In the discussion thread: Stewart Brand: Why Environmentalists Must Accept Nuclear [View all]
Response to wtmusic (Original post)
Fri Feb 8, 2013, 05:32 AM
kristopher (25,572 posts)
1. Brand is not an authority on this topic
Last edited Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:33 AM - Edit history (2)
He can't discuss the meat of the issue - view his TED debate with Jacobson and witness his lack of ability to deal with valid information that contradicts his assertions:
Wind, solar power paired with storage could be cost-effective way to power grid
8:51 a.m., Dec. 10, 2012--Renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9 percent of the time by 2030 at costs comparable to today’s electricity expenses, according to new research by the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College.
A well-designed combination of wind power, solar power and storage in batteries and fuel cells would nearly always exceed electricity demands while keeping costs low, the scientists found.
“These results break the conventional wisdom that renewable energy is too unreliable and expensive,” said co-author Willett Kempton, professor in the School of Marine Science and Policy in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. “The key is to get the right combination of electricity sources and storage — which we did by an exhaustive search — and to calculate costs correctly.”
The authors developed a computer model to consider 28 billion combinations of renewable energy sources and storage mechanisms, each tested over four years of historical hourly weather data and electricity demands. The model incorporated data from within a large regional grid called PJM Interconnection, which includes 13 states from New Jersey to Illinois and represents one-fifth of the United States’ total electric grid.
Unlike other studies, the model focused on minimizing costs...
The paper is available for free here:
We don't need nuclear power to meet climate goals and keep the lights on
It would be a folly to think that there is no hope of tackling climate change without nuclear power
by Natalie Bennett, the leader of the UK Green party, and Caroline Lucas, the UK's first green MP
...is there really no hope of tackling climate change without nuclear power? This is certainly what the nuclear industry wants us all to think. But analysis using the government's figures shows that we don't need nuclear power to meet climate goals and keep the lights on.
Renewable energies, together with combined heat and power, energy efficiency, smart grids, demand management and interconnection, are the building blocks of an alternative energy future. The path we take is a matter of political choice, not technological inevitability.
As for coal, the emissions performance standard in the energy bill should rule out all new unabated coal, although it needs strengthening to ensure the operation of any fossil fuel plant is compatible with the decarbonisation of the power sector by 2030.
Importantly, we also need to stop subsidising the fossil fuel industry. Coal, oil and gas have enjoyed decades of support that the renewables sector can only dream of.
And with the energy bill set to deliver a backdoor subsidy for nuclear...
Stewart Brand’s nuclear enthusiasm falls short on facts and logic
By Amory Lovins
Supporting technical details and citations for this post can be found here: “Four Nuclear Myths” (PDF).
I have known Stewart Brand as a friend for many years. I have admired his original and iconoclastic work, which has had significant impact. In his new book, Whole Earth Discipline: an Ecopragmatist Manifesto (Viking), he argues that environmentalists should change their thinking about four issues: population, nuclear power, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and urbanization. Many people have asked me to assess his 41-page chapter on nuclear power, so I’ll do that here, because I believe its conclusions are greatly mistaken.
Stewart recently predicted that I wouldn’t accept his nuclear reassessment. He is quite right. His nuclear chapter’s facts and logic do not hold up to scrutiny. Over the past few years, I’ve sent him five technical papers focused mainly on nuclear power’s comparative economics and performance. He says he’s read them, and on p. 98 he even summarizes part of their economic thesis. Yet on p. 104 he says, “We Greens are not economists” and disclaims knowledge of economics, saying environmentalists use it only as a weapon to stop projects. Today, most dispassionate analysts think new nuclear power plants’ deepest flaw is their economics. They cost too much to build and incur too much financial risk. My writings show why nuclear expansion therefore can’t deliver on its claims: it would reduce and retard climate protection, because it saves between two and 20 times less carbon per dollar, 20 to 40 times slower, than investing in efficiency and micropower.
That conclusion rests on empirical data about how much new nuclear electricity actually costs relative to decentralized and efficiency competitors, how these alternatives compare in capacity and output added per year, and which can most effectively save carbon. Stewart’s chapter says nothing about any of these questions, but I believe they’re at the heart of the matter. If nuclear power is unneeded, uncompetitive, or ineffective in climate protection, let alone all three, then we need hardly debate whether its safety and waste issues are resolved, as he claims.
In its first half-century, nuclear power fell short of its forecast capacity by about 12-fold in the U.S. and 30-fold worldwide, mainly because building it cost several-fold more than expected, straining or bankrupting its owners. The many causes weren’t dominated by U.S. citizen interventions and lawsuits, since nuclear expectations collapsed similarly in countries without such events; even France suffered a 3.5-fold rise in real capital costs during 1970-2000. Nor did the Three Mile Island accident halt U.S. orders: they’d stopped the previous year. Rather, nuclear’s key challenge was soaring capital cost, and for some units, poor performance. Operational improvements in the ’90s made the better old reactors relatively cheap to run, but Stewart’s case is for building new ones. Have their economics improved enough to prevent a rerun?
On the contrary, a 2003 MIT study found ...
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