Monday, January 29, 2007

The DailyKos on Energy and Subsidies

A couple of weeks back, my colleague David Bradish published a post that cleared away a lot of the smoke that anti-nukes blow to conceal the truth about energy sources and government subsidies. Late on Friday, I came across a post at the DailyKos by diarist NNadir that merits further examination:

World-wide nuclear energy in 2004 produced about 2,620 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, meaning that the "subsidy" amounted to about 0.6 cents per kilowatt-hour on average, a trivial portion of what the average person sees on his or her electric bill.

[...]

For comparison purposes - since it's likely to come up - solar electricity, which is also subsidized, produces power at 21.4 cents per kilowatt-hour according to the solar promotion site, Solar Buzz. In some places, like where I live, you can get the government to pay - to subsidize - about half of that cost, assuming you're wealthy enough to afford the other half. In spite of this wonderful state of affairs, solar electricity is still trivial. All the subsidies in the world have not made it produce even 0.1% of the world's electrical energy.
Nadir's conclusion: If anything, nuclear energy's real world performance would seem to make the case for additional subsidies.

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2 comments:

Lee said...

I took notice of solar power in 2004 when yearly installations exceeded 1 GW. I had previously thought solar was an expensive joke but I don't anymore. The industry is doubling every three years and prices have declined by 20% with each doubling. Solar is expensive today but if you project out 10 years you have 16 GW of yearly production and electricity delivered at under 15 cents/kWh. The subsidies seem to be working. At what point does solar power become non-trivial to you Eric?

Eric McErlain said...

I don't know -- perhaps you should address your concerns to Mr. Nadir.