Letter: Dr Robert Gross. Hot air in the economics of nuclear power. Jonathan Ford is wrong to add the cost of a brand new gas-fired power station to that of a wind farm in order to compare to the economics of nuclear. This misunderstands power system economics and how they change when wind or solar is added. It makes no sense to dedicate a new gas plant to a single wind farm. That’s like buying a Tesla then adding in a Bentley in case there’s a power cut. In an integrated power system markets operate a varied mix of power stations as efficiently as possible. A system with a high nuclear component may or may not be cheaper than a system with a lot of wind. It depends on the total power mix, fuel prices, interconnection and demand profile. Of course, renewable energy can add to system costs – but nothing like as much as Mr Ford suggests. Britain currently gets about 16 per cent of its electricity from wind and solar. The evidence shows we could double this, and “intermittency” would add about £10/MWh to the cost of wind. The government recently capped the strike price it will pay to new offshore wind farms at £52/MWh. So £62 per unit of power including intermittency, compared with £92 for Hinkley Point. At the moment wind is cheaper than nuclear, including system costs. Full stop. This doesn’t mean we won’t need new nuclear, or can meet carbon targets with renewables alone. But we need to acknowledge that renewable energy has gotten cheaper and move on. There’s plenty to do.
FT 31st Jan 2019 read more »
Since 2012, the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD-NEA) has produced very useful reports on the cost of electricity generation with the aim of finding the most efficient and least expensive ways of decarbonising the energy system. The Paris-based organisation recently presented the conclusions of its latest report, The Costs of Decarbonisation – System Costs with High Shares of Nuclear and Renewables, which was published on 25 January. Philippe Costes, senior adviser at World Nuclear Association, here presents his review of the document.
World Nuclear News 30th Jan 2019 read more »