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« $4 a gallon gas was the last straw | Main | What prolonged the Depression? »

November 24, 2008


jj mollo

Is energy really pricey? Gasoline, at least, is much more expensive in Europe, or was in the past anyway. Are nukes in France actually producing cheaper electricity?

Here's a table with prices of electricity by state in the US. Here's another with the prices for European nations(pdf). (Scan down for Table 2.) France is not the absolute cheapest, but it's close.

Multiplying 1.3 to convert euros to dollars shows that France is cheaper now than every state, with possible exceptions of Idaho, Washington, Oregon and West Virginia. WV is probably using cheap coal. These results depend on the exchange rate, however, which is variable. France was more expensive in the past because of that currency conversion issue.

jj mollo

No, wait! Am I off by a factor of ten? Is Europe really that much more expensive? Something wrong with these numbers.

jj mollo

OK. I think I was right to begin with. It would be nice to have these numbers as a spreadsheet.

Frank Warner

I should have said energy was pricey when gasoline cost more than $3 a gallon. That price affected all other energy prices (and every consumer's ability to pay his bills).

Americans had affordable energy from 1985 to 2005 because OPEC remembered, for a while, that overpricing eventually hurts oil producers, too, and because the United States took giant strides in conservation.

The U.S. has about 75 million more people than it had in 1980. For those 75 million extra people, the U.S. produces virtually no additional energy.


I wouldn't be surprised if electricity in France is quite cheap. After all, they're one of the largest producers of nuclear energy.

I'm not sure that 22.5GW is the equivalent of 20 nuclear plants. 20 nuclear reactors, perhaps. It is my understanding that 1GW+ reactors exist, and I imagine modern large-scale reactors would be around that figure. Many plants contain two or more reactors. However, given that existing plants are going to be of various ages, and older plants might produce close to 1GW (say, two 500MW reactors), perhaps you aren't too far off.

I guess my point is it would probably take less than 20 large scale modern nuclear plants to produce 22.5GW. Possibly as few as ten.

Frank Warner

Yes, Nicholas, I was assuming about 1,000 megawatts per reactor. It's true that many nuclear "plants" or "stations" have more than one reactor.


Unfortunately we don't really know what a modern US-built reactor or plant looks like because, as I understand it, no new ones have been built for 20+ years. Many of the older ones have been refurbished and are running well beyond their originally planned lifespans, though, which bodes well.


France derives over 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy which gives them very cheap electricity. Our fossil fuel plants are close behind, but know-it-all environmentalists led by the Obama regime will do in the coal-fired plants. These freaks have already stopped new nuke plants here.

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