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It's the same amount as paying for the capital cost of a new nuclear plant. Here are the calculations:

  • A recent French proposed $24.74/ton CO2 tax is equivalent to an additional  electric energy cost of 3.7 cents per kWh.
  • This is determined from knowing that a 1000 MW coal plant produces 3 million lbs of CO2 per hour which is 1500 tons/h. 
  • To produce one ton per hour requires a plant size of (1e6 kW)/1500 = 667 kW. Then 2474 cents/h / 667 kW = 3.7 cents per kWh.
  • The new NRG 2700 MW plant on the Texas coast is estimated to cost $10 billion or $3.7/w. For a base loaded generator, the $/w cost is about equal to the cents/kWh energy cost.
  • Therefore these two costs are similar. However, an existing coal plant will still have to pay for the fuel cost, which will make the new nuclear plant a lower cost option than paying the CO2 tax and continuing to operate the coal plant.

Smart utilities will catch on to this fact eventually.

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