Cheap natural gas is not just hurting coal. It’s doing the same to nuclear.
As the nation strives for cleaner air and less carbon emissions, nuclear – the most promising carbon-free power source – faces stiff competition from natural gas, which is cheap, abundant, and a lot easier to get permitted and built than a conventional reactor.
With coal’s troubles piling up, so too are stories about the industry’s “bleak” future in the United States – a casualty of cheap natural gas, thinning coal seams, and the pursuit of lower-carbon alternatives. Just as conspicuous: utilities, which have long allied themselves with the coal developers, are retiring their older coal units in droves.
An electric car in every driveway, a battery in every garage.
Tesla’s Elon Musk is driving the electric car off the lot and onto the premises of America’s electric utilities, proposing to build and sell energy storage batteries on both a residential and grid-wide scale – ideas that the chief executive will fully flesh out at the Edison Electric Institute’s annual meeting in New Orleans this June.
Today’s technologies are causing utilities to rethink their business models.
Ken Silverstein, Editor-in-Chief
Fifteen years into the 21st Century, the utility industry is being asked to think forward, beyond 2050. To some, that's a bit of a stretch for a mostly regulated enterprise that has been producing power and sending the electrons reliably for the last 150 years or so. To many others, though, it's past time for an evolution.
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