The Economics of Alternative Energy and Perspectives for a 21st Century Energy Policy

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Weigand, Robert A.
Kaad, J. D.
Haines, James
Washburn University. School of Business
Kaw Valley Bank
Issue Date
November 2008
Alternative Title
For the use of fossil fuels to decline, there will have to be greater reliance upon alternative sources of electricity. We compare capital and operating costs of the major alternative electricity sources (hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, nuclear, and solar power), and conclude that reducing fossil fuels as a source of electricity in the most economical fashion will require heavy reliance on nuclear power for an extended period of time, as it is the only economically feasible option that does not have reliability issues or location requirements. A successful 21st century energy policy must also address CO2 emissions and the issue of high-level radioactive waste disposal, and emphasize conservation and efficiency programs that include market-based incentives for consumers and producers of energy.