Eric Schmidt gets nuclear costs wrong
I am looking at a presentation that says Eric Schmidt is wrong about the relative costs of nuclear and renewables. Way, way, way wrong. This is not one of those phonied up, propaganda extravaganzas by Mark Cooper, or Amory Lovins. No this is an honest to God presentation by a utility company to some bankers. The Utility, the South Carolina based SCANA, tell the banker, Wells Fargo, hey we believe that over the next 40 years we can deliver nuclear generated electricity for less than electricity generated by any other source. Less than electricity produced by combined cycle gas. less than biogas, less than chicken shit (if you don't believe me, check out the presentation), less than coal, less than on shore wind, less than off shore wind less than photovoltaics.
According to SCANA, nuclear generated electricity will cost just 58% of the cost of wind generated electricity, 26% of offshore wind generated electricity, and just 12% of electricity generated by photovoltaics. In case you think that SCANA has some pro-nuclear prejudice against renewables, you should also know that SCANA is also in the natural gas business. SCANA distributes natural gas to much of South Carolina, as well as parts of North Carolina and Georgia. Renewables are good for the natural gas business, because renewables need natural gas backups. What SCANA tells Wells Fargo is not the sort of ideological driven green propaganda we hear from Eric Schmidt.
The SVANA cost estimates are consistent with the 2016 levelized cost estimates of of the Energy Information Agency. They are consistent with the findings of Berry Brooks and Peter Lang. And they are consistent with my own studies of renewable cost. Although renewable advocates continue to tell us how high the price of future nuclear will be, they never balance this argument with a serious assessment of the cost of renewables. When confronted with evidence of real world renewable costs, renewable advocates tell us that renewable costs are going down all of the time, or that if you just through enough money in the form of government subsidies at renewables, the renewable cost liability will go away. The argument that renewable costs are declining is not born out by my own studies of wind and solar project costs. And renewables advocates won't tell us when renewables will be capable of surviving without massive subsidies.
Dr. Schmidt mistakenly failed to Google renewables cost, when he looked at the cost of nuclear power. Or perhaps he believed that he did not need to do so, because the experts he consulted that the cost problems of renewables were rapidly disappearing.
The devil in me wants to make fun of Eric Schmidt for his wrong headed pronouncement about nuclear costs as I have in the past. But Dr. Schmidt is a smart man, and maybe some day he will stop listening to Amory Lovins and Google the worlds "nuclear cost", find SCANA's data, and discover his mistake. If you humiliate an enemy, you may make him an enemy for a long time. Hopefully, Dr. Schmidt is a mature human being who can acknowledge his mistakes, and alter his views accordingly.
A tip of the hat to Steve Dardan for the Graphic, and for a link to a related presentation by Stephen A. Byrne, SCE&G's Senior Vice President Generation, Nuclear and Fossil Hydro. SCE&G is a subsidiary of SCANA.