The United States is by far the global leader in nuclear power plants with technically 100 operating reactors (though if you remove Crystal River, two San Onofre units and Kewaunee from this list you only have 99 reactors). France is a distant second with 58 operating reactors. So it was with some pleasure that i read that the global fleet of wind turbines had reached the 300 GW level, which is equivalent to 114 nuclear reactors*.
Also heartening is that in the first 5 months of this year the US built 29% of it’s new capacity in renewables. This is even with historically very low natural gas prices. Renewables installed capacity is more than twice the new coal capacity.
* Remember installed capacity is the maximum amount of power a generator can produce, to get the actual amount of power produced you need to multiply by the capacity factor. For wind turbines this is about 35%, because they do not run all the time. Nuclear reactors run about 90% the time. A typical reactor is around 1 GW capacity.
i comment on lots of articles about renewables and efficiency and clean energy solutions and against reactors. With some regularity i end up in debates with people who are pro-fossil fuel or pro-nuclear folks, who have recently been happily chirping that the biggest solar factor in China has gone bankrupt and solar is dead.
While i have more than my share of problems with industrial capitalism, after the industry shake up, it is choosing a rebound in total global installed solar photo voltaic panels from 31 GW in 2012 to an estimated 53 GW in 2015
In other renewable news, nuclear power continues its decline in the fraction of the total primary energy it produces in the US with 8.0 quadrillion BTUs in 2012, while renewable energy continued to increase its share and outstrip nuclear at 8.8 quadrillion BTUs.
CitiBank and General Electric are already claiming on shore wind power (where not endlessly delayed by bureaucracy) is already the cheapest form of energy on earth.
I can hear solar whispering the words of Mark Twain after hearing of his obituary in the New York Journal.
“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”