Tag Archives: solar

UK Electricity 2050 Part 4: Nuclear and renewables cost comparisons

Guest post by Energy Matters’ commentator Alex Terrell. Part 4 of the series on designing a renewable or nuclear electricity supply for the UK in 2050, where parts 1 to 3 were co-authored with Andy Dawson. Here costs of the renewable and nuclear options are compared. The forecast based on BEIS’ median 2030 scenarios for renewables (wind+solar) comes in at £143 / MWh and for nuclear at £84 / MWh, for wholesale costs. Both costs will be a lot lower if the respective technologies improve as their advocates hope. Continue reading

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Green Mythology: adding different types of renewables smooths output

A favourite assertion of renewables enthusiasts is that intermittent supply can be smoothed by simply adding different types of renewable resource. How often have you heard “If it’s not windy then we can use tidal instead”. I present a simple renewable supply model for the UK that has 20 GW of tidal, 13.6 GW of wind and 8.8 GW of solar for a total of 42.5 GW installed capacity. When everything is on this outputs a maximum of 22.2 GW of power (52.2% load). When everything is off that falls to 0.9 GW (2.1% load). Those contemplating engineering the UK grid along those lines must surely be mad. Continue reading

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The Changing Face of UK Power Supply

UK Grid Graphed provides a graphic summary of daily, monthly and annual UK electricity generation from 2012 to 2015 based on BM Reports as archived by Gridwatch. This post provides an overview of the UK Grid Graphed resource and the key observations to be made from the data. In summary, coal generation is in steep decline to be substituted by rising wind, solar, biomass and exports. Demand for electricity is also falling and government should be concerned about the extent that this is caused by rising electricity prices and policy. Continue reading

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Nuclear capital costs, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl

Lovering, Yip and Nordhaus (Science Direct April 2016) reviewed construction cost data for 349 reactors in the US, France, Canada, West Germany, Japan, India, and South Korea, encompassing 58% of all reactors built globally, and concluded that there is no inherent cost escalation trend associated with nuclear technology. There is however a vast variation in construction costs from one country to another. Some countries like the USA, Canada, Japan and W Germany responded to the Three Mile Island accident by imposing regulations that pushed construction costs through the roof while France, S Korea and India did not. S Korea and India are still able to deliver nuclear power stations for $2 billion / GW ($2010) installed capacity which remains a small fraction of the capital cost of solar PV. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 101

The focus this week is on OPEC and the lack of action there until at least June and on COP21 talks in Paris. Astronauts on the Space Station have warned of dire consequences of climate change and deforestation visible from space while the EU approves a £1 billion subsidy to convert Lynemouth coal power station to burn wood pellets imported from North America. Continue reading

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Green Mythology and the High Price of European Electricity

The price of residential electricity in the EU is correlated with the level of renewable energy installed on a per capita basis. The data shows that more renewables leads to higher electricity bills. The notion that renewable energy is cheap is one of five Green energy myths discussed. Continue reading

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The Renewables Future – A Summary of Findings

Since February 2014 I find that I’ve published 24 posts on renewable energy here on Energy Matters (linked to in order of appearance at the end of the post) . In them I’ve written about wind, solar and tidal power, hydro, biogas, hydrogen and methane, CO2 emissions, interconnectors, exports and imports, energy storage, load management, backup capacity and ramp rates….. Continue reading

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The Difficulties Of Powering The Modern World With Renewables

In the May 12, 2015 “G7 Hamburg Initiative for Sustainable Energy Security”, the energy ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, plus the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, said this: Continue reading

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Electricity supply, electricity demand and 100% renewables

Here we will examine a hypothetical scenario involving a diversified mix of renewable energy sources that supplies 100% of electricity consumption in unspecified future year 20XX in Atlantis, an imaginary island country that is very much like, but not exactly the same as, the UK. Continue reading

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The High Cost of Renewables

In this post I present “back of envelope” style calculations on the capital costs of renewables globally since 1998 and deduce that roughly $1.3 trillion has been spent installing wind turbines and solar panels. Is this a lot of money? Is it a wise investment? What else may we have we got for our money?

One perspective is that the same money would buy 50 Hinkley Point style pressurised water reactors. Continue reading

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Blowout week 36

Fracking in PA; Paul Nurse and Brian Cox dislike scepticism; BP on the rocks; “FREEDOM” for Scotland; Blackouts around the corner; China & India cool on climate talks; North Sea Fracking mad; 15 nukes in Ukraine give NATO headache; Wind records – really?; Floating solar in Japan. 33 stories in total this week Continue reading

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Energy and Mankind part 3

If you look back at the history of Energy and Mankind, in 1950, nuclear power was the energy source of the future. The only power source that could not just rival FF but was superior to it. The future has not yet arrived and we need to hope that it has not been cancelled altogether. Continue reading

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Renewable Energy Growth in Perspective

Renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, continues to set records for electicity generation and installed capacity in many parts of the world, and as shown in Figure 1 wind and solar growth in recent years has indeed been quite spectacular Continue reading

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The New Global Dictator

I wish to make clear at the outset that I am not against renewable energy per se but wish to draw attention to the fact that there is no such thing as a free lunch in the energy world. Renewables are all too often and naively presented as clean, green, free energy. In many cases the exact opposite is true. Continue reading

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White House goes Green – and into the Red

Without subsidies the system has a rate of return of minus 10.6% and a cumulative cash flow at the end of year 25 of minus $24,000. The system in fact never pays back regardless of how long it stays in operation. Continue reading

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Blowout week 21

Gazprom’s chairman has describing Europe’s energy shortage as “scary” and ridiculed the EU’s push for wind and solar power as a shambles. Continue reading

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Germany: energiewende kaput?

The penetration of wind energy in 2012 was 3.4% and solar 2.1% of total energy consumed and I would judge that this is too low a level of penetration from which to draw any conclusion about the success or failure of the energiewende. This in itself is a problem. Huge investment and publicity so far has produced rather little in return. Continue reading

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Blowout week 20

Warren Buffet: “For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” Continue reading

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Blowout week 19

I am still experimenting with how to present Blowout. Some weeks it is very difficult to make sense of the energy news. This week there is some sense and loads of nonsense as usual. You decide. Continue reading

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Wind and Solar Reach 7.5% of EU+ generation in 2012

BP data suggest that wind and solar accounted for 7.5% of EU+ electricity generation in 2012. So, is this a triumph or not? Continue reading

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