How Much Wind and Solar Capacity Would a Billion Dollars Buy?

Those cost overruns so far on the new nukes? How much solar and wind could that money buy?

John Hanger wrote on his Facts of the Day today, $913 Million Construction Overrun Hits Georgia New Nukes: How Much Gas, Wind, Solar Capacity Would That Buy?

Comparing the Vogtle initial $913 million cost overrun to the capital costs of gas, wind, and solar plants show just how big these cost overruns can be. The Vogtle $913 million cost overrun by itself could have paid for approximately 1,000 megawatts of natural gas generation; 450 megawatts of wind power; and 330 megawatts of solar power.

Don’t forget that’s just the first cost overruns on those nukes. When the current Plant Vogtle nukes were built, there were supposed to be four at a cost of $660 million; only two were built, at a cost of $8.87 billion. That’s a cost overrun of 1300%. How much solar and wind could $8 billion buy?

Moreover, gas, wind, and solar generation could be up and running in 3-years or less from the first day to the last day of development, as opposed to the 10 years or more needed to build a nuclear plant.

Austin Energy’s new 30 MW solar farm, for example, approved beginning of 2009, opened end of 2011, and cost less than originally projected.

Oh, and solar doesn’t leak radioactive tritium like Plant Hatch and won’t get shut down two days after an NRC clean bill of health like Plant Vogtle.