Statistics - renewables // fossil // (new) nuclear

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Statistics - renewables // fossil // (new) nuclear

Post by fsikkema » Jan 24, 2017 1:23 pm

The organisation Wise (first to come up in a Google search for e.g. thorium power) is committed to their rock solid belief that nuclear energy is a technology that
1. is very pricey
2. emits a lot of CO2 emissions (article by Benjamin K. Sovacool, himself a very strong antinuclear acitivist, and therefore not objective, clearly 'cherry picked' references, see e.g ... ar_ghg.pdf
3. creates unacceptable waste issue
4. is inherently unsafe.
5. unnecessary (there is more than adequate supply of renewable sources)

Although all four points are extremely shaky, let's focus on number 5.

Germany is a good example of an experiment in renewable energy installation. Over the pas fifteen years or so, they have installed 38 GWp (Gigawatt peak) of solar capacity, and about 44 GW of wind power. At the same time the German government wishes to shut nuclear power plants. Let's compare Germany (high renewable) to France (high nuclear)
Below is a brief analysis (based on hard numbers) of the realities of solar energy in Germany (by far the PV leader in Europe) and the total electricity generation.

Solar panels will only be able to make a very modest contribution to the decarbonisation of the electricity supply.

In Germany currently 38 GW of solar PV has been installed. This is equivalent to about 173 million panels. The question is how much energy comes out of these panels;

"According to estimates, PV-generated power amounted to 38.5 TWh and covered approximately 7.5 percent of Germany's net electricity consumption by 2015." source: 1 (see below)
Now, let's look at France. One single nuclear power station in France, Gravelines 1-6, 6 reactors in 2015 produced as much energy as all the solar power in Germany combined: (37.4 TWh), source 2. (see e.g. ... er_Station )
These are reactors from the 70-80's, today they are 1.5 times as productive (1600 MW EPR current design, contrary to 900 MW of these reactors).

France has 58 operating reactors, which together cover 76.3% of the electricity needs (2015). The rest is hydro, and fossil with a light dusting of wind and sun.

My question to the German government is, in which way would you like to replace 58 nuclear reactors, which together produce 416 TWh, with sun and wind? At what cost should this happen? And, most importantly, in what way will "second world" countries (India, China etc), with much smaller budgets do this? They will revert to coal!
Of course, all this refers only to the electricity production, not the other fossil fuel consumption, with which renewables and nuclear would eventually have to compete in a complex manner (electricity from renewables gives hydrogen, H2 plus CO2 gives liquid fuel, known technology but with huge investments and large energy consumption)

At the same time in Germany, there are eight nuclear reactors operational (source 3), which produce 86.8 TWh of electricity, so 2.2 times the 40 GW solar PV. This happens 24/7, with zero CO2 emissions. The desired "nuclear Ausstieg" (literally, nuclear riddance) is not possible now because of rolling blackouts.

Nuclear does not produce huge peak and trough effects, such as the example of a solar installation. Days like today (January 24, 2017) produce virtually nothing. Even in extremely sunny days, nothing comes from solar at 12 o'clock at night. Perhaps easy to say, but the truth remains.


Finally like to draw your attention to the following figures:
CO2 emissions per capita per country in 2014;

Germany 9.3 tonnes (Source 4)
France 5.0 (source 4)

The major differences between them are caused by the large amount of nuclear energy which is generated in France.

Altogether, solar PV is definitely a good complementary technology in hot countries with the "peak air-conditioning." (Spain, Southern US states etc.), but no alternative for baseload electricity generation.

Nuclear power generation is in other ways possible (MSRE or LIFTER with thorium breeder reactor), which is TWENTY TIMES more fuel efficient, cleaner and much safer.

please feel free to comment....