11 May 2011

Preview of IEA Low Nuke Scenario

The FT shares a preview of the IEA's "low nuclear" scenario forthcoming in November:
The IEA will publish its annual global energy outlook in November, which will include a “lower nuclear case” mapping what would happen if the world added only 180 gigawatts of new nuclear capacity by 2035, rather than the 360 predicted in the last outlook.

It found three consequences:
  1. The world will make up for the shortfall with gas, renewables and coal (coal and gas in China, gas and renewables in Europe and the US). That would put pressure on gas and coal prices, which would in turn make electricity generation more expensive.
  2. There will be less diversification of the energy mix, which is bad news for energy security.
  3. There might be about half a gigatonne more CO2 in the atmosphere, making climate targets much more difficult to achieve.
Keith Kloor and Shellenberger/Nordhaus each have thoughtful discussions of the current politics of nuclear power and consistent with the IEA preview.  There are no easy answers.