Apr 26, 2018

Balancing nuclear and renewable energy

Posted by in categories: economics, nuclear energy, solar power, sustainability

Nuclear power plants typically run either at full capacity or not at all. Yet the plants have the technical ability to adjust to the changing demand for power and thus better accommodate sources of renewable energy such as wind or solar power.

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently explored the benefits of doing just that. If nuclear generated in a more flexible manner, the researchers say, the plants could lower electricity costs for consumers, enable the use of more , improve the economics of nuclear and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The team explored technical constraints on flexible operations at and introduced a new way to model how those challenges affect how power systems operate. “Flexible nuclear power operations are a ‘win-win-win,’ lowering power system operating costs, increasing revenues for nuclear plant owners and significantly reducing curtailment of renewable energy,” wrote the team in an Applied Energy article published online on April 24.

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