Climatic Change

, Volume 123, Issue 3–4, pp 623–635 | Cite as

White Knights: will wind and solar come to the rescue of a looming capacity gap from nuclear phase-out or slow CCS start-up?

  • Bradford Griffin
  • Pierre Buisson
  • Patrick Criqui
  • Silvana Mima


In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident, countries like Germany and Japan have planned a phase-out of nuclear generation. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology has yet to become a commercially viable technology with little prospect of doing so without strong climate policy to spur development. The possibility of using renewable power generation from wind and solar as a non-emitting alternative to replace a nuclear phase-out or failure to deploy CCS technology is investigated using scenarios from EMF27 and the POLES model. A strong carbon price appears necessary to have significant penetration of renewables regardless of alternative generation technologies available, but especially if nuclear or CCS are absent from the energy supply system. The feasibility of replacing nuclear generation appears possible at realistic costs (evaluated as total abatement costs and final user prices to households); however for ambitious climate policies, such as a 450 ppm target, CCS could represent a critical technology that renewables will not be able to fully replace without unbearable economic costs.


Abatement Cost Electricity Price Carbon Price Pole Model Marginal Abatement Cost 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bradford Griffin
    • 1
  • Pierre Buisson
    • 1
  • Patrick Criqui
    • 2
  • Silvana Mima
    • 3
  1. 1.EnerdataGrenobleFrance
  2. 2.Université Pierre-Mendès FranceGrenoble Cedex 9France
  3. 3.Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Economie du Développement Durable et de l’EnergieGrenoble Cedex 9France

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