In June this year, the ministerial conference was held in St. Petersburg where the Director General of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) indicated that nuclear power would show great growth specifically because of the fact that it can lead to significant development because it is a sustainable source of energy. However, many critics lead to believe that renewable sources of energy are a far better and cheaper option to generate power (Reuter, 2012.) This paper aims to analyze the merits and demerits of both these sources of energy allowing the readers to conclude on their own which source of energy over the other should be utilized.
Merits of Wind Power
Wind power is an alternative source that has helped generate three percent of the total electricity needs of the world this year. Some countries such as Spain (20%), Denmark (20%) and Germany (10%) rely significantly on wind power for their electricity needs. Estimates also show that Germany will rely even more so on wind power generation by 2020 as their electricity generation from wind will rise up to twenty five percent. The primary reasons why these countries are relying more on wind power include relatively lower costs compared to other sources, environmental friendliness of the source, and ready availability. Wind power generation is climatically friendly and wind is readily available for the generation of electricity. The World Wind Energy Association has conducted research which indicates that wind turbines generate the lowest cost electricity, which is up to 9 euro cents per kilowatt hour (Reuter, 2012.)
Merits of Nuclear Power
Nuclear power generation across the globe has seen a decline over time with its peak reaching in 2006. In 2012, a twelve percent decline in power generation was noted against the annual generation of nuclear power in 2006. Research indicates that the top nuclear power generating countries have decreased their reliance on nuclear power and moved on to alternative generation methods (Hill, 2013.)However, one big advantage of using nuclear energy for power generation is the utilization of very limited raw material for electricity generation. Another major advantage for using nuclear power is the lack of pollutants and climactic problems that are associated with other power generation options such as coal (Benefits of Nuclear Energy.)
Nuclear and Wind Power – One over the Other
One of the biggest reasons why countries rely on wind power over nuclear power is the fact that it is a cheaper source of electricity generation and relatively less intensive with respect to setup costs. However, some countries are relying on nuclear power due to the fact that their setup costs have already been incurred and moving away to an alternative source would require additional fixed and sunk costs. Both sources of power are relatively cleaner sources, with no emissions or climactic problems. Nevertheless, with respect to the environment, wind power is a reliable and renewable source in comparison to nuclear power which is a reason why most countries are moving to this source of electricity generation (Post, 2013.)
In conclusion, there are merits for both power generation options, wind as well as nuclear, however, the ideology behind usage of each depends on the cost and price structure that each country works upon.