The New York Times:
The Washington Post:
Stymied in their plans to build coal-burning power plants, American utilities are turning to natural gas to meet expected growth in demand, risking a new upward spiral in the price of that fuel. With opposition to coal plants rising across the country the executives see plants fired by natural gas as the only kind that can be constructed quickly and can supply reliable power day and
The story behind the electricity price increases begins in the late 1990s, when Virginia, Maryland and the District loosened their controls on the power industry. As in many other states, the idea was to let customers choose among power suppliers, creating competition that would push prices down. Power companies say they have been hit with higher costs, which had to be passed on to customers. The prices of natural gas and coal have increased sharply. And because the region needed to import electricity from other areas, utilities had to pay the power-line equivalent of highway tolls.
We think the coal, nuclear and natural gas industries are going to need to consolidate, or at least form expanded new consortia to build multiproduct power plants. If $4 billion is going to be spent for a power plant, it should be a nuclear/coal hybrid that produces hydrogen for fuel cells, oxygen for oxycombustion in coal plants that converts CO2 to gasoline via the Fischer-Tropsch method. A scrubber would still be needed for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury (Selective Catalytic Reducer). The CO2 could be converted onsite or piped to other conversion facilities.