New Nuclear More Expensive Than Solar/Wind – So What?

As Cleantechnica just reported, Prognos AG has released a new study commissioned by Agora Energiewende comparing the costs of new nuclear with those of a system based on solar and wind.

I learned that right now the renewable option costs only about half of new nuclear. That cost advantage of renewable energy is expected to increase, since prices for solar and wind will go down in the future, while the study conservatively sets them as constant. I also learned that for both options additional gas capacity is necessary. In the case of the renewable option it is needed for backup. In the case of nuclear it is needed for peak power.

The study did not discuss the alternative of having solar and wind for providing peak power to new nuclear.

Anyway, so the renewable option is much cheaper. So what?

For Germany, this doesn’t make any difference. There won’t be any new nuclear in the first place. And the existing nuclear power capacity is not discussed in this study, which is concerned only with new nuclear.

World wide it doesn’t make much difference either. It was already clear that new nuclear is too expensive to play more than a marginal role in dealing with climate change, if relative cost is the decisive factor.





Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003,

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