Clean Power

Published on February 13th, 2014 | by Guest Contributor


Huge Wind Farm Could Save California $750 Billion Off Energy Bills

February 13th, 2014 by  

Originally published on ThinkProgress.
By Ari Phillips.

California law says that a third of the state’s energy must come from renewable sources by 2020. A proposed 500-square-mile, $8 billion wind farm developed by Anschutz Corp. in Wyoming could provide up to 3,000 megawatts of this power, or about three nuclear reactors’ worth.


Ashegoda Wind Farm. Image Credit: EEPCo.

A preliminary National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report from late January found that wind power from the Cowboy state could save ratepayers in the Golden state a lot of gold — up to $750 million annually.

Greg Brinkman, an energy analysis engineer at NREL told the Casper Star-Tribune that the findings of their study are consistent with previous studies. Their research found that Wyoming wind projects have a cost-benefit ratio of 2.8 to 1 when compared to California solar, wind and geothermal. Wyoming wind is very strong and reliable, and the cost-effectiveness benefits from large economies of scale.

“When utilities planners see numbers of two or higher, this is relatively unusual, and indicates very positive economics, very positive incentives to make this investment,” he said.

Anschutz’s wind farm would connect to California via a 750-mile transmission line traveling down toward the Hoover Dam. The line itself would cost $3 billion, and with construction likely starting next year it is expected to begin operating in 2017. The distance between energy production and consumption is not the only gulf in the proposed project. While more renewable energy is California’s ultimate goal, some see the wind farm as a cop out that allows a coal-reliant state to keep churning out dirty energy for itself while it profits from local economic benefits that could be of value to Californians.

“If we are taking renewable power from Wyoming, while they burn coal, then you aren’t accomplishing very much,” Severin Borenstein, a UC Berkeley expert on the California electricity market, told the Los Angeles Times.

While many Californians may prefer to buy locally generated, smaller-scale renewable power that supports in-state jobs and avoids constructing high-impact transmissions lines, electricity cost jumps of up to 27 percent over the next 15 years are also a major concern. Integrating faraway renewable sources into the state’s grid may be the most effective compromise to achieve renewable goals.

The cost discrepancy between wind power and coal power is shrinking, even when it’s generated in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. In December, Stephen Byrd, Morgan Stanley’s Head of North American Equity Research for Power & Utilities and Clean Energy, said that wind farms in the Midwest are signing power agreements at costs as low as $25 per megawatt-hour.

“In the Midwest, those wind plants are, many times of the day, competing against efficient nuclear plants and efficient Powder River Basin coal plants,” Byrd said. “Powder River Basin coal plants have a variable cost of between $20 and $25 per megawatt-hour, so in the Midwest, it’s fairly vicious competition between very efficient wind farms — which are always called on first because they have no variable cost — and coal and nuclear.”

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  • Bob_Wallace

    After doing some checking I think this thread is being trolled by an individual who has been kicked off the site multiple times and has returned using a bogus name.

    I’m closing the thread and encouraging Jep to go elsewhere.

  • Onefinity

    The product would be much better if they incorporate pumped storage hydro on the Wyoming end and on the receiving end (Gridflex Energy has projects proposed on both ends). On the sending end, pumped storage can shift peak wind output (which doesn’t coincide with California’s summer load) to lower wind periods, thus allowing the expensive DC lines to be used much more efficiently. On the receiving end, pumped storage can help shape and firm the on-peak wind using off-peak wind. And the ratios of pumped storage to wind needed to achieve this are quite good; the pumped storage easily pays for itself. Without this strategy, it’s an expensive proposition and you get the variable & intermittent product with wind-only value.

  • CaptD

    If this applies to you then read and heed:
    12 Step Pro Nuclear Trolls Recovery Program – Teaching A Science Of Sustainable Health/Success

  • CaptD

    Since this blog is being flooded with Pro Nuclear Baloney* (NB) I’d like to say that for anyone to claim that new nuclear is safe is nothing different that what everyone was told in the 1950 by the nuclear industry and since then we have had many nuclear accident for many different reasons!

    I suggest that if people want to discuss the use, cost or safety of using new nuclear then perhaps will provide the forum for it.

    NOTE: The following was a reply I tried to post in Atomic insights, but it never made it through moderation, I wonder why… :

    After any accident something (right or wrong) is pointed out as the cause…

    When it comes to nuclear going BAD, then whatever the reason I maintain that the accident is unacceptable!

    Why should people trust the nuclear industry, when they continues to insist that, “Safety is our number one concern”, when in fact it is N☢T, since they are really focused on making profits?

    Example: Japan is now suffering with a Trillion Dollar Nuclear Eco-Disaster, yet many of their Leaders (and others Pro Nuclear decision makers globally) consider that, in effect, Radiation is “N☢ BIG DEAL” and insist instead that:

    Polluted Ocean, N☢ Problem, it will become less polluted after a while….

    Polluted Fields, N☢ Problem, farmers can remove the radioactive upper layer

    Polluted Air, N☢ Problem, people can wear paper masks for a while

    Polluted Food, N☢ Problem, people should mix the good to dilute the bad

    Polluted Homes, N☢ Problem, people can power wash them clean

    Polluted Schools. N☢ Problem, students and teachers can clean them

    Polluted Cities, N☢ Problem, residents will be able to return soon…

    Since Fukushima proved that Nature can destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7, mankind has really just been very lucky (so far) that we have not had more Fukushima’s to date. I am not looking forward to the next Fukushima, no matter its cause, because I believe it will be even worse because it will probably immediately affect far more people who will be forced to relocate because of it…

    Said another way, the nuclear industry itself cannot afford another Fukushima ANYWHERE ON THE PLANET because it will doom their entire industry, yet they are still promoting, at least in the USA, for less not more oversight from their regulators. (Example, how many US reactors have deferred required maintenance for multiple years simply because they do not want to spend the money making them?) Is it any wonder that Wall Street is now looking for other energy investments?


  • TCFlood

    It’s important to consider that the 3 GW is nameplate capacity. That area in Wyoming has some of the best wind in the US so the capacity factor could actually be as high as 50% with new generation wind turbines. With accurate forecasting (routine now) the reliability of that power can be extremely high even though it will be variable. An average of 1.5 GW is about 5% of California’s average power consumption – nothing to sneeze at and most of a replacement for San Onofre.

    I’m sick and tired of the red herring of the cost of backup for renewables. The total nameplate generating capacity in the US is just a little over 1 TW. The average power use in the US is about 0.46 TW. Now that’s backup. One GWh of energy generated by renewables is 1 GWh of energy not provided by pouring CO2 into the atmosphere.

    • CaptD

      @ TCFlood
      I’ll grant you the nameplate is not the actual generation but the same can be said for nuclear power plants (NPP) since they also have major down times and many other issues like San Onofre NPP in CA which caused a nuclear near miss (NNM) accident when the Utility used in-house engineers to design their replacement steam generators which failed almost as soon as they were installed causing SCE to decommission the plant early!

      I’d also say that after using Solar (of all flavors) gas fired generation is probably the easiest to turn on and off as demand changes.

      Hopefully in the near future we will have the ability to use liquid hydrogen “fired” to power these gas fired generators instead of natural gas, with floating Solar wind turbines providing the electrical energy to dissociate seawater into hydrogen and Oxygen.

  • Wayne Williamson

    Title needs to be changed from 750 Billion to 750 Million….
    I hope they keep in mind expansion when it comes to the transmission lines. Try to future proof them as much as possible.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Well, maybe it will save them that much over the next thousand years…

      • CaptD

        @ Ronald Brakes … and maybe if we stop using nuclear ASAP it will save us from having any more meltdowns that we cannot afford…
        Remember we had THREE at Fukushima almost at the same time!

    • CaptD

      @ Wayne

      In CA the CPUC is handing out billion dollar “gifts” to the Utilities right and left which is why CA has some of the highest priced* energy in the USA despite also having some of, if not the best weather in the USA

      I’m also pushing for making our US Grid far less prone to problems like solar flares, which would be very easy to do, IF we do it before something BAD happens first…


  • Rick Kargaard

    ““If we are taking renewable power from Wyoming, while they burn coal, then you aren’t accomplishing very much,” Severin Borenstein, a UC Berkeley expert on the California electricity market, told the Los Angeles Times.”
    I would prefer to view it as providing some jobs in Wyoming as coal mining winds down.
    As I understand it most of powder basin coal is consumed out of state.

    • TCFlood

      In fact, they are trying to export a lot of Wyoming coal to China out of ports near Seattle.

      That California should pass up this kind of power because Wyoming might be using some coal is absurd.

      • A Real Libertarian

        Coal is being driven out of Wyoming:

        That’s why the coal ports are being pushed with everything they’ve got.

      • CaptD

        Agreed, California should get as much energy as it can from Solar (of all flavors) while at the same time encourage users to install as much of their own (rooftop) solar as they can by paying all private generators the same as they pay the Utility for the same energy when it is put into the grid, which we all pay for!

  • Omega Centauri

    It would be good to have another renewable resource which isn’t corelated to the local wind and solar in the state. The state already imports lots of hydropower from the pacific northwest, this is just another source of low carbon out of state energy.

    • Nuclear is ‘renewable’ in the sense that once land uranium runs out, we can extract uranium from seawater. Continental drift and erosion replenish uranium particles in our ocean faster than we could ever use it.

      • CaptD

        Nuclear is ‘renewable’ So is everything, if you wait forever…

        So is the radioactive pollution from Fukushima… N☢ Thanks…

        Oh sure and lets play Koch Brothers and also filter Gold ourt of seawater while we are it to pay for everything…

  • The wind farm is $8 billion. The lines are $3 billion. That’s $12 billion. Buy a few AP1000 reactors from China, and you could have 6gw instead of 3. Oh, and it would be reliable baseload power. And the waste? It’s not waste. It’s fuel. It will provide America with a thousand years of energy when GE are finally allowed to build their PRISM.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Last time I looked 8 + 3 was 11. But that’s only one problem with your post.

      China isn’t selling reactors for cheap like you claim. We don’t build stuff as cheaply in the West. Our costs are higher.

      You make the common dishonest claim of nuclear fans by not including the financing costs. Use realistic overnight costs. Double that number to cover accumulated interest during construction. You end up with electricity costing over 15 cents which can’t compete with wind selling for 5 cents per kWh.

      • jepX

        If Eclipse is off by one, the heading of this post is off by a factor of a thousand. 750 B…

        If we spend a fraction of what Germany spent to get solar flying (150 billion), then nuclear will close in on Chinese costs fairly rapidly.

        When it comes to financing, you’re the dishonest one. To double overnight costs, you need to pay all costs at day 0, wait 7 years and pay 10% every year. However, anybody who builds nuclear would aim for 4-6 years, and costs accumulate during the build, for a medium FinEx duration of 3 years. A smart government would see to it that interest were lower than 10% as well.

        The wind farm in question is $11 billion for the equivalent of ONE nuke for 25 years. The nuke will be cheaper, last longer and provide more valuable, baseload electricity. That nuclear can’t compete is simply hogwash.

        • eject

          Germany spent the money so you don’t have to. Surely Germans are still paying for high feed in tariffs that where granted when PV was expensive. Now it isn’t anymore. Feed in tariffs for new installations in Germany are less then have the retail rate an dropping each month.
          It is silly to point at the costs that have to be paid of from former times. It is so worth it. The programme helped Germany to get through the economic crisis and helped to keep unemployment figures down. That saved a lot of money and gets rarely mentioned. It still saves and will forever save money on energy imports. All the money paid for feed in tariffs stay in the domestic economy where it creates jobs, tax money and generally raises the living standard. It also raises living standards abroad. Making solar affordable for the poorer nations in the world has more impact and was way, way cheaper then what is paid in foreign aid. You’re welcome. In my opinion it was and is money well spent and I am quite proud that Germany was a major contributer in kick starting the solar industry.
          Because in principal we could have had all this in the 70s, and think where would be now. Then think were we will be in 20 years. BTW in 20 years your nuclear power plant might be finally come online and produce its first kWh.

          • jepX

            Solar is still very expensive, at least twice the cost of wind, and that’s one reason why Chinese and Indian plans still rely heavily on nuclear. China routinely builds nukes with 4-5 years construction time.

            Far from saving anything, Germany has lost an enormous amount of money on solar which they will never recoup, and they keep killing thousands with coal every year due to this lapse in judgement.

          • eject

            Yes for not very sunny Germany the cost of producing solar is about 5-7€cent/kWh if 20 years are set as the PV financing cycle. If you sell that power to the grid they will pay you 12€cent. If you sell on-shore wind to the grid they will only pay you 6€cent.

            Brown coal has operating costs of around 4-7€cents in a written of plant.
            There is no power source in Germany that is cheaper when build than any of the renewables besides of course purposely planted biomass, that is of the scale both in terms of price and stupidity.

          • jepY

            The cost of solar is nowhere near 5-7 eurocent. 5-7 eurocent is what Germans have to pay on EVERY kWh to have 5% solar content.

          • eject

            5-7€cent is the cost of newly installed solar PV in Germany. That is a rather Easy calculation, it costs between 850-1150€/kWp and you can expect yields to be between 900-1100kWh/kWp per year depending on location and orientation and with a lifetime of 20 years you get exactly that range.
            We are talking about the cost to produce it not about what the reimbursement is.

          • jepY

            That is without financing and O&M.

            Using the same flawed method of calculation, the hideously cost-overrun reactor in Finland costs 1.3 euro cents/kWh. (6250€/kWp and 7884 kWh/kWp for 60 years).

          • eject

            How many nuclear Powerplants have been running for 60years? PV is known to have over 80% of its initial capacity after 50 years.
            Financing costs for PV are no real problem. With Nuclear you have to spent money for 10 years or more before you produce the first kWh. PV can produce from the first day of construction.

          • jepY

            The design life of new nukes is 60 years. Reactors have routinely gone beyond design life.

            Financing costs is a HUGE deal for PV. Financing expenses doesn’t stop when plants starts producing power.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “Financing costs is a HUGE deal for PV.”

            Projection Ahoy!!!

            “Financing expenses doesn’t stop when plants starts producing power.”

            For someone going on and on and on about how great the free market is…

            You really don’t know how business works at all.

            If you have something that’s completed in 2 years at most and is producing from day one, it’s going to have an advantage over something that takes 10 years and only starts producing then,

          • jepY

            You’re obviously reading much more into my statements than what’s actually there.

            Wind, solar, nuclear all have huge financing costs since they are all extremely heavy on up-front costs. Nuclear have the worst characteristics in this regard, but is better in other regards.

          • ingot

            True, but an AP1000 doesn’t take 10 years to build, even in the US.

          • Bob_Wallace

            An AP1000 has not yet been built in the US. We don’t yet know the time it takes to build one or what they cost.

            Time to build and cost are speculative at this time.

          • CaptD

            I’d add that as of today building new Nuclear is speculative, unless a Utility has all the local Political’s under their control…

          • ingot

            No Bob, ‘speculative’ is the wrong word.

            Estimates by experts are not speculation.

            Or, are you hoping that the NRC will continue to interfere and delay construction to drive the price up?

          • CaptD

            The Japanese had plenty of Nuclear Experts and look what happen to them because of all the estimates they all agreed upon!

          • ingot

            It had nothing to do with nuclear.

            They failed to tsunami proof the backup power generators and the fuel tanks to supply them. This was very stupid, but it has nothing to do with nuclear.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Estimates are always speculative.

            If the people doing the estimation are experts then, generally, the estimations are closer to the final outcome. But even the most experienced sometimes get things wrong.

            The nuclear industry has an almost unique reputation for promising “soon and affordable” but delivering “eventually and well over budget”.

            Do you not know the history of the nuclear industry in the US? They’re the carpenter who gives you an affordable bid for remodeling your kitchen, tears it apart, announces new problems and a much higher cost. And then doesn’t show up for a few weeks.

            Here. Give this a read…


          • A Real Libertarian


            Where is the completed AP1000in the US and how long did it take?

          • ingot

            How long ago was it that the NRC approved it?

            Completion of the Southern Company’s first one is scheduled for 2017.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “Completion of the Southern Company’s first one is scheduled for 2017.”

            And Olkiluoto was scheduled for 2010.

          • ingot

            Wasn’t it the first one of that model ever built?

          • A Real Libertarian

            “Wasn’t it the first one of that model ever built?”


            “Built” is past tense, it implies that it’s been completed.

            Olkiluoto is scheduled for 2015 or 2016 at the moment.

          • ingot

            Yes, it is the first one ever built and it isn’t completed yet.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Soon after the start of construction Vogtle ran into difficulties and fell far behind schedule. They put on a third shift, working around the clock, and seem to be back on schedule.

            However that caused them to go significantly over budget. How far over we don’t know. Southern Company has said that they will release no more cost information until after completion.

          • CaptD

            Proof Please… as in a link, not more verbiage.
            Otherwise you are just posting nuclear fantasy…

          • ingot

            Scheduled for about 6 years for completion of the first reactor and almost all items are within 18 months of being on schedule despite delays from the NRC. Some items are ahead of schedule.


            If the NRC causes totally unnecessary delays in construction and increases in costs, how should we describe the problem? I would say that it is a government problem that the Congress needs to address.

          • ingot

            How many nukes were built 60 years ago?

            Many nuclear power plants were built in less than 10 years.

          • Bob_Wallace

            All US reactors built 50 years or more ago are now closed. Our oldest reactor is now 45 years old and scheduled to close when it is 50.

            We can push the shutdown life of existing reactors but since many paid off reactors are close to failing for economic reasons we should expect any large repair bill they encounter to drive them out of business.

            And, remember, old stuff that has been stressed for decades tends to break down.

            The margin is very low for a number of our reactors. They are barely keeping afloat due to the current price of natural gas and wind electricity. As the price of wind continues to fall and as more solar comes on line, taking away the midday profits, look for more reactors to close.

            Fans of nuclear can argue all day long about how wonderful nuclear power is, but there is a financial reality that utilities understand. Paid off nuclear plants, in the best of circumstances, are only marginally profitable.

            Add the capex and finex costs of a new plant to operational costs and nuclear is non-competitive.

          • ingot

            It is true that an old reactor, not attached to a utility, would have to seriously consider whether a major repair was worth it economically.

            I think that what you are trying to say is that after a certain age that maintenance costs start to increase.

            You should consider that the current price of natural gas is only temporary. And that wind is only an issue due to artificial competition. Regulators are going to have to address the current problems with artificial competition.

            [A]s more solar comes on line, taking away the midday profits, look for more reactors to close.

            Perhaps you don’t understand the things that you, yourself, say. If nuclear is baseload and solar PV is great because it provides daytime peak power, how does it take away midday profits from nuclear? Or, are you talking 50 years, or more, from now?

            I have to say that I don’t understand your attitude. Do you want baseload power plants to close even if it means power shortages? I hope that we can be sure that before this happens that regulators will step in to stop it. Then it will be wind and solar that will have the problem in the artificial competition markets.

          • Bob_Wallace

            ” And that wind is only an issue due to artificial competition.”

            No. The cost of wind is what it is. About five cents per kWh in an area with good wind resources. Five cents without subsidies.

            Do you understand merit order pricing? Here’s what happens.

            Utilities determine their needs, usually in 15 minute blocks. The purchase power from the offering suppliers starting with the cheapest source and keep purchasing from the next most expensive until their needs are met. Then all the sellers in that block get the same price as the most expensive.

            Late at night when demand is low “baseload” plant need to sell, even at a loss, because they can’t be turned on and off quickly. Wind, having no fuel cost can bid anything over 0 cents and make money. In order to get wind to curtail coal and nuclear have to underbid wind. They take a loss.

            In the past prices went quite high during peak hours as more expensive peaking power was needed to fill high demand. Those coal and nuclear plants that lost money at night could recoup and make profits when peaking plants pulled the closing price high.

            Solar is killing much of the peak demand. The price ceiling is collapsing with only modest amounts of solar on line. (See the German pre- and post-solar graphs below.

            If you’re losing money at night and not making much during the day you’re in trouble.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Now that’s what is happening in non-regulated markets which are using competitive pricing.

            In regulated markets large thermal plants will hang on longer. But few, if any, new ones will be built.

            Here’s the decision facing the Board of Directors. Do we build new nuclear/coal plant that will take seven to fourteen years to bring on line and produce power for well over ten cents or do we install a mix of solar, wind and natural gas? Get it on line in less than five years. And produce electricity for well under ten cents.

            And, were we to go the large thermal plant, what is likely to happen to the cost of renewables during the ten years we’re building a new thermal? What if, as predicted, wind drops to three cents and solar to five cents? Even if gas doubles it would still be cheaper than new coal/nuclear and it would get used only about 25% of the time to fill in for wind and solar.

            We’re not going to shut down thermal/baseload plants faster than we bring replacement generation on line. We’ll extend the life of a thermal plant if needed simply because the market will pay for the output. But as soon as cheaper power comes on line that thermal plant is gone.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Finally, my attitude.

            I grew up close to Oak Ridge Labs. So close that they never bother to teach us to “duck and cover”. Everyone knew that if a nuclear war broke out we were toast.

            I’ve followed nuclear energy for decades. And a few years back I believed that we should accept the cost and risk of nuclear energy in order to avoid the larger cost and risk of climate change.

            But then things changed. Renewables became much more affordable and it was clear that we could do the job faster, cheaper and safer with renewables.

            Now, how to get there. Make me Emperor of the World and we’d start installing wind and solar at breakneck speed and, at the same time, start building a lot of pump-up hydro. Coal plants would go first along with any nuclear plants found to be questionable. Natural gas next. And the rest of nuclear last.

            But that’s not going to happen. For now the change will come largely driven by economics. Natural gas will replace coal because it’s cheap to install and gives utilities the necessary dispatchable generation they need to feel secure. Wind, solar and NG will push some coal and some nuclear off the grid. Our thermal fleet is aging and as the older plants fail they will be replaced by wind, solar and NG.

            Later we’re likely to get very concerned about climate change and we’ll put a price on carbon. That will speed the end of coal and start to drive storage as a replacement for NG.

            Obviously if a new cheaper technology arrives on the scene the future will play out differently.

          • ingot

            Renewables became much more affordable and it was clear that we could do the job faster, cheaper and safer with renewables.

            The simple problem is that this is wrong. They can’t do the job faster and cheaper. Safer is an interesting debate.

            Obviously if a new cheaper technology arrives on the scene the future will play out differently

            You don’t seem to understand that a new technology has arrived on the scene: Generation IV nuclear power. It is the future in other parts of the world. It is hard to understand why it is being kept out of the US and the Western world.

            And there are more new cheaper technologies coming. Do you know what p+B11 and LENR are? If they work, they will probably be here this decade and the future will change drastically.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “The simple problem is that this is wrong. They can’t do the job faster and cheaper. Safer is an interesting debate.”

            The accurate problem is that you actually believe that, despite all evidence to the contrary.

            And somehow your little cargo cult is considered credible.

            “You don’t seem to understand that a new technology has arrived on the scene: Generation IV nuclear power. It is the future in other parts of the world. It is hard to understand why it is being kept out of the US and the Western world.”

            It’s because “Generation IV” is just the latest great nuclear hope that fallout boys keep going on about to try to coverup the fact you have a track record of forecasting that makes Harold Camping look presentient.

            “And there are more new cheaper technologies coming. Do you know what p+B11 and LENR are?”

            Aneutronic fusion?

            Do you have a stash of Helium-3 somewhere?

            And as for cold fusion…

            That’s still not proven to exist.

            “If they work, they will probably be here this decade and the future will change drastically.”


          • ingot

            Greens keep saying that they can provide baseload power with only wind and solar PV but they offer no proof. Do you have proof? Bob offered a paper which I skimmed through and the paper proved that geographically separated wind farms could not provide baseload power just like I said. And like Benoit Mandelbrot’s probability theories proved.

            You and Bob are basically claiming that you know more than the group of experts that James Hansen and his three fellow climate scientists have gathered together. Such conceit.

            I make no forecasts. I am only repeating what others have said.

            I don’t think that physicists really know if LENR is fusion. That is why they are calling it that. Remember that it was the press that called it “Cold Fusion” and the strange phenomenon has been proved to exist by many reputable physicists and companies. They just don’t know what is happening.

            IF: Well, three groups are working on different approaches to p+B11 and they have all made significant progress.

            I am reserving judgement about this person from Italy with the questionable device that is supposed to accomplish LENR.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Here are a few “100% renewable” papers for you to read…

            A four year real-time study showing a major US grid could run on almost 100% renewables at an affordable cost.

            Budischak, Sewell, Thomson, Mach, Veron, and Kempton

            An all renewable Australian grid…

            Elliston, MacGill, and Diesendort
            And from the Elliston, et al. paper –

            “Numerous scenario studies have been published that model the potential for countries, regions, and the entire world, to meet 80{100% of end-use energy demand from renewable energy by some future date, typically mid-century. National scenarios exist for Australia (Wright and Hearps, 2010; Elliston et al., 2012b), Ireland (Connolly et al., 2011), New Zealand (Mason et al., 2010), Portugal (Krajacic et al., 2011), the Republic of Macedonia (Cosic et al., 2012), Japan (Lehmann, 2003), the United Kingdom (Kemp and Wexler, 2010), the United States (Hand et al., 2012), Germany (German Advisory Council on the Environment, 2011) and Denmark (Lund and Mathiesen, 2009). More broadly, regional studies have been produced for Europe (European Climate Foundation, 2010; Rasmussen et al., 2012), northern Europe (Srensen, 2008), and several studies of the global situation have been produced including by Srensen and Meibom (2000), Jacobson and Delucchi (2011), Delucchi and Jacobson (2011), Teske et al. (2012) and WWF (2011).””
            Now you either misread or lied about the Archer and Jacobson paper. It showed a portion of wind farm output to be just as “baseload” as a coal plant. If you misread then please re-read. If you lied please go away.
            If Hansen and his friends think that nuclear is the only way to replace fossil fuels then he’s an idiot. When it comes to energy generation.

          • ingot

            There are only a few errors in your analysis. First is the fact that currently coal has been made illegal for new power plants so we can forget about that for a while.

            A utility could build a large nuke and probably have electric power for about 8 cents a kWh unless that NRC makes a deliberate effort to interfere with its construction. Also, we don’t know about the loan guarantees since they still have not materialized. However, as the 4 AP1000 look more and more like a success, that might become less relevant.

            If a utility opts for nuclear, they have a power plant that will produce power for a relatively constant nominal cost for 60 years into the future. Be sure you understand that this will mean that if we continue to have inflation that the real cost of power will actually decline although the cost of fuel will probably increase faster than inflation until it reaches a plateau when reprocessing starts.

            You make assumptions about wind, solar, and natural gas that do not include increasing costs or inflation.

            But first, you make a bad assumption about baseload power. You are assuming that if a utility has a baseload nuke that they would turn it down in order to use available wind or solar. I don’t see that happening unless the utility owned the wind and solar. Even then, I don’t see it as being likely.

            The price of natural gas will increase with time. That is a given. Even if the nuke starts out being slightly more expensive than natural gas, it will reach the point that they are equal in price even with the gas operating CC. I have no idea why you think that even if the price of gas doubles that electricity from gas would still be cheaper since the main cost with gas is the fuel.

            The other serious error you make is that you talk about the price of wind and solar in constant dollars. We have inflation and that is going to result in an increase in the nominal price of new wind and solar. The price of existing wind and solar isn’t going to decline and the capital cost of the already built nuke isn’t going to increase with inflation. So, you would need to do some careful figuring with an inflation rate to make any definite statements.

            But, part of it is just a dream anyway since it will be a long time before wind and solar can replace baseload power plants.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “The price of natural gas will increase with time. That is a given. Even if the nuke starts out being slightly more expensive than natural gas”

            $0.05 vs. $0.15.

            “it will reach the point that they are equal in price even with the gas operating CC. I have no idea why you think that even if the price of gas doubles that electricity from gas would still be cheaper since the main cost with gas is the fuel.”

            $0.04 is fuel, double it and you get $0.09.

            Still less then $0.15.

            “The other serious error you make is that you talk about the price of wind and solar in constant dollars. We have inflation and that is going to result in an increase in the nominal price of new wind and solar.”


            “The price of existing wind and solar isn’t going to decline and the capital cost of the already built nuke isn’t going to increase with inflation.”

            Again, so?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Please prove your 8 cents claim. Obviously the nuclear industry does not think that possible. If they did then they would have jumped into the UK and offered to build for something less than the 16 cents that France and China said was necessary.

            You’ve played that intentional interference far too long. Prove it has happened or drop it.

            Our first gen wind turbines produced for 30 years. Expecting 40 years out of current design is not unreasonable. After payoff wind is cheaper than nuclear.

            Our oldest solar panels are now 40 years old and still producing 80% of what they did new. After payoff solar is cheaper than nuclear.

            We have no nuclear reactors that have made it to 50 years. The average lifespan is about 30 years. Don’t count on 60 year life.

            “you make a bad assumption about baseload power. You are assuming that if a utility has a baseload nuke that they would turn it down in order to use available wind or solar.”

            But that is exactly what happened at Kewaunee last year. Wind and natural gas closed down a paid off and working reactor. Noises have started that another reactor will be announcing closure in the next couple months.

            You make claims that wind and solar are not going to drop when both industries have laid out the path toward lower costs.

            New nuclear, real world prices, costs > 15 cents.

            Onshore wind is now about 5 cents. Solar is about 8 cents.

            40% from 5c wind + 40% from 8c solar + 20% from 20c NG would be cheaper than new nuclear. And storage would replace NG long before the price reached 20c.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You might enjoy this…

            “The cost of large-scale solar projects has fallen by one third in the last five years and big solar now competes with wind energy in the solar-rich south-west of the United States, according to new research.

            The study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory entitled “Utility-Scale Solar 2012: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States” – says the cost of solar is still falling and contracts for some solar projects are being struck as low as $50/MWh (including a 30 percent federal tax credit).”
            “Another interesting observation from LBNL is that most of the contracts written in recent years do not escalate in nominal dollars over the life of the contract. This means that in real dollar terms, the pricing of the contract actually declines.

            This means that towards the end of their contracts, the solar plants (including PV, CSP and CPV) contracted in 2013 will on average will be delivering electricity at less than $40/MWh. This is likely to be considerably less than fossil fuel plants at the same time, given the expected cost of fuels and any environmental regulations.”

            Signing a 20 year PPA right now for solar in the SW locks in power at an effective 4 cents for that 20 years. The cost of nuclear will likely continue to rise with inflation, but the price of solar is nailed down.
            Some fun, eh?

          • ingot

            Yes, it is the same thing. If you can invest or contract today, you are protected against inflation.

            Did the study happen to mention if these wind farms were LPs organized for tax shelters?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Are you now going to waste our time by grabbing for straws?

          • ingot

            Cost and price are not the same thing.

            I have no idea what ‘merit order pricing’ is. I know what ‘merit order’ in the context of a utility scheduling the use of generation assets that it owns or contracts for is.

            I also know what various Dutch auction rules are depending on whether there are multiple sellers or buyers.

            What you start to describe is artificial competition with a state Independent System Operator. Your description is not very accurate or complete. Part of the problem is that you don’t seem to understand that it is an auction — a Dutch auction with multiple sellers and the ISO being a single buyer standing in for the state utilities on the grid.

            I should note here that ‘artificial competition is not my term. It is what the financial press is using and they are being quite critical of it. There are clear indications that it has to change. These are starting to come from even the White House. The President doesn’t want old nukes that are profitable and in good operating condition to close because it is going to increase the US Carbon pollution. I am against it because it means that we will burn more coal. A distinction without much difference. It will not be allowed to happen.

            I should also note that it is this Dutch auction that is the process by which the rate payers are charged the marginal price instead of the average price which they would be charged under standard utility regulation.

            The thing that is most wrong with artificial competition is wind operators selling wind power at night for less than zero so that they can collect the PTC. Do you agree with that? Is that the cost of wind?

            Solar is killing much of the peak demand. The price ceiling is collapsing with only modest amounts of solar on line. (See the German pre- and post-solar graphs below.

            Bob, this is the US, we don’t have that much solar here except possibly in some areas. That means that the German charts aren’t relevant either.

            If you’re losing money at night and not making much during the day you’re in trouble.

            However, there are times of day when without this power there would be power shortages. So, if these baseload power plants start filing Chapter 11, regulator action will be taken to address the problem. Or, do you want to do without power part of the day?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m not going to play word games with you. You can tell from context exactly what I was saying.

            The grid is operating on cost/price and not on climate change. As long as that is the case non-profitable nuclear plants will be closed.

            And unless someone can prove ‘cheap enough to compete’ nuclear then few new nuclear plants will be built. Right now the plants being built are with government money, or by utilities in regulated markets where they are assured of being able to pass the costs on to customers.

            Until we decide to put a price on carbon then NG is going to replace some coal and nuclear plants. The less efficient, more expensive to operate ones.

            No, the US does not have as much solar as Germany. But looking at Germany and at the present rate of installation one can see where we are heading.

            Again. And I hope for the last time. It is silly to think that we’ll close plants faster than we bring new generation on line.

            With one exception.

            If we have a Chernobyl/Fukushima scale disaster I suspect the pressure to close most/all US nuclear plants will be enormous. And that’s something that must keep a lot of money out of new nuclear. If someone melts one down anywhere, for any reason, in the US any reactors under construction would almost certainly be stopped.

          • Bob_Wallace

            BTW, preliminary solar installation numbers for 2013 are 4.2 GW. That’s up almost 30% over 2012. Can you say “accelerating”?

            Just watch what happens in 2014.

            (Weren’t you claiming 4 GW in two years pretty much impossible?)

          • A Real Libertarian

            Bob: “Solar is killing much of the peak demand. The price ceiling is collapsing with only modest amounts of solar on line. (See the German pre- and post-solar graphs below.”

            You: “Bob, this is the US, we don’t have that much solar here except possibly in some areas. That means that the German charts aren’t relevant either.”

            Me: You really are a moron, aren’t you?

          • ingot

            Please tell me then just how much of total US electricity production comes from solar?

            Would it perhaps be less than 0.2% (2 Tenths) or perhaps it is slightly more for 2013 if you can find figures for last year.

          • A Real Libertarian

            And a 40% annual growth rate means nothing?

          • ingot

            It doesn’t make 0.2% any larger last year.

            And even at that growth rate, it is going to take a while for it to be a significant amount.

          • Bob_Wallace

            You inappropriately flag another comment and you’re toast.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Germany invested in solar and it is paying off for them.

            We owe thanks to Germany and Spain for getting out front and making solar affordable for all of us.

          • ingot

            It appears that Germany only made solar affordable for them. And, not really that affordable considering their high electric costs.

          • Bob_Wallace

            German industrial electric costs have been dropping since renewables started coming on line and are lower than the EU27 average price.

            Retail costs are high in Germany due to taxes. German retail customers pay non-utility taxes and renewable energy subsidies as part of their utility bills. In the US we pay those taxes as part of our income tax.

            Let’s look at how costs break out for retail customers in Germany…

            In 2013 the average household electricity rate is about 29 EURO cents / kWh according to the BDEW (Energy industry association).

            The composition:

            8.0 cent – Power Generation & Sales

            6.5 cent – Grid Service Surcharge

            14.5 cents for electricity and distribution.

            5.3 cent – Renewable Energy Surcharge

            0.7 cent – Other Surcharges (CHP-Promotion, Offshore liability,…)

            In addition there are some taxes & fees that go straight into the governments budget:

            2.1 cent – EcoTax (federal government)

            1.8 cent – Concession fees (local governments)

            4.6 cent – Value added tax (19% on all of the above) – (federal, state & local governments)

            So 8 + 6.5 or 14.5 euro cents go to electricity purchase and delivery. About 19 US cents. That’s higher than the US 12.5 cent average, but less than a penny higher than New York and Connecticut.

          • ingot

            You appear to have left off 6 euro cents.

            I pay a Renewable Energy charge too, it just isn’t as much. I am not clear about the 0.7 euro cent charge for other but it also appears to be for renewables.

            So, we are talking about 28.11 US cents per kWh which is a lot more.

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, the 5.3 euro cents is clearly listed.

            I compared cost of electricity and distribution for German retail customers and electricity costs in the two highest US states. Apples to apples.

            German retail customers pay an especially high renewable price because industry, while enjoying dropping electricity prices, pays nothing for the renewable generation which is causing prices to drop.

          • Ronald Brakels

            “It appears that Germany only made solar affordable for them” – Thanks for the good laugh, Ingot.

          • edited my comment

            Bob, Top editor more likely look at all the remove comments.

        • Bob_Wallace

          The problem with your math is that you assume a seven year build.

          The real fact is – nuclear is not competing.

          • eject

            why are the comments of the nuclear fanboy missing?

          • jepY

            I simply proved Bob wrong too many times, so I got blocked. He threatened me a number of times not to do that, and it seems he had the power to do something about it.

            I circumvent the block, so now my posts are deleted instead.

          • ingot

            Did Bob have them deleted?

          • ingot

            It competes based on being low Carbon and baseload. What is its competition? Answer: Geothermal. I see great promise for advanced geothermal, but it is still in the late R&D stages.

      • 1. If you can double the cost of nuclear power to map out according to your financing costs, then you can easily round up your $8 + $3 billion = $12 BILLION for … what? 3gw nameplate? Now why don’t you tell us what that really means in terms of energy supply? 3gw *peak* output, not regular output. Include seasonal variations and you’d be lucky to get half that in some seasons.
        2. Governments may have to be forced to ram through fast nuclear deployment once we stop playing with toys like wind. I’m not *against* renewables as long as we don’t pretend they’re going to be 100% of the solution. It’s this naive belief that if we ‘just’ overbuild capacity by 3 or 4 times across the country, and if we ‘just’ spend billions on a trans-continental super-grid to get the power from where it’s collected to where it’s used, and if we ‘just’ add in natural gas as a carbon-intensive backup, then everyting might ‘just’ be OK. It’s not. Weather modelling shows wind’s capacity factor is simply too unreliable, and this leads to billions wastedd that could have gone into RELIABLE baseload power.
        3. But if you ignore baseload, backup costs, trans-continental supergrids, and all that jazz, then of course (state-subsidized) wind is competitive. It’s just like ‘grid parity’ rooftop solar. As long as you only look at about a third of the day, and in the right weather! But hey, try making Solar PV baseload and the batteries and three-fold increase in panels to charge those batteries while the first quarter actuall runs your house during the day… and you’ve got electricity at the lifetime amortized cost of about 4 times what you’re paying today. And that’s in sunny Australia. (According to our entrepreneeur Dick Smith who ran a special on energy recently: and he wants clean energy!)
        4. James Hansen says believing in renewables alone is like believing in the tooth fairy. It’s why he’s part of the Science Council for Global Initiatives that promote Integral Fast Reactors that can eat waste. If we listen to him about the problem of global warming, why not listen to him about the solution?

        • A Real Libertarian

          “If we listen to him about the problem of global warming, why not listen to him about the solution?”

          If you let your podiatrist operate on your feet, why not let him operate on your heart?

          Because he’s not an expert in that field, duh.

          • ingot

            He is only the spokesman for this group.

            Also your analogy is invalid and insulting to Dr. Hansen.

          • A Real Libertarian

            All true scientists admit that they have their specialties and that they’re nothing but well educated laymen outside those.

          • ingot

            Then he would be well educated about nuclear power while you are not.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Clearly you don’t know enough about renewable energy. If you did then you would understand why Hansen’s claim is incorrect.

            I do get the feeling that you have a closed mind and believe so strongly in nuclear energy that you can’t approach the issue in a rational manner.

          • ingot

            Considering the comments that you have made about James Hansen and your refusal to understand that he represents a group of scientists and engineers, which I think are rather derogatory, and now your statements that my knowledge is lacking and that belief in the knowledge from my education is a closed mind, I am going to be rather pointed about this.

            So, Bob, what field of engineering did you study in college? If you did not study engineering in college, I will have to conclude that I know more about this subject than you do for the reasons which you have cited in denigrating James Hansen. Perhaps you have some other physical science background that you studied in college. While not quite as authoritative, it would indicate that you have some degree of understanding of technical subjects. Otherwise, you appear to be just a layman that has read some stuff on the internet and bases his opinions on emotion.

            Now as to what you said, it is fallacious. You said that I don’t know enough about renewable energy. You equate knowing enough with believing the things that you believe. But, I do know a lot. As a person that studied engineering in college, I know more about it than you do. I know enough to know that some of the things that you believe aren’t true.

            I do not have a closed mind and do not have some emotional belief in nuclear energy. My advocacy of nuclear energy is based on an objective engineering analysis of the facts. That is what engineers do, they analyse the data and make decisions based on it. Exactly the opposite of what you said. I have approached the issue in a rational manner and you are the one that can not approach the issue of nuclear power in a rational manner.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Perhaps you’re not aware that scientists have areas of specialization in which they may be brilliant but that does not make them experts on all topics.

            Take Linus Pauling, for example. He was a brilliant chemist and was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in 1954.

            But after that he wandered off into an area in which he was not trained and made a fool of himself.


          • ingot

            Can you read this sentence and understand its meaning?

            He is only the spokesman for this group.

            You shouldn’t really talk anyway since he knows more about nuclear physics than you do.

            I don’t know for sure what his degrees are in but I presume that he has 2 years of lower division college physics like I do unless a school on the quarter system packed the same amount of hours into less time.

            You seem to have a strange idea about education too. Do you really think that people can’t know anything unless they have a college degree in it. OK so then what do you know about electrical engineering? People that are well educated in scientific fields are usually able to do their own research on other subjects and are usually quick studies on other technical and scientific fields. However, I presume that he has also consulted with engineers and other technical experts in nuclear power.

            All you know about the subject is anti-nuclear and Green propaganda that you found on the internet.

          • Bob_Wallace

            So you think that if one has a stellar background in climate science and knows a bit about nuclear energy then they know a lot about renewable energy?

            Hansen and the other guys know what the experts in renewable energy don’t know, that we cannot eliminate the use of fossil fuels with renewable energy?

            On what are they basing their calculations?

          • ingot

            There is no such thing as “climate science”. There is Climatology and Geophysics. Both of these require a body of general knowledge of the physical sciences. You need to understand that when a person studies the physical sciences in college that in the first two years that you acquire a general body of knowledge.

            However, James Hansen’s degrees are not in those fields His BA is in Physics and Math. He has a in MS Astronomy and a Ph.D. in Physics. So, Climatologist was just his job description.

            I think that a person with that education would have no problem understanding information presented to him about any type of energy.

            Now, what we should really ask here is who are these so-called experts in renewable energy? Are they electrical engineers or environmental studies majors?

            But, I digress. What you have presented here is a Straw Man because James Hansen did not say that we could not eliminate the use of fossil fuels with renewable energy?

            Again, you didn’t read the manifesto so perhaps the Straw Man argument is unintentional because you are guessing at what he said.

            What he said was that we could not eliminate fossil fuels using only renewable energy fast enough.

            Like all engineers, I presume that his advisers based their calculations on reality. What else would they base them on?

        • Bob_Wallace

          Tell you what. Why don’t you take a look at the world and see what is being built.

          Here’s a hint. It is not nuclear.

          • jepY

            Yeah, for instance, the great Ivanpah solar thermal facility’s average energy output is about 1/12 of that of Finland’s nuclear Olkilouto 3.

            Ivanpah was built in four years for 2.2 billion. So if you built twelve of them to match OL3, it would take 48 years and cost $26 billion.

            As a contrast, the Indians are about to start construction of the Jaitapur project with 6 reactors of the same type as OL3 with a projected total cost of $18 billion.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “Yeah, for instance, the great Ivanpah solar thermal facility’s average energy output is about 1/12 of that of Finland’s nuclear Olkilouto 3.”

            At the moment.

            It will be about 1/5 when everything’s hooked up.

            “Ivanpah was built in four years for 2.2 billion. So if you built twelve of them to match OL3, it would take 48 years and cost $26 billion.”

            $11 Billion and 20 years.

            Assuming for some reason you only build them one at a time instead of all at once.

            “As a contrast, the Indians are about to start construction of the Jaitapur project with 6 reactors of the same type as OL3 with a projected total cost of $18 billion.”

            And Olkilouto 3’s projected total cost was $4 Billion

            It’s now $11 Billion.

            And it still isn’t finished.

          • jepY

            Sorry, you’re mistaken. I talked about the FINISHED Ivanpah. It will be 1/12-th of OL3.

            OL3 had an enormous cost overrun, but it is still less than half the cost of Ivanpah, scaled for annual energy production.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “Sorry, you’re mistaken. I talked about the FINISHED Ivanpah. It will be 1/12-th of OL3.”

            1600MW x 0.9 = 1440MW.

            392MW x 0.75 = 294MW.

            294MW/1440MW = 0.2041666….

          • jepY

            Please see:

            Electricity generation 1,079,232 MWh/year. Divide by 24*365 and you have 123 MW average or 31% CF. Note, this is a good capacity factor. 75% seems to miss that we actually have something that’s called “nights”?

          • A Real Libertarian

            “Electricity generation 1,079,232 MWh/year. Divide by 24*365 and you have 123 MW average or 31% CF. Note, this is a good capacity factor. 75% seems to miss that we actually have something that’s called ‘nights’?”

            This is solar thermal.

          • jepY

            Without energy storage. So nights apply.

          • A Real Libertarian

            And how hard is it to add that?

          • jepY

            Storage doesn’t add energy production, but introduce losses. So if you add storage to the plant, it will produce LESS than 1,079,232 MWh/year. Still 1/12 of OL3.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “Storage doesn’t add energy production, but introduce losses. So if you add storage to the plant, it will produce LESS than 1,079,232 MWh/year. Still 1/12 of OL3.”

            CSP has a capacity factor of 75% with storage.

          • jepY

            Yes, but if you up CF from 31% to 75% by utilizing storage with no change in plant size, then you have to lower peak power correspondingly, so you still have the same (or rather less) energy output per year. Still 1 TWh, still 1/12 of OL3.

          • ingot

            No, what is being built is natural gas.

          • ingot

            It is natural gas and coal.

          • Bob_Wallace

            It’s not nuclear. Nuclear peaked a long time ago and has dropped in recent years.

            Wind and solar are accelerating.

          • ingot

            Bob, you make no sense.

            Are you presuming that the peak of Generation II nuclear is the end. How foolish. A chart of how many operating isn’t relevant when you asked what was being built anyhow.

            Wind and solar may be accelerating but the capacity that has been being installed is natural gas and coal. If you think otherwise, you are wrong.

        • ingot

          The problem is that currently the government regulators are holding back the development of advanced nuclear. General Atomics is ready (has been ready to for a while) build a GT-MHR prototype and GE Hitachi is ready to build a PRISM but the US regulation is stopping them. I understand that GA will be building a prototype in Russia and GE was trying to build a PRISM in the UK. Apparently they think that building in the US is hopeless. The DOE wants to build a modular Generation IV prototype this decade but I hear very little about it. They will have to fight the NRC the same as corporations unless the laws are changed to permit prototypes to be built. Bill Gates is now discussing building his reactor prototype reactor in China. I think that what James Hansen, et al need to do is to lobby the Congress to have the laws for regulation of the nuclear industry changed. The current over regulation makes his suggestion of advanced nuclear impossible in the US.

      • greatnesslostislegend

        same argument applies to Wind and Solar. Financing and insurance must also accrue to both. Nuke is cheaper and provides base load, Wind and Solar do not as currently configured. If you forced Wind and Solar systems to provide base load their cost would be on the order of 6X that of LNG and about 3.5X that of nuclear. Physics keeping the ratio that way.

        Wind is nowhere near 5¢ it is closer to 72 cents per KWH all things considered.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Wind and solar carry liability insurance and the cost is included in the price of electricity sold. Nuclear covers only a small portion of its liability with the majority covered by taxpayers.

          Nuclear, from some paid off nuclear plants, is cheaper that new wind and new solar. The cost of electricity from some paid off nuclear plants is higher than that of new wind. Both new wind and new solar are cheaper than new nuclear. The fair comparison is old:old and new:new.

          We can store electricity for less than 10 cents per kWh. New wind is selling for 4 cents per kWh. New solar is selling for 5 cents in the SW. A combination of wind, solar and storage is less than the price of new nuclear which higher than 15 cents per kWh.

          You can claim that wind is 72 cents but the average selling price for 2011 and 2012 was 4 cents per kWh.

          All prices above include subsidy. New nuclear receives more in subsidies than do wind and solar.

          • greatnesslostislegend

            You are misinformed. Wind and Solar are not accrued the same way. If storage and requirement for 24/7 base load capacity is factored, Wind cost: 72 cents per Kwh. These systems simply have a generator plugged into the grid. Nuclear is the other way, it is a base for the grid. A wind farm simply provides power for a bit, to a maximum of 34% of the time. If you store using battery you lose another half due to losses meaning efficiency drops to 17%. Then add new tie ins to existing grid from far flung wind locations you lose more. It lands up this system is at most 12 to 13% efficient. Then there is this. As an experiment we got ahold of an old 335 KW wind turbine, gutted it, hooked it to a Pelton Disk that was fed by a penstock to a stream with a glacial source. (It flows 365 days a year) An electrical engineer did a wizardry to the ex wind turbine generator and support electronics. The result was a 6.2 MW generator that currently provides base load to BC Hydro. (With a second refurbished generator on standby for maintenance issues). FYI BC Hydro only pays about 2.5 cents for the effort. This is another factor of Wind that is very overlooked by its proponents. The system is wasteful of infrastructure. Using water, geothermal, or yes a nuclear core, generate a lot more power per unit of mass than a wind, or even solar source, and is a lot more reliable. . It is just not viable any way you look at it. Best is to bark up this route: Run of river hydro-electric, geothermal, tidal (but that has problems) nuclear, all backed with intermittent
            LNG plants. Conservation and better building construction methods work to lower demand per person usage.
            Current nuke is a good base load backup for these systems. In addition next gen nuclear will shave costs by a factor of fifty percent or more, from R&D more and more outside the US. . EPA roadblocks to nuclear are a huge barrier that is costing the US an advantage and explains why Hyperion is now building its new modular thorium system in China. When this molten salt core goes on line, and it will, then using China’s cheaper labor, tax, and regulatory regime it will come to dominate this technology. Modular nuke combined with conservation will change the equation there bringing base load power to China’s grid for about two cents per Kwh.

            I just finished a new book titled “Eddie Jovan”. It is science fiction. However every bit of technology in this story is off the shelf, or attainable within a decade. Not to give away the story line, by 2035 this character is sending power to the global grid for about two cents per Kwh putting most other systems on notice. One of the systems is fifth generation solid state nuclear, and yes this system applies solar panels to its structure. The other solar that produces power 24/7, 365 cheaply. The book shows how mass and infrastructure can be built up to accomplish this aim. (Hint it only works in micro gravity and vacuum). Right now Random House has allowed early copies to be presented to people like Newt Gingrich, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates. If one of these men is moved by this story, the world will change…

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m not even going to bother reading that crap you wrote.

            You create a fantasy in the first three sentences and toss away all credibility.

            If you’re going to post bull please go elsewhere and do it.

            Electricity sells for what electricity sells for. The prices are public notice. Cheap electricity forces expensive electricity off the grid.

          • High wind

            See Bob you are been proven wrong again, wind power costing 72 cents per Kwh.

          • No wind

            Wind cost: 72 cents per Kwh, coal is cheaper.

          • Jo Bo

            I will not bother to read your crap to.Wind cost: 72 cents per Kwh

          • greatnesslostislegend

            You read too much Mother Earth stuff. Wind and Solar are heavily subsidized at all inputs. It is not properly accrued specially by this administration. Just another Obama lie.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Wind farms get a choice of a 2.3 cent per kWh subsidy for its first ten years of performance or a 30% ITC.

            Solar gets a 2.3 cent per kWh subsidy for its first ten years of performance.

            Nuclear gets a 2.3 cent per kWh subsidy for its first ten years. Plus taxpayer provided liability coverage for any disaster that exceeds $12 billion. Plus taxpayer provided loan guarantees. Plus reactors are additional terrorist targets which must be protected at taxpayer expense.

            Just to put that liability coverage into perspective TEPCO, the company that owned the reactors, has acknowledged that their disaster will cost at least $110 billion. Some independent estimates run well over $250 billion.

          • CaptD

            Bob From the beginning I’ve used the Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster number because that is a far more practical “cost” of what Fukushima’s effect will be to the both the nuclear industry and/or the entire World. I’d also add that Fukushima is no where near being “over” so mentioning any total cost at this time only plays into the PR spin of the Japanese Gov’t. (who nows owns what used to be TEPCO*) and the nuclear industry at large.

            * TEPCO N☢ longer exists it is (owned by) the Japanese Gov’t. now… =>

        • Ronald Brakels

          South Australia doesn’t even operate any baseload generating capacity for half the year and we don’t miss it. And we don’t use it because it is cheaper not to run it.

          • CaptD

            Great comment!
            I love getting a link that sums up that SA does not use/need baseload as many others globally would like to educate those that think it is required in a modern Society!

        • CaptD

          Talking about the cost of insuring against a wind generation accident vs a nuclear generation accident (besides being very comical) is many orders of magnitude different, even considering that the USA has the Price-Anderson Act that only pays out up to 12 Billion should nuclear go BAD, leaving all taxpayers stuck for everything else!

          This is yet another reason that Wall Street has turned a blind eye toward building new Nuclear!

    • Ronald Brakels

      Fifteen cents per kilowatt-hour is the minimum price for electricity from the Hinkley C reactor and I understand new US reactors will also have extremely high electricity costs. The state next door to me has a windfarm that generates electricity at about 6 cents a kilowatt-hour using a 5% discount rate for the cost of capital and my state is building one that will produce electricity at under 5 cents a kilowatt-hour. So when you can show me a new nuclear reactor that can compete with those prices when all costs are added in, including insurance, which would have to be able to cover costs of a disaster even worse than Fukushima, then you’ll have something that can compete with wind. Can you show me a 5 cent a kilowatt-hour, all costs covered, fully insured reactor? ‘Cause that’s all the nuclear industry needs to do be swamped with orders, but they never ever deliver. So either the nuclear industry can’t compete with wind, or for some reason they have decided not to, which either means they are very stupid and so can’t be trusted with nuclear reactors, or, since people are dying from climate change, they are evil and so can’t be trusted with nuclear reactors. Personally, I strongly lean towards the unable to do it explanation. It helps meto sleep at night.

      • jepX

        Of course, when you prevent one type of energy by regulation and subsidize something else to achieve economies of scale, then you have rigged the playing field to make it look like the first source is uncompetitive.

        Still, wind and solar hasn’t reached anywhere near the pace of penetration increases that nuclear had in late 70-ies to early eighties in some countries. Many countries averaged more than 5% added nuclear penetration per year.

        We have chosen to make nuclear uncompetitive. And that’s why hundreds of thousands die in fine particulate emissions every year, and why we risk a global, irreversible and civilization-ending climate disaster. Smart? Not very.

        • Ronald Brakels

          So China, South Korea, Japan, they all made nuclear power uncoompetitive as well as a favour to Australia as they just love importing $88 a tonne coal? And speaking of Japan, it looks like they could have benefited from making nuclear a bit more uncompetitive by requiring things such as a higher tsunami walls, better located emergency generators, and generally improved earthquake resistance. It’s a pity for them they didn’t go that extra mile in uncompetitiveness, isn’t it? And then there’s France which has had huge cost over runs and delays with its new Flammenville nuclear plant. I guess they just decided to make nuclear uncompetitive too. As did the Finns, the British, Turks, Canadians, and so on. It’s really surprising isn’t it? You’d think at least one country would have said, screw this, I’m going to make nuclear power competitive, but even China has scaled back its nuclear program. You know it’s so sad to see countries give in to peer presssure like that.

          • Ronald Brakels

            And just for laughs I’ll mention that China has confirmed a 14 gigawatt target for solar for this year. I don’t know what the average capacity will be but it’s mostly being installed in the sunnier parts of the country, so if it averages 20% capacity it will produce more kilowatt-hours than 3 large one gigawatt nuclear plants and the average value of the electricity will be higher than nuclear electricity as it will be produced during the day when demand is higher. It looks like the plan to make nuclear power uncompetitive is proceeding according to plan. Mwah-ha hahaha-haaa!

          • CaptD

            France is also now taxing energy because they have drastically underestimated the cost of decommissioning all their wonderful aging reactors, no wonder Germany which is downwind is very concerned with nuclear safety!

            Then there are the health studies of those living near reactors…

        • Bob_Wallace

          We have decided to make nuclear somewhat safe. Not safe enough to insure no melt downs, but safe enough to make them infrequent.

          To make nuclear safe we have to write regulations. The nuclear industry can’t be trusted.

          • Hi Bob,
            have you check out ‘passive safety’ or ‘neutron leak’? Today’s AP1000’s would *easily* have survived Fukushima’s power outages and cooling system destruction. The fuel rods themselves can be melt-down-proof with neutron leak. Banning nuclear power on the basis so of Fukushima is like banning aviation because of the Hindenberg, or shipping because of the Titanic.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Hi, Eclipse.

            There’s more than one way to melt a reactor. We won’t know what the next way will be until Homer screws up again.

          • Bob, new reactors are Homer proof. They’re talking about an ‘event’ once every ice age: that’s tens of thousands of years. And the ‘event’ would be no more than 3 Mile Island: totally contained. The reality is nuclear power is the *safest* source of energy on a death / terrawatt basis, and is the only clean baseload power source that can back up renewables. I LOVE the idea of a 50/50 renewable / nuclear grid. That’s when wind and solar are cheap. But alone? Show me a 100% wind and solar grid and I’ll believe you.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Eclipse, Homer is resourceful.

            He can design reactors where a corrosive drip can eat away containment domes. He can crawl around a reactor’s innards with a lit candle and set the reactor on fire. He can do something that has never been done before.
            Nuclear is in no way the safest way to generate electricity. One can say that only by ignoring all the deaths that happened during construction and operation.

            You’ll have to wait a while to see a 100% renewable grid. It will take a while to finish building the ones we are now building. You might, in the meantime, read the studies demonstrating the feasibility of 100% renewable grids.

          • jepY

            Construction and operation has far less deaths in nuclear than in wind, solar, coal mining and such. You know this, you’re simply being dishonest.

          • ingot

            No water in the reactor vessel, no containment dome. The containment dome is to contain a boiler explosion if the reactor vessel develops a leak.

          • greatnesslostislegend

            You got it. Live on Maui and argue with these environmental twerps all the time. Most seem to be adult versions of the kid drooling in the back of your first year post secondary math class.

          • jepY

            We know that the meltdowns so far have been worth it – nuclear power has saved some 1.8 million lives to date.

            Of course new meltdowns are possible, but for each meltdown, the most likely remaining ways to meltdown are removed. The fleet is simply debugged by trial and error, as humans has done with everything without giving up to irrational fear.

          • ingot

            2900℉ without damage. No melt down.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Okay Eclipse,show me an AP1000 that can compete with an average wholesale price of about 5.6 cents a kilowatt-hour in Australia and maybe we’ll build one here. All costs would have to be included in that price though, including the full cost of insurance. And note that insurance companies tend not to take people’s word for it that a nuclear reactor is completely safe. And also note that that if Australia’s Coal-ition government suceeds in removing our carbon price wholesale electicity prices will drop back down to about four cents a kilowatt-hour, so I guess your AP1000 will have to be able to compete with that. I’m guessing that 4 cents a kilowatt-hour wouldn’t even cover the cost of insurance. We do have the highest average residential house prices in the world you know and each hour of work lost due to a nuclear disaster is going to cost more to compensate here than in almost any other country. So yeah, that insurance is going to be really pricey.

          • OK Ronald,
            1. How much is a car? A hand-crafted one of a kind Bentley, or a mass produced Hyundai? Nukes can be modularised, put up the assembly line, and then *mass* produced for some of the cheapest electricity ever.

            2. When you can show me a 100% wind & solar grid, *then* and only then we’ll have a real conversation about the comparative costs of renewables. Until then, wind and solar NEED nuclear power to maintain a good LCOE. Try to make them baseload, and the levelised costs blow out exponentially.

            EG: “The French national audit body, the Cour des comptes, said in 2012 that
            the overnight capital costs of building NPPs increased over time from €
            1,070/kWe (at 2010 prices) when the first of the 50 PWRs was built at
            Fessenheim (commissioned in 1978) to € 2,060/kWe when Chooz 1 and 2 were
            built in 2000, and to a projected € 3,700/kWe for the Flamanville EPR.
            It can be argued that much of this escalation relates to the smaller
            magnitude of the programme by 2000 (compared with when the French were
            commissioning 4-6 new PWRs per year in the 1980s) and to the subsequent
            loss of economies of scale.”

            Projected forward: ““By the 2030s, China will likely have built out hundreds of nuclear
            reactors. They will also have factory mass produced one piece reactors
            like their 200 MWe HTR-PM (High temperature pebble bed reactor). Those
            reactors could be built in Chinese factories and shipped for
            installation overseas. This would enable the China price for nuclear
            power which is currently about $1.5 to 2 billion per GWe. This is 2-3
            times cheaper than current prices in the US and Europe. Each nuclear
            reactor module would likely be buildable in 2 years or so by that the

          • Ronald Brakels

            Eclipse, nuclear power has had about 60 years to produce some of the cheapest electricity ever. Why at some point in the last 60 years didn’t the nuclear industry decide to produce some of the cheapest electricity ever when that’s all they needed to do to make their industry dominate electricity production? Where they just stupid? I mean it’s not as if mass production is a new idea. It started to become popular around 1905. If mass production is all that it takes to produce some of the cheapest electricity ever then the nuclear industry let the world spend all this time burning coal, making people sick and damaging the environment when apparently they could have decided to make some of the cheapest electricity ever when ever they wanted but they never did! What utter bastards! I mean just think how much pollution would have been averted if the French or whoever had said, “Hey! Don’t build that coal power plant! Let us build you a nuclear power plant instead! We will beat any fossil fuel plant on price, dispose of all waste, handle all decommissioning costs, and provide free full insurance to cover all costs in the unlikely event of a nuclear accident!” But no, they never did that. I can only conclude that they must have been evil. I mean, here they were with a chance to make money and improve the world, but instead they apparently decided they would prefer to see people suffer and the environment degraded instead. That’s just wrong, plain and simple. Or maybe they were never actually in a position to make that offer and that’s the reason why no country is currently making reactors that produce some of the cheapest electricity ever? So maybe they’re not stupid, or evil, but just incapable? Gee, I wonder which of those three possibilities is closest to the truth?

          • Bob_Wallace

            “Nukes can be modularised, put up the assembly line, and then *mass* produced for some of the cheapest electricity ever.”

            If that’s true then why has not a well capitalized company not just set up a factory and started cranking out these puppies?

            Companies set up factories every day. We have immense amounts of empty factory space which can be acquired for pennies on the dollar. Welding pipes together is butt-simple factory work and off the shelf robots could be put to work very quickly.

            Fact is, no big corporation has started making modular reactors. In fact, Westinghouse recently stated that they were dropping any plans to go in that direction.

            Not just saying, “Not at this time, but will continue to study”, but “Not going there, closing that department”.

            Nuclear fans seem to live in some sort of fantasy world where the next nuclear reactor will be cheap and safe. They seem to not understand that the nuclear industry has been promising that for over half a century but has never delivered.

            Ask yourself. If it was likely that SMRs would generate cheap electricity then why have the companies with large engineering and financial analysis departments not jumped at this wonderful opportunity?

            Might it be that they’ve crunched and re-crunched the numbers and they don’t see a route to profits?

          • jepY

            Reactors are cheap and errs on the too-much-safety side. But of course, it’s possible to make them expensive by regulation and by not letting the industry get off the starting blocks. The US has taken some tiny steps toward rectifying that, but it might not be enough to build momentum. Meanwhile, Asia takes over leadership in energy.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “Reactors are cheap and errs on the too-much-safety side.”

            Just keep repeating that.

          • jepY

            I will.

          • ingot

            Yes, and new advanced design reactors would be even cheaper. They wouldn’t need all of the excessive and redundant “safety” equipment.

          • CaptD

            Sure “new advanced design reactors” will be perfect, what could possible go wrong? Ha Ha Ha

          • ingot

            It isn’t about the reactor being “perfect”. It is because the reactor will not have water in the reactor vessel. This makes a lot of the safety equipment which is there only because Light Water Reactors have water in the reactor vessel totally unnecessary.

            Now do you understand?

          • CaptD

            And of course they Green too, N☢T………..

          • ingot

            Welding pipes together is butt-simple factory work and off the shelf robots could be put to work very quickly.

            No, it isn’t simple. There has to be rule making for the assembly procedure. The ASME has to study it and come up with approved standards for it. Then, and only then, will the NRC approve it and allow you to do it in construction of a nuclear reactor. Also note that those pipes being welded and the metal that they are made from need to be similarly tested by the ASME and approved by the NRC.

            Faced with these sever restrictions and the fact that the NRC would not approve mass produced nuclear reactors — Each reactor would have to be individually approved starting from scratch — there was no point in mass production. The AP1000 is the first reactor that is design approved under new laws. It is only with these laws that there is any advantage for mass producing reactors.

            I should also note that the advantage for SMRs with LWRs is questionable since there are economies of scale with a LWR which have resulted in larger and larger reactor designs. And, the LWR designs continued because it became the only design that could be approved.

            I really think that you live in a fantasy world where you simply don’t know how things are in the real world.

            New advanced design reactors could be cheaper and safer if the NRC would allow them to be built.

          • CaptD

            The USA would be much smarter to spend the money they would have spent on new nuclear R&D on installing Solar which will also create a massive number of new jobs. Then and IF, and it is a BIG IF, China, Russia or India actually comes up with something interesting after spending many Billions on their own R&D, the USA can consider using it, but my guess is that by that time we will not need what they have to sell because our own needs will be met by all the additional Solar that has been installed!

          • ingot

            Solar is nice, but solar PV can’t replace coal. Coal fired power power plants provide baseload power — provide power 24/7. Solar PV has a Capacity Factor of 25% or less and only in the daytime.

          • CaptD

            New nuclear is yet another way to have control on the energy usage of the Country that agrees to have the nuclear power plant built. This is why Russia, China and SA. Korea are all trying everything they can do beside take responsibility of any accidents their NPP cause, to sell their nuclear energy slavery program and they are using Nuclear Payback* to do it!


            Those that support nuclear power because nuclear power somehow supports them; no matter what the health implications or other “costs” are for others.

          • ingot

            How about the GT-MHR reactor?

          • Ronald Brakels

            Oh, you’ve got GT-MHR reactor have you, Ingot? Built it in your back yard perhaps? Got it all up and running and producing electricity at under 5.6 cents a kilowatt-hour including insurance? That’s very impressive. You should give our Prime Minister a ring. He likes to play make believe too.

          • ingot

            It will be a while before General Atomics has them for sale. I hear very little about whether DOE is still planning on building a prototype in the US and anything about the prototype supposedly being built with Rosatom in Russia. However, they will produce electricity for less than your coal power plants and they will not kill you with air pollution.

            Too large for my backyard. I will be waiting to put a LENR device in my garage.

          • CaptD

            More Nuclear Baloney* (NB) from you…
            Why RISK using nuclear when it is N☢ longer required?


          • ingot

            No, to make nuclear safe, we need to stop building Light Water Reactors. LWRs need a backup power source to maintain reactor cooling. The problem with the 3 fukushima reactors is that the tsunami knocked out the backup generators. The reactors survived the earthquake and tsunami with only minor damage and were OK till the batteries gave out. The AP1000 can go for several days without power which is a great improvement– probably longer with help from the fire department. But, other advanced nuclear reactors are walkaway safe. HTGRs have TRISO fuel elements that can take 2900℉ without damage. No melt down.

          • CaptD

            Futuristic dreams, point us to one that has been operating for a while and I bet you can’t because this is just more Nuclear pie in the sky talk.

            Face it, you can buy and install Solar right now and then have clean energy for 3+ decades, why would anyone that is not receiving Nuclear Payback* take any chances on using anything else? This is why Wall Street is funding renewables and turning their backs on using RISKY Nuclear.


            Those that support nuclear power because nuclear power somehow supports them; no matter what the health implications or other “costs” are for others.

          • ingot

            As I hope you know, there are AP1000s recently built and now operating in China.

            A HTGR prototype was build and commercially operated in Fort St. Vrain Colorado circa 1970s.

            You don’t appear to realize that although we could quickly install some solar that it would take a long time to install enough solar to generate as much electricity as we currently get from coal.

            You don’t understand that the risk of building a nuclear power plant in the US is from the NRC. That is why Wall Street won’t fund them.

            You need to do some research on the health implications of nuclear compared to coal and also the pollution from making wind and solar PV equipment.

      • When you can show me a baseload wind farm, then tell me what the prices are? Until then, it’s just so much baloney.

        • Ronald Brakels

          Sure it’s all baloney. Except there’s a bit of wind at the moment so moment so wind might be supplying a quarter of electricity use in my state at the moment and getting paid six and a half cents per kilowatt-hour at the moment. That’s less than half the minimum price of electricity from Hinkely C. But the average wholesale price of electricity will actually be about 5.5 cents today. (It’s a bit of a pricy day.) But you want to know something about baseload power? For six months of the year South Australia doesn’t have any and we do just fine without it.

          • Ronald,
            evidence of your claim that SA does well without baseload power please? Or that it doesn’t *have* baseload power?
            Also, have you considered peak oil? What are we going to do about a lack of oil, or to phase out oil? EV’s. Did you know 84% of EV’s could charge at night without adding any new coal power to the grid? Oh, but if it’s solar, of course, there’s no night time power to charge our EV’s! If we’re in a 100% renewable world of course the day time wind and solar are going to run the country, and THEN we’re going to have to build MORE AND MORE overcapacity to charge the EV’s as well, because I’ve heard some renewable fans claiming the cars were going to power our HOMES overnight. Is this sinking in? With nukes, we can build far less total power capacity simply because they run 24/7 and can charge our EV’s when we don’t use power. With renewables, we’ll have to build 3 or 4 times as much to try and make them ‘baseload’ and then another factor again (making it 5 times as much capacity?) to try and charge our cars during the day. It’s all so silly when we should be building out a nuclear & renewable grid. My bet is on a 70% nuclear, 30% renewable mix. We’ll see.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Five point six cents a kilowatt-hour. That’s what you got to beat to make money from a nuclear plant here. If the nuclear industry can produce electricity that cheaply why didn’t someone under cut the 15 cent a kilowatt-hour price in the UK and offer to do it for 14 cents? Why didn’t South Korea offer a better price? Or Canada or the Unites States? Are they just stupid? Or are they incapable? Which one is it? Those are the only two real options, unless you want to go for evil.

          • jepY

            You have to be able to get your reactor and your people to navigate a difficult regulatory framework in a timely manner. Only EDF were able to do that in the UK at the time. This might change to tenders for subsequent plants.

            It is well known that the EPR is the most expensive reactor there is, so it’s a bit silly to claim nobody can do it cheaper.

          • Ronald Brakels

            What is clear is no one came forward with a better offer. So, either stupid or incapable. Which is it? You seem to be saying incapable.

          • ingot

            I think that GE Hitachi did. I am not sure why they weren’t interested.

          • CaptD

            Your comment is full of holes, CA did just fine without any nuclear power plants (NPP) online when San Onofre started leaking and had to be decommissioned and the only other NPP was shut down for refueling.

            CA now has a 20% surplus of energy without the use of NPP’s.

            Nuclear is now “over the hill” and we cannot afford the RISK of the long term cost of using NPP when Solar (of all flavors) is far less expensive (cradle to grave) while posing ZERO risk.

          • ingot

            Sadly, there is no cure for the misinformed like you.

          • CaptD

            Comments that are just snide remarks earmark those that post them as being unworthy of a response – CaptD

          • ingot

            Well, you make statements that at totally untrue and you continue to believe them even if prevented with the facts. There is nothing snide in about assessing the situation as being hopeless. I can only suggest that you try to obtain some information from factual sources rather than believing everything from the Green echo chamber.

            Your latest remark:

            CA now has a 20% surplus of energy without the use of NPP’s

            is beyond absurd and unbelievable. California has an energy shortage and government officials are asking people to use less electricity. Do you get information from any regular news sources? I presume not.

          • CaptD

            Even you can’t deny CA ISO factual “REALITY”…


            In actually the people in CA are being squeezed by their Utilites who are asking for ever higher prices and the CPUC is playing along instead of being proactive for ratepayers!

            Sure we have an Energy shortage in CA but is is a shortage of Regulatory Energy to do the right thing for ratepayers, that is why CA has some of the highest prices of Energy in the USA


            Perhaps you will confine yourself to factual posts and use links to back up your “claims” because otherwise you look fuelish.

          • ingot

            I do not consider a biased environmental advocacy site to be factual or reality.

            Do you get any information from actual news sites?

          • CaptD

            Salute, and I hope SA continues not to use nuclear or have to deal with nuclear waste being shoved down your throats by Leaders that are receiving Nuclear Payback*…


            Those that support nuclear power because nuclear power somehow supports them; no matter what the health implications or other “costs” are for others.

          • Ronald Brakels

            CaptD, It’s impossible for a nuclear reactor to be built here in South Australia. The cost of electricity is simply too low. But we’ll sell you uranium to fuel any reactors you might have. Please, please buy our uranium. Buy now and avoid the rush. In 703,800,000 years our U235 will be half gone.

          • CaptD

            Watch out Ron, I’ve seen talk of the AU Gov’t. thinking about storing vast amounts of nuclear wast from other Countries in SA…
            Hope that is not factual, let me know if you have any info on that!

          • Ronald Brakels

            It would be poetic justice. But nothing will come of it. The current lot in government just seem to say whatever comes into their heads policy wise, or whatever was dropped into their heads over dinner the night before, but at some point it will sink in that this is not exactly a vote winner and the party whip, or perhaps party limp noodle in this case, will tell people to shut up about it.

          • CaptD

            That may have been the case in both the USA and Canada but these days it seems as most Leaders are receiving some form of Nuclear Payback* for supporting nuclear despite what the voters want, Japan being a perfect example! There is even some talk about nuclear in Germany because some Official got lots of financial support from the industry in their last election!


            Those that support nuclear power because nuclear power somehow supports them; no matter what the health implications or other “costs” are for others.

          • ingot

            I think that the new General Atomics reactor can meet that price, but it will be a while. First they need to build a prototype in Russia and see if they can get enough orders to start manufacturing it. It also depends on the exchange rate.

            I also have to ask if you can expand you electric production at the same rate that you quoted or if additional capacity is going to cost more like it would in the rest of the world?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Why would one expect renewables to cost more in other parts of the world, more than in Australia?

            Italy and China are installing solar for less than the cost in AU. ($1.33 and $1/watt vs. $2) There’s no reason why the rest of the world can’t close to $1/watt.

            The average price for wind (without subsidies) ran about 5.5 cents in the US for 2011 and 2012. (2013 prices are not yet out as far as I know.) Some contracts were for less than 3 cents per including roughly 1.5 subsidies.

            Everywhere can buy the hardware for these sorts of prices and prices will fall. Some places won’t have as good solar or on shore wind resources but many will have great offshore, hydro and/or tidal.

          • ingot

            Bob, electric production isn’t renewables. Renewables are just a sideshow. He was talking about the price of electric power from coal fired power plants. Most places in the world, new coal fired power plants will cost more than the existing ones did due to inflation.

          • Ronald Brakels

            First you need the prototype to demstrate that the technology is sound, then you need a commercial reactor to demonstrate that it is economically sound, and then at that point you can think about competing with other low emission generating capacity and if that point ever comes it might be several decades in the future. As for additional wind and solar capacity, the trend around the world has been for falling prices as the generating capacity gets cheaper per watt rather than increasing. Thing are really just getting started.

          • ingot

            No, they do it with one step. The prototype will be a commercial power plant. They were also going to build one with the DOE in the US but I hear very little about that.

            No, I was talking about more coal plants. We have this thing called inflation and usually when a utility needs to add capacity, it means that the rates are going to increase because the new plant costs more per MW.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Good to hear they’ll cut the cost of nuclear electricity by two thirds or more in a single step and will be making it cheaper than coal. If only the nuclear industry had thought of doing this earlier then nuclear power wouldn’t seem like such a joke.

          • ingot

            I am old enough to remember that it used to be cheaper before NRC regulations quadrupled the price (constant Dollars) in the US.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Those are some powerful regulations you’ve got if they can make electricity from new nuclear in the UK cost a minimum of 15 cents a kilowatt-hour.

          • ingot

            I do not know that specifics of UK nuclear regulations. It is my understanding that all Western countries have adopted regulations similar to the US due to the fact that the four nuclear companies were US corporations. I don’t really understand the high price of that contract in the UK but I understand that the UK is more bureaucratic than the US and has union labor to a much greater extent. I can only say that it would have cost less even in the US.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Do you understand why the price of the new US reactors at Vogtle are so high? The originally $14 billion dollar project is currently $900 million over budget and at least 18 month behind schedule and things have only just gotten started. Fingers crossed costs don’t expand in a manner proportionate to Olkiluoto which is nearly three times over its original budget and maybe six years behind schedule or Flammenville which is about 2.6 times over its original budget and about 4 years behind schedule..

          • ingot

            Ronald, you have misread news.

            Yes, there is a $900 Million cost overrun caused by the NRC. Do you know the details? Part of it was due to the NRC not issuing the construction permit on the scheduled date. The reason for this is not clear. The other part is that the NRC complained about the method being used to join the rebar being used to construct the containment dome and was quite recalcitrant about resolving the matter resulting in a construction delay. If you have correctly interpreted this to mean that the NRC drives up the cost of reactors in the US, then you are correct.

            They are a bit behind schedule because of these issues. However, if the press has reported that they are 18 months behind schedule, that is incorrect. Their construction milestones are scored as being: ahead of schedule, on schedule, less than 18 months behind schedule, and more than 18 months behind schedule. That is where the 18 months figure came from.

            Part of the milestones were completed less than 18 months behind schedule, some were completed on schedule and some were completed ahead of schedule and a small number were over 18 months behind schedule. Some were behind schedule due to late deliveries of modules. It would be totally inaccurate to say that the whole project was at least 18 months behind schedule.

            I presume that you are aware that all large construction projects have some delays and that everything is never completed on schedule.

            You can read about this for yourself:


            Unfortunately, I understand that due to litigation over the $900 Million, they are not going to be releasing more financial information.

          • Ronald Brakels

            “I presume that you are aware that all large construction projects have some delays and that everything is never completed on schedule.” – So would you suggest I simply not believe people who say nuclear projects can be completed on time and on budget?

          • ingot

            It depends, oftent the budget and the schedule have a cussion because builders know this too. Sometimes things average out because some parts are completed faster than expected. However, it is realistic to expect projects to be a few months late and a few percent over budget.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Read the Cooper paper I linked for you.

            Find out how badly nuclear has overrun budget estimates and timelines.
            “A few” does not apply when one is talking about nuclear reactors.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Given the examples we have of new nuclear in developed countries it seems realistic to expect nuclear projects to be years behind schedule and two and a half or more times over budget. Here’s a little challenge for you: Name one nuclear reactor built this century in a developed country that has only been a few months late and/or a few percent over budget.

          • CaptD

            Sure that was at the same time that the industry also said that nuclear was 100% safe and we all now know that was just more *Nuclear Baloney (NB).


          • ingot

            Has there been any nuclear accidents at a commercial nuclear power plant in the US except for Three Mile Island? What happened there? An idiot didn’t realize that the pop off valve was open because the indicator was designed wrong and there was no indicator showing the water being discharged from the pop off. Actually, the valve was a poor design as well. This design was approved by the NRC. The NRC needs to concentrate on actually safety rather than their excessive regulations which increase cost but due to increases in complexity do not actually increase safety.

          • ingot

            You hope that they continue to burn coal instead of using nuclear despite the health costs of coal. That is crazy!

          • CaptD

            Cleaning up the burning of Coal is far superior to using nuclear because of the RISKY involved and the huge costly nuclear waste that is generated! Besides looking at the complete life cycle of using nuclear (mining to storage/decommissioning) it is no where near being “clean”, and if something BAD goes wrong it can become yet another Fukushima and cause a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster…

            N☢ to Nuclear…

          • ingot

            The amount of nuclear waste is small compared to the toxic (and radioactive) waste from burning coal even if you consider the unreprocessed spent fuel from reactors “waste”.

            You need to make a much more accurate comparison to using coal. Burning coal kills over 10 Thousand people in the US alone every year due to air pollution.

            You opposition to nuclear is irrational. The answer to Fukushima is to not build 40 year old reactor designs and to adequately protect the backup power in existing LWRs from natural disasters. I hope you understand that the only problem at Fukushima was that the tsunami knocked out the backup power generators.

          • CaptD

            Agreed, the people in the UK are having Hickely shoved down their throats by their Leaders that are getting some form of Nuclear Payback*.


            Those that support nuclear power because nuclear power somehow supports them; no matter what the health implications or other “costs” are for others.

          • jepY

            What wind is getting paid has nothing to do with its costs.

          • A Real Libertarian

            So what a product sells for is completely independent of what it costs to produce it?

          • jepY

            Yes. If you produce at a loss, you still have to sell your product, or it will be an even bigger loss.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “Yes. If you produce at a loss, you still have to sell your product, or it will be an even bigger loss.”

            So the business keeps selling despite being unprofitable?
            Then how does it make money?

          • jepY

            We have two different “making money” at play. The first type is if revenue at market prices is higher than O&M costs. Then the plant will keep on producing.

            The second type is if the decision to build the plant was a profitable one. This includes capital costs. If not profitable in this sense, the plant may still keep producing, since it’s the first type of making money that matters. Sunk costs are irrelevant.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “We have two different “making money” at play. The first type is if revenue at market prices is higher than O&M costs. Then the plant will keep on producing.

            The second type is if the decision to build the plant was a
            profitable one. This includes capital costs. If not profitable in this sense, the plant may still keep producing, since it’s the first type of making money that matters. Sunk costs are irrelevant.”

            Then why are wind companies still building?

            If wind can’t pay capital costs, then why are wind companies still in business?

            If wind turbines are only profitable in the first sense, why are companies still building them?

            And why are companies expanding their build schedules?

          • jepY

            I guess it depends on location. Regulated electricity markets with renewables mandates, and being allowed to recoup costs from rate-payers is one answer. Tax breaks is another. FiTs a third. Didn’t US wind construction collapse last year due to no subsidies?

          • A Real Libertarian

            “Regulated electricity markets with renewables mandates, and being allowed to recoup costs from rate-payers is one answer”

            That’s where nukes are built.

            “Tax breaks is another”

            How does not having to pay taxes on part of a profit turn a loss into a profit?

            “FiTs a third.”

            US doesn’t have that.

            “Didn’t US wind construction collapse last year due to no subsidies?”

            It collapsed due to the PTC being held hostage.

            Which is why the wind industry demanded either a 5 year draw-down or just cutting it out permanently.

          • jepY

            “That’s where nukes are built.”

            And wind, I guess.

            As a Swede, I’m unsure of the exact definition of “tax break”, but I assumed the PTC was a tax break, and it provides a 2.2 cent per kWh benefit for 10 years, according to wikipedia. So if the loss is less, then it turns into profit. Also, there seems to be additional state subsidies.

            “It collapsed due to the PTC being held hostage.”

            As I said, the construction collapsed absent subsidies.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “And wind, I guess.”

            No actually, wind is built in the cutthroat, massively competitive areas.

            “As a Swede, I’m unsure of the exact definition of ‘tax break’, but I assumed the PTC was a tax break, and it provides a 2.2 cent per kWh benefit for 10 years, according to wikipedia. So if the loss is less, then it turns into profit. Also, there seems to be additional state subsidies.”

            It provides a 2.2 cent per kWh tax benefit for 10 years.

            No Profits = No Taxes = No Benefits.

            “As I said, the construction collapsed absent subsidies.”

            No source of electricity can survive without subsidies, the competitors have just been around long enough to make theirs permanent.

          • ingot

            Perhaps the LPs have other income on which they owe taxes.

          • ingot

            You left out tax shelter.

          • ingot

            Perhaps you don’t understand what the baseload is.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Or perhaps I should have just put the word generation in that last sentence to make things clearer.

          • ingot

            Baseload generation is defined based on it supplying the baseload — what is suitable to supply the baseload. So, if you say that there is no baseload generation, it would mean that there were no coal fired power plants running.

          • Ronald Brakels

            No coal fired plants are run for half the year. So really we currently have no baseload generation capacity and our coal capacity operates in seasonal load following mode.

        • CaptD

          Your Baselad claim is just more Nuclear Baloney (NB)

      • ingot

        Well, the Southern Company’s had two cost overruns caused by the NRC and now they are estimating that power will cost 8.4 cents per kWh which is more than natural gas at current prices.

        Do you actually think that the nuclear industry has decided not to build advanced nuclear reactors that cost less. The NRC would have to license them and the NRC said that they wouldn’t even be ready to consider them for 2 years or more. So, they will be building their prototypes in other countries. General Atomics will be building a prototype of the GT-MHR in Russia. GE Hitachi is looking for a country to build a PRISM in. They were trying to convince the UK since they have a pile of Plutonium that it could burn up. Bill Gates is now talking about building his reactor in China. So, no, they are not unable to do it. Just, unable to do it in the US because they can’t get permission from the government to do it.

    • Hi Eclipse Now, time to wake up to the ugly truth:

    • TCFlood

      Really! Do you want to deploy a nuclear reactor that is made in China???

      • TCFlood

        Also, To my knowledge, the total cost of the wind farm PLUS transmission lines was reported by the LA times to be around $9 billion.

        • Link? Any idea when the wind will be *baseload* so we can compare the *true* price?

          • Bob_Wallace

            Here’s some “baseload” wind data for you to chew on –


            Now, do you not understand that “baseload” is a concept that is being left behind with the previous century? Going forward the task of grid managers is to deliver electricity when it’s needed. And hopefully at the best possible price.

            A combination of wind, solar, natural gas and storage can easily meet demand – 24/365. And the cost of that combination is less than the cost of new nuclear and both new and old “baseload” coal.

            New new renewable/NG/storage combination is even cheaper than some existing, paid off reactors. That’s why we saw five US reactors closed in 2013 and while we’ll likely see more reactors closed this year and years going forward. Even the nuclear industry is admitting that.

          • CaptD

            Bob – Great Baseload “Update”.

            I loved you referring to it as “a concept that is being left behind with the previous century”… Salute…


            RE: “Even the nuclear industry is admitting that.

            I believe that is due to the Utilities finally realizing that their old NPP cannot compete in todays market place and so these same Utilities are now investing in long term Solar projects in order to retain some percentage of their current market share while at the same time convincing their own Regulators that Utilities not the ratepayers should be the only one profiting from providing energy to the grid.

          • ingot

            The so-called marketplace is artificial competition implemented by politicians that don’t know what they are doing and don’t know what will happen if baseload providers are driven out of business and then there is a shortage of power. Electric power utilities are a natural monopoly where competition can result in higher prices for the ratepayers by forcing them to pay the marginal price rather than the average price for power.

          • jepY

            When nuclear was trendy, it replaced more than 5% of incumbent production every year in pioneer countries. If your magic combo is cheaper, then why is it inching along with 1-2% per year despite massive government support?

            Great to hear that we don’t need baseload anymore, btw.

          • CaptD

            “Baseload” is a nuclear marketing red herring!
            Just another excuse to “buy from a nuclear power plant first” a concept that no longer makes financial sense.

      • Not really TCFlood, I’d much rather deploy one made in Australia, thanks.

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