I’m sorry, but this recent post from a dilettante at the Huffington Post really got my blood boiling. Unfortunately, conservatives are partially responsible for allowing this to happen.
What did they allow to happen? Well, by reflexively opposing finding ways to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, the right has ceded the field to the left. As a result, Americans have three basic options: 1) do nothing (the default conservative response), 2) accept the left’s recommended solutions, or 3) accept the far left’s recommended solutions.
Because the right’s default appears to be to do nothing, few on the right have bothered to school themselves on both the possibilities and pitfalls of clean energy. As a result, the left dominates the field. Some on the left have good ideas. Some have terrible ideas.
The fundamental problem is that few on the right can tell the difference.
Now even the hacks have ideas.
Krystal Ball’s (yes, that appears to be her real name, and no, she does not appear to be an adult film actress) post is indicative of this problem. She makes two contentions that have no basis whatsoever in reality. I have included my point-by-point critique of her arguments below, which required very little time and effort for me to source.
“[A]dvances in solar technology are constantly improving the efficiency of solar panels that will very likely be competitive with other forms of power generation when considered over the future lifetime of a nuclear plant. Wind energy, even the relatively more expensive offshore type, has also been shown to be cheaper than nuclear.”
The EIA projects the levelized cost of electricity for nuclear will be $0.119 for kWh vs. 0.396 per kWh for solar PV, $0.257 per kWh for solar thermal, $0.149 for wind, and 0.191 for offshore wind. Furthermore, wind and solar PV provide intermittent power because the sun only shines during daylight hours and wind only blows during certain periods of the day. Nuclear, on the other hand, provides baseload power 24/7.
Thus the assertion they are direct substitutes for nuclear power is a false one.
“The real way to move towards a clean energy future is to stop the nuclear subsidies and institute a market-based system which recognizes all the costs to society of the energy we use which includes the costs of pollution and potentially also risks to our national security. Under a solution that properly priced these factors, bio-fuels, solar and wind would become increasingly attractive and fossil fuel solutions would be less attractive. If nuclear energy were to win out in such a marketplace that would be fine with me although judging from the costs and risks it seems unlikely.”
No, they wouldn’t. At least not in the next six years. Even if one were to build an advanced coal-fired power plant with carbon capture and storage, it would cost $0.129 per kWh over its lifetime, more than nuclear, but less than solar and wind.
And do not get me started on biofuels.
Yes, let’s institute a cap-and-trade program and let the market decide. It will choose nuclear every time.