The Future of Nuclear Power and its effect on CO2 emissions

 

Economist: “Well-designed carbon prices can boost green power, encourage energy-saving and suppress fossil-fired power much more efficiently than subsidies for renewables.”

That’s pretty strait forward, but this is not what’s happening. If fact, it’s quite the opposite. Fossil fuels, as well as renewables are all subsidies in one way or another. Moreover, (most) economists have clearly emphasized that a carbon tax (perhaps even on product level and not on production level to also capture the carbon intensive transport system) would be much more efficient that most current policies. However, yet the developments look rather different – which is frustrating to most that follow the issue.

Since the turn of the century, global energy has become more, not less, carbon intensive. Take a major CO2 emiting fuel: Coal. It now supplies 41% of the world’s electricity and 29% of the world’s energy—a bigger share than at any time in at least four decades. (Though this is not the case in the OECD (around 18%), which I will focus on later.)

Continue reading The Future of Nuclear Power and its effect on CO2 emissions

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Is nuclear too expensive for climate change abatement?

The European Commission rigorously reviews investment agreements of EU member states. For nuclear power, the United Kingdom and Hungary are suspected of disproportionately subsidizing agreements. Are EU member states reviving an uneconomic energy technology? How does this affect climate change abatement policy?

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Recent nuclear investment agreements between EU countries on the one side and deep-pocketed non-European partners on the other side have become subject of scrutiny by the European Commission (EC). The latest such assessment concerns an investment agreement between Hungary and the Russian Federation for nuclear power in Paks. It resembles another recently closed case before the EC regarding the construction of a European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) at the UK’s Hinkley Point Site. As with the UK, Hungary is subjected to critical scrutiny by the EC over disproportionate state aid and violation of market pricing. Both the UK and Hungary argue nuclear energy is cost-competitive; but how so exactly?

Continue reading Is nuclear too expensive for climate change abatement?