NEWS RELEASE MAY 2014
Where Money Can Be Made In Greenhouse Gas Reduction
There is no big pot of gold in the greenhouse gas market. Instead, there are a number of potentially profitable ore bodies. Some money will be made by those selling the supplies to the miners looking for the mother lode, but it will not be found. This is the conclusion of the McIlvaine Company by extracting information from the following publications which it publishes, Utility CO2 Mitigation Markets, Fossil and Nuclear Power Generation: World Analysis and Forecast and Renewable Energy World Market.
The mother lode would be closure of the world’s fossil plants and a huge investment in solar, wind and biomass electricity generation. The reality is that these alternative energy sources will not replace coal in the next few decades. Even with all the environmental controls a coal-fired power plant can produce electricity at half the cost of alternatives. A gas turbine power plant can also produce cheap electricity where gas is inexpensive.
The problem is that gas can be inexpensively made transportable (LNG) and sold at high prices. It can also be converted to liquid fuels profitably if there is a reasonably inexpensive gas source. This means that electricity generation companies are bidding against purchasers who can more profitably utilize inexpensive gas. The end result is the rising price of gas.
Solar and wind will continue on an accelerated growth path. But, when you start with a tiny number, it takes a long while to reach significant size even with a high growth rate. Furthermore, the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow uniformly around the planet. Some generation sites are better than others. Alternative energy is presently on the average considerably more expensive than fossil-fired power.
What about a catastrophic wakeup call from floods, droughts, or other nasty events? Don’t bet on it. There are too many horses in the race and there may not be any way to profit even if some massive program were launched.
But there are some profitable aspects to be mined. Here are some:
- Renewable energy in areas without transmission lines,
- Roof top solar (but a small potential generating source),
- Energy efficiency improvements at existing coal-fired power plants including supercritical combustion and maximum heat extraction and reuse,
- Redesign the existing coal-fired power plants to be net producers rather than consumers of water and to discharge only traces of the air pollutants,
- CO2 sequestration but only at power plants which can supply oil producers needing enhanced oil recovery.
The profitable market routes are charted in the following McIlvaine publications: