Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Bechtel Bails - Botched Budget

Subtitle:  New Nuclear Plant in Wales has Budget Escalation Before Construction

Bechtel, the giant engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) company with extensive nuclear plant experience, reportedly has withdrawn from the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Wales, UK, the Wylfa Newydd plant.  The reason given is the plant has escalating costs and Bechtel cannot make a profit on the contract.   The plant hasn't even started construction yet.  see link  The quote from Asahi Shimbun:  ". . . the overall costs estimated by Bechtel are higher than Hitachi’s, making it impossible for Bechtel and Hitachi to agree on the price tag."

As a result, Bechtel decided to withdraw from its key role in construction and only offer a consulting service.

This plant is to have two reactors of the ABWR type, Advanced Boiling Water Reactors licensed by Hitachi.  Total electrical output is 2,700 MWe, with each reactor providing half.  

Bechtel will take on an advisory or consulting role, and another company will be the builder.   The problem with that is the builder has zero experience in building an entire nuclear power plant.   Having an inexperienced builder is exactly what got the Olkiluoto plant in Finland in so much trouble.  Olkiluoto has the French design, the EPR for European Pressurized Reactor.  

Bechtel:  "We look forward to continuing to bring our expertise to the construction of the UK’s next new nuclear power station at Wylfa Newydd in our role as Project Management Contractor.”  Project Management Contractor generally is the term for the Owner's representative that oversees the Builder's work.  

This one will be quite interesting to follow in the coming years. 

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Houston, Texas
copyright (c) 2018 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved



Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here  

Monday, July 23, 2018

Wind Energy Reduces Fossil Fuel Use

Subtitle: US Results Show Wind Energy Reduced Fossil Fuels

Recently, the Never-Wind contingent has made much of a study that concluded wind energy in Europe did nothing to decrease CO2 emissions, instead, fossil fuel use increased.  

This is all part of the never-ending debates about man-made global warming, or AGW as it is known (Anthropomorphic Global Warming).   The false-alarmists who fervently believe in the AGW conclusions of Earth overheating, polar ice melting, seas rising and inundating cities on shorelines, and a host of other horrible events, almost always push for more nuclear power as their preferred means to reduce fossil fuel use that produces Carbon Dioxide, CO2.   The AGW false-alarmists don't like renewable energy systems such as wind turbines and solar arrays because they suppress the building of more nuclear power plants.  

Even though dozens of articles published here on SLB show conclusively that nuclear plants should never be built, the AGW false-alarmists push for more nuclear power.   see link

The facts for the US electricity market show that wind energy reduced fossil fuel use almost one-for-one during the period 2006-2016.  This is the exact opposite of the conclusion from the Europe study. 

This article's emphasis is on the measurable effect of increased wind power on the fossil fuel consumption in the US.  The data is from the US Energy Information Agency, the EIA.  EIA data on electricity is the best data available.  The most recent data for full-year as of this writing is for 2016.   Ten years before that, in 2006, the US had wind farms but the annual production of electricity amounted to only 0.7 percent of all electricity sold in the US that year.  In 2016, wind produced 5.7 percent of the US electricity sold. 

For this study, electricity production is sorted into four categories by energy type:
- Natural gas as fuel
- Coal as fuel
- Wind as input energy, and 
- All Others (e.g. hydroelectric, nuclear, wood, solar, etc.) 

The results are shown in Figure 1 below:

Figure 1.  Comparison of US Electricity and Effect of Wind Energy - 2006 to 2016
Wind Energy Caused Fossil Fuel-based Electricity to Decline
The charts in Figure 1 show that All Other category remained essentially the same from 2006 to 2016, at barely more than 30 percent.   The fossil fuel category is found by adding the components for Natural Gas and for Coal.  In 2006, the fossil fuel represented 69.1 percent, while in 2016 fossil fuel represented 64.2 percent.  Wind energy made the difference.  

(Data source:

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/state/   
see link

Fossil Fuel Consumption for Electricity Generation by Year, Industry Type and State (EIA-906, EIA-920, and EIA-923) )


It is also true that, in the US, coal-fired power decreased substantially from almost half to less than one-third of all power produced.  Coal produced 49 percent in 2006, but only 30.4 percent in 2016.    That reduction in coal-fired power, and the attendant increase in natural gas-fired power, is the reason that total CO2 emissions in the US have declined.   And, we note that the reduced CO2 emissions are entirely due to market forces plus environmental regulations enforcement, and nothing to do with any climate treaties.  


Therefore, having demonstrated that it not only is possible for wind energy to reduce fossil fuel consumption, but it certainly occurred in the US, what happened in Europe?

The answer to that lies in the way European countries chose to produce electricity over the past 5 decades.   The short answer is that Europe did not have access to cheap, secure, and abundant natural gas.  Instead, Europe relied on what little hydroelectric power was available, then coal, and then nuclear.   Geopolitics enter into this in a big way.  Even though the EU, European Union, tried to erase nationalism, countries in Europe still are not as free to transport energy fuels as is the case in the United States.   Europe is also deficient in natural gas compared to the US.  

The result is that electricity is provided by coal and nuclear, two technologies that are slow to respond to large changes in grid demand.   The proper term here is Net Demand, the amount of power the generating fleet must supply that is not provided by wind and solar.   As the wind dies down, the Net Demand increases.   When the wind dies at the same time as total demand increases, Net Demand increases even more.   When sufficient wind energy supplies electricity to a grid, certain coal and nuclear plants must either reduce output, or go off-line to keep the grid balanced.   In Europe, the nuclear plants remain online, and certain coal plants are selected for disconnect from the grid.   

That presents a problem. 

The coal-fired power plants will likely be required only a few hours later, so the coal is kept burning and more coal is fed to the plant.  Steam is produced by the burning coal, but the steam is routed around the turbine and directly into the condensers.  In effect, more coal is burned and zero power is produced.  There may be a small amount of steam sent through the turbine just to keep the turbine spinning and the bearings aligned.  

How to avoid this?

The answer is to copy the US example and burn more natural gas, and less coal.   Natural gas-fired plants also may be disconnected from the grid as wind output increases.  However, natural gas to the boiler or gas turbine can be shut off entirely.  

With little natural gas produced locally, European countries import natural gas.  LNG imports are increasing, and the very controversial gas pipelines from Russia are another source. 

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Houston, Texas
copyright (c) 2018 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved


Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here  

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Offshore Wind for Taiwan

Subtitle:  Offshore Wind Reaches Lift-Off Point of 10 cents

"Project costs of the two offshore wind farms (German company) wpd will build in Taiwan amount to EUR 4 billion, according to the latest news from the company. . ."  see link 

Offshore Wind Turbine (center)
with jack-up ship performing installation (at right)
This is interesting because the project cost (€4 billion) and size (1,058 MW installed) give an electricity sales price of US 8-12 cents per kWh, depending on the capacity factor, CF, (actual divided by maximum output).  At 50 percent CF, and a 10 year simple payout, 10 cents per kWh sold is required.   Fifty percent CF is easily achieved offshore, in the strong and steady winds that exist offshore.  

That 10 cent price meets the goal stated at the OTC wind sessions a few weeks ago.   Ten cents is the lift-off point at which offshore wind projects need no subsidy and are built as fast as the manufacturers can produce the components.  

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Houston, Texas
copyright (c) 2018 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved


Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here  

Monday, May 7, 2018

Sea Level Rise Hysteria in California Delta

Subtitle: The Data Shows Zero Cause For Alarm

The headlines are certainly alarming, but what are the facts?

From DeltaConservancy.ca.gov  :   "Climate Change. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta could undergo many changes due to climate change and sea level rise in the decades ahead. The potential impacts to this region include an increased risk of levee failure, loss of agricultural land and productivity, loss of wetlands, reduced water quality,. . ."

From SacBee.com:  "How climate change could threaten the water supply for millions of Californians  --  When it comes to California and climate change, the predictions are staggering: coastal airports besieged by floodwaters, entire beaches disappearing as sea levels rise.

"Another disturbing scenario is brewing inland, in the sleepy backwaters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. It’s a threat to the Delta’s ecosystem that could swallow up a significant portion of California’s water supply."


And now, the truly terrifying article, by environmental scientist Ronald Melcer:   "There is nearly a 70 percent chance that by [year]  2100 we’re going to see 2.4 ft of sea level rise at the Golden Gate Bridge. That’s with a low-emissions scenario, which is based on the Paris climate agreement. [But] if we don’t do anything, that’s where [California is] headed. That [do nothing scenario] shows 3.4 ft of sea level rise by 2100."  see link 

All that is certainly sobering, if it were anywhere close to being true.  But, the facts show it is simply scare-mongering at its worst.   Sadly for science, this type of mis-information is and has been the reality for many years now.   Some facts are shown below. 


Figure 1
Change in Sea Level at San Francisco, CA - NOAA
Overall Trend is 1.96 mm/yr (7.8 inches per Century)
But note zero rise from 1985-2014
The Figure 1 shows the measured, gauge-based sea level increase at San Francisco Bay since 1855.  The overall increase was only 1.96 mm per year (7.8 inches per century).  What is more interesting, though, is the period from 1985 through 2014.  In those 30 years, the sea level did not increase at all.  The heavy black lines indicate the flat trend from 1985 through 2014.  (one could easily start the zero-trend period a few years earlier, in 1980)   Yet, the false-alarmist scientists insist that sea level was rising faster in the past 30 years or so, due to increased Carbon Dioxide, CO2, in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels.   Certainly, that is not true in San Francisco Bay, as measured by NOAA. 

Now, to examine the rate of sea level increase that is required to achieve the alarmist claims from above by Melcer:  With a low-emissions scenario, he claims 2.4 feet increase in sea level by year 2100.  And, with a do-nothing or business-as-usual scenario, he claims 3.4 feet by year 2100.   A bit of math shows that 2.4 feet equates to 8.9 mm per year increase.   That's almost 4.5 times the measured rate over the past 150 years, and infinitely higher than the zero increase during the past 30 years.  

Similary, the 3.4 feet increase by year 2100 equates to 12.6 mm per year; almost 6.5 times as great as the measured, steady rate since 1850.  Again, that rate is infinitely higher than the zero increase during the past 30 years. 

So, with the actual NOAA measurements at only 1.96 mm per year, how does a scientist make such outrageous claims with a straight face?   The answer is in what are referred to as "tipping points."  These are predicted events that greatly accelerate existing trends.  In the case of sea level rise, the tipping point is supposedly the rapid melting of Greenland ice and Antarctic ice.   That rapid melting is to occur because CO2 shines its heating rays down on the ice.   The reality is that Antarctic ice is increasing, not decreasing.  The Greenland ice is melting only due to black carbon and soot particles that were and still are deposited from coal-burning power plants, wildfires, and jet engine exhaust.    As it turns out, coal-burning power plants will be shutting down in 20 to 30 years due to a lack of affordable coal.   

The false-alarmism is blatant on this one.   The sea level at San Francisco would be required to jump from barely 8 inches per century to 52  inches per century. 



Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Houston, Texas
copyright (c) 2018 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved


Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here  


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Climate True-Believers vs Rational Skeptics

Subtitle: A New Series of the Ongoing Debate

This is the first of what I anticipate will be a series of articles documenting and commenting on the never-ending debate over climate change, global warming, and man's role (if any) in the entire affair.   Recently, about a week ago, I learned to my dismay that my engineering professional organization, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), had elected a new president for the Greater Houston area (STS or South Texas Section) who publicly stated that global warming is real, it is man-made, and the time for discussion is finished.   That's a paraphrase, but it captures the intent.   Needless to say, I was and am not pleased.   

Some of this blog, SLB is devoted to articles on AGW, or anthropomorphic global warming.  Those articles document my own personal journey from being a believer in what the scientists published, to digging into the data and the conclusions then realizing the entire body of evidence is tainted beyond being useful. see link  Much of the chicanery borders on fraud.  Others of the SLB articles document the many, many examples of what the false-alarmists have done under the guise of valid science, and discuss exactly what is wrong with that.  see link 

Also, from time to time, some of my colleagues have engaged alarmist chemical engineers to argue why the data is not credible and therefore neither are the alarmist conclusions.  I also have engaged a few from time to time, but this time seems different.   The attacks got personal very quickly.  I should point out that the incoming AIChE STS president was not one who made personal attacks.   

So, today I take keyboard in hand and write out a few things.   In no particular order, one thing I received was a lecture on how carbon dioxide, CO2, absorbs radiant heat energy in the infrared spectrum (IR energy or just IR), then emits that energy outward in all directions.  That was offered as if I was ignorant of that bit of physical chemistry.   Apparently, the one or ones lecturing me are unaware of a post from May, 2017 on SLB that discusses that very issue.  The post is "Chemical Engineers, CO2, and Absorptive Re-Radiation
Subtitle:  Fired Furnaces Have Strong Radiating CO2; Atmosphere Does Not."  see link  In a nutshell, chemical engineers and mechanical engineers design fired furnaces that must account for the radiant properties of not only CO2, but also water vapor.   This has been known for approximately 100 years now.   So, the question is not one of does CO2 absorb or not, but what, if any influence does such CO2 have on atmospheric temperatures.  As a noted rational scientist has stated, atmospheric warming by CO2 is trivially true but numerically insignificant. 

One can describe other aspects of physics that are also trivially true but numerically insignificant.   One is ocean acidification, where a single drop of hydrochloric acid is added to the ocean, one drop each year for 100 years.   While it is true that, in a laboratory, one can add a drop of acid to a small beaker of water, then easily measure the decrease in pH, one cannot measure the decrease in pH in the ocean.   The result is numerically insignificant. 

Less in the esoteric realm of chemistry, a more practical example.  It is true that adding weight to a vehicle will require more gasoline to move the vehicle a given distance.  The converse is also true, such that removing weight will result in less gasoline required.  But, one cannot measurably improve gas mileage by simply vacuuming up the dust particles from a small area of the floorboards.   Of course, a tiny amount of mass or weight is removed in the vacuuming process, but the result is numerically insignificant.  

Other examples come readily to hand: adding one more flake of crushed ice to a pitcher of frozen margaritas, adding a single grain of salt to a large pot of soup, etc.  In each case, the outcome is trivially true but numerically insignificant.  Thus it is with adding CO2 into the Earth's atmosphere.  

How can we know that this (numerically insignificant result) is true?  After all, the false-alarmists among the climate scientists, and now at least a few of the chemical engineers, boldly state that AGW is true and dire consequences are imminent.  

One of the many ways we know that CO2 is not warming the atmosphere is the basic tenet of physics that holds that physics is not arbitrary, not capricious, instead it works reliably and robustly every time.   This is also discussed in more than a few articles on SLB, the reader is encouraged to do a search on the word "gravity."   Many examples of physics that work reliably and robustly can be stated: combining certain colors of light will result in a known final color; mixing various colors of pigment in a paint base will yield a consistent final color; mixing certain ingredients for a cooking recipe will give a cake, not a roast duck; producing a vibration in air with a frequency of 440 cycles per second will result in a sound that we call an A note, etc.   Real physics is not arbitrary nor capricious.  

Yet, there are many examples of locations on the land where zero warming has occurred over a century or more.   As pointed out on SLB many times, how does the CO2 know which cities or towns below it are to be ignored?   Here is a list of cities in the US that had zero warming or were cooling since 1900, as shown by data from a climate research think-tank.  The cities are: Sacramento CA, Shreveport LA, Asheville NC, Charleston SC, Chattanooga TN, Nashville TN, and Abilene TX.   Meanwhile, adjacent cities show a pronounced warming, such as San Francisco CA that is only 50 miles west of Sacramento.  see link


Add caption
The arbitrary warming is not limited to cities, as we know that entire counties do not warm if the population is small, some states have not warmed, and entire regions of the US show little to zero warming.    Here is a graph from a publication by James Goodridge, former State Climatologist for California, showing the absence of warming for low-population counties but significant warming in high-population counties. 

Another argument made by the false-alarmists is the outright hubris I must have to hold my views, when 97 percent of climate scientists agree that AGW is real and man-made, and imminent disasters are certain.   That, too, was addressed in a SLB article, see "Why Claim of 97 Percent Scientists is Wrong; Subtitle:  Consensus Does Not Make Wrong Science Right,see link 

There are so many other issues to address, but time is precious so here ends the article for today.  It is indeed unfortunate that a few chemical engineers have blindly believed the false-alarmists in the science community.   And for the record, I am certainly not alone; indeed there are many chemical engineers who completely agree with my views.   


Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Houston, Texas
copyright (c) 2018 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved


Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here  


Friday, March 16, 2018

Ten Years of SLB

Today marks the tenth year anniversary of my first blog article here on SowellsLawBlog, or
Sowell, speaking in Houston, TX a few years ago.
SLB.   It has been a remarkable ten years.   This blog has few articles and little traffic, when compared to the massive sites on the internet.   There are just under 500 articles to date (486), and a bit more than 260,000 page views.   However, I don’t write SLB articles to have dozens per day and millions of viewers.  


The topics on SLB include nuclear power, climate change, engineering, energy policy, renewable energy, defamation, fresh water, and a few others.   The most popular, by number of views, are the engineers’ view of climate change, peak oil and energy policy, and the 30-article series of Truth About Nuclear Power.    The TANP series now has more than 25,000 views.  

Very interesting things have occurred in the past ten years, which will influence the direction of a few key industries.   In no particular order:

Wind turbines’ cost to install has declined, while efficiency has improved.   This will see large inroads on conventional power plants in the next 10 to 30 years.   Offshore wind is increasing as turbines reach 8 MW and soon, 12 MW capacity each.   

Grid-scale storage batteries are now economic in many applications; this will increase as batteries continue to decline in cost and improve in performance. 

Nuclear power plants in the US cannot compete with low-cost natural gas and wind power, so the nuclear plants are either closing or crying for government handouts to stay operating.   This is entirely as written on SLB in the Truth About Nuclear Power series. 

New nuclear power plants in the US are hopelessly uneconomic, again as predicted on SLB, with two reactors under construction stopped, while two more are forging ahead at a ridiculous cost and years of delay.   The British are embarking on their own nuclear folly, with a twin-reactor behemoth and financial fiasco underway at Hinkley Point C.   The French are tottering with their aging reactor fleet, and almost zero plan to replace 75 to 80 percent of their power generating capacity.  It's about to be a long, dark night in France.  

Climate change science has been proven to be so shaky as to be nearly fraudulent in many cases, with several articles on SLB discussing the shaky foundation of what passes for climate science.  In short summary, the false-alarmists are blaming increased atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, CO2, for warmer temperatures that are actually due to heat radiating off of buildings in cities, more sunshine penetrating the air as air pollution laws took effect, more energy use per capita in cities, and especially the impact over large regions from El NiƱo warming.  What little Arctic ice is or has melted is due to black soot from power plants, jet aircraft, and wildfire ash.   We finally have some sanity in the White House on climate change, but engineers must remain vigilant and keep pressing the issue. 

Another big issue facing the US is how to replace almost 50 percent of the power generating capacity over the next 20 years.   Most of the 99 Nuclear plants will be shut down by then, representing approximately 19 percent of power generation.   Most coal plants will likely be shut down also, representing approximately 30 percent of power generation. 

It has been great fun writing SLB these past 10 years, and I look forward to the next 10 and more. 


Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Houston, Texas
copyright (c) 2018 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved


Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here  


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Renewable Energy Better Than All Else - Unsubsidized

Subtitle: Lazard Study Shows Wind is Lowest Cost for Generation

One of the ongoing debates is what is the best technology, or mix of technologies, to provide safe, reliable, affordable, and low-polluting electric power for public consumption.  SLB has quite a few articles on this to date. see link   SLB holds the view that renewable energy systems, especially wind turbines and solar power systems, were not economically viable for many years, but that has changed for the better in the past few years due to ongoing federal and state subsidies.    In addition, SLB holds the view that commercial nuclear power plants are far too expensive to build and operate, plus those that presently are operating should be shut down because they are 1) unsafe, and 2) not economic.  Also, SLB holds the view that coal-fired power plants in the US should be forced to curb their emissions to meet the Clean Air Act requirements, and compete in the power market if they are able.   The stark reality for coal plants is they cannot compete after making the
Figure 1.  Lazard LCOE v 11.0 - page 2showing Wind as lowest, Nuclear as 4X Wind(Wind, Nuclear, and Coal circled in blue)
expenditures for pollution abatement equipment.   SLB also holds the view that natural gas-fired power plants that use the combined-cycle technology, CCGT, should be installed to the maximum extent possible due to the low capital cost, low operating cost, effective load-following ability, and almost zero pollution.    These views are based on the best data available, both recent past and current.   Despite being data and evidence-based, these views provoke howls of outrage from many commenters on other blogs.  


In the midst of all this, the Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, has proposed that the US provide yet another subsidy for nuclear plants and coal plants.   The basis for that new subsidy is the supposed benefit to electric power grids from steady, almost continuous baseload power that the nuclear plants and (some) coal plants provide.   That topic will be the basis for another post, however.   It should be noted that a grid does not need nuclear power for baseload, indeed, several states and many grids have no nuclear plants operating.   Also, coal-fired power plants are not required for baseload for a stable grid.   

Today's article is to highlight and discuss a recent study by Lazard, (worldwide financial advisory and asset management services firm), titled "Lazard's Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis - Version 11.0" see link 

LCOE Calculation

Lazard has (on p. 17) a brief description of how it calculates the LCOE, Levelized Cost of Energy:  for each technology, using installed capital costs, operating costs, financing via debt and equity, Lazard solves for the $/MWh that provides the required Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for the equity investors.    This is a sound methodology, one that SLB has also used in such calculations.   Note that the Lazard LCOE is a leveraged financing calculation, for example in Wind power, 60 percent debt is allowed at 8 percent per year (presumably long-term bonds), and 40 percent equity is at 12 percent (presumably Preferred Stock with a 12 percent annual return).   This is a slightly more complex calculation than others use, where the $/MWh LCOE is determined with a simple 10 percent return on installed costs, plus all operating costs.   (But, note that the Lazard cost of capital for Wind is then 9.6 percent (0.6 x 8 + 0.4 x 12 = 9.6), almost the same compared to the simpler case of 10 percent). 

The primary results, as shown in Figure 1 above, show that Wind LCOE, unsubsidized, is $30/MWh, (3 cents per kWh).   The vertical red line shows that literally nothing, renewable or conventional technologies, has a lower LCOE.  

A note on the unsubsidized aspect of the Lazard study.   First, the results for nuclear power plants are entirely suspect because nuclear plants would not be built at all, absent a huge number of subsidies.  Several articles on SLB discuss the many and quite substantial subsidies that nuclear plants enjoy, summarized here as very limited liability from a meltdown and radiation-induced harm, construction loan guarantees, direct Federal payments for all power produced at 2.3 cents per kWh (for the first 10 years of operation), safety regulations relaxed to allow plants to continue operating, protection from almost all lawsuits during construction, laws changed to allow builders to charge existing customers for construction funds, state funding in the millions per year to "preserve jobs" and keep uneconomic nuclear plants operating, and Federal payments for spent fuel disposal and handling. 

It is also not quite clear on the coal plant LCOE, if these include or exclude pollution abatement equipment - not including Carbon Capture and Storage, or CCS.    If no pollution abatement costs are included, then the LCOE is too low because that is a form of federal subsidy.  

Finally, a note on the low-end costs of nuclear power: Lazard shows installed costs of $6,500 per kW (low end), and $11,800 at the high end (study, p. 11).   Certainly in the US, no nuclear plant could be built for under $10,000 per kW, so the low end figure is suspect.  Part of the trouble is the time for construction, 69 months (study, p. 20).   New nuclear plants in the US and Europe require at least double that, more than 10 years.  

Wind LCOE

The Lazard study has some questionable assumptions that produce the LCOE for Wind, at $30/MWh for the low end.   Per p. 19, that is based on on-shore, installed cost of $1200 per kW, and 55 percent annual capacity factor.   DoE annual reports thus far have nothing quite so optimistic, instead having $1600 per kW, and 38 percent capacity factor in the best areas.  It is not clear to me exactly how Lazard obtained the low-end data for Wind.   

Conclusion

The results for wind, onshore and with 2016 results, should be approximately $43 per MWh (since projects are operating today with that total sales price).   For US policy makers, it must be noted that the nuclear LCOE of $112 per MWh, low-end per Lazard v. 11.0, is essentially unattainable. 

Still, it is nice to see such a study.  The general impression that wind is cheaper, and nuclear more expensive, is correct.   Other studies have also arrived at the same conclusions. 


Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2017 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved


Topics and general links:

Nuclear Power Plants.......here
Climate Change................here  and here
Fresh Water......................here
Engineering......................here  and here
Free Speech.................... here
Renewable Energy...........here