Dr. Steven Chu needs to be well aware that the Investor Owned Utility paradigm is in the way to carbon cutting as soon as possible.
To Cut Carbon ASAP the IOU Paradigm Must End
By José Antonio Vanderhorst-Silverio, Ph.D.
Systemic Consultant: Electricity
First posted in the GMH Blog, on December 31st, 2008.
Copyright © 2008 José Antonio Vanderhorst-Silverio. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, without written permission from José Antonio Vanderhorst-Silverio. This article is an unedited, an uncorrected, draft material of The EWPC Textbook. Please write to email@example.com to contact the author for any kind of engagement.
Reporting on a study by MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, Kevin Bullis' article “The Cost of Carbon Cutting,” argues that renewables should be mandated, as coal CO2 emissions replacement are apparently much cheaper than renewables by switching to natural gas. I think that the proportions of oil and gas emissions with respect to coal are way off. On that thought, I search "Carbon tax" in Wikipedia, and found the following under the "Electricity" heading:
"In terms of fuel use, note from above that CO2 emissions per million BTUs (293 kW·h) range from 117.08 pounds of CO2 for natural gas and about 155 pounds of CO2 for petroleum to between 205 and 227 pounds of CO2 for coal, and that a tax of $100 per ton of CO2 therefore translates into a tax per million BTUs that ranges from $5.854 per million BTUs for natural gas and about $7.75 per million BTUs for petroleum to between $10.27 and $11.37 per million BTUs for coal. For comparison purposes: in 2005, fuel prices to electricity generators per million BTU were $7.70 for oil, $8.18 for natural gas, $1.53 for coal, and $0.48 for nuclear. Current electricity prices are in the neighborhood of $0.08 per kW·h."
Update: the assumption of a reduction to 80% of C02 1990 level, may be also a clue. Is that enough to reduce GHG concentrations to a safe level?
With data such as that, all three fossil fuels GHG emissions will need to be reduced to enable the business case of renewable power. To make progress towards useful results, I suggest instead concentrating the attention on the EWPC article Renewable Power and Smart Grid as Parts of a Whole, in which “It is argued that the smart grid is not the lifeline of renewable power. Instead, what’s holding both is the Investor Owned Utility paradigm.”
Restructuring to replace the IOU paradigm with the electricity without price control paradigm (EWPC) is the aim of the EWPC article Will Dr. Chu Turn Around the Power Industry?, whose summary says: “As President Obama's picked Nobel Prize Steven Chu as the Energy Secretary, that knows what he is talking about the environment, he will need to enable Mr. Obama’s leadership to be able to turn around the global power industry to complete a global energy deal that is a prerequisite to complete the global environmental deal.”