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The extreme "Total" high cost of Nuclear energy and safe used fuel disposal is what is killing it. US utilities aren't allowed to dispose of SNF. The US government has claimed exclusive ownership, and refused to take possession. The utilities have gone to dry-cask storage as a solution suitable for a century or so, and the cost of this is hardly burdensome. The utilities have already paid for disposal, and the relevant account at Treasury contains tens of billions of dollars for that purpose even after the cost of digging holes in Yucca Mountain. The repeated promise for future lower cost NPPs was never realized It was realized in France during the post-oil-shock buildout. The base of experience in design and construction was used to good effect. This base of experience was then abandoned, so the new units at Flamanville and Olkiluoto are starting from scratch. More recently, S. Korea is keeping its engineers and workers up to date with reactor sales around the world. What drives the cost of nuclear power through the roof is hostile, punitive regulation which prevents economies of scale and accumulation of experience. That is what the USA has, and that can be changed almost overnight. The latest "partial" cost, excluding spent fuel disposal and insurances, is over $0,16/kWh. No cite, and your numbers don't remotely pencil out. At $7.5 billion at 7% interest amortized over 20 years, repayment costs a mere 4¢/kWh (formula: 12*PMT( 0.07/12;240;-7500000000;0)/(2200000*0.9*8766)), and that only for the first 20 years out of a 60+ year design lifetime. If you paid the full cost of construction 8 years in advance and paid 7% to borrow, that goes up to 6.9¢. Fuel and O&M are a few cents, and nuclear has no costs of storage. Know what you could do to slash those costs to almost nothing? Have the Fed lend the money. Interest rates are currently close to zero. Matthew Wald referred to a National Academy of Sciences study which went over the data from the 2003 blackout and found that the cost of needed but unavailable power was $5/kWh. (I am trying to get a specific cite from him.) Since the working model for the "all-renewable" grid is to simply not do things when the wind and sun are on break, there will be a whole lot of $5/kWh costs in the all-RE economy. The all-nuclear economy does not suffer such problems. Solar power plants with long term storage an be done for around $0.10/kWh to $0.15/kWh They will be unusable in the northern reaches in winter, requiring transmission lines costing several times as much as the plant to wheel power from distant, sunny lands. They also fail to deal with non-electric energy needs. Small modular reactors (meltdown-proof) can provide 24/7 electricity as well as steam heat without any emissions. E-P. Imagine what it would cost to run a grid on mainly 13+ cent per kWh nuclear. That's about what I'm paying; it works just fine. But you've grossly overstated the cost even from the first generation of Gen III+ plants now being built. The delays at Chicago Bridge & Iron are rumored to be from NRC interference, which is from Washington and not anything to do with the technology. You'd have to build enough to cover hot summer demand and then you'd have a huge oversupply for nights as well as spring and fall when demand drops. That's not how you do it. Summer demand is easily levelled around the daily cycle using ice-storage systems in A/C units (efficient and quite cheap), and adoption would be rapid if billing changed to energy + peak demand instead of straight energy. PV might help with ice storage (and EVs), but your PV peaks around the solstice while peak A/C demand comes not long before the equinox. You also have much higher peak power handling requirements using PV than base-load nuclear. Nuclear fueling and maintenance outages are scheduled for the low-demand months. This is standard. The people who live off the grid with solar (as I do) will tell you that at today's storage prices it is not economical to store more than 2-3 days of electricity. So cut the price in half and your economic duration roughly doubles to maybe 4-6 days. Unfortunately, wind can easily take multiple weeks off during the very season when solar is effectively out of commission. You still need a full backup system with plenty of stored fuel. Nuclear avoids all of that. More to the point, if you try to get down to the 50 gCO2/kWh emissions limit that scientists say is the maximum we can allow, you can no longer rely on fossil-fired backup for more than about 5-10% of your consumption. Everything else must come from immediate production or storage; you no longer have the luxury of limiting yourself to an "economic" 3 days or even 6, you have to cover 90-95% or simply do without. If doing without costs you $5 per absent kWh, it's a brutally expensive way to be "green". The least expensive solution is a heavily wind and solar supplied grid with more modest amounts of hydro, geothermal and tidal generation. Show me one, anywhere. Show me where anyone is doing that. Especially show me where anyone is doing that to run a grid that supplies the industries required to build more of that grid. If it isn't self-sustaining, it's bogus. That's what your claims are: bogus. Any engineer should be able to understand that math. Even a poetic type engineer. Understand the math? I do, so I question it. Obvious: you don't. Sincerely, Windbag Bob Stop taking wind as the Ordained Solution and start being skeptical; you might learn something. Of course, True Believers already know everything and have nothing left to learn. An analysis of the Vogtle reactor costs by Citigroup in early 2014 found the LCOE for electricity from those reactors will cost 11 cents per kWh No cite. They also stated that reactors built after the Vogtle units would likely produce more expensive electricity They failed to note that Chicago Bridge & Iron and the NRC would have resolved their disputes over specifications and would not have the consequent schedule delays for subsequent deliveries. That's not just dishonest, it's almost fraudulent. Will the AP1000 design help reduce costs? Not so far in both the US and China. China doesn't have NRC-related delays. There's an issue related to the canned reactor coolant pumps that I'm aware of, but it seems to be manufacturing defects. China's cost, even for FOAK, is roughly half of what we're seeing in the US. Much of the excess cost in the US is from the regulator and associated delays, which can be reduced or even eliminated (reactors built under the AEC didn't have them and worked just fine). Take the 13 cents for the Vogtle reactors. Doesn't make sense. Subtract 1.7¢/kWh for O&M and fuel, and you've got 11.3¢/kWh for amortization. At 7% over 20 years, that implies over $24 billion project cost. No numbers quoted thus far even approach that; such a figure is unrealistic to the point of being hallucinatory. Will China continue to build nuclear reactor at their current rate? China's projection for future nuclear capacity implies a much greater rate than current. With experienced construction crews, this is eminently feasible. What would rule it out is a punitive regulatory regime like the USA's NRC. Fortunately (for China), China's politicos are more engineers and scientists than ideologues like you. It's not a good time to go long on nuclear. On technical grounds, it's always been a good time. The problem with nuclear is politics, and has been since about 1970. China has gotten politics out of the way, and has the most ambitious nuclear plans of anywhere in the world. South Korea is close behind. You won't learn from them, because you're an ideologue. But the choice is not "Coal or nuclear?" The choice is "Coal or nuclear or renewables". Renewables are cheaper, faster to install and bring significantly fewer problems into our lives. None is so blind as will not see. Trying to eliminate nuclear REQUIRES coal as the backup for "renewables" (which aren't). Since all "renewables" (wind and solar) can go off-line at once, backup to the extent of 100% of demand is required from other sources. If you do that with coal, you have to amortize the plant and either tolerate its pollution or also amortize its scrubbers at a much-reduced capacity factor. You are far better off building zero-emission nuclear, but Windbag Bob is hysterically opposed to anything that splits atoms and would rather burn black rocks regardless of the cost to the environment.
Can tar-sands operators even stay in business at $59/bbl?
It is nice to see that more people realize that solar power and wind power is affordable already and is going to become the lowest cost energy we can make in a few decades. Maybe "energy", but people don't expect "energy" that comes and goes when it feels like it. That kind of energy has a low cost and an even lower value; summer's heat waves are useless in a January cold snap. People use capacity, power delivered on demand. Neither solar nor wind provides capacity. The cost claims for solar and wind don't include the costs shifted to the rest of the grid. Wind and PV operators don't pay for balancing generation to ramp up and down to follow their irregular output; they're even subsidized to put out power when nobody needs it. Any talk of LCOE for un-dispatchable generation is incomplete at best, sheer propaganda at worst. You have to start with levelized AVOIDED cost of energy (LACE), and even that has trouble capturing the full costs imposed by addition of the unreliables. the sun can be trusted not to blow up for at least one billion years to come. It is as reliable as it gets. It's only reliable if you are out where neither Earth nor cloud block it from getting to you. I keep talking about solar power satellites. Every time I bring them up, I find that you still hate the idea. It seems that you are against any form of carbon-free energy that would actually work.
With First Solar confidently predicting prices in 2017 that equate to 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour in Texas (unsubsidized) nuclear is dead in the USA. So you'll be generating vast amounts of 3.5¢/kWh juice in the late spring/early summer days when you don't need it, and have nothing on the winter nights when you need it desperately. A solar pv plant of one watt, plus batteries to store 40% of the energy generated, plus buying natural gas combined cycle turbines of one watt (which is likely not even necessary as it already exists), and planting trees to offset any and all fossil use is vastly cheaper than new nuclear. You think only 40% needs to be stored? The people who actually live on RE systems say you need DAYS worth of storage, as in a minimum of 3 days. Figure more like 60% going through storage. 1 W(avg) of solar (about 5 W(peak)) with 0.6 W going into storage requires maybe 36 Wh of storage to hold 3 days of consumption. At $0.10/Wh future price of Li-ion, that's $3.60 of battery per average watt. Financed at 7% and replaced every 10 years, the battery alone costs 5.7¢/kWh. Then you have the financing and O&M of the backups, because there WILL be deficits too long and deep to be served from your storage. You can't use natural gas plants in a carbon-constrained world, and there isn't enough net biological productivity to feed them with biomethane. planting trees to offset any and all fossil use is vastly cheaper than new nuclear. The reality is that trees are disappearing, being burned and blown into the atmosphere. Germany is strip-mining its forests for "renewable" generating fuel, and Georgia forests are being clearcut and shipped to Europe as wood pellets. Essentially, you advocate denuding the forests to save them. This isn't even cutting atmospheric CO2, because burning wood emits more CO2 per kWh and cutting the trees slashes the carbon capture of that area for many years. If nuclear is the elephant in the room it is the dead radioactive one whose carcass fascinatingly will not rot due to the radiation that kills any bacteria. For centuries. Meanwhile, people have been living in the "deadly" Chernobyl exclusion zone for many years with no ill effects. Even the infamously paranoid Japanese are going back to the region of Fukushima. People vacation on the beach at Guarapari where they receive upwards of 50 μSv/hour from the thorium and its decay daughters... and they go there for their health. You should be ashamed of what you just wrote. It is an irresponsible piece of fear-mongering, and you should retract it.
So, .09 cm² means an on-state resistance of about 22mΩ. Figuring a supply at 600 volts, moving 20 kW requires 33 amps for a voltage drop of 7.3 volts and dissipation of about 240 watts. Meh, better use two in parallel.
I recall reading that the Manhattan project obtained some of its uranium from lignite deposits; the lignite was burned and the ash shipped off to be refined for its uranium content. Thorium and REEs have similar chemical properties, and Th is a factor in the economic viability of some REE ores because it is expensive to separate. It currently has little commercial value, but that is mostly policy. The upshot of this is that coal-ash dumps might not just yield the materials for magnets and electronics, but also the replacement for coal itself. If we ever took the job of cleanup seriously (isolating the toxic heavy metals in the ash) we could do much worse than using the materials pulled out to get rid of the problem at the source.
It's funny to watch the big-ag boosters like Emily and the windbags like Bob Wallace fight over who's better, while ignoring the elephant in the room: Nuclear power. A two-unit AP1000 installation, nameplate power ~2200 MW, occupies roughly 1 square mile (640 acres). Figuring 0.9 capacity factor and 3 miles per kWh, this plant would average about 5.9 million miles range per hour, 52 billion miles per year, 81 million miles per acre per year. That's counting the greenbelt around the plant in the total area. Bob's figure of 1/4 acre per unit is only the base pad, not the actual area excluded from other turbines or the area unusable for most purposes beneath power line rights-of-way. The vast areas required to collect diffuse flows such as wind requires lots and lots of power lines and the cleared zones beneath them. Every mile of a 150-foot ROW is 18 acres (72 pad's worth), and there are a lot of miles between the windy plains and population centers. But the real kicker is reliability. If you get a cloudy or calm day, you're not charging your EV and falling back to fossil fuels; nuclear doesn't care what the weather is doing as long as the lines stay up. Nuclear is the real fossil-killer. Everyone else is just shilling for the natural gas industry whether they know it or not.
At least one developer of a small modular nuclear reactor is looking to the Alberta tar patch for its first industrial deployment. Talk to them about whether it's economic or not. The economics of anything using natural gas are due to be upset; given the dual pushes to displace coal and export LNG from North America, the domestic price of NG will approach the world price. That affects the cost of NG to the tar patch as well, or will as soon as there is a pipeline to get gas out (which high prices will promote).
I don't worry about my cord being stolen, I run it out of the trunk of the car so someone would have to cut it and then they'd only have part of a cord. ECI seems right about the "need" for 25 kW inductive charging. I'm upgrading to 3.8 kW but for the last 2 years I've done just fine at 1.4 kW. The only place that 25 kW would make sense is for charging stops on longer trips, and we already have ~50 kW DC charging without any cost or losses for frequency conversion hardware. Taxi stands would do better with a Supercharger, which can do 5x the power. Tesla has a robotic cord that plugs in automagically. Even power through the road can transmit far more power via overhead wires than induction. Everyone remember the inductive charger required by the EV-1? It passed into history, replaced by plugs. This news release is hype from a company that will probably fold quietly in a few years.
This is why nuclear power is required in the Alberta oil patch. Using nuclear-heated steam for SAGD would eliminate most of the surface-disturbance emissions as well as most emissions from the heat source. Find a way to make some hydrogen to turn bitumen into SCO and you have a trifecta.
You don't need to maintain the same motor torque with a higher gear ratio; that's the whole deal, you can cut the torque (proportional to V² in an induction or synchronous machine) and keep the power the same by increasing f. AC Propulsion got 200 HP out of their original little motor by making it a 4-pole machine (doubles torque) and driving it at up to 400 Hz. This gave them almost 3 HP per pound more than a decade ago at a redline speed of 12000 rpm. If you used a multi-speed transmission and a smaller motor with a higher redline, you can keep the stall wheel torque the same with a lighter and cheaper motor.
It makes your personal transport smaller, lighter and cheaper when don't need the extra range, so that's a plus. The trailer (or its battery) can be shared between a number of vehicles, reducing the total capital cost. The trailer battery can also be upgraded independently of the vehicle.
It takes a certain size of market to pay for the engineering that turns a concept into a product, and the marketing to sell it.
s/omitted/emitted/ I must need new glasses again.
Wind is doing a sucky job of it. Germany's grid-related CO2 emissions jumped from 307 million tons/year in 2011 to 319 mmtpy in 2013. Had the 7076 MW of German nuclear capacity shut down in 2011 stayed on-line, about 50 million tpy would not have been omitted and emissions would have fallen to about 270 mmtpy.
yoatmon is using, consciously or not, a Marxist-inspired tactic used to silence people with contrary opinions or facts. It's called disqualification.
A single-purpose pod battery is silly. If you're making a trailer with a battery in it, it should be a slab which can support cargo or cargo enclosures on top. Bonus points if the slab-battery is swappable without removing the cargo section. This has some serious possibilities. Imagine a battery-trailer which supports a pop-up camper covered with PV panels. During decent weather you're totally set for housekeeping power, and charge the vehicle besides.
That's not the question that we must answer. When the "Green" Danish grid has the highest consumer rates in Europe and still emits over 380 gCO2/kWh generated, that is very much the question. The question is "What is the least expensive and least problematic technology we can use to get our CO2 emission levels to zero". "Problematic" in the engineering sense, or "problematic" in the post-enlightenment sense? The two definitions are disjoint, and my experience with you and your enthusiasm for censorship pretty much proves you mean the latter. Your blog "Cleantechnica" is an ideologically-pure bubble free of such "problematic" things as inconvenient facts which might induce cognitive dissonance in the Green Faithful. As it happens, we do have a number of examples of countries and regions which have pushed grid-related CO2 emissions close to zero. Quebec and Sweden are very nearly at zero; France is within striking distance, and Ontario is not much further away. The thing they have in common is they rely on hydro and nuclear power. They do not use the "renewables" you are pushing, namely wind and solar. Wind and solar are unreliable and require dispatchable (nuclear or combustion) generation to balance them. Germany's use of lignite to balance "renewables" increased its CO2 emissions by 12 million tons per year over just 2 years. Many scientists have quietly agreed that there is no way to meet the 2°C warming target without nuclear power. It doesn't matter how much it costs, you can't do without it. The only way to make it happen is to stop pandering to fear-mongers and ideologues like you. The USA was on course to a zero-carbon grid until you fear-mongers replaced the pro-nuclear AEC with the anti-nuclear "nuclear safety at any cost, regardless of the dangers of what replaces it" NRC. You must bear the responsibility for the situation we are now in. As you know, the cost of a nuclear supplied grid would wreck our economy. We can't afford to increase our wholesale cost of electricity by 3x or more. You are projecting; it's in Germany under the Energiewende that consumer rates have already tripled. Southern Company has recently downgraded their estimate of rate increases from the construction of the Vogtle units from 4-12% to 0-8%. Germany is razing historic villages to mine lignite to balance its "renewables". THAT is your "alternative" to nuclear power, Bob. An "all-renewable" grid requires massive energy storage. Impoundment-fed hydro incorporates the storage behind the dams, but wind and solar require it as an add-on. We don't have the land to build it as pumped hydro, and batteries for even 3 days of storage would cost several times as much as nuclear plants of the same output... with a lifespan of just years, and being net energy sinks as well. Your insistence that we MUST go "renewable" isn't just wrong, Bob; it is energetically, financially and climatically insane. The cost of integrating wind and solar onto our grids has been miniscule. If you ignore the cost of the new transmission lines rolled into the rate base, and the lower efficiency of the balancing generators due to their off-optimum operating points, you mean. Otherwise you can't explain the rate hikes while natural gas has gotten dirt-cheap. The nuclear industry has received massively more subsidies than have wind an solar. For all years up to the end of 2013 US taxpayers subsidized nuclear energy more than $185 billion. More weasel-words. The "nuclear industry", counted as the non-fossil part of the DOE budget, includes the US nuclear weapons and fusion programs. There is a small part devoted to e.g. testing of nuclear fuels, but advanced programs were killed in 1994 and never recovered. Nuclear has received 7.4x as much subsidy over time and yet is produced only 4.5x as much electricity as wind and solar in 2013. Nuclear has steadily produced about 20% of US electric generation for several decades, during which time wind and solar were mostly down in the noise. Comparing only 2013 figures is grossly dishonest even for you. Have you no shame, Bob? We are currently getting 1.6x more electricity per dollar subsidy with wind and solar. Speaking of "problematic" claims:Wind is still eligible for a 2.15¢/kWh PTC, which some developers take in lieu of a 30% investment-tax credit for which they are also eligible. The ITC can all be taken in 1 year, making it very attractive to passive investors. As Warren Buffet said, "I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate. For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit."US nuclear plants have consistently generated on the order of 800 TWh/yr for the last 30 years, roughly 24000 TWh total. Even granting your $185 billion subsidy figure, $185 billion divided by 24000 billion kWh is 0.77¢/kWh. This is roughly 1/3 of the wind PTC, and a far smaller fraction of the subsidy given to solar. (In actuality, the benefits given to commercial nuclear power are much smaller and are overwhelmed by taxes, not to mention ridiculous regulatory costs.)Nuclear plants have paid tens of billions of dollars to the US government for spent-fuel disposal services they have not received.Were you honest, you'd have admitted this up front... but I have learned never to expect honesty from you. The turbines at Altamont Pass are now being replaced after 30 years of production. About time. When I drove through that area in 2006 I don't think I saw a single pylon tower (all raptor-magnet lattice towers) and some of the ancient units had Dutch-style pinwheel tails for steering them into the wind! Lots were conspicuously non-operational, too. From an energy point of view it would make more sense to recycle them into pressure vessels and containments for NuScale IPWRs, but California is ideologically insane to the point of forcing half its carbon-free baseload generation to be dismantled. As we move to a 100% renewable grid Wait a second, Bob. "Renewable" is a granfalloon, a term for things which have nothing in common except the term itself. There are grids that are 100% hydro, but you employ the fallacy of ambiguity to imply that grids of 100% wind and solar are possible. Well, where's one doing what France's 78%-nuclear grid does? I'll take anything over 5 GW average load (USA=~450 GW) as an existence proof. Can you name three? One? we will need a combination of storage and dispatchable generation The latter providing a guaranteed market for fossil fuels as far as the mind can see, which is why the new Natural Gas Initiative at Stanford University was financed by the fortunes of men who made them in petroleum and none other than Robert F. Kennedy Jr. declared that "the plants that we're building, the wind plants and the solar plants, are gas plants". the US built over 20 GW of PuHS in order to integrate thermal plants during the time we were building nuclear. 20 GW of storage to well over 90 GW of capacity is a very favorable ratio, made possible by nuclear's 90%+ capacity factor. You can't do this with wind at 34% CF, or PV at ~20% CF; you need a storage-to-capacity ratio closer to 1. Worse, you need storage capacity (load*time) of days, not hours. And that nuclear/coal plants require spinning reserve to jump in when they go offline without warning. Which can be provided by other nuclear/coal plants. How do you crank up a wind farm when another wind farm is becalmed, or shuts down due to overspeed? Oh, wait... you can't. Combustion plants do that. Wind and solar are much more predictable and do not require spinning reserve. You've got two lies in one sentence. The first is that you imply that "predictable" is the same as "meeting demand", which it emphatically is not. The second is that the unreliable generators do not require spinning reserve. The "balancing generation" they must have is the same as spinning reserve. Bob, you have no shame. Your graph shows a 4.5% increase and cuts off at 2013. Why was there any increase at all, when the essential goal is "to get our CO2 emission levels to zero"? The Wikipedia list of reactors in Germany shows 7076 MW of capacity (Biblis 1a, Biblis 2a, Brunsbuttel, Isar 1a, Neckwarwestheim 1a, Phillipsburg 1a, and Unterweser) shut down in August 2011. At 90% capacity factor and 900 gCO2/kWh displaced, 7076 MW of nuclear would have cut emissions by about 50 million tons per year. In other words, Germany's 2011-2013 increase would have been a much larger decrease save for anti-nuclear paranoia. Japan has abandoned its GHG targets under Kyoto; Germany's had been rigged from the beginning. Neither have any viable plan to get to zero CO2 emissions. They would rather destroy the livability of the planet than split atoms. So would you. German CO2 emission levels fell to their second lowest level since 1990 in 2014. "Germany emitted 912 million tons of carbon in 2014 - 4 percent fewer than in 2013, and down 27 percent on 1990 levels, according to provisional figures from the German Environment Agency." In other words, nearly 2/3 of German carbon emissions were unrelated to the electric grid. How do you propose to get THEM to zero, Bob? My plan involves nuclear-powered district heating from SMRs in urban areas, and electric-driven heaters with RDF backup elsewhere. Industrial process heat would also rely on nuclear. Transportation would be mostly electric, using the 24/7/365 availability of nuclear power to guarantee 95% or better availability of services. Molten-salt heat batteries can buffer delivery across the daily cycle for a few tens of dollars per kWh. What's your plan? Do you even have one? "Electricity and natural gas prices skyrocketed to 10 to 50 times normal across parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes states as extreme cold drove demand for electric and gas heating to near-record levels late last week." Driven by capacity constraints of natural-gas pipelines, which SHOULD be irrelevant on an all-renewable grid... but the Inconvenient Truth remains that "the plants that we're building, the wind plants and the solar plants, are gas plants". If you weren't deaf to facts, the cognitive dissonance would be too much for you. "regional wind energy output was strong throughout these periods of peak demand, producing around 3,000 megawatts (MW) on the evening of Jan. 22 when supply was particularly tight, and roughly 3,000 to 4,000 MW for nearly all of Jan. 23 as electricity prices remained very high." Yes, a whole 3-4 GW out of a peak load upwards of 120 GW. In other words, the entire region's wind capacity barely out-produced the two reactors at Indian Point and wasn't even able to hold above 80% of nameplate. The nuclear plants in the region were running at 100% of WINTER capacity, which is greater than summer capacity. There will be cold spells with little wind. There will be heat waves during which nuclear reactors have to be shut down. These are grid design issues. Reactors cooled by seawater or cooling towers don't have much in the way of ambient or effluent temperature constraints. Unreliables like wind and solar are major issues for the grid, since they produce instability due to lack of inertial energy storage. They create problems that other plants are forced to solve; this alone makes the "100% renewable grid" of wind and solar a pipe dream. Most cities are not going to allow anyone to site a nuclear reactor in their midst. Nuclear plants are safe enough to operate in a steel tube with several tens of people living just yards away inside. Industrial wind turbines must remain hundreds of yards from homes because of the risk of thrown parts or ice. The only reason people aren't clamoring for nuclear power to light and heat their cities is because of paranoia inculcated by disinformation from the likes of you. This is YOUR FAULT.
Prices can't come down any lower than the cost of the inputs, and the input energy is priced very high due to FITs set to provide strong incentives.
As others have noted, the end-to-end efficiency of these processes is dismal, and if the "renewable" energy (which relies on a lot of non-renewable materials in the capture, transmission and transformation) doesn't get cheap enough to eliminate high feed-in tariffs, the product will be for the rich alone. The real irony is that any e-fuel plant gets much cheaper if it operates at a high capacity factor, which favors the use of off-peak nuclear power instead of spotty surplus wind or PV. This is the Green nightmare.
And your first impression is right. It turns out that the Natural Gas Initiative is financed by fossil fuel money, including a large grant from the Precourt Institute.
My '04 Passat TDI could go close to 800 miles on a tank. It would also take a 55 gallon drum in the back seat with room left over. So, one tank to go from Jacksonville FL to San Diego, CA... no problem.
The "impediments to solar" are "the fixed costs and essential operating characteristics of the generators which keep the grid stable instead of blacking out". The Hawaiian utilities have been handed a problem not of their creation, that nobody has solved satisfactorily (which is why solar generation never made it even in e.g. sunny Egypt despite CS demonstrations a century ago), and told to fix it. The only fair way to handle this is to tell the owners of solar power to fix the problems THEY created:Buffer their power output to provide dispatchable power.Provide or pay for rotating machinery, like synchronous condensers, so that the grid has the sheer mechanical inertia which keeps it stable.Supply reactive power.Failing that, just go off-grid and eat their own dog food.
"Long-distance transmission lines" in Hawaii means connecting one island to another. The entire land mass of the island chain would fit comfortably inside Michigan, and spans a smaller distance end-to-end. The notion of achieving "geographic diversity" of wind and solar supply in Hawaii is ridiculous. So's the notion of a "global grid"; lines running a few tens of miles are tied up in litigation for years, and you want to run them around the WORLD? Are you NUTS?! Oahu could be powered by a few NuScale units with no nonsense about storage, no issues related to weather or seasons, and zero emissions. Unfortunately, the environmentalistas have declared nuclear power anathema.
Pushing some of our reactors which were initially licensed for 40 years out to 60 years will probably happen. Certainly will happen. If anything like a legitimate version of the EPA's carbon rule goes into effect (not the one which only gives 5.8% credit to existing NPPs), it will be very costly to replace any NPP with even a fraction of fossil power. All "renewables" are reliant on FF backup; the grid has great difficulty going below 40% generation from rotating machinery due to stability constraints. it won't make financial sense to extend the lifetime of all the existing reactors. What's the "social cost" of CO2 emissions, Bob? At $50/ton, just the direct emissions of an LM100 gas turbine (46% efficient, 430 g/kWh) are in excess of 2¢/kWh. That was double the revenue shortfall that felled Kewaunee. The upstream emissions of natural gas might double that. When your "renewable" capacity factor is maybe 1/3, you'd pay that on 2/3 of consumption. Wind, without subsidies, has now dropped under 4 cents per kWh That is cost at the farm gate. The cost of firmed, delivered power is several times that much. That's why adding "free fuel" wind always raises electric rates. after a 20 year payoff should provide 10 to 30 years of < 1 cent per kWh power. The economic lifespan of wind turbines thus far has been much less than 20 years; the 18-yr-old machine about 25 miles SW of me was nearly scrapped because of the unavailability of repair parts. The municipal utility that owned it more or less gave it away. Solar prices continue to fall and should soon be under 5 cents per kWh without subsidies. So what does solar power cost in a January cold snap at 45° north? At night after a cloudy week? What you ignore is that your "renewables" don't work without either 100% fossil backup or massive storage. Your cost claims ignore storage, firming and even transmission. Thermal plants that have to average 5 cents per kWh on a 24/365 basis are going to find rough sledding as more and more "penny" power becomes available. "Renewable" plants require high feed-in tariffs or tax credits to make them pay. If wind farms had to take real-time wholesale prices, most of their output would have to be sold at close to nothing because the times they are producing are the times when grid prices plummet because they are producing. If the playing field was not grossly tilted in their favor, they'd all be broke. If wind power is so clean and cheap, why did Germany's carbon emissions soar while customers paid some of the highest rates in Europe? Know what was running at close to 100% during the last two years of cold snaps, and had zero issues with fuel availability? Nuclear. Wind and solar are worthless in New England winters (and most winters from Washington to New York). Thermal powerplants have two advantages: they're 24/7/365, and they're thermal. The former gives them value in providing capacity, and the latter has other uses. One NuScale reactor could both light and heat the entire city whose utility just gave away that wind turbine, carbon-free and without taking a gram of biomass from the environment. Nothing you've proposed can make that claim.