Wind power vs. nuclear power: You decide

October 25, 2019

Two recent stories in the Cape Gazette  Oct. 4 and Oct. 11, plus a supportive editorial, tell the story of a proposed connection facility in Fenwick State Park for 15 massive 120-megawatt wind turbines that will stand 853 feet tall, 15 to 20 miles off Delaware’s coast.

The politicians’ compliance is being rewarded with $15 million in promised park improvements by Denmark-based Orsted, the new project builder. 

But that’s a small fraction of the $40 billion in taxpayer wind/solar subsidies estimated from 2018-27, making it the most expensive energy subsidy under current tax law, per writer Lisa Linowes.

But what about nuclear energy? Remember, France produces 71 percent of its electricity from nuclear power safely, and Delmarva Power already uses 35 percent (emissions free) nuclear in its energy source portfolio.

Energy and climate writer/author Robert Bryce says the environmental interests ignored the conclusions of the world’s top climate experts. 

In 2013, four scientists (J. Hansen, former NASA climatologist, K. Emanuel, MIT, T. Wigley, Univ. of Adelaide in Australia and K. Caldiera, Carnegie Institution) wrote an open letter stating that renewable energy sources like wind and solar “cannot  scale up fast enough to deliver cheap and reliable power at the scale the global economy needs…without a substantial role for nuclear power.”

In 2014, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said achieving deep cuts in emissions “will require more intensive use…of renewables and nuclear energy.”  

Then in 2015, the International Energy Agency called nuclear power “a critical element in limiting greenhouse gas emissions.”

They added that nuclear energy capacity must more than double by 2050 for any hope to reach the touted 2-degree temperature limit scenario. 

Finally, in a November 2013 article, Jason Correa documented that it would take 2,077 2-megawatt wind turbines to produce 9 million megawatts of electricity in a year versus “one” 1,154-megawatt nuclear power plant!

Bryce added that nuclear energy’s benefits are seldom, if ever, talked about because there’s no money in it compared to the enormous grants and subsidies for wind and solar. 

With wind power’s average capacity rate for electric production reported as only 20-40 percent vs. nuclear at about 90 percent, it’s a legitimate question to ask if the wind/solar subsidies are the reason nuclear power is being ignored? 

Geary Foertsch


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