Thursday, May 23, 2013

Per Kilowatt Hour, Solar Power Costs Are About 4 Times Nuclear Power Costs

Posted by Milton Recht:

From The Wall Street Journal "Going Green? Then Go Nuclear: We're environmentalists, but pretending that solar power is ready for prime time is delusional." by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger:
The cost of building and operating the Finnish nuclear plant over the next 20 years will be $15 billion. Over that time period, the plant will generate 225 terawatt-hours (twh) of electricity at a cost of 7 cents per kilowatt hour.

Since 2000, Germany has heavily subsidized electricity production from solar panels—offering long-term contracts to producers to purchase electricity at prices substantially above wholesale rates. The resulting solar installations are expected to generate 400 twh electricity over the 20 years that the panels will receive the subsidy, at a total cost to German ratepayers of $130 billion, or 32 cents per kwh.

In short, solar electricity in Germany will cost almost five times more for every kilowatt hour of electricity it provides than Finland's new nuclear plant.

Over its 60-year lifetime—which can be extended by relicensing—the Finnish plant likely will generate more electricity than Germany's solar panels ever will. That's because solar panels only have an expected lifetime of 25 to 30 years and lose about a half a percent of their efficiency every year. Compared over their full lifetimes, the Finnish plant will produce power at a cost of about 4 cents per kwh, while Germany's solar panels will produce electricity at a cost of 16 cents per kwh.

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