Sunday, August 7, 2016

The case for realistic and inclusive cost estimation for energy policy

This was an input in a discussion thread on a mailing list...

I recall reading about a financial cost analysis on various sources of electric power, from friends in Prayas Energy advocacy group. It was showing that nuclear power is more expensive than renewable. I don't recall the exact details though.

Here there is great opportunity in pursuing an honest production cost estimation by factoring in state subsidies and concessions and also costs of displacement and environmental damages as is being done in some other countries. So how about pushing that idea into the energy policy : realistic cost estimation and internalisation of heretofore externalised costs?

And then we advocate taking decision on whether to commission a new nuclear / coal plant or decentralized rooftop solar array on the basis of sound and simple numerical comparison and long term financial prudence. By taking this approach, we score many points : we avoid getting into ideology and endless debates, take the practical and economical high ground, and we can gather the ammo needed to directly and decisively attack the most core and vulnerable component of the fossil/nuclear/big-hydro and centralized production lobby: the claim that it's cheaper. If that gets overturned, they don't have much else to run to.

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