Even if you aren’t a pro-nuclear person, I’m sure you might have seen the argument that nuclear cannot load follow being used somewhere online. And then probably using that as a reason why we should be moving to a renewable mixture of wind and solar backed by storage. I never realized how self-defeating it was though until Mr. (Dr.?) Simon Albright brought it up in these words.
But since I am a firm believer that the universe is powered by irony, I do enjoy people giving the solution to their claim in a manner that undermines their attempt at a point. I’ve talked before about how nuclear and storage technologies can work well together. So it causes me no end of confusion when people deride nuclear because it is slow to react to changing circumstances, and then immediately champion technologies that cannot react to changing circumstances at all.
Leaving aside the fact that the idea that nuclear reactors cannot load follow is a complete fabrication, the idea of replacing it with wind, water, solar backed up with some kind of storage gives the answer to the problem of not being able to load follow anyways! Storage is not a member of a street gang where once you choose your colours you are stuck with that choice for life. It’s a tool, a technology, able to be adapted to any situation where it can provide benefits to the people that have built it. Like any tool, when it is applied to the job it is best suited it and combined with the knowledge of how to use it, it can open up more options for those that need it. You wouldn’t try to tighten a screw with a hammer, not only does it waste your time but it also holds you back from completeing whatever project you are working on. When you have more tools available, the quality of the work can increase.
I’ve been realizing that I’m a fan of nuclear because it has the potential for opening up the most options for all of humanity, and proper energy storage can be a multiplier for that. It’s not a bludgeon to be used to help perpetuate falsehoods, but a partner to move forward into the future with. So can we all agree that if people believe that energy storage can allow wind and solar to power civilization that they are not allowed to say that nuclear is not viable because it can’t load follow? Seriously, never hearing that argument again would save everyone a lot of time. Time that could be better spent building something beautiful, functional, and long lasting.
Aside from the issue of wind and solar being so diffuse and thus requiring huge land tracts to harvest that energy and output that energy in the form of electrical power, the issue of intermittency having to fill SEASONAL variations upwards of 50%, raises the specter of massive amounts of electricity storage that defies any basis in reality. “Where will those resources come from?” is perhaps the most pertinent question but by no means the only issue that needs to be grappled. The basic problem it seems to me is that renewables backers are unwilling or unable to do the math. Surely anyone who does do the math can appreciate the complete lack of rationality being applied by intermittent renewables advocates.