Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World - National Intelligence Council (8.1 Mb. pdf !)
"...coal may be the fastest growing energy source despite being the “dirtiest.” Rising prices for oil and natural gas would put a new premium on energy sources that are cheap, abundant, and close to markets. Three of the largest and fastest-growing energy consumers—the US, China, and India—and Russia possess the four largest recoverable coal reserves,representing 67 % of known global reserves. Increased coal production could extend non-renewable carbon-based energy systems for one or even two centuries." Page 63
"All current technologies are inadequate for replacing traditional energy architectures on the scale needed, and new energy technologies probably will not be commercially viable and widespread by 2025" Page 65
All of which translates somehow in the Poop Murdoch press into (Times today) ..."On a positive note it added that an alternative to oil might be in place by 2025." ... unless of course they mean the alternative to oil will be coal ?
In this context it is worth noting that British Energy - soon to be re-branded as French Energy - produced their half year results this week .. They produced 22.7TWh down 27 % from 30.7TWh for H1 7/08 ... a 31 % reduction in nuclear output of 19.2TWh from 27 .8TWh) and huge increase of 40 % from their single coal fired Eggborough coal plant of 3.5TWh compared with 2.9TWh. It is worth noting that fuel costs at Eggborough also increased from £63 Mn. to 146 Mn. reflecting increased costs of coal on world markets.
This meant that even with a realised price per MWh up from £38.4 to £47.2/MWh for the period, up £8.8/MWh from £38.4/MWh in the comparable period unit operating costs had increased from £26 to £41.3/MWh and so margins slipped perMWh from £12.5 to £5.9.
Partly the result of having 5TWh of output capped until 2011 at £34/MWh. The capped contracts are for delivery of approximately 5TWh.
Expect some fancy footwork for carbon emissions "aspirations" , "targets" , "goals" to be ...er .. downgraded .. forgotten .. between now and 2025.
UPDATE Economic Slump May Limit Moves on Clean Energy NYT By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL November 24, 2008
"At the same time, the price of buying permits to emit carbon dioxide in Europe — a system the European Union uses to discourage companies from polluting — have fallen by half compared with the price a year ago, largely because of slower growth.
Wind costs more than $2.5 billion per gigawatt to build, compared with $600 million for gas. Carbon permits and subsidies can narrow that gap, but the current low prices mean that it is cheaper to burn coal, even after paying penalties for the carbon dioxide emissions."