I just put together a couple graphs for a talk I’m giving on Monday to give people a visual feel of the various technologies for generating electricity. These come with a gigantic caveat: the numbers are far from precise.
With changing technologies, it’s impossible to represent any of this with a single number anyway. I’m trying to show how the technologies compare to each other, and I used four parameters:
- Cost ($/MWh),
- Availability (better the closer the profile of the technology matches a normal demand curve (wind is bad, baseload is okay, dispatchable is best, solar),
- Emissions (and I count waste storage when it comes to nuclear),
- Bubble sizes represent the size and durability of the resource (I’ve tried to combine in one number how much power we can get from the resource, but also how long supplies of fuel will last.)
In both charts, the “best” technologies are in the upper left (low cost, low emissions, and available when we need them.)
I know that I’m going to upset a lot of people because I was too harsh with their favorite technology, so feel free and comment on the numbers I’m using, but also please provide references for where you get your numbers. Most of these are off the top of my head, so their accuracy is admittedly questionable. Here are the numbers I used to make the graphs.