Nukes economically hard to justify —GE CEO Immelt

The CEO of General Electric, the company that designed the reactors at Fukushima and Hatch 1 and 2, said nukes are economically hard to justify. And that was back in July, before the first new nukes permitted in 30 years, at Plant Vogtle on the Savannah River, slipped 15 months. What’s winning? Shale gas, temporarily, but that’s just a bump in the road on the way to wind and solar power.

Pilita Clark wrote for Financial Times 30 July 2012, Nuclear ‘hard to justify’, says GE chief,

Nuclear power is so expensive compared with other forms of energy that it has become “really hard” to justify, according to the chief executive of General Electric, one of the world’s largest suppliers of atomic equipment.

“It’s really a gas and wind world today,” said Jeff Immelt, referring to two sources of electricity he said most countries are shifting towards as natural gas becomes “permanently cheap”.

“When I talk to the guys who run the oil companies they say look, they’re finding more gas all the time. It’s just hard to justify nuclear, really hard. Gas is so cheap and at some point, really, economics rule,” Mr Immelt told the Financial Times in an interview in London at the weekend. “So I think some combination of gas, and either wind or solar … that’s where we see most countries around the world going.”

GE CEO Immelt may also want to talk to GE’s own research director Mark M. Little, who said in May 2011 that solar will be cheaper than fossil power in five years.

Little didn’t even explicitly mention Moore’s Law, as in the three-decade-long steady decrease in price and increase in watts generated per $100 of PV cells that has already driven solar deployments up exponentially and will keep doing so for years.

Shale gas is not going to last, not even so much because of fake fracking studies taking down institutes that produce them, or even because people are catching on to fracking human errors, or even because nobody wants fracking underneath their back yard.

The same thing that has made shale gas temporarily popular will be its downfall: price. Moody’s is already declaring the financial uncompetiveness of thermal generation (coal, oil, and gas) companies in Europe. The resulting carbon bubble is going make such companies shift to wind and solar or go down, and even-more-expensive nuclear is even worse.

That’s why Renewables are Winning, Nukes are Dead, and Coal is Crashing. The winners: wind, and increasingly solar power.

Except of course in Georgia, with our special financing problem. Hey, the legislature meets next week! If enough of us ask them to, maybe they will fix that.