Climate idea

Patrik Lobergh

11 w


Climate idea

"For a stable electricity system - invest in solar, wind and hydrogen, not nuclear power"

DEBATE. The Swedish state must regain responsibility for a stable electricity supply, and prioritise cost-effective solutions. Solar and wind power should receive the same support as new nuclear power, write five researchers and energy debaters
In recent years, the Swedish electricity system has been widely debated. How will the electricity supply be guaranteed when the wind does not blow or when nuclear power plants are out of operation?
In the past, the Swedish state was responsible for the electricity system, but since deregulation in 1996 there is no one responsible for the system as a whole and almost all reserve power is shut down, which creates risks for industry and consumers. The electricity companies considered reserve power unprofitable.
Apart from operational reliability, Sweden does not have time to wait 10–15 years for new nuclear power. Changeover of industry and transport is now taking place and requires a lot of electricity. To better balance the electricity system, a new power line with high-voltage direct current (sea-based?) could be built quickly from the large water reservoirs in the north to southern Sweden.
Grid stability can be created with large batteries coupled with power electronics, in large-scale operation in California and Australia - heavy generator swing mass is not necessary.
Hydrogen can play a key role in stabilizing the electricity system, especially in southern Sweden. If there is a large supply of solar and wind power, the electricity price is lowered and most of it can go to hydrogen production. The hydrogen can be stored and later used in industrial processes, for fuels, for fossil-free sponge iron or steel. In case of low availability of solar and wind power, stored hydrogen is used for electricity production to balance the electricity system. The total efficiency becomes reasonable as the electricity is mostly used directly, while energy from, for example, hydrogen gas is used a small part of the time.
Hydrogen can be converted into fuels such as methanol or ammonia that are easy to store and can be used for vehicles or for fertilizer production. Methane gas with an increasing admixture of hydrogen is stored on a large scale in Germany for the entire winter's needs. Denmark has decided to build an entire energy island in the North Sea with offshore wind power combined with hydrogen production.
Energy can also be stored on a large scale through pumping power stations, for example in closed mines, or through nano-coated salt whose temperature rises to 500 degrees when water is supplied, tested by Vattenfall in Berlin, as well as a method with molten aluminum at 600 degrees tested by the company Azelio in collaboration with Stena Aluminium. The energy with the latter two methods is approximately 40 percent electricity and 40 percent district heating.
Solar and wind power have major advantages: they can be built quickly and at a third or less of the cost of new nuclear power. Even if you consider the whole system, and not just the power plants themselves, the IEA's assessment (World Energy Outlook 2022) is that solar/wind is significantly cheaper than nuclear power in Europe. Land-based solar/wind costs around 10-40 öre/kWh. The Hinkley Point C reactor building in England is guaranteed 165 öre/kWh in today's monetary value by the British government and Flamanville in France would cost about 135 öre/kWh but has become even more expensive. Similar for the electricity from Olkiluoto 3 in Finland, same reactor type, after a 14-year delay.
Offshore wind power is particularly relevant because the wind is more and more consistent at sea. The cost is currently two to three times that of onshore wind power and rapidly declining.
Applications for connection of new wind power to the power grid at Svenska kraftnät correspond to approximately 500 TWh/year. Sweden's current consumption is approx. 140 TWh/year. Wind power in Sweden already produces 33 TWh/year. Net electricity exports were 33 TWh in 2022, mostly in Europe.
A complete electrification of the vehicle fleet in 10–15 years would require approximately 15 TWh/year, hydrogen to fossil-free steel (Hybrit) and iron would require approximately 65 TWh/year. In addition, there will be a need to replace existing nuclear power when it reaches the age limit, probably around 2040 when the youngest reactors will be 55 years old. Nuclear power produced 50 TWh in 2022. The replacement can be solar/wind power or new nuclear power.
There is an argument for the next generation of nuclear power: Small Modular Reactors (SMR) and 4th generation nuclear power.
SMR is nothing new. Since the 1950s, at least 57 variants of 18 different types of SMR have been built – none of these projects have managed to standardize and achieve mass production. The Swedish SMR project with lead-cooled reactor risks a number of years of delay due to Russia's war against Ukraine.
According to the Öko Institut in Germany, the production of thousands of SMR reactors is needed in order for them to be able to compete with conventional nuclear power in terms of costs. In order to obtain economics, larger nuclear power plants are normally required. In addition, disadvantages such as waste management, safety, cooling, uranium mining etc. remain. If current nuclear power is replaced by SMR, about 25 reactors with an output of about 2 TWh each would be needed. With commissioning starting around 2035, the next 25 may be able to start in the next five to ten years.
The state should, we believe, prioritize cost-effective solutions, be technology neutral and provide corresponding subsidies and guarantees for solar and wind power.
The 4th generation nuclear power (bridge reactors) has even bigger problems. A large such reactor, Superphénix, was built in France at a cost of approximately SEK 200 billion in today's money value. It was finally stopped in 1998.
The same applies to the Monju reactor in Japan, which was stopped in 2016 after a series of mishaps. A number of smaller bridge reactors have also failed. Brid reactors require fast neutrons, with faster processes, greater risks of accidents. Extraction of new fuel from spent nuclear fuel requires reprocessing, which is expensive and cumbersome. Since 1993, Japan has invested SEK 370 billion in the Rokkasho reprocessing plant, which is not yet operational. Fuel transport increases the risk of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism.
The Swedish state must take back responsibility for a stable electricity supply, and now, not in 10–15 years. It is natural that Svenska kraftnät guarantees reserve power and grid stability. The Swedish state already subsidizes nuclear power by taking on costs in the event of major accidents and storage of the high-level waste. The new government has proposed 400 billion in credit guarantees for new nuclear power.
The state should, we believe, prioritize cost-effective solutions, be technology neutral and provide corresponding subsidies and guarantees for solar and wind power, which can be built significantly faster, more sustainable and safer in the long term, as well as for reserve power.

Peter Fritzson, professor emeritus in computer science and simulation of complex systems, Linköping University, MSc in technical physics
Thomas B Johansson, professor emeritus in energy systems, Lund University
Bengt Lennartson, professor of automation, Chalmers University of Technology
Göran Bryntse, technical doctor, chairman Sero, Sweden's national organization of energy associations
Åke Sivertun, professor emeritus at the Norwegian Defense Academy, associate professor at Linköping University

”För ett stabilt elsystem – satsa på sol, vind och vätgas, inte kärnkraft”

DEBATT. Svenska staten måste återta ansvaret för en stabil eltillförsel, och prioritera kostnadseffektiva lösningar. Sol- och vindkraft bör få samma stöd som ny kärnkraft, skriver fem forskare och energidebattörer.[rm]=240987515

Do you agree?

149 more agrees trigger scaled up advertising

  • Manfred Tambo

    5 w

    Great idea

    • We Don't Have Time

      11 w

      Dear Patrik Lobergh Thank you for getting your climate idea to level 2! We have reached out to Regeringen and asked what they think. I will keep you updated on any progress! /Adam We Don't Have Time

      • Daniel Waweru

        11 w

        Stable and reliable is the way to go

        • Munene Mugambi

          11 w

          Invest in clean, renewable and economical energy

        • Jane Wangui

          11 w

          Great ideas, how I wish they could be implemented.

          • rosebellendiritu

            11 w

            @jane_wangui Implementing ideas will make them real,the process might take a while though before results are seen.


            11 w


            • Joseph Githinji

              11 w

              Great ideas for sure we need clean energy. I wish everyone could get this information,digest and utilize

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