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Joined 8M ago
Cake day: Aug 11, 2023


All technologies you’ve mentioned are in R&D, not ready to use as you seem to imply. Great investment is still required to implement them at-scale. What I’d agree on is that It’s in our best interest to invest heavily in them, and they are probably underfunded given their importance in the survival of humanity.

The idea that we can transition from fossil fuels to traditional renewables (solar, wind, etc) while refusing to rely on nuclear power seems wishful thinking to me. In the short and mid-term (10-20 years) we only have nuclear as a realistic alternative for clean energy. In this transition, we can develop those promising methods of energy storage and also build the necessary infrastructure they require.

Just to provide a real case scenario: Germany vs. France.

Both Germany and France want to reach zero emissions by 2050.

We know how Germany opted to phase out nuclear power already in the year 2000 and completed its ‘nuclear exit’ in April 2023. Compare that to France that since 1974 has been heavily investing in nuclear power with the goal of producing most of its energy from it (Messmer Plan (Wikipedia)).

The results for me are apparent:

Greenhouse gas emissions 2021 in Germany: 665.88 megatonnes (8.0 tonnes/capita)

Greenhouse gas emissions 2021 in France: 302.33 megatonnes (4.5 tonnes/capita)

Source: How energy systems and policies of Germany and France compare .

I’d take a real reduction in green house emissions any day before the “wish” of reducing them while refusing to make any compromise.

Without being disrespectful, I think it is a big mistake to refuse prioritize nuclear power to replace fossil fuels in the near future if the goal is to reduce greenhouse emissions.

That’s true about fossil fuels. But it seems you’re interpreting my comment as if I was defending the use of fossil fuels.

What I’m pointing out here is that the fact that hydroelectric energy production (although very clean) is not really an alternative for many countries as a substitute for fossil fuels. It is not a matter or decision lack of attention or investment. Many developed countries actually have most of their potential capacity installed, yet that accounts for very little of their electric demand. Take Germany as an example:

Germany had a hydropower installed capacity in 2016 of 11,258 MW (…). In the same year, the country generated 21.5 TWh from hydroelectric plants, representing about 3% of the country’s total electricity generation.

The hydropower capacity in Germany is considered mature and the potential already almost completely exploited, with limited room for growth. In recent years, growth in capacity has mainly come from repowering of existing plants.

Source: Hydroelectricity in Germany

Of course, there’s exceptions (% of total domestic electricity generation): Canada (59.0%), Norway (96%), Paraguay (100%) or Brazil (64.7%).

Actually, from what I can tell, hydro seem to be so convenient (it can be ramped up/down on-demand, used for storage, cheap) that most countries that can afford it tend to maximize their installed capacity to the extend their hydrography allows them to.

I don’t know about initial costs, but the main problem with wind/solar is they cannot be scaled up/down on-demand. The depend on the weather and that does not align with energy demands throught the day.

As long as we cannot store energy at-scale, we will have to rely in another source of energy we can ramp up/down depending of the energy demands (being fossil fuels or, preferibly, nuclear)

The thing with hydro is that it is limited by the hydrography of the country.

Once you’ve built all damns it was possible, that’s it. And that usually only covers a just small portion of a country’s energy needs.