Tag Archives: Steven Chu

Southern Company downgraded to sell over Kemper coal and Vogtle nuclear

Time to break out of the utility death spiral by breaking away from cost overruns at Kemper “clean” Coal and the Plant Vogtle nuclear boondoggle and getting on with real renewable solar and wind power.

UBS wrote 5 May 2014, Southern Company: Kemper Tantrums; Reducing to Sell,

Reducing to Sell on continued delays for the Kemper IGCC project

With further delays and increased costs for the Kemper IGCC project resulting in yet another $380M of writedowns (further slippage costing $25M/month) and now the likely loss of $120M-$150M of bonus depreciation as well, we view the current premium P/E multiple as untenable. While the Vogtle nuclear project appears to be on track, the presence of two major risky projects, Continue reading

Utility-owned rooftop solar: Tom Fanning and Steven Chu agree

Tom Fanning is getting support for his idea of utility-owned rooftop solar. Can we see that tiger team report, Tom? And FPL, how about you get on with this, instead of trying to gouge an unneeded yard-wide methane pipeline through here? Sun, wind, and water can power each U.S. state, so how about FPL in the Sunshine State and Southern Company in the southeast get out in front and lead?

Jeff McMahon wrote for Forbes yesterday, Steven Chu Solves Utility Companies’ Death Spiral,

Utility companies have been looking for new regulations and higher connection charges to save them from a “death spiral” spurred by a surge in rooftop solar installations. Instead, says former Energy Secretary Steven Chu, they should get into the rooftop solar business.

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Solar is coming —Michael Noll

Received yesterday on Solar tipping point within a few years. -jsq
In line with comments made by Steven Chu:

Solar cheaper than fossil fuels in a decade, says Steven Chu, by Christopher Mims, 3 November 2011.

Solar power will be cheaper than fossil fuels at some point between the end of this decade and 2026*, said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu

as well as a recent Op-Ed piece by Paul Krugman:

Here Comes Solar by Paul Krugman, 6 November 2011.

…progress in solar panels has been so dramatic and sustained that, as a blog post at Scientific American put it, “there’s now frequent talk of a ‘Moore’s law’ in solar energy,” with prices adjusted for inflation falling around 7 percent a year.

This has already led to rapid growth in solar installations, but even more change may be just around the corner. If the downward trend continues — and if anything it seems to be accelerating — we’re just a few years from the point at which electricity from solar panels becomes cheaper than electricity generated by burning coal.

And if we priced coal-fired power right, taking into account the huge health and other costs it imposes, it’s likely that we would already have passed that tipping point.

-Michael Noll

I added the blockquotes and the Moore’s Law link. Seems to me physicist Sec. Chu must be looking only at the sticker price, while economist Krugman is also looking at other costs and at externalities not currently included in the sticker price, yet still costing us in other ways. Add in the costs of wars for oil and I wonder how long ago solar already became cheaper than oil….