Economics

The first rumblings of uneasiness about the West's dash for gas are being heard in America. Will there be enough to go around? The US Department of Energy believes one expert who says there will be a dire shortage of rigs operating next year to meet soaring demand. Gas prices are rising and look as if they will stay high on both sides of the Atlantic.

Wind power is proving that, given a good windy site or the right combination of circumstances, it can now compete head-to-head on price with the established power industry. In both Canada and Scotland new merchant wind plant which will sell their output at market price. In the American Midwest, a utility picked a combination of wind and gas over other thermal options because doing so made good business sense.

Nuclear continues to mislead the world on what it costs, the latest example appearing in the UK in a report, supposedly authoritative, by the Royal Commission on Environmental pollution. The claimed cost for nuclear is £0.029/kWh instead of the £0.035-£0.050/kWh in the government's own energy policy document (at 1990 prices), a figure which seems far more realistic.

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