Had California and Germany invested $680 billion into new nuclear power plants instead of renewables like solar and wind farms, the two would already be generating 100% or more of their electricity from clean (low-emissions) energy sources, according to a new analysis by Environmental Progress.
The analysis comes the day before California plays host to a “Global Climate Action Summit,” which makes no mention of nuclear, despite it being the largest source of clean energy in the U.S. and Europe.
Here are the two main findings from EP’s analysis:
- Had Germany spent $580 billion on nuclear instead of renewables, and the fossil plant upgrades and grid expansions they require, it would have had enough energy to both replace all fossil fuels and biomass in its electricity sector and replace all of the petroleum it uses for cars and light trucks.
- Had California spent an estimated $100 billion on nuclear instead of on wind and solar, it would have had enough energy to replace all fossil fuels in its in-state electricity mix.
The finding that Germany could have entirely decarbonized its transportation sector with nuclear is a significant one. That’s because decarbonizing transportation is considered a major challenge by most climate policy experts.
Electricity consumed by electric cars will grow 300-fold between 2016 and 2040, analysts predict. That electricity must come from clean energy sources, not fossil fuels, for the transition to electric cars to mitigate climate change.