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Tuesday 9 July 2024

Mythbusting Energy claims

With the increasingly shrill debate on nuclear energy in Australia, there is no shortage of articles espousing the different views. Unfortunately, most of those supporting the government's claims that Nuclear is the most expensive source of energy base their arguments on official reports from the CSIRO and the AEMO. Both of these organisations have submitted reports that support the government's position. Given that both the CSIRO and AEMO are well-respected organisations, it should be enough for the government to win the case. But not so. 

The opposition under Peter Dutton has made nuclear energy the foundation of the Coalition's low-emission policy. This change in energy policy for the coalition came rather late in the electoral cycle, with an election due in the next 12 months, and after the Labor government has committed significant resources to an extremely expensive rapid decarbonisation based on renewables, wind and solar.

So we have the battle lines. Labor is supported by the institutions of government, and most of the media, because it is a left-of-centre government, and the many vested interests in business, who have either already received significant renewable energy contracts or expect to do so.

On the pro-nuclear side, we have the coalition, and a small but vocal pro-nuclear lobby, and the experience of the world in its use of nuclear energy demonstrating safety, reliability and lower consumer costs, but also with some negatives due to long and expensive construction times.

The coalition's case is helped by the facile attempts by the CSIRO and the AEMO biasing their reports pro-renewables. Professional analysis of the reports has exposed multiple fallacious assumptions which if corrected would reverse the pro-renewables conclusion. 

I have posted on this before. See Why is the CSIRO lying to us? and Is the AEMO also lying to us?

Most recently I came across a paper by Robert Idel titled "The Levelised Full Cost of Electricity"

This is an important paper as it provides a robust basis for comparing the full cost of various sources of electricity generation. In doing so it highlights the problems with the CSIRO and AEMO reports and it provides real-world calculation showing that the Levelized Full Cost of Electricity for Renewables, Wind and Solar, is substantially greater, not less, but greater than gas, coal, and nuclear. The table below, reproduced from the paper, shows the results of the calculation for two locations Germany and Texas, and shows that the cost of Wind+Solar is either double (Texas) or quadruple (Germany) the cost of Nuclear.

If I can borrow from the Mythbusters, Chris Bowen's claim that "Nuclear is the most expensive form of electricity generation" is BUSTED!

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