by Jerome a Paris
Mon Nov 19th, 2007 at 04:18:39 AM EST
I thought this was worth flagging...
GE chief urges incentives to fuel nuclear switch
US government hopes that hundreds of nuclear power plants will be built to boost national energy supplies will be dashed unless the power industry is given strong financial incentives to switch away from fossil fuels, said Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of General Electric.
Mr Immelt told the Financial Times that large-scale nuclear construction would go ahead only if a high enough cost was placed on carbon-dioxide emissions. The US administration backs large-scale investment in nuclear power to strengthen energy security and curb greenhouse gas emissions. But Mr Immelt said only five to 10 US nuclear power projects were likely to go ahead unless there was a carbon-pricing framework to create incentives for utilities to build more.
So far, so good. You'd expect then the discussion to move towards the competition from coal, and the fact that it's extremely cheap, and available in supposedly huge quantities safely at home...
Nope. After describing the current status of GE's nuclear business, and stating that simply replacing the existing fleet of nuclear reactors will require a huge investment effort (which is not likely to happen yet), the complaint about the competition comes:
If US utilities were making investment decisions without any additional government incentives, he said, they would choose to invest only in gas-fired power stations and in wind farms.
Mr Immelt added that the only way to change that would be for the US to put "a meaningful price" on carbon-dioxide emissions, preferably through a cap and trade system of emissions permits.
I'm stunned. Not by the fact, of course, as I know the numbers. But that it is finally percolating through to big business and the business press.
One more winter of ultra high gas prices and nothing but wind will be built in the US!