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2007 Business Review -- Energy

The landmark 2005 Energy Policy Act paid fresh dividends in 2007.

For the first time in a full generation there was a formal application to build a new nuclear power plant. Several different companies in several states are in the deep planning stages for the building of new reactors. We've come a long way since cardigan sweater Carter, haven't we?

There were mega-mergers and joint ventures in oil and natural gas. Chief among these combinations were three separate deals totaling over $20 billion involving Canada's vast oil resources. Separately it was announced that ConocoPhillips is planning to construct a natural gas pipeline from Alaska's North Slope to the lower-48.

There were huge investments in renewable energies. New technologies were unveiled in connection with solar power cells, next-generation wind turbines, geothermal plants and biofuels.

Ethanol production increased exponentially.

The auto industry began detailed planning for the mass production of hydrogen-powered vehicles.

For obvious reasons the media/Democrats in Congress are trying to modify or to chip away at most of these ongoing energy reforms. Just last Thursday, in fact, the House passed a tax hike/nanny state energy bill; fortunately, however, the Senate GOP blocked it.

In addition to the war against genocidal terrorism, along with perhaps 2-4 vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest stakes for next year's elections might very well apply to the future of U.S. energy policies.


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Comments (4)

From Instapundit:"... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

From Instapundit:

"FORMER "NO NUKES" PROTESTER changes her tune:


The only way to rescue our plug-hungry planet from catastrophic global warming is to embrace nuclear power, and fast.

That's the argument of Gwyneth Cravens, a novelist, journalist and former nuke protester. Her new book, Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy, is a passionate plea to understand, instead of fear, atomic power.


Just think how much better-off the planet would be if people had been smart enough to ignore the no-nukes crowd 30 years ago. "

I'm all for safe, clean, nu... (Below threshold)

I'm all for safe, clean, nuclear power, if we can get the Chicken-Little environmentalists to shut up long enough to have a reasonable discourse. Luckily, their heads must be ready to explode, having invested so much emotional capital into global warming, only to realize nukes are a logical solution for generating electricity.

However, my optimism on some of the other news is not so unqualified. For instance, ethanol production is way up because of heavy subsidies, not because the market OR the environment demands it. If this were not so, why would we be BANNING sugar cane ethanol from importation while PAYING people to produce corn ethanol? Ethanol is ethanol.

Similarly, while investment in new energy technologies will eventually lead to breakthroughs, much of the mentioned investments aren't being made by innovative risk-takers drawn by the likelihood of success, but rather by people with good accounting skills who recognize huge subsidies and credits when they see them. All too often, government subsidizing particular forms only diverts potential investment away from other ideas. Over time, this means the breakthrough takes longer and costs more than it would have if the government had remained neutral.

Ethanol production increase... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Ethanol production increases are bad news, unfortunately, as ethanol is a silly way to fuel anything. As an oxygenator in gasoline, the increasing demand ( as it replaces the problematic MTBE for that role ) has driven up food prices as it competes for corn feed stocks.

Ethanol is a net loss in en... (Below threshold)
iurockhead:

Ethanol is a net loss in energy consumed vs energy gained, it takes more energy to produce than it provides. And Hydrogen is a pipe dream that can't be piped, it causes steel pipeline to get brittle, and it is very, very leaky in all but the very high-tech materials, so the only viable solution is to produce it at the site it's consumed. It can be produced from methane, with CO2 as a by-product (so the point is....?), or from electolysis, which is exceptionally inefficient. On top of all that, hydrogen powered vehicles are stinkin' expensive. I'll just buy the carbon offsets, even at todays gas prices, it's a bargain. Or I won't buy 'em. No, I won't.




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