Kewaunee nuclear power plant Archive
by David Fessler, Investment U Senior Analyst
Tuesday, January 29, 2013: Issue #1958
Last October, Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE: D) announced it would be closing its Kewaunee nuclear power plant. Located in Wisconsin, this small, 566-megawatt (MW) unit is the first nuclear plant to succumb to cheap natural gas.
The boom in U.S. shale gas production has natural gas prices at 10-year lows. It’s thrown an interesting curve at the domestic power market. Many utilities are retiring old coal plants in favor of natural gas. Are nuclear plants right behind?
We’ll analyze where the industry is today and where it’s going. First, let’s take a look at coal plants versus natural gas-fired ones.
Many coal-fired power plants in the United States are being retired, in some cases long before the end of their useful lives. How many of the 1,169 currently operating in the United States are on the hit list?
A report from the Union of Concerned Scientists entitled “Ripe for Retirement” identifies 353 of them. Check out the map below.
These plants total 59 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity. That’s about 18% of the total coal-fired plants in the United States, and 6% of the nation’s total power generation capacity. Most of the plants on the list are older, less efficient and no longer economically viable.
The real problem is that these plants are big polluters. They’d be too expensive to upgrade to meet the latest Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) emissions guidelines.To continue reading, please click here...