What Will Power The Future?
People on here keep trying to argue that solar and wind must be the power of the future. The problem with this argument is that energy experts and power utility ceo's know that this cannot be because they are not reliable. When the wind is blowing and the sun is out they are economically competitive with other forms of power but for them to be used on a wider scale there must be a way to store the power. There isn't currently an economical way to store the power. There are multiple new battery technologies available but if they were used the cost would double the cost of solar and wind. This fact makes them more of a novelty than anything. If you use wind and solar you must have some type of backup power plant waiting to come online if solar and wind power should die down. Offshore wind turbines in the ocean or in the great lakes are economically viable because the wind is much more powerful and consistent. The problem with this is it messes up the view for rich people and they have a lot of money to sue and delay projects for seven years(see Cape Cod offshore project).
From what I have read and heard from power utility CEO's is that pretty much the only power plants that will be built in the next 10 years will be powered by natural gas. The reason being that we have huge natural gas reserves which will make natural gas cheap for a long time. The other reason is that they are trying to stay away from coal because they know eventually some type of carbon cap and trade bill will pass. AEP is continuing to build coal powered plants but they are the exception and not the rule.
After that I believe I believe that new nuclear technologies will take over because the effects of global warming will be obvious and impossible to ignore. Current nuclear technology requires subsidies to build new nuclear power plants because they take so long to build that the interest on the loans is prohibitive. The fact that they can go critical, no matter how unlikely will make treehuggers oppose nuclear energy in the future. 2 new nuclear power technologies will make nuclear power both safe and economically viable. Westinghouse has just announced that they are designing a small modular reactor that can be built in a factory quickly and shipped to the site. They can also be buried under ground which gets rid of the need for a containment dome to combat terrorism. This will bring the cost down 20% to 30% in the future because they can be built quickly and without a containment dome. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Westinghouse_announces_Small_Modular_Reactor-1802117.html China is also building a new reactor called a pebble bed reactor which encapsulates the nuclear fuel balls with an inch of graphite. This graphite covering makes it impossible for the nuclear fuel to become critical. They know this because they tried to make these balls become critical and could not. This graphite covering also makes nuclear fuel storage much easier because it is much less radioactive. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/energy-environment/25chinanuke.html This technology will make nuclear energy safe and therefore our future energy source for many years to come. I believe a combination of the small modular reactors and pebble bed reactors will eventually be the only power plants built because they will be safe, economical, and emit zero greenhouse gases.