Renewable energy is rubbish, nuclear is brilliant!

  • This topic has 191 replies, 37 voices, and was last updated 6 years ago by  zokes.
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  • Renewable energy is rubbish, nuclear is brilliant!
  • Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    An unearthly voice from beyond the ban just FB messaged me and basically said ZOMG, talk about Scotland, in response to talk of renewables not being a feasible alternative. There is some use of wiki here incidentally… (content is mine)

    Scotland already generates 39% of its power from renewables, and that’s rising at a pretty outrageous rate- doubled since 2007 with no sign of slowing (projects already in construction will increase that pace of growth) 10 years ago it was almost all hydro, now 60% is onshore wind. Renewables are now the single biggest electricity source and generate enough to satisfy the entire domestic load. (obviously disclaimers about steady load apply here, with so much being wind- ironically the downside of the wind generation boom is that it’s outstripped our pumpstorage)

    This diagram here:

    http://www.scottishrenewables.com/media/uploads/graphs/130320_chart6.jpg

    Is pretty good to give an idea of distribution, though it’s slightly out of date obviously, the current figures push nuclear into second place- renewables grew by 10% in 2011.

    People mentioned “there’s not enough landmass for wind”- the stats above don’t yet include a significant amount of offshore wind, but watch this space, 4gw of offshore production is already in planning or construction- more than the current onshore total.

    Pretty crazy stuff- and again, I’m pretty surprised by the numbers, I knew we were renewables-daft but I had no idea about the rate of growth. Scotland’s well equipped with renewable opportunities but it’s hardly unique, this could be repeated elsewhere.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    The departed would also like to ask how we fuel the necessary massive increase in nuclear plants. At current rates we run out of known uranium reserves in about 90 years, predicted uranium reserves (ie forecast but as yet undiscovered) in about 230, according to scientific american. That doesn’t sound to me like a good base for fast growth. What’s the long term?

    Alternatives, sure. MOX thermal works but am I right that there’s still not a single all-MOX reactor in the world? The mixed-cores are a good development obviously for reducing uranium dependence and I don’t think there’s any likely barrier to all-MOX working but we’re not there yet. (and it’s stil a limited resource is it not?) Fast breeders and thorium etc all seem promising but we can’t harness long term energy policies to a horse that’s not been born yet.

    scotroutes
    Member

    Northwind wrote:

    So you’ve got alternatives, but still mostly unproven– huge potential here but we’re saddling our horse to future tech really with thorium, fast breeders etc. ?

    Like tidal power….

    The thing about nuclear is still the cost. The UK Govt can’t get a new nuke program running because they won’t guarantee a high enough subsidy. And that’s not taking into account decommissioning.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/19/europe-nuclear-energy-idUSL6N0FP2P820130719

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Arr jim lad, there be editing

    Personally I’m holding out for orbital solar. Both dependable and frickin awesome. Unless you get the microwave beam squint and fry a city or something, but that’d also be frickin awesome. Could be used against the swarm of godzillas that’s bound to result from the nuclear surge.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    People mentioned “there’s not enough landmass for wind”- the stats above don’t yet include a significant amount of offshore wind,

    Talking about the UK rather than Scotland, where the profile is somehwat different.

    athgray
    Member

    The upsurge in renewables is welcome however I wonder if we are reducing development of technologies such as tidal and carbon capture and storage for imported wind turbines. I heard there are 100,000 jobs linked to wind turbine manufacture in Denmark. If we could develop and market a tidal based product we could generate many skilled jobs.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    athgray – Member

    The upsurge in renewables is welcome however I wonder if we are reducing development of technologies such as tidal and carbon capture

    Well. No reason it should be mutually exclusive tbh… I think the industry would argue that they’re underrresourced in general, not because of wind developments. Still a hell of a lot of development ongoing though, with an eye to making sure that (unlike wind, nuclear, etc) they don’t rush into production.

    molgrips – Member

    Talking about the UK rather than Scotland, where the profile is somehwat different.

    By my understanding England also has some shore 😉 And less Donald Trump.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    It has similar area and probably less coast, but ten times the population…

    scotroutes
    Member

    molgrips wrote:

    It has similar area and probably less coast, but ten times the population…

    Englandandwales is about twice the area of Scotland – but yeah, much, much higher population.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    The amount of coastline isn’t a limiting factor, we’re talking about big numbers from fairly localised schemes, not about ringing the country in propellors. A drop in the ocean as it were.

    Kit
    Member

    Scotland already generates 39% of its power from renewables…

    Sorry old bean, if you’re quoting Wikipedia, then I would contest that number. Not that it matters hugely, but as I showed on the blog, in 2011 Scotland generated around 27% of its electricity from renewables according to the DECC stats (which one would assume are more reliable than the pro-renewables Scottish Government’s press release which is cited in the wiki entry…). This is indeed up from around 19% in 2010, and a significant increase, so not contesting the trend, just the numbers. 😉 Carry on.

    scotroutes
    Member

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-21966678

    Scotland generated 7% more renewable electricity in 2012 than it did the previous year, data has shown.

    The Department of Energy and Climate Change report said 14,600 Gigawatt hours were generated in Scotland from renewables such as wind and hydro.

    The Whitehall department said this represented more than a third of the UK’s total renewables output in 2012.

    The Scottish government said it had generated enough electricity to power the equivalent of every Scottish home.

    The amount generated also represented 39% of Scotland’s total electricity needs.

    The DECC figures showed that wind generation in Scotland was 8296 GWh, up 19% on 2011, and more than four times the level in 2006.

    By the end of 2012, there was 5,883 MW of installed renewable electricity capacity in Scotland, an increase of 22% from the end of 2011.

    athgray
    Member

    Northwind. Was thinking of the ending of the carbon capture project at Longannet due to funding, as well as funding issues with Pelamis wave generation. It would be a shame if we lost out on these technologies and the jobs they bring. Wind farms are well and good but their construction and operation do not bring the finances and jobs compared to their manufacture.

    wrecker
    Member

    No mention of dynamic demand yet?
    “Virtual power station” apparently.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    The upsurge in renewables is welcome however I wonder if we are reducing development of technologies such as tidal and carbon capture and storage for imported wind turbines. I heard there are 100,000 jobs linked to wind turbine manufacture in Denmark. If we could develop and market a tidal based product we could generate many skilled jobs.

    Onshore wind is proven and established so is a safer investment than emerging technologies, yes. But you have eon and SSE investing in Pelamis for example, and they don’t mess around, which shows some positive signs for the future. There are various tidal and wave companies from the UK at the cutting edge, but the big boys like Kawasaki are now stepping in and they have a whole lot to throw at this.

    Re wind turbines and UK jobs/technology/construction etc, the stats for Robin Rigg offshore wind farm show “32% of the development, manufacture and construction for the site was carried out by UK-based business” http://www.eon-uk.com/E.ON_Robin_Rigg_UK_content_report_October_2011.pdf , which isn’t a massive proportion. A lot of ports around the UK are gearing up for the forthcoming increase in offshore wind construction though, including support for turbine construction, so that is likely to improve I would imagine.

    Kit
    Member

    The Department of Energy and Climate Change report said 14,600 Gigawatt hours were generated in Scotland from renewables such as wind and hydro.

    Link to the report in question? I can’t find a DECC report which states anything the BBC article is claiming. Not saying it doesn’t exist, but I can’t find it. (And certainly not the first time the BBC has swallowed wholesale rubbish that a press release has fed them – I can think of an unrelated example.) The links in the Scottish Govt. report also don’t give this data, or give different numbers. But then I am pretty tired so maybe I’m just not paying attention to what I’m reading. But again, not that it matters much, and happy to stand corrected if someone can point me directly to the source of the BBC/DECC numbers!

    Nuclear Fusion will be good!

    Once they can keep it running and reduce input and raise output energy.

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    One thing that no one has mentioned yet is the building of HVDC interconnectors to ‘smooth out’ the longer term peaks and troughs of renewable energy. A notable recent proposal is the Northconnect cable from Peterhead to Norway. http://www.northconnect.no/

    During winter in Norway their Hydro electric production decreases due to lakes freezing, but here in winter it is anticipated we will often likely have ‘excessive’ energy generated from eg wind power. Vice versa in the summer when our wind resource is lower, hydro from Norway is at its peak.

    Existing HVDC interconnectors such as Britned have been very successful, and there are even proposals for one between the UK and Iceland to take advantage of Iceland’s geothermal and hydro http://askjaenergy.org/transmission/hvdc-subsea-link/

    Oh, and HVDC substations are the coolest most sci-fi mahoosive things I’ve seen for a long time

    athgray
    Member

    How do they overcome losses on a cable that length?

    Premier Icon bigjim
    Subscriber

    How do they overcome losses on a cable that length?

    Well that’s why they use HVDC instead of AC, there are still losses though.

    scotroutes
    Member

    Kit wrote:

    The Department of Energy and Climate Change report said 14,600 Gigawatt hours were generated in Scotland from renewables such as wind and hydro.
    Link to the report in question? I can’t find a DECC report which states anything the BBC article is claiming. Not saying it doesn’t exist, but I can’t find it. (And certainly not the first time the BBC has swallowed wholesale rubbish that a press release has fed them – I can think of an unrelated example.) The links in the Scottish Govt. report also don’t give this data, or give different numbers. But then I am pretty tired so maybe I’m just not paying attention to what I’m reading. But again, not that it matters much, and happy to stand corrected if someone can point me directly to the source of the BBC/DECC numbers!

    The DECC data is available from a link on the Scotgov website.
    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2013/03/Energy-figures-28032013

    It’s not efficient to store energy as electricity. Electricity is a second or third generation power source, so significant efficiency losses have already occurred. Then you have further losses in the storage and distribution of electricity. It’s just not practical to ship electricity over long distances as it is fossil fuels. Last time I looked gas was three times cheaper per KWhr than electricity. Fossil fuels are hard to beat, if we can just stop this obsession with CO2 emissions, we might get a sensible debate on future energy supply without being lambasted distorted stats from either side.

    I’d love for us to wean ourselves off fossil fuels as it would mean we wouldn’t becoming more reliant on unpleasant countries and regimes for our future energy supply, and force us to be hypocrites as we have to suck up to these people cause they’ve got us over a barrel. But I don’t want to see our countryside festooned with windmills and other hair rained schemes. Yes, let’s all be more energy efficient, I’m all for that, but having spent time in the Middle East and looking at their grotesque energy consumption (they have air conditioned streets), and combine that with China and South America, we really can’t even hope to make a dent in the global carbon footprint, even if we shut our whole country down tomorrow. It’s quite depressing really.

    The Earth is 4.6 billion years old. Our detailed weather and climate records only go back a couple of hundred years at the most. Beyond that we’ve only got the odd snapshot of what the climate was like at a few points interspersed over millions of years, and they clearly show our climate has always been dynamic and volatile, so we’ve hardly got alot of data to base our conclusions of impending environmental catastrophe. We really haven’t got a clue about the highly complex nature of our weather and climate. And while we’re so focused on this red herring, we’re not focussing on the real issues threatening us in the relative immediate future.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Kit – Member

    Scotland already generates 39% of its power from renewables…

    Sorry old bean, if you’re quoting Wikipedia, then I would contest that number.

    Just chasing the numbers, originates from DECC:
    http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2012/03/geenenergytargets29032012

    Seems to be referring to this:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/65862/6481-renewable-electricity-2011-et-article.pdf

    Which dipping into it, closely matches the numbers (looks like some rounding, DECC says 13728ghw, .gov says 13750)

    wobbliscott – Member

    We really haven’t got a clue about the highly complex nature of our weather and climate.

    Sounds like a compelling argument for not ****ing with the status quo tbh.

    zokes
    Member

    ransos – Member
    No, fossil fuels compete with both of them. That’s the obvious answer. I’m surprised you can’t see it.
    >> They compete with each other. This is a publicly stated aim of the present government.

    That may be so, but they do both compete with fossil generation, don’t they? Or do coal and gas fired power stations generate a different form of electricity whilst not having to manage their pollution?

    By the way, it’s fossil fuels, not nuclear, that are responsible for global warming
    >> I haven’t argued otherwise – what’s your point?

    My point being that climate change as a result of CO2 emissions is a far bigger killer than the worst nuclear disaster in history. For that matter, it’s a much bigger killer than nuclear weapons.

    I hate the way we’re so focussed on CO2 emissions as the only environmental issue to be concerned about – especially as the jury is still out on the impact.

    Which jury? The one funded by oil companies?

    wobbliscott – Member
    We really haven’t got a clue about the highly complex nature of our weather and climate.

    You may not have a clue. Thankfully, there are quite a few highly qualified people who do.

    Sorry, i may ride a 29er but that doesn’t mean i jump on every bandwagon out there, so forgive my cynicism, but…. Qualified people? How can someone be qualified in a subject we know nothing about? Only this week there has been doubt cast on global warming as the climate doesn’t seem to be complying with the models these “qualified” people have created to predict global warming (how dare Mother Nature defy them?). The problem is that there is a whole global industry employing hundreds of thousands of people based upon the myth of man-made global warming. They are not going to come out and admit they’ve got it all wrong or there is not yet sufficient evidence to prove it beyond reasonable doubt any time soon are they?

    Global warming happened many times before we started burning fossil fuels, as well as global cooling. The ice age was a new phenomenon, before that ice caps did not exist, and i have read that it is thought that it was caused by the growth of the Hymalayas that disrupted and diverted global wind currents – though we still can’t explain it for sure – even the ‘qualified’ experts can’t. Why do we think that the reduction in ice caps is a sign of a global catastrophe in action? Only in the ’60’s the ‘qualified’ experts thought we were facing another ice age and were devising machines to pump CO2 onto the atmosphere to cause global warming to counter the ice age they thought was coming. Thank god most people were too stoned or having too much sex to take notice of them back then. Shame there is not more of that going on these days.

    zokes
    Member

    How can someone be qualified in a subject we know nothing about?

    Rest assured, many highly qualified people do know about it. Just because the rest of your post demonstrates that you know nothing about it (aside from oil-funded tabloid media stories), doesn’t mean that noone knows anything about it.

    Have we really regressed so far in life that something cannot exist unless the individual questioning it can directly prove it themselves? Jesus wept.

    Kit
    Member

    scotroutes – Member

    Northwind – Member

    Thanks guys – I was pretty ill the night I was trying to look through reports and spreadsheets and I couldn’t make head-nor-tail of it. Had a look and agree on the kWh and MW figures. No idea if the 39% thing is correct and I can’t be arsed looking for the consumption data to check. Apologies if I was a bit grumpy 🙂

    Luna wave power is the future 😀

    Edukator
    Member

    if we can just stop this obsession with CO2 emissions,

    Pity I don’t have a time machine to send you back to the Permian or even Cretaceous so you can see what it’s like on our planet with high CO2 levels. Believe me, you wouldn’t like it.

    Kit
    Member

    Heads up for anyone with the time, cash and interest (note that you can apply for a subsidised place):

    http://energyinformatics.eu/

    ransos
    Member

    That may be so, but they do both compete with fossil generation, don’t they? Or do coal and gas fired power stations generate a different form of electricity whilst not having to manage their pollution?

    So you now accept my assertion that renewables and nuclear compete with each other. I haven’t made any argument about fossil fuels so your second sentence is irrelevant to my point.

    Have you thought about why renewables competing with nuclear might be a problem?

    My point being that climate change as a result of CO2 emissions is a far bigger killer than the worst nuclear disaster in history. For that matter, it’s a much bigger killer than nuclear weapons.

    It could well be, and I haven’t argued otherwise. I’m not sure why you’re persistently trying to convince me of what I already believe to be true.

    zokes
    Member

    I haven’t made any argument about fossil fuels so your second sentence is irrelevant to my point.

    Only if you’re interested in childish point scoring rather than the bigger picture. Blinkered views like this help nobody.

    I’m not sure why you’re persistently trying to convince me of what I already believe to be true.

    Because if, instead of “nuclear is bad mmmkay”, effort was put into making the fossil fuel industry pay for its pollution, it would immediately become non-viable. If we both agree that coal-fired power is worse than nuclear, why not put concerted effort into getting rid of that, rather than in-fighting between the various non-fossil alternatives?

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