This is my long fb post addressing an article that attacks nuclear energy by claiming that renewables are cheaper.
Cleantechnica article shared by Global Warming “Fact” Of The Day:
“Correcting Anti-Renewable Energy Propaganda” 
Buckle up, this is a long one.
They start out by attacking nuclear energy, our largest source of clean energy, and referring to proponents as “anti-renewable propagandists.” Touché, and probably deserved since many of us refer to the gas-backed renewables lobby as “anti-climate-solution.” Anyway, let’s see what evidence they have.
“Renewable energy gets cheaper each year, nuclear power gets more expensive each year — how come they still adamantly claim that renewables are not a cost-effective way of decarbonizing?”
I’d love a source for this claim. Renewables are cheap where infrastructure exists and subsidies are plentiful. Yet Japan is closing all of it’s clean nuclear plants and building coal plants to replace them.  Is this fact unrelated? Possibly, but I would think that if wind and solar are as cheap and reliable as claimed, Japan would use them to stick to their Paris Agreement commitments.
“The sun doesn’t always shine, the wind doesn’t always blow — yet most of the time, there is either sun or wind available. For now, storage will not play a role for a long time. Solar and wind power will increase their shares of electricity consumption, and until they reach 80% of electricity consumption, grid expansion, moderate curtailment, and gas-fired backup power plants are the only tools necessary to reach such a high share of renewables.”
A couple things here; first of all, “most of the time there is sun or wind available” looks good on paper, but hardly ever pans out as needed. Germany has been pushing renewable growth for over a decade and is now expanding its coal fleet to make up for the lack of wind and solar generation (and every single day we can see just how “green” they are on Electricity Map). 
Next, they’re right about storage; technologies are getting better every year but energy density will always be a problem. Of course, uranium is one of the most energy-dense substances on earth…
Third, yes, you read that correctly: they plan for 80% renewables and the other 20% to be natural gas. Forgive me for arguing that this isn’t “green”. Let me also point out here that the EU is being called out for “climate crisis hypocrisy” for expanding its natural gas projects. 
“So, if 80% of the electricity is generated using solar and wind power, the remaining 20% has to be created from backup power plants. According to grid operator PJM’s data, backup power plants cost up to $120,200 per megawatt per year.”
Personally, if we had an option that didn’t require 20% of our electricity to come from gas, I’d prefer that. The rest of that paragraph goes into calculating costs, I’m not going to nit-pick it because they don’t make sense to me; they calculate the cost of that 20% generation but then divide it by ALL power consumption? Maybe I’m missing something.
“…if you overbuild solar and wind power 1.5 times, and you have an LCOE of 3 cents per kWh (according to BNEF, this is possible for solar and wind by 2030), that gives you a total LCOE of 4.5 cents per kWh (ignoring minor system costs for curtailment), which is still very cheap, and far below the 15 cents per kWh figure for nuclear power.”
Here we see LCOE and a bunch of assumptions again. “Possible by 2030” isn’t an accurate cost figure. “Ignoring minor system costs for curtailment” isn’t an accurate cost figure. And as shown in previous posts, LCOE isn’t an accurate cost figure.
From here, they go on to extrapolate numbers in regards to storage, grid expansion, etc. The type of math that looks good on paper because everything is perfectly mapped out and no unexpected surprises exist. Then they get to this:
“Burning renewable methane in these backup power plants to reach 100 percent renewable electricity”
I guess burning methane is considered “renewable” nowadays, depending on how it’s produced? Call it that if you want, but as you can clearly see, “renewable” energy does not mean “clean” energy.
After talking about the cost of methane, we’re given the total at a mix of 93% wind and solar and 7% methane:
“Total cost, therefore, would amount to $483.5 billion per year. Divided by electricity consumption of 4100 TWh, the total cost would be 11.8 cents per kilowatt hour. This is already cheaper than Lazard’s estimate for nuclear power, which is currently at 15 cents per kilowatt-hour.”
Lazard’s calculations assume a 30 year lifespan for utility-scale Solar PV, 20 year lifespan for wind, and only 40 years for nuclear. They give capacity factors of under 35% for solar PV, up to 55% for wind (offshore), and 90% for nuclear. And they assume that a new-build plant for Solar PV wil be 50MW, wind up to 385MW, and nuclear at 2200MW. 
I’ve made my thoughts on LCOE clear in the past; these calculations give us a $/MWh but don’t properly account for the additional “backup” costs for plants that can’t perform, nor do they consider having to completely replace solar panels and wind turbines every 20-30 years.
“If a quick and dirty calculation already shows that renewable electricity is already cheaper than nuclear power, how come numerous studies point to 100 percent renewable electricity being unaffordable?”
‘Numerous studies’ have been addressed by Roadmap To Nowhere. 
Several specific studies are then talked about for the rest of the article. I’m not going to dive into them at this time for a couple of reasons, the first one being that I’ve already put way more time into this post than I probably should have, and I don’t get paid to do this. If you’ve made it this far, bravo and also thank you. I try to be as factual as possible and I provide links to back up my claims. I know this is viewed as a satire page [Global Warming Joke Of The Day on Facebook], but I make damn sure it’s a factual one.
I’m going to leave you with this, my summary of the debate as a whole:
Wind and solar do have their place, but the grid is not that place. I welcome them as supplemental sources where feasible, but their place on the grid has historically led to decreased grid stability and increased energy cost.
We need clean energy that is not affected by weather; that doesn’t require fossil fuel backup; that doesn’t need to be entirely replaced every 15 to 30 years. Climate change is here and we need clean energy that works. If we were serious about fighting it, we wouldn’t be bickering over a couple cents per kWh.
As for this article, downplaying the costs and factors of renewables and using the high estimates of nuclear power costs isn’t a great way to show that you care to engage in an honest conversation about the future of clean energy. But what do I know. I’m an anti-renewables propagandist. 😉
Oh, and once again, here are some gas ads promoting renewables.