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How Ontario can get out of nuclear power, and reduce carbon emissions

Ontario can phase out nuclear and avoid increased carbon emissions, The Conversation, January 6, 2020  MV Ramana, Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia, Xiao Wei, MITACS Globalink Research Intern, University of British Columbia As wind and solar energy have become cheaper, they’ve become a more prominent and important way to generate clean electricity in most parts of the world.The Ontario government, on the other hand, is cancelling renewable energy projects at a reported cost of at least $230 million while reinforcing the province’s reliance on nuclear power via expensive reactor refurbishment plans.

As researchers who have examined the economics of electricity generation in Ontario and elsewhere, we argue that this decision is wasteful and ill-advised, and the unnecessary cost differential will rise further in the future.

One concern about renewables has been the intermittency of these energy sources. But studies have shown it’s feasible to have an all-renewable electric grid.

These feasibility studies, however, are always location specific. In that spirit, we have carried out detailed modelling and found that it’s possible to meet Ontario’s electricity demands throughout the year with just a combination of renewables, including hydropower, and storing electricity in batteries.

We also found that dealing with the intermittency of wind and solar energy by adding batteries would be more economical than refurbishing nuclear plants in the foreseeable future, well before the current refurbishment projects are completed.

That’s because of the expected decline in the cost of batteries used to store the electricity during the hours when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining in order to supply electricity during the periods when they aren’t. The cost of different kinds of battery technologies, such as lithium-ion or flow batteries, have come down rapidly in recent years.

Essential results

In all scenarios, the bulk of the demand was met by solar and wind power, with a lower fraction met by hydropower. Even in the scenarios with no batteries, less than 20 per cent of the electricity demand was met by nuclear power…….

In summary, our results show that for reasonable assumptions about future battery costs and the current price tag for solar and wind power, scenarios involving nuclear power are more than 20 per cent higher than the cheapest scenario involving only batteries, solar, wind and the current hydropower capacity. …

nuclear power isn’t needed to meet Ontario’s electricity needs. And the absence of nuclear power won’t have any impact on emissions in Ontario’s energy sector.https://theconversation.com/ontario-can-phase-out-nuclear-and-avoid-increased-carbon-emissions-128854?fbclid=IwAR20ANW_yAmpR7zZVw113hUp9bl7Xt2h0v1XiB1K815lFIKctZiaR8xB5Ew

January 6, 2020 - Posted by | Canada, renewable

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