The Non-Smoking Section
Northeastern states are putting restrictions on power plant emissions. This one hits close to home for me. I work in the electric generating industry and thus, have been expecting this to come for some time now.
The northeast states have primarily coal-fired power plants. Emissions of concern are oxides of sulfur, oxides of nitrogen, and carbon monoxide. Placing restrictions on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is going to cause a lot of headaches in the power production industry.
The problem? There is no easy way to remove CO2 from exhaust gas. This means there will be no more fossil fuel power plants built. I'm guessing they won't want to switch to nuclear power since people seem to be afraid of having reactors in their backyard. The hydroelectric sites are pretty well tapped out. Other alternatives such as solar and wind just won't cut it. So capacity is going to drop and what about cost?
The Times said the emission controls could result in higher energy prices, possibly offset by subsidies and support for the development of new technology that would be paid for with the proceeds from the sale of emission allowances.The northeast is looking at the possibility of a power crisis that will make California look like a burnt out light bulb. Emissions credits will only go so far and then *poof* the lights will go out.
What does that leave us? There is much progress in the field of fusion for power production, but it is still years away from being practical. The option that is here and practical is nuclear power. Reactors are safer today than ever before. The small amount of waste will (hopefully) soon be stored away in a remote site here in Nevada. They are cost efficient, safe, and clean. Congress needs to look into ways of speeding up the applications process with the NRC before New England goes black.