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Economic and environmental costs of replacing nuclear fission with solar and wind energy in Sweden


Hong, S and Qvist, S and Brook, BW, Economic and environmental costs of replacing nuclear fission with solar and wind energy in Sweden, Energy Policy, 112 pp. 56-66. ISSN 0301-4215 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2017.10.013


Nuclear power is facing an uncertain future in Sweden due to political directives that are seeking to phase out this energy source over coming decades. Here we examine the environmental and economic costs of hypothetical future renewable-energy-focused cases compared with the current nuclear and hydroelectricity-centred mix in Sweden. We show that if wind and photovoltaics replace entire nuclear power while maintaining the current level of dispatchable backup capacity including hydroelectric power and peak gas power, 154 GW of wind power will be required and will generate 427.1 TWh (compared with the actual demand of 143.7 TWh) to reliably meet demand each hour of the year. As a consequence, the annual spending on electricity systems will be five times higher than the status quo. Increasing dispatchable power, increasing transmission capacities to other countries, and generating electricity from combined heat and power plants even when there is no heat demand, will together reduce the required capacities of wind and solar photovoltaic by half, but it will double the greenhouse-gas emissions during the combustion process. In conclusion, our economic and greenhouse-gas emissions analyses demonstrate that replacing nuclear power with renewables will be neither economic nor environmentally-friendly with regards to the climate.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:nuclear power, renewable, sustainability assessment, alternative cases, optimization algorithm
Research Division:Engineering
Research Group:Electrical engineering
Research Field:Electrical energy generation (incl. renewables, excl. photovoltaics)
Objective Division:Energy
Objective Group:Energy transformation
Objective Field:Energy transformation not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Hong, S (Dr Sanghyun Hong)
UTAS Author:Brook, BW (Professor Barry Brook)
ID Code:121791
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2017-10-16
Last Modified:2019-03-27

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