President Biden’s target of net-zero power generation by 2035 will be extremely challenging, if not impossible, argues Charles Merlin writing for IFRI. He says the best chance of achieving it is through advanced nuclear reactors, though the 2030+ switch-on dates of the new technology still won’t guarantee meeting Biden’s timescales. Why should the U.S. drive for advanced nuclear? Because of the known limitations of the other technologies. Wind and solar have their practical limits (good for 50% of electrification, but no more), gas is only a transition fuel, re-shaping the grids for new complexities is slow and expensive, CCS at scale is proving very elusive, and extending storage beyond the role of coping with peak demand is a long way away. All this against a backdrop of increasing demand for electricity. It’s why utilities are including small modular reactors in their plans to deliver firm dispatchable clean power. Merlin supports his case with data from the U.S. Department of Energy and its affiliates.
Energy Post 1st July 2021 read more »