In Texas: Nukes Out, Wind In.
April 23, 2011
It’s hard to justify fantastically expensive new nuclear plants when you already have a surplus of power, much of it coming from wind – with more on the way.
Texas has more wind power than it can use, and that partly explains why NRG Energy, Inc. has backed out of a plan to build two new nuclear reactorsin the state. To be clear, the stated motivation for the decision was thenuclear disaster resulting from last month’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which among other things has affected the regulatory landscape here in the U.S. However, it’s also clear that rapid growth in the alternative energy field is rapidly chipping away at nuclear power, helped along by new grid and energy storage technologies. This triple threat is undermining the foundational reason for investing in nuclear power, which is (or should be) to get the most abundant and reliable energy bang for the buck.
Renewable Energy Beating Nuclear
On a global scale, energy capacity from renewable sources passed up nuclear for the first time last year, which was long before the tsunami damaged Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant. The problem, of course, is to get energy from renewable-rich areas to those without. That’s a problem that certainly hasn’t stopped the fossil fuel industry, given the shipment of coal and petroleum around the world. For renewable energy, massive transmission projects like DESERTEC are at hand. The future could also bring advanced energy storage technologies that would enable renewable energy to be shipped in battery-type devices (reusable or recyclable ones, of course).