Originally Posted by Artmasterx
The problem is that almost all new power plants built (in the US and Europe) these days are tremendously efficient, and there is almost nothing to be gained for a given fuel source. Why do you think that the energy cost of electricity is so low? It would be a tremendous waste of capital to try to replace a lot of old coal plants with co-gen plants before the end of their life-span.
To first answer that question: I don't know that I do. But even if I do, clearly the cost issue has been deemed of secondary or lesser importance by the powers-that-be since automakers are being forced to comply to efficiency standards in utter costs-be-damned fashion. Write or wrong, if you are going to tell the automakers that we can't put a price on saving the earth, then everyone else should be guided by the same philosophy.
If there is "almost nothing to be gained from a given fuel source", well then we need to find a new way. Co-gen is one answer, but there are clearly others, and while I am fully aware that all answers come with their share of drawbacks, the same is true for hybrid-electric, full-electric, and fuel cell automobiles. Yet these solutions are nevertheless being pursued.
To my eye, there's a very clear imbalance here. You can justify the current state of affairs however you want, but automakers are having the screws put very tightly to their thumbs, while some other industries and organizations - often bigger offenders at that - roam relatively freely.