Wind and sun electricity are both network hogs. Their flicker electricity needs extensive backup. No, thats not the usual backup that you crank up when you know that your reactor goes into a maintenance cycle. That’s permanent standby, very high-cost backup that needs to kick in on a whim. In the past, grids have been overbuilt. This means that there was ample spare capacity in the grid to deal with swings in production and consumption. This fat in the system was no luxury item – it was there to avoid discomfort. Consumers don’t pay for electricity – they pay for stable electricity when they need it in the end. Wind and solar have feasted for free on this fat in the system – they should have paid for their own instead. Now the fat is gone – the grid operates on very slim margins and when things go wrong now, its means candles. Welcome to the renewable paradigm – it was always here but now we get to feel it.
As we hit the limits of renewables, nuclear may become the new centerpiece of Democratic climate plans.