Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The cost of CO2 mitigation: Replacing an existing coal unit

"dv82xl" wrote
The truth is starting to bite, and some people in power are not being fooled anymore.

Reality always bats last.
From Levelized Cost of New Electricity Generating Technologies"

Power Engineer Wrote:
June 25th, 2009 at 1:55 am
Someone needs to compute the cost of CO2 replacing an existing coal unit (~1 tonCO2/MWH) with generation at the above prices. For those technologies that emit zero CO2 then the above cost is the cost of removing a ton of CO2:
Nuclear $107 per ton CO2
Wind $141-229 per ton CO2
Solar $263-396 per ton CO2
Hydro $114 per ton of CO2

For technologies that emit CO2 a half ton of CO2/MWH you need to double the above costs: Gas turbine combined cycle $160/ton CO2
It would appear then that there would be a green premium - oh irony of ironies - of $53 a ton, for the use of natural gas rather than nuclear as a means of CO2 mitigation.

Not only are the above calculations real eye openers about the cost effectiveness of nuclear power to mitigate CO2 emissions, but they show exactly how badly Amory Lovins misrepresent things in his "Nuclear Illusions "
How can power plants’ carbon emissions be cost-effectively reduced?

Generating electricity causes two-fifths of U.S. and more than one-third of global fossil- fueled CO2 emissions, which in turn are about three-fourths of total CO2 emissions, excluding the additional effects of other greenhouse gases. Nuclear power addresses only part of the electrical fraction of fossil CO2 emissions—the fraction of chiefly coal-fired power generation that runs fairly steadily, not at widely varying output, in grids large enough to accommodate nuclear units’ size (far too big for many smaller countries or rural users).74 Nuclear power’s potential climate
solution is further restricted by its inherent slowness of deployment (in capacity or annual output added per year), as confirmed by market data below. And its higher relative cost than nearly all competitors, per unit of net CO2 displaced, means that every dollar invested in nuclear expansion will worsen climate change by buying less solution per dollar.

The reason is simple:75 you can’t spend the same dollar on two different things at the same time. (Economists call this “opportunity cost”—making any investment foregoes others.) New nuclear power costs far more than its distributed competitors, so it buys far less coal displacement per dollar than the competing investments it stymies. Let’s take this argument in two graphical steps built on the cost comparison in Fig. 1 above. . . .
Nuclear power, being the costliest option, delivers less electrical service per dollar than its rivals, so, not surprisingly, it’s also a climate-protection loser, surpassing in carbon emissions displaced per dollar only centralized, non-cogenerating combined-cycle power plants burning natural gas at the relative prices assumed. Firmed windpower and cogeneration are 1.5 times more cost-effective than nuclear at displacing carbon. So is efficiency at even an almost unheard-of 7¢/kWh. Efficiency at normally observed costs beats nuclear by a wide margin—for example, New nuclear power is thus so costly that shifting a dollar of spending from nuclear to efficiency protects the climate severalfold more than shifting a dollar of spending from coal to nuclear. Indeed, under plausible assumptions, spending a dollar on new nuclear power instead of on efficient use of electricity has a worse climate effect than spending that dollar on new coal power!
Do we need any more compelling evidence of Amory Lovins capacity for nonsense?

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