BEYOND NUCLEAR PUBLICATIONS

Search
JOIN OUR NETWORK

     

     

DonateNow

The Renewable Energy Renaissance

The real Renaissance is in renewable energy whose sources could meet 25% of the nation's energy needs by 2025. Renewable technologies can help restore political and economic stability as well as save money…and the planet.

.................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Wednesday
Oct082014

German renewables supply tops share of nation’s electricity demand

There are more signs that Germany’s “Energy Transition” is making steady progress toward the Merkel government’s goal to shut down all of the nation’s atomic reactors in the coming decade and largely replace them and the fossil fuel industry with wind and solar power. Bloomberg News reported that German renewable energy produced the largest percentage of all electricity generators individually including lignite coal, nuclear and hydropower. Wind, solar and biomass supplied 27.7% of Germany’s electricity demand as compared to 26.3 % by coal-fired generators while atomic reactors generated 15.4%. 

In the United Kingdom, wind power continues to set electricity production records only to break them days later. Offshore and onshore wind power combined to briefly surpass nuclear power generated electricity for several minutes.   

Tuesday
Apr292014

SUN DAY Campaign: EIA underestimates future contributions of renewable sources of electricity

Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign, published a press release on April 29th entitled "EIA PROJECTS RENEWABLES TO BE 16-27% OF U.S. ELECTRICITY SUPPLY BY 2040: LOW END DOES NOT PASS THE LAUGH TEST; UPPER BOUND PROBABLY STILL TOO CONSERVATIVE."

He analyses EIA's report, documenting -- at times with EIA's own data -- how it significantly underestimates not only the potential contribution of renewable energy sources to the U.S. electricity supply, but also what renewables (that is, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind) will likely provide in the next few years, and decades, to come.

Ken Bossong warns: "Unrealistically low forecasts provide ammunition for those arguing that investments in renewable energy are not cost-effective and that new fossil fuel and nuclear construction is necessary because renewables cannot meet the nation's future energy needs. As such, EIA's projections can have multiple adverse impacts on the renewable energy industry as well as on the nation's environmental and energy future."

The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1992 to promote sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.

Wednesday
Apr162014

"Is The New York Times Missing The Decade’s Most Affirmative Climate-and-Energy Story?"

Charles Komanoff, is an article posted at the Carbon Tax Center (which he directs), has set the record straight with the "paper of record."

The Carbon Tax Center is a clearinghouse for information, research and advocacy on behalf of revenue-neutral carbon taxes to address the climate crisis.

Komanoff provides ten points to keep in mind in order to critically assess the New York Times, and others', dismissive attitude toward the German energy transformation, away from nuclear power and fossil fuels, to efficiency and renewables.

Tuesday
Apr152014

"RENEWABLE ENERGY COULD PROVIDE 16% OF U.S. ELECTRICITY WITHIN FIVE YEARS"

Ken Bossong, Executive Director of the SUN DAY Campaign, has published a report entitled RENEWABLE ENERGY COULD PROVIDE 16% OF U.S. ELECTRICITY WITHIN FIVE YEARS. The subtitle is SOME MODEST PROJECTIONS FOR NEAR-TERM GROWTH (or why the EIS's forecast of renewables not reaching 16% until 2040 is almost certainly wrong).

The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1992 to promote sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.

Friday
Mar282014

RMI: "Nuclear Power's Competitive Landscape and Climate Opportunity Cost"

Amory B. Lovins, Cofounder and Chief Scientist, RMITitiaan Palazzi, Special Aid, RMIAmory B. Lovins, Cofounder and Chief Scientist, and Titiaan Palazzi, Special Aid (photos, left), of the Rocky Mountain Institute in Snowmass, CO, presented "Nuclear Power's Competitive Landscape and Climate Opportunity Cost" at "Three Mile Island 35th Anniversary Symposium: The Past, Present, and Future of Nuclear Energy" held at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, on 28 March 2014.

Lovins and Palazzi report that, when compared to nuclear power: (1) Efficiency and renewables are far cheaper; (2) Renewables can deliver similar or better service and reliability; (3) Renewables can scale faster;  and (4) For climate protection, efficiency and renewables are far more effective solutions than new nuclear build, which indeed is counterproductive.

Lovins and Palazzi's economic critique extends not only to proposed new atomic reactors, but even to existing, age-degraded reactors. They state "Reactors are promoted as costly to build but cheap to run. Yet as Daniel Allegretti ably described, many existing, long-paid-for U.S. reactors are now starting to be shut down because just their operating cost can no longer compete with wholesale power prices, typically depressed by gas-fired plants or windpower."

Lovins and Palazzi also discuss the financial history of nuclear power, extending back decades. They point out that U.S. nuclear power orders collapsed before Three Mile Island partially melted down on March 28, 1979, and that 40% of U.S. nuclear-unit cancellations occurred before then, due to economic challenges.

Lovins and Palazzi conclude that "efficiency is clearly cheaper than average nuclear operating costs, which exceed 4¢/kWh [4 cents per kilowatt-hour] at the busbar and 8¢ delivered. Thus overall, for saving coal plants’ carbon emissions, efficiency is about 10–50x more cost-effective than new nuclear build—or about 2–12x more cost-effective than just operating the average U.S. nuclear plant."

Regarding nuclear power's retreat, Lovins and Palazzi report:

"Nuclear power also has to run ever faster to stay in the same place as its 1970s and 1980s growth turns into a bulge  of retirements. After the next few years, retirements will exceed all planned or conceivable global nuclear additions, even with all license extensions as shown here. Power reactors’ terminal decline will be over by about 2060—and in view of both competition and aging, this projection by Mycle Schneider [Mycle Schneider et al., World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013] is more likely to overstate its longevity than its brevity."
They conclude their presentation by stating: "So whether you choose e fficiency, cogeneration, or renewables, just being nearly carbon-free does not make new nuclear build an effective climate solution. Rather, because it saves ~3–50x less carbon per dollar than its main competitors, and deploys slower, new nuclear build reduces and retards climate protection. If climate is a problem, we must invest judiciously, not indiscriminately, to get the most solution per dollar and per year. Anything less makes the problem worse. Nor do we need nuclear power to offset PVs’ and windpower’s variability, or to scale faster than renewables, or to save or make money, because, as we’ve seen, nuclear power cannot do any of these things. So there is no reason to build more nuclear plants. Capital markets, seeing big new costs and risks without offsetting benefits, long ago reached the same conclusion. Existing nuclear plants, a future idea whose time has passed, will simply retire; the only choice is how quickly and at what cost to whom. End of story." (bold added)