Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fuel Supply - Your Utility Bill

I was reading through the Forbes magazine I picked up at my local library. It is a Special Issue called "Energy + Genius", page 46 caught my eye.

There is a chart labeled, "What can you Afford?". "Wind, Coal Gas and hydropower take the smallest bite out of consumers' monthly electric bills." It claims. The chart not only shows the minimum cost per month per utility, it also shows the range a consumer can pay in cents per kw/h.

Examples are as follows:

Coal and gas both cost an estimated 5-6 cents per kw/h
Hydropower has an estimated 3-10 cents per kw/h

There can be quite a range in cost. It does not say why there is a range but I would guess that the further the consumer lives from the power supply the higher the cost. There may be other reasons too.

Other examples:

Biomass ----- est. 4 to 12 cents per kw/h
Wind ----------est. 5 to 8 cents per kw/h
Geothermal --est. 6 to 10 cents per kw/h
Nuclear -------est. 11 to 14 cents per kw/h

I would like to point out that, though cost vary widely, Nuclear still cost more per kw/h then all the other examples listed above !

Solar is listed at a high cost though, at 21 to almost 40 cents per kw/h, hopefully it will come down a bit.

The information begged a question, considering nuclear needs special hazardous material disposal procedures and takes more dollars from the consumer, why build more of them? Why not build lower cost windmills?

Windmills are not hazardous, or need special hazardous material landfill disposal when they are taken out of service. Windmill electricity even cost less. Landfills take up space and cost the tax payer money, about $700,000 per acre. The price goes up for hazardous material. That is your state taxes at work there.

The cost gets passed on to the consumer in higher utility bills, higher taxes due to more landfills and the dead land that is now no longer available for development into somethings value added like farming.

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