Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Chicago Boy Gets It Right on Electricity

By Carl from Chicago:

There is a looming electricity crisis that is about to overtake the United States. While our demand for electricity continues to increase due to construction, computers (data centers take up a significant portion of electricity demand), and potentially even electric cars, essentially no new “base load” supply of electrical generation is being added to the market. We do get the occasional wind farm or solar or geothermal source of energy, and a bit of conservation is on the rise, but these tiny dents in supply and demand, respectively, don’t even begin to cover growth much less the fact that many electricity plants are aging and will face retirement in the future.


I don’t know how people can go on consuming electricity and products that require electricity and just pretend that adding new generation isn’t an option; while conservation is useful and perhaps even some localized elements like solar can help they aren’t sufficient for a serious, first world economy unless rotating blackouts a la Nigeria are viewed as OK. Of the options, nuclear emits the least greenhouse gases and new, modern coal plants are quite efficient and emit far less noxious compounds than their predecessors. While these 2 options clearly are not without flaws, they have to be part of the solution else reliability will just crater over time and inefficient local solutions will have to jump to the front. ...

1 comment:

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