- The green bubble continues to implode
- We face a vast energy shortage
- Nuclear is looking like the only way out
If “you can always count on the [politicians] to do the right thing after they have tried everything else”, we may finally be getting close to a nuclear power renaissance, at last. After all, the alternatives are in an absolute state…
In the wind industry, companies are running away from projects, even willing to take impairment charges measured in the billions to evade having to actually deliver on contracts.
The Financial Times reports, “More than half of all US offshore wind contracts have been terminated this year or are at risk of being ended, according to consultancy BloombergNEF.”
Things are so bad that it’s even costing the politicians. Siemens Energy has a provisional deal for billions in emergency backing from the German government and its part-owner Siemens.
The UK’s favourite green project, heat pumps, is also under fire. The government has been informed that they are too loud. This may sound like an odd criticism when you’re trying to save the planet, but consider the details as reported by the Telegraph:
Heat pumps ‘too noisy’ for millions of British homes, Government told
Green appliances fail to comply with disturbance guidelines in urban areas
And the experts found that “Of the top heat pumps from the five main manufacturers, not one device would meet MCS standards on noise unless the unit was at least 4m away.” Which is a problem for “all terraces, flats and tenement buildings – equivalent to 47pc of Britain’s housing stock” and “some installations in semi-detached homes, which account for 31pc of homes in Britain, could breach guidelines”.
Hydrogen investors likely got hit when a leading hydrogen company announced concerns about its ability to continue business, leading to a 40% drop in the share price.
What about electric vehicles (EVs)? The Financial Times:
Last week US carmaker General Motors dropped plans to build 400,000 electric vehicles by the middle of next year, citing “slowing near-term growth”. Ford said it was pushing back $12bn in EV investments amid a “flatter growth curve that we’re seeing relative to what the industry expected and we expected”.
In Europe, Volkswagen’s CFO reported that its EV orders fell by 50%. This is after EV deliveries increased by 45%. In other words, just as companies have ramped up manufacturing capacity to deliver EVs on order backlogs, sales are tumbling. This may be because governments, including the Swiss and German, are winding down subsidies.
In Australia, the poster child for pumped hydropower storage has become a national scandal and laughing stock, with politicians debating whether the enormous drill called Florence, which is stuck only 150m into its 15km journey, really is “bogged” or not given that it actually can move… backwards. Other pumped hydro projects are only faring a little better.
Adding insult to injury for the green dream believers, the Portuguese prime minister resigned after getting embroiled in a corruption inquiry over lithium and hydrogen projects in the country.
Perhaps worst of all, renewable energy’s partner in delivering stable power, liquefied natural gas, may emit more than coal once you account for all the methane!
Does all this sound like the green industry is a booming sector that we might want to hang our hat on to provide sufficient power for our future? Even the wind energy industry is now openly admitting governments won’t hit their targets. And that’s before the infrastructure, energy storage and electrification get completed…
Last week, one commentator summed it up with this headline: “October 2023: The month the net-zero dream died.”
The Financial Times quoted one consultant who even said it’s impossible to hit targets:
“Biden’s offshore wind goals look impossible at this point of time,” said Atin Jain, a senior wind analyst at BNEF, which cut its offshore wind forecast by nearly 30 per cent last month. “It is also unlikely that the US will meet its 80 per cent clean energy [target] by 2030. The country won’t add nearly enough wind and solar capacity to meet this goal.”
Do we have something else that’ll fill the gap instead? Or are we just going to do without?
It seems to me that we will arrive at the right answer only through a process of elimination. Having tried everything else, we’ll finally turn back to the stable, cheap, zero-emissions electricity we’ve known about and used for decades…
Nuclear power solves so many of the challenges that are undermining our other options so powerfully that it just can’t be ignored any longer. It is the obvious fix.
It has a very high energy density, meaning it doesn’t take up much room or resources relative to how much power it can create.
Energy security is good thanks to the ability to store enough uranium to power a country for many years, not to mention good supply sources from many friendly countries.
Nuclear power can be located where we need it and where existing infrastructure can be utilised to avoid vast buildouts of new energy infrastructure.
Nuclear has a proven track record in many places around the world, having been in use for many decades already.
Nuclear could be ramped up to meet the vast demands of electrification without adding to the resource constraints by using the same metals as the electrification itself.
Nuclear power isn’t intermittent… assuming that you conduct your maintenance properly.
Waste has not been an issue for the countries that use nuclear power.
Nuclear is becoming so politically popular that even renewable energy company Siemens Energy is busy defending its business deals with Russia’s Rosatom company…
Indeed, the buildout of nuclear in many places around the world begs the question of why we needed to go on this renewables detour in the first place.
The only question now is: what are we waiting for, and how best to profit?
Well, it could take decades before any unanticipated nuclear power demand shows up in uranium markets, at least in terms of price. The right place to look is in the nuclear power development sector – the builders and suppliers. More on that in an upcoming report for Fortune & Freedom, soon.
Until next time,
Editor, Fortune & Freedom