CERAWeek: Not much promise in renewable investing, says MIT prof.

John Deutch, chairman of the chemistry department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said he doesn’t see much promise in investing in renewables and sees political trouble ahead for nuclear power.
“We see uncertainty and that’s what governments will regulate.”
“The nuclear renaissance we want to see may not be so quick in coming,” Deutch said. Nuclear plant construction costs are high, $3,000 per kw of capacity, and will remain high compared to what coal plant prices will likely be even with more restrictive CO2 legislation, he said.
There’s been little progress on long-term radioactive storage handling in the U.S he said, which “increases the intensity of nuclear skeptics.”
He hopes new nuclear construction will come on line, but believes if there’s a Democratic president the skepticism will increase.
The most likely outcome on CO2 regulation will be a modest tax or trading system that doesn’t actually motivate real change in CO2 emissions, Deutch said.
CO2 sequestration, burying CO2 underground, has gone from being called “technically feasible” to “ready” in the public realm, Deutch said, but there’s no project in the U.S. that is doing it at scale or that has been tested adequately.
“My message has been meant to be enormously pessimistic,” Deutch said.
But he believes solar power is getting close to financially competitive, though it still costs about $4,000 per kwh. That’s why venture capitalists are getting so interested in solar these says, he said.
He also bought a small wind turbine for his summer home on Cape Cod.

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