If one is to assess the global energy impacts of 2020 it becomes evident that every single type of fuel has declined last year except for renewables and biomass. Almost every single sector of economy – agriculture, industrial, commercial and residential – has seen its aggregate consumption drop, only the petrochemicals industry was able to pull off a meagre 1% year-on-year increase. Yet of all types of energy nuclear power has arguably suffered the most, virtually lacking any success story that could mitigate the overall decadence of 2020. If one is to consider the 2010-2020 timeframe, nuclear energy seems to be the largest loser from all fuel types, its decline (-0.4% annually) surpassing even that of coal. In 2020 alone, nuclear energy production fell a precipitous 400 TWh year-on-year, moving from stagnation to outright decline in Europe and the Americas and bringing Asia’s capacity ramp-up to a sudden halt. The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster has both directly and indirectly impacted this downfall – it has scrapped the totality of Japan’s nuclear output from the global map and has damaged nuclear energy’s reputation to the extent that most advanced economies consider quitting it altogether, despite being a completely non-polluting technology (and thus nuclear could have been greatly conducive to them reaching their respective emission-curbing targets). The upcoming decade, however, would most probably augur in a mini-renaissance for nuclear energy for several reasons. First, two nations have commissioned newly-built nuclear plants (Belarus and United Arab Emirates) late 2020 and once the global economy bounces back from the COVID-induced slump will see their nuclear output gradually increase over the 2021/2022 timeframe. Second, Japan is expected to bring back some nuclear capacities, with at least 5 safety-upgraded reactors slated for recommissioning by 2025. Third, the mid-2020s will see another inflow of nuclear capacities in the Middle Eastern region and Southern Asia – Turkey’s Akkuyu and Egypt’s El Dabaa will both add 4.5GW of capacity to the global aggregate, Bangladesh’s Rooppur another 2.2 GW. Fourth, China and India will commission at least 20 new reactors over the course of the next 9 years, holding true to their reputation of main nuclear energy enthusiasts.
Oil Price 6th Feb 2021 read more »