Debunking Myths about Global Solar, Wind and Nuclear

I was debating Ned Ford about solar, wind and nuclear energy at Quora. My energy answer on Quora was about how nuclear power was still being more economical than solar and wind. Ned is a volunteer conservation chair at a Sierra Club chapter.

Ned believes many popular myths about solar, wind and nuclear.

Solar and Wind have gotten a lot cheaper and a few unsubsidized projects are less expensive than coal and natural gas but overall costs in 2018 are about $1300 per KW for Solar and $2327 per KW for Wind. Overall wind and solar are still heavily subsidized. World nuclear build is about $4300 per KW. Each GW of Solar generates 1 TWh per year. Each GW of Wind generates 2 TWh per year. Each GW of nuclear power generates 6-8TWh per year.

Adjusted for actual generation, nuclear is half the price of solar per TWh and 50% cheaper than wind.

Confusion About Kilowatts Versus Kilowatt Hours

Solar and Wind have big kilowatt capacity numbers. The problem with any figures about kilowatts is I could have ten thousand 100-watt light bulbs but it could still be dark if I do not have them powered up for minutes or hours.

There has been 100 Gigawatts of nuclear power in the USA for a couple of decades and they have been generating about 800 Terawatt hours of power every year. Global solar is about 500 GW and generates 500 TWh. This is all global solar power including the new, cheaper solar and wind.

Energy Additions are 30-40% in China and 70% in Asia

The US is not going to be increasing overall energy generation much. The new power is being built in China, India and the rest of Asia. So you do not get to disqualify the costs and energy construction there because that is where it is all happening. The US could change 1000 TWh of power if the US chose to replace the coal power. The US could replace another 1200 TWh of power if the US chose to replace natural gas with some zero emission power.

Total Solar, Wind and Nuclear Energy Costs

Looking at total spending each year in China, Germany, USA and other countries, and World figures versus how many TWh the world is getting from new and old solar, wind, hydro and nuclear. China is spending about $80–90 billion per year on solar including 2018 and 2019 and they are got a cumulative total of 178 TWh from all solar in 2018. They spent a combined $160 billion in 2017 and 2018 plus hundreds of billions in prior years. If the $500 per KW is to be believed then they should have gotten 320 GW of solar installed but the cumulative total is 177 GW in China.

Look at total spending for the world on wind and solar in 2017, 2018 and 2019. It is $220–260 billion per year.

Clean Energy Investment Exceeded $300 Billion Once Again in 2018.

Wind investment rose 3% to $128.6 billion, with offshore wind having its second-highest year. Solar dropped 24% to $130.8 billion.

So $130 billion of solar investment bought 109 GW in 2018. This looks like $1200 per KW in 2018 and not $500 per KW.

$128 billion bought 55GW of wind power in 2018. This looks like $2327 per KW in 2018 for wind.

About $50 billion per year has been spent building out nuclear power. This will add 110 terawatt hours of energy as each year of investment gets completed. The global average is about $4300 per KW in 2018 for nuclear. However, one KW of nuclear is worth 7 KW of solar and 4 KW of wind. Adjusting the per KW price has nuclear at lower cost.

IRENA says Solar will add over 100 GW each year. So let us go with 120 GW per year in 2019, 2020 and 2021. In 2018, Solar commitments declined 24% in dollar terms even though there was record new photovoltaic capacity added, breaking 100 GW barrier for the first time.

Global numbers for spending and power generation show the true costs and value in solar, wind and nuclear.

Overpriced Nuclear in the US and Europe Were For About 4-6 Nuclear Reactors

$12000 per KW for nuclear reactor build are for the handful of nuclear reactors in the US and Europe. It is like using the San Francisco Bay Bridge $6 billion as the price for bridges. US ripoff prices are not what is being paid for 90% of the nuclear reactors in the world. Just like the world is not paying Bay Bridge or Boston Big Dig prices for tunnels. China AND South Korea AND Russia are 4 to 6 times cheaper than the US price for nuclear. This is why 90% of the nuclear reactors for the past two decades have not been made in the US r Europe.

All energy is and was massively subsidized. Solar and wind are subsidized. Oil, gas and coal are subsidized. Nuclear is subsidized.

Solar and Wind have gotten $50 billion of production tax credits in the US. Annual wind and solar subsidies are about $8 billion per year.

Nuclear is mostly dead in the USA, but all energy construction is tiny in the US and Europe relative to world construction other than oil and gas. The existing nuclear should be subsidized if having using less coal and natural gas was a priority.

I think the best bets for nuclear getting some growth in the US and Europe is with power uprates from metallic fuel and fuel with different shape which would be able to have better transfer of heat and higher power.

Lightbridge might be able to deliver new extended uprates and add about 60 GW of nuclear power generation at affordable prices and quick projects.

The other possibility in the new small, modular reactors. I like the chances for the eVinci reactor from Westinghouse. 25 MWe at $50 million each starting in the late 2020s. They would be factory-built like airplanes. One month to build each one.

Closing Nuclear Plants in the US, Germany and Japan Caused a Lot More Emissions

Vermont Yankee shutdown cause emissions to rise 2.9% in New England. Vermont Yankee supplied 4% of New England’s power.

Closure of Vermont Yankee nuclear plant boosted greenhouse gas emissions in New England. It is the low cost of natural gas because of subsidized fracking which is pushing out nuclear.

In 2018, the US added more natural gas and oil power usage.

New Nuclear build in the USA is too expensive. All large projects (buildings, roads, bridges) in the US are too expensive by several times.

SOURCES- Bloomberg NEF, IEA, Masslive, Quora
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

78 thoughts on “Debunking Myths about Global Solar, Wind and Nuclear”

  1. “All energy is and was massively subsidized. Solar and wind are subsidized. Oil, gas and coal are subsidized.”

    It is untrue that US oil and gas products are “massively subsidized”. First, US producers of domestic oil and gas pay far more in royalties/taxes/fees than any credits/deductions they might qualify for. Second, the significant sales/excise/road tax imposed on every gasoline/diesel/jet transportation fuel sale by municipal, state and federal governments is what subsidizes these economically unsustainable renewable energy schemes.

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  2. That data is from 2014, and the average in all regions was pretty much on the range I said. Of course you have some powerplants producing more and other producing less.

    In California they build their powerplants with their invertors rated about 80-90% of the total power of the panels, that way they artificially increase the capacity factor.

    IRENA has an updated report for 2018.Which btw, has these three graphics. The average capacity factor for solar power around the world today is 18%.

    You can find the data here.
    https://irena.org/publications/2019/May/Renewable-power-generation-costs-in-2018

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  3. So… 28 mils per kWh or 2.8¢/kWh for fuel + operations + maintenance + dry casking. PLUS the amortized investment at whatever the bond paper delivers.  

    Thanks for the linkie. 
    Looks like I wasn’t off by much. 
    Nuclear continues to make sense. 

    … Especially “breeder” nuclear, ‘cuz we have without exaggeration, nearly 500 years worth of depleted uranium not-yet-fuel which could be converted. Just sitting around in huge piles. 

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy ✓

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  4. I suspect that improvements in sonic repellors could create an exclusion zone.

    Though it would then create a much larger irritation zone, so you’d need to deal with that.

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  5. Worth pointing out that Nuscale plans to have half as many people working at a plant per MW of capacity as current Gen III plants ended up needing to meet regulatory and political pressures.

    All good wishes to Nuscale, but don’t count their chickens before they are operating with full regulatory approval.

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  6. Build prices are up in China and Korea, though?! Wages have gone up a lot in China so not unexpected, and Korea had a swathe of fake safety certifications in their nuclear industry – a big scandal. 100 people went to jail. Now that they actually have to do them, costs are up.

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  7. Taking a 1000 dollars and investing in for 28 years at 5 percent quadruples it.

    So all you’re really saying is solar costs 1 dollar per unit plus 25 cents more to pay for the one 28 years later.

    And that’s all predicated on BS, because solar plants last longer than 30 years anyways.

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  8. Well, data from IRENA says otherwise. Average capacity factor for solar across the whole world is in the interval of 12-18%. You can only get 26% if you are in a desert, the data from EIA come from the big solar farms in California and Nevada, where most of US capacity is installed, and represent the best values for solar. You can check the statistics in their publications.

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  9. In my reply to combinatronics, the already refined rare earths would be quite valuable if we ever make an industry out of recylcing them.

    the composites would be a nightmare to break down, however. composite Boat hulls will routinely rip a concrete saw out of your hands. and you’ve got….what….200m of basically highly oriented boat to deal with?

    not trivial and probably eats your profit. Wind turbines aren’t majority metal as people like to think of them, its mostly reinforced concrete (at the base) and composite, there are a couple huge reduction gears that are probably easier to just dump right into an arc furnace than to haul away a tooth at a time. a regular torch wouldn’t have the grapes. I beam vs a finished gear that’s rated for 10,000 hp is a pretty tall order that even ships don’t really see in their superstructure.

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  10. Rare earths to be recycled, heavy metals contamination…. massive and toxic exposure to the composite resins used in making the blades when they are broken down (which is quite difficult as the fibers are incredibly strong)

    a local welder with a truck is unable to do any of that. Sure it wouldn’t take a special holding facility or thousands of years..but that is a straw man. the question posed was why don’t they factor in the costs? which grow with offshore installations. then we could make an apples/apples comparison.

    I believe the reason is mostly related to the following; we are only just now entering the era of recycling/re-mediating renewable energy and the costs are not truly known.

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  11. Intermittency kills the practical value of wind and solar from the outset. There is no cure for it that does not make the problem more intractable. Developers make billions leaving rate payers holding the bag. It is a scam for pols and cronies. Suckers love it.

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  12. True… but thing is, that if looked at as valuable scrap, well … there will always be a lot of scrappy volunteers waiting in line to get the contract to competently take down, cut up, and haul away all the bits to downwind high profits. 

    For free. 

    Just have to win the contract, certify having the right insurance, fill out the stack of forms, and document the whole deconstruction process to satisfy all the special mommy-cop interests. 

    In the end tho’, it is mostly, cut a chunk out of the base, keep undercutting until it is teetering, then blow up the little piece holding it vertical. CREEK… it tilts, then falls over. Attack with oxy-propane (not acetylene, too expensive) torches to cut up the bits. Get out the jack-wrenches to unattach the blades from hubs. Tear apart the generator head, and electronics. Cart it all off, and remediate the fields from the big Plowing that tumbling it over did. REPEAT for the rest of the farm. 

    Indeed, there are economies of scale: crews specializing in each task are FAR more efficient at deconstructing than one general purpose team. 

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy ✓

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  13. . . . most people who are pro-nuke are also anti-government . . .

    . . . people who believe in climate change are anti-nuke.

    And then you have people who are “pro-life” blocking stem cell research.

    Brings to mind the Jack Sparrow quote: “The problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude about the problem.”

    Replace “attitude” with “ignorance” and it hits this nail on the head.

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  14. Yes… and here’s a play that I’ve always wondered why isn’t employed widely — especially in the nuclear, but not limited to that only power source.

    Namely, to utilize the prodigious amount of waste-heat that these thermal-to-electricity plants necessarily generate alongside the electricity. And use it as the heat-input for low-pressure saline water distillation (3 or 4 stages). 

    As long as it has a prodigious input of low-intensity heat (i.e. perfectly suited for the cooling loop of nuclear power plants), then at a ‘heat cost’ of about 5 kWh per cubic meter of distilled water, you not only get potable water, but also a potentially quite concentrated brine stream, useful for further evaporation in open-air salt ponds. 

    Just seems to me to be a winner. 

    The Israelis however found better overall cost-to-benefit ratios in desalinating brines using reverse osmosis. They are at the point of only expending about 2.5 kWh/m³ of freshwater produced. 

    So, who knows. 

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy ✓

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  15. Concur. On a global scale, the same sort of thing will need to be done with desalinization plants as well, I expect.

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  16. Worth pointing out that Nuscale has half as many people working at a plant per MW of capacity as current Gen III plants.

    So moving forward that is being addressed.

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  17. Lots of trucks. Lots of torches. Sure as things go it isn’t rocket science but the point is that taking down a farm of wind turbines has a real cost and that unlike nuclear it is not accounted for.

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  18. Point being that real work is being done to get the cost to build down (and the cost to build in China/Korea is already down).

    Once the cost to build is down you will have a plant that costs less in the first place and has 2x-3x the life span of a solar plant.

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  19. Having screens would not be impossible, it might be worthwhile in areas with endangered birds. Though they probably should not have been built there in the first place.

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  20. I tend to think of it “the other way around” (tho’ I understand that it is nearly identical, concept wise). Basically, I use the amortized payment function math with reasoned out rates and terms to see what the per-unit-energy impact is. 

    For instance, at $4,000 per name-plate kW generating capacity, with 85% full-power generation duty cycle (for nuclear, kind of on the low side), it comes out at 4.1¢/kWh (100% DC) or 4.8¢/kWh (85% DC). 

    That would be at 6.6% rate, 20 year term, standard municipal bonds paper, with no maturation balloon. (continuous pay-out)

    I’ve read conflicting numbers for the actual cost of refueling-and-running nuclear power plants, but it always seems less than 2¢/kWh or so for the larger plants. There really isn’t that much to do at them, once they start their steady-state churning. Lots of reports. Lots of squinting at dials and gauges. Old school make-work. 

    Nuclear investment isn’t really the issue. 
    Its the pölïtical nut, and the public’s fears that gate roll-out.

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy ✓

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  21. Those vibrator windmills are dumb AF; good only to shake things apart. Saw a prototype mounted on a home’s chimney on youtube; what a joke. Vibrate the house apart.

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  22. Just demo the wind turbine with a saw or a charge and cut it up with an oxyfuel torch. Non issue. Contard hype story.

    Unless you are joking… Can’t tell. No sarcasm tag.

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  23. Do we pick who supplies our running water? No. It is a municipal utility (infrastructure) and it costs what it costs to construct, maintain, purify and deliver water. When electricity was treated as a utility; I believe the current catch phrase is: regulated, then the nuke plants were assured some profit and the lights stayed on. Special interests saw flaws in the municipal utility model, because if the rules were changed, they could take a piece of the rent. To me, the utility model makes more sense than the current, I believe the buzzword is: deregulated, system in many parts of the USA. When I first received a junk mail flier telling me that I could purchase wind power through the lines that have been connected to my house since 1957, I thought it was a joke. Now I realize it is actually a scam. The scammers (importers and financiers of solar panels, manufacturers of wind turbines) look for ways to digest our society or “rent seek” a part of it. In this case, special interest (scammers) are seeking rent in providing basic housing needs that were previously like tap water. Instead of creating new economic activity, we are digesting the fat and muscle tissue of our society like a starving POW in a camp by replacing functional things with new things. Renewables look like economic activity, but there is no growth in capacity/output. In this stagnant time in history, the internal parasites (special interests) evacuate our precious bodily fluids – loss of essence.

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  24. Also, unless the panels are on the equator, they’re going to be tilted, and ideally they’d have variable tilt there too. Which means more separation between them, to stop them shading each other.

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  25. Yes, there is the “That’s Socialism!” ideological crazies. But that is how infrastructure gets done. They experimented with letting companies take the risks in New York a hundred plus years ago. It resulted in dozens of electric lines on every pole, random short distance trains all over where you had to buy another ticket every time you transferred and stuff would just go bankrupt left and right leaving you high and dry and with no way to get to work and such.
    Without government money there would be no transcontinental railroad, no Panama canal, water projects would not have been built and the central valley would be growing nothing rather than most of the vegetables and a good share if the fruit we eat.
    You can forget about the Interstate Highway System, NASA, the postal service, DARPA, NIH, DOE, the dams protecting people from flooding and providing power, expensive scientific equipment for scientific university research…
    Most of the things that really made a difference for the US, giving it an advantage in the world, came from government investment.
    If government can build a dam, why can’t it build a large nuclear power plant? They are both power plants. In both cases, if they are not built properly serious bad things can happen.

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  26. The part I was fussing about was the 11.0 and 12.1 on the graph going to electrical generation…which is clearly wrong.

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  27. Yes, upfront nuclear costs are high but you know for darn sure that you will get a certain amount of energy out over a period of time no matter the weather. With solar or wind you pay less upfront but you don’t know if you will generate the amount of energy you expected to because you can’t predict the weather, so you may end up paying about the same amount for construction to build more panels or turbines to offset the uncertainty factor involved in weather to generate the equivalent amount of energy as the nuclear power plant. And you have to deal with the uncertainty of constant environmental exposure that wears down your energy efficiency or causes damage to panels or turbines.

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  28. We need to move away from wind turbine wind power that kill birds and more towards harvesting wind power through sails that wobble the pole by swaying back and forth to generate electricity. It would need 4 sails separated 90 degrees from one another from a bird’s eye view around the pole to harvest wind from multiple directions. It’s more natural because they have a more tree like structure. Bird’s never evolved with turbines.

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  29. The prevailing world view of many jurisdictions posits, the free markets should decide what is created so no picking of winners or losers, anything else is socialism.

    Although those points may not be important to every subscriber, they happen to be the flip side of the coin they consistently select.
    What to do when the free markets will not take the risk and your belief system blocks the other pathway.

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  30. You’ve not mentioned operating and fuel costs for nuclear, again. 3 cents per kWh. Equivalent to about $1900 per kilowatt if it were capitalized into nuclear’s cost.

    Utility solar is 1/3 capacity factor per nameplate watt of nuclear in the USA, not 1/7.

    And you always quote overnight capital costs for nuclear, and it of course is NEVER actually built overnight so you need to include the interest rate/opportunity cost/discount rate on the money that was carried for the years it took to build the nuclear plant.

    Why this rehash of the same misinformation?

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  31. Mr Wang, you might want to take a brake and debunk these same myths in this Quora thread about EV cars too. (in this case, part of the thread became not about EVs, but about going all renewables and people bashing nuclear)

    https://www.quora.com/Why-do-people-think-electric-cars-are-more-environmentally-friendly-Do-they-not-realize-that-the-power-to-charge-the-battery-comes-mainly-from-power-plants-that-are-just-as-bad-for-the-environment-as-vehicle/answer/Steve-Baker-100?__nsrc__=4&__snid3__=4613649271&comment_id=98220856&comment_type=2

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  32. Your government URL is only looking at electricity generation, my government URL is looking at all power (electricity, heat, transportation).

    Looking at my chart the ratio of gas to coal usage is basically the same as your URL once you remove industrial uses.

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  33. Lots of companies make iPhone cases not because their size is standardized by a government but because there are so many iPhones in the marketplace.

    Same with reactors. If Nuscale can make enough of these reactors then they become the standard by default instead of by fiat.

    Some quick googling seems to indicate that they expect their UAMPs plant to be online in 2026.

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  34. Point being more that if you want to go with solar then over the 60 year lifespan of a nuclear plant you would need to purchase two solar plants.

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  35. Goat: Most of the power plant parts you mention are standard. It is the reactor, the cooling system, the heat exchanger, the control system, the safety system, and the training simulator that are non-standard. And there are already standard reactor designs. And if you build ten or more standard nuclear power plants the price per unit would be less and safety would go up. But all of that would take coordination at the federal level. And most people who are pro-nuke are also anti-government so I don’t see that working. It is like how people who believe in climate change are anti-nuke. I am not pro-PWR but I am a pragmatist. I think it would be better to chance a possible reactor accident against the certainty of climate change.

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  36. If your discount rate is 5%, every dollar you earn 14 years from now is only worth 50% of now. 56 years is 6.25%.

    Real world discount rate is 6.6% comparing to S&P500, so 5% is actually kind of generously low.

    It is innumeracy like this that makes people think it is less expensive than it is actually is.

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  37. I agree that wind does not have a large footprint, other than killing birds, starting fires, making noise, and being a hazard for aircraft. And I am not trying to be flippant. The fossil fuels even ignoring CO2 (which we shouldn’t) has a far more damaging footprint. And the long power lines to reach the wind farms is somewhere for birds to rest, if they don’t mind the vibration. They set the wires far enough apart that a bird can’t become instant ash and gizzards.
    Solar? As long as it is PV, should not kill birds…unless they are really stupid. Farming a separation between normal PV rows is not going to work well. Most modern farm equipment is not small. However, if the panels are large and on a poles 25 feet up (using solar tracking), and there is some way they can get a message to go flat when the farm machines go by…it could work pretty well. Unless there is one panel that won’t behave, then it will be very aggravating.

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  38. Sound all nice and neat but that is not how it works. First there is a need for two types of power plants peakers and baseloads. Since peakers are only on for half of the time the capital cost per MW generation is very important. Capital cost per MW generation is less important for base load power plants. Also there is the financial cost of building a power plant. If it takes ten years, you accumulate that interest over that period. And it can take even longer. When that 1GW baseload power plant goes online you have to take 1GW of baseload offline.

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  39. Tho’ it must sound like a broken record, I think that the only real way to gain energy competence as a nation — just speaking for the US of course — is by going “all in” on a 25 year mid-size nuclear (per installation) investment. 40 billion a year. $1,000 billion all told. 

    AND to require that the nuclear installations become as modularized, commodity, “rubber stamped” as possible. Perhaps allowing at most 1 new design every 8 years.  

    The advantages would be enormous: makers of turbines wouldn’t have to gin up a custom turbine for each plant. Generators, the same. Step-up transformers, the same. Heck… the casting forms and footing molds and everything else could nearly be mass-produced at SIGNIFICANT per-unit reduction. 

    As some level isn’t it obvious?

    Mr. Elon Musk, on a napkin at a restaurant (or so the urban myth once went), calculated that the only way to revolutionize “Space” was to get a reusable rocket core, one that could launch hundreds of times, requiring only minor refurbishing and refueling. Which required keeping some mass (fuel) on board to turn a flying bird around, and bring it back to the landing zone. And land it. Upright. Yay.

    Further, his widely embraced plan calls for absolutely rubber-stamped super-duper rockets. Make dozens or a hundred of the things. Launch at least every day, perhaps dozens per day when things really ramp up. 

    Same for nuclear, me hearty goats.  
    Same for nuclear. 

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy ✓

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  40. You don’t take a wind turbine apart with a welding torch and a truck.

    It costs billions, of which none is set aside in advance.

    The whole point being that the cost of wind decommissioning is not part of the cost of wind power- unlike nuclear where it is.

    Same for solar.

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  41. Decommissioning wind turbines like the ones in your picture is probably done with a welding torch and a truck, and done by some local guy. No high tech team, no moon suits, no non-local resources. Maybe a crane if the landowner doesn’t want free plowing.

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  42. Not as much as you think. The world has LOT of desert (admittedly a looong hi-tension line away from most cities). Parking lot solar-roofs tend to be real near civilization (duh) but unfortunately I have no numbers for the collective size of mid-to-large parking lots.

    But also, power production isn’t as greedy as you say. Wind towers in farmland have a very small footprint, leaving essentially all of the farmland farmable. And there are some recent experiments in doing something similar with solar – adding deliberate spacing, so that an agricultural function can happen in between the rows. I don’t have good data about crops that like partial shade, but I’ll bet you can grow hay, or pasture animals. Assuming global warming doesn’t flood your spring planting season and leave you wishing you’d put the revenue-generating stuff closer together.

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  43. Wow, that number is stunningly large. It does look like the figure I was stating (155,481 GW) does include alot of energy used not as electricity. Looking at some data which is just about electricity, the number looks to be around 21,776 GW. Still, it was I who was off there. Something around 1/6 the size of Pakistan…

    Fuck me we use alot of electricity!

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  44. “So roughly 1/1000 the area of pakistan. But whats 3 orders of magnitude between friends, eh?”

    Given that you failed to convert 115481 GW correctly and missed by 3 orders of magnitude… multiple your area by 1,000. Which gives you one Pakistan of area.

    It is good to double check the math.

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  45. You have to leave space between panels for access. Also, we start with the best locations. As those are taken, you get worse and worse areas for solar or wind…and lower production.

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  46. (The site much like the proverbial dog ate my first post).

    Nuclear decommissioning costs are included in each kwhr of power produced. Ratepayers only pay extra when a plant is closed early, usually for political reasons (e.g. Diablo Canyon, Vermont Yankee).

    Nuclear waste disposal costs are also included in each kwhr of power produced. France, China, UK, Finland, Sweden, Korea, Japan, Russia, etc, etc, etc have worked this out. The problem is political.

    In the meantime the USA spent fuel fund has $43 billion in it (and growing), entirely paid by ratepayers, which I do believe is the exact opposite of a subsidy.

    https://www.ocregister.com/2019/02/01/billions-pile-up-in-nuclear-waste-burial-fund-but-no-permanent-storage-solution-on-the-horizon/

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  47. The real reason manufacturers stopped designing big ones was because they had trouble getting the investment. Everyone wants a quick payoff from their investment. Big stuff with very long payoff, can only be financed by big investment corporations or government. The investors are cowards, and the government does not put the interests of the public first. In fact, they make it a dirty word to do things for the public. They call that “populist”.

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  48. I’m totally wrong in the below, I can’t seem to math today:

    “`Hmm… I have that area running much much lower:

    In 2014, world primary energy supply amounted to 155,481 terawatt-hour (TWh)

    According to the numbers in this article, that means we can get that with the same number of GW of capacity. 155481 (GW)

    Lets take a run of the mill monocrystaline 315 W panel (CS6X-315P). Its nice and cheep. 90 cents per W. It’s dimensions run at about 20sq feet per panel.

    Divide that 155,481,000,000 by 315 and we’ve got to lay down a total of 493,590,476 panels.

    With each panel at 20 sq feet thats 9,871,809,523 square feet worth of area to cover!

    A quick conversion into square miles (/ 27,878,400) : Means we’ve got to cover 354 square miles with panels.

    Lets figure we’re only actually covering 3/4 that area in panels (need some room to walk between them), thats 472 square miles.

    Quick trip over to google to get the number of square miles in pakistan:
    340,509 sq mi

    So roughly 1/1000 the area of pakistan.“`

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  49. Nuclear really shines when you realize that a plant can go 60 years. Solar lasts 30 years. Wind not so much (depends on where it is at).

    Nuscale can’t come soon enough.

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  50. Large nuclear is inherently less expensive long term, and has a much smaller footprint than the same amount of generation at several locations.

    You also multiply the chance of something going wrong monitoring and running several times as many plants.

    You can also afford to use thicker metal and design a reactor to last 120 years rather than 35. And as decommissioning is a huge part of the price tag…decommissioning once every 120 years is vastly better than every 35 years. Though, granted, modularity could extent that substantially. However, that is uncertain. As they may not let you make or transport the modules in 35 years or in 70 years. While the big reactor just goes and goes.

    Mass production is not limited to small reactors. There is no reason you can’t do the same with big reactors. The only modest catch is that you can’t move the pressure vessel over land very far from the foundry. And we have no foundries that can make these things. However, these things have positives too. We can build the foundry to handle a size that has never been seen before, perhaps ten times the largest ever. As you are starting from scratch, you have flexibility. You can also chose an ideal location for this foundry. All these reactors being in the same area, means you can better protect them and limit access. You can have interceptor rockets at the ready even lasers to shoot down and incoming missiles or a suicide 747.

    And there are advantages to being far from population centers.

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  51. You have forgotten about the decommissioning costs and nuclear waste disposal costs in your calculations for nuclear. Nobody even knows what these will be..Plus, nuclear energy is subsidized by the taxpayer in many jurisdictions through legislation that caps the maximum liability that can be paid in the event of a nuclear disaster. This is a HUGE subsidy to nuclear.

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  52. The current contribution for wind to global power is about 3-4%. This from taking up a land area the size of Tunisia. Even without needing to compensate for intermittency, battery storage and extensive transmission lines, 100% wind[or even solar] would take up a footprint of about the size of India and Pakistan, combined.
    And replaced every 15 years or so. Nevermind the disruption for MINING all of that silicon, concrete and other material.

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