Trade-offs reveal no clear favorites in alternative energy market

Sep 12, 2007

The nuclear power industry is riding the green wave back into public favor with its promise of a low-carbon solution to our growing energy needs. But even as the industry struggles to dictate what role nuclear can realistically play, it is bound by a global energy landscape—from solar to carbon sequestration—that is still predominantly shaped by the marketplace.

Veteran New York Times energy reporter Matthew Wald takes a pragmatic look at the trade-offs associated with investment in a number of alternative energy sources in “Getting Power to the People,” a special in-depth feature appearing in the September/October 2007 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Wald considers variables such as the cost of fuel inputs, capacity factor, and the price of carbon capture technology, and discusses how they affect energy prices for consumers. “There is a future on the grid for almost everything: coal, natural gas, nuclear power, gasified biomass, and probably wind and solar as well,” Wald concludes. “What remains is to determine the proportions.”

Additional materials include selected graphs that illustrate baseline energy concepts and a summation chart that offers energy source comparison at a glance.

Source: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Explore further: Solar plane lands in Hawaii after record-breaking flight (Update 2)

Related Stories

China announces climate target for Paris deal

17 hours ago

Top carbon polluter China confirmed it will try to cap its rising emissions before 2030 while the U.S. and Brazil pledged to boost renewable energy sources in a series of announcements Tuesday in anticipation ...

A brief history of nukes in space

Jun 26, 2015

In just a few short weeks, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will make its historic flyby of Pluto and its moons. Solar panels are unable to operate in the dim nether regions of the outer solar system, and instead, ...

Recommended for you

Dutch team reveals 'energy-positive' family car

Jul 03, 2015

The Solar Team Eindhoven (STE) student team from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e, The Netherlands) today presents its new solar-powered car. Stella Lux is an intelligent, solar-powered family car ...

Five properties of physics that affect your gas mileage

Jul 03, 2015

Physics is inescapable. It's everywhere, making your Frisbees fly, your toilets flush and your pasta water boil at a lower temperature at altitude. We've harnessed these forces, along with chemistry and engineering, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.