How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course

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The United States, and indeed the world, would do well to reconsider the promise and the limitations of its infatuation with renewable energy. “The issue is, how do we decarbonize the electricity sector, while keeping the lights on, keeping costs low and avoiding unintended consequences that could make emissions increase?”

Editor’s Take: It’s hard to think of a more misleading headline than this one. The writer is trying to prove that because nuclear power can’t compete with renewables, it is getting squeezed out. Further, because nukes are carbon-emission free and provide baseload power, they are necessary to keep the lights on when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining if we want to combat climate change.

As I pointed out in my article last year Digging Deeper, Why Renewables Are Beating Coal and Gas in Some Parts of the World, unsubsidized some renewable energy power plants are cheaper than not just gas and coal, but they are a heck of a lot cheaper than nukes. Look at the chart at this link (the one that is showing up distorted in that article). It’s not just wind and solar that are cheaper than nuclear power, it’s also geothermal, landfill gas, small and large hydropower — all of these technologies provide baseload power and all of these have levelized costs of energy that are less than $100 per MWh, which is the cost that nuclear power can be produced at its cheapest (in China). And we haven’t even touched on energy storage, which the author mentions but quickly dismisses. 

The fight for renewables is real and we have to keep correcting this these misconceptions that are published in the mainstream media. To read the incorrect NYTimes piece, click the link below.   –JR

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