Nuclear power blown away by wind

Dungeness_Simon Ingram_CC_BNWeb

As backward-thinking dinosaurs in the US Senate continue to push nuclear power, that technology has been literally blown away by wind. On March 29, wind power produced more electricity than both coal and nuclear power, the first time in US history that wind has ranked in front of coal and nuclear on the same day, according to the Energy Information Administration. 

And USA Today reports that the fastest growing job sector in the US today is that of wind turbine technician. “Wind energy is booming in Middle America and creating a huge demand for workers who can keep turbines spinning,” the paper said.

More than three million people are currently employed in the clean energy sector, according to E2, which does not include nuclear power in these calculations (nor corn ethanol, woody biomass, and large hydropower due to their environmental issues).

By contrast, there are 45,829 people currently employed in the nuclear power industry in the US, according to Ibis World, a number which has been in decline since 2017. IBIS also notes that “the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that overall generation from nuclear facilities is expected to decline. This decline in net generation is due to nuclear plants being decommissioned and no new facilities being built. One of the factors affecting decline in generation is shift in demand toward solar and wind energy. Building solar and wind energy facility is less expensive and safer compared with nuclear facility [sic]. 

On April 7, the EIA released its monthly forecast which noted that “the annual share of U.S. electricity generation from renewable energy sources will rise from 20% in 2021, to 22% in 2022, and to 23% in 2023, as a result of continuing increases in solar and wind generating capacity. 

“This increase in renewable generation leads to a decline in natural gas generation, which falls from a 37% share in 2021 to 35% in both 2022 and 2023.

“Natural gas generation falls in the forecast even though we expect the cost of natural gas for power generation to fall from an average of $5.85/MMBtu in 2Q22 to an annual average of $4.21/MMBtu in 2023.” Coal will also continue to decline. Read more

Headline photo by Simon Ingram/Creative Commons

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