Dave Elliott: The OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has produced an updated study of System Costs with High Shares of Nuclear and Renewables. Perhaps unsurprisingly, its new report concludes that nuclear wins hands down over variable renewable energy (VRE). The agency says that “a mix relying primarily on nuclear energy is the most cost-effective option to achieve the decarbonization target of 50 g CO2 per kWh”. That may sound unlikely. To some extent you might see the NEA as fighting a losing battle against reality: renewables are getting cheaper and nuclear more expensive in terms of generation cost. Indeed, the NEA does partly accept that, even if it seems to deny, or at least postpone, the scale of the generation cost reversal: “We fully recognise the great strides that variable renewable energies (VRE), such as wind and solar PV, have achieved in this area in the recent past,” it says. “If, according to our data, they are not yet fully competitive with nuclear power on that metric except in particularly favourable local circumstances, they soon might be.” However, the NEA says “their intrinsic variability and, to a lesser degree, their unpredictability, imply that the costs of the overall system will continue to rise over and above the sum of plant-level costs” adding that “what nuclear energy and hydroelectricity, as the primary dispatchable low-carbon generation options, bring to the equation is the ability to produce at will large amounts of low-carbon power predictably according to the requirements of households and industry”. the NEA evidently has a more nuanced strategic position. It seems to accept that renewables are unstoppable. What it appears to want is for nuclear to get a good share of whatever balancing funding is available, or for that matter anything else that’s on offer (it did well with the Hinkley contract for difference (CfD)). So, adopting a more conciliatory stance, the NEA seems happy to push for a nuclear and renewables element.
Physics World 10th April 2019 read more »
Can renewables cost less than fossil fuel generation? And are they as reliable? It appears so, especially when they are coupled with a suite of distributed energy resources (DERs), such as virtual power plants and demand response. New reports by Energy Innovation Policy and Technology and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) lay out the argument. In the The Coal-Cost Crossover, Energy Innovation partnered with Vibrant Clean Energy to create data about coal, wind and solar costs. The report compares coal plants’ marginal cost of energy to the lowest levelized cost of energy for wind or solar resources located near the plant.
Microgrid Knowledge 1st April 2019 read more »