"Engineers warn of bill shock under green energy surge"

The Australian newspaper has a story based on a study by 5 engineers that has a pro nuclear power outcome and full on discounting of renewable energy as an affordable option.

(September 5, 2018 Adam Creighton)  Adam Creighton reports that "Electricity bills will soar and gas and coal-fired power stations will close if the share of wind and solar generation increases dramat­ically, engineers have warned after analysing the nation’s ­energy supply.” "It found bills were likely to soar 84 per cent, or about $1400 a year, for the typical household, if wind and solar power supplied 55 per cent of the national electricity market."

There are a whole bunch of problems with this report. The first is that the Electric Power Consulting (EPC) report clearly states "The model is a cost model – no attempt is made to estimate prices from the pool.” Adam Creighton has taken the 84% increase and placed it on electricity prices at the retail end to come up with his figures. This brings an immediate inflation of the actual cost to the consumer.

The second is that the prices that the EPC report has Levelised Cost of energy figures for Solar PV at $117.32/MWh whereas I can find LCOE figures close to $50/MWh and falling.

The LCOE of Wind from the EPC report is also quite high at $93.08, yet it is easy to find it at $50-60/ MWh and falling. 

For the LCOE of Nuclear energy on the other hand the EPC report has a low figure at $79/ MWh, I can find figures of about $130/MWh (the figure for Nuclear Power in Australia is much harder to predict because we don’t have this industry here yet, we can only make assumptions based on countries where the industry exists. We would have a lot of capacity building to do to get anywhere near building a nuclear power plant in Australia.)

The electricity capacity requirements for renewables in the EPC report are also very much on the high end at 144,300 MW compared to The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) with their low figure of 82,550 MW by 2030 in their 2013 report  (100% renewable scenario) The EPC report has the Nuclear power option of 39,788 MW total.

The basic lesson here is that you can feed in figures to these models that prove your case, but if you are not being honest with the range of possible costs you are not making the argument fairly.

I’m not even totally against the Nuclear Power industry, but there is no way that I can see a justification for it in Australia and these rusted on advocates for nuclear power with their antipathy for renewables should just, please, get of the way. If they didn’t use such hyper inflated and overly diminished figures where it suits them I wouldn’t mind, but this stuff is really awful.