Natural gas is "wiping out" coal and nuclear


Quick Take: You'd like to think we'd learn from previous stampedes. One technology or another gains favor and the entire industry stampedes in that direction. When the inevitable problems and price rises occur, we act surprised. Then we march off after the Next Big Thing. Seems to me the same thing is happening in natural gas. If you've been paying attention to the financial advice world, the buzzword is "diversification." I think that word needs to apply to electric power as well. -- Jesse Berst


NRG Energy President and CEO David Crane told the audience at a Wall Street Journal conference that "natural gas is in the process of wiping out the coal industry" and is "wiping out the nuclear industry quicker than we thought." NRG owns a large fleet of power plants and Crane warns that "to depend completely on one fuel is a disaster. We have to make sure natural gas doesn't become the mono fuel for the power industry.”


Crane had another warning as well. He believes we'll soon live in a world where many customers generate their own electricity. By rooftop PV perhaps. Or by natural gas-fired microturbines or fuel cells.


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Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.

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