27 July, 2005

Exorbitant gas bill

You'll note that a Bush energy bill is squeezing its way through the House and Senate this week. Easily done, since it's especially lubricious, being absolutely permated with oil. This Reuters bit has the salient details.

The broad strokes are, basically, tons of credits for oil and gas production and moving in the direction of new exploration, including, especially, offshore drilling. This is significant because it implies a recognition of a need to move to more difficult oil sources as easily-available sources run dry. To paraphrase Colin Campbell, when people start looking for oil under 10,000 feet of water, you know they're having problems.

Also, there's some bones thrown to the nuclear industry, including tax credits of up to 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour. This might be something like 30% of the cost to the consumer (depending on time of year, etc.), so it's no small boost.

Finally, don't pay ANY ATTENTION to the suggestion that this bill does anything positive for renewables. The most charitable thing that could be said about it is that it glances in their general direction - but only so that it can more accurately spit upon them. There's meager bits about tax credits for purchasing hybrids, and a rather paltry home-efficiency refurbishing credit. Then $800 million worth of credits for utilities that invest in renewables - while simultaneously cutting the old requirement that all utilities must generate at least 10% of energy via renewables by 2020. No money for research.

This outlines the strategy for the future pretty clearly: bail out the oil and gas industry for the next ten years, spend like mad to exploit oil resources as much as possible while they last, and meanwhile encourage the growth of the nuclear industry. If this strategy is to succeed, note that nukes must replace both electricity generation AND liquid fuel, meaning the construction of something on the order of thousands of plants. Since the U.S. hasn't commissioned a new plant since 1978, this is a somewhat daunting task. But I look forward to the sight of a cooling tower's graceful curves peeking up over my neighbor's rooftop.


And then there's PUHCA .

All gone. 

Posted by hedgehog

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