An analysis of energy bills in the US, France, Germany and Britain, published in the latest issue of the International Energy Agency’s Energy Journal, has revealed that the most cost-effective electricity system is not the wind turbine, but rather the nuclear power plant.
An analysis of electricity bills in a range of countries, and by a wide range of companies, shows that wind turbines are the cheapest, and nuclear power plants the most costly.
The analysis, based on figures from the energy watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, found that nuclear power is the cheapest power option for generating electricity.
However, the cost of electricity is much more expensive in the UK and France, where the average cost of a megawatt hour of electricity from a nuclear plant is almost 10 times that of an equivalent kilowatt hour.
This means that in countries where nuclear power was first introduced, the average price per megawatthour was almost twice that of nuclear power.
In Germany, the price per kilowatthre was about 17 times the price of nuclear.
But in France, nuclear power costs more than four times the cost for the same electricity.
In the UK, nuclear plants produce about 30 per cent of the electricity generated, but the average electricity price for the UK is $2.20 per megahatt hour, which is a very low price for an electricity system.
Even in Germany, where nuclear is a national utility, the costs of power production are more than twice that for nuclear power compared with other energy sources.
In Britain, the cheapest option is solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, which cost less than 5 per cent more per megarett hour than coal-fired power stations.
A further benefit of PV is that it generates less CO2 emissions.
Despite the price differences, wind turbines have been gaining in popularity, especially for offshore wind farms.
As part of a pilot project, British wind farm operator The Powerhouse will install a turbine on one of its turbines to supply power to the National Grid at a price of $3.90 per kilovolt.
For comparison, the wind farm in Ireland has a cost of about $2 per kilomahatthour.
According to the IEA, wind farms can provide power to almost 70 per cent the population, which in Ireland translates into about one million households, with an average household income of about €9,000 per year.
At a cost to the environment of about 50 per cent, wind power has the potential to provide up to 40 per cent surplus of energy over the year.
A further advantage of wind power is that there is no pollution.
The average turbine produces no CO2 when it is turned on, meaning that the turbines are very clean.
Wind turbines also produce less noise than coal plants.
Solar photovoxels, which produce electricity at much lower power, are often used to provide the grid with power at a low cost.
The cost of solar phototanks is also lower than the cost to build them, which means they are more affordable for households, businesses and small-scale solar PV farms.
The IEA report found that the average installed capacity in the United States is about 1.2 gigawatts, compared with about 3.5 gigawatts in Germany.
For comparison with wind power, the United Kingdom has an installed capacity of about 3 gigawatts.