Nuclear vs Renewables
Governments are still spending billions on nuclear research, but it looks like being an unhappy new year for the industry as it continues to shrink while renewables grow. With nuclear power falling ever further behind renewables as a global energy source, and as the price of oil and gas falls, the future of the industry in 2015 and beyond looks bleak. Renewables now supply 22% of global electricity and nuclear only 11% − a share that is gradually falling as old plants close and fewer new ones are commissioned. New large-scale installations of wind and solar power arrays continue to surge across the world. Countries without full grids and power outages, such as India, increasingly find that wind and solar are quick and easy ways to bring electricity to people who have previously had no supply. Nuclear enthusiasts − and there are still many in the political and scientific world − continue to work on fast breeder reactors, fusion and thorium reactors, heavily supported by governments who still believe that one day the technology will be the source of cheap and unlimited power. But, so far, that remains a distant dream. In the meantime, investors are increasingly sceptical about putting their money into nuclear − whereas renewables promise an increasingly rapid return on investment, and may get a further boost if the governments of the world finally take climate change seriously.