Hawaii, as the most geographically isolated place on the planet, blessed with every form of renewable energy and cursed with having to import all fossil fuel and some of the most expensive electricity on the planet $.35/KWH, roughly 3x the price on the mainland, the focus has been getting off fossil fuels for many years. I’ve been either observer and recently an active participant in making this happen for many years. Here are some of my observations about Nuclear and renewable.
Much of the discussion of renewable is mostly happy talk. The chart that @Tman posted is closer to reality than "the renewable in XYZ countries exceeded fossil fuel electricity for a day. The number I’m far more interested in is what is the worst day for renewable, cause that’s a lot closer to base load power.
A particularly disingenuous practice is to talk about peak capacity. This new solar project can generate XY Megawatts enough to power N thousand homes. By definition, solar is the best case going to get 50% of peak capacity and usual efficiency is the 30% range, and Wind isn’t much better.
Yes, we have seen a nice growth of renewable energy in the last 4 or 5 years (possibly even accelerating growth rate), but the starting point was so small it doesn’t really matter that much.
Politicians setting ambitious goals, e.g. 100% renewable by 2040 or 2050, is for all practical purposes useless. In 2004, Hawaii’s only Republican governor (I worked on her campaign and the policy) set a goal of 70% renewable by 2030. A decade later, one of her predecessors up the ante to 100% renewable by 2045. The reality is we aren’t close to the 70% goal. (27% as of last year and the percentage of renewables has crept up steadily at 1-2%/year)
Sadly, I think that Nuclear energy is also in the happy talk category. Seeing the NIMBY reaction to mostly beign source of energy like Windmills in Hawaii and the mainland. I’m hard pressed to see how something as controversial as nuclear power plants gets built in the US, German or much of europe. I agree that money should not be a big factor, but the reality is that it does matter. Nuclear energy is very expensive due to cost over runs etc.
That said, I do think their is hope for nuclear in some places. I see it being popular in China, since it replace badly polluting coal planets, and they don’t have the amount of natural gas we do. France also given there history, maybe in Northern Europe with lower population density. They can stick a nuclear plant in some isolated spot in Sweden. Maybe even India.