Monday, June 13, 2011

U.S. Utilities: In Two Ns, We Trust (Even After Fukushima)

According to an energy consulting company Black & Veatch's survey of 530 plus utility respondents, the U.S. energy companies still rely on two Ns (nuclear and natural gas) for their future to comply with environmental regulations. The survey was conducted after tsunami crippled the Fukushima Dai-ich nuclear power plants. But their creed didn't change:

Q. Where do you believe the industry should place its emphasis on environmentally friendly technologies?
A. (The bigger the number, the more emphasis the utility respondents place upon the technology)

1) Nuclear Energy    3.87
2) Natural Gas       3.81
3) Hydroelectric     3.48
4) Solar Energy      3.37
5) Coal Gasification 3.27
6) Wind Power        3.18
7) Other             3.07
8) Biomass           3.01
9) Tidal Generation  2.93

They are not so sure of renewable energy's reliability. They even don't trust future of energy storage. How do I know that? Read the following Q&A.

Q. Do you have plans to implement any energy storage systems at a commercial scale?
Yes 21.5%
No  78.5%

Sadly, now I acknowledge that Texan journalist Robert Bryce was right when he argued the "real fuels of the future" are the two Ns (he called the 2-N energy strategy "N2N", that is, 'natural gas first, and nuclear eventually') even before the Fukushima nuclear accident. (And recently, in the New York Times.)
Is two-N reliance or N2N strategy inevitable? I hope not. (Yeah, another 'hope,' I uttered. However, I will find any convincing science and policy that can persuade these utility respondents.)


Black & Veatch Corporation. (2011). 2011 Strategic Directions Survey Results: Managing the Transition in the Electric Utility Industry. Overland Park, KS: Black & Veatch Corporation. [Full-text at]

Bryce, R. (2010). Power Hungry: The Myths of "Green" Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future. New York, NY: PublicAffairs. [Book homepage at]

Bryce, R. (2011, June 7). The Gas Is Greener. The New York Times. Retrieved from

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