Renewable Energy Is Possible, Practical, & Cheaper (Than Nuclear Or Fossil Fuels)
One of the world’s preeminent energy scientists (not climate scientists) — Stanford’s Mark Z. Jacobson — has led research teams that have analyzed electricity demand and potential supply from renewables in every US state and nearly every country in the world in 15-minute segments all throughout the entire year. They have found 100% renewables is indeed a practical possibility. Disagreeing with Jacobson and his team of researchers is akin to disagreeing with Hansen and his team on comprehensive and in-depth climate science research.
Energy researchers at the University of Delaware (UD) and Delaware Technical College (DTCC) have found that, “by 2030, renewable energy could power a large electrical grid a stunning 99.9%, and at close to today’s energy costs!”
An analysis published in Energy Strategy Reviews by three researchers with PhDs in physics — Kees van der Leun, Yvonne Deng, and Kornelis Blok — has found that 95% of the world could be powered by renewable energy with no technological breakthroughs.
An in-depth NREL study has found that we could power 80% the US with already commercially available clean, renewable energy technology by 2050. Again, no technological breakthroughs needed.
More studies coming to similar findings can be found here.
Jumping over to cost, since that’s what it comes down to in a market-driven economy, let’s first recognize that nuclear subsidies have dwarfed renewable energy subsidies, even in Germany, where solar and wind now account for much of the country’s electricity. Nonetheless, nuclear power is approximately 2–3 times more expensive than wind energy and approximately twice as expensive as utility-scale solar.
On average, wind power sold for 2.5¢/kWh in the US in 2013, which would be 4¢/kWh if you removed subsidies (but why would you do that when nuclear has received several times more money in subsidies?).
Utility-scale solar now averages 5¢/kWh in the US, which doesn’t even hold the record for the cheapest solar power bid on the planet.
Nuclear is approximately 10–14¢/kWh… as long as you don’t count the hundreds of billions of dollars it costs to decommission nuclear power plants, among other things. Add everything up and nuclear may well cost 46¢/kWh, a good (er… bad) 9 times more than solar and 12–20 times more than wind.