Thursday, May 01, 2008

EIA's Analysis of Senators Lieberman and Warner's Climate Security Act of 2007

Over the past few years, the Energy Information Administration has been asked by many members of Congress to model the effects of their proposed climate legislation on the US. The latest request released yesterday was from Senators Lieberman and Warner:

This report responds to a request from Senators Lieberman and Warner for an analysis of S. 2191, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2007 and a subsequent analysis request from Senators Barasso, Inhofe, and Voinovich.
Here is the CO2 emissions reduction targets in the Lieberman-Warner bill:
The Title I caps decline gradually from 5,775 million metric tons (mmt) CO2-equivalent in 2012 (7 percent below 2006 emission levels), to 3,860 mmt in 2030 (39 percent below 2006 levels), and 1,732 mmt in 2050 (72 percent below 2006 levels).
When EIA conducts these requested analyses, they develop several different scenarios "to analyze some of the key areas of uncertainty that impact the analysis results." Here's the description of the main scenario:
The S. 2191 Core Case represents an environment where key low-emissions technologies, including nuclear, fossil with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), and various renewables, are developed and deployed in a timeframe consistent with the emissions reduction requirements without encountering any major obstacles, even with rapidly growing use on a very large scale, and the use of offsets, both domestic and international, is not significantly limited by cost or regulation.
What role does nuclear energy play in this scenario? Drum-roll please ............ by 2030, nuclear energy accounts for 62 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S.!!! The core case assumes that 268 giga-watts of new nuclear come online by 2030. The average new nuclear plant size is about 1,400 MW which means that 268 GW equals 190-200 new nuclear plants. Wow!

Most would say that building 200 new nuclear plants by 2030 couldn't happen and they're probably right. 2040 is a more realistic year to have 200 new nuclear plants operating in the U.S. Regardless, EIA's analysis of the bill should tell people that nuclear energy has a significant role to play if the country is to continue to consume electricity while reducing emissions.

4 comments:

Dash said...

Sorry to be off-topic, but this editorial is a worthy read, and should be fun to correct all the errors or mis-information in the editorial.

Wikipedia distorts nuclear history
http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080501/OPINION03/805010312/1039/OPINION03

Paul Studier said...

Speaking of Wikipedia, the nuclear power industry has to convince everyone that the uranium is not about to run out. 268 gigawatts will need a lot of it, and breeders will take decades to develop. See the Peak Uranium article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_uranium . In particular, if anyone has a decent reference for the cost of uranium from seawater, that would help.

HiTekVagabond said...

Dash,
Wikipedia's articles are written by volunteers like you. If you see an error, you can correct it yourself or mark it to be corrected by a volunteer. The discussion page is a place where aspects of the article can be discussed. However, you cannot blame "Wikipedia" for distorting history. Your complaining about it here does not fix it. An equal amount of characters typed will get the fix underway many times.

Konrad Roeder

HiTekVagabond said...

Paul,
Please remember that peak uranium is not about uranium running out. There is plenty of uranium -- nearly endless amounts of it. It's about the *rate* at which it can supply the demand. Just like 268 gigawatts is a rate, not a quantity of energy, tons of uranium per year is a rate.

The nuclear industry needs to acknowledge that currently uranium is used just like a finite resource. It's not until the fuel cycle is closed that it approaches being a renewable source of energy. Some of the key problems are that there not enough reprocessing plants and breeders to even begin supplying the recycled fuel at the needed rate. Furthermore, the current technology needs to be improved so that the fuel cycle can be closed completely. Currently the cycle leaks too much highly radioactive waste.