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How Renewable is Catching Nuclear Power In Global Energy Race

Global trends in renewable energy

According to Robert Rapier’s review on renewable energy, he separated renewables into two categories called Hydroelectric and Renewables. The earlier comprises of hydropower, which has been around for a long time. Hydropower still produces more electricity globally than the Renewables category, which consists mainly of rapidly-growing wind and solar power, as well as more mature renewable technologies like geothermal power and power produced from biomass.

To put these numbers in viewpoint, Robert went ahead to shows the global percentage each of the major power sources contributed to electricity generation in the global share of electricity production using a graph.

According to him, coal is still the dominant source of electricity around the world, although natural gas has taken over the top spot in the U.S. But, renewables have grown rapidly over the past decade, and are on the cusp of overtaking nuclear globally.

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Nuclear power was responsible for the Terawatt-hours TWh of electricity generation, compared to the TWh for hydropower and for renewables. In comparison, coal produced more power than all three categories combined.

However, the growth rates of the different categories of electricity generation tell a different story. Over the past decade, the global electricity generated by coal grew at an annual average of percentage. The Nuclear power generation over that time actually declined annually by a certain percent following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. However, the Hydropower generation grew at an average annual rate of a certain percentage within the same time. These growth rates are indicative of mature power sources.

Meanwhile, let us contrast those growth rates with those of modern renewables.

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The Renewables category grew at an average annual rate in percentage. But within that category, power from geothermal in addition to biomass grew at an annual average rate. The Wind in addition to solar power, by contrast, grew at different annual average percentages respectively, over the same past decade.

Global solar power generation.

Based on Robert’s record, the world’s leading producer of solar power was once again China, with a substantial percentage share globally. China maintained a blistering growth rate in it in addition to with the solar generation increasing over time in percentage. China has increased solar generation at a good average annual rate in percentage.

Meanwhile, the U.S. remains in second place globally with good percentage share. U.S. solar power generation increased by percentage, in addition to over the decade, the U.S. has increased solar power at an average annual rate. Rounding out the Top countries in solar power generation are Japan in terms of percentage share, Germany, in addition to India.

Robert also noted that Wind power is still ahead of solar in global electricity generation. In some places, wind power was applied d to generate TWh of power, versus TWh for solar power. But solar power is on a trajectory to surpass wind power during the next decade.

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Globally, China was also the top producer of wind power with the highest percentage global share. Again, the U.S. was second with the second largest percentage share, followed by Germany’s share, India’s share, in addition to the UK’s share.

Nuclear power remains ahead of renewables, but just barely. Further, it is losing ground. The world produced more power from nuclear than it did from modern renewables. Meanwhile, nuclear lead currently is less. Based on current trends, modern renewables will surpass nuclear power production either this year or next year. I will add that nuclear is firm power, and renewables are intermittent, and that is an important distinction.

The rapid growth rate for renewables is a positive development in a world trying to rein in carbon dioxide emissions. However, renewables have not yet reached a level at which they are actually causing fossil fuel demand to contract.

Modern renewable energy consumption mainly winds as well as solar power grew by million metric tons of oil equivalent annually. But global energy consumption grew much faster than that, with fossil fuels carrying most of the load. Global consumption of coal, oil, as well as natural gas,  grew by million metric tons annually, nearly four times the growth in renewables. As a result, global carbon dioxide emissions set a new all-time high annually.

This highpoint the necessity to carry on developing low-carbon sources of firm power that have to be operated at a large scale. The furthermost noticeable contender is a nuclear power.

Originally posted 2019-07-12 05:09:26.

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