When Nuclear Energy is not viable or applicable
The alternative to large-scale nuclear power is to use ocean energy – from waves, thermal gradients and ocean currents – and tidal currents due to changes in sea elevation resulting from gravitational forces of the moon and sun on the earth’s surface. Ocean and tidal currents are predictable unlike intermittent renewable solar PV, solar CSP, wind and to some extent mini-hydro which depends on rainfall. Stored biomass and waste-to-energy systems (gasification, pyrolysis) may provide dispatcheable power to act as baseload, together with predictable ocean and tidal currents – is the key to a reliable and stable electricity grid in the future.
But we still need other conventional and fossil energy sources such as oil, coal, natural gas, geothermal, hydro, simple and combined cycle gas turbines running on liquid and gaseous fuels to provide additional base load and mid-merit load, as well as high-speed peaking load plants to stabilize the electrical network.
I will soon start a mini-series on power generation technologies and present the description, theory, history, capital cost and operating cost, emissions, environmental impacts, benefits and risks of each technology.
From this information, I will then present a template project finance model for each technology to illustrate its economic viability and how it could compete in the electricity grid and thus dispatched to meet its revenue requirements to repay both equity and debt investors.
By using these template models to compute the short run marginal cost (SRMC = variable O&M cost + fuel cost + lube oil cost) and long run marginal cost (LRMC = annualized capital cost + fixed O&M + regulatory cost + SRMC), the energy & power planner can stack up the dependable power generation capacities from the cheapest to the most expensive SRMC or LRMC. The power technologies or power plants in the stack up to the power demand of the grid then gets dispatched and this is how we can ensure that dispatched power is the cheapest cost possible while meeting power demand.
Email me to register to this mini-series. First come first serve.