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MEXICO CANCELS PLANS TO BUILD 10 NEW NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS

Thanks to Bloomberg, 02 Nov. 2011.
03 Nov 2011

MEXICO RETHINKS ITS ENERGY STRATEGY Mexico (one of three (3) Latin American nations that uses nuclear power), is abandoning plans to build as many as 10 new Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs), and will shift its plans to greater reliance on Natural gas(nat gas)-fired thermoelectric power plants after large, new discoveries of nat gas in Mexican territories.  Mexico’s State-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) has found evidence of trillions of cubic feet of gas in the past year; So, its Energy Minister, Jordy Herrera said on 01 Nov 2011: “Mexico is changing all its decisions, amid the very abundant existence of natural-gas deposits…and now prefers gas for cost reasons… will seek private investment of about $10 billion during five(5) years to expand its natural gas pipeline network”

HERRERA’S  ENERGY STRATEGY PLAN RELIES ON NAT-GAS.  Mexico’s Energy Ministry plans to update the nation’s long-term strategic plan to reflect the increased importance of natural gas.  Minister Herrera said in a report due in the first quarter of 2012: “Until we find a model to make renewable energy more profitable, gas is more convenient” Herrera who was appointed energy minister on  09 Sep 2011 added: “The country (Mexico) has very high potential to develop renewable energy…But the renewable energy world is hurt by the cheap gas prices, and the government has to consider how much it can spend to promote alternative energy sources”.

FORMER MINISTER WANTED NUCLEAR POWER DEVELOPMENT Herrera’s comments are a vast departure from former Energy Minister Georgina Kessel, who had said nuclear energy would help achieve President Felipe Calderon’s pledge to generate at least 35 % of the country’s energy from so-called “clean sources” had said only last year: “I’m convinced that in the medium, and long-term, increasing nuclear capacity is the path that should be followed”  NOW, SHE HAS BEEN REPLACED;  SUCH IS LIFE, SHE WAS GASSED-OUT.

VAST NEW NAT GAS RESERVES FOUND. Mexico is boosting its estimated nat gas reserves after PEMEX discovered new deposits in deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and also in shale deposits in the state of Coahuila (border with the USA).  Estimates in Coahuila alone, are as much as 300 trillion cubic feet of  nat gas according to Carlos Morales last 27 Oct 2011.

MEXICO’S STATE-OWNED POWER UTILITY also had been considering nuclear power as part of plans to boost generating capacity from 50 Gigawatts (Gw) to 86 Gw within 15 years, but will now will need to change its plans. Mexico’s State-ownedComision Federal de Electricidad (CFE)”, is Latin America’s largest utility (by revenue), plans to invest $66.3 billion Pesos (US $4.9 billion) in 2011, and $90.4 billion Pesos in 201; mainly in plant generation, according to the company’s website.  CFE, is investing in the construction of six(6) new plants using fossil fuels (we assume nat-gas burners) to improve capacity and efficiency, and is reconfiguring other facilities to replace the use of other (dirtier) fuels with nat-gas. While nat gas produces roughly half the amount carbon dioxide produced by coal.  Nuclear Power plants, of course, do not produce carbon dioxide, soot, mercury, etc, but have other long-lived Transuranics to poison entire regions.  Remember Fukushima? – As if anyone could forget!

AMERICAN ECONOMIST APPLAUDS MEXICO’S DECISION.  James Williams, an American economist at “WTRG Economics” an energy research firm in Arkansas said: “This is a very good decision by the Mexican government…With a power generation project based on gas…you can build multiple plants at a much lower cost, and much faster pace, than a nuclear facility”  THAT IS IT IN A NUT SHELL!

USA SHALE NAT-GAS PROMISES MUCH LOWER ENERGY COSTS.  Shale gas production has increased by an average of 48 % per year from 2006 to 2010, according to the Energy Department in Washington. Output will rise almost threefold from 2009 to 2035, the department predicted in its Annual Energy Outlook release on April 26.  Much greater nat gas availability  has meant much lower prices.  Gas futures, which traded as high as $13.69 per million British thermal units(BTUs) in July 2008, dropped to as low as $3.48 in Oct 2011.

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We exhort you to read our article listed under RECENT ARTICLES column, and titled: IS DRILL, BABY DRILL, THE ANSWER??…. PERHAPS FOR A WHILE.

MY TAKE

MEXICO’S PLANS ARE NOT A “SLAM-DUNK” at least financially. They are doing the “unthinkable” since the petroleum industry was “nationalized” in 1936; that is, “seeking private investment”  Mexico appears to be soliciting foreign venture capital to carry out their new gas infrastructure development(pipelines), as well as to build the power plants; PROBLEM IS: MEXICO IS GLOBALLY SEEN AS A HIGH RISK VENTURE FOR MANY REASONS, AND THE MONEY BOYS ARE VERY ADVERSE TO HIGH RISK PROPOSITIONS.

NATURAL GAS OVERLOOKED TODAY.  It is bothersome, that despite all the immediate advantages offered by nat gas as a generating fuel, and its new found abundance, it is not given the consideration it deserves as a “cleaner fuel” to serve humanity, at least while better, affordable “clean energy sources” are developed.  Nat gas burns much more cleanly than any kind of coal, and retrofitting older plants to burn nat gas, is much quicker, and costs less, than many other alternatives.  That is why San Antonio used it for nearly 100 years.

LOCALLY, IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS,  I have once and again urged our San Antonio Public Service (CPS) Energy to consider retrofitting our Dirty Dilley power plants to burn nat gas. These very old plants continue to be extremely “Dirty” in Mercury and other airborne contaminants.  It is a as though our CPS Board of Trustees hears from the CPS Energy Gen Mgr/CEO, Mr. Doyle Beneby only what it wants to hear.  Problem is Beneby has shown no corporate vision, and no real sense of leadership, at this time of fast global change. WE HAVE THE BLIND, LEADING THE BLIND AND AS HAPPY AS CAN BE!  THIS IS NO BOARD!- IT IS A CLUB.  Someday the people of San Antonio, Texas will have to face the results of their lack of strategic planning, and managerial ineptitude.  Yes, that includes Mayor Castro who is a member of the board.  GENERATING CAPACITY DOES NOT HAPPEN OVERNIGHT.  IT MUST BE PLANNED WAY IN ADVANCE OF NEED.

gonzedo

 

November 3, 2011 at 1:05 AM
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