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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Hillary, Bernie, and Fracking

This week, as the Asia Vision LNG carrier was steaming toward Brazil carrying the first export of liquefied U.S. natural gas, the Democratic candidates for their party’s presidential nomination were promising to vastly scale back or eliminate the technology that made that gas export possible. At a debate in Michigan last Sunday, both Hillary Clinton […]

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Who’s Killing Coal? It Isn’t Obama

The U.S. coal industry is in a tail spin. That’s particularly true of eastern, underground coal, less so of low-cost Powder River Basin surfaced-mined coal in Wyoming and Montana. Companies are closing eastern mines, firing miners, filing for bankruptcy protection and reorganization. Large parts of the legendary Eastern coal industry are struggling, perhaps never to […]

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Scalia’s Death and Obama’s Clean Power Plan

The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia complicates the already complex judicial review of the Obama administration’s Clean Coal Plan. According to Washington-area attorney David Masselli, who practices before the court, the “extraordinary” stay the court granted by 5-4 to prevent the new Environmental Protection Agency rules from going into effect until the Supreme […]

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Tritium Politics in New York

When Entergy discovered small amounts of tritium in the water in three of 40 monitoring wells at its Indian Point nuclear plant north of New York City last week, it must have sent off pulsating political alarms in the New Orleans headquarters. The company is involved in a long-running battle with anti-nuclear and environmentalist activists, […]

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More Political Maneuvering Coming to FERC

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, historically a political backwater that attracts little attention other than from energy geeks, has moved into the Washington limelight in recent years. FERC has seen partisan battles over appointments to the obscure commission and wrangling – sometime internecine – over the chairmanship. FERC could draw inside-the-beltway attention again this year […]

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Nevada’s Solar Move Makes Economic Sense

The argument over the economics of distributed solar versus utility solar got played out in the real world in Nevada earlier this year. Utilities won decisively. While there is much gnashing of teeth and moaning of doom from the rooftop troops, the outcome is positive for most Nevada electricity consumers — those who don’t have […]

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