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Almost as if on cue, Al Gore chimed in the day after I sent my last letter with what seems to be a perfect example of unintended consequences. He wants the U.S. to replace all our electricity generating capacity with renewable “green” generation such as wind and solar in the next 10 years.
The cost of this plan is dramatically higher than any of the standard fossil-fuel generators used now. Add to that the cost of throwing away the fossil-fueled equipment and it has a staggering cost. At today’s costs a clean coal generating plant costs about $1,434 per kilowatt capacity and natural gas $680. The costs for wind and solar are $1,340-$5,380, depending on type and where it is built. We’ve already seen the catastrophic unintended consequences on the food supply wreaked by ethanol. Nuclear is not feasible at present thanks to Harry Reid’s road-blocking the use of the well-suited site for storing nuclear waste in Nevada. The costs, from the Edison Electric Institute, don’t take into account the need to deal with the intermittent nature of wind and solar and need for even more capacity and a means to store energy for the nighttime and when the wind doesn’t blow.
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