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Renewables are beating nuclear

It’s Not a Competition, But Renewables Are Beating Nuclear Anyway,   Bloomberg Green  By Nathaniel Bullard19 August 2021,  Energy giant BP Plc has been publishing its annual review of global energy statistics for seven decades. (I’ve been reading it — and digesting its data — for about a fifth of that time.)
The latest edition published in July is, understandably, quite focused on the largest year-on-year decline in primary energy consumption since 1945. But there’s another finding worth noting: 2020 was the first year in which renewable power generation (excluding hydro) surpassed nuclear power generation.

……..with nuclear generation basically flat since the turn of the century and renewables continuing to grow, the latter caught the former in 2020.


[on original – graph showing dramatic rise in renewable energy,  uneven output of  nuclear]     Compare the shape of the renewables curve to nuclear’s. The perfectly smooth renewables curve is an aggregate of hundreds of geothermal plants, thousands of biomass turbines, a-third-of-a-million wind turbines, and more than a billion photovoltaic modules, installed across numerous global markets. It shows not a single annual decline in more than 50 years.
Nuclear is basically the opposite: a single technology with a small number of plants in an even smaller number of markets. Many discrete decisions — whether to embark on a massive expansion in one market, say, or to shut down generation for years in the wake of disaster — are visible in this chart. There, in 2011, is the Japanese nuclear fleet response to the Tōhoku earthquake and ensuing tsunami. And we don’t need to squint to see the shutdown of six plants last year in the U.S, Sweden, Russia, and France.

This is what the nuclear fleet’s growth trajectory looks like, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency: basically flat in the 21st century, with only four more plants operational now than in 2001.

Nuclear plants are also pretty old. Most were designed for a 40-year useful life, and a lot of them are approaching that age now—a full 45% are between the ages of 31 and 40. There are more nuclear plants older than 46 than there are those under 6.

……….  It takes years, sometimes a decade or more, to bring a nuclear plant into full operation, which means that there’s a significant lag between when construction starts and when the finished facility is connected to the grid. New nuclear construction in the U.S. is also running over schedule and over budget, for many reasons………. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-08-19/it-s-not-a-competition-but-renewables-are-beating-nuclear-anyway

August 21, 2021 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable

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