Media Gets Things Wrong: California Has Too Much Nuclear & Coal

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Originally published on
By Craig Morris

“Texas and California have too much renewable energy,” writes Technology Review. “California has too much solar power,” chimes in. Nonsense, says Craig Morris, a political arrangement is being passed off as a technical issue. Stop protecting nuclear and coal; get rid of baseload.

Windmills in California with a sunset in the background.

Is there too much wind and solar power in California? (Photo by Tony Webster, modified, CC BY 3.0)

In Germany, renewable power now regularly cuts into medium-load conventional plants and sometimes even offsets baseload capacity. The result can be negative power prices. Easter weekend is a case in point.

A graphic which shows the electricity production and spot prices in week 12 of 2016

Here, we see that peak power demand (around 60 GW from Monday to Thursday) dipped to 40 GW from Good Friday to Easter Sunday. When wind and solar power production picked up on the weekend, conventional generators were pushed down to 10 GW in terms of demand; around 10 GW of exports (the purple area below the baseline) rescued these plants, whose actual must-run level is closer to 20 GW. Power prices (the red and blue lines) plummeted and briefly went negative. During those hours, conventional plants were paying buyers to take power off their hands.

Why would they do that? It has to do with the must-run level. Think of your car. When you turn it on, the tachometer probably reads around 800 rpm. That’s your car’s must-run level. Hit the gas, and it goes up to 2,000–3,000. But if, for some reason, you wanted your engine to drop down to 600 rpm, you’d be out of luck; without revamps, it won’t work. Coal and nuclear plants have a relatively high must-run level.

A bar graphic which schows the capacity of solar PV, installed in Germany.
The US grid could accommodate 19 times more photovoltaics before it reaches the German level.

Look at the California data, and we see that the complaints cannot be technical in nature. “On March 27… some solar farms had to shut down because there was more power on the grid than Californians were using,” writes KQED Science. But compare the German chart above to the California chart below, and you may notice some differences.

Energy use

Let’s take a look at the “residual load” (demand minus renewables) in the chart from the bottom:

  • Nuclear power does not react to demand at all.
  • Natural gas, which ramps the best, moves from around 4 GW to 6 GW; it can easily do more from a technical standpoint.
  • Likewise, hydropower remarkably moves very little, ranging only from roughly 5 GW to 6 GW. Europe aims to use hydropower in Norway and Switzerland as a “battery” to store renewables; when a lot of wind and solar are generated, hydropower production in these two countries would slow down – and pick up again as need be.
  • Imports react the most at between 5 GW and 9 GW.

At Vox, David Roberts concludes that California “needs another grid to share with.” The chart shows the opposite. If California had more wind and solar, imports could drop, so less (!) interstate grid lines would be needed. California mainly imports coal power, and imports made up 27 percent of the state’s power supply in 2015 (PDF). More green power in California means lower demand for coal power.

Clearly, California is curtailing renewable power before its conventional fleet has reached the must-run level, a technical limit. I suspect renewable power is being curtailed when the market value drops below 1.0, meaning that conventional power becomes cheaper on the spot market than renewables (the expenses are called “system costs”). Shedding green electricity at a market value below 1.0 is a political decision, not a technical necessity. Germany has made a political decision to go 80 percent renewable for power by 2050, and the Germans understand that this transition will entail such system costs and ruin the profitability of coal and nuclear – in fact, that’s the goal.

A graphic that shows the demand and residual demand in winter 2020.

Bernard Chabot’s calculation of demand and the residual load (demand minus renewables) for 2020 in California. His conclusion: “There is ample room for much more wind and solar production in California without risks of RE oversupply or urgent needs for RE curtailments, storage, or exports.” Note that a study by Eric Martinot from November listed numerous options in addition to grid expansion. (Source)

Two graphics side by side, the left is showing the power demand over a week in 2012, the right is showing the estimated power demand in 2020 in Germany.

Originally produced in 2010 by Prof. Volker Quaschning, this chart shows that the Germans have long understood that the residual capacity for wind and solar will need to be as flexible as possible.


No one doubts the general analysis in these articles from the US:

  • wind and solar will always require backup generation capacity at the full level of peak demand;
  • gas turbines are technically optimal for that purpose;
  • storage will eventually be needed; and
  • grid expansions help.

But the specifics from California show that Americans overlook the need to shut down baseload. Roberts mentions how Denmark uses the grid to manage excess wind power without mentioning that France needs exports to keep its baseload nuclear fleet from ramping down at low levels of demand. IRENA pointed out in 2014 (PDF) that the early retirement of baseload plants precedes storage. Get rid of baseload, and you reduce must-run capacity, making space for wind and solar.

So does California have too much solar or too much baseload? The answer is political, not technical. If you want solar and wind, call for an end to baseload.

Craig Morris (@PPchef) is the lead author of German Energy Transition. He directsPetite Planète and writes every workday for Renewables International.

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255 thoughts on “Media Gets Things Wrong: California Has Too Much Nuclear & Coal

  • California should follow Germany’s example. The more roof top solar installed, the less fossil fuel baseload is needed. Nuclear power stations should be shut down, because of their nuclear waste. Natural gas fracking also should be banned like it is in New York. Rooftop solar alone could provide 40% of the electricity the USA uses, so the need for dirty fossil fuels is an illusion.

    • Germany has presented no meaningful reduction in carbon emissions.

      • Right. Nothing meaningful in the drop seen.

        Nothing to see here, move along….

        • 2009: Lignite 145.6 TWh, Hard coal 107.9 TWh
          2015: Lignite 155.0 TWh, Hard coal 117.0 TWh
          Source: Statistisches Bundesamt

          • And gas?

          • Gas has dropped since coal has gotten cheper there due to the EU’s innefficient cap and trade program that made emmissions rights on coal virtually free.

          • ecoh listed coal use apparently in an attempt to claim that German CO2 has not dropped (even though the data shows it clearly has). He/she omitted the drop in gas burning.

            We call that FUDding.

            Gas use dropped as well due to political problems. Western Europe has now realized that it cannot depend on Russian gas supplies. Tzar Putin is not trustworthy.

          • Then exlpain to me why Germany is now building the brand spanking new Nord Stream 2 pipeline to go along Nord-Stream 1?

          • I repeat myself. Western Europe cannot depend on Russian natural gas. Putin is willing to use NG as a political tool.

            If he’s selling, then gas may be worth buying. But that supply is not dependable.

          • Nord stream project was started in 1997 and construction started in 2006. This is a GasProm project (Russian, not Germany). The main benefit of it is that it avoids the political issues of shipping the gas through Ukraine.

            The project was started a long time before europe determined russian gas is not politically reliable.

          • Don’t forget that the former German Premier – the one before Merkel – Schroeder is now at Gazprom and does earn his retirement there.

          • Trying to replace a falsehood with a fallacy?

          • Right, a 1% rise which is only noise in the system is a rise.

            Cherry inflation….


          • Cherry picking or not from 2009-2015 no change in CHG emmissions yeah thats going forward. 2022 all nuclear gone that must be replaced. Same time German goverment puts a brake on RE development. Wind is curtailed at 1,5GW per year and its looking like solar will drop to under 1GW of added capacity per year. EG sytem comes to an end in 2017 so theres that.

            Yeah lets look at things in 2022 and see how well they have faired. The Energiewnde will fail at this rate.

          • Did you read the title of your graph? Growth is ahead of target, their is certainly a lot of FAIL in your post but it’s not in Germany.

          • Are you saying you cherry picked but ignore that and expecting to trot out another argument?

          • OMG Mallu. To use 2009 (-5% industrial production) as starting point for the discussion is stupid propaganda, you know it. Why this childish stuff.

            What is the correct number for 2006?

          • The huge drop of emissions in 2009 was due to the US engineered financial crisis and the following global economic meltdown. So actually “ecoh” is just lyingn through cherrypicking while ignoring the decade long trend.

          • You do not understand that electricity production is getting “greener”.
            More TWhs are produced with less CO2 output thanks to technology.

          • You are cherry picking data points and ignoring the long term trend. That convinces no one. Even annual demand variation can alter those things.

          • Well then explain to me then why the German goverment has said openly that they will miss their 2020 targets? if things are going so hunky dory.

          • Because they set ambitious targets higher than countries like the US and met them until now. The main reasons they feel they might not meet them in 2020 are the transport sector has lagged and support for solar has almost stopped. Germany has a real commitment, unlike other countries that have not achieved goals or even set them.
            Germany needs to expand wind and solar, add transmission, and use EVs instead of diesel.

          • Don’t forget that politics there is (as everywhere else) tightly coupled with incumbents.. they don’t like that RE is benefiting Joe Average and put the wrenches in it to get their corporate version of RE (rentseeking schemes) installed.

          • Always supply a real link unless you just want to admit you are cherry picking things out of context.

          • Yes. Nice catch. I hate anonymous discus uploads. I have seen people source highly dubious doctored graphs this way.

          • You are totally disingenuous by cherrypicking the numbers from 2009, where the whole world was in an economic meltdown and then comparing this single extraordinary year to 2015 while ignoring the long term trend. *slow clap while rolling eyes*

          • You may check the European context or account for exports.

            Even propaganda should be intelligent. 🙂

    • California leads the US in total amount of rooftop solar installed. Utility scale solar PV is also growing rapidly from essentially zero in 2008 to about 10GW today covering 4% of the states power in 2014. Solar PV will probably be close to 10 to 15% of the states power by 2020.

      • Its over 10% capacity right now, but not energy because of Capacity factor. Really, its supplying a lot of the load because it matches load well.

        • 10% capacity and 20%capacity factor, so total supply is 2%. Is that really ‘a lot of the load’? Not meaning to diss solar – it should work well in California, but please let’s be realistic. Capacity numbers alone are misleading.

          • In 2015 California generated and imported 17,535,770 MWh of PV and thermal solar.

            In 2014 California consumed 281,916,000 MWh of electricity (I didn’t find a 2015 total).


            That’s 6.2% from solar (could be off a little if 2015 consumption rates took a big jump, which is unlikely).

            The ‘generated and imported’ total does not include electricity generated behind the meter, by commercial buildings and homeowners.

          • Yes they can be. Any of these numbers are misleading if one doesn’t know how electrical demand is met daily, weekly, seasonally. Like this.
            That calculation can mislead, too. It won’t show solar load matching. That’s what is wrong with solar CF calculations. Everyone says solar is no good at night, I say I don’t need it then. I have a grid to supply the minuscule nght energy demand.

            BTW, solar is 7.4% of generation in 2015 when it wasn’t yet 10G utility. There might be half again as much in residential, no one really knows for sure.

            Shows how badly off a simple calculation based on CF can be.

            “Solar electricity production in California falls into two categories – solar thermal, using the concetrated heat of sunlight to heat a fluid to make steam to turn a traditional turbine and generator making electricity; and solar photovoltaic (PV), the direct conversion of sunlight into eletricity. Additionally, the heat from the sun is used in solar thermal systems for hot water in homes and businesses and in heating swimming pools. Most electricity from PV is not counted into the total electricity production of the utility companies as the solar panels are mounted on individual homes or businesses.

            Solar thermal facilities are concentrated in the desert areas of the state in the Mojave area. In 2015, Solar thermal power plants produced electricity in our state totaled 14,953 gigawatt-hours (GWh) or 7.64 percent of the state’s total electricity production. A total of 466 operating Solar power plants, with an installed capacity about 6,751 megawatts, are in California.”

    • You have things mostly wrong.

      It is not true that you can keep adding rooftop solar. When about 25% of electricity comes from solar PV, adding more produces mostly excess power that will not reduce the need for fossil fuel.

      Nuclear “waste” is just a Red Herring. It is a political issue that I would be the first one to say that our government has failed to deal with.

      Wind and solar require backup power as stated in the articles. The best for this is natural gas fueled Gas Turbine Combined Cycle since it can operate both as a variable output peaker or provide baseload power; whichever is needed. This means that natural gas will be needed so banning it isn’t a good idea although more regulation of drilling might be needed.

      With a capacity factor limited to less than 25% by geometry, flat panel solar PV can NOT provide 40% of the electricity in the USA without storage — lots of storage — which is currently not technically or economically feasable.

      • The old unproven it can’t be more than capacity factor argument. If demand matched the solar output curve it would have a higher capacity factor.
        Then the storage rubric.
        And the fantasy of using nuclear waste.
        You are on a roll.

        • I suppose that you think that you know a lot, but you know nothing. You don’t even know what Capacity Factor means.

          Why should I even bother replying to you?

          • The Guardian writing is sloppy. What it says isn’t exactly true. Read the original article which says:

            In 2015, Danish wind turbines generated what corresponds to 42 per cent of the Danes’ electricity consumption.

            Read carefully, that isn’t exactly the same thing, is it?

            They have pumped hydro storage. Sweden has pumped hydro storage. They sell the excess peak wind power to their neighbors and purchase power from them.

          • You are tap dancing. According to you the Danes can’t produce that much wind power because capacity factor. Nonsense.
            Sidestepping is not impressive.
            So now you figured out the first of many reasons why your “law” is nonsense. Countries can exceed the capacity factor of source in percentage use.
            Hydro isn’t cheating. Transmission isn’t cheating. Demand response isn’t cheating. Those are things used all the time for conventional sources.
            Like …. nuclear.

  • I think much of California’s problem with coal input is due to existing purchase contracts. California agreed to purchase power from coal plants some years back and those contracts have not yet reached their termination dates. When the contract expires I think there’s no intention to renew but to replace with renewables.

    We need to be careful comparing Germany and California. California does not have the sort of hydro resources that Germany can tap. If we strengthen the Western Grid then we may see that sort of potential come into play by including PNW hydro along with hydro from Idaho and British Columbia.

    • Yes, there are three large out of state coal plants that supply California with power.

      Also, these are probably baseload and intermediate load power contracts. If they contract with the same suppliers on the basis of being able to buy less power in the middle of the day when they have solar PV available, they are going to have to pay more per MWh for the power. This is the reality of backup power. It is going to cost more than base and intermediate power.

      • Sorry, Peter. You have no credibility left.

  • The article fails to mention several things.

    1) Californa currently has only 2 functional nuclear reactors which in 2014 produced 9% of the states power. 2 reactors in southern California have recently been permanently shut down due to heat exchanger issues.

    2) in 2014 coal only amounted to 6% of the states power.Use of coal in californa has been falling fast for several years.

    3) Most hydroelectric facilities in the state are primarily used to store water. Power is primarily generated when to water is released to supply farmers and cities, Or when there is an excess of water and the reservoirs are near full. Due to the need to store water during the long dry months of summer hydro cannot be throttled up and down as in can in other parts of the world. Large hydro accounted for 6% of the states power production in 2014. 2014 was a drought year. Right now the reservoirs are nearly full due to plentiful snow in the mountains.

    4) natural gas accounted for about 45% of the states power in 2014. Renewables accounted for about 20% of the states power in 2014. Legally, large hydro in California doesn’t count as Renewable.

    So the limited amount of ramping in coal, nuclear, and hydro is due to the limitations of these power sources. The 2 nuclear reactors in the state were originally designed to be base load power plants and don’t have significant ramping capability. The same is probably true for the few remaining coal power plants.

    The California grid is in fairly good shape right now and can import significant amounts of power from as far north as Canada and from New Mexico in the east. Concentrated solar power with thermal storage can be expanded enough to cover all of the power generation currently being provided by natural gas, coal, and nuclear. There ia also a significant potential untapped geothermal and deep water offshore wind. Geothermal and concentrated solar power are inherently rampable technologies. Legally California utilities are required to supply 33% of all power from renewables by 2020 and 50% by 2040.

    • Only one, Diablo.

      eta: One plant, two rectors.

      • Correct. The shut down facility is San Onfre nuclear power plant. Originally 3 reactors but one was shut down due to failure of the heat exchanger due to old age. Instead of shutting down the other two for the same reason they decided to replace the heat exchangers. Replacement of the heat exchangers was never planned in the original design. so it wasn’t easy. The newly designed heat exchangers were installed successfully but a design flaw is causing them to wear out faster than expected. Plans to correct the problem were never approved and the plant is being shut down.

        • The reason why it was so hard and expensive to change the steam generators not heat exhangers was that the reactor was a 2-loop design. Meaning that it had 2 large steam generators menaing that if you wanted to change them the roof had to be cut open. This is not a problem with 3 and 4 loop designs since they are smaller and can be brought through the door.

          • The reason they went with a 2 loop system verses a 3 or 4 loop system was plant cost and lifetime. A 3 or 4 loop that can be repaired costs more money. Also after the 30year life of the plant the designers expected there would be newer designs available that would be safer, lower cost, easier to operate and potentially need less maintenance. With that expectation they expected the plant to be dismantled after 30 years and then replaced with a newer one. Very few US nuclear power plants were built with the ability to replace the steam generators.

            One reactor in Florida was scrapped after cutting into the containment building caused irreparable damage to the containment structure. Several others were able to replace the steam generators successfully. But with US nuclear fleet aging, more steam generator problems should be expected.

      • Nuclear obviously need help from above-:)

      • Two priests. Praying they work.

    • Nice summary, thanks. Go to for daily reports if you like something for fun. 🙂

    • Seen this mentioned before, why on earth is Hydro not considered as a “renewable”?

      • The public wanted new renewables built. They didn’t want the renewables mandate to be meet by importing hydro power from dams built in the 1930 in the Pacific north west. Also importing that power would make the state vulnerable to a cascade grid failure. Whenever possible it is always better to generate the power in state rather than out of state. Add to that the damage done to the Salmon industry and environment. Due to those concerns the politicians decided it wouldn’t count.

    • In response to #3, that certainly makes seasonal hydro variation impossible, but shouldn’t mid day throttle down of a few hours during the Solar peak be possible without disrupting the down stream water usage needs particularly agricultural?

      I don’t think your correct on the ramping ability of Geothermal, my family owns some of these resources down in the Salton Sea where a hot brine is pumped from deep underground, the stuff is a very nasty cocktail of salts and metals (some of the metals are actually profitable to extract with a catalyst) which will precipitate out if the water cools too much, the fluid needs to be immediately re-injected and you don’t want the flow to ever stop because both the well shafts and all the above ground piping will clog.

      Arguably Geothermal power is the LEAST responsive power source of them all, even worse then Nuclear. Even when it can be halted it is like curtailing wind, a pure loss.

      • In response to #3, that certainly makes seasonal hydro variation impossible, but shouldn’t mid day throttle down of a few hours during the Solar peak be possible without disrupting the down stream water usage needs particularly agricultural?

        To some extent you could throttle them midday. It all depends on the rules that govern the hydro plant operation. those rules are unique to each dam.

        At this point in time it is a lot easier to turn down the natural gas first. if that isn’t enough you can then curtail renewables to do the same job.

        As to the Salton sea most of the plants there are binary geothermal systems. This means the brine is pumped through a heat exchanger and then reinjected into the ground. The heat exchanger transfers the heat to the power plant. With this system the plant can be taken down for maintenance at any time and the Brine pumps can be left on. You can also easily adjust power plant water flow to throttle the power while maintaining a constant brine flow. Basically all this does is very the amount of heat extracted from the brine without throttling the brine flow.

    • It is 50% by 2030 (not by 2040)

  • California has one Nulcear plant with 2 reactors with a combined output of 2,4GW. That is roughly 9% or 1/10th of all electricity produced. Now Craig Morris says that this is the main cause of all the problems. So yeah lets ignore on the other 90% generation. Denmark manages to get rid of their excess wind by dumping it into Norway, Norway has large hydro reserves so they are able to take that free electricity in. So the argument that Nuclear is F&%ing up Californias renewables is pure BS since there’s simply not enough of it. In France it would but California no. Also Germany’s carbon emmission rose by 1,1 in 2015 from 2014 and they have risen from 2011 levels by 0,9% So there you go 237 billion euros spent on technology to fight climate change and they have absolutely nothing to show for it. Also Germany admitted that they will miss their 2020 targets quite badly.

    • Here’s what Craig said –

      “Nonsense, says Craig Morris, a political arrangement is being passed off as a technical issue. Stop protecting nuclear and coal; get rid of baseload.”

      Nuclear and coal.

      You might need to read the site commenting rules. Dishonesty will get you the boot.

      • Tell me exactly how I am beeing dishonest? Exactly how in detail please. 9% of Generation would ruin it for renewables?. Also flexible back up is in California and the US is natural gas. Now correct me if I am wrong but ng is a fossil fuel. Now we want to get rid of fossil fuel by building a system that need a fossil fuel powered back up. That’s like saying i’m going to stop going to the gas station by buying a Toyota prius. You still need to go to the gas station with a prius now and then so lets not kid ourselves. Now getting rid of coal is a good thing but remember before you shut down Diablo Canyon there be a replacement ready. If not all the people who argue for it’s shut down will give away their right to complain about the rising emmissions. When that happens people who argue for that will have to defend their position when emmissions rise. They will not have the right to complain about it, they must shut up no sarcastic remarks no complaints nothing. So go ahead sjut down 9% of California’s co2 free production shut it right away but remember not a single complaint when things go south…..nada.

        • If you don’t understand how the power grid works, learn. Nuclear and coal make up an inflexible base load that is more than 9%. The combination limits the ability to integrate renewables. Craig showed a day where renewables created so much electricity that baseload operators were willing to dump their electricity for free. Craig showed that Germany is willing to keep the renewables going at the expense of baseload. California is doing the opposite. Its a political choice, not just a technical one. Just as using gas rather than coal is.

          The article is showing that there is no problem with too much wind. Its a manufactured dilemma. It could easily be a headline stating there is a problem with too much coal and nuclear.

          When one considers the flexible sources needed to supplement coal and nuclear, .. the gas turbines and so forth, caseload is actually expensive

          As it is right now, nuclear integration costs are higher than wind.

          “Studies show nuclear and large fossil plants actually have “far higher integration costs than renewables,” Goggin said. “Contingency reserves, the super-fast acting energy reserve supply required of grid operators in case a large power plant shuts down unexpectedly, are a major cost. Comparing the incremental cost of wind to those costs that ratepayers have always paid, the wind cost looks even more trivial.”

          • It would appear that you are providing misinformation from the Green echo chamber rather than an engineering source, so I have to say that you are the one that doesn’t understand.

            You appear to be so busy reciting the dogma of the Green religion that you have missed the point of the author, but then, so has he.

            What is needed now to use all of the renewables that are available is sufficient variable output backup power. This can be provided by either hydro or suitable types of natural gas fueled plants.

            Some other posters suggested that California’s hydro might not be suitable for backup use. This means that they need natural gas CCGT plants. If they don’t have enough they will need to build more to replace the coal fired power that is being purchased from out of state.

            It will do no good at all to close down power plants if there aren’t variable output natural gas fueled plants to replace their power. I thought it strange that the author didn’t mention this. He just wanted to close down coal and nuclear. But, what did he think that people would do for power when the sun wasn’t overhead? Is this just another example of a Green believing in Magic?

            The baseload power from nuclear and hydro (he didn’t mention the baseload hydro either) won’t be an issue till there actually is too much baseload power without the imports and the natural gas that isn’t baseload. Anyone that looked that the chart should be able to see that.

          • Yes, they need more variable output natural gas power plants.

        • How? Morris said nuclear and coal.

          You misrepresented what he said.

          In another comment you tried to make a very small increase in CO2 output into a meaningful rise in output.

          The correct analogy would not be a Prius hybrid, but a plug-in hybrid. We could cut our gasoline consumption by at least 75%, probably over 85%, by switching to PHEVs.

          In the same way we can cut our electricity CO2 output by replacing coal with a 30% solar, 40% wind and 30% NG mix.

          And as time goes along we can reduce, probably eliminate the 30% NG with storage and renewable generation.

    • Wrong. You assumed Germany has the same goals as everywhere else. Energiewende was not started to lower GHG emissions. Germans have multiple goals. They want to get rid of nuclear. During this phase of dumping it, GHG emissions are not dropping as fast, but are dropping. After 2020 when nuclear is pretty much gone, they will drop much faster as renewables are added.
      You see, Germans recognize that GHG are not the only environmental offenders. Radioactive waste and disasters are, too.

      • Aah you mean a tsunami striking central Germany yes I can see exactly how that is going to be a massive threat.

        • A glass of cold water?

          • Why not, lets put Illumanati and world bank there also as a threat 😉

        • Chernobyl wasn’t hit by aTsunami either.

          • I will give you a million dollars if you can show me how to replicate Chernobyl in a western reactor meaning any PWR, LWR, AGR, CANDU and BWR reactor the floor is yours.

          • You may also use a Magnox type reactor or any FBR reactor you like, gas cooled pebble bed reactors are also fair game. Also you can use Russian VVER PWR reactors and FBR’s in your demonstration.

          • You are slipping. A tsunami didn’t hit Windscale. More braggadocio, and yet more failure. Promises unmet, cost over runs and delays, leaks, decommissioning costs and after all that, no solution to waste. What a boondoggle. The entire scam is based on hype and fantasy. The only way it operates is by ignoring its unsolved waste problems and dumping the problem on later generations. The costs are never included.

          • Windscale caught on fire. This is another example of problems with early reactors. What do you think about the original Lockheed L-188 Electra? Should we abandon passenger air flight?

            There is no unsolved “waste” problem. That is a Red Herring that anti-nukes keep bringing up.

            Unsolved would mean there there is no solution. However, there are solutions. If there is a problem it is the fact that politicians refuse to decide what to do with Spent Nuclear Fuel elements.

            What do you mean that the costs were never included. The DOE collected a tax on every kWh of electricity produced from nuclear power plants. There is now over $30 Billion in the fund!

          • Lord, honey. If we start listing all the nuclear incidents that didn’t develop into full meltdowns, all the near misses, we’ll be at this for a long, long time.

            Fessenheim had a major event in 2014 and the industry covered it up. The outside world just found out and the reactor will be closed at the end of this year.

            There is no acceptable solution for nuclear waste. There are only ideas which are not adequately acceptable.

            About 25 miles from here you can find used fuel rods sitting in a pool of water. They’ve been there since the plant stopped operations in 1976. Forty years.

            Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has been spending $5 million per year to store used fuel rods from Rancho Seco since 1986. Thirty years.

          • Who are you to determine what is acceptable? But, wait, this is turning into a Straw Man argument. No, leaving Spent Nuclear Fuel elements from a closed reactor in the used fuel pool is not an acceptable solution when the ratepayers supposedly paid for better storage.

          • I make no claim to be the one determining what is acceptable. I am merely observing and reporting.

            Apparently you find it acceptable to take radioactive waste from where it was created and sending it off to people in Nevada.

            People in Nevada do not find that acceptable

            Therefore – storing radioactive waste in Nevada is not an acceptable solution.

            You can go down the list of suggested ways to deal with radioactive waste. None of them are being used which means that society, in general, has not found them acceptable.

          • Your theory appears to be that anything that can be made into a political football isn’t acceptable.

            Did the people of Nevada vote on this?

            Have people voted on having the toxic waste from solar PV cells stored in their states?

          • Again, if we had an acceptable solution for nuclear waste then we wouldn’t be having discussions about how to deal with nuclear waste.

          • LOL. No unsolved long term waste storage problem?

            Nuclear cheerleaders are more than happy to accept theoretical solutions while nuclear waste continues to pile up. There is no long term waste solution in operation reducing temporary storage.

            No long term waste solution exists almost 60 years after reactors started.

            Decommissioning fees are already inadequate.

            No one really knows how much a real long term waste depository will cost operated for thousands of years.

            Just the costs of remediating land from uranium mining is in the billions. And decommissioning costs are in billions, too, with funds that are often inadequate for clean up.

          • Aren’t you simply repeating yourself? Saying it again doesn’t change it.

            Solutions that are being used or have been developed are not theoretical. I don’t think that they have to be in use in the USA to qualify as solutions.

            I wonder why decommissioning fees trust funds might not be adequate for both immediate decommissioning (which is more expensive) as well as fuel storage (which wasn’t planed to be included) for a power plant that was closed early.

            A repository isn’t “operated” for thousands of years. As I probably mentioned somewhere else, the highly radioactive waste is only radioactive for a Thousand years. The drums of vitrified waste are placed in the repository and after that section is sealed, nothing else is done. There is no more operation for that waste.

            Don’t you understand anything.

            And now you bring up another subject. I don’t like it that Leftists do this, so I do not respond. Also, I see no citation for your over estimate of decommissioning costs.

          • They have to be in use and actually reducing the mountain of accumulating waste, a little thing you overlook.

          • As I said, implementing solutions is a political problem which I fully acknowledge continues to exist. People like you make this problem worse because you do not want the issue solved.

          • 50 years. Thats enough time for excuses to end.

          • HLW is radioactive for thousands of years. Don’t you know what high level waste means?

            “Because HLW contains relatively high concentrations of both highly radioactive and extremely long-lived radionuclides, special disposal practices are needed. Although the relative amount of HLW is small with respect to the total volume of radioactive waste produced in nuclear power programmes, it contains 99% of the radioactivity in this volume. Furthermore, it takes about 10,000 years for the radioactivity of such wastes to decay to the level which would have been generated by the original ore from which the nuclear fuel was produced, should this ore never have been mined.”


          • Yes, I know what HLW means. What you quoted can be misleading to someone (you) that doesn’t understand fully about HLW. So, I slightly revised what I said to make it clearer:

            [T]he highly radioactive fission products (waste) are only radioactive for a Thousand years.

            That statement is correct as far as it goes. However, it says nothing about the fission products which are not highly radioactive and have half-lives of more than 210,000 years. They would not be considered HLW if they were not mixed together with the highly radioactive fission products that have half-lives of less than 100 years.

            I have to say that I do not really understand the statement about the 10,000 years. It only confuses the issue.

            You can read about fission products in Wikipedia.

          • “it takes about 10,000 years for the radioactivity of such wastes to decay to the level which would have been generated by the original ore from which the nuclear fuel was produced,”

            Yes. You don’t understand that statement.

          • Why bother? Wind, solar and tidal are cheaper and quicker to build.

          • Because they don’t actually solve the problem. Wind, solar and tidal leaves you running gas to fill in the gas so you don’t actually get to decarbonise beyond maybe 70%, leaving 30% gas, at least in high-lattitude countries. We need a plan that adds up. Also tidal is not cheaper. In the UK tidal stream is £305/MWh. Tidal lagoon is only slightly more expensive than nuclear. And storage is still very expensive indeed. Hopefully that will change, but relying on it is risky.

          • High latitude countries/states/regions typically have a lot of hydro which can fill in around wind and solar. Pump-up hydro storage is affordable (~10 cents per kWh) and transmission lines can bring in power from other areas (~2.5 cents per 1,000 km).

            The price of short term (battery) storage is dropping rapidly. PuHS and flow batteries along with biofuel generation are our current best fill-ins for long periods of low wind/solar.

          • What exactly do you mean by “biofuel generation”?

          • Biogas.


          • We don’t have enough land to grow significant amounts of fuel although making it from organic waste is something that has merit. Reverse combustion is probably better for energy storage.

          • We’re already running biomass generation plants on lumbermill waste.

            Remember, I was talking about “fill-ins for long periods of low wind/solar”. Not for everyday generation.

          • Ever heard of transmission lines? The generation doesn’t have to be at the source location.

          • Are they really cheaper when you consider the Capacity Factor and the Lifetime? How long does it take to install 50 square miles of solar PV panels? Or an equivalent amount of wind turbines?

          • We don’t know how long solar panels will last. Our oldest installed array is now around 40 years old. At age 35 it was taken down, each panel tested, and then reinstalled.

            Loss per year was just over 0.1% per year. According to the NREL we could expect panels installed in harsh environments (lots of wind/snow loading, high UV exposure) to lose up to 0.4% per year. That means a 40 year old array might yield between 84% and 96% of new. We know of no “solar cliff” over which panels might tumble so life well past 40 is a distinct possibility.

            But let’s use 30 to be super safe (generous to nuclear).

            20 years at 5c (we’ll be below 5c before a new reactor could be built) + 10 years at 1c. Replace the panels. 20 years at 5c + 10 years at 1c. Average for 60 years = 3.7c/kWh. Unsubsidized.

            Now let’s look at wind. Unsubsidized wind is nearing 3c/kWh. That’s the price for the 20 year period during which the wind farm loan is serviced. We’re pretty sure that wind farms will last another 10 years because our first generation, 30 year old turbines are now being replaced. Newer designs could last 40 or more years but let’s be conservative and use 30.
            20 years at 3c + 10 years at 1c. Replace turbines. 20 years at 3c + 10 years at 1c. That’s 60 years with an average price of 2.3c/kWh.

            Now nuclear. A median price for new US/Western Europe reactors is about 15c. That’s with a 30 year payoff, is it not? Just to be safe, let’s say 20.

            20 years at 15c + 20 years at 3c. That’s an average of 9c/kWh.

            20 years at 15c + 40 years at 3c. That’s an average of 7c/kWh.

            Both 7 and 9 are a lot higher than 2.3 and 3.7, don’tcha think?

          • There is little point in commenting on your made up figures.

          • Peter, there is nothing “made up” in my comment. The numbers I gave are real.

            Look, it’s pretty clear that you are getting frustrated because you can’t pass off your bull here. You’re getting pushback with facts that are inconvenient for you.

            It’s probably time we said goodbye to you.

        • AVR. Sr90 contamination. Chernobyl. Tsunami, right. Operator error, stuck rods, .. What will the next excuse be?
          Who cares. Nuclear is toast economically. The least effective way to supply power.

          • How many people have hydro power dams killed?

            The RBMK reactor at Chernobyl exploded. 10 to 100 tons of TNT low yield atomic explosion. Don’t forget that. This wasn’t supposed to be possible but it was a very unsafe reactor design based on a military Plutonium production reactor. Other commercial power reactors won’t do that. Only the RBMK had a large positive void coefficient.

            There was a 500 year tsunami in japan caused by the largest earthquake in Japan’s history. It was a natural disaster that killed over 16,000 people and you are worried about the damage that it did to 3 old 1960s design nuclear power plants? We don’t build those anymore either.

            You are making a fallacious argument. Would either of these incidents occur with a new Westinghouse AP1000?

            Compare the price considering the Capacity Factor (95%) and the Lifetime (60 years). Nuclear is the least expensive at $5.40/Watt and most effective: 24/7/365 day and night no matter what the weather. Do you have any actual facts to contradict that?

          • More than one person has died from a dam failure. But we have the option of not living right below them.

            We don’t know if an AP1000 is capable of melting down or will melt down. Homer has had enough time running one yet.

            There are no 60 year old nuclear plants. Most are closed by the age 40. Nuclear is only $5.40 in your fantasies. Vogtle is currently running over $8/watt. And it’s not done yet.

            Capacity factor is part of the formula that determines the cost of electricity produced. And nuclear is several times more expensive than wind and solar.

            Weather? If you ignore the times reactors get shut down in heat waves and during floods.

            Nuclear is simply too expensive, Peter. Check in with reality.

          • “’It would be very difficult for any company to make a decision to try to build a new nuclear plant,’ says Mike Twomey, a spokesman for Entergy Nuclear, which runs nuclear power plants.

            Entergy has already taken one unprofitable reactor offline in Vermont and plans to close two more plants that are losing money in upstate New York and Massachusetts.”

            Entergy is the largest nuclear plant operator in the US.

            “’We think that the costs of new nuclear right now are not competitive with other zero-carbon technologies, renewables and storage that we see in the marketplace,’ says Joe Dominguez, executive vice president for governmental and regulatory affairs and public policy at Exelon, a nuclear power company that has announced plans to close one of its existing reactors in New Jersey.

            Three other plants that are losing money in Illinois and upstate New York are also being reviewed for possible closure, Dominguez says.

            ‘Right now we just don’t have any plans on the board to build any new reactors,’ he says.”

            Exelon is the second largest nuclear plant operator in the US. Entergy and Exelon own and operate about 25% of all US reactors.

            “Mycle Schneider, a nuclear industry analyst, says nuclear also faces growing price pressure from wind and solar. Renewable energy is so cheap in some parts of the U.S. that it’s even undercutting coal and natural gas.

            ‘We are seeing really a radical shift in the competitive markets which leave nuclear power pretty much out in the rain,’ Schneider says.’”


          • I do not consider National Peoples Radio as a valid source.

            However it is true that this artificial competition system that has replaced standard utility regulation for electric utilities in some states simply doesn’t work and needs to be fixed. Suppliers of less expensive 24 hour baseload power cannot compete with hit and run suppliers that have access to the grid without having to show need to the PUC. The end result will be higher prices to the rate payers as peaker supplier replace the baseload suppliers.

            If you think that shows that nuclear power is uneconomic, you are wrong. However, it does show that it is foolish for anyone to build a coal or nuclear power plant in a state with so called deregulated electric utilities.

            The politicians that designed those systems simply did not understand basic economics. Have you noticed that nukes are only being built in states with traditional utility regulation for electric utilities?

          • Peter, I gave you direct quotes from the CEOs of the largest nuclear reactor owning companies in the US.

            That you wave them away because you find them inconvenient tells us that you are not an objective participant but someone apparently blinded by allegiance to a specific technology.

            “If you think that shows that nuclear power is uneconomic, you are wrong.”

            No, Peter. The real world is telling you that nuclear power is uneconomic. The facts are staring you in the face. Take off your blinders. Spend a little time and see what the costs for Vogtle, Hinkley Point, and North Anna are. Look back at the bid history for Ontario (Canada), San Antonio and Turkey were. Look at how Sumner has caused six rate increases for South Carolina consumers, how their electricity rates have increased 30% so far, simply to help fund reactor construction.

            “However, it does show that it is foolish for anyone to build a coal or nuclear power plant in a state with so called deregulated electric utilities.”

            Do you have even a slight understanding of what you wrote?

            Of course one can get away with building a nuclear reactor in a place where market forces don’t operate. Geeze, Louise….

            Build a solid gold toilet and charge people $1,000 to pee in it and $5,000 to poop. You can do that if the local government forces people to use your toilet and backs up your fee structure.

            Try to find your way back to reality, Peter.

          • I thought that I made a simple point that based on a 60 to 80 year life that a new modern nuke is not uneconomic. Have you seen the comparison between that nuke in Finland and German wind or solar?

            We don’t know how much it will cost the utilities for Vogtle but like the EPR in Finland there were clearly first of kind issues as well as NRC delays. And Hinkley C looks like a bad business deal but there is also an offer on the table to build 3 AP1000 NPPs for the UK that looks reasonable.

            The ESBWR at North Anna appears to have been killed by NRC delays.

            There was an instance in Canada were there was only one bidder but CANDU reactors are known to be expensive. The advantage is that they do not require enriched Uranium.

            You should take another look at San Antonio and Turkey. There is no issue there. You have run out of Cherries to pick.

            Yes, South Carolina electric rates went up. They were going up in the near future because new capacity was needed. Pay as you go for new capacity costs less in the long run.

            I suppose that you didn’t take economics either. If you had, you would have learned that there is more than one market force. Leftists seem to think that there is only the law of supply and demand and that competition always results in lower prices. This is only the short run. They don’t appear to understand that there is a long run where they will be paying higher prices under this artificial competition system — higher prices then they would pay under traditional regulation.

            Entergy Corporation lost $800 Million last year. That resulted in lower prices but it won’t continue in the long run. That is reality.

          • You are making stuff up again. Facts mean nothing.

            Homer isn’t allowed to run an AP1000.

            Since you know nothing about the AP1000, I might ask, can you melt metal in boiling water?

            There are no Generation III or III+ reactors that are 60 years old yet. Have you seen any old wind turbines or solar farms. Do you doubt the rated lifetimes? So, you just make up your own?

            How do you know how much Vogtle will cost? Are you using lies from Enemies of the Planet? Do you have a copy of the private settlement between the contractors and the utilities? Do you know how much the Federal government will indemnify them for the improper actions of the NRC and the last minute new regulations. Read the Federal Statute if you don’t know what I am talking about.

            So, lets use the price estimate for someone that wants to build a new one and compare it to price estimates for the costs of new wind and solar.

            Are you using those fake figures from tax shelter wind and solar farms again? So, lets stick to the capital cost per Watt without direct Federal subsidies since that is much easier to check to start with because I suspect the figures that are being put into the LCOE formula.

            Nuclear is not too expensive when you compare it to solar with a rated life of 25 years and a CF of 25% without direct subsidies.

          • Homer climbed through Brown’s Ferry with a lit candle and burned the sucker up.

            Don’t underestimate Homer’s abilities.

            “How do you know how much Vogtle will cost?”

            I’m using the numbers generated by Citigroup, who had access to the books. They came up with a LCOE of 11 cents per kWh. Since they did their calculations we know that an additional $2 billion overrun will have to be added onto the price. Adjust the installed price up to cover that $2 billion and it adds a couple of cents.

            ” Are you using lies from Enemies of the Planet? ”

            Peter, I’m thinking your time visiting with us is about over. You’re starting to sound batshit crazy.

          • What does a lit candle have to do with melting down in boiling water. You appear to have changed the subject. I presume that the NRC no longer allows such flammable material. You do realize that the NRC was totally incompetent to allow the use of material that wasn’t fireproof to start with. They make fireproof sealant. You can buy it at Home Depot.

            Perhaps that is the cost, but who will pay it? How much will the contractor have to pay? How much will the Federal government indemnify them for the actions of the NRC?

            Sorry that you don’t appreciate my sense of humor

          • ” You do realize that the NRC was totally incompetent ”

            And there is the point. Humans screw up in ways that other humans do not predict.

          • Hard to believe that the building codes for regular buildings require the use of this stuff but that the NRC wouldn’t.

          • Excuses for Chernobyl don’t make it go away.
            Excuses for Fukushima don’t make it go away, either.

            How much does an AP1000 cost?
            Answer: We may never find out. Delays and cost over runs are mounting.
            But we do know based on how much they have already cost that its over 13c/kwhr and unable to compete with either onshore wind or PV solar anymore.
            Interestingly, CSP with storage can displace the function of coal and nuclear.
            But who needs it?
            All you need is flexible gas generators and renewables. Its cheaper.

            Nuclear needs those gas peakers for sudden outages and to follow load anyway.

            So there is no need for nuclear and its excuses any more.

            And don’t worry about the AP1000. I am sure it will find some other way to fail.

            LIke its containment.


          • There is absolutely no excuse for Chernobyl. The RBMK was dangerous and should have never been built.

            There is a reason that Fukushima happened. However, some things could have been done that might have prevented it.

            I presume that you repeat this junk from the anti-nuke echo chamber. Construction of the 4 AP1000 power plants in the US is now going normally. Delays and costs are no longer mounting.

            I see that you don’t understand what ‘spinning reserves’ or ‘operating reserves’ means either. No, nuclear doesn’t need gas peakers for sudden outages. The grid has a reserve that is kept on the grid. Some of it is supplied by each power plant on the grid by running at slightly less than full capacity. And yes, peakers do load following, that is what they are for.

            And that PDF is just garbage written by a leading anti-nuke group. Anyone, with any knowledge can see that it is junk. I hope that the NRC had a good laugh.

          • ” Delays and costs are no longer mounting.”

            We do not know that. Several months back the builders of the Vogtle reactors announced that they would no longer release any cost information about the reactor construction project until the reactors were finished. For all we know they’ve pissed away a few more billion.

            “No, nuclear doesn’t need gas peakers for sudden outages. The grid has a reserve that is kept on the grid. Some of it is supplied by each power plant on the grid by running at slightly less than full capacity. ”

            Yes, plants are required to run under full capacity in order to fill in if a reactor goes offline. Thermal plants complain about having to subsidize nuclear. They would rather run at full capacity and make more money.

          • They can’t release the cost information because they made a settlement with the contractors. However, they are releasing the information that things are getting done on time based on the new schedule for the new projected opening date.

            Don’t you know that:

            1. There are coal units that are over 1 GW. They can go down with no notice too. Most nukes go off line for non-nuclear reasons. In fact, coal plants are less reliable.

            2. The spinning reserve is also a percentage of total demand. On many large grids, this is more than is required to cover a nuclear reactor.

            You are making stuff up again.

            And, the nukes have to contribute their percentage too.

          • Bullshit, Peter. Vogtle quit reporting updated cost figures because they were starting to get a consumer revolt.

            More comparing coal to nuclear. That dog don’t hunt.

            Large thermal plants are provided spinning reserve by requiring all plants to run at less than total output. We know that Peter.

          • I suggest that you read what you wrote:

            Yes, plants are required to run under full capacity in order to fill in
            if a reactor goes offline. Thermal plants complain about having to
            subsidize nuclear. They would rather run at full capacity and make more

            and try to understand what you said.

            There is no subsidizing nuclear. Spinning reserves are based on the size of the plant, not the source of the heat. I am not comparing coal to nuclear. I am comparing a 1 GW plant to a 1 GW plant. So, if there is a 1 GW coal plant on the grid, how are the thermal plants subsidizing nuclear. You need to fix that jerking knee.

          • Looks like the anti nukes have gotten to everybody. Even power engineering magazines are infested with them. Its just garbage written by an anti nuke group. Ignore it. Everything is fine at Vogtle.

            “The utility is asking the state to certify $1.4 billion in cost overruns and push the completion date back 18 months, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The state Public Service Commission was going to decide who will pay for the overruns when construction is completed, but the recent filing may prompt commissioners to make the decision sooner, the article said. Southern Co. and engineering, construction and procurement contractors Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I, NYSE: CBI) and Westinghouse Electric are in court battling over whom is responsible for previous cost overruns for the project.

            The PSC must determine if the additional costs are “prudent” or “imprudent.” If they are prudent or necessary, then customers may have to foot the bill. If they are found to be imprudent or unnecessary, then the companies will have to pay. Commissioners had agreed not to certify the decision until the first of the two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors was completed, which is now scheduled for 2019. The second unit is scheduled for completion in mid-2020. Initially, the reactors were supposed to cost $6.1 billion and be completed in 2016 and 2017.”


          • “On nuclear, Citi says cost over-runs at the Vogtle plant under construction in Georgia – now slated to cost $15 billion, way above expectations – mean that nuclear is pricing itself out of the market. Citi puts its LCOE at 11c/kWh), which it said is relatively expensive, vs combined cycle gas plants and solar and wind.”


            That was 2 years ago. It has only gotten worse since.

          • It is interesting how banks only consider cost of the electricity and not Capacity Factors and the cost of grid integration.

            The important thing is how much another AP1000 can be built for in the USA and what the Congress will do about the NRC.

          • The cost of integrating wind and solar is close to nothing. ERCOT reports $0.0005/kWh for wind. Integrating nuclear is more expensive, at least according to utilities.

          • There is no fixed cost for integration of wind, solar or nuclear. In the case of wind and solar, the cost is going to rise per unit as more is added. Nuclear is going to depend on many things.

        • What tsunami hit Windscale and started it on fire? Was it a tsunami that started Chernobyl? Always excuses for nuclear disasters.

          • What stupid questions. Don’t you know how Windscale caught on fire. I think it is Wikipedia. But, basically, it was simply an accident.

            I hope that you know that it was operator error that caused the explosion at Chernobyl. Why can’t you say ‘explosion’. Do you want to cling to the anti-nuke’s belief that it was a meltdown?

            Why do you say “excuses’?

          • “An incident at the Fessenheim nuclear facility in France in 2014 was more serious than previously known. German media reports claim the authorities withheld information detailing the gravity of the situation.

            Both the French nuclear authority, ASN, and the company operating the two Fessenheim nuclear reactors, French energy giant EDF, allegedly did not divulge the gravity of the incident on April 9, 2014, when one of the reactors had to be shut down after water was found leaking from several places.

            Researchers from German daily “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and public broadcaster WDR claim the incident at Fessenheim, which is in Alsace near the border with Germany, could turn out to be one of “most dramatic nuclear accidents ever in Western Europe.”

            They are basing the claim on a document they say they have obtained, sent by ASN to the then-head of the facility on April 24, 2014.

            The letter and subsequent reply reveal that the reactor could not be shut down in an ordinary fashion due to control rods being jammed. The reactor had to be shut down by adding boron to the pressure vessel, an unprecedented procedure in Western Europe, according to an expert.

            “I don’t know of any reactor here in Western Europe that had to be shut down after an accident by adding boron,” Manfred Mertins, expert and government advisor on nuclear reactor safety, told WDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung.

            The reports say the official report ASN released did not contain information on adding boron nor the jammed control rods. It was also not reported in that way to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).


            Fessenheim will be closed at the end of 2016.

          • Just found this little gem…

            ” Schneider ( Mycle Schneider, editor of the World Nuclear Industry status report) doesn’t see a change of thinking in the nuclear industry itself. He says an awareness over the difficult future of building new nuclear power stations hasn’t arrived to the minds of Areva’s management.

            But he sees other opportunities for the nuclear industry. “The future lies in the huge market for demolition and nuclear waste management,” Schneider said. “New constructions will remain the exception.”

            “France Tilting Toward Nuclear Phase-out”

            Interesting read.


          • Yawn.

            The safety systems all worked, didn’t they?

          • Geeze….

            You are a callous SOB.

          • A typical response. A nuke cheerleader never gets it. First you claim Fukushima was due to a tsunami that could never happen in Germany. Then when someone points out that a nuke plant in nearby UK didn’t need a tsunami to go south, you don’t get the hint.

            Let me spell it out for you.

            You don’t need a tsunami or even a weather related disaster to have a nuclear problem.

            But a nuke cheerleader will never see any of that.

            You can go on defending every failure, or admit there are lots of them. Somehow I think the response is going to be boringly predictable.

            Chernobyl? Explosion you call it. Wikipedia agrees but calls it an explosion and fire. Somehow it has this picture that looks eerily like meltdown, but it couldn’t be because you say so.

            So that must mean its a lava like flow of corium. You know. Corium.

            “Corium, also called fuel containing material (FCM) or lava-like fuel containing material (LFCM), is a lava-like molten mixture of portions of nuclear reactor core, formed during a nuclear meltdown, the most severe class of a nuclear reactor accident.”



            Strange how sure you are about the events there. Sources don’t seem to have quite the level of certainly you possess.

            ” A massive power spike occurred, and the core overheated, causing some of the fuel rods to fracture, blocking the control rod columns and jamming the control rods at one-third insertion, with the graphite tips in the middle of the core. Within three seconds the reactor output rose above 530 MW.[25]:31

            The subsequent course of events was not registered by instruments; it is known only as a result of mathematical simulation. Apparently, the power spike caused an increase in fuel temperature and massive steam buildup, leading to a rapid increase in steam pressure. This caused the fuel cladding to fail, releasing the fuel elements into the coolant, and rupturing the channels in which these elements were located.[42]

            Then, according to some estimations, the reactor jumped to around 30,000 MW thermal, ten times the normal operational output. The last reading on the control panel was 33,000 MW. It was not possible to reconstruct the precise sequence of the processes that led to the destruction of the reactor and the power unit building, but a steam explosion, like the explosion of a steam boiler from excess vapor pressure, appears to have been the next event. There is a general understanding that it was explosive steam pressure from the damaged fuel channels escaping into the reactor’s exterior cooling structure that caused the detonation that destroyed the reactor casing, tearing off and blasting the 2000-ton upper plate, to which the entire reactor assembly is fastened, through the roof of the reactor building. This is believed to be the first explosion that many heard.[43]:366 This explosion ruptured further fuel channels, as well as severing most of the coolant lines feeding the reactor chamber, and as a result the remaining coolant flashed to steam and escaped the reactor core. The total water loss in combination with a high positive void coefficient further increased the reactor’s thermal power.

            A second, more powerful explosion occurred about two or three seconds after the first; this explosion dispersed the damaged core and effectively terminated the nuclear chain reaction. However, this explosion also compromised more of the reactor containment vessel and ejected superheated lumps of graphite moderator. The ejected graphite and the demolished channels still in the remains of the reactor vessel caught fire on exposure to air, greatly contributing to the spread of radioactive fallout and the contamination of outlying areas.[31]

            the sheer force of the second explosion, and the ratio of xenon radioisotopes released during the event, indicate that the second explosion could have been a nuclear power transient; the result of the melting core material, in the absence of its cladding, water coolant and moderator, undergoing runaway prompt criticality similar to the explosion of a fizzled nuclear weapon.[45] This nuclear excursion released 40 billion joules of energy, the equivalent of about ten tons of TNT. The analysis indicates that the nuclear excursion was limited to a small portion of the core.[45]”


          • Are you going to tell us that the Station BlackOut at Fukushima was not the result of the tsunami? Thje tsunami destroyed the emergency generators (which were running at the time), the fuel tanks, and the sea water pumps.

            And, no, I don’t think that a tsunami is going to happen in Germany.

            You are using the fallacy that an old early design reactor (now totally obsolete) in the UK caught on fire. Did you fail to understand about the Lockheed L-188 passenger plane? Do you fail to see the analogy?

            Wikipedia is basically correct. There were two explosions at Chernobyl. Both were the result of the positive void coefficient for the water coolant. First the steam explosion blew the lid off the reactor and then the low level nuclear explosion that blew the reactor apart and left the fuel in a molten state with some of it vaporized. This was a rather instantaneous meltdown.

            There is still some question about whether the graphite was actually burning or was just so hot that it glowed Red.

            A better source is Science magazine.

    • “Also Germany’s carbon emmission rose by 1,1 in 2015 from 2014 and they have risen from 2011 levels by 0,9%”

      You apparently did see the graph bob posted earlier that shows CO2 emissions from electricity generation ha fallen 16% since 1990. The rate of drop lowed down after Germany decided to prioritize the shutdown of nuclear over coal in 2011. However now that renewable of caught up the fall in CO2 emissions has started back up. Llast year Germany decided to mothball 5 coal power plants and creat a capacity reserve. These 5 power plants will be brought on line if there is a capacity shortage due to unusual weather.

      • Hell, I got the graph from the link in his post.

        He saw the 16% drop and ignored it, instead talking about one year minor uptick. And ignored the other times that there were annual upticks followed by lower emission rates.

        Extreme case of cherry picking.

        • Aah yes the cherry picked graph that bob showed. Well explain me this graph if the moderators see that it can be published. There you can quote clearly see that with this rate Germany will miss their targets quite badly.

          • And the quote from the article:

            By Megan Darby in Berlin

            Germany’s carbon dioxide emissions increased by an estimated 10 million tonnes from 2014 to 2015

            , in a blow to the country’s claims to climate leadership.

            Higher demand for heating oil and diesel, plus use of lignite (brown coal) for power generation, were behind the 1.1% bounce, according to Green Budget Germany.

            The think tank warned this set Europe’s largest economy off course
            for its 2020 target of a 40% cut from 1990 levels. Berlin needs to find
            18% cuts in the next five years.

            It is an inconvenient analysis to surface the week Germany’s foreign office hosts the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, an international conference to promote cooperation on clean energy.

            The country has gone all out for renewables, with biomass, wind,
            solar and hydro accounting for nearly a third of power generation last

            Yet a 2011 decision to phase out nuclear power within a decade, lent
            impetus by Japan’s Fukushima disaster, has seen dirty coal maintain a
            significant share of the energy mix.

            As a result, progress on emissions has slowed. A decrease in 2011 was followed by increases in 2012 and 2013.

          • Yet a 2011 decision to phase out nuclear power within a decade, lent
            impetus by Japan’s Fukushima disaster, has seen dirty coal maintain a
            significant share of the energy mix.

            As a result, progress on emissions has slowed. A decrease in 2011 was followed by increases in 2012 and 2013.

            The word you are looking for is ‘transition’ while moving to a fully powered RE civilisation we have to have ‘standby generation’ while it’s not a preferred option it’s the realistic one, while we wait for the various storage technologies to ‘come up to speed’
            And thought most don’t want to be in bed with them, existing nuclear and limited NG are the best alternative to cover the transition, and make no mistake, it is a “transition”
            Coal is a Zombie, Gas is on the way to the old folks home and in 25 years time anybody suggesting burning oil to produce energy will be quietly led away.
            And unless the exciting ‘new nuclear breakthrough’ happens, existing nuclear plants will be cemented over ‘no go areas’ for the next 10,000 years.

          • An breakthrough in nuclear would be the tech paying to clean up its own mess and not proceeding until there is a technically and economically viable solution to waste and the entire cradle to grave cycle. There isn’t and nuclear success is a fantasy nightmare of unknown delayed costs later, cost over runs now, and contamination.

          • You make it sound almost as bad as coal. Which it isn’t.

          • Its worse. Its coal with a blank check and centuries to pay an unknown amount. Nuclear has yet to pay its costs. Remediation, waste storage, none of it is paid for. And disasters… we don’t even know the costs yet and we are still paying. We will be paying for them as long as they need sarcophagi.

          • You not only cherry pick data, you read selectively. Increases in diesel are not electricity but transport. That’s not renewables. Nuclear is useless there. Only EVs can help.

          • He’s a troll.

          • This issue is he is a stupid troll. 🙂

            Not even an enterteining one.

          • “transport. Nuclear is useless there. Only EVs can help.”
            EV’s need electricitiy. They don’t care whether it came from nuclear or renewables. But moving the whole setup to EVs does mean that more generation of some sort will be required (and potentially adds a lot of useful storage, and some flexibility, to the system).

          • Cars spend, on average, over 90% of the time parked. And, on average, EVs need less than three hours per day of charge time using normal outlets there can be great discretion as to when EVs charge.

            Because EVs can be opportunistic demand they should greatly facilitate the incorporation of wind and solar into our grids. They can suck off the peaks and drop out during the valleys.

            As we move to 200+ mile range EVs many cars will be able skip charging for one or more days, reducing demand during longer periods of low wind/solar input.

          • I’ll be nice. I know that. But which would you rather do, charge your EV from 20c/ kwhr nuclear and live as far as possible from one and keep your fingers crossed or get solar and wind for under 5c and come out of your fallout shelter every other day.

          • $0.20/kWh nuclear power.

            Warning delusional anti-nuke!

          • The low bid for new reactors at the North Anna nuclear plant came in at $0.19/kWh. Add in operating costs.

            Reality is biting you in the butt, Peter.

          • Warning: All reports of nuclear delays and cost over runs are delusional. If you read any of this, …..

            Nuclear subsidies are over 5c/kwhr. Currently, without adding any new over runs or delays added to the many already counted, Vogtle is over 13c/kwhr.




            Hinckley C shows all the earmarks of surpassing that.

            “High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.

            France’s energy minister has warned of the “colossal” cost of the £18bn flagship Hinkley Point nuclear project to EDF, saying the state-owned utility may have been “carried away” with its British investment.”


            Meanwhile massive cost over runs and delays continue at Flamanville,


            and at Olkiliouto, -3 is so late and over budget that -4 is cancelled.

          • Have you not heard of synthetic hydrocarbons? The source of the Carbon can be reverse combustion and the process heat can come from advanced nuclear power.

          • Every conversion creates loss. Creating hydrocarbons will be even more expensive and inefficient for transport than direct electric transport from renewable electricity.
            More. EVs provide battery storage for renewables.

          • What strange reasoning. A failure in nuckear lead to higher emissions. This you give as a reason to support more nuclear to lower emissions. Logic fail.

          • Touché.

          • Germany may miss its 2020 target. The target is set in 2007, four years before Fukushima melted down and changed Germany’s schedule for closing nuclear plants.

            I think you’re a bit confused. You cherry-picked the last data bar and tried to claim that CO2 levels were rising in Germany.

            You’re also playing the Move the Goalpost game….

          • And why would that be?

            Transport emissions have nothing to do with renewables.

            If Germany uses more renewables, less GHG. That simple.

            Less technical problem than choice.

      • The biggest reduction in German emmissions happened in the early 1990’s when the old inefficient east german coal fired stations were replaced with modern ones.

        • Calm down ,Mallu, we were grown ups at the time.

          • What was so immature about that comment, please do elaborate and show me my errors.

          • Your comments are useless.
            Two atom reactors were closed as well together with some(!) of the ” old inefficient east german coal fired stations ” …..

            Bring facts about grid congestions.

            Here a lesson for you (from today’s RI page

            ” …… the less atom power plants are delivering the less grid congestion there is.

            Today 26 out of 56 French reactors were idled (zero production or
            reduced production) but Germany made 94.9% RE-power (of the national

            The French outages are at their annual height so far this Sunday:


            And the Agorameter is showing German (RE-) power production at record level from 10.00:


            94.9% !!!

            At 10.00 Germany’s power demand was 57.783 GW and the RE-power production was 54.824 GW

            3 of 8 German atom reactors are down as far as I know, 3 of 7 Belgian
            ones and 3 of the UK’s and 2 more with reduced output over there. As
            well as at least 1 Swiss atom reactor.
            I didn’t check the status of Spain’s atomic fleet.

            Without throttling down wind power – and maybe of PV as well – in
            Germany after 10.00 the 100% RE-mark would have been met over several
            hours. And even a bit more for export.

            According to Fraunhofer


            the month of May 2016 saw so far 47% RE-power. After 37% RE-power in April.
            In April fewer atom power plants were knocked out in France, only up to 23 max in paralel as far as I have observed.
            The more of them go down the more space is in the grid, today’s power market data is proof enough.”

  • Germany had today at 10.00 94.9% of it’s power demand covered by RE (54.824 GW RE production versus 57.783 GW od national power demand):

    Without throttling down wind and maybe PV as well several hours in one go (ca. 11.00-15.00) would have seen 100% RE-coverage.

    And more:

    Since power prices at the EEX were more than 6 hours in the negative all this power was ‘for free’ for the consumers.
    Power producers don’t get the renewable surcharge since this year if power prices are in the negative for 6 hours and more.

    • Correction:

      The new RE installation (2016) won’t get the RE-surcharge anymore when power prices are for 6 hours negative.
      The older installations (2015 and older) still get it as agreed.

  • Seeing how California has 27 gigawatts of gas-fired generating capacity, it does not have anywhere near enough nuclear energy. The thing about intermittent renewables like wind and solar is they can not replace base-load power not just because they are intermittent, but because they have pathetic capacity factors. So, California would do well to replace its gas-fired generation with nuclear energy and then some. Thirty nine gigawatts of nuclear generating capacity would do California very well.

    • California wisely avoided high cost nuclear that requires large amounts of fast reserves for unplanned outages. Solar matches summer daytime loads well. It’s load matching that counts. Inflexible nuckear runs at night begging for more load. That’s not useful for following demand. California had its worst brown outs when there was more nuckear. With more solar, there are no blackouts. Base load is useless for meeting demand variation. It’s too expensive to throttle.

    • There is no baseload. At best there is Baseoutput that can’t be throttled.

      • Baseload is a LOAD.

        • Baseload is a last century concept. What we need to talk about is demand and how to meet it. Baseload is basically the minimum demand encountered in a period of time.

          There are multiple ways to supply that minimum. And the demand that exceeds the minimum. Our task is to pick the most affordable, safest, and quickest to install technologies and nuclear fails all three criteria.

        • There is no base load.. any load (=power draw) can be scheduled or throttled (maybe sans emergency lighting and fridges/freezers) and other stuff that’s standby or runs 24/7.. but that is not the BULK of the LOADS.

          But that’s what they try to hammer into your brain, that you need baseOUTPUT for baseLOAD.. and that the baseOUTPUT needs to be BIG, central and fossil fueled.

          Any grid operator that has been confronted with any meaningful share of intermittent RE on the supply side has told us that it’s not a problem up until 50-70% (Germany, SA/WA, Hawaii) before they need to take care of any meaningful battery backup.

          • I tried to figure out how to discuss this without falling into the fallacy of it. What do you think? How about always using

            “the Myth of Baseload Power”. Or Baseload Power Myth” ?

          • How about the Baseload Fallacy?




            a mistaken belief, especially one based on unsound argument.

          • I can go with any of those. Another one that seems to come up is even weirder. Some think that base load means loads that never turn off or change. Very few of them. Its not really base load. Its base generation. Or maybe better yet, inflexible generation.

          • Inflexible generation should be useful.

          • Lets call it inflexible generation. You like?

  • One interesting example is the UK. Its minimum CO2 price has completly changed the merit order in the generation market. Coal generation has dropped from 25 odd percent to about 5 in a few years. This has moslty benn replaced by solar,gas and wind. Many coal fired plant have shut leaving only about 8. The only problem is the economics are at present wrong to get enough gas peaker plants built.
    See for electricity and Sheffield Universities pvlive site for generation information

  • The OP quotes Germany as a good example. Germany now has 40,000 MWe of solar PV installed but has not cut its per capita CO2 emissions since 2009. In 2013 and 2014, Germany shut no nuclear power plants, and added vast amounts of renewable energy generation (solar PV and wind). Theory tells us to expect a fall in CO2 output. There was still no fall in German CO2 emissions during 2013/2014. That’s because Germany has to burn fossil fuel to keep boilers hot even when the fossil plant generates no electricity.

    • Please link an official source showing the ‘per capita electricity related CO2 emissions’ for Germany.

      Or troll-off ….

      The article is about electricity grid locks and incumbent power plants.
      And not about the German Autobahn and ignorant drivers.

        • Troll-off …..

          Electricity (“power”) is nowhere mentioned in your link.

          ” Note that these timeseries report per capita CO2 emissions of fossil
          fuel use and industrial processes (cement production, carbonate use of
          limestone and dolomite, non-energy use of fuels and other combustion)
          for each world country. Excluded are: short-cycle biomass burning (such
          as agricultural waste burning) and large-scale biomass burning (such as
          forest fires).”

      • … troll-off …

        “heinbloed” must be a comic. S/he posts here anonymously yet has the audacity to call me the troll!

        • You are a troll.

          • If there is a fact that I cannot refute in a logical/rational way, then I can insinuate it was made by a “troll”, hmm very convenient.

          • We should probably quit using the term troll with you and Mark.

            Badly misinformed? Honesty challenged? One of those seems to be a better fit to me.

          • Intentionally self and other deceptive.

    • You are totally disingenuous by cherrypicking the numbers from 2009, where the whole world was in an economic meltdown and then comparing this single extraordinary year to 2015 while ignoring the long term trend. *slow clap while rolling eyes*

    • Honest check, Mark. Let’s give everyone a look at Germany’s record of CO2 per capita and how you cherry-picked the year that the world’s economy was in the tank….


      • Must be a “pause” in per capita CO2 emissions decline…

        • 2008/2009 is when Bush drove the economy into the ditch and set off a major recession that impacted most of the world. Energy use dropped.

          2011 was when Fukushima melted and caused Germany to close nuclear plants ahead of schedule. This resulted in more FF use for the next two years. From 2014 to 2015 there was a 1.1% in overall CO2 emissions due to higher heating demands over the winter.

          • Great details Bob, sadly they’ll be ignored by those who need to learn them the most.
            I’m of course drawing a tongue-in-cheek parallel to AGW deniers disingenuously pointing to 1998 and claiming that that anomalously hot year indicates a ‘pause’ and somehow disproves the overwhelmingly established science that clearly shows human activity has impacted Earth’s climate.

          • Some of the ‘true believers’ are incapable of taking on inconvenient facts but I figure that if we post the facts then we can lower the probability that they will mislead others.

    • Straw man and wrong assumption.

      Theory does not tell us to expect a decrease in overall CO2.

      It tells us to expect a reduction in electrical CO2.

      CO2 comes from many sources not the least of which is transport.
      The electricity sector has lowered emissions as renewables have been added.

  • The OP says: “get rid of baseload”

    One can’t get rid of baseload with more solar power. Au contraire, one needs a lot of baseload to support the solar power. Otherwise advanced, civilization stops, people die, politicians are thrown out of office, especially green ones.

    That’s because solar energy output is intermittent. It depends on time of day, weather, and season. San Francisco has only 9½ hours of daylight in winter, but 14¾ hours in summer. There’s less sun in winter than summer, so California must burn fossil fuel in winter even if it manages to supply all its needs in summer from solar.

    • Brian (“The OP “) didn’t say anything the like.

      Troll off …….

      • You’re the one trolling with the anonymous identity.

    • Are you paying attention? It’s solar , wind, gas, geothermal, hydro.
      The combination doesn’t need inflexible nuclear.
      Read how a mix works to provide 80% renewables by 2050 in NREL futures study.
      You don’t replace one for one. That’s not how the grid works today or tomorrow. Gas is flexible and cheaper. Nuckear has cost over runs, delays, decommissioning costs, and steam leaks. No thanks.

      • I’m paying attention. The only way California can meet demand via renewables is by a massive over-build of very expensive renewable energy. When plant is run only part of the time (as it will be to only meet winter demand) it is even more expensive. Very expensive plant becomes very, very expensive. It will never pay back it’s capital cost. It will never get built in the first place.

        Anyone claiming otherwise is living is fairy land.

        • Really. So 50% renewables by 2050 is fantasy and we should listen to you instead of the experts California commissioned to study it. You realize California doesn’t count hydro? But it is renewable. You even figure that California can import it? Why are nuclear cheerleaders so happy for France to rely on transmission and out of state hydro for nuclear, but object to it for renewables? Hmmmm, I wonder why.

          It’s a straw man. California doesn’t need to generate all its electricity within its borders. Some low density states have excess. And needs are not fixed, but vary all the time. That’s how the power system already works. By your limited, false, straw man definition, California doesn’t generate all its electricity from FF or nuclear imports electricity from Arizona and Washington.

          There i.e. Nothing wrong with that. That’s how it should work.

          You make claims about expense, but show no links. How about this for costs. Age of renewables. Nuclear is priced out of the market. Renewables costs have dropped since then. You have to check all the time they are falling so fast.

          That’s a hard reality that nuke cheerleaders don’t like to face.

        • “very expensive renewable energy”

          Unsubsidized onshore wind is under $0.04/kWh. And dropping.

          Unsubsidized PV solar is about $0.06/kWh. And dropping.

          Subsidized nuclear runs $0.15/kWh or more.

          We can afford to overbuild wind and solar. In fact, we could overbuild wind by 3x and it would still be cheaper than nuclear.

          Nuclear is a dead duck. Here’s what the two largest nuclear owners in the US have to say…

          “’It would be very difficult for any company to make a decision to try to build a new nuclear plant,’ says Mike Twomey, a spokesman for Entergy Nuclear, which runs nuclear power plants.

          Entergy has already taken one unprofitable reactor offline in Vermont and plans to close two more plants that are losing money in upstate New York and Massachusetts.”

          Entergy is the largest nuclear plant operator in the US.

          “’We think that the costs of new nuclear right now are not competitive with other zero-carbon technologies, renewables and storage that we see in the marketplace,’ says Joe Dominguez, executive vice president for governmental and regulatory affairs and public policy at Exelon, a nuclear power company that has announced plans to close one of its existing reactors in New Jersey.

          Three other plants that are losing money in Illinois and upstate New York are also being reviewed for possible closure, Dominguez says.

          ‘Right now we just don’t have any plans on the board to build any new reactors,’ he says.”

          Exelon is the second largest nuclear plant operator in the US. Entergy and Exelon own and operate about 25% of all US reactors.

          “Mycle Schneider, a nuclear industry analyst, says nuclear also faces growing price pressure from wind and solar. Renewable energy is so cheap in some parts of the U.S. that it’s even undercutting coal and natural gas.

          ‘We are seeing really a radical shift in the competitive markets which leave nuclear power pretty much out in the rain,’ Schneider says.’”

          • Yeah. I was sticking with US prices.

            I hesitate to use prices from some other countries where there is not a lot of transparency. Take nuclear prices in China or Russia, for example. We don’t really know what the real price is, how much ‘under the table’ subsidy might be flowing and how accurate the released numbers are.

          • True.

          • Do you understand what overbuild means? It means that the wind farms will sell only a fraction of their capacity. Therefore, even if they are tax shelters they will have to charge a lot more for the electricity. They might even have to charge as much as you claim that nuclear costs.

          • Of course I do Peter. Do you know we overbuild gas peakers by about 20x? US gas peakers have roughly a 5% CF. 95% of the time they sit idle.

            The CFs for coal and CCNG are between 50% and 60%. We overbuild them as well.

            We’ll almost certainly overbuild wind and solar. We’ll overbuild right up to the point at which it will cost less to install storage.

            We now overbuild wind for the amount of power a transmission line can carry. It makes no sense to upsize the cable if it’s only going to get used a small amount of the time. Overbuild the wind farm and feather the blades just a bit when the transmission line is maxed out.

            Do you realize that France overbuilt nuclear? For part of each year France shuts down some reactors as the power is not needed. That’s why France’s CF for nuclear is so low.

        • A utility in Austin is selling solar-generated electricity for 3.6 cents a kwh. That’s far below the record a couple of years ago. Like battery costs, this is a dramatic trend line. And when it’s getting that cheap, you can afford to overbuild.
          It’s the nuclear plants that aren’t getting built because they can’t repay their costs, like the ever-delayed Hinkley Point C that threatens to bankrupt its builder despite UK subsidies.

    • Au contraire, one has to get rid of baseload cause that is no longer needed. Baseload has no merit, it describes the disadvantage of not being able to follow load. That is why nuclear has to go first, because it is detrimental to the whole system, as one can see in France where they have to export power when noone needs it at a low price and importing power when it is in high demand at a high price, that is why France has an electricity trading deficit with Germany.

      • Perhaps they do this because it is the most economic thing to do, not because it is the only thing to do. Most nukes can be throttled back to 50% power but not much money is saved by doing so. Therefore, it may be more economically advantageous to run them at 100% and sell the power for a low price.

        • Cost of electricity = Total cost of generation / Total electricity generated.

          As you acknowledged cutting back on reactor output, load-following saves almost nothing. Fuel costs for nuclear are less than 1c/kWh.

          Remember how to do algebra? Lower the denominator while keeping the numerator the same (or very close to the same) and the other side of the equation, the cost of electricity, goes up.

          Load follow daily demand cycles and the reactor could run at under 75% of full output and 15c/kWh electricity turns into 22.5c/kWh electricity. Shocking! ;o)

    • So many falsehoods. Straw men. Deception,

      One can get rid of base load with solar power.

      Civilization goes on. Germany is doing nicely.

      Solar energy is predictable. If its concentrating solar with storage, its output can be steady.

      Solar is not the only renewable. Wind can often be greater in winter than summer as in Germany.

      This armchair discussion is no way to determine whether sources meet loads. For an a adult, scientific discussion of how that is done, read NRELs Future Study, which shows 80% renewables by 2050 in the US.

  • Stop calling it base load.
    There is no power plant base load.
    A fridge is a base load.
    A 24/7 emergency exit light is a base load.
    A power plant that has to run at a minimum output is an baseoutput.

    • Yes. The need for baseless power is s myth. Base loads like am lights were made so that inflexible sources like coal and nuckear could operate 24/7 without curtailment, and to pay their high capital cost. Base power needs expensive ng turbines to match changing load demands annually. That’s why inflexible base is seldom more than 33% generation. In France, where nuclear is throttled, it costs more and it needs transmission to other countries for hydro and solar to supply peaks and absorb excess when demand is low. That despite throttling nuclear.
      For nuckear apologists, hydro and transmission are ok for nuckear integration, but not for renewables. The hypocrisy of nuckear.

    • Lets call it “inflexible generation”

  • Grid congestion and REs in Germany:

    The German issue of the same magazine investigates a bit further into the grid congestion:–95-prozent-anteil-von-photovoltaik–windkraft–co_100022960/

    (machine translation)–95-prozent-anteil-von-photovoltaik–windkraft–co_100022960%2F

    The difference in highlighting the issues is remarkable: here costs and there technology and social duty:

  • The technological reason why Germany is switching of its nuclear fleet first is often overlooked: It is the least flexible power source and therefore totally incompatible with renewables. Having both nuclear and renewables makes no sense, so when your goal is to switch to renewables, it has to go first. Next on the way out should be lignite. Hard coal does a surprisingly good job on load following in Germany, it currently offers almost all the flexibility in the system, while gas is to expensive.

    • “Having both nuclear and renewables makes no sense”
      Renewable is much more efficient in slaughtering millions of birds and bats, and in ruining natural landscapes and wildlife’s habitats.

      • Ecoh, are you really that stupid or is it part of your performance?

        • Well, ehh ….

      • How is the solar-produced electricity now wholesaling in Austin for 3.6 cents a kwh killing millions of animals, or ruining natural landscapes and wildlife habitats? Superior practices spread.

        • large land areas.
          fossil fuels to compensate intermittent supply in order to ensure reliability.
          solar cells made in China? Fossil fuels to mine, manufacture, transport and install.

          • Utilities have to keep spinning reserve in place to cover the times reactors go offline without prior notice. That’s fuel wasted.

            Fossil fuels are used to mine, manufacture, refine, transport and install nuclear plants and fuel.

          • Renewable needs much more steel, copper, concrete per megawatt; aside high-purity silica, tellurium, indium, more land clearings and roads. A megawatt windmill contains around 150 tonnes of steel that require almost 100 tonnes of coking coal. Most of the renewable are not manufactured in solar/wind-powered factories.

          • So what?

            The cost of electricity from onshore wind is about 25% of nuclear and the cost of PV solar is about 40% that of nuclear.

            If we have to use more materials in order to drastically lower the cost of energy that’s an excellent price to pay.

            And most of those materials can be reused later on. We can pull the steel, copper, and other materials from wind farms and recycle them. They won’t need to be quarantined for decades because they are radioactive.

          • Strange logic: to build a new one can be done by just recycling/reusing existent wind/solar farms, perpetually.
            Furthermore, rare-earth metals and concrete are radioactive, 1 kg of granite emits a tiny but measurable amount of heat (about as much as a .000000001 watt light bulb) through radioactive decay.
            Wind and solar operate around 10% capacity while nuclear beyond 90% in terms of real-world capacity factors.

          • What’s so strange about recycling the steel, copper and rare earth magnets from a worn out wind turbine to make a new one? A small amount of material will be lost with our less than perfect recycling systems but in general the first generation will take significant amounts of materials, subsequent generations will take far, far less.

            When you get off on rare earth magnets and concrete being radioactive as a way to support nuclear energy you jump a school of sharks.

            You are as poorly informed (or as dishonest) when it comes to wind and solar CFs are you’ve shown yourself to be on other energy topics.

            The average CF for US onshore wind is over 30%. It’s that low because it includes older wind farms which have CFs in the 20% area. Modern wind farms are generally well over 40%. GE has reported that the farms they are building are returning CFs over 50%.

            US utility solar reported a 25.9% CF for 2014 and 28.6% for 2015.

            Capacity factor is one factor in determining output price. Unsubsidized onshore wind is now under 4c/kWh, unsubsidized PV solar about 6c/kWh. Subsidized nuclear runs from 13c/kWh to 19c/kWh.

          • 10%? You do stretch the truth don’t you. Wind capacity factors are already in the mid 30s in the US and rising as newer turbines with taller towers achieve figures in the 40s.
            Solar is easily above 20 percent capacity figure.
            Not that capacity factor matters. Its a feint.
            What really matters is the cost of electricity.
            There nuclear fares badly.
            ” For now, the nuclear industry has priced itself out of the market for new power plants in market economies.”

          • Do you have any actual evidence of your phony electricity prices?

          • Don’t piss me off Peter. The other Mods would have given you the boot already.

            Wind = $0.0235/kWh average 2014 PPA (subsidized).

            DOE “2014 Wind Technologies Market Report”


            Solar = $0.05/kWh PPAs (subsidized) being signed in the US Southwest. Working backwards through a LCOE calculation extrapolates a cost of about $0.02 higher for the less sunny Northeast.

            Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory entitled “Utility-Scale Solar 2013: An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States”


            PPA prices for wind and solar are lowered about 1.5 cents by PTC (Production Tax Credits). Both wind and solar are eligible for 2.3 cent/kWh tax credits for each kWh produced during their first ten years of operation. Half of 2.3 is 1.15, but getting one’s money early has value. That means that the non-subsidized costs of wind are a bit under 4 cents and solar is running 6.5 to 8.5 cents/kWh.


            An analysis of the Vogtle reactor costs by Citigroup in early 2014 found the LCOE for electricity from those reactors will cost 11 cents per kWh (subsidized). That is assuming no further cost/timeline overruns.

            They also stated that reactors built after the Vogtle units would likely produce more expensive electricity as they would not be able to receive the low financing rates as Vogtle has obtained.


            Following the Citigroup study it was announced that the Vogtle reactors would be delayed at least an 30 additional months. The cost of this delay will cost $2 million per day.. That additional cost will push the final cost well over 13 cents per kWh.


            Take note of the dates for those wind and solar prices. They are stale. Prices for both wind and solar have been dropping since those numbers were generated. I’ll show you what has happened to the cost of solar. Attend to the cost of utility solar which has been falling more than 15% per year.


          • Don’t you know what a ‘spinning reserve’ is. It is when the power plants on the grid operate at slightly less than full power to provide a reserve of extra power that is quickly available. Operation at less than full power takes less fuel although there is a small decrease in efficiency.

            Are you certain that electric power isn’t used for part of that? And, won’t that convert to non-fossil fuels too?

          • If you are implying that nuclear can back up nuclear you are wrong. They can only be very fast ramping sources. Nuclear cannot ramp that fast. And most nuclear must be at least at 50% before it can ramp much at all.
            So yes, I know what reserves are and how they work. I do wonder if you do.

          • Fossil fuels are needed to meet variable loads that inflexible nuclear cannot match. Rooftop solar doesn’t use land area.
            LCAs have already been done on solar and wind. The GHG used in mining, manufacturing and installing wind power have already been analyzed.
            Wind is among the least GHG intensive energy sources.
            nuclear needs FF for mining, milling, and enrichment.

            You are making a tempest in a teapot about wind energy GHG. Its an exaggeration. Same with large land area.

      • You could care less about birds. You just want to bash renewables.

        Why Coal and Nuclear Plants Kill Far More Birds than Wind Power

        “Among the big lies that windbaggers like to spread about wind energy, there are 2 that come up a lot.

        One is that wind turbines kill a lot of birds, relative to other human activities.

        The other is that windbaggers give a damn about birds.”

        “..wind farms are responsible for roughly 0.27 avian fatalities per gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity while nuclear power plants involve 0.6 fatalities per GWh and fossil-fueled power stations are responsible for about 9.4 fatalities per GWh. ”

        • It is a blatant absurd to “defend” the wind power industry by saying “others kill more birds”
          The result against nuclear power is biased because it is included abandoned copper mines while massive mining activities are excluded from wind/solar death toll; renewables require a lot of steel, coal to make steel, concrete, quartz, other ores, and at least ten times more copper per gigawatt produced than nuclear power.
          Nuclear power is much more ecologically friendly per unit of energy generated than renewables.

          • Read what I said. You misquoted. There is no place I ever said that, and the paraphrase is wrong, too. Its just another of the tiresome straw men. Theres so many it feels like the set of Wizard of Oz. Lets get it right. Here is what i did say:

            “You could care less about birds. You just want to bash renewables.”

            Now after that, you are on to parroted bs from what we might call circled wagons of nuclear apologists.

            In the blink of an eye, and with no references or citations whatsoever, unverified claims of copper mines and steel and concrete use are quickly turned into,

            “nuclear power is much more ecologically friendly per unit of energy generated than renewables”

            Well not so fast.

            The copper mine thing is a distortion from your favorite echo chamber. The study used it to determine how many birds are killed at open pit mines. You don’t need a uranium open pit mine to do that. Nuke cheerleaders noticed it was a copper mine, and mistakenly jumped to the conclusion it was wrong.
            Meanwhile, there is no doubt that uranium open pit mines kill birds.

            A South Australian government taskforce will examine a huge spike in the number of birds killed at the Olympic Dam uranium mine, after more than 100 were found dead over four days in late December 2004.

            The deaths were recorded at the mine’s tailings dam in outback South Australia, which spans 400ha and is where solid and evaporated acid liquid waste from some of the uranium mine’s operations is stored.

            “Unfortunately the tailings system contains chemicals and that is what causes harm to birds,” WMC spokesman Richard Yeeles said. (Australian Jan. 11, 2005)


            Concrete, steel, and copper are abundant.

            Not so some of the exotic materials used in nuclear.

            “The nuclear containment vessel is made of a variety of exotic rare metals that control and contain the nuclear reaction: hafnium as a neutron absorber, beryllium as a neutron reflector, zirconium for cladding, and niobium to alloy steel and make it last 40-60 years against neutron embrittlement. Extracting these metals raises issues involving cost, sustainability, and environmental impact. In addition, these metals have many competing industrial uses; for example, hafnium is used in microchips and beryllium by the semiconductor industry. If a nuclear reactor is built every day, the global supply of these exotic metals needed to build nuclear containment vessels would quickly run down and create a mineral resource crisis. This is a new argument that Abbott puts on the table, which places resource limits on all future-generation nuclear reactors, whether they are fueled by thorium or uranium.

            As Abbott notes, many of these same problems would plague fusion reactors in addition to fission reactors, even though commercial fusion is still likely a long way off.

            Of course, not many nuclear advocates are calling for a complete nuclear utopia, in which nuclear power supplies the entire world’s energy needs. But many nuclear advocates suggest that we should produce 1 TW of power from nuclear energy, which may be feasible, at least in the short term. However, if one divides Abbott’s figures by 15, one still finds that 1 TW is barely feasible. Therefore, Abbott argues that, if this technology cannot be fundamentally scaled further than 1 TW, perhaps the same investment would be better spent on a fully scalable technology.

            “Due to the cost, complexity, resource requirements, and tremendous problems that hang over nuclear power, our investment dollars would be more wisely placed elsewhere,” Abbott said. “Every dollar that goes into nuclear power is dollar that has been diverted from assisting the rapid uptake of a safe and scalable solution such as solar thermal.”

            Read more at:

          • The materials from wind turbines can be recycled to make more wind turbines.

            The materials in nuclear reactors have to sit in place for 60 years before they’ve cooled down enough to be hauled to a hazardous waste dump.

          • “The materials from wind turbines can be recycled to make more wind turbines”, it sounds like “spontaneous creation of matter” i.e. from an existent hundred it can be made hundreds and hundreds with no need of mining.

            Anything that is highly radioactive is still useful, e.g. in radiotherapy area. A material is treated as waste if it has no meaningful/useful radioactivity.
            “Used nuclear fuel has long been reprocessed to extract fissile materials for recycling and to reduce the volume of high-level wastes.”
            “Recycling today is largely based on the conversion of fertile U-238 to fissile plutonium.”
            “New reprocessing technologies are being developed to be deployed in conjunction with fast neutron reactors which will burn all long-lived actinides, including all uranium and plutonium, without separating them from one another.”

          • Please, spare us dishonest comments.

            You know exactly what I meant about the materials used in wind turbines being highly recyclable while there is a problem with recycling radioactive materials.

            We have many millions of tons of radioactive waste. Most of it is not usable as fuel nor can it be used in a hospital. We don’t even have an affordable, acceptable way to recycle used fuel. We’re storing it at a cost of millions of dollar a year and leaving it for those who follow us.

          • Nuclear Waste Managemen, is more a political/ideological than technical issue.

          • In this case you can’t seperate the political/ideological/technical components. The technologists have not developed a solution that society will accept.

            There are a lot of problems that would be much easier to solve if people didn’t get in the way….

          • Absurd?

            There are no perfect solutions. Our job is to pick what works best – is the most affordable including external costs.

            Based on bird kills per gigawatt hour of electricity produced.

            Wind farms kill roughly 0.27 birds per GWh.

            Nuclear plants kill about 0.6 birds per GWh. (2.2x wind)

            Fossil-fueled power stations kill about 9.4 birds per GWh. (34.8x wind)

            Wind farms cause no Chernobyl/Fukushima situations.

            Wind farms leave no millions of tons and millions of gallons of radioactive waste.

            But, you know what? All that doesn’t matter. Nuclear has been killed by its own cost along with the low and rapidly dropping cost of wind and solar. We’re now watching the twitching corpse of nuclear as we close more plants than we build.

      • Oh, please, if you were truly worried about wildlife and birds especially you should be rallying against glass panes in windows, house cats and cars. Cats alone kill birds in the billions.
        In Germany all the endangered bird species have gone up in numbers since the buildout of wind turbines started because some pesticides were banned and more biological food was produced and more protective areas were created. There were in fact some wind turbine sites that were problematic for bats. They nowadays get switched off when bats begin to hunt, problem solved. The impact of wind turbines is neglegible.

        • The World Council for Nature reported that “a few wind farms in Germany have been loosely monitored for bird and bat mortality and the government has disclosed a number of carcasses: 69 eagles, 186 kites, 192 buzzards, 13 harriers, 59 falcons, 12 hawks, 7 ospreys, plus hundreds more birds of all sizes and even more bats.”
          “These figures are just a small sample of the ongoing massacre, driving many rare species into extinction,”
          “an ornithologist commissioned by the German government, who estimated that 200-300 Red Kites are being killed yearly by wind turbines in Germany.”
          “White-tailed Sea Eagles are being killed by windfarms in Norway, Sweden, Germany, Japan, Scotland and the Netherlands; Bald Eagles in Canada; Golden eagles in the U.S., Sweden, Scotland, and Spain; Wedge-tailed Eagles and White-bellied Sea Eagles in Australia; eagles from five different species in Spain, all condemned to disappear because of the government’s green policy,”
          “In Australia, the Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle will become extinct because of a biased, faulty and misleading environmental study which permitted the construction of seven windfarms in its habitat.”

          • Obviously this “World Council of Nature” is a fringe lunatic wordpress blog solely created for bashing wind energy. The first article on this site worrys about the meat quality of pigs due to windfarm noises for heavens sake! This is totally ridiculous! The very last thing pigs in the industrial lifestock farming worry about is windfarm noises which are barley even existing! The second article is a badly photoshopped picture of a whale that allegedly environmentalists painted anti-Fukushima slogans on top! That is just preposterous. Birds and bats in Germany are monitored very well and windfarms aren’t a problem at all, even the most ardent anti-windfarm groups have to admit that power lines from the old conventional power system always posed a much bigger threat to birds than wind farms and strangely noone ever cared.

          • I got a look at an upcoming article on the site. It reports how flying pigs are being turned into sausage by wind turbines.

    • Closing nuclear power plants for that reason makes no sense. The reason that nuclear is not suitable for adjustable output is economic. The high capital cost and low fuel cost mean that not much money is saved by running the plant at 50% power. This would be a consideration when building a new plant. However, I can’t see how it would be when the plant is already built and the money to build it has been spent.

      Has Germany built hard coal plants of a different design that work well for variable output? Because coal plants in the US do not do well at load following.

      • Germany’s new supercritical coal plants can load-follow to some extent. (Germany just finished building one which will likely never be fired up. They no longer need the capacity.)

        Coal plants are much more dispatchable than nuclear plants. A couple years back I watched for a few weeks while Canada shut one coal plant down every evening and started it up the next morning. Couldn’t do that with a nuclear plant. I’ve not heard of an off/on cycle that didn’t require a few days to complete.

      • I think you have made it clear how you think an existing nuclear plant should not be shut down for economic reasons. Maybe this will enlighten you.

        “This decision was based purely on economics,” said Thomas Farrell II, chairman, president and CEO of Dominion in a statement released at the time the closing was announced. “Dominion was not able to move forward with our plan to grow our nuclear fleet in the Midwest to take advantage of economies of scale.”

        Then again, maybe not.

      • You technically can’t run the existing German nuclear reactors in a flexible mode simply because they weren’t engineered for it. To do that you would have to upgrade them which would make it uneconomical. The problem is that you have one closed loop for the radioactive water and a second one for the water that evaporates and goes through the turbine. As water has a great thermal capacity, you would have to wait for the first loop to cool down after the nuclear reaction has been stopped to change the heat transfer to the second loop and then the electricity generation. As there is a lot of water in the first loop due to safety reasons, that is just not feasible. Furthermore the turbines on the second loop can only be switched on or off and not run on half capacity because these turbines are only specified for a constant pressure as it was never intended to have a variable output from the nuclear reaction.
        Hard coal plants on the other hand only have one loop, where the water is boiled directly like a kettle on a hot plate, therefore it can be adjusted much more quickly and it was taken into account that turbine pressures change according to how much coal you put into the fire. The problem of lignite is the low energy density. You need much more of it to ramp the temperature up or a lot of it has to burn down to lead to a temperature drop. Hard coal has a higher energy density which makes it more flexible. So for technical reasons, neither the existing lignite or nuclear plants can offer the needed flexiblity and hard coal does step in. Gas would be better from a technical standpoint, but this is more expensive in Germany when not accounted for externalities and as long the government doesn’t change this, hard coal plants are used because they offer the cheapest available flexibility.

  • Capacity factor for US utility solar was 28.8% in 2015.

    Wind is currently running over 40%. (The 32.5% CF number for 2015 is an average which includes earlier wind farms with very low CFs.) GE has reported that the new wind farms that they have been involved in are returning CF numbers above 50%.

    You might want to take a look at the NREL chart below.

    There is some overlap of wind and solar. That can be dealt with via load-shifting. That’s a zero cost adjustment.

    Now, how about the need to fill in at least 10% for nuclear reactors? And how about the need to keep that backup spinning 24/365 just in case a reactor goes down without notice?

    You ever notice how nuclear fans never talk about the need for fill-in and backup for nuclear but only bunch their bloomers over wind and solar not always being on?

    Funny, eh?


    • You missed the main point which is that you can’t just add the Capacity Factors for Wind and Solar. The fact that the Capacity Factors for wind and solar individually might be larger doesn’t change that. Also note that I did say “solar PV”, or perhaps utilities are using heliostats?

      Actual data from Germany showing wind and solar.

      • I did not miss that point, Peter. I addressed it.

        • I didn’t see anything that addressed the white space on the German chart. Perhaps if you had provided an link to that graph instead of an unreadable copy I could have figured out what it means. However, the German chart shows that wind and solar PV CFs don’t add.

      • You missed the point that capacity factor calculations are crude and do not a valid way of determining power system operation. NREL did the proper studies. They concluded 80% renewables was technically feasible by 2050.
        Get over it.
        Stop trying to prove it can’t be done with crude calculations and read the study showing how to do it right and concluding it can be done.

        • I don’t understand why you use the word “crude”. Don’t you understand what an approximation is? The approximation is based on the assumption that power demand is uniform which obviously isn’t the case but close enough for a first approximation especially in the non-AC season. Especally for solar PV.

          I am talking about Wind turbines and fixed flat panel solar PV. I wanted to make that clear because you are equivocating with the word “renewables” and I don’t know if it is an error on your part or a deliberate fallacy.

          The NREL study is talking about “renewables”. Have you looked at the study or do you just know that it exists?

          When you say 80% renewables, are you falsely claiming that means wind and solar? NO! You would be wrong. The NREL study has less than 40% wind and less than 10% solar PV.

          Do you just read poorly, get second hand information, or deliberately try to deceive people? So, they are just pushing it a little bit over what is currently possible. However, they are also counting on storage and I was talking about without storage.

          • OK. Its a crude approximation. Power demand isn’t uniform . Thats an assumption the graph above clearly demonstrates. Its a poor approximation and a poor assumption. Solar is greatest during the AC season. Assuming otherwise is a poor idea.

            Stop generating straw men about what you think I know or think I mean.

            And counting on storage? You exaggerate. You make it sound impossible.

            “With 50% from variable renewables, 30% dispatchable renewables, about 10% storage, and considering that some capacity is always in reserve, it is much easier to see why variable renewables can be integrated successfully.”


            This is a response to what you said:

            “The only problem with that, although it would be nice, is that it is very doubtful that it would be technically possible to do it because the solar PV production from flat panels have a capacity factor limited to 25% by geometry and the production from wind and solar Capacity Factors will overlap so you can’t just add them together.”

            In your haste to bash renewables, you forgot that solar includes CSP with storage among other things and leapt to the unfounded conclusion that solar couldn’t be more than 25% of capacity. Never mind the fact that other forms of storage also allow solar capacity to be higher.

            Highly illogical.

  • You are creating a straw man. We don’t need to power from solar alone.

  • Even if true its a Straw man. We don’t need more solar than that, but its possible. And more, some solar is CSP with storage. By limiting the view to only PV solar, you paint a false picture.

    Furthermore, simple calculations based on capacity factor are crude estimates of what happens in the real world. Thats now how power professionals study power futures. This study shows how its done.

    NREL Futures Study shows 80% renewables by 2050. Wind and solar about 50%. Thats 2010 technology. We can do better than that now.

    • Maybe somebody can make CSP with storage work. But, now it is just experimental. The EIA now estimates the price at much higher than nuclear.

      As I said, it is an approximation. To make anything other than an approximation, you would need actual power demand data and actual power output data to put in a spreadsheet and numerically integrate.

      You forgot to mention that the NREL study includes storage and I was talking about what was possible without storage. Did you conveniently forget about that. I think that they are also figuring on higher Capacity Factors for wind turbines.

      • So many falsehoods, so little time.

        “On time and on budget, Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power has just begun operation of its 50 MW Bokpoort CSP project in South Africa.

        “The $23 billion Saudi powerhouse ACWA Power is experienced in developing traditional thermal energy. Padmanathan, an engineer by background, was able to bid a very low PPA for Bokpoort for the time (2011). At 12 cents per kWh, it was 28% lower than competing bids.”

        Whoops. So much for new nuclear being cheeper.

        Nandu Bhula, Solafrica Bokpoort CEO for ACWA Power said that not only was Bokpoort on time and on budget, but it has begun operation with no ramp-up period. “We reached full load in December of 2015. Part of our PPA rules was that we had to be 100% before commercial operation, which began in February, 2016.”

        Bokpoort features traditional parabolic trough technology, but it includes full-sized thermal energy storage for power after dark, with more than nine hours of thermal energy storage.”

        “Crescent Dunes CSP: Cutting Edge Engineering For Solar At Night”

      • Crescent Dunes is operational.

  • This video demonstrates the situation well. To add more wind and solar, inflexible generation must go. Simple calculations of capacity factor don’t show the dynamic changing nature of loads and sources. Thats more difficult to visualize. The video helps with that.
    Even now, inflexible generation has a cost premium,- the many less often used gas peakers and reserves that must be available to match demand that inflexible coal and nuclear cannot.
    Little attention has been paid to these so called integration costs, while the truth is that renewable like wind have been shown to have lower integration costs than inflexible generation. And all sources have integration cost.

    “Texas grid operator data show that the integration costs for conventional power plants are far larger than the integration costs for wind generation, even though Texas has more wind energy than any other state and one of the highest levels of wind generation for a U.S. grid operator. Because changes in wind output occur gradually over many hours and can be predicted, while failures at conventional power plants occur instantly and without warning, more reserves and more expensive reserves are required to reliably integrate conventional power plants. For example, the Texas grid operator ERCOT holds 2800 MW of fast-acting reserves 24/7/365 to keep the lights on in case one of the state’s large fossil or nuclear power plants experiences an unexpected failure, as all power plants do from time to time.”

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