Monday, November 15, 2010

Holes at the Elbow

Pimlico Enthusiastic nuclear energy boosters are a good thing, but nobody’s more enthusiastic than when they have something to sell:

Nuclear is soaring and the sector has the wind at its back.  Energy costs are on the rise, nuclear power demand is going to grow, utility stocks are close to recent highs and the economy is no longer expected to slip back into the red.  There are several drivers, and several ETFs and major companies that are set to benefit.

ETFs are exchange-traded funds, which is your tip-off that this comes from a stock related site, in this case Investor Place.

Apparently, wild hyperbole is nothing new to stock touts, but it reminds me of when my father took me to Pimlico and a fellow outside the track was pitching a tip sheet containing “ten sure winners.” His jacket had holes at the elbows, but he had ten sure winners.

None of which is to say you shouldn’t invest in energy-related stocks, just that your own research will trump any hyped promises.

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Presumably, any of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates can pursue nuclear energy on its own. Most attention up to now has focused on Abu Dhabi, but now Dubai has weighed in:

Dubai will meet 20 per cent of energy needs from nuclear energy and another 20 per cent from clean coal, Saeed Al Tayer, Vice-Chairman of the Supreme Energy Council, said on Wednesday at the launch of Dubai Global Energy Forum 2011.

Dubai has about 2.2 million people within its borders, so I wondered if plans had progressed far enough to determine what kind of plant the country had in mind. But nothing – too soon to tell. Currently, Dubai generates most of its electricity from imported natural gas, so energy security may be playing a part here, too.

Several stories, especially from gulf news sources, made very sure of their adjectives:

Al Tayer said clean coal and peaceful nuclear technology were the main options the Dubai government was considering, in an attempt to diversify energy resources.

And:

[Dubai’s Supreme Council of Energy] is also concerned with the generation and distribution of electricity for public consumption, as well as production of electricity from renewable sources, and generation of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, notably for electricity and desalination plants.

Non-peaceful uses wouldn’t power a light bulb, so “peaceful” here seems code for “not Iran.” Iran’s poor standing could easily discourage other gulf nations from pursuing anything that might be viewed as controversial, but Dubai and fellow UAE emirate Abu Dhabi have not shied away.

These countries need the electricity and they’re in a position to grow their generation while decreasing their carbon footprints – and they aim to do that, at least partially, with nuclear energy.

At Pimlico. It was named after a British pub (Olde Ben Pimlico’s Tavern) when it opened in 1870 in Baltimore. The colt Preakness won the first race held there, hence the modern Preakness Stakes. The 2007 Preakness attracted over 120,000 spectators, the largest crowd for a sporting event in Baltimore history.

2 comments:

Philip said...

My goodness, coal, clean or not, makes absolutely NO sense in UAE countries.

The only place Coal makes any sense at all is where it can be easily hauled in large volumes by train. Namely most of the USA and much of Europe.


I personally would love to see Coal disappear because it is environmentally catastrophic, even it its Orwellian "clean" mode. (Show me the "clean" Mountaintop removal mining operations and the "clean" slurry ponds that go with that)

SteveK9 said...

Philip has a good point. Also, if you are a (very) small country, basically looking to buy something off the shelf, why would you choose a technology that has been demonstrated nowhere, versus a technology with hundreds of working examples?