Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

In China, Wind and Solar power to far outpace Nuclear

Wind & Solar In China Generating 2× Nuclear Today, Will Be 4× By 2030,  Clean Technica, February 21st, 2019 by Michael Barnard, Close to five years ago I published an assessment of nuclear scaling vs wind and solar scaling using China as the proving ground in the CleanTechnica article “Wind Energy Beats Nuclear & Carbon Capture For Global Warming Mitigation.” Today, the China example is more clear proof that wind and solar are the better choice for global warming mitigation than nuclear generation.China’s example is meaningful because it disproves several arguments of those in favor of increased nuclear generation. It’s not suffering under regulatory burden. It’s mostly been using the same nuclear technologies over and over again, not innovating with every new plant. It doesn’t have the same issues with social license due to the nature of the governmental system. The government has a lot of money. The inhibitors to widespread deployment are much lower.

Yet China has significantly slowed its nuclear generation rollout while accelerating its wind and solar rollout. Even strong industry insiders accept this, ones such as former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd, writing in Nuclear Engineering International in 2017.

Kidd estimates that China’s nuclear capacity will be around 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, well below previous expectations. Forecasts of 200 GW by 2030 were “not unusual only a few years ago,” he writes, but now seem “very wide of the mark.” And even the 100 GW estimate is stretching credulity ‒ nuclear capacity will be around 50 GW in 2020 and a doubling of that capacity by 2030 won’t happen if the current slow-down sets in.

Why is China slowing its nuclear rollout so drastically? Because nuclear is turning out to be more expensive than expected, new nuclear designs are proving to be uneconomical, and new wind and solar are dirt cheap and much easier to build.

Recently I published an assessment of the potential for wind and solar to massively exceed US CO2 reductions from nuclear in the CleanTechnica article US Could Achieve 3× As Much CO2 Savings With Renewables Instead Of Nuclear For Less Money. As usual, many of the comments from nuclear advocates related to the relative success of China, its speed of deployment compared to other jurisdictions and similar things.

In the discussion threads, I attempted to find apples-to-apples comparisons of China’s nuclear, solar, and wind generation compared, but none seemed to exist. As a result, I developed a model spanning 2010 to 2030, core years for all three programs. The charts are generated from the model

As I noted in 2014, the wind generation program had started much later than the nuclear program yet had been able to build much more capacity much more quickly, roughly six times more real wind energy capacity than nuclear per year over the years of 2010 through 2014. At the time, I used best of breed capacity factors for both wind and nuclear. One of the arguments against this at the time and on an ongoing basis is that China is curtailing wind and solar generation and achieving lower capacity factors. However, China is also experiencing less than best of breed capacity factors with its nuclear fleet, averaging 80% instead of 90%. This would have put the real world generation in the range of 3–4 times better for wind than for nuclear.

It doesn’t really matter as even with the diminished capacity factors for wind and solar currently experienced, they generated more than double the electricity generated by nuclear in 2018. Wind and solar each generated more electricity last year than nuclear did. By 2030, the ratio is very likely to be 4:1 in favor of wind and solar. And as Lazard has shown, wind and solar are much, much cheaper than nuclear, so China will be getting a lot more electricity at a lower cost point.

The chart above uses the capacity factors being experienced for wind, solar and nuclear to date in China and projects that all three will improve over the coming decade as operational efficiencies and grid connections improve………….

The quote from Kidd above suggests China might achieve only 100 GW of nuclear capacity by 2030. That’s an overestimation according to the actual data. Nuclear reactors in construction today only bring Chinese nuclear capacity to 55 GW by 2023. Reactors scheduled to start construction in the next three years only bring that number to 66 GW. Reactors planned but not scheduled at all are only likely to see 88 GW by 2030. There is no planned capacity that achieves even 100 GW, never mind the heady days when 200 GW was thought to be possible.

And to be clear, even if 200 GW of nuclear had been realized, it still would have been less actual generation than wind and solar.

As I indicated in the recent article on US ability to decrease carbon load, nuclear is much lower carbon per MWh than either coal or gas generation, as well as being free of chemical and particulate pollution. However, wind is still quite a bit lower than nuclear in CO2e per MWh and solar is around the same. Given the speed of deployment per GW of capacity and the much lower price per MWh of wind and solar, nuclear as part of the mix doesn’t make a lot of sense in most places…………https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/21/wind-solar-in-china-generating-2x-nuclear-today-will-be-4x-by-2030/

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February 23, 2019 - Posted by | General News

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