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Wind and solar power thriving in pandemic, but nuclear power going down the drain

  • Nuclear is Getting Hammered by Green Power and the Pandemic, Plant operators are forced to switch uneconomic units off because of low prices and slumping demand. Bloomberg Green,  May 4, 2020 “………Nations around the world have set tough targets to reduce greenhouse gases with the help of clean energy to meet commitments set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Record output from wind and solar is more frequently creating an oversupply that can push prices below where reactors are no longer profitable, or even to rates where utilities have to hand out power for free. The rout has been exacerbated by the global pandemic gutting demand. Generators from France to Sweden, Germany and China have been forced to turn stations off or curb output.
…… Electricite de France SA, the world’s biggest nuclear operator, is feeling the heat more than most. The utility with 57 domestic reactors and new-build projects at home and abroad, expects output from its stations in the country to fall by more than a fifth this year. Its output is near the lowest since at least 2012 after about a dozen plants were taken offline in April. The utility’s shares are trading close to a record low.
“The current period foreshadows an energy mix with a more important role for renewables,” Etienne Dutheil, director of nuclear production at EDF, said in an interview. ……
As electricity demand collapsed across the world because of lockdowns, renewables have taken a bigger slice of the market because many nations had decided to give new green technologies priority into the grid.
…… While U.S. nuclear operators aren’t forced to ramp down output akin to their European peers, plants that can’t compete in the market have gradually shut down. With prices in a rut, eight stations have gone dark since 2013. At least four more are scheduled to close permanently by 2025, including after one unit north of New York City shut at the end of April.

In China, the coronavirus caused reduced output at CGN Power Co.’s atomic plants after the Lunar New Year holiday. Without taking into account the two reactors that came into operation in 2019, output at the remaining 22 units fell 4.7% in the first quarter from a year earlier, the company said.

After correcting for weather effects, full lockdowns reduced daily electricity demand by at least 15% in France, India, Italy, Spain, the U.K. and northwest U.S., the International Energy Agency said in a report on April 30. Global power consumption will decline as much as 5% this year, or the most since the Great Depression, according to the group advising the richest nations.

That will hurt all power sources, although use of renewables will still post a 1% gain this year, IEA said. Nuclear could drop by 3% from 2019 due to lower demand and delays to planned maintenance and construction of several projects, IEA said.

For example, EDF’s U.K. unit is undertaking more work than usual at its reactors, with five out of 15 units halted for long-term repairs. Output is below normal for the time of year. The company declined to comment on whether it was altering production due to rising renewables.

…….  At Vattenfall, workers will permanently shut another old reactor  at Ringhals by the end of the year, just after one unit was closed down in December. It would have been too costly to make the investments needed to keep them running any longer, the company has said.

And Hall, the boss, has a clear vision. While 5 billion kronor ($510 million) will be invested to secure safe operations at its nuclear and hydro plants this year and next, as much as 25 billion kronor will go to wind.

“We want to build more fossil-free generation and that is predominantly wind.”


May 4, 2020 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, renewable

1 Comment »

  1. […] unique  safety problem, but now the business problem. As wind and solar power thrive , nuclear power is going down the drain, with low prices and slumping […]

    Pingback by Week to 4 May in climate and nuclear news « Antinuclear | May 4, 2020 | Reply

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