Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Cost of Energy Generation per Kilowatt Hour

Generation cost per kilowatt hour:
Natural gas: 3.5-4.5 cents
Coal: 4-5 cents
Hydro: 4 cents
Nuclear: 8 cents
Wind: 7-9 cents*
Solar: 15-50 cents

Question: Why as a country are we investing billions of dollars in the most expensive option (solar) and ignoring the cheapest (natural gas), especially when the U.S. is the "Saudi Arabia of natural gas"? _MJPerry
* Of course wind is not available on demand, and the capacity factor is only between 20% and 30% at best. Most wind occurs at other than peak demand times, making wind less than worthless. In other words, the 7-9 cents per kwh quoted for wind above is horse shit in terms of relevance.

Facts on the cost of generating electricity (per kilowatt hour):

video via CarpeDiem
Of course nuclear would be much less expensive to build and operate without government obstruction in new development, licensing, and permitting.
Carpe Diem
As we see that US import requirements for oil are declining, we should note that US natural gas imports have crashed much faster. If the US government would wake up and remove the impediments to oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and open up GTL, CTL, KTL, and other unconventional sources of liquid fuels, the oil import curve would drop even more quickly than it is already.

It is rather obvious that any improvements that occur in the energy picture, will occur in spite of Obama's policies, rather than because of them.



Blogger Whirlwind22 said...

Do you feel that solar will eventually become competitive price wise per kilowatt hour with natural gas etc?

11:44 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

It depends upon what the government does to make natural gas prohibitively expensive. The government can make anything competitive by making everything else far more expensive than it should be.

Solar PV could be 100% efficient, and be given away to customers for free, and it would still not be suitable for utility-scale power generation. Unless -- you put the solar panels in orbit to catch the sunlight virtually all the time.

But putting heavy things in orbit is very expensive in itself.

There is far too much wishful thinking going on among the general public with regard to big wind and big solar. A lot of money has been wasted already, and much more will be wasted over the next several years.

8:51 PM  

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