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What a Waste – Vermont Yankee is in Beautiful Condition

Rod Adams's picture
President and CEO Adams Atomic Engines, Inc.
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  • Mar 29, 2014 9:00 pm GMT

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The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vermont is a relatively young steam plant that uses a low-cost, essentially emission-free fuel. It is strategically located in an area with few fossil fuel resources, extreme weather, and frequent spikes in electricity prices. It has a well-trained, experienced operating staff that has an excellent performance record. Three years in a row — 2010, 2011, and 2012 — it was voted as the best place to work in Vermont. It has a license to operate from the federal government that is good for another 18 years.

However, politicians in the state — several of whom have substantial financial links to the natural gas and renewable energy industry — have cooperated with emotional activists to add enough extra costs to convince its current owners that it is not worthwhile to continue operating the plant. Those same politicians have somehow convinced their public utility commission that there is question about whether or not the plant is beneficial so the process of granting a “certificate of public good” has been held up for several years.

When its current fuel is exhausted. the 620 MWe nuclear power station will shut down and the owners will give up the operating license. That tragic event is currently scheduled to occur sometime near the end of 2014. Replacing its output will require burning approximately 100 million cubic feet of natural gas every day. During a 100 day winter like 2013-2014, the plant’s electricity output reduces demand on regional gas storage and delivery systems by an important 10 billion cubic feet.

I knew all of those facts before I visited the plant on March 27, 2014. What I did not realize was just how impressive the plant’s current physical condition would be. There is no doubt that the plant has been lovingly cared for, often by people who have spent their entire professional career at the facility. I was fortunate enough to have a tour guide, Bernie Buteau, who was one of those VY career people. He started working at the plant the same year I finished high school — nearly 39 years ago. He will be retiring when the plant retires.

I’ve had the opportunity to tour a large number of steam plants over the past 50 years. I started early; my dad was an engineer at the local power company who he wanted his children to understand what he did for a living. I was a steam plant engineer in the Navy for many years, and have taken a number of tours of various types of facilities whenever the opportunity arose. I don’t think I have ever seen a place as clean, well-labeled, and well-preserved as Vermont Yankee.

I’d love to be able to show you some photos taken during my tour, but cameras are not welcome at nuclear power plants. For some reason, people have decided they are vulnerable targets instead of the sturdy, resilient pieces of infrastructure that they are. As we were leaving the plant, Bernie described how much the site had been forced to change and become far less inviting and beautiful as a result of what I consider to be severe overreaction to 9-11. Many maple trees had been removed, new parking lots had constructed at distant locations, and close-in parking lots had filled with fences, razor wire, and security buffers.

Other, less visible security-related alterations also added a considerable ongoing cost of owning and operating the plant.

There is no doubt in my mind that most of the people living in Vermont and neighboring states will suffer negative effects when the plant shuts down without any available replacement other than burning more gas, coal and oil. Electricity costs will increase, home heating fuel costs will increase and the air will be a little dirtier.

I spoke at length with some local people who have been keeping a close eye on the political actions that contributed to Entergy’s decision to close the plant as no longer being worth operating and maintaining. They told me that the main plans for replacement power depend on future construction of gas pipelines from the Marcellus shale region, gas pipelines from Canada, and electricity transmission lines from Canada.

None of those projects has started construction or has all of the required contracts and permits. In other words, there are hopes and prayers but no firm plans other than to struggle along with systems that are either already in place or can be delivered in a short period of time.

This past winter, the region ended up burning diesel fuel and jet fuel to produce electricity when the installed gas pipelines could not deliver any more fuel. There were days when 1000 cubic feet of natural gas — a standard trading unit of fuel that contains about 1/6th of the energy content of a barrel of oil — cost more than $100 on the spot market.

It is unlikely that very many of the affected people will realize why their cost of living has increased or recognize the perpetrators of the virtual crime that stole a valuable asset from them.

Maybe, in the 9 months that remain before December 28, the currently scheduled last day of operations, there will be a white knight who rides in to save the day.

Do you know anyone who wants to buy an operating nuclear plant, make a few dollars producing a product that will never go out of style, save about 600 jobs, and make life a little better for a large number of people?

The post What a waste – Vermont Yankee is in beautiful condition appeared first on Atomic Insights.

Photo Credit: Vermont Yankee Use/shutterstock

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Paul O's picture
Paul O on Apr 2, 2014

We need not have a diabolical plan to make us live in Hamlets, nor do we need moral decay to prompt us to enact a wrong headed plan. All we do need is a religion like faith in in Wind and Solar, in spite of their faults, coupled with a dreamy eyed “environmentalist” agenda.

Never mind that the amount of CO2 and Coal Plannts being displaced by Wind and Solar is extremely questionable.

Bas Gresnigt's picture
Bas Gresnigt on Apr 2, 2014

I read Meredith’s excellent blog about it.
It reads as if the board of VY did its best to loose public confidence and maximize distrust.
Or they have to hide more that we still do not know.

Regarding SONGS.
Their board cheated towards the NRC telling them they did a simple one-to-one replacement, while it was clearly not.
So how can the NRC trust such a cheating board??
NRC was far to docile.
After finding the cheat, NRC should have retracted the license until all board members involved, were removed. As there is great risk that they will also ly about other more important safety issues, which may occur.
But may be the NRC members are also affected by this lying and cheating culture.

How can the public trust those potential dangerous things in the hands of a bunch of liars?
Sad to see how an industry kills itself by killing all trust.

Bas Gresnigt's picture
Bas Gresnigt on Apr 3, 2014

All authors from Vattenfall. One of the 4 major German utilities which really are hurt by the Energiewende.
So not strange that their conclusions are not in line with those of the Fraunhofer institute or Agora. Those conclude to costs in the range of €10/MWh.
Significant, but not a real economic barrier as LCOE prices of solar are expected to fall towards €30/MWh.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Apr 3, 2014

Actually, yes, our nuclear incentives should be larger.  The reason is that even if we implement a strong CO2 emissions reduction policy, nuclear power delivers large benefits which are not visible to the free market: the long plant life.

The levelized electricity cost is the best single metric for comparing power sources.  A major shortcoming it has is that it does not value benefits that occur decades in the future (unless low/zero interest loans are used).

It may seem academic, but the total fleet average cost of sustainable power is a strong function of the replacement rate of power plants.  Nukes last three times as long as wind farms hence they provide much lower fleet average electricity cost, but deliver about the same levelized cost (see EIA for levelized costs).

Furthermore, we should provide subsidies/incentives for investments for nuclear plant up-rates and service life extensions too, since these are just as beneficial to society as any other clean energy investments.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Apr 3, 2014

The general public should not demand specific technical solutions. The public should demand low pollution and low environmental impact, and the utilities and regulator should make the technical trade-offs and provide solutions.

Public infatuation-with/aversion-to specific solutions is what makes our environmental policy so disfunctional and counter productive.  The problem is that the public is too easily swayed by lobbyists.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Apr 3, 2014

The notion that nuclear waste must stay isolated for millions of years is not supported by good science.  The Yucca Mountain studies found that nuclear waste place in the mountain would leak out after 50,000 years or so, but the leakage rate was so small as to be harmless (much less than natural background radiation levels), even for the hypothetical “fencepost man”.

Also, on the solar roof issue, David MacKay’s book (p.38) shows a per-person roof area in UK of 10m^2, which he calculates will produce only 5kWh/person/day, which is just a very small fraction of British energy use (125 kWh/per/day).

But the biggest problem with rooftop PV is that the energy is difficult (expensive) to store.  Desert solar can use thermal energy storage, we is technology we have today.  Further, deserts have far fewer cloudy days than where most people life, so when fossil backup is used for cloudy days, PV-rich systems will have much higher pollution on average. 

Robert Bernal's picture
Robert Bernal on Apr 3, 2014

You say the “last seven years” with a graph that does not show the proportion of the sources, just (supposed) differences in consumption. Man, that renewable energy ad does not fool me! Try going forward 7 years

They should have kept all their nuclear (and even build more if need be) to displace MORE fossil fuels. That would have been a good example to the rest of world to also cut CO2 emissions. I mean, why bother with clean energy (yet) if you don’t believe in global warming?

Rod Adams's picture
Rod Adams on Apr 3, 2014

@Elias Hinckley

You asked:

So the subsidy should be larger? (that’s actually a real question)

No. If current processes are retained, the best way to encourage new nuclear is to make the subsidy real and timely. Right now, it is more of a mirage off in the distant future as a reward IF a prospective power plant team can make it over all of the hurdles and reach the finish line of bringing a large, complex, and highly contested project to completion. The promise of a future reward does not help pay any current costs.

If the government really wanted to enable (not force) nuclear energy to be a competitive energy supply option, there are numerous cost-free rule changes that could be implemented to make it less risky to start and complete a project. One of the most important changes would be to seriously reconsider the “public involvement” parts of the process.

Though they sound good and important, they are a terrific tool for competitors to slow progress and add costs. I have no beef with technically competent people who have questions and suggestions, but I have a real problem with intervenors who can insert a tremendous amount of work and delay AND get paid for that effort by the government – which actually ends up charging the applicant for those costs.

It would also help if the Administration stopped appointing professional antinuclear activists to be the Chairman of the NRC.

Rod Adams's picture
Rod Adams on Apr 3, 2014

@Elias Hinckley

One more thing – I do not think that the PTC is some kind of conspiracy to encourage moral decay. I think it is a pretty straightforward money transfer program from taxpayers to special interests like Iberdrola, NextEra, Vestas, GE, and Siemens. Other beneficiaries of creating an electric power grid with a higher concentration of weather dependent generators are companies involved in suppling natural gas, which is the fuel of choice for the rapidly responding fossil fuel generators that must compensate for the fluctuations in wind and solar, especially as they gain larger shares of the market in certain areas.

There are few, if any, companies in the world with more political clout than ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, GE (which supplies both gas turbines and natural gas drilling equipment), Chesapeake, Anadarko, etc. 

Bas Gresnigt's picture
Bas Gresnigt on Apr 3, 2014

MacKay assumed more in his book that doesn’t fit with reality. Also regardng wind.

Desert CSP solar is nice.
Only it can no longer compete against PV-solar + storage.

Bas Gresnigt's picture
Bas Gresnigt on Apr 3, 2014

In the first link you find all the figures.
So if you want percentages, you can easy calculate them.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Apr 4, 2014

For the claim of cheap solar+storage please provide a data source.  From what I have heard to date, lead-acid is still the cheapest battery type (which adds about $0.24/kWh to energy costs), and cheap pumped-hydro can only a few locations.

Bas Gresnigt's picture
Bas Gresnigt on Apr 4, 2014

Studies show that until ~40% share of wind+solar, there is no real need for storage as existing plants can cope.

Furthermore, the added costs of storage depends on the percentage of electricity that needs storage.
If (as with a large grid) wind+solar deliver enough during 95% of the time, than your 24cent imply an add-on of 1.2cent only.
Here you find a study.


Bas Gresnigt's picture
Bas Gresnigt on Apr 4, 2014

Nathan,In addition, there are many power-to-NG projects etc. in Germany. Check the figures.
In general those produce (using electricity) the moment the whole-sale price is rather low. That happens rather often when the wind blows and the sun shines, because nuclear plants and old power plants cannot drossel their output to near zero.

That renewable produced gas together with biomass and waste deliver additional flexibility to compensate for the variable output of wind+solar.

Bas Gresnigt's picture
Bas Gresnigt on Apr 5, 2014

Nuclear laws grant every nuclear power plant already two major subsidies, that value in total ~5cent/KWh.

Law restrict liability of the nuclear power plant to <1% of the damage that may occur if disaster strikes.
That provokes unnecessary risk taking by management of NPP’s.
E.g. You may assume it contributed to the management decision of SONGS to lie against the NRC and take the additional risks by installing a new, more flexible steam-generator while telling NRC it is a one-for-one replacement.
Tax-payers & citizens pay an invisible insurance premium for the NPP, which becomes very real/big the moment disaster strikes as Fukushima, etc. shows.

Law also restrict liability for nuclear waste to a hundred years or so, while at least 100,000 years is needed. Again the tax-payers have to pay (now our grand- grand-children).

jan Freed's picture
jan Freed on Apr 5, 2014

Dr. Mark Jacobsen makes a good case that the intermittency problem for solar/wind is on it’s way to solution.  Perhaps a small amount of gas may be needed for brief episodes only.

I think a graph showing the above is at

Rod Adams's picture
Rod Adams on Apr 5, 2014

@jan Freed

Dr. Mark Jacobson is a civil engineer who knows next to nothing about operating an electrical power grid. He produces some pretty computer models that rely on several simplifying assumptions that bear little resemblance to the real world of machines, controllers, and wires.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Apr 5, 2014

Please see my reply at the top of the thread.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Apr 7, 2014

Bas and I have an ongoing dispute.  He claims that solar+storage is cheaper than nuclear, and I claim that it is not, and further, that large solar and wind deployments will cause lock-in of fossil fuel backup.

He has provided this study on the German electric grid.  It is convenient in that it considers the German grid with varying levels on solar and wind, and assumes zero export/import of electricity.

Consider two cases, the current German grid (which already has a large amount of storage: 9 GW which is 15% of the average demand), and with added storage and dispatchable load.  The graph for the current grid has a broken link, but the text says this:

“As an example, we look at the dotted line of 100 % usable energy: With an efficient combination of PV and wind, a coverage ratio of approximately 17 % is possible, whereas with wind only the coverage ratio drops to approximately 10 % and with PV only 9 %. At 35 % coverage ratio a one-to-one ratio of PV and wind installations is ideal which is approximately 80 GW of PV and leads to 93 % of usable PV and wind production.” 

So when the solar and wind penetration is 35%, the average curtailment (discarded energy) is 7%, that means that for the 2nd 17% of solar+wind, the curtailment was 14%.

For the hypothetical improvements: “Figure 5. Direct usage of fluctuating production and renewable coverage ratio of German net electricity demand. Scenario 4: must-run generation of 5 GW; 80 GWh/18 GW storage (90 % availability, 81 % total efficiency); load-on-demand option of 5 GW; 540 TWh load; no export/import; base year of data: 2011 and 2012.”


For the stated period, the German average load was 61.6 GW, so the assumed 18 GW of storage and 5 GW of dispatchable load make this a very renewable-friendly grid.

For the 60% solar+wind line, we can see that the utilization is about 87%, so the average curtailment is 13%.  This might be acceptable in a country with a totalitarian government which is heavily influenced by the solar and wind companies, but it won’t work in free market countries.

In most places, each power plant must be economically justified individually.  Using the large amount of energy storage, the graph shows that up to 40% solar+wind, the curtailment is below 1% so things are fine (total curtailment is 0.25 GW).   But going beyond this, things fall apart quickly.  

To grow solar+wind from 40->50% requires an additional 6.2 GW of average power be added to the grid, but average curtailment rises to 5%, or 1.63 GW, so the new curtailment is 20% of the added generation.

Going from 50->60% solar+wind requires an additional 6.2 GW of average demand power be added to the grid, but average curtailment rises to 13%, or 5.6 GW, so 10.2 GW of gross power was added and the added curtailment of 4.0 GW is a whopping 40% of the added generation.

So it is clear that somewhere between 30 and 60% solar+wind, the need for energy storage grows rapidly, and the curtailment also grows rapidly.  This combination will make renewables increasingly non-competitive with fossil fuel, thus supporting the likelihood of fossil fuel lock-in for 40-70% of electricity.

In contrast, France has 80% penetration for nuclear, with modest curtailment.  Nuclear does a better job of replacing fossil fuels, hence emission of pollutants and CO2 are much better in a nuclear-rich grid than a renewable rich-grid.

The article also seems to assume that future storage is pumped-hydro, with no support for the claim of advanced batteries bringing down the cost of storage, and no data at all for the cost of that storage.

As to Bas’ claim that batteries can be economical on average, if they are only used for a small portion of the delivered energy, I would again claim that they must compete against fossil fuels, in no matter what role you cast them.  Today, batteries can’t do anything cheaper than fossil fuel, so they are only used for demo projects.

jan Freed's picture
jan Freed on Apr 5, 2014

Perhaps you can email him and help describe/solve some the technical problems he is not aware of.  Certainly, the status quo won’t get us where we need to go in reducing emissions.



Rod Adams's picture
Rod Adams on Apr 5, 2014

@jan Freed

Dr. Jacobson is well aware of the numerous critiques of his work. He apparently believes he is correct.

Here are a few examples dating back nearly 5 years

I agree that the status quo will not get us where we need to go. Nuclear fission is a well proven power source that is clean enough to run inside a submarine. It is safe enough to fill that submarine with people who all live reasonably comfortably within 200 feet of the reactor.

jan Freed's picture
jan Freed on Apr 5, 2014

Great links.  Dr. J. has something to think about.


But, one of them complained, ‘A two week wind lull in the middle of a 100 year heat wave, affecting several gigawatts of wind farms over a wide area, is no more problematic to the authors than a routine two week maintenance outage of one 0.3 gigawatt conventional power plant, scheduled a year in advance for the off peak season.’

Would not combined use of solar/wind be a hedge?  During a monster heat wave the solar farms would be very well.  Dr. J. emphasizes the  use of coordinated resources to average out fluctuations.

Solar/wind has been doubling every few years.  Not so, nukes.  You can blame the environmentalists; but that is a a straw dog.  More likely it is cost.

Rod Adams's picture
Rod Adams on Apr 5, 2014

@jan Freed

It is too easy to simply say nuclear is too expensive without a reasonably good understanding of WHY it is so expensive. After all, fission is just another heat source that uses machinery very similar to that used to convert combustion heat into electricity. 

There have certainly been mismanaged projects, but there have also been numerous projects that were purposely delayed for many years. Delays during the late 1970s and early 1980s were very costly since interest rates were in the double digits and briefly exceeded 20%.

Solar and wind have been growing rapidly, but it might be worth your time to pay attention to what the American Wind Energy Association says every time the deadline approaches and their precious Production Tax Credit (or the Investment Tax Credit in lieu of the PTC) expires.

jan Freed's picture
jan Freed on Apr 6, 2014

Yes, wind will require a tax credit, no less I hope than the federal subsidies for nukes (I read somether equal to the actual cost of the kwh). 

Once built the turbines will have a very low maintenance, will not produce waste, will not be a terrorist target.

Also, what I like about wind energy is that if a superior form of energy is developed elsewhere and put in place (ocean based heat exchange, for example).  the turbines can be dismantled and removed without leaving millions of acreas of devastation (coal) or a radiactive footprint.

Robert Bernal's picture
Robert Bernal on Apr 6, 2014

My point is clear, ripping out perfectly good nuclear plants are the same as ripping out the same amount of solar and wind, except that the solar and wind does not last nearly as long and does not have nearly the capacity factor. That’s why I said it’s like ripping out MORE THAN.

Solar and wind are for the future when storage is cheap and when they can be made by machine for very cheap also. Nuclear it’s for right now lest the biosphere fries!

Bas Gresnigt's picture
Bas Gresnigt on Apr 6, 2014

ironically people living next to this supposedly toxic and dangerous plant overwhelmingly support keeping it open..”

Of course their living depend on it.
You find similar regarding dangerous Chinese mines, asbestos mines and factories, etc.

Seems the production and application of asbestos is still not banned in Canadian states that have those mines despite convincing evidence that asbestos kills at least 100,000/year in the world according to the WHO (in this matter not hindered by the 1959 agreement with the IAEA).

For similar reasons people around the old dangerous coal mines want(ed) the mine to be kept open.
Despite knowing that most miners will die a slow painful death after 20-40years in the mine due to dust in their lungs, even the miners wanted those mines to be kept open.

Bas Gresnigt's picture
Bas Gresnigt on Apr 6, 2014

Of course the public should demand specific solutions as it is shown by numereous examples that the statements of ‘nuclear engineers, experts and their management’ cannot be trusted.

Few examples:
1. Rod Adams recently still wrote that 700mSv radiation would be healthy, while numerous studies have shown that even 1% of that dose harms already greatly:
– Even 0.2mSv/year harm fetuses already greatly (=~10% more than background). Thanks to unique circumstances in Bavaria after Chernobyl it could be shown that those low levels deliver more Down, serious congenital malformations, etc at a rate of ~100% more per 1mSv/a extra radiation (the more radiation the more Down, etc.). Similar regarding stillbirth (death of fetus after >7 months).

– Same Chernobyl offered also the opportunity to proof that same low levels of extra radiation create enhanced levels of perinatal deaths and other very serious diseases.

– Numerouse medical studies have shown similar.
So the uterus of women (especially if pregnant) is not X-rayed.
Even children are quite vulnerable.

This is all quite logic as the rate of cell division of fetuses is extremely high and during cell division there is no repair (RNA is single stranded, cell support / repair structures do not operate well yet).
Though less than fetuses, babies and children are still xx-times more vulnerable than adults for the same reasons.

2. Top-management of Tepco, VY, etc. lied to the public about no danger.
Top-management of SONGS even lied to their surveillant, the NRC.
All only in order to create / keep more profit

So it would be extremely unwise to trust nuclear.
As Russia showed with two big disasters (Chernobyl and Kyshtym) and other nuclear pollution, such trust implies low safety and raised levels of radio-active pollution, hence more cancer in remote areas such as Sweden as well as lower qualitiy offspring.

Bas Gresnigt's picture
Bas Gresnigt on Apr 6, 2014

Ripping out nuclear implies closing nearly all nuclear plants as those cannot withstand a simple attack by a 200ton airliner, etc.

So that implies taking away a low risk danger with enormeous damage if the accident occurs. Damage that even affects next generations.
Damage that tax-payers, citizens and next generations have to take care for (a major subsidy due to the atomic laws).

That is a big difference with solar+wind.

Bas Gresnigt's picture
Bas Gresnigt on Apr 6, 2014

..After all, fission is just another heat source…
The problem is that it is not.
It is a very dangerous heat source if something goes wrong.
Then it may kill easily a million people as Chernobyl shows despite the lucky circumstance that the northern winds took almost all radio-active material to rather uninhabitated north.
It even affects fetuses and our offspring in areas >1000miles away as studies showed.


Bas Gresnigt's picture
Bas Gresnigt on Apr 6, 2014

Nathan,The study is not very easy readable stuff. My compliments!

35% solar+wind penentration (=~48% renewable) will be reached in ~2027.
At that time predictions are that:
 – Small rooftop PV-solar cost-prices are ~5cent/KWh (big solar 4cent);
 – Wind ~ 6cent/KWh.
When 20% of their production is sold for zero (e.g. to the many power-to-(synthetic)gas plants that are now starting up), then those costs prices are still acceptable (5-7.5cent).
The generated renewable gas can be used either to heat, drive cars, or even generate electricity.

Furthermore is is now clear that batteries are becoming cheaper at a rate of at least 10%/year (Germany started a battery subsidy program for rooftop solar owners). Furthermore new grid scale batteries are in development (in addition to Redox, also cheaper liquid metal, etc).

So in the 2025-2035 timeframe batteries may be so cheap that all solar owners have those, etc.
Even additional pumped storage may than not be needed anymore.

France is reducing the share of nuclear. Cost price of new, safer nuclear is far to high.

Bas Gresnigt's picture
Bas Gresnigt on Apr 8, 2014

Nathan,In addition to my previous response, I advice you to look at the explanation of the study in this article.
That concludes:
“… need for power storage is years away, and it also depends on the unflexibility of conventional power generation. Put differently, power storage is not needed for solar and wind, but for inflexible coal and nuclear in combination with solar and wind…”

And note that German utilities work hard to replace inflexible (baseload) coal by flexible coal plants, while nuclear will be moved out anyway before 2023.
Geman utilities move all inflexible power plants out, because those plants continue to produce at e.g. 40% of their capacity while wholesale price of electricity is zero or negative.
Thus creating big losses.

As you can read in e.g. sheet 10 of this spotprice analysis, the picture for the German nuclear plants is worse:
They continue to produce at >70% of their capacity even while the price is 5cent/KWh negative. A fast way to produce big losses if periods of negative prices increase which is expected (Denmark expects prices <$1/MWh during ~30% of the time in 2020).

If you simply look at the monthly production of wind+solar, than you see that those compensate rather nice. In winter there is far more wind. Check e.g. sheet 43 in this presentation.

Or at the monthly total production of wind+solar in this presentation.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Apr 12, 2014

No Bas, the additional sources you provide are not new information, just more attempts to spin the data.  The data still says that that renewables are pushing Germany toward fossil fuel lock-in for the majority of their electricity.  

Flexible generation will provide the majority of their electricity, it is much cheaper than storage.  Solar and wind are even less flexible than nuclear.  Saying the need for storage is years away is not comforting, and does not change the likely outcome.

The author of the Renewables International article you linked likes to think that coal plants are not flexible, hence will be phased out.  But as you have repeatedly told us, Germany has learned to make flexible and fast-responding coal plants.  The renewable movement has helped to assure that coal has a prominant place in the German power system for the foreseeable future.  

Coal is in winning in Germany and the environment is losing.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Apr 12, 2014

France is reducing the share of nuclear.   Cost...”

Coincidence does not imply causality.  It is clear that adding variable renwables alone to a nuclear dominated grid will not provide a cost savings or allow reduction in the nuclear fleet size (curtailing nuclear production does not lower costs – the fuel is cheap).  Renewable only make sense when they are used with fossil fuel; your own sources shown that batteries will not be implemented large scale any time soon.

So if France is decreasing nuclear power production, you can bet that the real goal and real result will be an increase in fossil fuel use.


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