As I calculated over at Atomic Insights, it would take about 35 NuScales to completely power Helsinki. This isn't a solution which can power the world because we don't have enough fissiles to do the job with LWRs, but it shows what is possible if we use breeders. If the Finns set an example, I would not be surprised if the resistance to the inevitable finally collapses in the likes of Germany, Austria and Italy.
I had hoped that the thread title would provoke discussion... Transportation and space heating seem the more serious issues.
Space heating: Buildings within a reasonable radius of a steam-driven generator (aka "thermal power station") are often supplied with heated water cycled from the condenser. Heat pumps (as the reverse cycle of refrigeration) warm their working vapour with the passing water, then pump the heat into the building by compressing the vapour. As the reticulated warm water cools down with distance, the more remote buildings' heat pumps have to work harder. But the water only needs to be warmer than the outside air to serve the purpose. As far as I know, the "coefficient of performance" of the heat pumps is only about four (i.e. four units of heat pumped in for one unit of electricity), so heat pumping would seem to be a technology due for R&D.
District heating seems to be a good reason to install single SMRs scattered throughout a cold city, rather than a big one on its outskirts. Similarly small regional cities of say, 50,000 people would have that extra justification to install their own SMR, for heat-and-power.
(Synthetic fuel for transport is discussed on a neighbouring thread)
Details about charging. There is ample generation here in the Pacific Northwest, a point not mentioned; BPA would welcome more usage just for the existing capacity. Nothing is stated about trucks, either so-called utility or 18 wheeler tractors.
Finally, the issue of enough lithium is mentioned. Not answered.
The new ecosystem: Where will winners come from in energy future Dr. Tim Lieuwen
Money quote from the article:
transportation historically has been tightly tied to global energy geopolitics; electricity has not, as we produce it all domestically. That’s why geopolitics affects how much we pay for gasoline at the pump but not our electric bills. However, growth in domestic oil production and the interest in electric vehicles will make U.S. transportation less affected by these global influences. As transportation electrifies, its relationship to the energy system will become more interdependent, creating new opportunities for arbitrage and offering new, cost-effective ways of providing and consuming energy.
Been saying this for some time, and I hope that it gets repeated more.
In a range making it likely that it will soon be possible.
In a range which requires a revolution in technologies to make it possible, you mean. FTA:
But how cheap is cheap enough?
To spoil the ending: The answer is $20 per kilowatt hour in energy capacity costs.
This isn't far off my own estimate of $7/kWh. As the article states later:
optimally sized systems need a lot of storage, enough to run between 6 and 180 hours at a time
If you have 180 hours of storage cycled 1/year at $20/kWh, with a lifespan of 10 years, this energy costs $2/kWh for amortization plus interest costs. This is a long, long way from "cheap".
Researchers generally treat the raw materials costs of a storage technology as the lower possible bound of its total costs. Manufacturing and transportation costs can be lowered with scale, but materials costs are stubborn, and the materials involved in Li-ion batteries alone are costly enough that they will likely never hit $20/kWh.
These are extremely daunting cost targets — not outside the realm of possibility, but well beyond the edge of most mainstream projections.
In other words, we've had the lithium-ion revolution in electricity storage... but that's not enough. We need another one in order to hit the cost figures required to run the US grid on 100% "renewables" (meaning mostly unreliables).
Providing all of US power, all day every day, will require oversizing renewables and installing an enormous amount of storage, but if they get cheap enough, that’s what we’ll do.
And this is just "power". This is not transportation energy, it's not space heat, it's not industrial process heat. It requires a complete technological revolution and it STILL leaves 60% of the job un-done.
These people have to know they're lying. No way these glaring omissions can have gone outside their awareness.
There are other flow battery technologies in case the sources of vanadium become expensive. And is often mentioned, worn down Li-ion batteries no longer suitable for transportation use have a secondary life as utility batteries.