In the last couple of years, five nuclear power plants in the U.S. have been put on the list for closure. These plants are getting challenged from two sides: competitive natural gas and renewables are eroding the economics of merchant projects, while technical challenges associated with age are making the plants more expensive to operate.

Some are cheering the slow, creaky demise of nuclear in the U.S. But others warn that if more plants come offline, emissions are headed for a steady increase -- potentially 4 percent to 5 percent.

In this week's show, we'll look at whether renewables and efficiency are capable of filling the gap left by retired nuclear plants, including the SONGS plant in southern California.

Later in the show, we'll talk about an infrastructure boondoggle in Australia that has raised electric rates there by up to 60 percent. Then, we'll look at how U.S. regulators are feeling about their role in meeting EPA carbon rules.

This podcast is sponsored by eGauge Systems, a manufacturer of next-generation energy meters forsolargeneration and building demand, submetering, performance contracts, LEED projects and net-zero buildings.

The Energy Gang is produced by Greentechmedia.com. The show features weekly discussion between energy futurist Jigar Shah, energy policy expert Katherine Hamilton and Greentech Media Editor Stephen Lacey.