Another Fusion Failure?

More news from the fusion “fornever” front. Physics Today reports that the Department of Energy’s highly-touted inertial confinement laser fusion project – known as the National Ignition Facility or NIF – looks like a bust. If so, it would join all the other big-government failures over decades to establish fusion as a source of electric […]

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Pie in the Energy Sky

My late father was a mining engineer. He had lots of interactions with economists over his long career in government, the private sector, and academia. His take: “An economist is someone who goes from an unwarranted assumption to a foregone conclusion.” I was reminded of his view by a report in Electricity Daily of a […]

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An Engineering Critique of Climate Policy

Much of what has been the policy prescription for global warming from greens and the left – a 100% renewable energy system based on cheap solar and wind generation, low-cost storage, and policies for managing consumer demand — which might be characterized as “decarbonization” – is likely to fail and make matters worse. That’s the […]

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FERC Protests Make No Sense

Self-indulgent. Pointless. Arrogant. Undemocratic. Zealotry. Those are just a few epithets I would direct at the loony leftist “fracktivists” who have targeted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for protests over the commission’s exercise of its duties under law with regard to siting natural gas infrastructure. The whacktivists, who have revived their protests from last fall […]

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What a Wonderful Nuke Might That Be?

Don’t like much about LWRs, Molten salt doesn’t thrill me at all. Sodium makes me want to run, But helium looks cool. I’ve seen what may be the future of civilian nuclear power, thanks to Dr. Christina Back at General Atomics in San Diego. I hope it works. It isn’t going to be easy. GA […]

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FERC, Ohio, and Andre Porter

Could this be a connect-the-dots situation? On April 27, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Andre Porter, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, is stepping down, taking a job with an unnamed regional electric transmission organization. Electricity Daily speculated that the job might be with the PJM Interconnection. On April 27, the Federal […]

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Chernobyl and Nuclear Hubris

I was at my desk in the Energy Daily newsroom on April 26, 1986 when someone handed me a bulletin ripped from one of the wire service machines in the National Press Club building in Washington, where our office was located. The bulletin said a nuclear power plant had exploded in the Ukraine in the […]

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Has Ivanpah Slammed the Door on Concentrated Solar?

Concentrated solar energy – power towers using vast fields of mirrors to focus heat from the sun on a water-filled target, making steam, generating electric power and also liquefying salts to provide thermal energy storage – was a hot (excuse the pun) technology a few years ago. Today, it may be a dead end, as […]

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Ohio Adopts ‘No-Fault Capitalism’ for AEP, First Energy

Years ago, a friend said he viewed electric utilities as an example of “no-fault capitalism,” because state regulators always bail the companies out when they make bad business decisions. That was before the mid-1990s restructuring that brought competition to many markets that were previously monopolies. Among them was Ohio’s utility system, an entrenched monopoly environment […]

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Gallup: Warming Concerns Up as Nuke Support Moves Down

For years, nuclear power advocates have argued that man-made global warming is an existential threat to the planet and nuclear power is the only way to reverse the greenhouse effect. Those advocates have included the usual suspects: the Nuclear Energy Institute (the industry’s Washington lobbying group); nuclear electric utilities; members of Congress from states heavily […]

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