When will more policymakers start facing up to the yawning gap between renewable hype and energy reality? They may be forced to. The blistering summer of 2018 throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere pushed electricity usage to dangerous levels.
Germany’s vaunted green-energy infrastructure couldn’t keep up, and the country had to rely on its few remaining nuclear reactors to fill the gap. South Korea moved to restart five shuttered nuclear power plants back to operation. Japan accelerated a plan to reopen some of the nuclear power plants closed after Fukushima, nearly doubling its nuclear capacity. Taiwan reopened a formerly closed nuclear power plant.
Anti-nuclear sentiment has been running high in all these and other countries, but their political leaders apparently decided that they would face a stiffer voter backlash if they allowed power blackouts.
Just this month, the European Commission has confirmed that nuclear will form the backbone of a 2050 carbon-free European power system, together with wind and solar renewables. My only question is why even bother with renewable wind and solar which require natural gas backup? It would be more practical to just switch to plentiful natural gas for the next 30 years while developing its new nuclear power fleet.
The goal for the entire world should to be to transition to lower-carbon power energy first and then to zero carbon by 2100. That could be a realistic timeframe if we don’t waste our time and resources on alternative sources that can’t solve the climate change issues.
Natural gas has 60 percent less CO2 and particulate pollution than the coal plants we’ve been using the last 150 years. Since 1880, surface temperature has risen at an average pace of 0.13 degrees Fahrenheit (0.07 degrees Celsius) every 10 years for a net warming of 1.69 degrees Fahrenheit (0.94 degrees Celsius) through 2016 according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
In other words, there is more than enough time to decarbonize the electrical grid while the world may warm less than 0.94 degrees Celsius through the last part of this century.
Instead of a ‘Green New Deal’ we should be having a ‘Clean Energy Program’ for global electrification with nuclear energy. By nuclear, I mean the molten chloride salt fast reactors or equivalent that will consume all the unused nuclear fuel rods in storage before mining for new nuclear fuel.