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Nuclear power generation no longer makes sense: renewables set to boom in California

poster renewables not nuclearAs Nuclear Plants Shut Down, Renewable Energy Could Boom A California utility wants to close the state’s last nuclear power plant and replace it with solar and wind farms. Take Part  JUN 29, 2016 Taylor Hill is an associate editor at TakePart covering environment and wildlife. “…….The shutdown has implications nationwide, as it shows how dozens of other aging nuclear plants could also be closed in favor of cheap natural gas or renewable energy…….

Solar and wind farms supply 11 percent of California’s electricity demand. The state would have to nearly double renewable energy production by 2025 to make up for the loss of Diablo Canyon.
That’s entirely feasible, said Michael Dorsey, a former member of the Sierra Club’s board of directors. In just three years, solar energy jumped from under 1 percent of statewide electricity production to 6.7 percent in 2015, according to California’s power grid operator…
….the prices are now there, they are competitive, and it makes economic sense to bring photovoltaics and wind here now.”
PG&E’s plan is notably light on specifying what types of renewables will replace Diablo Canyon, but the closure plan identifies three strategies. The first step is to reduce electricity demand by 225 megawatts by expanding the use of energy-efficient lighting, appliances, and other equipment. The utility will also add 225 megawatts of renewable energy from solar and wind farms by 2030. Last, the company will exceed state-mandated targets for renewable energy production.
Not all the power generated by Diablo Canyon needs to be replaced, according to PG&E, given energy-efficiency advances and technological changes in the way the power grid operates.

“Given these and other uncertainties, the parties cannot, and it would be a mistake to try to, specify all the necessary replacement procurement now,” PG&E stated in the proposal to shutter Diablo Canyon.

The boom in rooftop solar systems will also help meet electricity demand, said Geisha Williams, president of PG&E. Photovoltaic panels installed on the roofs of homes and businesses account for an estimated 5 percent of California’s electricity generation.

“You don’t need [Diablo Canyon],” Williams told KQED. “There’s been so much energy efficiency. There’s been so much power that’s been generated by customers on their own private solar rooftop.”

The nuclear power decline could be a turning point for solar.

“To the extent that any capacity is retired—nuclear or otherwise—it’s an opportunity for new solar development,” said Shayle Kann, senior vice president of research for Greentech Media.

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is calling for solar capacity to grow from 26 gigawatts to 140 gigawatts by the end of 2020 and for half a billion solar panels to be installed by the end of her first term if she is elected…….

The cost of producing electricity from photovoltaic panels is expected to drop by 59 percent worldwide by 2025, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency, making solar cheaper than fossil fuels.

“The fact is that we live in a world where technologically, financially, environmentally, and ethically, nuclear power generation no longer makes sense,” Dorsey said……

July 1, 2016 - Posted by | renewable, USA

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