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Nuclear Energy nuclear-fits

Published on November 5th, 2013 | by Giles Parkinson

150

Nuclear Prices Itself Out Of The Market — Graph

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November 5th, 2013 by
 

Originally published on RenewEconomy

The extent to which nuclear is being priced out of electricity markets has finally been revealed by the pricing mechanism unveiled by the British government in the deal to subsidise the Hinkley C nuclear.

The UK government will pay £92.5 for each megawatt hour produced from hinkley ($A154/MWh), around double the prevailing market price. This is after the UK supplied a loan guarantee for 65 per cent of the estimated $24 billion capital cost. The “strike price” – a fancy name for a feed in tariff – also has an escalator to take into account the impact of inflation, so the cost will rise in coming years.

So how does this compare with rival clean energy technologies? Pretty badly as it turns out.

This graph below, published by Craig Morris in Renewable Energy World reveals that the rates that will be offered for new nuclear from 2023 in the UK are far above what solar and wind currently cost. And, as Morris points out, the rates for solar and wind will go down by then, not up! Even offshore wind is getting £95/MWh from 2018 in the UK, but only for 15 years and without any loan guarantees.

nuclear-fit

This second graph below is even more interesting. It takes into account all the expensive PV that was installed with really high feed in tariffs at the start of Germany’s energy transition before the price of solar fell dramatically. From 2023, when the Hinkley reactor is due to be switched on, nuclear at this price still fairs poorly, and as the cost of those tariffs continue to decline, the cost of nuclear will continue to rise. It’s probably as good an illustration as any as to why Germany are not interested in new nuclear power station, and few countries are.

nuclear-fits

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About the Author

is the founding editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.



  • fireofenergy

    It’s a shame, people on the side of reducing excess CO2 argue pointlessly. Well here’s one thing we shouldn’t argue…
    DEVELOP THE LEAST EXPENSIVE NON CARBON SOURCES ASAP.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I agree. We need to greatly increase our installation rates for the least expensive low carbon technologies.

      (Now, ditch the all caps stuff, please.)

  • CaptD

    Nuclear offers a very long income stream for those that run and/or operate it, which is a huge incentive to building them in Countries where Political Leaders/Decision makers are prone to accepting donations in return for project approvals.

    Not so important to them, but vitally important to the ratepayers/end users is that they thanks to nuclear become enslaved to their Utilities for many decades, instead of being able to become energy independent, after the initial payback period, an option which Solar (of all flavors) offers.

    Also left unmentioned is the huge RISK that using nuclear entails should anything go wrong, something the Japanese now know all to well!

    With the prices of Solar (of all flavors) dropping monthly, while nuclear spirals ever upward it is easy to see which countries leaders are thinking more about providing for their own income stream than they are the people that they were elected/appointed to serve…

    Some of the above has been submitted here:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelkrancer/2013/11/15/nuke-huggers-why-some-climate-scientists-are-warming-to-nuclear-power/

  • Martin Cat

    Wind is cheap. Even unsubsidized wind is cheap. The problem is that wind turbines don’t produce power all of the time.

    “Wind turbines generate electrical energy when they are not shut down for maintenance, repair, or tours and the wind is between about 8 and 55 mph. Below a wind speed of around 30 mph, however, the amount of energy generated is very small. Wind turbines produce at or above their average rate around 40% of the time. Conversely, they produce little or no power around 60% of the time.”

    So, you can’t directly compare wind to nuclear since it does not provide power 24/7 like nuclear power does.

    https://www.wind-watch.org/faq-output.php

    • Bob_Wallace

      Sure you can compare wind to nuclear.

      Neither produce electricity when they are down for repairs. For example, the Fort Calhoun reactor has been offline for over two years.

      While nuclear can provide electricity 24/7 (if not shut down) that’s actually a problem. During late nights demand falls but nuclear plants continue to operate. That means that the surplus power has to be stored for later use. It’s about the same as storing wind-electricity for when the wind isn’t blowing.

      When we were building reactors in the US we had to build large amounts of storage in order to incorporate those reactors on our grids. We built 21 GW of pump-up and CAES.

      Now, here’s the best way to compare wind/solar and nuclear.

      Price.

      The most recent cost we have for new wind is about 4c/kWh. For new solar it’s about 5c/kWh in the SW. For nuclear it’s 16c/kWh.

      Nuclear is 3x to 4x the price of wind and solar.

      Storage in pump-up hydro costs somewhere around 5c/kWh. Stored wind would cost about 9c/kWh. Stored solar would cost about 10c/kW. Stored nuclear would cost about 21c/kWh.

      Stored nuclear is much more expensive than stored wind and solar.

      Then we can compare wind/solar and nuclear on time to install. Less than one or two years for wind. A few days to a few months for solar. Several years for nuclear.

      Wind and solar get carbon off our grids much faster (and for less money).

      And we can compare wind/solar and nuclear on introduced danger. Nuclear reactors are capable of melting down as has happened at TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima. Nuclear reactors produce millions of tons and millions of gallons of dangerous radioactive waste. Wind turbines and solar panels do not introduce any important risks into our lives.

      Now, haven’t we done a nice job of comparing wind, solar and nuclear? And discovered that nuclear is loser?

      Why, yes we have.

      The National Wind Watch is an anti-wind site that publishes FUD.

      • Martin Cat

        No you haven’t. What you have done is called Hit and Run rhetoric where the hits are not logically coherent with each other. And, some of what you said is nonsense.

        I am interested to know where on the web you read this false information that nuclear power plants aren’t needed to provide the baseload at night and produce surplus power that has to be stored.

        Check Google. Nuclear power plants can be throttled — some need to schedule it ahead of time, although they aren’t in most cases because there is sufficient baseload to require the power that they generate. At least there was until wind turbines running at night started bidding negative prices in order to receive the production tax credit.

        However, there is an excess of so-called baseload generation capacity at night. This is the reason that pumped storage hydro was originally installed. Because it is less expensive to produce the power at night with cheap coal, store it, and release it when needed during daily peaks than to use a peaker generator.

        A good example of the lack of coherence is comparing stored nuclear (which in most cases doesn’t exist. It would be stored coal) with stored wind and solar. Your, yourself stated that they would be for different reasons so why would your compare them?

        BTW, check your math on stored wind and solar. Assume 80% efficiency.

        To have a coherent comparison, we need to need to limit it to one thing so we don’t jump around with things that aren’t relevant. I would suggest that we start with that baseload since it is most basic. If you have wind (since it is cheapest) with a nameplate rating equal to your baseload, you will fall way short of supplying it because the capacity factor for wind is typically 30% to 40% while with a new nuclear plant it is going to be >90%. With the nuke, you are going to have to buy power when it is down for refueling and maintenance. However, with wind, you are going to need considerably more nameplate capacity and you are going to need storage.

        It is the need for storage that I think that you failed to adequately consider when comparing wind and nuclear. Yes, if we could use the 21.5 gWatts of pumped storage what were built some years ago, we could have stored wind for only 10c/kw-h (assuming 80% efficiency).

        However, new pumped storage will cost considerably more. And, there are limits to how much could be built due to geography. It is possible that existing hydroelectric dams can be modified for use as wind and solar backup or even for pumped storage. Still there are going to be limits on hydro. Grid level battery storage is in the R&D stage and it looks promising, but … . There is always that “but”. I doubt that it will be inexpensive. We are only guessing but it appears likely to me that wind with battery storage is going to be more expensive than nuclear power — especially new (not PWR or BWR) advanced nuclear.

        For now, natural gas turbine combined cycle is less than nuclear and it makes a good backup for wind and solar PV, but it does emit CO2, but it is much better than coal. Phase out coal NOW!

    • A Real Libertarian

      Lies. All lies.

  • CaptD

    Another key issue affecting the cost of operating a nuclear power plant (NPP) is the very high cost of personnel, (some of which earn over a million dollars per year) that not only operate the NPP but also protect it both while it is in normal operation and even when it is being decommissioned, a process that can take decades…

    In comparison, a modern gas fired power plant requires only a hand full of operators and can be shut down and or started up as demand changes which makes it much more cost efficient to operate, plus it does not require DOE trained guards 24/7.

  • JRT256

    Why do you spread the fallacy. The price of solar is temporarily depressed by a glut of marginal quality Chinese panels. I do not expect that the price of solar PV panels will continue a decline till supply and demand equalize and people realize that buying quality is a good thing. Leaving that aside, the direct comparison between the cost of the electricity actually produced by wind and solar PV is fallacious. The reason is simple. A nuclear power plant produces the name plate rating 24/7 only stopping for refueling and maintenance.. But wind and solar PV don’t produce power all of the time and while they do they produce power that varies in the amount. They are simply not comparable. Currently, wind and solar PV require backup, and in most cases, that means a natural gas fueled turbine. So, when you consider the cost of the power 24/7 of the wind or solar PV and the natural gas backup it is then more than nuclear power.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Your information is stale.

      Due to manufacturing oversupply panel prices dropped to the mid-50 cent per watt range. Some inefficient manufacturers went out of business and demand rose. Prices rose to the mid-70 cent range and now they are starting a more orderly decrease as companies become more efficient.

      And you don’t seem to understand the difference between capacity factor (CF) and cost. Capacity factor is the annual average output divided by the theoretical output were the facility to run at full speed 100% of the time (nameplate capacity).

      Cost per kWh is the important metric. Wind and solar, while having lower CFs, have much lower cost than nuclear energy. They are roughly 3x as cheap.

      The best price we have for new nuclear is 16c/kWh. Onshore wind in the US is now about 4c. Solar is running 5c to 10c. Natural gas is around 5c. 16 the largest of all those numbers.

      Yes, wind and solar require storage. However nuclear also requires storage. Reactors can’t be turned off at night so storage is required to move off-peak production to peak demand. Back when we were building rectors in the US we build 21GW of pump-up hydro and CAES to shift ill-timed nuclear production.

      • JRT256

        No, my information is current. We are in the time where supply and demand are adjusting. The price of solar PV panels is still being depressed by China dumping poor quality panels on the market at low prices. It will take a while for the adjustment to complete.

        You are confused because you do not want to understand what I said. Or, what I said is outside your universe of understanding.

        Try it again. Nuclear can produce the 100% of the nameplate rating 24/7 stopping only at periods of over a year for refueling and maintenance.

        You appear to understand that wind and solar PV have a capacity factor. I think you understand that that means that they don’t produce power all of the time and when they are producing power that the amount that they do produce will vary.

        So, what do you do if you have wind and solar PV for your baseload power. You either add backup which is probably natural gas fueled turbines or some kind of storage which isn’t available yet. Either way, it adds to the cost of using it for baseload power so it must be ADDED to the cost of wind or solar PV in order to compare it to nuclear.

        I would question your figures. Especially the figure for nuclear. All anti-nuclear articles seem to come up with exaggerated figures for nuclear electricity. I do not deny that it costs more than the actual electricity generated by wind and solar PV. And natural gas is certainly less expensive at the present time. The question is whether wind and solar PV with storage or backup can still provide 24/7 constant power for less than nuclear. That is the valid comparison. Because people expect reliable power, not brown outs and black outs. Also, some of this wind energy such as offshore is going to require some expensive distribution transmission lines and the cost of those should also be considered.

        Currently nuclear reactors are at the bottom of the stack for baseload power. They are always used if they are on line because their operating costs are so low. So, there is no question of turning them off. If we build a lot of new design reactors, there will be no problem either because the new ones can be throttled to match the electric demand.

        PG&E has pumped hydro storage and I read that they intended to build some more capacity. It is useful to shift unused baseload capacity at night to peak daytime use. It would be very useful for the excess nighttime wind power. However, there are sever limits due to geography on how much of it could be installed in the US.

        • Bob_Wallace

          No, your solar claims are flat-assed wrong. Prices fell to the mid-50c range and are now up. You can check for yourself here -

          http://pvinsights.com/

          “Nuclear can produce the 100% of the nameplate rating 24/7 stopping only at periods of over a year for refueling and maintenance.

          You appear to understand that wind and solar PV have a capacity factor. I think you understand that that means that they don’t produce power all of the time and when they are producing power that the amount that they do produce will vary.”

          The CF for nuclear in the US is 2011 (most recently released numbers) was 84.3%.

          The CF for new wind farms is running in the mid-40% range with some hitting 50%. Solar CF ranges from around 17.5% in the NE to as much as 30% in the SW with tracking.

          I understand CF. Do you understand that?

          The price for nuclear – the best price guide we have is the price guarantee being negotiated between the UK, France and China for a new reactor at Hinkley Point, UK. That price, including subsidies, is 16c/kWh.

          That price comes after an open bidding process in which any company capable of producing electricity with a reactor could have won by submitting a lower price but no company presented a lower bid.

          Do you understand that?

          Nuclear reactors are “at the bottom” simply because the are too difficult to turn on and off. It takes days. Can’t turn off a reactor when demand is low and wind is capable of supplying the demand. Nuclear sometimes has to sell at a loss in order to underbid wind and cause wind to curtail.

          Do you understand that?

          We have many pump-up hydro sites around the US.

          We also have ~80,000 existing dams of which we use ~2,500 for generation. Based on a survey of existing dams on federal lands at least 10% of those dams should be usable for pump-up storage. They have adequate head and are reasonably close to transmission.

          We also have thousands of sites where we could install closed loop pump-up. Not only surface systems but in abandoned mines as Germany is now pursuing. The UK is building storage at an abandoned rock quarry. Canada is building storage at an old open pit mine.

          The question is whether pump-up or another storage technology will be cheaper. It’s not a question we need to answer at this time. Our grids can accept approximately a 40% penetration of wind and solar. We are now at about 5%. It will be a few years before additional storage will be needed.

          Additionally with the closing of nuclear reactors we are freeing up storage that can be used for renewables. We’ve closed/scheduled to close five reactors in the US this year. A couple dozen more are in danger of going bankrupt in the near future.

          • JRT256

            So, your link shows a price range of $0.99 to $0.49 per Watt. Isn’t that consistent with what we both said?

            2012 86.4% according to NEI. Yes, that is a bit short of 90%

            For the price of electric power from nuclear, you continue to use the price from ONLY one plant which is in the UK. I can find other figures on other web sites. I simply said that it was a bit high. You simply ignore what I said.

            Now you continue to wander off the subject by bringing up more and more things. This is a typical tactic that Leftists use instead of discussing the issue in question. I am not going to continue with it.

            I see absolutely nothing in your reply that addresses my point about the fact it is not valid to directly compare the cost of electricity from nuclear power plants with the cost from wind and Solar PV due to the capacity factors and the variability of wind and solar PV output.

            Therefore, I can only presume that you realize that I am correct and are trying to obfuscate that fact.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Of course Bob only uses one price!

            There’s only one price available.

            When another contract is signed then Bob will add that.

            What’s the problem here?

          • JRT256

            Do I, in the USA, care what the British Government agreed to pay to one nuclear power plant in the UK?

          • A Real Libertarian

            Considering that you keep promoting nuclear, then yes you really should.

          • JRT256

            Actually, I try to promote reality. The reality is that if you have only wind and solar PV, you are going to have brown outs and black outs unless you have good storage. So, at the present time that means we need nuclear or geothermal. I would recommend advanced nuclear; that means no more pricey light water reactors.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “The reality is that if you have only wind and solar PV, you are going to have brown outs and black outs unless you have good storage.”

            Yes, and if you have only nuclear you are going to need good storage.

            “So, at the present time that means we need nuclear or geothermal.”

            No. That is clearly incorrect.

          • JRT256

            Well we have the broken record syndrome. You keep making the false statement that storage will be required for nuclear power.

            This is a false statement. New advanced nuclear power plants will be capable of load following.

            If you are going to keep making that idiotic repetition, would you please at least provide some citation for where you got it.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yes, JRT. We could build load-following nuclear reactors.

            Since
            new nuclear electricity is already the most expensive electricity we
            could choose and load-following increases the cost of
            nuclear-electricity how attractive do you think that will make nuclear
            energy to the people who actually have to spend the money to build new
            capacity?

            Can you do math?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sure, we could build load-following reactors.

            You do remember how load-following makes nuclear electricity more expensive, don’t you?

            16 cent/kWh electricity. Load follow so that the annual plant output falls by 75% and the price of electricity rises to 21 cents.

            Those are wholesale prices.

            US average retail electricity prices are in the 12 – 13 cent per kWh range. How does 16 – 21 cent wholesale electricity fit into the market? Do we suffer much higher electricity prices and damage our economy?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yes, you do.

            You care because that is the very best indicator of what electricity from a newly built reactor would cost.

            That is important real world data which is useful in planning wherever one lives.

          • JRT256

            It was my understanding that things were more expensive in the UK than they are in the US. That simple.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The link reports the average price of silicon panels to be in the mid-70 cent range. That is up about 20 cents from the bottom when failing manufacturers were dumping product and other manufacturers were forced to price match.

            Review the discussion.

            You want more than one real world price? OK. Let’s review the price history of nuclear for the last five years.

            Ontario Canada and San Antonio TX asked for no bull turnkey bids for new reactors., no bid low-deliver high stuff like the nuclear industry had long done.

            The low bids would have meant electricity around 20c/kWh.

            Turkey asked for fixed delivery price bids similar to what the UK requested. Build some reactors and guarantee the selling price. The low bid they received was 21c/kWh.

            There. I just multiplied my data point times 4. Feel better now? —

            “I see absolutely nothing in your reply that addresses my point about the fact it is not valid to directly compare the cost of electricity from nuclear power plants with the cost from wind and Solar PV due to the capacity factors and the variability of wind and solar PV output.”

            What will it take to get you to realize that CF is not an important metric? Comparing the CF of nuclear, wind and solar is totally meaningless.

            CF is one of the factors that helps set price. CF, capex, finex, O&M make up the LCOE, the “price”.

            Price is the important metric. Price and time of delivery.

            And what will it take to get you to realize that both wind/solar and nuclear require storage? Wind/solar because they don’t produce all the time and nuclear because it overproduces part of the time.

            Both renewables and nuclear need storage and/or dispatchable backup.

            You build a lot of wind/solar – you need storage.

            You build a lot of nuclear – you need storage.

            If you can’t grasp those basic concepts you are never going to understand the issues.

          • JRT256

            I said it before and you ignored it because it didn’t fit what you wanted to think. Current nuclear plants are always used first because they have such a low operating cost. Do not confuse this with the wind power that is bidding negative prices so that they can collect the production tax credit. Nuclear plants bid to match these because it is less expensive than turning them off. NEW nuclear plants will NOT need storage because they can be throttled to adjust to electricity demand. Now go back and find where I said that new nuclear plants could be throttled to match demand. Now, OTOH, if storage was available, nuclear plants would be used to charge it. That is a lot different from needing it. I will also say it again that our current nuclear plants don’t over produce because they are on the bottom of the stack for baseload power. Only Federally subsidised wind power disrupts this.

            If you just keep saying the same things again despite being told that they are not correct, what is the point of talking to you further? And if you are told facts and you do not accept them, what is the point?

            Please note that I do not feel better because you are unable to grasp the fact that you have again taken up a lot of space without addressing even ONE WORD to my original point. A point that you appear to be in total denial about.

            It doesn’t matter if wind and solar PV are half what they are now and nuclear costs 0.50 per kw–h. It will still be true that there is no valid cost comparison between them because people need baseload power which nuclear can provide and which wind and solar PV cannot.

            In fact, having inexpensive power sources which are not capable of providing baseload power is already disrupting the operation of the grid in areas of the US and it is going to be something that the electric regulators are going to have to address before the market becomes unstable.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Please learn how electricity markets work.

          • JRT256

            They work poorly. I don’t know if they can sort themselves out or not.

            I presume that you don’t think that electric markets are a natural monopoly. The thing is that when they are a regulated monopoly, the consumer pays the average price for the product but when there is a free market, the customer pays the marginal price.

            However, you need to learn what is dysfunctional about them. Do you understand that having baseload plants not operating at a profitable rate all of the time is not a stable market?

            The most pathological example would be only Federally subsidised wind and nuclear without a subsidy. Wind receives a production subsidy of so much for every kw-h that they produce and have almost zero operating cost so they are willing to sell their power for a negative amount in order to collect the subsidy. Nuclear power has a very low operating cost but the plants are very expensive so it costs them to have the plant sit idle.

            The IER report lists a CF of 34% for wind so lets say that wind can only produce power 34% of the time. We will also use the cost prices from the report: wind $86.6/mw-h nuclear $108.4.

            I would hope that I do not have to explain in detail to you why this set of conditions results in an unstable market. When wind power is available it can always under bid nuclear, even go less than zero because there is the subsidy to collect. However, most of the time, wind power is not available and can not bid against nuclear.

            There is also solar PV, but without a price subsidy, it is more expensive than either one at $144.3/mw-h. The capacity factory (stationary) is 25%. Since even if there was no overlap, the capacity factors add up to less than 100% there is still going to be times when there would only be nuclear available in our example world.

            In the current real world market we have fossil fuel power plants that help to stabilize the market. However, the instability of wind versus baseload coal fired plants occurs at night in some areas because it is difficult to shutdown a coal plant for a short time.

            It appears that currently coal is being replaced with natural gas. Gas turbine combined cycle is both dispatchable and inexpensive at $67.1/mw-h. This will clearly stabilize the market but it is not low Carbon energy like nuclear.

            http://bit.ly/1aEPkbG

          • A Real Libertarian

            Capacity Factor does not mean that a wind turbine produces 3MW 34% of the time and 0MW 66% of the time.

            If the PTC is so desirable then build a nuke plant and collect it. Why wouldn’t you? Oh right, because nukes are too expensive.

            This just goes to show that nuclear isn’t a serious solution because fallout boys don’t understand how the world works.

            P.S. Anyone who has a clue what they’re talking about knows the EIA’s numbers are crap.

          • JRT256

            “Capacity Factor does not mean that a wind turbine produces 3MW 34% of the time and 0MW 66% of the time”

            And what do you think that it does mean? The wind doesn’t blow all of the time.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “And what do you think that it does means? The wind doesn’t blow all of the time. Would a linear distribution for 68% of the time be a better approximation for you?”

            It means that over a year the turbine produces 34% of the the electricity it would produce running full blast 24/365.

            “Nukes clearly cost more than combined cycle natural gas plants even with the small PTC for nukes.”

            So nukes can’t compete? Told ya.

            “Do you have better figures than the EIA’s somewhere? Or, do you just reject them because they don’t support your position. They appear to be correct, at least showing the relative prices to me.”

            http://cleantechnica.com/2013/08/11/us-wind-power-prices-down-to-0-04-per-kwh/

            http://cleantechnica.com/2013/05/21/uk-solar-costs-pounded-largest-solar-farm-one-pound-or-1-59-per-watt/

            http://cleantechnica.com/2013/11/05/nuclear-prices-market-graph/

          • JRT256

            Your statement about the CF is the definition. It says nothing about what it means in practice. I think that my statement that they produce full power part of the time, zero power part of the time, and something in between (partial power) part of the time is a correct description of what happens in practice.

            Yes, nukes can’t compete with natural gas. However, natural gas emits CO2. Then, we don’t know if natural gas will be that cheep for 40 years.

            Anecdotal information is not price comparison figures.

          • A Real Libertarian

            And this why you should stay out of science.

            You can’t say “that’s anecdotal!” when someone gives you the average wind PPA price for America.

            Please learn what anecdotal means.

          • JRT256

            I know what ‘anecdotal’ means, the problem is that you didn’t read the article in the first link carefully enough to understand that that average price is only for a certain group of wind projects which means that it is anecdotal. Perhaps reading the original article would help:

            http://1.usa.gov/17vwwB3

          • A Real Libertarian

            “that average price is only for a certain group of wind projects which means that it is anecdotal.”

            That would make it cherry-picking, not anecdotal.

            Except that “certain group of wind projects” is defined as “all wind projects in America over the course of 2 years”, which makes it “cannot tell if stupid or lying”.

          • JRT256

            No, I don’t think that it was selective, so it wasn’t cherry-picking. But, it wasn’t a survey of all wind projects in the US, or a sampling or all of them using statistical methods, so it was anecdotal.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “But, it wasn’t a survey of all wind projects in the US,”

            Yes it was.

          • JRT256

            Only NEW ones. Read it again. The original article is clearer on that.

          • A Real Libertarian

            New contracts are all that matters when it comes to the price.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The 4c number was based on two years (2011 and 2012) of signed PPAs. Yes, those were new contracts.

            Do you think we should be taking about the current price of wind-electricity using 2011/2012 prices or, perhaps, 1987/1988 prices?

          • Bob_Wallace

            From your link…

            “the average levelized long-term price from wind power sales agreements signed in 2011/2012 – many of which were for projects built in 2012 – fell to around $40/MWh nationwide. ”

            But earlier you were insisting that wind was 8.66c/kWh, not 4c.

          • A Real Libertarian

            That’s actually my link, which explains why JRT256 has no clue what it says.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Sorry. I’m trying to do this from email and that sometimes doesn’t work well.

            JRT might not be a bad guy, but he’s not very well informed about energy issues and he’s being a bit hard headed when he would be better served by learning some of the basics.

          • JRT256

            I realize that one of the reason that Greens are Greens is that they have problem with critical thinking. But, why bother with such nonsense. The report that I quoted had a figure of 8.66c/kW-h (which I think included transmission costs) and someone came up with an anecdotal report that showed a subsidized price of 4c. Now this is what Leftists do, improperly characterize the facts.

            Note the unsubsidized price and consider transmission costs. A Federal subsidy doesn’t lower the COST of wind power. I wonder if these wind parks are still LP tax shelter deals. If so, have you considered that that might have something to do with the low price, as opposed to costs?

            I said that I was willing to look at other price surveys, but what someone came up with was anecdotes. I know that there are other price surveys out there with different figures, they might even be more accurate, but anecdotal information is useless.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “anecdotal information is useless”

            Exactly, that’s why your “But I’ve heard differently!” and “Who cares what nukes cost?” are bullshit.

            This is right-wingers fail horribly in positions of authority. Because they just keep bashing their head against the brick wall of reality screaming “You’re Wrong! You’re Wrong!”.

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, JRT, you did not quote a report that had a 8.66 price. You quoted a prediction from the EIA which is clearly incorrect. You did not report a price, but a badly wrong guess.

            The 4c number is not an anecdotal report. It is a major annual report of the wind market.

            I think you’ve about used up your free passes for disinformation and insults here. I’ve been hoping you were capable of learning, but I’m suspecting not.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Capacity Factor does not mean that a wind turbine produces 3MW 34% of the time and 0MW 66% of the time”

            “And what do you think that it does mean? The wind doesn’t blow all of the time.”

            Look it up. Learn something.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Whoa, what happened here?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Looks like Disqus threw up.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Let’s try that again…

            To JRT -

            “Capacity Factor does not mean that a wind turbine produces 3MW 34% of the time and 0MW 66% of the time”

            From JRT, who clearly doesn’t understand CF -
            “And what do you think that it does mean? The wind doesn’t blow all of the time.”

            From Bob, who gets tired of people pontificating from the pulpit of ignorance -
            Look it up. Learn something.

          • JRT256

            Something wrong with your posing?

          • Bob_Wallace

            “The IER report lists a CF of 34% for wind so lets say that wind can only produce power 34% of the time.”

            You still have not bothered to learn what CF is. Your statement simply reeks of ignorance.

            “We will also use the cost prices from the report: wind $86.6/mw-h nuclear $108.4.”

            No, wise people will not. Those prices are different than what real world prices are.

            You really shouldn’t try to lecture people when you don’t know jack.

          • JRT256

            Little can be accomplished by using biased, anecdotal, or cherry-picked prices.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Even less can be accomplished by using clearly incorrect prices.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “I said it before and you ignored it because it didn’t fit what you wanted to think. Current nuclear plants are always used first because they have such a low operating cost.”

            No, nuclear plants are used first because they can’t be turned off quickly. And they must underbid other generation. They have no option.
            “NEW nuclear plants will NOT need storage because they can be throttled to adjust to electricity demand. ”

            Chew on that and I’ll deal with the baseload issue in another comment.
            First, please stop the all caps shouting stuff.

            Now, let’s have a little lesson on the cost effects of load-following with nuclear reactors…..

            The cost of building a reactor is high. We call that the “overnight costs”.
            It takes a long time to build a reactor and all the money that has to be borrowed for construction creates a large interest debt which is accrued before the reactor can start producing revenue.

            When a nuclear reactor goes into operation it has a very large financial obligation it must meet. As well as some operating expenses. Most of the operating expenses are “fixed”. They stay the same regardless of how much the plant is operating (technicians, security, etc.). Reactors have small “variable” operating costs. Fuel costs for a reactor are quite modest, about $0.0075/kWh.

            When a reactors gets throttled back very little money is saved and the big expenses continue unabated.

            Let’s say for every $1 million of payments that must be made each year a plant generates 6.25 MWh of electricity. $1 million / 6.25 MWh = 16 cents per kWh.

            That’s for a 90% CF which allows for normal refueling and servicing.

            Now let’s put that same reactor into a load-following role. Let’s say that on average half of every day the reactor throttles back to half-speed in order to reduce output. Over a year only 75% as much electricity will be generated. 4.69 MWh. Now the $1 million has to be paid.

            $1 million / 4.69 MWh = 21 cents per kWh.

            Load following would be a financial disaster for a nuclear plant.

            Natural gas plants, OTOH, have low overnight costs and are built in quick time which means less accumulated interest. They have lower fixed O&M costs. They have significantly higher variable (fuel) costs than a nuclear plant. And they come on line much faster. The turbine part of a CCNG can cycle up in 10-15 minutes and the steam turbine can reach full speed in three hours or so.

          • JRT256

            It would be nice to have bold and underline available.

            Yes, nuclear has a high capital cost and low operating cost. It is the same with wind and solar PV. So, load following would be a financial disaster for them as well, I guess.

            You have to consider if the world goes all renewals as Greens advocate that they won’t all be needed all of the time. This will be that same as with nuclear.

            Natural Gas is the opposite but they have CO2 emissions.

            Natural gas CC turbines should be able to start faster than you said depending on the design since heat exchangers are used rather than a boiler.

            Your prejudice is obvious, you are just trying to think up negative things to say about nuclear. I don’t know why I waste my time answering you.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Yes, nuclear has a high capital cost and low operating cost. It is the same with wind and solar PV. So, load following would be a financial disaster for them as well, I guess.”

            You still don’t get it. The financial nut for wind and solar are nothing at all like that for nuclear. Wind and solar can curtail without nearly the financial loss of nuclear.

            Why don’t you quit “wasting” your time making comments about stuff you don’t know about and spend some time learning?

          • JRT256

            You continue to, like all Greens do, ignore the elephant in the room which is the intermittent nature of wind and the part of the time schedule of solar. I know that, but you continue to pretend that it doesn’t exist. I would tell you to try to learn it and to try to look at it from the point of view from the customer and from the viewpoint of baseload, but I fear that it would require professional help for you to be able to do so. I have read some about people with such strongly ingrained political beliefs in other contexts and then can read things that are contrary to their belief systems and it is just as though they didn’t read the words. They just don’t input them into their brain.

            Is it so hard to understand that it doesn’t matter how cheep wind and solar PV are if I, as s customer, want electricity at 6:15 PM and neither one can provide it to me without using expensive storage. I am trying to make a simple point that to supply the baseload with wind and solar PV that you need to use storage. THEREFORE, you also need to consider the cost of storage (or if you are willing to have CO2 emissions, then natural gas turbine backup). Is that really so hard to understand. For me, a retired engineer, it is obvious. Now, we compare the price of wind and/or solar PV along with the storage or backup with nuclear and we have a logical comparison that would make sense to the customer that wants access to electricity 24/7.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “You continue to, like all Greens do, ignore the elephant in the room which is the intermittent nature of wind and the part of the time schedule of solar.”

            No, JRT, in now way do “Greens” ignore the need for storage.

            I think you’ve used up your last opportunity to engage in honest discussion.

            Have a nice day.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “I have read some about people with such strongly ingrained political
            beliefs in other contexts and then can read things that are contrary to
            their belief systems and it is just as though they didn’t read the
            words. They just don’t input them into their brain.”

            Irony alert!

          • A Real Libertarian

            There, bold.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “It doesn’t matter if wind and solar PV are half what they are now and nuclear costs 0.50 per kw–h. It will still be true that there is no valid cost comparison between them because people need baseload power which nuclear can provide and which wind and solar PV cannot.”

            The ratio between peak and off-peak demand in the us can be 3:1 and can happen over a few hours. Trying to match that demand with always on generation would be pretty much impossible.

            Because of that we use storage and dispatchable generation (and a bit of load-shifting) to make coal and nuclear work.

            In the exact same way we will use storage, dispatchable generation and load-shifting to make wind, solar and other renewables match demand.

            Utilities are moving away from the concept of “baseload” and to a model of supplying power when it is desired using the least expensive technologies to generate the power. Coal plants are closing because they cannot economically meet emission standards and new coal plants are not being built. Some of our nuclear plants are closing because they are no longer economically competitive.

            The prices of wind and solar have fallen incredibly rapid over the last few years and it is expected that price decrease will continue. The world of electricity has changed and what seemed a good idea only a few years ago has been largely discarded.

            That is simply how it is.

          • JRT256

            You have said almost nothing. However, you have convinced me of what I already knew, which is that Greens are simply unable to even think about this. It is that simple.

            You have misunderstood what baseload is. It is a concept that applies to the LOAD not only to the power to supply it.

            There is very little storage. The capacity factors of wind and solar PV add up to less than 1. So, even if you have both, there are going to be times when, if that is what you depend on for electric power, there will not be sufficient electricity available. What Greens can not think about is, even with the low prices for wind and solar PV electricity, what will they do for electric power when there isn’t any available. Can you try to understand that concept?

            Again, if they can’t supply the baseload, what is the point of trumpeting how low the price is going? You need to consider what can supply the baseload. If that is something that includes wind and solar PV, that is OK.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “You have misunderstood what baseload is. It is a concept that applies to the LOAD not only to the power to supply it.”

            No, I fully know what baseload means and how it is used.

            You will get no more warnings about all cap posting.

          • JRT256

            OK, then why did you make the _stupid_ statement about it?

            Baseload power is the power to supply the baseload no matter how you get it.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “There is very little storage.”

            We have 21 GW of pump-up hydro and CAES. That is a very large amount of storage. We are adding battery storage at an increasing rate.

            “The capacity factors of wind and solar PV add up to less than 1″

            You continue to make stupid comments because you fail to understand CF.

          • A Real Libertarian

            We’re going to ridicule you until you learn what capacity factor means and why that makes you wrong.

          • CaptD

            RE: Current nuclear plants are always used first

            I believe that is because their Utilities earn higher profits from them and they CANNOT be shut down without costing the same utilities big loses, which is why these same Utilities keep pushing their “base load” mantra!

            BTW: Southern CA has operated since 01/31/12 without San Onofre NPP provided “base load” just fine, since SCE’s replacement steam generator design multi-billion dollar debacle caused San Onofre to be decommissioned!

            In CA where there is now at least a 15 to 20 percent surplus of energy, the one remaining nuclear power plant (NPP) is still being operated because it’s utility refuses to acquire energy from other sources, claiming that it would increase the cost of Energy, while at the same time continuing to generate additional nuclear waste for which no long term storage site is available – so the true cost of using nuclear cannot be listed since a large component of its true cost is unknown.

          • JRT256

            Another confused soul.

            A utility earns their return on investment from their power plants whether or not they are operating. However, the nuclear plants are almost always operated if available because their operating costs are so low compared to their capital costs.

            A Westinghouse PWR can be throttled back however, it is not really a simple matter to do so unless it is planned in advance and there is no great advantage in doing so.

            Southern California is only short of power in the Summer due to air conditioner load. It was my understanding that they were short of power this summer due to the fact that SO was down and had to purchase power.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “A utility earns their return on investment from their power plants whether or not they are operating.”

            And how the fuck does that happen?

          • Bob_Wallace

            “A utility earns their return on investment from their power plants whether or not they are operating.”

            More clueless posting.

            You can’t earn on what you don’t sell. The only exception is for gas peaker plants which receive capacity payments. (I’m sure you have no idea what that is.)

            Nuclear plants do not receive capacity contracts.

            Southern California has been short of power because they unexpectedly lost SOMES. They are now replacing that capacity from other sources, especially rooftop solar. They had to purchase power from out the region and activate some long closed fossil fuel plants because there was no advance notice that SOMES would close.

            Large thermal plants can be headaches for grid operators.

          • CaptD

            Actually SCE the operator of San Onofre had from 01/31/12 to the time they decided to decommission San Onofre to enable additional PV installations but they declined to do that since that would eat into their market share long term. The CA Public Utility Commission (CPUC) also failed the publics trust by not making SCE and SDG&E (major and minor owners of San Onofre) enable ratepayers by providing additional incentives to add rooftop solar, instead of continuing to have ratepayers pay SCE to drag their feet trying to coverup their design debacle. BTW: Ratepayers are still paying about 50 million a month for San Onofre while the CPUC investigates the “reasonableness” of what SCE did at San Onofre!

          • CaptD

            Running San Onofre NPP at less than rated power is a big loss for the Utility and that is why they went way out of their way to get a up-rate from the NRC, which started the cascade of problems that led to SCE’s replacement steam generator design debacle that will cost them billions in rebates to ratepayers, unless the CPUC turns a blind eye to the entire investigation that is now ongoing.

  • Shanil Ayntrazi

    implementing a Coordinated Offshore Energy Extraction system, would further reduce the cost of 1 MWH:

    SUMMARY

    The COEE extracts offshore renewable energy; Wave, Tidal, Wind and Solar. The COEE construction unit is a building block for offshore wind farms, wind turbine floating foundations and Floating Bridges.

    The Floating Bridge provides Floating Foundations support for offshore wind turbine
    farms and support for electric power and control cables to the shoreline and
    for maintenance.

    The Floating Bridge is used for access to oil/gas rigs and for support of oil/gas
    pipelines, electric power and control cables to the shoreline.

    The Floating Bridge provides access to and between islands, across rivers, at
    reservoirs behind dams, for offshore wind turbine farms; for transport,
    installation and maintenance.

    The system accepts standard wind turbines as provided by others. The wind turbine
    support being modified to fix to the floating wind turbine structure.

    OUTPUT
    A coee construction unit measuring 16.5×12.5 meters can provide power output in KW/m for 0 to 8m high wave, and energy output per year per meter of sea front in excess of the following depending on sea and wind states:

    ITEM Output KW/meter Output KW-H/m/Yr

    I. Wave energy 0 to 88.49 0 to 45,503

    ii.Tidal energy 0 to 22.82 0 to 166,586

    iii. Solar Energy, 54 sqm. 0 to 12.50 0 to 39,400

    iv. Wind Turbine 0 to 47.62 0 to 142,587

    Total per meter of sea front 0 to 171.43 0 to 394,076
    From the above, it is easy to calculate the Return on Investment
    (ROI), by estimating the capital cost per KW for each system, and the sale
    price per KW-Hour of energy provided per year.

    It is worth for Clients and Consultants to request an Alternate Bid based on the Coordinated Offshore Energy Extraction and Floating Wind Turbine Foundations and Bridges. This way they will have a real
    estimate and an estimate of KW-Hours produced per year.

    The COEE and FB system does not require R&D neither Prototype testing. The engineering calculations can be easily developed and verified, and all equipment are available on the market with proven performance records.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Get back to us when there’s one up and running. With data to share.

  • Cosette

    Solar photovoltaic power installed each quarter in Germany and weighted average cost of photovoltaic electricity for new installations.

    http://energeia.voila.net/solaire/cout_pv_allemagne.htm (in french)

    Quarterly data tables are updated.

  • GoHereNotThere

    Germany has been hugely successful with Renewable Energy.

    Germany has produced the energy-equivalent of 40 nuclear power plants with Wind and Solar Energy alone!

    This success makes nuclear energy obsolete.

    Read the headlines on ENENEWS to learn the dangers inherent with nuclear energy.

  • wattleberry

    We can probably expect vigorous support for the renewable option from the UK Labour Party as this is quite a gift to them, even though their vacillation during government is largely responsible for the awkward choices now having to be made.

    • CaptD

      I believe that the UK’s poor choice of using nuclear is because the “fix” is in and those in power (pun intended) that are in a position to make decisions are connected to the nuclear industry in much the same way that the people of Japan are powerless to keep their Utility gangs from pushing nuclear despite the Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster that has happened at Fukushima!

      • wattleberry

        This raises the thorny issue of who really makes the decisions, because it surely couldn’t be ministers, who ‘simply’ have to authorise policies based on ‘best advice’ from their advisers……
        I think these issues once again call into question the whole democratic imbroglio so soon after the credit debacle demonstrated graphically how governments are prepared to wilfully avoid taking preventive measures in their short-term political interests in perpetual left-right obsessions.

        • CaptD

          Jolly Good Comment!

          Those most worried about their own futures should not be running Governments, because they will always disappoint in the long run!

  • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

    Two major problems with this article.
    1) The National Renewable Energy Lab recently concluded that renewable energy can only provide about a third of our energy …crickets chirping. What’s your game plan. …2/3 from fossil fuels?
    2) Nuclear energy, over the long haul, isn’t more expensive than Renewables. Arguments for or against any given technology based on a biased prediction of “future” costs are worthless. If you really could predict future energy costs you would be the richest person in the world. You aren’t .,.ergo…

    • Bob_Wallace

      Russ, both of your points are wrong.

      1) That is not what the NREL reported. They found that our existing grids could be ~30% wind and solar – with no changes. By adding more storage and more dispatchable generation as will as utilizing load-shifting we can go to a 100% renewable grid. (I think the western grid “as is” limit was 35% and the Hawaiian grid limit was 45%.”

      2) There is no truth to the claim that nuclear can be as cheap as renewables.

      The agreement being offered in the UK for new nuclear power is 15 cents per kWh (subsidies included would take the cost to 16c/kWh). That’s a guaranteed price for 35 years and will rise with inflation.

      The average price for wind contracts in the lower 48 during 2011 and 2012 was 4 cents per kWh (a bit over 5 cents with subsidies removed). Solar is now selling in the SW US for 5 cents per kWh (a bit over 6 cents with subsidies removed).

      BTW, the PPA for solar at 5 cents is fixed, will not increase with inflation. Don’t know about the wind PPAs.

      Our early generation wind turbines stayed on the job for 30 years. Our newer tech ones should last longer. After they are paid off during the normal 20 year financing period we should get 15 – 20 more years of electricity for about $0.01/kWh.

      Our 40 year old solar panels are still performing at 80% of their original output. We really have no idea how many more decades they will continue to produce electricity. Like wind, after the 20 year financing period operating costs drop to $0.01/kWh or less.

      Nuclear simply cannot touch that.

      • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

        That is not what the NREL reported. They found that our existing grids could be ~30% wind and solar – with no changes

        .

        That is a complete fabrication. It cracks me up to watch guys like you blow off the results of the most comprehensive study ever done by the National Renewable Energy Lab. It’s like arguing evolution with a creationist.

        Google Biodiversivist “The Exaggerated Promise of Renewable Energy”

        Google: Biodiversivist The “Nuclear Energy Costs too Much” Argument

        and Biodiversivist The “We Don’t Need Nuclear Energy Because Renewables Can Do It All” argument

        I’d provide links but that would give the moderator an excuse to hold up the comment …forever.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Here are the NREL numbers Russ…

          The Eastern Wind Integration and Transmission Study is one of the largest regional wind integration studies to date – 20%-30% wind power is technically achievable.

          The Western Wind and Solar Integration Study examines the benefits and challenges of integrating up to 35% wind and solar energy penetration into the grid by 2017. The study finds that these targets are technically feasible and do not necessitate extensive additional infrastructure, but do require key changes to current operational practice.

          http://www.nrel.gov/continuum/utility_scale/integrating_wind_solar.cfm

          The Eastern grid study was carried out in 2008. Since then more dispatchable gas has been added and coal decreased. This allows for wind penetration higher than the 20-30% they found plus solar needs to be included.

          It appears that your accusation is a fabrication.

        • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

          Bob Wallace said:

          That is not what the NREL reported. They found that our existing grids could be ~30% wind and solar – with no changes …It appears that your accusation is a fabrication.

          Strawman arguments don’t work on the internet. I can simply cut and paste what I really said, which was …

          The National Renewable Energy Lab recently concluded that renewable energy can only provide about a third of our energy …crickets chirping. What’s your game plan. …2/3 from fossil fuels?

          Or possibly this was just a misunderstanding.

          You are talking about our grid’s capacity to handle about 30% of electricity generation from wind and solar, which I don’t disagree with. I am talking about the NREL study that showed that only about a third of our total energy consumption can come from renewables, which “would require considerable transmission investment.”

          I’m all for promotion of renewables. They need it. What perplexes me is why you people feel the need to bash nuclear energy, renewables only low carbon ally, instead of coal, especially after the National Renewable Energy Lab study showing that renewables can only replace a third of our total energy consumption.

          The NREL laid it out. Renewables can’t do it all.

          Stop bashing nuclear, focus on promotion of renewables and bash coal instead.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “What perplexes me is why you people feel the need to bash nuclear energy, renewables only low carbon ally”

            Because in total war it’s a good idea to shoot all “allies” named Quisling?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Tap dance it, Russ! Let’s hear those clicking heels and toes.

            The NREL found that our grids could accept ~30% wind and solar without significant modification. In fact, the big change needed was to move from selling electricity in one hour blocks to fifteen minutes. That happened following the 2008 Eastern grid study.

            Yes, if we use a lot of Midwest wind to power the eastern seaboard we would have to build transmission. That would be part of building the wind capacity.

            Of course since it’s looking like the eastern seaboard is more likely to get its wind from offshore those long transmission lines won’t be needed.

            Now, how about reading back over the comments. See if you can spot where you accuse me of lying and then later when you backtrack and say – “You are talking about our grid’s capacity to handle about 30% of electricity generation from wind and solar, which I don’t disagree with.”

            Finally, try to understand the ~30% wind and solar statement from the NREL.

            The NREL does not say that wind and solar could only provide 30% of our electricity. The 30% limit is set by the current grid. A grid with ample storage and dispatchable generation could be 100% renewables.

            Do you not understand that a larger penetration of nuclear would also require storage and dispatchable generation? That there is a limit on the amount of nuclear that could be used on the grid as it now exists?

        • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

          You seem …confused, Bobby. What I said was:

          You are talking about our grid’s capacity to handle about 30% of electricity generation from wind and solar, which I don’t disagree with. I am talking about the NREL study that showed that only about a third of our total energy consumption can come from renewables, which “would require considerable transmission investment.”

          I’m all for promotion of renewables. They need it. What perplexes me is why you people feel the need to bash nuclear energy, renewables only low carbon ally, instead of coal, especially after the National Renewable Energy Lab study showing that renewables can only replace a third of our total energy consumption.

          The NREL laid it out. Renewables can’t do it all. What’s your game plan. …2/3 from fossil fuels?

          Stop bashing nuclear, focus on promotion of renewables and bash coal instead.

          Now, how about reading back over the comments. See if you can spot where you accuse me of lying. You go on to say:

          A grid with ample storage and dispatchable generation could be 100% renewables.

          You do you understand that if an economically viable form of storage existed it would already be in use to make excess baseload into dispatchable energy? That the part of the pie chart below that represents coal baseload could be low carbon nuclear like in France?

          Your argument isn’t with me. It was the NREL study that made it clear that renewables (not just wind and solar) can only replace about a third of our total energy use (not just electricity). What’s your game plan. …2/3 from fossil fuels?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Well, Russ, you are correct. Little Bobby is confused.

            He is in a great quandary as to where you find the NREL states that the US can get only 30% of its electricity from renewables. Especially when the NREL has stated -

            “Renewable energy sources, accessed with commercially available technologies, could adequately supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while balancing supply and demand at the hourly level.”

            http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/06/27/507241/thinking-big-nrel-study-shows-80-percent-renewables-possible-by-2050/

            Perhaps you’re confusing Little Bobby because you’re failing to read correctly? Perhaps you fail to understand that 30% with no major changes to the current grid means a total cap of 30%?

            “What’s your game plan …2/3 from fossil fuels?”

            No, Russ. My thinking is that we will end up with just about 100% of our electricity coming from renewables with wind and solar playing the largest role.

            Here’s how that will happen. We’ll go from the present ~5% wind and solar/13% renewable level toward 30% wind and solar and at the same time perfect our best storage options.

            As we work our way to 30% wind and solar we will install storage and use load-shifting to allow us to grow renewables to ~100%.

            Now, what storage might we use? We could always use pump-up hydro. It’s reasonably cheap and we’ve got thousands of places to build closed-loop and hundreds, if not thousands, of existing dams that could be converted.

            But we may go with utility scale battery storage. Ambri claims they will be manufacturing their liquid metal batteries for grid use in 2015 and their product looks like it can be made dirt cheap.

            “You do you understand that if an economically viable form of storage existed it would already be in use to make excess baseload into dispatchable energy?”

            Do you realize that we already have 20 GW of pump-up hydro and 1 GW of CAES that we built long ago to move surplus thermal (nuclear and coal) electricity from low demand to high demand hours?

            Put more clearly. We now use storage to turn excess baseload into dispatchable energy.

            We have been doing that for decades.

        • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

          Bob Wallace said:

          Well, Russ, you are correct. Little Bobby
          is confused.

          You most certainly are, and nobody called you Little Bobby.

          He is in a great quandary as to where you find the NREL states that the US can get only 30% of its electricity from renewables.

          LOL …and well he should be, considering that I never made
          that claim. The NREL study I have referred to (probably half a dozen times) suggested that up to 80% of our electricity could come from a massive expansion of storage, hydro, biomass, geothermal, wind, and solar. I’ve been talking about total energy. Electricity only accounts for 40% of total energy. 80% of 40% is 32%. 32% is how much of our total energy the NREL calculates that the U.S. can get from renewables.

          You have wasted a large number of words on that
          misunderstanding, which I tried to explain several times.

          Now, what storage might we use? We could
          always use pump-up hydro. It’s reasonably cheap and we’ve got thousands of places to build closed-loop and hundreds, if not thousands, of existing dams that could be converted.

          No. It isn’t reasonably cheap. If it were cheaper than
          natural gas, there would be no natural gas peaking power plants.

          Do you realize that we already have 20 GW
          of pump-up hydro and 1 GW of CAES that we built long ago to move surplus thermal (nuclear and coal) electricity from low demand to high demand hours? Put more clearly. We now use storage to turn excess baseload into dispatchable energy. We have been doing that for decades.

          Good lord. Do you realize that the net energy gain of
          pump-up-hydro is negative because it takes more energy to pump it than you get back in power generation? From Wikipedia:

          In 2010 the United States had 21.5 GW of pumped storage generating capacity (20.6% of world capacity). PHS generated (net) -5.501 GWh of energy in 2010 in the US because more energy is consumed in pumping than is generated.

          So, let me repeat for the third time:

          You are talking about our grid’s capacity
          to handle about 30% of electricity generation from wind and solar, which I don’t disagree with. I am talking about the NREL study that showed that only about a third of our total energy consumption can come from renewables, which “would require considerable transmission investment.”

          I’m all for promotion of renewables. They need it. What
          perplexes me is why you people feel the need to bash nuclear energy, renewables only low carbon ally, instead of coal, especially after the National Renewable Energy Lab study showing that renewables can only replace a third of our total energy consumption.

          The NREL laid it out. Renewables can’t do it all. What’s
          your game plan. …2/3 from fossil fuels?

          Stop bashing nuclear, focus on promotion of renewables and bash coal instead.

          You do you understand that if an economically viable form of
          storage existed it would already be in use to make excess baseload into dispatchable energy? That the part of the pie chart shown below that represents coal baseload could be low carbon nuclear like in France?

          Your argument isn’t with me. It was the NREL study that made
          it clear that renewables (not just wind and solar) can only replace about a third of our total energy use (not just electricity). What’s your game plan…2/3 from fossil fuels?

          • Bob_Wallace

            To tell you the truth, Russ, I don’t have much energy to spend on you.
            You clearly claimed something that was not true. You know it. I know it. Anyone who reads what you wrote knows it. Now you’re trying to twist your way out of what you said.

            That you’re not big enough to admit when you make a mistake is your problem.
            Now, will it take a lot of storage to make an all renewable grid work? Sure. And some over-building. And certainly some new transmission. Anyone who knows anything about renewable knows that.

            But all that new storage, transmission and stuff? Cheaper than crashing the climate. Cheaper than doing the job with nuclear. And probably about the same cost as we now pay for electricity if we account for the externals.
            Pump-up

            ” the net energy gain of pump-up-hydro is negative because it takes more energy to pump it than you get back in power generation?”

            Storage is not a generation technology. No storage technology returns more energy than is consumed.

            Now, Russ, I’ll ask again. Where is your link to “the NREL study that made it clear that renewables (not just wind and solar) can only replace about a third of our total energy use (not just electricity)”?

            Where does the NREL state that we cannot use electricity and other renewables for transportation and heating?

    • http://www.biodiversivist.com Russ Finley

      Bob Wallace said:

      To tell you the truth, Russ

      …little late in the debate for that, Bob. Debate partners never cede. I never had any intention of convincing you of anything. Debate is for the audience. I’m using this exchange to inform readers …couldn’t do it without your help.

      That you’re not big enough to admit when you make a mistake is your problem.

      I’m an old hand at internet debate and this is how it often ends. Your partner begins hurling personal insults as he backpedals from the field of battle. It’s also always entertaining to see people say such bold things from behind the safety of their computer screens things they would never say to a guy sitting within arm’s reach on the next bar stool.

      Like you, many are now aware that our own NREL did a mega study to get a feel for how far renewable energy can go. 80% of the 40% of our power that goes to electricity = 1/3 of our total power needs, leaving 2/3 of our energy needs coming from something else. This is why it is so foolish to bash nuclear energy instead of promote those tiny slivers of renewables. Renewables can’t do it all. It’s either fossil fuels or nuclear.

      I’m a big fan of solar but readers looking at those two quotes to install Solar are at least aware now of both the expense and the huge subsidy. Many readers get much of their energy today from nuclear. A lot of them are now wondering if you are full of it just by seeing real world installation costs. Stop bashing nuclear. Focus on promoting renewables.

      Some readers are now aware that storage is very expensive, and that it is actually an energy sink. Imagine adding $10K or so worth of batteries that you would have to replace in a decade or so to the cost of putting solar on your house. Storage is simply a very expensive way to shift when you put energy into the grid. With solar, batteries would let you light your house at night, but they certainly would not make solar less expensive.

      Now, will it take a lot of storage to make an all renewable grid work? Sure. And some over-building. And certainly some new transmission.

      Sigh …your argument isn’t with me. Your argument is with the NREL. If the NREL thought we could replace all power needs with more storage and transmission and stuff, their study would have said so. The study did assume a massive increase in both storage and transmission lines when it concluded that 80% of the 40% of our power that goes to electricity could possibly come from a massive build out of hydro, geothermal, biomass, storage, wind, and solar, = 1/3 of our total power needs, leaving 2/3 of our energy needs coming from something else.

      You clearly claimed something that was not true. You know it. I know it. Anyone who reads what you wrote knows it. Now you’re trying to twist your way out of what you said. Now, Russ, I’ll ask again. Where is your link to “the NREL study that made it clear that renewables (not just wind and solar) can only replace about a third of our total energy use (not just electricity)”? Where does the NREL state that we cannot use electricity and other renewables for transportation and heating?

      Let me provide it again for you:

      Google Biodiversivist “The Exaggerated Promise of Renewable Energy”

      LOL … lets recap for any reader bored enough to be following this exchange. My first post said:

      The National Renewable Energy Lab recently concluded that renewable energy can only provide about a third of our energy …crickets chirping. What’s your game plan. …2/3 from fossil fuels?

      At the risk of having this comment end up permanently in “moderation” following is the actual link to an analysis of that NREL study called The Exaggerated Promise of Renewable Energy, which contains a link to that NREL study.

      http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2012/07/12/the-exaggerated-promise-of-renewable-energy/

      The analysis was written by me and it is talking about all energy, not just the 40% that goes to electricity. You countered with your first untrue claim:

      That is not what the NREL reported.

      Yes it is, Bob, 80% of 40% = 1/3, leaving 2/3 of our energy needs coming from something else. Simply follow the link provided. According to that NREL study, renewables can’t do it all.

      Your next untrue claim was:

      There is no truth to the claim that nuclear can be as cheap as renewables.

      I countered with Google: Biodiversivist The “Nuclear Energy Costs too Much” Argument, which you ignored. I also provided the following images of two contractor bids to install solar, just to give readers a reality check. I’ve always been a big fan of solar. I have also added another graph showing how investment in wind dies with just the mention of pulling the subsidy.

      Another untrue claim:

      He (referring to yourself) is in a great quandary as to where you find the NREL states that the US can get only 30% of its electricity from renewables

      I countered with:

      LOL …and well he should be, considering that I never made that claim. The NREL study I have referred to (probably half a dozen times) suggested that up to 80% of our electricity could come from a massive expansion of storage, hydro, biomass, geothermal, wind, and solar. I’ve been talking about total energy. Electricity only accounts for 40% of total energy. 80% of 40% is 32%. 32% is how much of our total energy the NREL calculates that the U.S. can get from renewables.

      And in another comment, in my second attempt to unconfuse you I copied and pasted my earlier attempt to unconfuse you:

      You are talking about our grid’s capacity to handle about 30% of electricity generation from wind and solar, which I don’t disagree with. I am talking about the NREL study that showed that only about a third of our total energy consumption can come from renewables, which “would require considerable transmission investment.”
      I’m all for promotion of renewables. They need it. What perplexes me is why you people feel the need to bash nuclear energy, renewables only low carbon ally, instead of coal, especially after the National Renewable Energy Lab study showing that renewables can only replace a third of our total energy consumption.

      The NREL laid it out. Renewables can’t do it all. What’s your game plan. …2/3 from fossil fuels?

      Stop bashing nuclear, focus on promotion of renewables and bash coal instead.

      I ended up cutting and pasting those above words for a third time before I was through and in this comment, that makes the fourth time. Most of the words in my comments were trying, unsuccessfully, to end your confusion.

      • Bob_Wallace

        To tell you the truth, Russ, I read only to this point…

        “Like you, many are now aware that our own NREL did a mega study to get a feel for how far renewable energy can go.”

        And then I scanned down to your link, opened it, and read -

        “The latest study just released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory … suggests that it may be possible to get 80% or so of our electric power from renewable sources by 2050.”

        Now, that states that the NREL suggests that it may be possible to get 80% or so of our electrical power from renewable sources by 2050.

        You agree with that reading?

        If you, do you understand that it says “80%….by 2050″?

        It does not say “80% and no more”. No more than 80%. Ever.

        Are we together so far?

        If so, let me know and I’ll take it to the next level.

      • A Real Libertarian

        What parts of our energy supply can’t be replaced by electricity?

  • Matt

    Let me set under the table pay offs aside for a minute. How can any UK person think this is a good deal? Is the idea that it will force old coal to be closed? They must have some story they are using for why this is a good idea.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I suspect some of the support for UK nuclear comes from those opposed to onshore wind turbines.

      NIMBY stuff….

      • CaptD

        I believe a big component of Pro nuclear support is generated by the Nuclear Industry itself who are now “investing” to secure future market share of the Energy generating business.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Some people do not believe that it is possible to power grids with renewable generation. That some sort of “always on” generation is needed or they won’t be able to grill their cheese sandwich.

    • mike_dyke

      The UK government found itself in a bit of a dilemma a few years ago. It noticed that the current power stations were coming to the end of their working lives and there would not be enough electricity being generated by the rest to satisfy demand.

      To get around this, it tried building renewables (wind farms etc) but these would not be enough on their own so it tried to buy another Nuclear power station to cover the gap (I suspect there won’t be any more built after this one, but that’s my opinion)

      The companies building new power stations took a look at the financial situation and recognised that they couldn’t build one without a guarenteed price for the electricity.

      So, the government had a choice – pay the price the companiies wanted (It’s only tax-payers money anyway) or risk not having enough electricity (lost votes when the power cuts happen). Being politicians, they opted for paying the money.

      Renewables are growing over here, but as we don’t have the land space that you do in the US, it’s more difficult for us to find places for wind farms – hence the offshore wind farms which again cost more money than onshore ones.

      • Bob_Wallace

        They could push forward with more tidal and offshore wind. And install more solar.

        They could work on geothermal.

        They could beef up their HVDC with the Continent and purchased solar from Spain or another sunny place. Morocco would be thrilled to sell them solar as would Spain and Portugal, I would bet.

        They could drop a HVDC line to Iceland and bought some hydro or geothermal from there.

        If they go forward with the nuclear deal they’ll be buying electricity from a foreign company. It’s just that the reactor will be located on their soil.

        • CaptD

          RE: they’ll be buying electricity from a foreign company. It’s just that the reactor will be located on their soil.

          This is why I coined the concept of Energy Slavery ( to a Utility provider) vs energy freedom (owning your own solar panels and paying yourself for all the energy you produce)!

          We are seeing Leaders voting to enable longterm Energy Corp. contracts which will prevent ratepayers from having a real choice of who they want to supply their Energy in the future!

          Water rights will be the next big sell off that will further “rig” the cost to exist in the future!

      • Altair IV

        “To get around this, [the U.K. government] tried building renewables (wind farms etc) but these would not be enough on their own…”

        Well, apparently they didn’t try very hard. For about the same amount of cash as they will be spending on this new nuke, they could probably put up at least an equivalent amount of wind and solar generation. And unlike the all-or-nothing nature and long construction wait needed for a nuclear plant to come online, such renewables can start adding immediately to the supply as soon as each tower/array comes on line.

        Subsequent installations would also be able to take advantage of improved technology and lower prices. Renewables can only get better and cheaper over time.

        They could probably even have gone one better and instead set up a generous FIT or other financial incentives, and eased up on regulations, and leveraged the public investment into a much larger amount of private funding.

        • Martin Cat

          I presume that you mean to install 3.2 gWatt of wind and 3.2 gWatt of solar PV. The problem is that even that amount of hardware will still not produce as much electricity as the two 1.6 gWatt nukes. The reason is that the capacity factors for the wind turbines and the solar PV won’t add up to 100%. To produce as much electricity as one unit would require about 80 square miles of solar PV panels which would take more than that amount of land area to deploy. The number of wind turbines would depend on the size of the turbines but it would be more practical.

          There is an inherent disadvantage with the renewables here which is the low capacity factor. We know that solar PV doesn’t produce power at night. Wind conditions vary a a lot depending on location but I presume that in most locations that the wind isn’t going to blow all of the time or all of the day since capacity factors for wind are estimated from 30% to 40%. The output of both wind and solar PV is also going to vary while they are producing power.. Both will also vary with the weather.

          Nuclear will produce its nameplate rating, unless less is needed, 24/7 all year except when down for refueling and maintenance.

          So, especially if considering supplying the baseload, nuclear power does have an advantage for the higher price. Even if a sufficient amount of renewables is installed it cannot supply the baseload due to its intermittent and variable nature. Storage will be needed. Storage is expensive; it will add considerably to the costs and since it is not 100% efficient, it will further add to the costs by requiring more renewables.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Don’t sock-puppet jerk.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Comparing wind/solar and nuclear on capacity factor is about as useful as comparing wind/solar and nuclear on the number of parking spaces or desk chairs each site requires.

            These are some of the many factors that contribute to the final cost.

            The important metrics are the final cost and time of delivery.

            Nuclear fails the final cost test and has time of delivery problems. Nuclear needs a place to put its nighttime production.

          • Martin Cat

            I have presented the facts and you have simply denied them and changed the subject.

            Denying the fact that the fact that wind and solar PV do not produce their nameplate ratings 24/7 will result in a cost will not make this simple fact go. This denial does not change things; the fact remains.

            I realize that Greens appear to be in total denial about this fact. However, it will not go away and if it is not addressed, it will limit the amount of wind and solar PV that can be integrated into the grid.

            If nuclear is being used to supply the base load, its production is being used 24 hours a day. The only thing that might disrupt this is wind farms that need a place to put their nighttime production.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Martin, no one denies that wind and solar do not produce their nameplate ratings 24/7. That is simply a stupid claim. A very stupid claim.

            The fact that wind and solar are not “always on” does mean that we will have to include storage in order make our grids mainly renewable fed.

            What you seem to not grasp is that nuclear needs storage as much as wind and solar do.

          • Martin Cat

            I do not grasp that nuclear needs storage because I know that it is not true. Almost all existing nuclear plants can be throttled back. Some quickly to follow load in a way that can be called dispatchable. Some to follow the baseload that must be planned ahead. I also know that new designs will be even better at load following.

            What you are trying to sell is a myth that Greens appear to have simply made up. If you doubt what I say, do your own research on Google.

            That said, if nuclear needed storage as you claim, it would need storage for an entirely different reason. Wind and solar PV need storage to even out their intermittent and variable nature. Nuclear power is not intermittent or variable.

            Now, nuclear power can use storage for the same reason that coal power can use storage. When there is excess baseload power available this can be used to store power for the next day’s peak usage. PG&E has a pumped storage hydro unit that it uses to do exactly that.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Martin, the US built 20 GW of pump-up hydro and a GW of CAES back when we were building nuclear reactors. The storage was needed to move production from low demand to high demand hours.

            Japan built even more storage for the same reason.

            Some reactors can load follow, certainly not all, and I suspect not even the majority.

            Load-following increases the cost of electricity from a nuclear plant. Nuclear has very high capital and financial expenses and moderately high fixed operating expenses.

            The cost of electricity from any plant, nuclear or renewable, will be determined by total costs which must be paid regardless of output (capex, finex, fixed O&M) plus variable O&M divided by total electricity produced.

            Decrease the amount of electricity produced and the cost of electricity increases.

            Start with 16 cent/kWh nuclear from a plant running “full time” (typically 90% of nameplate capacity. Now throttle it back, on average, to 50% output half of the time. The plant now produces 75% as much electricity over the course of a year and the price of electricity rises from 16c to 21c/kWh.

          • Martin Cat

            The same problem appears to be occurring with wind.

            The storage is also useful for coal fired plants that don’t load follow very well.

          • Bob_Wallace

            So you are now starting to understand that nuclear needs storage? Good. We’re making progress.

            OK, let’s go to the next level.

            Our storage options run in the 3 cents to 10 cents range.

            16 cent nuclear plus storage = 19c to 26c electricity.

            5 cent wind plus storage = 8c to 15c electricity.

          • Martin Cat

            The problem here is that ‘needs’ is the wrong word.

            You have also gone off on a tangent since storage is useful for nuclear for a completely different reason than why wind and solar PV need storage. Nuclear can always provide power. The same is not true of wind and solar PV.

          • Bob_Wallace

            What do you do with that nuclear power when it is not needed?

            Dump it in the sewer?

            Let’s have some serious discussion here and not nitwit posts.

          • Martin Cat

            You say that you understand but it obvious that you have a problem with any basic concept that is counter to the ideas you have from Green propaganda.

            Obviously, you don’t have to do anything with any power that is not generated.

            I don’t see how I can have a serious discussion with you but I have avoided characterizing your postings except to say that some of them don’t make sense to me — are nonsense.

            You made that absurd statement that I didn’t know anything about the grid and power distribution. I guess that you think that is true because what you know a lot about the grid and power distribution that you have learned from Green propaganda and since I know about the reality of the grid and power distribution and, therefore don’t agree with your strange ideas, you incorrectly presume that I don’t know anything. What a foolish miss perception.

            So, instead of a discussion of what is necessary to integrate wind and solar PV into the grid and the costs of doing it, you obsess about this corner case about a hypothetical nuclear power plant that can’t be turned off quickly and therefore needs storage.. Despite the my telling you that this is a myth you persist.. So, let me be clear. There are no nuclear power plants that cannot stop producing power immediately. What I call being turned off. You have confused this with coming to a cold shutdown which is not the same thing. If a nuclear plant could not stop producing power immediately, it would not be licensed. It is that simple. Try to acquire some knowledge rather than repeating myths you have read at some Green site. There is Wikipedia and there is Google. Do your own research. It should also be noted that a nuclear plant that has been quickly turned off can also be turned back on quickly — that should be obvious — because it is still hot.

            You are not a nitwit, you are just ill informed however I resent your calling me one because I am well informed about actual engineering. I studied electronic engineering at UCSB. Although I have to say that I find it hard to understand that any amount of Green indoctrination could blind a person to the fact that wind and solar PV don’t produce power all of the time and that this is an issue that must be dealt with — an issue that has costs associated with it.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Martin, please answer questions and quit dodging.

            You want to do an emergency stop on a nuclear plant when there’s too much power for demand? OK, how long would it take to restart?

            And please reply to the CF/LCOE post.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “Denying the fact that the fact that wind and solar PV do not produce their nameplate ratings 24/7 will result in a cost will not make this simple fact go”

            No. It. Doesn’t.

            A lower capacity factor does not and can not magically make $0.05/kWh more expensive then $0.16/kWh.

            Why? Because capacity factor is already factored into the price.

          • Martin Cat

            No, because an intermittent and variable power source requires storage or backup to integrate into the grid.

          • A Real Libertarian

            Coals’ capacity factor is barely higher then winds.

            P.S. We’ve got a backup system. It’s called the grid.

          • Martin Cat

            Coal plants have a lower capacity factor than nuclear because they are down for maintenance more. When they are running, they provide 100% of the nameplate power 24/7. They are baseload power.

            The grid is not backup. The grid only connects things together. People that have rooftop solar PV installations use the grid for backup — use the grid as though it was a battery. However, that doesn’t make the grid really backup or a battery.

          • A Real Libertarian

            So you admit capacity factor is irrelevant?

          • Martin Cat

            No, capacity factor is very relevant. So is the nature of the reason for the capacity factor.

          • A Real Libertarian

            So coal and wind have similar capacity factors, but coal is a reliable source and wind isn’t?

          • Martin Cat

            Lets see coal has a CF of over 80% and wind has a CF of 40% or less. These are similar? But, as I said, the issue here is the nature of their output. When a coal plant is running, its output is steady and unvarying unless the utility wants less output from it. A wind farm’s output is dependent on the wind velocity and is variable. Does that cover it?

          • A Real Libertarian

            According to Wikipedia coal had a capacity factor of 42.2% over 2007-2011:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacity_factor#United_Kingdom

          • Martin Cat

            Those are UK figures.

          • A Real Libertarian

            What country was a new nuclear plant power contract signed in?

          • Martin Cat

            I don’t live there either. I consider things in the UK more expensive.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Why would it be more expensive to build a reactor in the UK than in the US?
            What were low bids for new rectors in Ontario, Canada and San Antonio, TX in 2009 and how would those bids have translated into the price of electricity?

            What was the low kWh bid for power from new reactors in Turkey?

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, Martin, educate us.

            How do nameplate and capacity factor (CF) fit into the cost of electricity?

          • Martin Cat

            You also need to consider the reason for the low CF.

            It should be obvious that power sources that do not provide power all of the time and while they do provide power provide a variable amount of power are not easy to integrate into the grid.

            Haven’t you ever wondered why ISOs pay less than the market price for power from wind farms?

            There are additional costs for the ISO to use such electricity.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You did not respond to my question. How do nameplate and capacity factor (CF) fit into the cost of electricity?

            Can you list the factors involved in calculating an LCOE? What role does the LCOE have in the final sales price of electricity?

            Please explain why a generation technology with a high CF might also have a high LCOE while a gen tech with a low CF might have a low LCOE.

            Let’s see what your knowledge level is.

          • Martin Cat

            Look, I understand the Leftist strategy that they use instead of arguing the point. You are using it and I will not bite at the hook. You are going off on yet another tangent. We already have a set of LCOEs The issue I raised is a completely different one which you either don’t understand or you refuse to discuss. If you want to discuss it, OK, otherwise, stop wasting my time.

          • Bob_Wallace

            OK, JRT, you’ve run your game long enough.

            You might have gone to UCSB but you certainly are not a good student. You’ve been asked multiple times to learn what CF is and how it relates to price and you either haven’t bothered to or you learned enough to discover that you were making stupid statements and tried to duck out under a new handle.

            You’ve been wasting our time for days now. Your time is now up.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Coal plants can be shut down and restarted faster than can nuclear plants. That means that when demand is low it it more likely that coal plants will be displaced rather than nuclear.

          • Martin Cat

            Not sure if that is the reason, but didn’t I say that?

            It also costs more to operate the coal plants.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yes, and nuclear needs storage and backup to be integrated into the web.

            You need to learn more about how girds operate. Loads are constantly changing and change over a very wide level. Grids have to be able to respond to those changes.

            A generation source such as nuclear which can’t be turned off and back on in a reasonable amount of time presents problems of the same nature as generation sources like wind and solar which produce at times out of the control of grid operators.

            In the ‘last century’ grid we used a lot of dispatchable generation and spinning reserve to match supply to demand. As we move into a more efficient grid we are starting to replace spinning reserve with storage.

            We have enough dispatchable generation and storage to allow us to incorporate a large amount of wind and solar. Later, when wind and solar become more than 40% of our electricity supply, we will need more storage, dispatchable generation and load-shifting.

          • Martin Cat

            Do you know what the baseload is? Why would nuclear need storage and backup to be used to provide power for the baseload?

            You are again saying that the output of nuclear plants cannot be reduced. If your argument is based on making statements that are false on their face, then what you say is obviously totally wrong. I suggested that you use Google to research the question and you have obviously not done so.

            We have limited amounts of dispatchable power. We still have a lot of coal and that is not dispatchable. Actually, coal is just as difficult, or more difficult (depends on the plant) to turn down as nuclear.

            We have very little storage.

          • Bob_Wallace

            I fully know what both baseload generation and baseload demand mean. I also know that those concepts are being left behind as we move to a more modern grid.

            I did not say that the output of nuclear plants cannot be reduced. I said that some current reactors can load follow and some can’t. You made the incorrect claim that all nuclear plants can load follow.

            I also gave you the basic information to let you understand why load-following with already expensive nuclear makes it even more expensive.

            Coal is not dispatchable. But coal plants can be turned on and off much faster than can nuclear plants. A few hours vs. days.

            We have 20 GW of pump-up hydro and 1 GW of CAES. That is a lot of storage. And we are adding battery storage.

          • Martin Cat

            I keep reading this strange statement about baseload. But, we will continue to have baseload demand and a modern grid will not change that. I have to tell you as a retired electronic engineer, I see a lot of stuff that is just weird. It is true that what has been considered traditional baseload generation is not necessary to provide the power to supply the baseload. That is true, but some of the other stuff is just nuts. However, some baseload generation is needed for technical reasons.

            I did not say that all nuclear power plants can load follow. I said that they can all reduce their output. I specifically said that some of them have to plan ahead to do so. Load following and a pre-planned cut in output over a period of hours are not the same thing.

            I would suggest that you do more research on turning coal plants on and off vs. nuclear plants on and off. And, it depends on what you mean by ‘on’ and ‘off’. I define ‘off’ as not producing power and ‘on’ as producing power. If they are off, are they in standby mode?

            Do you understand that saying 20GW pumped hydro does not say how much storage we have. Also note that the CAES is only partial storage as it uses natural gas to generate power with a modified Brayton turbine with a reduced compressor. Most battery storage is experimental. We won’t have much until something inexpensive gets out of the R&D stage. I do not doubt that this will happen. I have seen examples that look promising. But, they are not there yet.

          • bent

            You Again BOB?

          • A Real Libertarian

            “You Again BOB?”

            Considering your “solution” seems to be all about manufacturing as much garmonbozia as possible I’d really look in the mirror.

  • Jouni Valkonen

    Note that 65 % loan guarantee is even more important that FIT, because it is highly probable that new nuclear reactors are dismantled before they are end of their life cycle.

    Any new clean energy innovation can undermine the relevance of nuclear.
    Any dangerous situation due to design flaw in EPR will ban any further EPR operations.
    Any major nuclear accident in Europe will probably lead immediate shut down of nuclear.
    In direct democratic process, if 51 % of population does want banning nukes, then nuclear is banned.

    Therefore I would say that there is almost zero probability for new Hinkley Point nuclear plant to operate any longer than 15 to 20 years. This is probably not enough for the payback.

    • CaptD

      Great comment

      New nuclear will only benefit those receiving money from the Nuclear Lobby, ratepayers will continue to live as energy slaves to their Utilities that have a monopoly on selling expensive nuclear energy and that is the best case (if everything goes OK), if something goes wrong FOR ANY REASON, then the Country could get hit with a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima!

      • Martin Cat

        What about a nuclear power plant that is more efficient, costs less to build and takes less time to build. Such a prototype plant was already built and operated in Colorado although most people know nothing about it. A much safer design, it was gas cooled, made of prestressed concrete with no steel pressure vessel and used the Thorium fuel cycle. It was considered a success although it was closed down due to some (non-nuclear) problems that could be remedied in future plants with some minor design changes.

        • A Real Libertarian

          [citation needed]

        • CaptD

          Thorium is no where near ready for prime time and is now just another excuse to use massive amounts of R&D money that would be far better spent installing Solar (of all flavors) which can start providing clear risk-free energy NOW!

          +

          MSR Thorium Reactor Fort St. Vrain Power Station Experiment Failed

          http://agreenroad.blogspot.ca/2012/12/thorium-reactor-fort-st-vrain-power.html

          • Martin Cat

            The Fort St. Vrain Power Station didn’t fail. It was a prototype. Prototypes are built to find issues with a design. The only large issue with the design was the use of steam powered Helium circulators. Replacing them with electric motors would totally fix the problem in future iterations of the design. It would prevent the corrosion problems caused by water infiltration into the reactor.

            The steam generator problems exist in all nuclear reactors using steam turbines except for BWRs. Fortunately, it can be solved by using the cooling gas from a gas cooled reactor directly in a Brayton cycle turbine.

            Listen to an engineer, not a medical doctor.

    • Martin Cat

      I think that people would rather have reliable electric power than shut down their existing nuclear power plants.

      I hope that before it comes to that that new more advanced (non-water) nuclear plants are being built.

      If this happens, people can do the intelligent thing and decommission PWR and BWR plants at the end of their 40 year lifetimes.

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