One of the good things about 140 characters is that it concentrates the mind and lets you compose your elevator speech. One of the bad things is that while concentrating the mind and composing the elevator speech you forget to write it down.
So Eli, aka @EthonRaptor (Ms. Rabett came up with the moniker) has been exchanging with various characters on the Tweeter about renewable energy, nuclear energy and carbon taxes (go read the timeline if you really care) and this has indeed conciliated a few thoughts.
ADDED: Energy Star is zeroed out in the Trump budget. If Energy Star is going on hiatus, then this is a place for the manufacturers to establish an Underwriters Lab for efficiency. All electrical devices in the US are certified by Underwriters Labs not to be fire hazards. The insurance companies established and fund UL because at the turn of the century too many electrical appliances were starting fires or sauteing people, and some sort of testing and certification was needed to limit loses. An Energy Star operation could charge manufacturers for testing and use of the brand. What it could do immediately is to re-publish the Energy Star website before Scott Pruitt sends it down the rat hole. Anybunny have a spare server? The info is a US Government publication and there is no copyright. There is money to be made here folks and this would be a great opening for a Kickstarter operation. It would be a natural for Consumer Reports.
Eli's original though still holds, things are bought on purchase price. Very few think about lifetime, operating and disposal costs without prodding from regulations and SJWs.
Which brings the Bunny to Part Two. What is the probability of a nuclear revival in the US.
The reason is very much the same as what happens when a bunny purchases a carrot storage device aka refrigerator (Eli does leave a bit of room for Ms. Rabett's yogurt, after all, she is his muse).
Nuclear power plants have a)very high capital costs and b) very high decommisioning costs although operating costs are very low. From the standpoint of a utility, a nuclear plant requires a large investment before it begins to generate revenue, and a pretty well undefined commitment for decommisioning. Since b) has to be carried on the spreadsheet as a liability, and the actual cost is pretty well undefined the CFO of a utility would have to be insane to agree to building a nuclear plant.
To be clear, this is not the case where the plant is built by a government or a government entity like China, or EDF or TVA because their time horizon extends well beyond the next quarter.
It also explains why natural gas is being substituted for coal. Not only is natural gas cheaper, the capital costs of natural gas power plants are lower, they are more modular and they can be slotted into existing spaces, built faster, etc. and oh yes, much less polluting even if you consider greenhouse gases and nothing else. The nothing else is the ground level pollution of the air and water that makes Chinese and Indian cities so deadly today, and Western cities so deadly yesterday. It costs capital to clean coal emissions up and safely dispose of the ash and that erodes any desire of utilities to continue investing in coal.
Let us not talk about the energy and $ cost of carbon capture. Even there natural gas has a big advantage. Carbon capture technology from the smokestack will require serious cleaning of the emissions. Capture from the ambient air, is IEHO, the affliction of science. Of course if the utilities can dump the emissions and the ash wherever, that encourages investment in coal. Coal is the ultimate tragedy of the commons. To deal with it requires moving those costs onto the utilities and mines balance sheets. Utilities need to be exposed to the cost of their emissions to move them away from fossil fuels.
Renewables are a different balance. Operating costs are small but capital costs are high although decreasing. The modularity of renewables is a great advantage over nuclear which comes in single ginourmous lumps with long construction times. A single wind turbine, by nature requires only a small investment. As with gas turbines, the wind/solar components can be mass produced in factories and shipped to the assembly site. Wind farms/solar can be installed in smaller chunks each of which comes on line as finished and can start to immediately generate revenue to support further installations.
So the action on the power generation front is going to be renewables vs. natural gas.
So what is needed
1. Regulations to limit the worst emissions, quantify costs and show them explicitly to the public. Limitations are necessary for those emissions whose cost is so high that their effects are immediate and dangerous, such as lead and NOx.
2. A tax on greenhouse gas emissions which would either displace other taxes or be rebated. See Eli Rabett's simple plan to save the world the brilliance of which is that it really would not require Trump to sign on, if the rest of the developed world did.
Having solved all problems, Eli hops on.