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Old 2022-06-30, 00:03   #126
kriesel's Avatar
Mar 2017
US midwest

681810 Posts

There are solid waste issues with nuclear, coal, wind, and solar. (Spent fuel, ash, old monster blades, and old panels.)

Hydro is pretty fully developed. Plus droughts are making it less effective as a "hydroelectric battery".

Nuke plants are fission-dependent, and good for handling base load. They are heavily invested in enriched uranium. There are some breeder capable plants. There's almost no installed thorium infrastructure. There is a lot more thorium resource, and it's safer as fuel since Thorium is not adaptable to nuclear weapons, which is exactly why it was not developed for utility use before uranium was.
It's my understanding India is pursuing thorium based generation, as may be some other nations.

Gas turbines or steam turbines can adjust quickly to changing load.
Wind and solar are irregular production timewise, ("not dispatchable") and need to be teamed with massive energy storage or other sources that can adjust to load variations and compensate for short time scale fluctuation in wind and solar output.
It seems like forever people have been working toward commercially viable fusion power. Maybe someday. ~2050

Land use is also a consideration. It takes several acres for a solar array that single-axis tracks and produces 1MW at peak light (times ~3-8 hours output equivalent per day). That acreage can not be used for highways, housing, other real estate, cattle ranching, horses, goats, cash crops, etc, although it can double as sheep grazing area. It's typically long term leased from farmers and planted in native prairie species as pollinator support / preserve, and fenced like a substation. Nuclear or fossil plants take much less land per MW-year of output.

Last fiddled with by kriesel on 2022-06-30 at 00:10
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