Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Utilities: CMS Energy Cancels $2Bil. Coal Plant (NextEra cans Wind, Exelon Shelves Nukes) CME; NEE; EXE

Giving society cheap, abundant energy . . . 
would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.

Paul Ehrlich, “An Ecologist’s Perspective on Nuclear Power,”
May/June 1978 issue of Federation of American Scientists Public Issue Report

From Bloomberg:

Electricity Declines 50% in U.S. as Shale Brings Natural Gas Glut
A shale-driven glut of natural gas has cut electricity prices for the U.S. power industry by 50 percent and reduced investment in costlier sources of energy.

With abundant new supplies of gas making it the cheapest option for new power generation, the largest U.S. wind-energy producer, NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE), has shelved plans for new U.S. wind projects next year and Exelon Corp. (EXC) called off plans to expand two nuclear plants. Michigan utility CMS Energy Corp. (CMS) canceled a $2 billion coal plant after deciding it wasn’t financially viable in a time of “low natural-gas prices linked to expanded shale-gas supplies,” according to a company statement.

Mirroring the gas market, wholesale electricity prices have dropped more than 50 percent on average since 2008, and about 10 percent during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a Jan. 11 research report by Aneesh Prabhu, a New York-based credit analyst with Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC. Prices in the west hub of PJM Interconnection LLC, the largest wholesale market in the U.S., declined to about $39 per megawatt hour by December 2011 from $87 in the first quarter of 2008.

Power producers’ profits are deflated by cheap gas because electricity pricing historically has been linked to the gas market....MORE
It's not just Erlich who thinks like that, here's Amory Lovins:
 If you ask me, it’d be a little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy because of what we would do with it. We ought to be looking for energy sources that are adequate for our needs, but that won’t give us the excesses of concentrated energy with which we could do mischief to the earth or to each other.
Amory Lovins in The Mother Earth–Plowboy Interview, 
Nov/Dec 1977, p. 22