#1 "Let us stop 'Screwing Around' and Build lots of Nuclear Electric Power Plants !"
11-29-2008, 12:34 PM
- Join Date
- Aug 2005
Wind Power Exposed: Energy Source is Expensive, Unreliable and Won’t Save Natural Gas
"Let us stop 'Screwing Around' and Build lots of Nuclear Electric Power Plants !"
This is not what President-elect Barack Obama's energy and climate strategists would want to hear.
It would be anathema to Al Gore and other assorted luminaries touting renewable energy sources which in one giant swoop will save the world from the “tyranny” of fossil fuels and mitigate global warming.
And as if these were not big enough issues, oilman T. Boone Pickens’ grandiose plan for wind farms from Texas to Canada is supposed to bring about a replacement for the natural gas now used for power generation.
That move will then lead to energy independence from foreign oil.
Too good to be true? Yes, and in fact it is a lot worse.
Wind has been the cornerstone of almost all environmentalist and social engineering proclamations for more than three decades and has accelerated to a crescendo the last few years in both the United States and the European Union.
But Europe, getting a head start, has had to cope with the reality borne by experience and it is a pretty ugly picture.
Independent reports have consistently revealed an industry plagued by high construction and maintenance costs, highly volatile reliability and a voracious appetite for taxpayer subsidies. Such is the economic strain on taxpayer funds being poured into wind power by Europe's early pioneers -- Denmark, Germany and Spain – that all have recently been forced to scale back their investments.
As a result this summer, the U.K., under pressure to meet an ambitious E.U. climate target of 20 percent carbon dioxide cuts by 2020, assumed the mantle of world leader in wind power production. It did so as a direct consequence of the U.K. Government's Renewables Obligations Certificate, a financial incentive scheme for power companies to build wind farms. Thus the U.K.'s wind operation provides the ideal case study -- and one that provides the most complete conclusions.
The U.K. has all the natural advantages. It is the windiest country in Europe. It has one of the continent's longest coastlines for the more productive (and less obtrusive) offshore farms. It has a long-established national power grid. In short, if wind power is less than successful in the U.K., its success is not guaranteed anywhere.
But wind infrastructure has come at a steep price. In fiscal year 2007-08 U.K. electricity customers were forced to pay a total of over $1 billion to the owners of wind turbines. That figure is due to rise to over $6 billion a year by 2020 given the government's unprecedented plan to build a nationwide infrastructure with some 25 gigawatts of wind capacity, in a bid to shift away from fossil fuel use.
Ofgem, which regulates the U.K.'s electricity and gas markets, has already expressed its concern at the burgeoning tab being picked up by the British taxpayer which, they claim, is “grossly distorting the market” while hiding the real cost of wind power.
In the past year alone, prices for electricity and natural gas in the U.K. have risen twice as fast as the European Union average according to figures released in November by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. While 15 percent energy price rises were experienced across the E.U., in the U.K. gas and electricity prices rose by a staggering 29.7 percent.
Ofgem believes wind subsidy has been a prime factor and questions the logic when, for all the public investment, wind produces a mere 1.3 percent of the U.K.'s energy needs.
In May 2008, a report from Cambridge Energy Research Associates warned that an over-reliance on offshore wind farms to meet European renewable energy targets would further create supply problems and drive up investor costs. No taxpayer respite there. But worse news was to come.
In June, the most in-depth independent assessment yet of Britain's expanding wind turbine industry was published. In the journal Energy Policy gas turbine expert Jim Oswald and his co-authors, came up with a series of damning conclusions: not only is wind power far more expensive and unreliable than previously thought, it cannot avoid using high levels of natural gas, which not only it will increase costs but in turn will mean far less of a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions than has been claimed.
Oswald's report highlights the key issue of load factor, the actual power generated compared to the theoretical maximum, and how critical it is to the viability of the wind power industry. In 2006, according to U.K. government statistics, the average load factor for wind turbines across the U.K. was 27.4 percent. Thus a typical 2 megawatt turbine actually produced only 0.54 MW of power on an average day.
The worst performing U.K. turbine had a load factor of just 7 percent.
These figures reflect a poor return on investment. But this poor return is often obscured by the subsidy system that allows turbine operators and supporters to claim they can make a profit even when turbines operate at a very low load factors.
So what’s the bottom line? British consumers are paying twice over for their electricity, funding its means of production and paying for its use as end users.
11-29-2008, 12:50 PM
- Join Date
- Aug 2005
This has been posted before but is still appropriate to our energy needs .The tree Humpers hate Americans having any power and surviving .Their prefect planet would be devoid of any human life and full of animals free and wild !
America Needs France’s Atomic Anne
It’s not often that I find myself recommending a French state-owned industry as the answer to major U.S. problems, but I guess there’s an exception to every rule.
Go to Columnist Page » Blog: Passages In this case the exception is the French nuclear energy company Areva, which provides about 80 percent of the country’s electricity from 58 nuclear power plants, is building a new generation of reactor that will come on line at Flamanville in 2012, and is exporting its expertise to countries from China to the United Arab Emirates.
Contrast that with the United States, where just 20 percent of electricity comes from nuclear plants, no commercial reactor has come on line since 1996, no new reactor has been ordered for decades, and debate about nuclear power remains paralyzing despite its clean-air electricity generation in the age of global warming.
Areva is headed by Anne Lauvergeon, a brilliant product of France’s top schools. She’s earned the sobriquet “Atomic Anne,” a stylish “Vive les Nukes” saleswoman. The United States needs her equivalent to cut through its nuclear power hang-ups.
Those hesitations have been evident in this election year. Among Democrats, Barack Obama has shown most willingness (albeit guarded) to back nuclear power, with Hillary Clinton multiplying caveats and John Edwards opposed. Republican candidates are favorable, but the campaign suggests costly nuclear muddle will persist.
It’s time to look to the French. They’ve got their heads in the right place, with nuclear power enjoying a 70 percent approval rating. The Germans, by contrast, have gone silly-Green and are shunning nuclear power. The British, more smart-Green, are reviving their plants.
I know, that word “nuclear” still sends a frisson. Images multiply of Hiroshima and Chernobyl and the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979 and waste in dangerous perpetuity, not to mention proliferation and dirty bombs.
But the lesson of the post-9/11 world is that we have to get over our fears, especially irrational ones.
Nuclear power has proved safe in both France and America — not one radiation-related death has occurred in the history of U.S. commercial nuclear power. It constitutes a vital alternative to the greenhouse-gas spewing coal-power plants that account for over 50 percent of U.S. electricity generation. Thousands of people die annually breathing the noxious particles of coal-fire installations.
Of course, wind and solar power should be developed, but even by mid-century they will satisfy only a fraction of U.S. energy needs, however much those needs are cut. Hundreds of square miles of eyesore wind farms barely produce the electricity you get from a nuclear plant on less than a square mile.
“Nuclear power is the most efficient energy source we have,” said Gwyneth Cravens, author of “Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Power.” “Uranium is energy-dense. If you got all your electricity from nuclear for your lifetime, your share of the waste would fit in a soda can.”
Cravens once feared this waste so much that she demonstrated against nuclear power plants, but she’s come around. Like Patrick Moore, a founder of Greenpeace who once lambasted nuclear power as “criminal” and now advocates its use, she’s been convinced by the evidence. That’s called growing up.
Greenpeace remains opposed to nuclear power and Jim Riccio, a nuclear policy analyst for the organization, told me building more plants in the United States would be expensive, wasteful and dangerous. “Why in God’s name would you want to build more targets for terrorists?” he asked.
Fair question, to which the answer is that jihadist terrorists should only dictate western energy policy to the degree that the United States and its allies try to cut dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
Where Riccio has a point is that wild cost overruns on several nuclear power plants and on the planned Yucca Mountain Repository in Nevada for radioactive waste, which will cost some $30 billion to open, have suggested there may be better ways to spend money on energy diversification and saving.
But again the French, with the cleanest air in the industrialized world, have an answer. Their standardized design, expedited approval process, and improving technology (evident in the third-generation Evolutionary Pressurized Reactor) offer streamlined routes to cost-saving. They have also drastically reduced waste by reprocessing most of it into fuel, a long-term answer to the disposal issue.
Has the United States taken note? Congressional incentives for new nuclear plants in the 2005 Energy Policy Act and plans for some two dozen new reactors suggest the political ground may be shifting.
For one possible plant, in Maryland, Areva has joined forces with Constellation Energy, a Baltimore utility. Lauvergeon has said she wants to “reinstate” the nuclear industry in the United States.
Vive Atomic Anne! Cooperation on a new generation of American nuclear plants would be a powerful signal of the transformed Franco-U.S. relationship under President Nicolas Sarkozy.
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