Climate change can be defeated. It can be defeated because this century has so far witnessed an extraordinary revolution in renewable energy and supporting technologies such as energy storage. As a new report from IRENA pointed out,” The decade 2010 to 2020 saw renewable power generation becoming the default economic choice for new capacity.” So far this century, worldwide renewable power generation has increased three-fold. Bear in mind that if in the year 2000 you had talked about the prospects of wind and solar, most experts would have laughed at you. This is because the costs back then were prohibitive. “Costs for electricity from utility-scale solar photovoltaics (PV) fell 85 per cent between 2010 and 2020,” states IRENA. That means the costs halved almost three times in a decade. Of course, renewable cynics say that solar does not follow an exponential function, but if the price falls of the last decade and two decades can not be described by an exponential function, it is difficult to say what can. If we can rapidly move to net zero, we will create a staggering amount of wealth via more efficient use of energy, but if we don’t do that, we will pay an enormous cost in terms of damage to the environment. there is a risk. If instead of renewables, we adopt nuclear, then the fight against climate change will be lost. Paul Dorfman explained that nuclear is a very poor compliment to renewables. “Nuclear is very bad at ramping up and ramping down. So if the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, you need something to switch on. Now nuclear doesn’t switch on. So the very last thing you need to support so-called intermittent renewables is nuclear.” He added, “We need to invest, and in terms of bangs per buck, we only have a certain amount, and nuclear eats up all the pies. Nuclear is so prohibitively expensive that it has the potential to undercut seriously our other more practical, economic, doable, viable climate response options.”
Techopian 10th Aug 2021 read more »
Following the publication of their paper “Differences in carbon emissions reduction between countries pursuing renewable electricity versus nuclear power” in Nature Energy last October, Prof. Benjamin K Sovacool, Prof. Andy Stirling and their co-authors received a number of responses and challenges to the paper’s findings. To advance scientific debate around independent research, they engaged in a series of dialogues with researchers offering critiques of our work. Below, they share an exchange with Daniel Perez, PhD student at École Normale Supérieure in Paris. Mr Perez’s paper, “On Sovacool’s et al. study on the differences in carbon emissions reduction between countries pursuing renewable electricity versus nuclear power, offers a critical perspective of Sovacool et al.’s paper’s models and statistical analysis. The exchange below begins with their response to Mr Perez’s paper, followed by Mr Perez’s response to theirs. By sharing the exchange here, Profs Sovacool and Stirling hope to encourage collegiate debate and support the critical importance of independent research, an issue considered in their earlier blog, Nuclear vs renewable energy and the critical importance of independent research.
Sussex Energy Group 11th Aug 2021 read more »