August 3, 2013

Nuclear, Solar, Heat Waves and Power Prices

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant
The Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth, had to reduce its operating power to 85% in July due to high water temperatures in Cape Cod Bay. The Pilgrim nuclear plant requires cooling water from the bay to be below 75 degrees to operate at full power. 

The combination of the increased demand and lower power output forced peak power prices to spike at over 40 cents per kWh compared typical baseline rates of less than 4 cents per kWh. 

Isn't it ironic that our heat wave forced the power plant to reduce its output at exactly the same time that electricity demand was soaring because air conditioners were running at max power? 

Of course, solar produces its peak power during the long sunny days of summer, right at the time it is most needed. 

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