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CSIRO Report Finds Renewables Cheaper Than Nuclear

CSIRO Report Finds Renewables Cheaper Than Nuclear

A report by CSIRO finds that electricity generated by renewables is cheaper than that of fossil fuels and nuclear power.

CSIRO chief executive Douglas Hilton has defended his agency’s findings on the costs of nuclear power, after Opposition Leader Peter Dutton criticised the report.

Dutton claimed the work was discredited as well as questioning the integrity of the report.

The report is CSIRO’s GenCost report. The report advises the cost of electricity production with different energy systems. These systems include renewable energy, coal generation, and nuclear plants.

Dutton was questioned on Tuesday by media why nuclear power was suitable for Australia despite being the most expensive form of electricity production. Dutton claimed that GenCost was a “discredited report”.

“It’s not relied on. It’s not a genuine piece of work. It doesn’t take into account some of the transmission costs, the costs around subsidies for the renewable,” Dutton said. “I would look at the independent, verifiable evidence.”

Hilton defended CSIRO from criticism by Dutton.

“The GenCost report can be trusted by all our elected representatives, irrespective of whether they are advocating for electricity generation by renewables, coal, gas or nuclear energy,” Hilton said.

“The role of CSIRO is to present the community and all of our elected representatives and government with the best possible data and models on which to found their policies.”

“I’d ask of all of our elected representatives to treat the scientists and the science that comes out respectfully and don’t disparage the science when you’re having a policy debate.”

GenCost found that a grid with 90 per cent wind and solar power (by 2030) would generate electricity at $70 to $100 a megawatt hour.

Coal generation would cost $85 to $135 a megawatt hour.

Small modular reactors would generate electricity at $210 to $350 a megawatt hour.

The GenCost report did not account for large scale nuclear reactors.

FAQs

Q: What is solar power?

A: Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic cells. These cells absorb sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity, which can then be converted into alternating current (AC) electricity for use in homes and businesses.

Q: How does wind power work?

A: Wind power is generated by harnessing the kinetic energy of the wind to turn turbines, which then convert this energy into electricity. Wind turbines are typically placed in locations with high wind speeds, such as onshore or offshore wind farms.

Q: What is nuclear power?

A: Nuclear power is generated by splitting atoms in a process called nuclear fission. This releases a large amount of energy in the form of heat, which is used to produce steam that drives turbines to generate electricity. Nuclear power plants use uranium or plutonium as fuel for the fission process.

Q: What are the advantages of solar power?

A: Solar power is renewable, clean, and abundant. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions, helps to combat climate change, and can lower electricity bills for homeowners and businesses. Solar panels also require minimal maintenance and have a long lifespan.

Q: What are the advantages of wind power?

A: Wind power is also renewable, clean, and abundant. It does not produce greenhouse gas emissions during operation and helps to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Wind turbines can be installed on land or offshore, making it a versatile energy source.

Q: What are the advantages of nuclear power?

A: Nuclear power produces large amounts of electricity with minimal greenhouse gas emissions. It is a reliable source of baseload power that can operate continuously for long periods. Nuclear power plants have a small physical footprint compared to other power plants.

Q: What are the challenges of solar power?

A: Solar power generation is dependent on sunlight, so it is intermittent and may not be available at night or during cloudy weather. The initial cost of installing solar panels can be high, although prices have been decreasing in recent years.

Q: What are the challenges of wind power?

A: Wind power is also intermittent, as wind speeds can vary throughout the day and seasonally. Wind turbines can be noisy and may have visual impacts on the landscape. Additionally, there can be challenges in siting wind farms due to local opposition and environmental concerns.

Q: What are the challenges of nuclear power?

A: Nuclear power plants produce radioactive waste that requires careful management and disposal. There are safety concerns related to nuclear accidents, although modern plants have multiple layers of safety systems. The high upfront cost of building nuclear power plants can also be a barrier to their widespread adoption.

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