Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Nuclear vs Renewables

RMI: Co-gen and Renewables, Yes; Nuclear, No
25 June 2005

Countering the growing orthodoxy that a wide-spread resurgence in nuclear power is essential to address both energy needs and climate changes concerns, Rocky Mountain Institute co-founder and CEO Amory Lovins charges that not only do new nuclear plants deliver electricity at far higher cost than distributed co-generation and many renewables (not to mention plain end-use efficiency), but that co-generation and renewables have more installed capacity than nuclear, produce 92% as much electricity, and are growing 5.9 times faster and accelerating.

By the end of 2004, these decentralized, non-nuclear competitors’ global installed capacity totaled ~411 GW—12% more capacity than global nuclear plants’ 366 GW...Thus the “minor” alternative sources actually overtook nuclear’s global capacity in 2003, rivaled its 2004 and will match its 2005 output, and should exceed its 2010 output by 43%. They already dwarf its annual growth.

Green Car Congress

Mirage and Oasis
The cost of new nuclear power has been underestimated by almost a factor of three and the potential of small scale renewables critically overlooked according to 'Mirage and Oasis' a new report from nef (the new economics foundation).

Nuclear power has been promoted in the UK and globally as the answer to climate change and energy insecurity. But, as the report reveals, as a response to global warming, nuclear power is too slow, too expensive and too limited. And, in an age of terrorist threats, it is more of a security risk than a solution.

Instead, renewable energy offers as safe, secure and climate-friendly energy supply system. It leaves no toxic legacy and is abundant and cheap to harvest both in the UK and globally.

Renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal could, in theory each individually meet all of the world’s energy needs. Practically, a broader combination of renewable energy sources than is currently utilized, tapped into with a range of micro, small, medium and large-scale technologies, and applied flexibly, could more than meet all of our needs. Better still, they have the ability to create new access to energy supplies for millions of people around the world who currently lack basics, such as lighting or the ability to cook without inhaling lethal indoor smoke.

“Without sustainable, reliable supplies of energy the world faces a future in which climate change and fuel shortages will combine with catastrophic results. The poorest and most vulnerable will suffer the worst. But a resurgence of interest in nuclear power, justified by voodoo economics, stands to hinder and potentially derail renewable energy,” says Andrew Simms, nef policy director and author of the report.

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