The news from Brasil is not good. The Third World demagogues want to continue their ankle-biting rather than look at forward looking proposals by the U.S. to develop new, more energy efficient technologies. If there is one thing I know from all those days in Thermodynamics class, it's energy efficient technologies.
The core of the U.S. position to introduce better technologies into existing facilities can be reduced to two words, Gray Davis. Remember him? The guy who got recalled in favor of Ahnold. The reason the California energy crisis was sooo expensive is that the lack of long term contracts meant electric power was purchased on the spot market. Added to this was a requirement to pay everyone the same price. This means that the least efficient producer sets the market price for everyone. They turned on some peaker plants from the fifties! Ouch, $400/ megawatt hour. To compound the problem, Davis didn't do anything except try to blame the problem on those Texas cowboys. Sound familiar?