Alternative Energy Primer and Investment Opportunity

Over 95% of the demand for coal over the next three decades will come from the electricity market. And China and India will be responsible for 70% of that new demand.
That's great news for the United States. And for China, Australia and Canada, where you'll find most of the world's untapped coal reserves. There's enough coal just in the known reserves to burn - at current rates - for another 300 years.
And all of it is miles away from the volatile Middle East.
In North America alone, we've got 254 billion tons of proven coal reserves - more than 25% of the world total (compare that to Saudi Arabia, with 24% of the world's oil).
So Chinese and U.S. companies are both making huge leaps with clean-coal technology. It's coal, but reprocessed in different ways to burn clean. With so much coal in the ground...every breakthrough in clean-coal technology could be worth billions to energy investors.
One of the ways to burn coal cleanly that's getting a lot of attention is called coal liquefaction, or liquid coal. The coal gets crushed into tiny particles, mixed with hydrogen and certain liquids and comes out as synthetic oil that burns much cleaner than regular coal.
In 2004 alone, U.S. nuclear power plants had a record 92.1% capacity of full use. Compare that to just 66% in 1990. Nuclear power provides more than 20% of America's electrical power.
Maybe you didn't know it, but the United States has 104 nuclear power plants operating at almost full capacity. Around the clock. That's more nuclear power generated than by any other country in the world!
Its use is up ninefold in the United States since 1973. And it's more commonly used for running a power turbine than natural gas, hydroelectric dams, oil, wind power or solar energy! In fact, nuclear power is already the second most common way to get electricity in the United States, more common than any other method except by burning coal!
Our electricity demand is so huge that the 104 plants still feed only 20% of our power demands. France is more famously dependent. It gets over 77% of its electrical juice from nuclear power. But France and the United States aren't alone. Over the last four decades, nuclear power has been the fastest-growing major source of electricity in the world.
Not too long ago, it looked like we'd reached the end of the nuclear age. Suddenly, it's starting all over again. But nuclear power today is nothing like it was back in the days of Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. Energy needs are nothing like they were then, either. Power-hungry countries like China, India and the United States are ready to up the ante.
Between China and India alone, the world could see at least 500 new nuclear reactors. Even in the United States, we're talking about increasing our nuclear output by 50% over the next 20 years.
From 1996-2001, most uranium companies actually got out of the business. Some mines were closed. Others were never started. You can imagine what happened as demand for uranium started back up.
By 2001, uranium was selling for $7.50 per pound But now, uranium skyrocketed to over $20 a pound! Remember, in 1983, uranium cost $40 a pound. That's more like $79 a pound today, after inflation. Uranium would have to shoot up another 295% to get to its real historical high.
Here's something else...
Nuclear power is many times more efficient than other kinds of energy. You can measure different kinds of fuel costs by measuring how much heat the fuel puts out, measured in British thermal units. One million Btu of coal costs about $1.25. One million Btu of natural gas, about $3.50. And 1 million Btu of oil costs about $5.70. Even if a pound of uranium cost $400, it would cost about 1.1 cents per 1 million Btu.
That's with current technology.
But there's a new kind of nuclear power plant technology just around the corner that's up to 100 times more efficient...is much safer...and could make even $1,000-a-pound uranium cost just 0.03 cents per kilowatt hour.
That's like getting a gallon of gasoline for half a cent.
Thorium is radioactive, like uranium and plutonium. It's what creates a lot of the heat in the Earth's core. Here's what's interesting: There are six times more thorium reserves in the world than there are uranium reserves...with more untapped energy than all the world's oil, coal, natural gas and uranium combined! Thorium has a high melting point, perfect for use in reactors. It's also safer. And all of today's reactors could run on thorium. Plus, you can use it combined with uranium. Not only to stretch out the world's uranium supply...
But also because the thorium-uranium mix burns more efficiently...and creates even less plutonium waste. And that leftover plutonium is the kind that won't work in bombs.