The solar and wind energy is continuing to dominate the energy sector, sidelining the growth of nuclear power’s global energy share, observes Vital Signs Online analysis from Worldwatch Institute.
However, both renewable energy sources will take a long time to replace the fossil fuels.
The heaving growth of nuclear experienced in ’80s has dropped in recent years with solar and wind taking up the position. Nuclear’s share of global power production capacity has fallen to 10.8 percent from 17.6 percent in 1996.
In 2010, the nuclear sector had generated 375.3 GW, which declined last year declined to 371.8 GW. In 2012, solar and wind accounted for 22.7 percent of all power production, reaching up to 25 percent by 2014.
For solar PV, the total installed capacity globally is around 140 GW, recording steady growth. Investments in solar PV averaged $37 billion per year globally between 2000 and 2013 whereas for nuclear power the figure is $8 billion, says International Energy Agency (IEA) reports.
European countries, Canada, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia still divert major share of their public energy R&D budgets into nuclear power, with 51 percent of R&D spending between 1974 and 2012.
However, in 1974 the figure was 73.6 percent and now it stands at 26 percent. For renewable energies, the average share of R&D budget for these countries over that same period was just 10.2 percent, which has increased every year.
Over the past half century, nuclear power has been restricted to very few countries globally due to costs on construction, safety, disposal and scalability. At present 31 countries globally operate nuclear reactors compared to 85 countries with wind turbines installed, and more than 100 countries installing solar PVs.
In future, the chances of a nuclear renovation are very minute whereas renewable energy’s practical, affordable solution will promote its global expansion.