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  1. Oops – meant to say a bit more: 18000 subscribers at $75 a month is a nice little enterprise if those numbers are to be believed….just a general comment on you jumping into the fray on RBN’s comments section:

    Is there value in emphasizing public opinion data more? Does RBN understand that a majority of Americans support nuclear power? Have they been hoodwinked by a minority opinion because it is so vocal, so well-organized, and so entrenched (and funded) that the perception about where the axis of the debate lies gets completely distorted?

    Looking at some April Gallup numbers, Americans don’t really like gas much more than nuclear, and they are very concerned about fracking-sourced pollution. Add to that the polls still consistently show Americans just aren’t that motivated on climate change, and you see that gas is almost a default choice…. Although there is broad support for developing wind and solar – but it’s almost as if that support is more about ‘American innovation’ and ‘energy independence’ and pollution concerns more than it is about limiting co2 emissions. When America catches up on climate change, and simultaneously realizes renewables have only a bit part to play in the solution…gas might suddenly look very vulnerable.

  2. The RBN authors’ posts emphasize vary well natural gas developers’ pressing need to find new markets for their mounting projected surpluses which cannot be stored in significant quantity; so they live in constant fear of market collapse conditions like they experienced with oversupplies in 2012. They see an urgent need to find a market for ~3 billion cf/d of added summer surplus supplies from the Marcellus alone in the Mid-Atlantic & New England region. According to your rule of thumb estimate some 15GW(e) of generation capacity would need to be displaced. This is far more than New England’s nuclear capacity (now down to ~2.5GW) which supplies ~25% of the ISO-NEs annual demand.

    Although their preferred solution is to burn it (see RBN post “This Gas is Made for Burning”) for electricity generation, VY shut down (annual output greater than Hoover Dam) and Brayton Point (old coal with a vary newly installed cooling tower) is set to shut down, Dominion is also proposing to convert its MD Cove Point LNG (import) Terminal into an export terminal with cryo-trains capable of 0.75 billion cf/d liquefaction capacity.

    Natural gas exports should not only be encouraged to Europe & E Asia — (projected export capacity by 2020 is ~6 billion cf/d, additional national project proposals could double that by 2025 taking away ~1/6 of US natural gas production) — as a means of seriously hampering the Russian economy, but also the US automotive transport sector should be incentivized to manufacture dual-fuel capable CNG NGVs; ultimately the quantities of natural gas production that is estimated could completely displace all OPEC imports.

    Energy experts like to emphasize the need for diverse energy supplies, policy planners should make it plain now that gas cannot displace all of coal by itself (coal+gas 70% of US electricity). Beyond 2030, once all coal burning power plants are likely phased out, the fission “quark spread” would moderate fears of gas price spikes (and history demonstrates gas prices are as spikey/volatile as petroleum) and overreliance on only one fossil fuel.

  3. Pipeline capacity is constrained and so expensive that it made sense in the Boston area for (then) Commonwealth Gas to build and operate a gas liquefaction storage plant in Hopkinton Massachusetts. During the summer, when pipeline use rates were low, the plant liquified natural gas then stored it for evaporation when needed during peak winter demand.

    Decades ago I did some utility consulting. Originally the storage was in underground rock caverns, thought to be leakproof because of the coldness froze water in the ground. A park ranger seeing bubbles in a nearby lake complained that they were natural gas. Skeptical gas company executives changed their minds quickly when the Smoky-hat ranger showed them two mass spectrographs comparing the composition of the bubbles and the gas suppled to homes. Storage was changed to above-ground tanks.

  4. Rod

    Glad to see you back on line!

    Pay for Performance is a murky area of the electricity markets, somewhere between a “capacity payment” and pay for actual electric generation.

    As I see it, however, pay-for-performance incentives are likely to be favorable for nuclear plants. The idea of pay-for-performance is that if a plant bids into the capacity market, gets a capacity payment, but then, when the plant is summoned to be on-line by the dispatcher, the plant says: “oh dear, so sorry….Can’t get on-line right now”… that plant will then have to pay a penalty.

    Basically, with pay-for-performance, a plant which receives a capacity payment is therefore expected to provide power when called upon. If it does not provide power, it has to pay a penalty. Meanwhile, plants that do provide power get a bonus. So the penalties for not-performing basically get transferred as a reward to those plants that DO provide performance.

    The whole thing is hard to understand, and I am not at all sure I have it completely correct, but I have it at least partially correct.

    Of course, the plant that says: “so sorry, can’t come on-line” is more likely to be a gas-fired plant that can’t get gas. That plant will pay a penalty. The plant that says: “Sure, I’m here for you” is more likely to be nuclear plant. That plant will get a performance payment.

    Here’s a link to the ISO-NE order:

    Note: FCM is Forward Capacity Market

    A quote from the order: ISO said (page 3 of above), without the Pay for Performance:

    According to ISO-NE, the current FCM design contains a flawed incentive structure that perpetuates fleet-wide resource performance problems and, as a result, is now failing to ensure reliability in a cost-effective manner.6 ISO-NE argues that capacity resources rarely face financial consequences for failing to perform……ISO-NE proposes to address these problems by linking capacity revenues to resource performance during reserve deficiencies.

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