An analysis of the timing, location, and mix of new capacity additions that may be needed in the future.
It is universally accepted that there is excess generating capacity in most, if not all, regions in the country. Looking forward, several obvious, and interesting, questions arise: (1) When will new capacity be needed? (2) Where will it be needed? and (3) What types of plants will be needed? As any good economist would say, it all depends.
Greater reliance on gas-fired power implies serious economic, technological, and national security risks.
Over the past two decades, the United States has, by default, come to rely on an "In Gas We Trust" energy policy. Natural gas increasingly has been seen as the preferred fuel for all applications, nowhere more than in the electric generation sector. However, the greatly increased use of natural gas forecast for the electricity sector may not be economically or technically feasible, and it does not represent optimal or desired energy policy.
Strange bedfellows may provide a new supply option.
Justifiable concerns associated with high natural gas prices have led analysts to consider the implications for new capacity development over the next decade. Expectations regarding the continued dominance of natural gas-fired units have begun to change. For example, in its , the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects 112 GW of new coal-fired generating capacity to be constructed between 2003 and 2025-a 51 percent increase over EIA's 2003 forecast.
A number of factors point to expanded nuclear generation. But when?
The role that nuclear power will play in the U.S. electricity generation mix during the coming decades has been a subject of continuing speculation. Few analysts deny the remarkably improved prospects for the existing fleet of reactors: Efficiencies realized by industry consolidation, reactor uprates, and plant license renewals have, in a period of about five years, greatly increased the market value of nuclear plants and the competitive advantage of companies that own them.
Utilities that are short on capacity and operate in a stable regulatory environment may be able to extract value from interruptible rates.
Outdated "wisdom" wastes the nation's electricity infrastructure. Distributed CH&P is the answer.
The use of wasted heat-which now comprises two-thirds of the energy value of the fuels used in generat-ing electricity in this country-may be the most important benefit from using more distributed generation.
Chicken Little has cornered the market on gas price doom and gloom, but the data is inconsistent on whether high gas prices are here to stay.
A near-universal consensus of alarm appears to be emerging concerning North American gas supply adequacy. The steady march upward of spot gas prices and NYMEX futures over the past year confirms this coalescence of market sentiment. Way back in June 2002, you could still buy Rocky Mountain wellhead production for about $1.25/MMBtu, although Eastern U.S. markets had already exceeded $3.00/MMBtu.