for power generation. In the papers I've read they mention coupling it to an MHR generator then a super-critical water loop en route to turbines.

It is engineered to run at 1000C, which at that temperature, makes it possible to do pyro-chemistry with electrodes to filter out the daught products in line with the fuel loop. The separated daughter products are then sent to a passive cooling chamber (the super short lived ones are hooked up to the coolant loop where it contributes to energy production) where they remain hella hot for a few hundred years. Then they become inert. There are supposedly lots of valuble metals after about 90 years that make the waste itself a hot commodity.

The reactor is designed to be a 2 meter cube, for simple production there are no bowed parts, only 90 angles with straight pipes. A reactor this size can put out 1500MW thermal.

Couple this with the recent advancement of laser-based particle accelerators and you wouldn't even have to start with enriched fuel! The power required to drive the laser would be
As Elon Musk would say (probably): Seriously guys, it's the 21st century, act like it!

Re:Water Reactors are Teh Suck (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 months ago | (#47285957)

" All the reactors we have now were designed in the '50s. "

And why's that? Because the ecology-fanatics brought a complete halt to civil nuclear development.

And who is telling us we need to get rid of coal now?

Re:Water Reactors are Teh Suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47286093)

" All the reactors we have now were designed in the '50s. "

And why's that? Because the ecology-fanatics brought a complete halt to civil nuclear development.

And who is telling us we need to get rid of coal now?

What is wrong with that? Old nuclear plants were relatively bad for the environment, new nuclear is not. People that are conscientious of that have changed their opinion based on improving technology in one area outstripping the safety of another. Sounds like a completely rational position to me.

Re:Water Reactors are Teh Suck (1)

meglon (1001833) | about 3 months ago | (#47286345)

" All the reactors we have now were designed in the '50s. "

And why's that? Because the ecology-fanatics brought a complete halt to civil nuclear development.

Those eco-fanatics" actually haven't: http://www.world-nuclear.org/i... [world-nuclear.org]

The real answer: Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.

...but i really wanted to answer the last question you asked:

And who is telling us we need to get rid of coal now?

That one is incredibly easy: the people that want to save this species form fucking over the environment so much that everyone dies, although why they'd want to save your stupid fucking ass is beyond me.

Re:Water Reactors are Teh Suck (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 3 months ago | (#47286057)

They use water as a moderator (ie thermal neutrons) and coolant

Surely a design like that would (or could, anyway) handle a loss of coolant fine, as without the moderator the reaction would slow down.

Re:Water Reactors are Teh Suck (1)

Scottingham (2036128) | about 3 months ago | (#47286381)

The DFR has a negative void coefficient...More heat == less reactivity, you actually have to actively pump the coolant loop to get it up to 1.5GW, otherwise it's in a very inefficent passive mode. No heat and the lead solidifies around the fuel loop.

Re:Water Reactors are Teh Suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47286363)

Or a heavy water reactor. Like Canada's standard reactor design

Solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, in that order (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285493)

Clearly, the order of investment/research should be

Solar - we need to up the efficiency, pick a proven 'winning' system (parabolic trough would be my choice) and GO with deployment, Germany has shown that this can be done in even sub-par areas, and even with transmissions losses, the sun produces magnitudes more energy than we could possibly ever use.

Wind - offshore where appropriate, inshore where available, enhancing the solar production into both day and night.

Hydro - again, renewable, but limited to certain areas and not without its environmental challenges

Nuclear - fission and cleanup of existing fuels using thorium fuel cycle is likely the best approach, fusion research as the long term solution for sustainable renewable power (and yes, with 4th/5th generation reactors, specifically Liquid fluoride thorium reactors, nuclear fission can be safe, and better, it can be the solution to removing/making safe/reusing all that stored nuclear fuel at existing reactors)

Storage (near and long term) - this can be accomplished with better batteries, or better, thermal storage. You can even use kinetic flywheels or chemical storage in the form of fuel (use the excess energy to manufacture hydrogen from sea water anyone? or desalinate sea water to provide fresh drinking water? the uses for excess energy are endless)

Coal - Slowly phase out coal, starting with regulation to reduce/remove/offset the incredible amount of pollution/death it causes
Oil/Natural Gas - We should definitely NOT be using this for fuel, it is much MORE valuable as a resource for making things, think plastics and fertilizer. Granted, we don't have the infrastructure to stop using this stuff for energy, but its coming, so slowly phase it out of our energy systems in preference for the above 4.

Stop thinking small. Even 1% of the existing military budget would be a huge boost for the energy research sector. I'd rather have a failed solyndra, than 10 years of war in Iraq.

WTF? "carbon pollution standards" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285509)

So carbon is a 'polluter' now? So why are they using the phrase 'climate change' instead of 'catastrophic man-made global warming', which is what they ALWAYS mean when they say 'climate change'?

www.climatedepot.com

And to hell with all the fucking idiots who actually believe in 'catastrophic man-made global warming' "because the TV said so...over and over and over again."

Fucking idiots.

Big Oil wins (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 months ago | (#47285653)

Big oil and your standard energy providers win if our electricity bills are going up. They're going up by 50% now around where I live. They figure,"Hey one way to compete with the electric car is to make it as expensive to fill up your electric car as buying gasoline." and it will work for the short run.

Re:Big Oil wins (2)

stomv (80392) | about 2 months ago | (#47285899)

If your bills are going up 50%, its because your electric company is spending lots of money on existing coal plants so they emit less SO2, NOx, PM, and Hg. Of course, they'll emit about the same amount of CO2. Utilities that haven't insisted on coal coal coal haven't seen substantial increases in rates.

This is a generality -- individual utilities may have rate increases for other reasons, but very, very few utilities have had rates go up by 50% within the past 3 years. In fact, many utilities have had rate decreases.

And monopolies suck money out of people (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#47286221)

its because your electric company is spending lots of money on existing coal plants

There's more. The current trick in some parts of the world is spend a lot of money on "poles and wires" (they used this dumbed down term for infrastructure in general even when major parts of the cost are substations) with no oversight whether it is needed or not and charge that on to the consumer. For example in Australia there has been a lot built rapidly despite declining consumption which has led to a major gap between some of the lowest generating costs in the world and close to the highest bill per kW/h for consumers in the world.

is spending lots of money on existing coal plants so they emit less SO2, NOx, PM, and Hg.

Hang on - wasn't most of that done in the 80s and 90s? I thought I saw the tail end of precipitators, bag filters etc going in when I went into the electricity generating industry in 1994, and only holdouts like China did without.

Politicians and Well-Connected Donors Win (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 months ago | (#47285711)

That's who wins. Every time. No matter what regulators do, that's who wins.

Re:Politicians and Well-Connected Donors Win (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285835)

And taxpayers, ratepayers, income earners, working folk all lose.

Sad but true (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285731)

If even a fraction of the money spent subsidizing the nuclear and fossil fuel industries had been spent developing renewables and storage technology imagine where we would be now

Nuclear power loses? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285747)

The rule change doesn't help (or hurt) nuclear power and so therefore nuclear power loses? That's an interesting line of reasoning. I suppose FIFA, dirigibles, and panda bears are also losers in this rule change too, then.

Re:Nuclear power loses? (1)

stomv (80392) | about 2 months ago | (#47285927)

Indeed. Existing nuclear wins because the metric EPA is using for compliance includes a portion of MWh generated by existing nuclear in the denominator (something like 5%). Therefore, keeping existing nuclear online will help states comply with 111(d). Existing nuclear is a winner under 111(d) -- including the nuclear units under construction in GA, SC, and TN.

New nuclear? New nuclear will never win. It's simply can't hold a candle to PV and wind in an unsubsidized market. New wind is cheap enough now, and new PV trending that way that it's not worth the tremendous risk associated with a long, large, non-scalable, expensive construction project.

As long as coal is still allowed to be used... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47285797)

that proves the Republicans rule over us 100% and control every part of our lives. It should be banned, the people that mine it should be put in prison, and its use should be punishable by time in prison. That is the only reasonable way to treat coal. It is the biggest killer in the history of mankind. The Republicans are responsible for the 200+ million people it killed last year.

Re:As long as coal is still allowed to be used... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47286335)

You know that most of the coal mining states are traditionally Democrats, right?

Also you know that there are other purposes for coal other than fuel right? Perhaps you've heard of this stuff called metallurgical coal?

But whatever, you are sucking so hard on the exhaust of John Kerry's anus to realize that both parties are fucking us over and you are falling for their game. Good job, asshat.

Not true - coal not "losing" (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 3 months ago | (#47285973)

I see you're new to how this works.

Coal is heavily subsidized, both in extraction and in land lease conditions.

In addition costs of pollution are rarely if ever borne by the miners or shippers.

The only thing that is being changed is the conditions under which Power Plants burn coal.

Water scrubbing has been used since (forever) to remove pollutants, including acidic CO2 and SO2 from coal but is rarely used for existing plants, and never for coal exported overseas. I used to clean the scrubbers from Tek Cominco stacks that basically operate the same way, in my first adult job.

After these minor adjustments, coal will continue to be heavily subsidized at all other levels of production and distribution, just not as much at usage.

Which will still make it artificially cheaper than wind, but not artificially cheaper than already cheap solar. Passive solar today is cheaper for heating/cooling in the US, and is near coal costs in active solar for certain applications.

Who wins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47286145)

Everyone who likes to breathe normally and walk to work instead of swim, that's who wins.

Who wins? (1)

amightywind (691887) | about 3 months ago | (#47286429)

Who wins? Obama's jerkoff cronies participating in the Green Energy con, that's who. I, of course am also benefiting because I am invested in oil and gas, although that gives me no pleasure in the face of such state sponsored economic terror.
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