Energy Security in the Age of Net-Zero Ambitions and the System Value of Nuclear Power
Ensuring a ready supply of electricity at an affordable price is vital to the functioning of modern societies and its importance is only set to grow as sectors, including transport and heat, are increasingly electrified. Moreover, safeguarding electricity security will be a prerequisite to meeting the two great energy challenges that we currently face, the transition to decarbonisation and delivering energy access for all. This report analyses the likely threats to electricity security that may arise in the coming years and compares how different sources of electricity contribute towards it. The report concludes with an in-depth exploration of the electricity security risks specific to nuclear power throughout the lifecycle of a nuclear project.
The Failings of Levelised Cost and the Importance of System-Level Analysis
The latest research from NNWI sheds new light on the comparative costs of nuclear and intermittent renewable energy.
A cursory glance at coverage of the electricity sector paints a bleak picture of the nuclear industry’s outlook – branded ‘uncompetitive’ and even ‘now the most expensive form of generation’, the argument goes that nuclear power is too expensive and so ought to be abandoned in favour of other low-carbon technologies.
However, what if the detractors of nuclear power are basing their argument on a flawed assessment of ‘competitiveness’? The new NNWI report makes clear the internal failings of the levelised cost method and demonstrates its inability to capture the wider system-level impacts of different generation technologies.
Small Modular Reactors:
Delayed Privatisation Financing Structure
Small modular reactors offer significant potential advantages compared with traditional large nuclear power plants. One important benefit is the much smaller initial capital investment required for an SMR. This brings SMRs within the reach of a wider range of investors, including many who could not contemplate the huge upfront capital cost of larger plants, and should help to improve the terms on which finance is available.
This report illustrates how Delayed Privatisation could work in practice for SMRs. Direct participation by government in the first phase of a project can be justified by the fact that SMRs are an emerging technology that if successfully developed will be an important tool in meeting climate and emission targets.
The Electricity Market of Southeast Europe:
The Impact of new Trends and Policies
This report presents an impact assessment of new policies and trends – principally those related to the data economy and the post-Paris Agreement climate action consensus – that have recently emerged. These have far-reaching implications for the energy markets, especially the electricity market, of southeast Europe.
Impending demand-side disruptions, including the rapid spread of electric vehicles and the widespread adoption of electricity-intensive data-processing technologies, together with the progressive introduction of more stringent climate and environmental policies, pose significant risks to the security of energy supply.
On the Role of Nuclear Power in the Development of a European Hydrogen Economy
There has never been a greater focus on the development of a clean hydrogen market. The scale-up of clean hydrogen production, along with the decrease in cost that will accompany it, is vital for the transition to a decarbonised energy system.
The focus of policy to date has been directed towards increasing production using electricity generated by renewables, ignoring the potential role of other low-carbon power sources, notably nuclear power. This report surveys the potential of hydrogen as a decarbonising agent as well as the state of present-day policy and makes clear the valuable role that nuclear-produced hydrogen can play in hastening the development of a widespread hydrogen deployment.
Climate Change and Nuclear Energy:
The World in 2020
Action not words...
In 2020 time isn’t on our side. Preventing dangerous irreversible climate change requires a much bigger and faster response than anything previously achieved.
Reality not fantasy...
In 2020 energy policy must be anchored in reality. Indulging in energy fantasies is dangerous. It discourages, and can even prevent, investment in desirable solutions.
So in 2020 let nuclear start to play its part ...
Nuclear should be treated equally alongside other low carbon sustainable energy sources. The case for including nuclear energy within the EU Taxonomy is overwhelming and should be accepted in 2020.
The False Economy of Abandoning Nuclear Power
This in-depth report analyses the often-made assertion that the use of natural gas as a 'bridge fuel' to back up intermittent renewable generation represents the cost optimal approach by which to bring about power sector decarbonisation while nuclear power is no longer affordable and so ought to be abandoned.
It presents a stark warning that attempting to do so would not only impose high financial costs on industry and consumers alike but also lead to a substantial increase in carbon emissions, rendering the achievement of climate targets all but impossible.
Abandoning nuclear power leads unavoidably to a very big increase in carbon emissions which will prevent Britain from meeting its legally binding climate change commitments.