Skip to main content

Rising Natural Gas Prices Forsage Expensive Winter

Today's Washington Post is taking a closer look today at an issue we're very familiar with: The rising cost of natural gas and its effect on the American economy:
U.S. consumers could face bills averaging 48 percent higher this season than last year, according to predictions by the economic research firm Global Insight Inc. The escalating costs could cause Americans to cut back on dinners out, trips to the mall and spending, crimping U.S. economic growth. Businesses, squeezed by high energy costs, could limit expansion plans. The high prices also are pumping up inflation.

Manufacturers that use huge amounts of natural gas are scouring the world for cheaper prices and considering moving operations to ease their costs. A renewed exodus -- many companies have already shifted overseas -- could further knock back growth in the United States and boost unemployment.

Andrew N. Liveris, chief executive of Dow Chemical Co., told a hearing yesterday before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that the country is in a "natural gas crisis." The Midland, Mich., company, which uses large amounts of the fuel to produce chemicals, must consider locating new plants in other parts of the world, such as China and the Middle East, because of U.S. energy costs, he said.

"How can I recommend investing here?" Liveris said.
Patrice Hill also covers the issue in today's Washington Times. None of this is exactly news, as Pat Cleary over at the NAM Blog sent out the warning about a month ago.

So how does nuclear energy fit into the equation? Well, by displacing natural gas-fired electrical generating capacity, that's how. And there's an historical precendent for it, as nuclear energy was substituted for much of America's oil-fired electrical generating capacity back in the 1970s.

Technorati tags: , , , , , , , ,

Comments

>>So how does nuclear energy fit into the equation? Well, by displacing natural gas-fired electrical generating capacity, that's how. And there's an historical precendent for it, as nuclear energy was substituted for much of America's oil-fired electrical generating capacity back in the 1970s.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.
We have to go after coal capacity. Using nuclear to prop up the current fad leaves the half-built nuclear plants being converted to coal when the fad passes. The same happens for using it for new expansion--as soon as expansion slows or stops you've got a $15 billion bill and nowhere to sell the electricity.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…