coal fired stations

The Future of Energy: Nuclear, Gas and Coal-based Generation

Nuclear power plant with yellow field and big blue clouds

GUEST POST

Today’s guest post by Whaleoil reader Bruce Alan Forbes is part of an article he wrote called The Future of Energy with predictions for 2040. As it is an in-depth analysis I divided it into six posts so that we could discuss each part separately.

Nuclear, Gas and Coal-based Generation

Nuclear power stations operate at high capacity factors and generate large amounts of CO2 – free electricity. They have enormous potential for achieving major reductions in emissions of CO2. Unlike intermittent and unreliable renewable sources, they do not need the inefficient, fossil-fuel burning, backup power stations to maintain output when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine. Statistics show convincingly that nuclear power is by far the safest form of large-scale electricity generation.

In contrast, coal-fired power stations are responsible for the deaths of thousands of miners worldwide each year and hydropower stations have also killed thousands of people.

At present, nuclear power is typically more expensive than gas or coal-fired power generation in the U.S. and Europe. This is due to the long construction times resulting from bureaucratic regulatory hurdles. Eventually, nuclear power stations will become the main source of clean, low-cost electricity; particularly in non-OECD countries.

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