The Breakthrough Institute posted an insightful article, The Costs of Replacing Japan’s Nuclear Power, detailing Japan’s energy requirements and the subsequent, unreasonable physical infrastructure required by a matching amount of renewable energy sources, including:
Solar capacity required to replace Japan’s current nuclear fleet would cover roughly 1.3 million acres … roughly 52% of Japan’s total land area.
Wind turbines would require … 1.3 million acres for the entire wind farm. This represents over 50 percent of Japan’s total land area.
These unattainable land requirements are without advancing a single step toward Japan’s goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 25% by the year 2020 from 1990 levels. To accomplish this reduction goal without any nuclear power, BTI tallies up the additional renewable energy infrastructure land and cost requirements. In the event that Japan replaces nuclear-generated power with traditional coal and gas sources, the increase in carbon emissions is stifling.
We see these figures as clearly emphasizing the need for a cooperative, complimentary approach to phasing in more renewable and nuclear energy, while phasing out carbon-emitting sources. There is no either-or argument.
There is an example: AREVA’s Clean Energy Park business model pulls from our entire clean energy portfolio to tap regional resources: nuclear power, solar thermal power, offshore wind power, bioenergy power, and hydrogen power storage and distribution. Our project in California proposes, first, the installation of a 150-megawatt solar thermal field powering a desalination plant generating clean agricultural water and, second, the parallel development of a modern 1,650-megawatt Generation III+ EPR reactor.
It all adds up; nuclear and renewables are our low-carbon future.