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The world's governments are failing on almost every level to clean up their energy systems and must intervene to support nuclear power, said the IEA, noting that only renewables and electric vehicles are 'on track'.

A report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) contains recommendations to reduce the carbon footprint of all aspects of energy generation. It was launched today at the Clean Energy Ministerial meeting taking place in New Delhi and is directed at the IEA's member governments, which are responsible for 75% of global energy use.

The stern message from IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven was that "the carbon intensity of the global energy supply has barely changed in 20 years, despite successful efforts in deploying renewable energy." She complained that progress towards clean energy "has stalled" and that "market failures are preventing the adoption of clean energy solutions."

One of those market failures relates to nuclear power, which IEA said needs to provide 16% of generation by 2025 in orer to match its scenario where global warming is limited to 2ºC (known as the 2DS). But to achieve this, the sector has to expand at a rate of at least 16 GWe capacity per year to 2020 and 20 GWe per year after that - or even more if current units cannot operate as long as expected. In reality the nuclear sector has only achieved 3.6 GWe net growth on average over the last three years, taking into account the losses of the Fukushima accident and subsequent shutdowns in Germany.

The Fukushima accident also badly hit new build progress: Some 16 new nuclear projects were started in 2010 but in 2012 the figure was only seven. "Meeting 2DS goals will require far more significant construction rates," said the IEA. Another issue for nuclear is a scarcity of active political support.           

IEA recommendations on nuclear power

More favourable electricity market mechanisms and investment conditions are needed to ensure that new reactors can be constructed at the necessary rate.

In liberalised markets where feed-in tariffs have been used to promote the deployment of renewable technologies, the profitability of dispatchable technologies has been degraded to the point where new investments are unlikely.

A more equitable system that favours all low-carbon technologies, such as the Contract for Difference mechanism of the UK Electricity Market Reform, would make investments in nuclear technologies more attractive.

Governments that have decided to move ahead with nuclear power should work to improve electricity market mechanisms to boost prospects for investment.

To improve public acceptance of nuclear power, governments should work with all stakeholders to ensure that factual, reliable and scientifically credible information is available on the advantages and risks of nuclear power, and to emphasise the role of nuclear power in meeting energy and environmental policy objectives.

An overall report card from the IEA said that only the deployment of renewables and electric vehicles were 'on track' for 2DS goals, while global policies on nuclear, coal usage, carbon capture and storage, biofuels and building efficiency were all said to be failing.

Carbon market failure

Yesterday, the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) served to illustrate the lack of drive for low-carbon energy.

The ETS is designed around a capped market for the trade of CO2 emission allowances. This allows companies that reduce their emissions to benefit by avoiding the cost of purchasing allowances, or to sell unused allowances at a profit. Despite setting a cost efficient path for a 21% emissions reduction between 2005 and 2020, the scheme lost relevance when recession led to a surplus of allowances. An average price last year of only €7.10 per tonne of CO2 (tCO2), has not been enough to influence emitters.

Yesterday the European Parliament voted against a proposal to 'backload' the ETS and postpone the auction of some 900 million allowances from the current trading period. This would have stabilised the market by raising prices in the short term and easing pressure later on. But with backloading rejected in parliament and these allowances now sure to exacerbate the current surplus, the carbon market saw an immediate 40% collapse in price to trade at only €3.10/tCO2.

Today's IEA report states that prices of €20/tCO2 are required to make companies plan a long-term fuel switch from coal to gas, while some €50/tCO2 per tonne would be required for instant behavioural change from emitters.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Reproduced here with permission

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northstarbarn, Odysseus

    Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

    by davidwalters on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 09:42:38 AM PDT

  •  IEA's 2012 World Energy Outlook (0+ / 0-)

    Saw IEA chief economist Fatih Birol speak at MIT in December 2012 about the 2012 World Energy Outlook.  The focus of their book this year was on efficiency and that rigorous efforts on making the existing energy infrastructure more efficient could buy the world close to a decade by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  (About 57.25% of the US energy production is characterized as "rejected energy" or waste energy in the 2010 Lawrence Livermore National Lab graph of the annual energy budget.)

    The IEA also wrote:  "No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2ºC goal, unless carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is widely deployed."

    I asked him what the response of the fossil fuel companies was to that declaration.  As he rushed up the steps to catch his plane he said, "Disappointing."

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 10:53:17 AM PDT

    •  Interesting. it doesn't look good. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Personally, and without any sort of degree in climatology, i think we've already reached the tipping point and the next few centuries are truly gonna suck.

      Perhaps, I'm hoping, we cant mitigate it some.

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 11:50:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Climate Future (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It doesn't look good and does seem to this uneducated observer that at least some tipping points have been passed - the Arctic especially.  However, efficiency and short-term climate forcers can be, respectively, increased and reduced considerably with existing technology and geotherapy or ecological systems restoration has the prospect of removing much carbon from the atmosphere quickly (Allan Savory's Holistic Management is one good candidate).

        Unfortunately, the complacency of politicians and scientists that I see around Harvard and MIT is disturbing.  None of them that I know of want to do anything different or new and the systems thinking necessary is woefully lacking.

        My feeling is that there are ways to turn the corner even at this late date but there is nobody on the scene, including Bill McKibben, who see those opportunities.  Everybody's stuck in their preferred rut, promoting their pet solution to the exclusion of everything else.  And usually that solution is speculative and years away from deployment.

        What we can do TODAY is greater efficiency and reducing short-lived climate forcers.  That's what makes a difference right now.  But it's too boring to get any traction.

        Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

        by gmoke on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 09:28:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  IEA PVPS 20 year snapshot just came out (0+ / 0-)

    in 2012, we installed 28 GW of new solar PV Capacity
    and in January we broke the 100 GW barrier.

    All the new installs are coming at the expense of Nuclear.

    I think if we pour on the solar and wind, and keep upgrading lighting.

    I just bought a bunch of LED lights,  we can do a lot.

    •  It is not about what you or I do. This is not (0+ / 0-)

      about individual liberal solutions Pathbahn. It's about what society does. Most generation is not used by your or I at our homes. I can't afford LED lighting, at least not now. Can you run, say, the entire city of Chicago on solar? What do you do at night...really what do you do after solar peak at noon? Peak load is usually from 4pm to 7pm. Solar is a very expensive small percentage possibile for baseload power.

      In one it came at the 'expense' of nuclear, though no nuclear was shutdown. Really the beneficaries are natural gas, which all over the world is building scads of polluting gas turbines.

      Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

      by davidwalters on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 01:44:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually the real growth has been wind (0+ / 0-)

        which blows about 85% of the time.

        Can I run Chicago on Wind?  I'm willing to bet with a decent distribution of wind farms around Illinois and Wisconsin
        and in Lake Michigan, that we could run Chicago.

        The Reality is Nuclear is Dying, and without phenomenal public sector investment Nuclear is going to die a Spectacular death.  Most Nuclear plants are really old, and the industry has set aside far too little to shut down plants so they are running them, full tilt trying to make profits to put aside for decontamination.  These plants are old and getting older.
        The Reactors are creeping up in transition temperatures,
        the Transition temps are flirting dangerously close to 100C in many of these racs and that is just plain dangerous.

        These plants were designed for 25 year lifes and then SLEP'd to 40.  Well, you can pencil whip all you want, but when it breaks loose, well, a creaky old plant will lack the resilience to handle a crisis, and there won't be an industry if one of those racs irradiates a city.

        Now what's so interesting about Solar is the potential is there for it to become 25-50% of the daytime power mix. We see that in Germany.  The national mix is now 25% renewables and they have had 50% Renewable days.

        I think you aren't looking at the future. The reality is coal and nuclear are both dying, Gas is holding steady and Solar and Wind are exploding.

        •  85%???? Not happen'n.... (0+ / 0-)

          And it's not dying, clearly, globally. In the US, it trudges along with only 4 plants being built. But still 19% of the US grid. Real power, not maybe power.

          The plants were not designed for 25 years. Where are you getting your figures patbahn?

          The cost to power Illinois would be humango.

          Right now, nuclear gets far less "public funding" than wind or solar. Otherwise it wouldn't be built. Ask Warren Buffet who invented the term "mining subsidies for wind".

          Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

          by davidwalters on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 07:06:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Right now in Ontario, grid carbon intensity (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is only 0.03kg/kWh!!!  A mostly-coal grid would run about 1 kg/kWh, so we are an order of magnitude better than most jurisdictions in North America on carbon emissions for electricity.  How do we do it, you ask.  The stats as of noon today:

    Gas:        5%
    Coal:       1%
    Wind:      8%  (because it is freakin' windy today)
    Hydro:   28%
    Nuclear: 58%

    Ontario wholesale cost of nuclear power is about 5-6 cents / kWh, which includes all costs (fuel, plant capital cost, labour, waste charges, decommissioning, plus profit margin).

    The bottom line is this: nuclear DOES THE JOB.  24x7 low-cost, reliable power.  1,000MW of continuous power requires only 150 tons of natural Uranium.  That amount is roughly a cube about 6.5 ft. on all sides.  Equivalent in energy to 4 MILLION tons of coal, and 12 MILLION tons of CO2 prevented.   If fully recycled, that cube would become 5 times smaller in dimension, i.e. 15 inches a side!

    Seriously.  How can anyone NOT support this in light of the climate crisis?  I don't understand.  It is like me talking to a creationist.  A debate that gets nowhere because the other side refuses to give credence to  scientific evidence for reasons of dogma.

    Concerns about safety?  Concerns about cost?  Concerns about sustainability.  Fine.  These are all valid questions, that can be addressed.  If there is any debate at all about nuclear, it should be on how we do nuclear better, smarter, faster, cheaper, and yes - safer.  The intrinsic value to civilization of unimaginably massive amounts of energy from the tiniest amounts of material without emissions and whether or not such is needed in light of the climate catastrophe due to fossil-fuel mining and emissions - how can there be any debate if looking strictly at the facts?  It is simply beyond me.

    I hesitate on the "more safe" because the very worst scenario happened in Fukushima with reactors designed in the fucking 60's, and expert analysis has concluded no deaths occurred nor are any likely to occur in the future due to radiation (ref. UN World Health Organization and UNSCEAR).  Other radiation health experts say real dangers of radiation occur at levels much, MUCH HIGHER than accepted agency regulatory limits in force today (e.g. from Bulletin Canadian Nuclear Society).  Even though the worst possible global accident in 25 years since Chernobyl pales in comparison to the damage done DAILY by fossil fuels, modern nuclear can be even safer.

    The problem lies in fear, ignorance, misunderstanding and the politics of vested interests, while the planet burns...  we have solutions to the problem that, as shown above, WORK right NOW and can be expanded to the required scale - and those solutions come from almost unimaginable amounts of energy contained inside atomic nuclei.

    The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

    by mojo workin on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 10:30:22 AM PDT

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