Chapter 9.2: Wake of Japan, Wind to Replace Nukes?

There is no doubt that what is happening in Japan is a very tragic case.  Does this mean we need to reject nuke power in Ontario?  That’s the call coming in tsunamis as big as the one the crippled the nuke plants in Japan.   Yet this knee jerk reaction is happening, and governments like they are, may bend even a little in slowing the rebuilding and adding to our nuke fleet. 

The claim is we can replace all our nuke plants with wind.  Right. This knee jerk reaction is not looking at the facts, only emotion.

As of this writing nuke plants in Ontario are producing 9,683MW of power (see).

At 1.5MW each that would be 6,455 wind turbines.  At 7% name plate for summer output we get 92,219 turbines.  If you want them built in 20 years (the lifetime of turbines) that would mean we would have to start building 5,000 every year for the next 20 years, or from start to finish 16 every day.

Then when those were all build and done, we would have to start the cycle again with 5,000 every year as the one’s we built this year all need to be replaced in 20 years.  Which means to supply the power of all our nuke plants with wind we would have to build 16 per day forever. 

That does not include more wind in lieu of nuke plants needed in the future.  Nor do those 93,000 wind turbines provide power when the wind does not blow.  On those days, I suppose we are to shut down half of Ontario.

2 Responses to Chapter 9.2: Wake of Japan, Wind to Replace Nukes?

  1. Greg N says:

    Actually, the calculation is off by at least a factor of 2. The 5,964 MW that you quoted is for OPG alone. Bruce Power generates almost as much. As I am writing at 4 PM on 21 July 2011, according to IESO the total demand in Ontario is 25,575 MW. Nuclear is providing 10,565 MW out of 10,686 MW available (or 98.9% of capacity). BP is generating 5,000 MW and OPG the balance (or about 5,565 MW). Wind is supplying 656 MW out of 1,379 MW available (or 47.6% available). This might seem acceptable to some but there aoften times when it provides nothing. For example yesterday, it was providing as little as 10 to 40 MW throughout the day when it was as hot as today but no wind was blowing. Realistically wind cannot make up the for the nuclear base load without blanketing Ontario with turbines on every patch of available land.

  2. jrwakefield says:

    Fixed, thanks for the catch.

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