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On Can Nuclear Power and Renewable Energy Learn to Get Along?

Interesting BOTE. Although in a world where you're reliably pairing storage with generation, you're probably going to see a convergence between peak and off-peak wholesale price signals. So you may not get the amortization you're expecting.

April 16, 2014    View Comment    

On Can Nuclear Power and Renewable Energy Learn to Get Along?

From a technical standpoint, I think Jesse is generally correct--a world with a high penetration of renewables is necessarily one with a lot of flexibility technology (energy storage, demand response, etc)--and these are precisely the technologies that would enable other sources, such as nuclear, to integrate and play along well. The devil, of course, would be in the technical details--how much energy storage needed, what capacity nuclear can play--but the general concept makes technical sense.

In an economic sense, maybe it's less clear. As is referenced in the article, marginal-price based wholesale market clearing means that high (zero-marginal cost) renewables penetration has economic limits. Even with a lot of flexibility technologies, does a high-renewables world (without subisidies) demand a different kind of wholesale energy market system? In a world of overwhelming flexibility, you'd get to a point where wholesale energy has a uniform price over time and location. But how short of "overwhelming flexibility" can you go before you need a different energy market to deal with high renewables penetration? More to the point, can you think of a such an energy market system that would let nuclear play economically too?

April 15, 2014    View Comment    

On With Dark Clouds on the Horizon, Can Financial Innovation Keep Distributed Solar Shining?

I agree there was probably a systematic difference at the outset between households with solar loans and those with 3rd-party leases. However, I understand that the move of the market in the last couple of years to 3rd-party leases now has less to do with household finances than 1) greater net benefits to households than solar loans (see, and 2) transferring risk (e.g., in the event of solar PV system performance problems) to the third party from the homeowner.
March 10, 2014    View Comment