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Joe Deely's picture
Partner Deely Group

Involved with high-tech for last 30 years. Interested in energy.

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  • Jun 9, 2021 4:18 am GMT
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Ouch.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 9, 2021

In a filing Monday with the Georgia Public Service Commission, project monitor Donald Grace said he expects the plant’s startup to be pushed back “by roughly seven to nine months, or more.” Mr. Grace, the vice president of engineering at the Vogtle Monitoring Group, which was retained by the commission’s public-interest staff, also said the plant’s costs could increase by an estimated $2 billion.

I thought this headline was just adding new delays and aggregate cost additions to what had already been established, but it sounds like this $2B is newly in addition to the billions that had already been assumed and added to the books? 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jun 9, 2021

Did you file a lawsuit yet, Joe? Word has antinukes are now cashing in bigtime by blaming delays caused by a global pandemic on radiation, corruption, whatever. It's a goldmine!

COVID-19 blamed for project milestone delays at Plant Vogtle

That two new AP-1000s will soon be providing 2.5 billion watts of clean energy - more than all renewables east of the Mississippi - is almost more scary than nuclear waste, isn't it?

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Jun 9, 2021

Bob,

You said:

That two new AP-1000s will soon be providing 2.5 billion watts of clean energy - more than all renewables east of the Mississippi.

Of course a watt is not actually a unit of energy - it is a unit of power. However, I think you know that - right? 

In the real world, according to the DOE the 2,200 MW of capacity from the new Vogtle units will provide about 17.2 TWh of energy per year.

I'm gonna assume were not saying the 2,220 MW of capacity was more than all of the renewables east of the Mississippi. Right?

However, that would mean that you were actually saying that the 17.2 TWh of generation from these new units will be more than the generation from "all renewables east of the Mississippi"

Did you really mean that? Because a quick look at just the state of Illinois would show that wind generation in 2020 was over 17 TWh. Plus of course by the time Vogtle is finished in 2023 - the wind generation in IL will be substantially higher.

However, instead of looking at wind let's take a look at solar in the SouthEast - the same region as Vogtle. Solar in EIAs South Atlantic region - which includes Georgia - grew from 18.8 TWh in 2019 to 27 TWh in 2020 - a gain of 8.2 TWh in a single year. 

In other words, not only is solar in the SouthEast already greater than the expected generation of the two new units at Vogtle - it will add the same amount of generation as these new units every two years going forward - at least.

I have no problem whatsoever with nuclear waste - or the concept of nuclear power plants. However, Vogtle has been a disaster from both a cost and timeline perspective and this will be front of mind for any utility executive going forward. That's a simple fact and whining about how Covid helped cause the delays only reinforces this view.

Meanwhile, 1 GW of solar can be built in GA for about $800M... and still declining.

 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jun 11, 2021

"Meanwhile, 1 GW of solar can be built in GA for about $800M... and still declining."

Of course 1 GW of solar can't be built "for about $800M" in Georgia or anywhere else, Joe, if one includes solar's exorbitant 30% Investment Tax Credit. And its intermittent output does not equate to 1 GW of reliable nuclear power. I think you understand that - right?

With a lame capacity factor of 23.2% in the Peach State, solar panels will spend most of their time under rainclouds or on the wrong side of the Earth, with 1GW of capacity producing an average power output of only 232 MW. Current Vogtle units are operating at 95% capacity factor, with CFs and uprates of current plants constantly improving their output.

Since the output of solar panels begins degrading by 1%/year the day they're installed, all of Georgia's current panels will need to be replaced by 2050. Why would anyone bother installing more? The land they once occupied might be used to grow peanuts - if too much toxic cadmium hasn't leaked into the ground!

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Jun 11, 2021

And its intermittent output does not equate to 1 GW of reliable nuclear power. I think you understand that - right?

With a lame capacity factor of 23.2% in the Peach State, solar panels will spend most of their time under rainclouds or on the wrong side of the Earth, with 1GW of capacity producing an average power output of only 232 MW.

Bob,

Thanks for pointing this out. Really good point.

With a capacity factor of 23.2% in Georgia - you would need 4x as much solar to match the generation output from the two new nuclear units. Note: as I said this output would = 17-18TWh/year of additional nuclear generation for Georgia.

 

Georgia would need:

  • 4 x 2,200 = 8,800 MW = 8.8GW of solar
  • in order to get 17-18 TWh of additional solar generation/year.

 

At $800M per GW that solar would cost:

  • 8.8 x $800M = $7.04B

 

So we have about $7B for solar vs $25-30B for nuclear. Ouch.

 

No wonder there is no new nuclear being built in the US.

 

 

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