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Will an Independent UK Emphasize Nuclear Energy?

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When the dust has had a chance to settle, effects of the UK voter decision to leave the EU on the UK nuclear energy and climate change mitigation programs will become evident. In the meantime, bloggers and other observers will continue to do what they do, which is to offer opinions in spite of enormous uncertainties.

Yesterday, I published a piece providing my own interpretations on what I think the Brexit will mean to the Hinkley C project as well as what it will mean to the UK nuclear energy program in general. I also touched on what I consider to be a logical extension of that argument to a comment on the effectiveness of the UK’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions.

I also promised to share insights that I have received from other people that I consider to be experts, some who are UK citizens and residents and some who are observing from this side of the Atlantic.

Here is the common question that I posed to my sources.

I’d like your on the ground opinions about the effects that the Brexit vote will have on nuclear energy development in the UK. If you have any opinions on its effect on nuclear energy in the rest of the EU, feel free to offer those as well.

Andy Dawson is an energy sector systems consultant and former nuclear engineer who lives and works in the UK. He is a UK citizen. He provided me with a lengthy and thoughtful response. I’ll summarize it so that I can allow room for other responses.

First of all, Mr. Dawson declared himself to be a Brexit supporter. His reasons were left for another conversation, but nuclear issues played a minor role.

He noted that the UK has been significantly more open to nuclear energy than most traditional EU states and that the EU has issued a number of mandates for renewable energy production that specifically exclude nuclear. Austria and Luxembourg have actually gone to the European Court of Justice to challenge the deal done to encourage the first of a kind Hinkley C.

The huge project is worrisome to EDF unions and some managers because they are concerned that a failure to complete construction at an economic rate would put their pensions and other benefits at risk. As a company, EDF has announced that it remains committed to the project.

Dawson also believes that other UK nuclear projects based on Hitachi’s ABWR and the Westinghouse AP1000 will continue to move forward, if for no other reason than “those vendors have no other real options in Europe as launch pads for their designs.” He applied the same logic to the CGNPC Hualong-1.

According to Dawson, the EU has few free trade agreements with countries outside of the block. “It’s hard to see how Brexit would limit the ability to reach deals with new vendors” like South Korea.

Dr. John Bickel, a safety and reliability consultant who lives in the US but occasionally works in the UK, provided the following commentary.

It certainly ends the Austrian-Luxemburg challenges to issues of state support to British energy firms.

I just came back from two weeks in London on a legal case – and even the folks who wanted to stay in EU were getting totally fed up with what they saw as “outside meddling” in what should be UK sovereign affairs. Yes it will take two years for the divorce to go into effect – a lot can happen in two years but the goofy anti-nuclear policies of Brussels elites will not longer be driving the agenda in Britain.

The next two countries to watch will be France and Italy – where there are also sizable majorities that are tired of the EU meddling in their affairs.

Dr. Wade Allison is a UK citizen and resident. He’s an Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and the author of several books including Nuclear is for Life: A Cultural Revolution and Radiation and Reason.

Dear Rod
I was a Brexit voter for the very reasons you have articulated.

Today there are many in the UK who are surprised, shocked and horrified, but later they will appreciate the step that has been taken.

The barrage of advice and dire warnings about Brexit came largely from committees, bodies, corporations and institutions.

Noticeably, those speaking in favour of Brexit were individuals, some of whom are held in high regard, unalloyed by collective-think.

Many opinion formers in the UK are influenced by the anti-nuclear philosophy and politics of Germany and Austria that are backed by EU-wide regulations.

But plenty of UK voters object to being muzzled in this way — and nuclear is only one example.

The good news is that the UK will now be free to use its judgement on nuclear energy and work with others worldwide to ensure the future.

Steve Aplin, a well-known blogger and energy industry professional who publishes Canadian Energy Issues, noted that Brexit’s effect on nuclear is probably far larger than nuclear energy’s effect on the Brexit vote.

How much did “central” EU anti-nukery regarding Hinkley fuel the sentiment that drove the vote?

I bet it was a smallish factor that played at most a minor role in contributing to the anti-EU noise — if it was a factor at all.

After several correspondents chimed in with the opinion that nuclear energy considerations most likely influenced few, if any votes, Aplin responded.

I’m just testing the validity of interpreting the vote as, among other things, a rejection by Brits of a very wide ranging and deep seated view of environmental stewardship on the part of the predominant nation in the EU.

The World Nuclear Association published a detailed thought piece about the Brexit effects on a number of nuclear related issues. It did not add much that has not already been mentioned, but it mentioned potential negative effects on fusion research.

Professor Steve Cowley, CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, told the BBC he was “very concerned” by the implications Brexit would have on funding research programs. Researchers are afraid, he said, that £55 million in annual European Commission funding would be withdrawn.

The Joint European Torus (JET) investigates the potential of fusion power as a safe, clean, and virtually limitless energy source for future generations. The largest tokamak in the world, it is the only operational fusion experiment capable of producing fusion energy. As a joint venture, JET is collectively used by more than 40 European laboratories.

Fusion research has no relationship to energy and climate change solutions. Until it can be demonstrated to produce a sustained output that exceeds the energy input requirements, it is merely an intriguing research problem. It’s had that status for the past 60 years and shows no indication of graduating to reliable power production for at least another 60 year years.

The engineering, technical and construction talent engaged in that activity could be put to more productive uses.

Update: (Added 6/28/16 at 10:45 EDT) Lenka Kollar, the owner and editor of Nuclear Undone is a native of Slovakia who is currently living in Austria. She provided the following thoughts.

Hi Rod,

Thanks for your recent post on Forbes about how Brexit will affect nuclear energy. I think that its a good post and I’m sure you’re received a number of comments on it.

I agree that, without EU regulation, it will likely grow in the UK but also think that, in the UK’s absence, countries like Germany and Austria will have more influence on EU energy policy and therefore you could see nuclear energy decrease in the rest of Europe. Austria has already successfully shut down reactors in neighboring Eastern European countries in exchange for entrance to the EU and I think we will see more of this because these countries benefit from EU infrastructure funds and have less bargaining power. The UK has usually been on their side, not only in terms of energy policy but also other regulation. So this could be great for UK energy policy but not so good for the rest.

It will be interesting to see what really happens in the next few years.

During the interval between publishing the above information on Forbes.com and now, I had the opportunity to watch a speech given by Amber Rudd, the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. She was addressing the Business and Climate Summit: Working together to deliver real climate action, which was held in the City of London and attended by senior representatives of most of the heavy hitters in Britain’s energy and financial sector.

Read carefully, the speech contains broad hints of a sustained focus on using nuclear energy in order to fulfill — and perhaps exceed — climate commitments in a serious, measurable way. Here’s what I mean.

When The Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP said, “As a Government, we are fully committed to delivering the best outcome for the British people – and that includes delivering the secure, affordable, clean energy our families and business need. That commitment has not changed,” I started listening closely.

After a number of statements focusing on renewable energy achievements, I began to get a little concerned that the land of my ancestors had chosen to follow Germany into a technological dead end. Then the Right Honorable Secretary started to make some sensible statements. She said “We said that security of supply would be our first priority,” and I realized she couldn’t possibly be referring to wind or solar energy.

Next she said, “We have agreed to support up to 4GW of offshore wind and other technologies for deployment in the 2020s – providing the costs come down.” Her limitation told me that those offshore wind deployments will never occur; there few known ways to reduce the cost of building, deploying, operating and maintaining equipment in the harsh, at sea environment. The British people have known that since the 1600s.

The hinting halted with this clear statement of intent, “We remain committed to new nuclear power in the UK – to provide clean, secure energy.” She quantified the expectations, 18 GW of projects already being seriously developed, eventually employing at least 30,000 people directly in the construction effort and manufacturing effort.

During the 5-year spending review, the UK will devote at least £500 to innovation in energy systems focusing on systems that are “reliable, clean and cheap.” That sounded good, but the following sounded even better. “As part of that programme, we will build on the UK’s expertise in nuclear innovation. At least half of our innovation spending will go towards nuclear research and development…Our nuclear programme will include a competition to develop a small modular nuclear reactor – potentially one of the most exciting innovations in the energy sector.”

My sense is that the UK has gained enough experience with renewables to know they are incapable of supplying much more than they already do without massively depowering the economy. That is not the kind of prospect that will make already disillusioned citizens who voted in surprising numbers to get out from under onerous restrictions being imposed by the EU.

Nuclear energy success will expose annoyances like outlawing tea kettles and toasters as trivial, unnecessary gestures attempting to cover for the fundamental unreliability of weather-dependent power sources.

In a few years, we’ll be able to look back to use hindsight to evaluate the accuracy of the predictions.

Note: A version of the above first appeared on Forbes.com under the headline of How Will Brexit Affect UK Nuclear Energy? Variety Of Views. It is reprinted here with permission.

The post Will an independent UK emphasize nuclear energy? appeared first on Atomic Insights.

Photo Credit: Neil Stokes via Flickr

Discussions

Spell checking: Press the CTRL or COMMAND key then click on the underlined misspelled word.
Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 11, 2016

Helmut, I don’t have the time or patience to “produce” a “substantial” comment involving “mathemathics” for someone who can’t communicate clearly and doesn’t understand the fundamentals of the subjects on which he’s expounding.
There’s obviously a language barrier here, for which I have abundant patience if you’d take the time to use Google Translate. Nearly every sentence you write has multiple spelling and contextual errors, which GT fixes quite effectively. On the subject at hand, you offer a simplistic cursory theory for powering the world with renewables with significant deficiencies explained away as “stochastics”.

That’s not good enough. We don’t get a second shot at addressing climate change; we need to use the best information we have based on past experience to replace random variables with solid estimates – not accept them. Until renewables advocates understand that basic premise they will never understand why their grand scheme relies on little more than a wish and a prayer.
One environmentalist with whom I’ve been working named Michael Shellenberger is extraordinarily talented – and patient – at explaining the basics to beginners. I suggest watching video of his TED talk from Sept. 2015 as a place to start.

http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/How-Humans-Save-Nature-Michael

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jul 11, 2016

a) large is relative – if you expand your focus enough you will not find situations with no sun and no light.
And also storage is not only pumped storages, the biggest hydro storages are thoe which simply stop a river. Look how long LAke meade and lake powell cann feed the colorado river. This is not hours, and not days, and also not weeks.
Storages in Europe have a storage capacity available for power generation use of about 200.000GWh. More than enough to balance remaining differences between generation and demand. Especially since there is also biomass capacity available to dispach – not giant amounts, but enough for some balancing tasks.
As well known in a grid spanning europe and north africa, not even the existing hydropower capacity is utilized to adopt production to demand – it is not neccesary. All exisiting pumped storage capaisitys would sit idle in a scenario optimised for wlowest cost.
So a somewhat smaller scenario would technically work too utilising then the flexibility of hydropower as it is required by the existing fleet of nuclear too.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jul 11, 2016

WEll, there is obviously no problem with translation than with understanding.
You do not understand the differences of “random” and of “wish and prayer”.
Each and every nuclear power plant soly relies in it’s function on the same kind of random functions.

It is physically absolutely possible that a nuclear reactor running at full throttle from one moment to another has no single nuclear fission for a minute, hourr, week… .Thus also producing no power. It is just highly, highly unlikely -> stochastics.
It is also physically absolutely possible, that a nuclerar reactor splits all of it’s uranium within a second or so, and on the way also fusions all water inside – resulting in a big bang.
Also this is highly, highly, highly unlikely – > Stochastics.

Both scenarios are so extraordinary unlikely that they are not worth discussing in practice but they are neccesary to be kept in mind how known characteristics of random functions and their correct use can result in a reliable working system .

As for renewables I can tell you for europe, that 16 regions with a size of 1500x1500km produce renewable power relyable enough to suppy all needs for energy even without utilising all existing hydropower storages. While on the other end not exchanging a single electron over the border would require about 10TWh storage in egrmany e.g. for Power to Gas.
All other grid sizes and grid strengthes need storage sizes somewhere in between. So e.g. combining the counties Swizerland, Austria, Germany in one german speaking grid, would only require some addtional Turbines, but not a single Wh of additional storage to operate on 100% renewables non stop. Reliable on german / swiss level, with 100% safety margin.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 11, 2016

Helmut – You can ramble on all you want about “16 regions with a size of 1500x1500km produce renewable power relyable enough to suppy all needs for energy even without utilising all existing hydropower storages blah blah blah”. It’s fantasy, as is “fusioning water” or a “100% safety margin”.

The Energy Collective’s slogan is “The World’s Best Thinkers on Energy and Climate”, not “Baby Talk”. Go back to school.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jul 11, 2016

So you have nothing to say on physics or mathemathics towards the topic of ” Enegy and Climate”, but start to insult when you have no substantial things to tell against facts.
MAbe read and _understand_ this : https://kobra.bibliothek.uni-kassel.de/bitstream/urn:nbn:de:hebis:34-200... for a small beginning of understanding in the topic discussed here. Then go on with newer material, which ges less into detail why results are as they are.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jul 11, 2016

” a) large is relative”

Agreed, which is why I included references which are tedious to repeat: wind generation at certain times for both ERCOT and MISO, constituting a third of the land area of the continental US and a majority of the best US wind resource: the area is known exactly and the wind production was 1% and 7% CF respectively; there was no possible solar collection at the hour referenced.

Your phrase “stop a river” shows a misunderstanding of the storage resource provided by river dams. Major rivers can not be stopped for periods without damaging the ecology and industry down stream. They can provide some storage, but it is i) a fraction of the dam’s total power, ii) is not always available (again over wide regions), and iii) the strong months of US hydro do not coincide with wind’s weak Aug-Sep in the US.

” there is also biomass capacity available to dispach – not giant amounts, but enough for some balancing tasks.”

Yes, dispatchable combustion is required to cover wind and solar outages, without new nuclear this means almost all of the combustion fleet in place today. This has been the case in Germany for instance, where there is about the same amount of coal+gas capacity standing as there was 14 years ago per Fraunhoffer, since on more days than not in Germany moments occur when the thermal fleet carries almost the entire load. This outcome occurred despite building some 80 GW nameplate of wind and solar in Germany.

Biomass can contribute but does not and should not scale to the task, so fossil fuels are used instead, the “fossile fuel lockin” as others have pointed out.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 11, 2016

Helmut, I can conclude with 100% safety margin that would be a waste of time. Have a nice life.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jul 11, 2016

OK, if you think that learning about the topic your write about is a waste of time – this expains the level of your contributions. Bye then.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jul 11, 2016

a) as you see one area has a size of 2,250,000km², one third of the US is 3,3000,000km² +/- So the area you cite is “small”.

b) My “stop of the river” shows the operation of ricvers in the alps and in scnadinavia and in nearly all other places on this planet. Below the dam water level is mainained to level required, all additional water is stored upside the dam till it is needed. The level which is needed below is oriented on the lowest water usually happening without the dam, usually minus some margin.
This means the flow into the dam is as high, or higher than the folw out of the dam. So without “extra” eöectricity production beside the one needed to keep the water level below, the stored water does not become less, only more, until the water must be processed when the dam is completely full,if nobody requires electricity for balancing from the hydropower station.
Only exceptions are e.g lake mad and powell, which are mainly used for irrigation, less for hydropower. but the lengh of full output required from hydropower, compared to the storage sizes in these cases, would most lilely allow to add storage capacity downstrams of the dam to smoothen output of the dam again for irrigation purposes.
Which is. why entso-e and similar organisations only count “useable” storage capacity, which can be used for generation at will. Which then results in the mentioned number of GWh. Absolute stored energy in the lakes behind the dams can be much higher.
If you use hydropower in combination with wind and solar, the hydrodams will remain closed during time of high wind and solar generation, so only releasing the minimum amount, and storing the water ever higher behind the dam. So at the beginning of time (if this exists – August and september still have quite high solar generation) the dams are full, and can produce full throttle at these times.
This is also the cause why Norway is the driving power behind the extra interconnectors to europe. They have “only” hydropower, although they never ran out of power in history, there is the teorethical possibility of a draught. Which is why they want to tap into wind and solar power. They can then keep their storages full, and sell at times where production is below demand and so prices are higher, and draw solwa and wind power for their own consumption when production is high and so prices are lower. This way there is no need for them to empty the storages during winter, when wind is running extra hours, and so always have a >6 moth reserve at all conditions, more than enogh for any forseeable drought.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Jul 11, 2016

Mark
I also have problems with many of the assumptions in this model – like the 0.7% annual increase in power consumption and the costs for solar. However, I think it is a pretty decent model overall.

Let’s explore the transmission costs with a recent example. They are using $700/MW -mile and $183,000/MW for the stations. The project I am using as an example is the Transwest Express. This is a project to move wind energy from Wyoming to Southern Cal. Based on what I have learned from Bob this is actually backed by Sempra and the Nat Gas cabal so that they can sell more Nat Gas in CA.

It is a 3,000MW line with two stations,is 730 miles long and has a cost of $3B. Let’s do the math.

Two Stations = 2*$183,000*3,000 = $1,098,000,000 = about $1.1B
That leaves us $1.9B for the line.
How much per MW/mile ? $1.9B/3,000/730 = $867/MW-mile

Pretty close.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jul 11, 2016

Joe –

The figure I cited for the WATL ($7.8 thousand per MW-mile) is the total cost as provided by several local news and trade journals. WATL is an on-the-ground, completed, power carrying transmission project, all right-of-way fees accounted for, built across the sparsely populated Canadian plains, and the most recent HVDC project in North America. The company managing the WATL project, Altalink (now Berkshire Hathaway owned), has been doing transmission projects for a hundred years.

Thus I’m highly skeptical of the transmission costs used by the MacDonald-Clack paper, when a 10X escalation in their assumed transmission cost would remove the paper’s conclusions from headlines make it instead an amusement. Per the supplemental material for transmission cost, they cite a source citing a source citing a dated source, not primary sources like the WATL project.

mountainviewgazette.ca
/Billion-dollar-transmission-line-is-complete-20150127

When the costs are in large disagreement, I’m not in the least inclined to give credence to that which does not yet exist, and may never. The TransWest project has estimated cost ten times less than the existing WATL per MW-mile, with no final approval, not a single cable laid or tower built, proposed by a company founded in 2008 and with no prior transmission projects.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Jul 11, 2016

I’m inclined to dismiss it because the very first project I looked at shows costs almost the same as Nature paper. That’s a weird coincidence.

This is a project that has gone through many years of review and is due to be approved by BLM. Like you said, there is a chance that it might not get approved or built.

However, are you really saying that this project would actually cost $30B?? Wow these guys must be a bunch of stupid idiots.

Here’s another project in final stages of approval – Southern Cross. A 400 mile project connect ERCOT with South East.

According to TransmissionHub data, Pattern Energy is developing the project to add an HVDC transmission tie of up to 3,000 MW between the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the transmission grid deep in the southeastern United States. The project cost is estimated at more than $1bn.

Is that even cheaper? How can that be? Wow they are wrong by more than 10x. Privately funded – a bunch more stupid investors.

Also, send me links with your cost breakdown.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jul 11, 2016

“a)”

No. MISO has area 2.34M km², ERCOT has area 0.52M km², total 2.86M km². One third of the *continental* US is 2.52M km². The two together provide about half of US wind generation.

rtoinsider.com/miso-largest-rto/
opuc.texas.gov/ERCOT.html

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jul 11, 2016

Experience should trump future estimates, as estimates always have agendas, especially without experience in estimating costs in large engineering projects.

Echos in hype chambers are not at all surprising. Construction projects, especially energy projects with some hype surrounding them, are notoriously under estimated.
We all know this from even superficial attention to the news.

See:
The Kemper carbon capture plant in Mississippi, originally priced at $2.2B in 2004, now $6.6B
powermag.com/kemper-county-igcc-costs-rise-and-delays-loom-again/
Livermore’s implosion fusion facility, the NIF, going from $2B to $4B.
large.stanford.edu/courses/2015/ph241/baumer1/

Then there’s ITER, Boston’s Big Dig, California HSR, …

My cost breakdown? WATL. Google is your friend.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jul 11, 2016

Correct, so it would be useful to add generation capacity in other areas too once you get into high penetrations of wind, so sometimes getting closer to 100 energy supply to wind (getting closer is !=100%, so still some distance below) – either simulations, or market prices will tell you when it’s the right time to do so.
In germany people will believe more in simulations in advance while in the US peoloe will believe more in the market prices, so do nothing till it’s nearly too late, but then very fast move the generation to other regions to earn more money.
Till this becomes more relevant some hundred GW more wind power capacity can be installed, ant the grid extended to distribute the power – and by doing so the grid will become more stable and reilable , as far as I have read Ercot already experiences this effect after some grid extensions for wind. Same is the experience in germany, and Fraunhofer also publishesd some study why this happens after it was observed.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Jul 11, 2016

Mark,

Yeah, Thanks for the Google tip. It’s amazing.

Did some googling.
-Found that WATL is a pretty short line(only 200 miles) – so greater portion of cost is in stations.
-Found that Western Alberta has very high labor costs – due to labor shortages.
-Found that the actual capacity of the line is 2,000MW but they are only using 1,000MW initially.

So not really that great of an example.

Wondering why you didn’t pick EATL. This is Eastern version of line that went live in Nov of 2015. Same cost, about 100 miles longer and has a capacity of 4,000MW.

I’ll let you do the math.

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jul 12, 2016

“…Till this becomes more relevant some hundred GW more wind power capacity can be installed,”

More wind power capacity for an increasing cost to obtain an unsatisfactory outcome. Per the McDonald-Clack paper and graphic Nathan Wilson shared with you earlier, after about 5% average wind share of load, wind cost to integrate begins to climb if alternatives are sufficiently expensive; after 10% share cost climbs rapidly. Average share of load is already 5%. Fossil fuels never go completely away in that ever-more-wind simulation, at any cost.

theenergycollective.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/comment_226228_attachment_images_1.png

Mark Heslep's picture
Mark Heslep on Jul 12, 2016

The capacity of both lines *today* is 1 GW. They’re up-rateable, for additional cost.

Look into right-of-way and regulatory costs if you are interested in the whole picture. The existing Alberta lines are different from the estimates you are following. That doesn’t make them bad examples, that makes them different. Scale the differences, and I still don’t see a route to a 10X cheaper line in the much more populous and infrastructure laden US.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Jul 12, 2016

@Helmut:

…new conventional generation can not compete with unsubsidied renewables in germany as well.
Which results in utilities having scrapped each and every plan for new conventional generation.

For the US, the NOAA study showed that the total amount of thermal capacity (fossil fuel plus nuclear) only drops by about one third, even when gas is expensive and renewables are cheap enough for 80% non-fossil generation (see graph below).

This means that if coal burning countries such as China and India with growing electricity demand attempt high penetration renewables, they will not reduce their coal fired plant fleets, and may add more. And since renewables are not cheap enough to displace coal use once the power plant is built, deploying renewables will be a financial burden which will see more and more opposition as penetration rises.

@ Joe:

So are you saying that the abstract description of article is wrong?

I’m saying it’s misleading equivocation (in addition to coming from a time when fossil gas was expense, i.e. before frac’ing). The body of the document clearly shows that high renewable penetration is only economical when coal is disallowed, and gas is expensive. Furthermore, even at equal levelized cost, the average cost of electricity will be higher with renewables than with fossil fuel dominant, since levelized cost doesn’t include backup cost or the fact that thermal plants last longer.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Jul 12, 2016

Here’s the NOAA sensitivity plots:

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jul 12, 2016

Pleas read the graph and documents to it. It showes which part of fossil fuel generation will be forced out of the market based on fuel prices till 2030.

This has nothing to do with the topic I was writing about. (Localisation of win power generation within the country)

The graph referenced changes
a) with sinking prices for renewable generation
b) with extension of timescale past 2030 when huge numbers of gas generation retire
c) when retirement of nuclear is included due to repair costs which can not be covered by power sales on the wholesale market.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jul 12, 2016

Which is a wrong assumptin, because
a) opposition e.g. in china against coal fired plants is extremenly high and endangering gouvernments
b) Powerplants are not all built last year, and they do not last forever. When the fossil powered plant is just so-so competitive on fuel price, it dies at the first mayor repair. Which always comes after a few years. And it dies for sure at the end of it’s lifespan, by not being replaced by a new fossl powered plant.
Customers profit from lower wholesaleprices during this time.
Due to the retirement of broken and overaged plants, whlesale prices are due to rise till now production capacity can be bayed by this wholesaleprices. This happens at lower prices for new renewable capacity than for new fossil capacity, permanetly keeping wholesale prices lower than they would be for conventional power only systems.
This is how energy only markets work.
And this is why no utility plans to buils a single new lignite, coal, gas or nuclear power plant now or for any time in the future.
In the US this happens a bit ore slowly, due to extremely low natural gas prices, but the plannung of new gas power plants is also strongly reduced already.
Also India stops planning of several coal power station due to be too expensive to be competitive on the market. The markets are changing.

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Jul 12, 2016

Capacity is as I stated – no new towers needed, no right-of-way etc.. Main additional cost is upgrading stations. If the Transwest project I mentioned did the same thing and started at 1,000MW then it would also appear to be much more expensive. You picked a poor example that is an outlier.

Good point on right-of-ways costs. Here is a detailed listing of what landowners get in Alberta.Good luck getting those same payments in TX, AL,MS, WY or UT.

All other projects under development are similar or cheaper to other projects I mentioned.
Grain Belt – $2B, 750miles,3,500MW
Plains& Eastern – $2B, 705 miles, 4,000MW
etc…

Using that Google tool you mentioned I found many HVDC projects in advanced development – will be interesting to see how many actually go-live. Hopefully some of them will actually look at what is being done in China and upgrade to newer technology.

The planned 1,100 kV HVDC transmission link between Changji and Guquan, which is currently the world’s biggest HVDC project, is 3,284 kilometers long and has a transmission capacity of twelve gigawatts (GW)

How much would that cost using your numbers? $168B

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on Jul 16, 2016

(I cannot believe this.  I delete the http prefixes to bypass the filters and they re-appear without my bidding and force the comment to moderation anyway!  If this FINALLY works, the complete comment is posted at The Ergosphere.)

The page you linked defaults to the E101.  If you can’t hard-link to the specific turbine you want, you need to note that.  1472 kW is roughly 1/3 of the E141’s rated output; WELL below what would be required to feed the rest of the country from one windy area.

The E141 EP4 generates about 0.5% of rated output at 2 m/s wind.  It’s scarcely worth talking about.

EDF is losing money with teir existing nuclear fleet.
See:

www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2016/03/10/la-cour-des-comptes-souligne-...

www.lesechos.fr/industrie-services/energie-environnement/021684800564-la...

The Google translation of first article is not specific about the cause of the operating losses.  The second is not specific either, but goes on about costs of post-Fukushima updates (which should be nil; France is subject to neither major earthquakes nor tsunamis) without mentioning the impact of the dumping of subsidized German wind and PV power on the French market.

EDF should simply demand countervailing duties against the dumped German electricity, equal to the value of the subsidy.  This would be equivalent to paying EDF the amount of the German environmental fee, which it deserves for generating GHG-free electricity.  EDF should also demand duties on polluting German lignite-fired generation.  Angela Merkel and the Greens would have to shut up, because they can’t excuse these things without being obvious hypocrites.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on Jul 16, 2016

(I cannot believe this.  I delete the http prefixes to bypass the filters and they re-appear without my bidding and force the comment to moderation anyway!  I have been forced to modify the www prefixes as well.  If this FINALLY works, the complete comment is posted at The Ergosphere.  Somebody please find out who wrote these malicious filters and kill them slowly and painfully, and post the video to the web.)

The page you linked defaults to the E101.  If you can’t hard-link to the specific turbine you want, you need to note that.  1472 kW is roughly 1/3 of the E141’s rated output; WELL below what would be required to feed the rest of the country from one windy area.

The E141 EP4 generates about 0.5% of rated output at 2 m/s wind.  It’s scarcely worth talking about.

EDF is losing money with teir existing nuclear fleet.
See:

www dot lemonde.fr/economie/article/2016/03/10/la-cour-des-comptes-souligne-la-fragilite-financiere-d-edf_4880734_3234.html

www dot lesechos.fr/industrie-services/energie-environnement/021684800564-la-renovation-des-centrales-nucleaires-inquiete-la-cour-des-comptes-1199159.php

The Google translation of first article is not specific about the cause of the operating losses.  The second is not specific either, but goes on about costs of post-Fukushima updates (which should be nil; France is subject to neither major earthquakes nor tsunamis) without mentioning the impact of the dumping of subsidized German wind and PV power on the French market.

EDF should simply demand countervailing duties against the dumped German electricity, equal to the value of the subsidy.  This would be equivalent to paying EDF the amount of the German environmental fee, which it deserves for generating GHG-free electricity.  EDF should also demand duties on polluting German lignite-fired generation.  Angela Merkel and the Greens would have to shut up, because they can’t excuse these things without being obvious hypocrites.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on Jul 18, 2016

a) the output of the E141 of 1,5 MW was at a wind speed where you tolt theat it would be below cut in windspeed, so it would not produce any power at all. And 1,5MW is just below the average which is expected of the turbine.
That at 2m/s the output is just 0,5% is correct, that’s why it is called cut in wind speed.

b) As recent situations show, there is no earthquake or tsunami neccesary to cause problems in nuclear power stations, a broken waterpipe does the job, too. And the AKW in france did not get upgrades against tsunamis in tsunami safe places,although you want to tell us the costs come from this. They are simply too expensive to operate. And so you call for mose subsidies for old nuclear to keep them afloat while being uneconomic.

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