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Comparing Costs: Is Nuclear Energy or Renewables More Affordable?

Net Zero Australia has projected that the cost of transitioning to renewable energy will reach $9 trillion by 2050 and $1.5 trillion by the end of the decade. However, Australian Energy Minister Chris Bowen has criticized these estimates, particularly in reference to the use of nuclear power. Bowen claims that the Opposition’s position on nuclear power does not entail the government paying for power stations and providing free electricity, but rather advocating for nuclear to be included as an option. Bowen’s estimates for the cost of small modular reactors (SMRs) are also higher than international figures, leading to doubts about the credibility of the government science agency, CSIRO. Additionally, Bowen’s use of lower capacity factors for nuclear power stations further contributes to higher cost estimates. On the other hand, Net Zero Australia, a group supported by various research institutions and climate organizations, predicts a lower capital cost for achieving net zero using renewables, while also considering the challenges of storage and redundancies. This contrasting view suggests that there is a lack of consensus regarding the cost estimates and strategies for Australia’s energy transition.

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