Amory Lovins: Nuclear Power Makes Climate Change Worse

March 20, 2011

The Godfather of efficiency and renewables on why Nuclear Power makes Climate Change worse, part 1.

Sorry for the bad sound synch, too tired to correct the file.  Very good information, even though somewhat dated – from 2008.  Best to forget the picture and just listen to it while you surf, like NPR.

In an article written this week to respond to the Fukushima incident, Lovins updates this point and more:

“Each dollar spent on a new reactor buys about 2-10 times less carbon savings, 20-40 times slower, than spending that dollar on the cheaper, faster, safer solutions that make nuclear power unnecessary and uneconomic: efficient use of electricity, making heat and power together in factories or buildings (“cogeneration”), and renewable energy. The last two made 18% of the world’s 2009 electricity (while nuclear made 13%, reversing their 2000 shares)–and made over 90% of the 2007-08 increase in global electricity production.”

Part 2 below the fold.

quoting again from Lovin’s article this week:

“…smarter choices are sweeping the global energy market. Half the world’s new generating capacity in 2008 and 2009 was renewable. In 2010, renewables, excluding big hydro dams, won $151 billion of private investment and added over 50 billion watts (70% the total capacity of all 23 Fukushima-style U.S. reactors) while nuclear got zero private investment and kept losing capacity. Supposedly unreliable windpower made 43-52% of four German states’ total 2010 electricity. Non-nuclear Denmark, 21% windpowered, plans to get entirely off fossil fuels. Hawai’i plans 70% renewables by 2025.

In contrast, of the 66 nuclear units worldwide officially listed as “under construction” at the end of 2010, 12 had been so listed for over 20 years, 45 had no official startup date, half were late, all 66 were in centrally planned power systems–50 of those in just four (China, India, Russia, South Korea)–and zero were free-market purchases. Since 2007, nuclear growth has added less annual output than just the costliest renewable–solar power –and will probably never catch up. While inherently safe renewable competitors are walloping both nuclear and coal plants in the marketplace and keep getting dramatically cheaper, nuclear costs keep soaring, and with greater safety precautions would go even higher. Tokyo Electric Co., just recovering from $10-20 billion in 2007 earthquake costs at its other big nuclear complex, now faces an even more ruinous Fukushima bill.”

Below – Our climate change goals are not ambitious enough.

4 Responses to “Amory Lovins: Nuclear Power Makes Climate Change Worse”

  1. BlueRock Says:

    To add to Lovins’ list – Scotland now targeting 80% renewable by 2020, most from wind. Denmark have upped their targets – 50% wind by 2025.

  2. sailrick Says:

    A little confirmation

    “Wind power surges forward around the globe”
    Lester Brown

    (from comment by Anumakonda)
    “China now has 42.3 GW of wind power, and has surpassed the US in terms of total installed capacity,? said Li Junfeng, Secretary General of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association (CREIA). ?This puts China firmly on a path to reach 200 GW of installed wind power by 2020. At the same time, China has become the world?s largest producer of wind energy equipment”

  3. mspelto Says:

    The latest maps of wind energy development provide show both its breadth and speed.
    From the Global Wind Energy Council

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