Harry is my goto source on electrical generation industry perspective. E.g., coal prices vary widely around the world depending especially on transportation costs (and grade obviously). Harry’s comment on BNC caught my attention. Our quest for new-build zero carbon electricity that is “cheaper than coal” is already happening in certain markets:
As a rule of thumb Nuclear is ‘cost competitive’(not considering externalized costs) in a ‘new build environment’ with coal at $4/MMbtu and Natural Gas at $6/MMBtu.
Those conditions exist in China and the US Southeast. That is where AP1000′s are being built. Those conditions also exist in the UK where the government position is ‘nuclear without subsidy’. They also exist in a good many other places in the world.
Australia and the US West have considerable quantities of coal that can be extracted and delivered a reasonable distance to market for well under $4/MMBtu. The discussion as to how to make cleaner technologies financially competitive with coal is therefore a much more difficult discussion.
Imagine how much lower the US cost will be once the “lawyer-protester” risk falls away, and the plants are mass-manufactured.