Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Power in 2030: The Roads We May Take

Daniel Yergin in the NY Times:
• Less than three years ago, a ‘‘nuclear renaissance’’ seemed to be unfolding. Now, in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, the renaissance has turned into a ‘‘nuclear patchwork’’  —  moving ahead in some countries, stalled or shut down in others.
• Five years ago, the United States was suffering an advanced case of ‘‘peak oil’’ and was going to run out of petroleum. Since then, crude oil output has increased by 56 percent and its net oil imports are down 40 percent.
• Four years ago, the cost of solar panels seemed stubbornly high. Then a rapid buildup of over-capacity in China brought costs down by more than 60 percent.
• Half a decade ago, the United States seemed headed to become the largest importer of liquefied natural gas in the world, spending $100 billion a year to make up for falling domestic production. Now, thanks to shale gas, the United States is on track to become an exporter to both Asia and Europe.
• Two years ago, Germany was moving full speed ahead on its Energiewende  —  a quick shift to renewable electricity. Now it is going through a painful reappraisal because of high costs and the loss of international competitiveness to the United States.

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