Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A nuclear renaissance? President Obama's proposed $28.4 billion budget request for the Department of Energy includes a lot of nuclear power, of both utility and military natures. On the power side, as part of an emphasis on a clean energy economy, the budget includes expanded loan guarantees and incentives for up to 10 new nuclear reactors. As Secretary Chu put it, "This budget supports new approaches to energy research and invests in the next generation of scientists and engineers, and it will spark new clean energy projects nationwide, including restarting the American nuclear power industry." Is whether nuclear power is "clean" still considered controversial? On the military side, the budget proposal speaks of "deterrents", with over $1 billion for a combination of nuclear nonproliferation and weapons development.

As the nation's largest energy consumer, the federal government is trying to cut its energy costs too. President Obama has called for federal agencies to trim greenhouse gas emissions by 28% by 2020 - a reduction in federal energy use of 646 trillion BTUs, and up to $11 billion in costs - although some costs will be required to achieve this savings.

Veolia has completed its divestiture of waste-to-energy plants in the USA, selling the Miami-Dade contract to Covanta.

In Maine, the PUC has approved the installation of smart meters by CMP, the state's largest utility. These meters can be read remotely, which is estimated to save ratepayers $25 million over 20 years -- in addition to enabling time-of-use and other smart grid solutions.

Also in Maine: Maine Liquid Methane Fuels LLC won approval from the Brewer Planning Board last night for its plan to develop Maine's first liquid methane fuels energy plant. The proposed $50 million facility will connect to the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, liquefy natural gas, and load it into trucks for distribution. The idea is that where demand density for gas isn't high enough to support pipe distribution of gas, trucks can be an efficient way to get relatively inexpensive gas to consumers. We will see in 2011, when the Brewer plant is slated to begin operations.

No comments:

Post a Comment