Jeff Siegel at Energy & Capital has admitted "I changed my mind," and that there is "No hope for nuclear." Siegel cites data from the 2015 World Nuclear Industry Status Report to reach his conclusion that the "renaissance" is in renewables, not nuclear.
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.
As reported on page 90, in the July 2015 World Nuclear Industry Status Report:
"UBS, the largest Swiss bank says of large-scale power plants that they will become 'the dinosaur of the future energy system: Too big, too inflexible; not even relevant for backup power in the long run.'
...UBS, in a report published in June 2015, stated: 'We believe solar with eventually replace nuclear and coal, and [be] establish[ed] as the default technology of the future to generate and supply electricity.'"
(citing: UBS, "Will solar, batteries and electric cars reshape the electricity system?", August 20, 2014)
Tesla Energy CEO Elon Musk introduced “Powerwall” as a scalable, stationary battery power storage system for homes, commercial businesses and even electric utilities. The Tesla battery storage system is a major breakthrough for the 21st Century distributed energy revolution powered by the sun and wind. It marks the beginning of the democratization of energy and the end of reliance on an antiquated and unreliable electric grid centrally powered by dirty fossil fuel and dangerous nuclear power plants.
About the size of a large suitcase, each Powerwall unit is a wall-mounted, stackable unit complete with integrated safety systems, temperature control and DC to DC converter for controlling power flow all specially designed for storing electricity generated by sunshine. It can also store electricity from the grid gathered at peak hours for reliable energy use later at reduced cost or as an emergency backup system during a power outage.
Each Powerwall comes in two power solutions: a 10 kilowatt-hour (kWh) option ($3,500 plus installation) and a 7 kWh option ($3,000 plus installation) that can be used for the daily cycling of photovoltaic power to offset net consumption from the electric grid or disconnect from the grid entirely.
Tesla Energy plans to also market the “Powerpack” which is a utility-scale version to store electricity in gigawatt-hour class systems capable of powering entire cities with sustainable renewable energy.
Tesla Energy is partnering with photovoltaic system manufacturers like Solar City for their joint October 2015 rollout in Hawaii for the off-the-shelf residential solar arrays integrated with out-of-the box Powerwalls.
Both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times editorial boards have come out against Exelon Nuclear's attempt to gouge Illinois ratepayers to the tune of hundreds of millions per year, to prop up allegedly failing atomic reactors. "Allegedly," because, as both papers point out, Exelon refuses to open its books to the public.
Both editorial boards come at the problem from the perspective of free market capitalism. Which is fine -- no other energy industry has enjoyed more public subsidization than the nuclear power industry, which makes Exelon's latest bailout demand all the more objectionable.
And, despite their disadvantage over the course of decades, in terms of public subsidies secured by politically powerful nuclear lobbyists, renewables like wind and solar have nonetheless remained competitive. In fact, they are outcompeting the nuclear power industry. Efficiency is even more competitive and cost-effective.
As the Sun-Times so wisely understands, "Renewable energy is the future, and the state should be making that a priority, not nuclear plants."
After all, while Germany's Conservative parties may have belatedly, and reluctantly, agreed to the nuclear phase out for political survival post-Fukushima, they do not see the domestic expansion and export of renewable energy as a charitable undertaking. They see it as a huge money making opportunity on the international marketplace.
It's high time for the U.S., and states like Illinois, to either wake up and smell the coffee, or get left in the dust.
As by reported by Joby Warrick in the Washington Post, the first such study by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in seven years predicts that easily a third of U.S. energy needs could be supplied by wind power by 2050.
The DOE report is entitled "Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States." The analysis estimates that wind power could support 600,000 jobs by mid-century.