Renewables are Now Cheaper than Nuclear – Next Stop: Coal

by Tim Fulton on January 6, 2009


For a while now people have been saying that renewables would pass the economic litmus test when they became cheaper than coal, particularly when photovoltaics became cheaper than coal. That hasn’t happened yet, but with renewable energy prices dropping and the costs of safely managing nuclear plants rising, renewable energy has become cheaper, on average, than nuclear.

With nuclear power now coming it at 25-30 cents per kwh, nuclear is about 3 times as expensive as the average national grid mix. The report authors are also quick to mention that this is about 10 times as expensive as energy efficiency and conservation, which though effective don’t seem to be making gains as U.S. energy consumption continues to go up.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It is only based on one study, but I think these market forces are already showing in the move away from new nuclear construction around the world.

Source: Climate Progress

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1 Dan January 6, 2009 at 4:27 pm

What about projects like this, they are still pumping billions into this research.

Is the drop in fission infrastructure development really just a pause in anticipation of fusion power becoming commercially viable?

I have even seen papers published that indicate that fusion technology could be used to consume the waste from the older fission technology.

However, the the key issue is really the difference between the two types of generation, one is centralised and constant the other is distributed and cyclic, the cyclic aspect can be dealt with via storage so that leaves distribution. Centralised systems appeal to large monolithic entities, who are the ones that have the funds to invest in large scale changes in how power is generated, therefore it is imperative, if you promote solar power, to facilitate participation in power generation at the individual and local community level.

The technology will happen, it is happening, but the dream needs organising and financing.

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