Saturday, June 21, 2008

Econ 101: Supply and Demand

Just a reminder to Congress - in addition to reducing demand to make prices go down, you can also increase supply. See Economics Basics: Demand and Supply.

We don't have much control over the new demand for oil being made by China and India, but we do have a lot of say over domestic production and increasing the use of meaningful alternative energy like nuclear power.

Why on earth is anyone's home still being heated by fuel oil when nuke plant electricity should be plentiful? Oh, yeah, some people don't like nuke power plants...

UPDATE: 19% of U.S. electricity is generated by nuclear power - see here:
Nuclear power accounts for about 19 percent of the total net electricity generated in the United States, about as much as the electricity used in California,Texas and New York, the three states with the most people. In 2006, there were 66 nuclear power plants (composed of 104 licensed nuclear reactors) throughout the United States.
and here:
As of December 31, 2008, there are 104 commercial nuclear generating units that are fully licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to operate in the United States. Of these 104 reactors, 69 are categorized a pressurized water reactors (PWRs) totaling 65,100 net megawatts (electric) and 35 units are boiling water reactors (BWR) totaling 32,300 net megawatts (electric).

The current Administration has been supportive of nuclear expansion, emphasizing its importance in maintaining a diverse energy supply. But as of December 31, 2007, the last new reactor to come on line in the United States was the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar 1 reactor in Tennessee. Nuclear expansion has been through the uprating (increasing in capacity) of existing power plants. In addition, the Browns Ferry 1 reactor (included in the total of 104) was rebuilt, uprated, and returned to service in June 2007, after being shut down for decades.

On July 13, 2007, UniStar Nuclear, LLC, filed a combined license application (COL) with the NRC for construction of a new reactor at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Station. It was the first COL application filed. TVA announced plans to complete construction of the Watts Bar 2 reactor. Watts Bar 2 received a construction permit in 1973. If the unit goes on line, it will be the last reactor to receive a construction permit and license separately. As of March 31, 2008, the NRC has received 9 COL applications and is currently reviewing them.
UPDATE:Tigerhawk has pertinent thoughts:
Is it really better for American drillers to invest their capital in foreign countries, most of which are adversarial to the interests of the United States? Is it really better for our best engineers and executives to devote themselves to Nigeria, Russia, and Saudi Arabia? If you are a transnational progressive (and most anti-growth environmentalists are), do you really want to push drilling, at the margin, into environmentally sensitive places in foreign countries with less regulation and more corruption? These are the choices we make when we close our own country to new exploration and production.
I would add that the huge expense of maintaining sea lines of communication could be lessened if we did more domestic production ... and that's a matter of national security...

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