Monday, September 14, 2009

The Green Premium to Cost California up to 86 Billion

It is quite possible that the reason the governor 0f California vetoed the 33% renewables by 2020 legislation is that someone in his office wondered how much it would cost. California is expected to use 1000 GWhe per day in the 2020's. Currently the state is mandated to produce 20% of that, or 200 GWhe per day from renewables by 2020. Another 13% of that 1000 GWhe would equal 130 GWhe per day. That amount of power could easily be supplied by 6 AP-1000 reactors, or 5 Evolutionary Power Reactors. The AP-1000 would produce an average of 6.48 GWs of electricity but because they operate as 1.2 GW units if one shuts down you would have 6.0 you would still have 6gW X 24h a day or 14% of the required generating capacity. With the 5 EPRs you would have 153.6 GWh per day, or over 15 percent of the average California electrical needs. How much would the reactors cost? At $8 billion per GW the AP-1000s would cost $42 billion and the EPRs would cost $48 billion. An alternative approach would be to build B&W mPower 125 MWe reactors. 125 MWe mPower small reactors. A set of 48 would provide 130 GWhs per day of electricity and would be estimated to cost $30 billion.

Let us assume that rather than nuclear we choose ST power. Further assume that solar power will cost no more that $4 billion per GW of installed capacity. The average California solar facility produces amount 4.5 times its rated capacity during a day. Thus if we wanted to produce 130 GWhs of electricity from ST facilities we would need 130 + 4.5 = or 29 GW of name plate solar generating power. That woulds run us about $116 billion. This would not include the cost of energy storage or transmission lines.

If we opted for wind we should note that the best California wind sites and that the average capacity factor for the remaining sites would run around 0.17. In order to supply 130 GWhs of wind generated electricity per day, you would need 32 GWs of nameplate wind generating capacity at a 0.17 capacity factor. That would be 32 GWs of wind generating capacity. @ $2000 per kW, the wind facilities would run $64 billion without the cost of electrical storage, or transmission lines.

Thus nuclear costs got bringing California to renewables standards would run from $30 billion to $48 billion. While wind related cost would run from $64 billion plus, and ST cost would run a whopping $116 billion plus. Thus the difference between the highest estimated nuclear cost for bring California post carbon generated output would be $16 billion and the highest would run $86 billion. We can speak of the difference between the cost of nuclear produced electricity and the cost of renewable generated electricity as the "Green premium."

1 comment:

David Walters said...

But it's worse than even that Charles. The assumption you and I and the real world operates under are the facts of 'average' real availability or real capacity for wind and solar.

But as Peter Lang has exposed over on, the very low capacity factors of wind and solar cannot be looked at on these averages. It's much worse. Take the BPA blog entry you did last week or so. The overbuild that you lay out is based on a *daily* average. Suppose, as in the case of the Columbia River area of the BPA, you get windless days for, say, a whole week?! Or, in southern California, you get those occasional cloudy days that last for 3, not 1 day? You need storage and overbuild to account for extremely large, continental/regional whether anomalies or...we go black.



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