The ECR (European Society of Radiology) and the Renew group of the European Parliament commissioned an independent study to assess the effectiveness of EU climate neutrality, and analyse and compare two climate-neutral power-generating technologies that, if they effectively replace fossil fuel infrastructure, can result in decarbonisation of the electricity system – wind/solar and nuclear. The study was initiated by Dutch MEP Rob Roos and Czech MEP Ondřej Knotek and peer-reviewed in part by, among other scientists, Nobel Prize-winning economist William Nordhaus.
The study – Road to EU Climate Neutrality by 2050: Spatial Requirements of Wind/Solar and Nuclear Energy and Their Respective Costs found that, in realistic scenarios, there is insufficient land to meet all the power demand of the Netherlands – “a country along the North Sea with abundant wind” – and the Czech Republic – “a landlocked country with no access to the sea and a geographically more challenging landscape” – were to rely solely or predominantly on wind and solar power. It also concluded nuclear energy is more cost-effective than renewables. Even when major efficiency improvements in solar and wind farms are taken into account, nuclear energy will remain the cheaper option in 2050, it said.
“Because current EU policies favour renewable energy over nuclear energy, an assessment of the relative cost of both technologies can easily be led astray and reflect the policy status quo, rather than anything inherent to these technologies,” the report says. “Massive funding found its way into the development and deployment of wind and solar energy solutions. This had the effect of reducing the price of renewable energy, but it has also had a relative inflating effect on the cost of nuclear power and of [its] deployment thereof in the EU. “Given the advantages of nuclear power from spatial and economic viewpoints, however, Member State governments will likely need to add nuclear power to their energy mixes to stay on track in their attempts to meet the EU’s climate neutrality objective.”