Friends of the Earth* want to close a majassive power plant over here.
“We would like to see Kilroot closed by 2010 so that Northern Ireland can make a transition to a low-carbon economy.
“That will have to happen via gas to renewables such as wind and tidal and solar and so on.”
Ah, yes. If you’d like to fork out to provide
eyesores wind turbines (which cannot be depended upon due to the weather), or tidal generators (which you wouldn’t allow because a couple of fish would die to build and run them), or solar gear (ARE YOU MENTAL! WE HAVEN’T SEEN THE SUN SINCE JULY!), feel free. Or, if you want to elaborate on “and so on”, please do. Maybe you’ve discovered a brand spanking new energy generation procedure, that consumes greenhouse gas and emits butterflies? No? Okay then. Shut up.
I’d like to see NIreland turn into a low-carbon economy, too. Obviously, I don’t have a clue what the feck they mean by “low-carbon economy”, so I’ll make up my own meaning. I take it to mean that, instead of burning fossil fuels, we burn eco-nuts. There’s a seemingly endless supply, and for every enviro-nut that is burnt, a huge amount of methane is prevented from being spewed from their gobs.
Everyone’s a winner, baby.
* – See, they call themselves “Friends of the Earth”, but I think that they’re just hangers on. I don’t think that Earth has invited them round once.
I have some proposals:
1) Fit wind turbines to the mouths (and arses) of the Perpetually Affronted (tm-someone else)
2) Require fat stupid people to run in big hamster wheels (See, we’re looking after their health, too).
3) Burn useless laws (should power London for a week or two).
You’re right to assume that the power generation of wind/tidal is slaved to the will of the elements. This isn’t as much of a concern as you might think though. When producing, the power is used to create hydrogren which is subsequently stored and transported to point of use. The peaks and troughs in the power production cycle are dampened by the use of hydrogen as a power storage medium.
I’d like to see us start pushing nuclear fission NOW before the existing nuclear plants come to the end of their lives. It takes 12 years to take a nuclear plant from the planning stages through to production… The government needs to make these decisions now.
Oh and before you go nuts about my promotion of nuclear I should mention that I’m not talking about the existing light/heavy water fission reactors. Google these:
– Pebble bed nuclear reactor
– Integral Fast Reactor
The low-carbon economy refers to a zero NET emission of carbon into the environment. Burning your eco-nuts will produce carbon but this is fine as the nuts will have absorbed the carbon from the environment in the first place. Not so with fossil fuels as you rightly pointed out
Nuclear is a zero carbon contributor. The effects of nuclear waste are dramatically reduced with new reactor designs.
Nuclear in the mid term (next 30years) with a gradual expansion in the R&D/implementation of renewables. The UK can be 100% renewable. Of that I have no doubt. Whether we can do it in a cost effective manner with todays tech I’m not so sure. Maintenance costs of off shore wind and tidal farms are still rather excessive. Research, research, research
I’m not against Nuclear energy in the slightest. Provided that proper safreguards are in place, it’s the ‘cleanest’ form of reliable energy that we have. The main problems are the expense and the long term storage issues.
The problem with converting energy into hydrogen and transporting it is that you are introducing inefficiency at every stage. With current technology renewable energy sources are not as efficient as fossil energy sources, so by adding even more inefficiency into the system you’re driving up the cost of end product – the electricity coming out of the power plug.
It may be theoretically inefficent but the power source is…. free. I do not know the efficiency conversion factor for wind energy but assuming a conservative 30%: 30% of nothing is still nothing Even if coal was a perfect 100% (it’s nowhere close) you’d still have to pay for the fuel source.
The power source may be free, but the setup and maintaince costs would be immense. Wind farms need to be in exposed, sparsley populated areas or offshore, and so getting heavy gear to install them is a huge pain. Same for tidal. And neither is predictable or reliable enough to stand alone with no fossil fuel backup. (The hydrogen storge thing might work, but scaling it up may be impossible)
The only reliable, predictable ‘green’ method is hydroelectric. But massive dams aren’t exactly cheap, and environmentalists tend to get upset at them too.
Nope. Nuclear it is. Sure, it’s expensive. Sure, it has long term problems. But it’s reliable and results in no atmospheric pollution.
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