Monday, 17 December 2007

Reflections on Bali - Drew's Energy Policy


Critical ?
Ultra Super Critical !


The season of Goodwill is almost upon us . . . but not quite, so let us start with George Moonbat’s observation today: “Hilary Benn is an idiot”. Yep, and UK energy policy as a whole is idiotic too.

But as one of my genteel interlocutors said over a beer on Thursday: OK smartarse, what would you do ? So first, an important Fact: latest-technology new coal-fired power plants will use 30% less coal than the plants they can replace. This technology goes by the suitably exciting name of ultra super- critical pressure, is available now, and will be genuinely economic very soon.

Coupled with the better-known facts that coal is plentiful, comes from relatively friendly places, and the dry bulk shipping fleet is expanding rapidly, this has striking implications for an entirely practical energy policy.

Drew’s 5-point energy policy

(1) promote efficiency and conservation measures that are economic anyway: amazingly there is still huge potential here

(2) no subsidies for renewables or microgen (in particular, no free ride for wind farms on the system-balancing problems they cause): some technologies may well have a meaningful rôle to play but there’s only one rational way to find out

(3) no subsidies for nucs, and in particular no EU subsidy for France’s decommissioning programme. Let’s really find out whether nucs are economic

(4) clear the decks for planning consents on brownfield sites for lots of new hi-tech coal plants (ditto for investments in ports, pipelines, road and rail that may be needed). No subsidies required, though some infrastructure may need to be built by regulated monopolies such as National Grid

(5) relentless pressure for a free-trade regime along the full length of the various energy chains

What will be the CO2 reduction resulting from this ? Don’t know, but (a) it will be material, (b) comes with improved security of supply, (c) doesn’t require subsidy and (d) minimises the hit on GDP that will inevitably result from high energy prices.

Above all, it’s for real - not yer fantasy targets for 2020 and beyond that those in power today know full well they will never be held accountable for. The dash for gas delivered a private-sector technology and environmental revolution in the 1990s, and a new dash for coal can do the same in the 2010s.

ND

65 comments:

Mark Wadsworth said...

Brilliant! You can be energy minister when I'm PM. Two minor points - we have plenty of coal ourselves and also waste incineration could contribute about 5% of our electricity (provided people sort their waste into 'stuff that burns' and 'stuff that doesn't burn'). And as somebody pointed out elsewhere, the best use for gas is for central heating and cooking, not electricity generation.

SACKERSON said...

... and promote state-of-the-art efficient power generation in places like China that are rapidly industrialising and have access to large amounts of coal. Ditto high-quality filters so they don't end up with a generation of lung-cripples.

Ed said...

I hope it wasn't me who used the term "smart arse"... :-)

What would be the carbon reduction if we switched from gas to new coal? And can we replace existing nuclear with new coal without increasing carbon output.

(Not that I worry too much about carbon output - my mind is on becoming self-sufficient).

electro-kevin said...

In truth the planet is buggered - I'm sure mankind has something to do with it but not necessarily the main cause.

We're doooomed !

On that note ...

Happy Christmas !


Kevin

Nick Drew said...

Mark - well Prime Minister I look forward to your 5-point plans on Everything Else ! And, similar point to your last, the French are barking mad to use electricity for space heating, they should be using gas ...

Sackers - agreed, and I expect that is what they will indeed do, although retro-cleaning their generation sector is a Big Task

BTW essay is nearing completion ! I shall send it in a comment (if it will fit), it is a bit long for C@W

Nick Drew said...

Ed - well I am used to it, most people do

New coal cannot beat mid 1990's gas as regards CO2

Nuc is lower-CO2 (not zero, full cycle) but seems to me it's so expensive full-cycle that new coal plus CCS could give it a run for its money (or rather, ours!)

The net gain with new coal replacing old coal is huge, you can increase total coal-fired output and still be ahead. Gas will remain or even increase a bit, as will renewables. Stew in some serious conservation (even cheaper) and you don't need to replace the nucs.

The greens must learn to love new coal ! I may need to be Education Minister as well ...

Kev - is this why you've been camping so much recently ? The survivalist ethos has a certain romance, no ?

Henry North London said...

Is that why there are so few coal mines left?

I mean I should know I grew up in a pit village and it still has a working pit...

Ed said...

The coal pits might well become economic again at some stage - particularly if the pound collapses as it should and imports become a lot more expensive.

They were closed because we couldn't just keep chucking money at them on the off-chance that they would come good thirty years later.

Ed said...

ND - I see what you mean. Nukes are what 20%? of the mix, and we could probably save that just by switching to new light bulbs.

The Great Simpleton said...

All well and good, but working in mines has to be one of the worst jobs in the world. Growing up in a miining area I didn't meet one miner who me to "go down pit".

Also, do we factor in the economic cost of the exra health care and early deaths of miners?

Richard Havers said...

As someone who lives in earshot, when the wind blows in a particular direction - fortunately far from the prevailing wind direction - of a wind farm, your idea on the subsidies is spot on. The farmer on whose land half the wind farm is built has recently sold up and left the country. He sold the farm for somewhere approaching #2m but he didn't sell the 20 meters around each turbine so he keeps the income of around #100K per annum. Meanwhile we are left with a blighted landscape and inefficient turbines. I feel sorry for the people who are downwind of these machines for the majority of the time. The noise is no joke. Of course they don't make a noise, because if anyone admitted they did then the compensation problem could be significant.

Check this post and be amazed

http://haveringhavers.blogspot.com/2007/04/what-to-do-about-noisy-neighbours.html

Richard Havers said...

Sorry on the link

http://tinyurl.com/3yv2v9

Richard Havers said...

And another thing :)

Of course no one talks about saving energy because where's the profit in that?

Nick Drew said...

GS & Henry - welcome, and yes, to a soft southerner like me the conditions for colliers seemed positively Dickensian.

But for the most part the new wave will be imports, from huge open-cast sources.

Welcome also Richard - yes, one can get quite angry about windfarms on several grounds.

But Not Guilty on talking about saving energy - it was my first policy point !

Anonymous said...

Who gives a damn about CO2 emissions. We need to produce more CO" sot hat when the climate cools over the next ten years it will be patently obvious that all the proponents of MMGW theory were charlatans of the very worst kind.

Anonymous said...

No need to fear, President Bush! The Chinese may not want to buy your treasuries anymore but us Brits will happily pick up where they have left off! $240billion dollars worth of US treasuries accumulated in just 12 months. Now I wonder why us Brits have taken such an interest in US Treasuries just when so many other nations are turning their back on them?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I made a comment some weeks ago about Chinese demographics and the pressure it is putting on Chinese economic policy. The BBC have clicked on to this now:-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7149330.stm

mutleythedog said...

When you are Energy Minister may I be Culture Minister please?

Mark Wadsworth said...

You can Education Minister as well, if you like.

The work will consist of deciding a) what the face value of schools vouchers will be and b) what interest rate to charge on student loans to pay full-cost tuition fees, which will take up about half-an-hour of your time every year.

SACKERSON said...

A good measure of Bali whine...

Mark:

1. Close down the Culture Ministry.
2. Education: a) education credit £6,000 per year, £3,000 if home educated; b) no student loans. Cut university places by about 80% and fully-fund them.

Newmania said...

Thats great post all. I wonder if you noticed Chistopher Bookers laceration of the Wind Farm white lephant ...its done and Im afraid it too late for sense.


BTW as the temperature is not going up any more we might get chilly if we don`t have some secure source ...best have one eh

Nick Drew said...

Anon @ 11:39 + 11:55 - yes, the US Treasuries is a puzzle (see Sackers for more detail), a bit like the gold sales. Good material for conspiracy theory ...

The Chinese certainly have a number of interesting challenges ahead, and the shock-waves will travel a long distance (watch out Taiwan)

Nick Drew said...

Sackers - surely appointing Mutt is an excellent alternative to scrapping MinCult?

Not sure about 80%, bit of hyperbole there ? but certainly the bottom 30-40% of undergraduates are wasting their time AND their money - shocking, the way they've been suckered into debt for such a poor return, another of Blair's sins that should not be quickly forgiven

Mr M - it is volatility of conditions (climatic and other) we need to be proof against, always a challenge after a long period of stability

I may have summat to say at length on this soon

SACKERSON said...

I've no objection to giving Mutt money, just don't see the need for a ministry. Most elections these days seem to result in politicians voting themselves pay and exes, so wouldn't it be economical if such prizes were all they could have?

We could extend this idea greatly. For example, Gordon Brown and Toni Blair have each cost the country many, many billions in different ways, and it would have been vastly cheaper to give them each £500 million on May 2 1997 if they'd either promised to do nothing whatever during their terms of office, or left the country immediately and forever.

Nick Drew said...

A bit like the CAP, really

I need, oooh, £ 800 m to keep me from causing trouble, I promise to emigrate

OK, & no more mocking doggerel, if you insist

Richard Havers said...

Nick, when I said no one, I meant no one n government! Still I should have qualified it, you were on the money!

:)

Mark Wadsworth said...

Sackerson:

I agree on point a). However I take issue with this "b) no student loans. Cut university places by about 80% and fully-fund them".

I would not say cut uni places by 30%, 40% or 80%, those are arbitrary figures. The way I see it, the small-government free-market approach is, potential students are the best judge of whether taking a degree is worth their time and money.

And the taxpayer should not foot the bill for something that will primarily benefit a minority - the same as the taxpayer should not (and does not) subsidise driving or scuba diving lessons or training as a chartered accountant or bus driver or plumber.

Ergo, full-cost tuition fees and student loans to enable students from poor backgrounds to go to uni are the least-worst solution.

Of course, under my government, students will be entitled to the ordinary Citizen's Income for others in that age group, around £45 - £50 per week, AFAIAC, to cover part of their living costs.

SACKERSON said...

Mark: if, as is claimed, a degree boosts your lifetime earning power, then it also boosts the amount of tax you'll contribute. So why burden students - especially from low-income backgrounds - with loans?

And if a degree doesn't boost lifetime earnings, why burden students - especially from low-income backgrounds - with loans?

Mark Wadsworth said...

Sackerson "if, as is claimed, a degree boosts your lifetime earning power, then it also boosts the amount of tax you'll contribute. So why burden students - especially from low-income backgrounds - with loans?"

As long as the cost of the degree is less than the post-tax extra earnings, it is, from the point of view of a potential student, who after all are supposed to be the brightest and best and hence capable of such cost-benefit analyses, they will still go and study.

And as to student loans being a burden, don't make me laugh, typical student debt £20,000 or something, typical first-time buyer mortgage £150,000.

You could argue that somebody with a driving licence, or an HGV licence, or who has trained as a plumber or as a solicitor has a higher earnings capacity and so will pay more in income tax, so why shouldn't the taxpayer subsidise driving licences, or scuba diving licences, or any other form or training?

Mark Wadsworth said...

For avoidance of doubt, that last paragraph is me trying to say that the government should not subsidise work-related training.

dearieme said...

"we have plenty of coal ourselves": but almost none of it any good. High in sulphur, deep down, in shallow, faulted seams.

Nick Drew said...

dearime - indeed, see mine above @10:13

Mark Wadsworth said...

That's "deariEme" with an "E" between the "I" and the "M". actually.

SACKERSON said...

Mark: mortgages are a second front, and I wonder if the law should should ever have permitted property to have debt secured on it. And the ex-student with the £20,000 loan is likely to be the same first time buyer facing a £150,000 debt burden for a house. I know people who have opted not to join their final salary pension schemes because of the loans they're servicing at the outset of their career.

Nick Drew said...

It was also 10:53, Mark ! apologies, I learned along time ago that there's nothing worse than getting someone's name wrong

Sackers - I feel we haven't even begun to see the societal impact of forcing nearly half the population into the attitude that being tens of 000's £££ in debt by the age of 21 is entirely normal.

(We may also shortly find that the ease with which this revolution was achieved was a function of the burgeoning equity in the parents' houses over the relevant period ...)

Earlier generations were taught that any debt was deeply irresponsible, and debt on this scale was only for the wastrel sons of Dukes

The Great Simpleton said...

sackerson,

>>Mark: if, as is claimed, a degree boosts your lifetime earning power, then it also boosts the amount of tax you'll contribute. So why burden students - especially from low-income backgrounds - with loans?<<

But what about those who pay haigh taxes and didn't get a subsidised youth whilst learning a skill they could later use, can they get a tax rebate?

The Great Simpleton said...

sackerson,

>>Mark: if, as is claimed, a degree boosts your lifetime earning power, then it also boosts the amount of tax you'll contribute. So why burden students - especially from low-income backgrounds - with loans?<<

But what about those who pay haigh taxes and didn't get a subsidised youth whilst learning a skill they could later use, can they get a tax rebate?

Anonymous said...

"And the taxpayer should not foot the bill for something that will primarily benefit a minority"

You might like to bear in mind that the brain surgeon that removes that tumour will be part of that minority. But no doubt you believe that hairdressers are a key component of a succesful nation - their training IS fully funded by the taxpayer.

I will pay for my kids to go through university using my own funds, which will guarantee they get the very best start in life regardless of what the government gets up to, and without any debt around their necks. We have set up a long term investment fund to make it nice and easy. You might say "Hey, that's so unfair to other kids that didn't have the chances you are giving your kids". Well that would be true but it wasn't my idea. Blame it on the socialists....

mutleythedog said...

What have I started here.. I am ok just to accept the salary and do nothing as Culture Minister - I could be a bit like the Queen, who I have been watching on TV. She spends and enormous amount of time and money doing nothing in particular...very odd. By the way I have 2 degrees and am still facing unemployment, anyone with a job in the Folkestone area for an unfunny idiot please contact me..

Rwendland said...

Getting back to Energy!

Bloomberg reckon Sarkozy may sell Areva shares to fund nuke decommissioning. (See ND's previous heads-up on this.) If I had any Areva nonvoting certificates at 37 P/E, I'd be flogging them asap!

This would be a real step forward in really finding out whether nukes are economic or not! Maybe it will torpedo BE/EDF plans to build EPRs here.

Rwendland said...

Your 5-point energy policy didn't say if you like carbon pricing?

I'd give some support for renewables or microgen, as a new technology. These have the potential for a great reduction in capital cost, as multiple small units are amenable to significant mass-production cost reduction, eg if China gets behind these. Haven't crunched the numbers, but as costs of capital are ~75% of wind-costs, plenty of scope there I'd guess.

Little petrol elec-generators from China have become as cheap as chips by mass-production - maybe that could happen to gas powered CHP units, which would make home heating unit replacement a no-brainer.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Anon, is training as a hairdresser in anyway tax-advantaged or subsidised? News to me! If true, I will have to reconsider my policy.

OK, brain surgeons, they cost half a million to train up, paid for by taxpayer via NHS.

We, the taxpayer, can either have our money back by

a) locking them into a minimum ten-year contract with NHS for a salary that is £50,000 than the world-market rate for brain surgeons, or

b) we can land him with a £500,000 loan (or any smaller figure you care to invent) and he repays it out his higher market salary.

I prefer (b).

SACKERSON said...

Back on topic, just as spending £1 less is equivalent to about £1.60 boost on pre tax/NI pay, we have a huge amount we could save on energy, in hundreds of ways. Just for starters, the building here has lights on all day, whether it's cloudy or birght sunshine! Is pricing the most efficient way to achieve efficient energy use?

Nick Drew said...

Mr Endland - welcome back, & yes I should have mentioned CO2 cap-n-trade which in principle I like. If properly done it can achieve price- discovery on abatement costs. The ETS has proved itself in mechanistic terms, which is good, even though they crassly gave away allocations for free, which was stupid.

Hopefully it has educated politicians in non market-oriented countries on how markets actually work. For example, in Germany there was national outcry over the fact that the ETS caused a rise in electricity prices. They assumed that because generators received free allowances there would be no cost to pass through ! *but* ... of course (a) using something with a market value carries an opportunity cost; and (b) electricity price rises were the Whole Point Of The Exercise !!

Anything that flushes out true nuc costs from behind its deep, mendacious camouflage has to be good.

I start out sympathetic to 'support' for new technologies, but I am even more enthusiastic to find out which is most economic and, I'm afraid, Picking Winners has a shocking track record. So I end up bluntly opposing subsidy. Then again, anything you allow the Grid to facilitate within the rate-base (e.g. distributed gen, microgen export) is effectively at least to some extent a subsidy ... at least it should be minimised, with all costs being recognised explicitly before being 'smeared'.

I realise that in the 'no subsiy for renewables' I should also have included a statement on biofuels, to wit - scrap the bio-diesel obligation !

Nick Drew said...

Sackers - absolutely, it's amazing how much scope there is. (& don't get me started on plasma TV, using 6 x the power of conventional: or the new rolling stock on Southern rail - etc etc)

Best wishes for the New Year, Mutt old chap. Unfunny you ain't, & be assured you have a lot of friends

SACKERSON said...

No, Nick, do say more. For example, I had no idea plasma TV was such an energy burner.

SACKERSON said...

BTW, Mutley, only too glad to pay you the salary if you sack all the others, it'd be a heck of a saving overall. But hands off HM The Queen; if our politicians knew their duty the way she knows hers, we'd surely be better off. And HMS Britannia used to be a great order-getter for the UK, talk about New Labour cutting off the nose to spite the face.

Nick Drew said...

Feeling guilty, eh Sackers?!

The rolling-stock thing is amazing. If you travel on (e.g.) the mainline out of Victoria, every quarter-mile or so you'll see a shiny new box of tricks beside the tracks. I'm not the man to tell you what they are in electrical engineering terms, but they are part of a massive power-system upgrading that was necessitated when the old slam-door trains were replaced by the splendid new stock.

Turns out these new trains use up to 3 (three) times more power per passenger carried than those they replaced (depending on the stage of the cycle from rest to full-speed and back again), because

(a) they are MUCH heavier**
(b) they accelerate more

& did anyone tell us this / ask us before they switched to this energy-intensive mode ? No, it's all part of the phenomenon that ever-increasing levels of 'civilisation' require ever more electricity (as Lenin knew well)

** why heavier ? inter alia

- fewer seats per carriage, for comfort, so more carriages required
- loads more elf'n'safety features
- lots of the old cars' panels were wood or formica, replaced by metal
- sliding doors everywhere, with motors etc
- aircon
- more lighting + elec signage + intercom etc
- more steel = smoother ride
- etc etc

Can't complain, they are much nicer! Ain't that the way with comfort & safety ?

SACKERSON said...

Nick, you haven't got the beginnings of an essay here, but the germ of a whole book. Got the nerve and energy?

Nick Drew said...

I wrote a book ten years ago Sackers, 250,000 words: so at least I had the energy once

but it was stuff that was off the top of my head, all in one sitting so to speak, and this latest train of thought (no pun intended) is not fully-formed yet

for me anyway

SACKERSON said...

This one?

"Visualising Complex Interacting Systems", Nick Drew Bob Hendley School of Computer Science University of Birmingham...
Companion to ACM Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI

Nick Drew said...

nice try, and that does indeed sound interesting, I'm really into visualising & I half wish that was me

but it ain't because this ND is a nom de guerre!

You won't find it (I've just tried on google, but 1997 was just too early for universal capture, and it had a long title that defies simple search techniques)

it was on various financial aspects of liberalising the gas and electricity markets: a very short print run (but a gratifyingly high price !)

Anonymous said...

@Mark Wadsworth: Sorry Mark. I have a lot of time for what you write here but you have lost the plot on this one.

Brain surgeons do indeed get their education paid for by the NHS. so what happened to the principle of the educated paying? Slaughtered on the altar of expediency it seems. We benefit just a little too much from educating surgeons don't we? Sure, you could try and pin them down to a 10 year contract - but they'd be off to the US before you could say "knife" to earn 10x more than they can earn here.

Hairdressing is taught at colleges of further education - funded by the government if you are 19 or under.

However, I am someone that believes in principle. Lets make people pay for any of the education they need prior to starting their first job. After all, its an investment isn't it?

Rwendland said...

I've been reading up on , and it is an interesting insight into regulation and incentives. Apparently Stirling micro-CHP is quite close to being cost-effective, maybe 2010 (though recent gas/elec price changes will have changed that), especially for larger houses, new builds, and old houses difficult to insulate - of which the UK has many compared to most countries. It is economically the best microgeneration option.

New builds would be the ideal market entry, as new design can make installation easy, so marginal cost is reduced to about £1500. I can't work out what the payback period is, but I think under 15 years at this price (but, to be fair to developers, depends on maintenance costs and system lifetime where there is little experience). However it will be a hard sell, because it is an invisible system like insulation, and unlike double glazing. The average punter is not a highly economically rational being, and like building insulation take-up is likely to be quite low unless regulation forces builders to install it. Essentially it is a £1500 cost to the developer for something most buyers won't see, so bites into profit, despite (before long) being the economically rational thing to do for most buyers.

Stirling micro-CHP seems a classic case showing the good from early incentives to get some early medium-scale practical experience and data, then if it looks a no-brainer regulation to get it into new builds. Assuming the average consumer is highly economically rational just does not work well.

My other observation on micro-CHP is that it won't make much difference to large-scale generators. The current typical Stirling micro-CHP generates 8 kWt (heat) but only 1.2 kWe. So even if we get it installed in a million homes, it only generates about 1GWe peak, though luckily the winter heating season is a very good time for a bit of extra power generation so might save one large power station nationally.

Not short and pithy like a blog comment should be, but worthwhile? Or just boring?

Nick Drew said...

no probs, Mr E, this is one of those threads whence most of the party-goers have departed and the diehards keep on chatting into the small hours

Yes, micro-gen is v interesting and if it were just a question of 'is it more efficient to generate power in situ in small amounts, or a long way off in large amounts' then it could probably be pursued as a hobby, so to speak

trouble comes when folk want to / need to export spill-power into the grid, which makes the scale of capital expenditure an altogether different proposition

(haven't read your links yet)

Anonymous said...

"and old houses difficult to insulate - of which the UK has many compared to most countries."

Always makes me laugh this one. The UK rarely gets cooler than -5 Celsius in winter so with internal temps maintained at 21Celsius that is a 26degree temp differential. Compare that with europe where winter temps can drop as low as -40Celsius (a 61degree differential) and you can see why we don't really need triple glazing, shutters and all manner of other insulation. Germany uses all these things and they still have a much higher CO2 output per head relative to the UK.

Anonymous said...

"'is it more efficient to generate power in situ in small amounts, or a long way off in large amounts' then it could probably be pursued as a hobby, so to speak"

That's not the point. Power stations are inherently inefficient because they work by heating a gas which generates mechanical work as a by-product of expansion of that gas. To improve the effficiency the gas is then cooled (often by use of a cooling tower) to cause the gas to contract. In a large scale power plant this cooling of the gas simply wastes energy (unless the cooling is used to heat nearby factories) whereas in a microCHP plant the waste heat is used directlyu to heat the home.

Thus a Stirling CHP generator scores over a power plant in two ways - firstly it generates electricity locally at the point of load thus avoiding the losses associated with transformation and transmission, and secondly it uses the "waste" heat from the process to heat homes and provide hot water. Although stritly speaking this is the wrong way to look at it - microCHP is really a way of generating electricity as a by-product of heating your home (or shop or factory) not the other way around.

Rwendland said...

Sorry about the botched links, hit the wrong button before I'd finished, here they are again: nifty expected break-even point chart from this 2005 Energy Saving Trust PDF report, and a brief sensible micro-CHP article. Plus something techie on small to large CHP. But this is all 2 years old - need to find a fresh economic analysis if really interested.

My take on Stirling micro-CHP is that it is barely worth exporting 1kW to grid at the price currently offered (~2.8p/kWh). Just offset imports at an excellent price, and dump any surplus into an electric heater - this is essentially a heating system with a useful bit extra.

Trying not to be diehard, but bathroom tap broke today, and am trying to delay dealing with plumbers! Why do white-goods and taps always fail just before xmas?

NB "EEE" on the nifty chart means "Energy Export Equivalence" (same import/export price) - arguably a subsidy.

The Great Simpleton said...

Rwendland beat me to it with his excellent points. Micro generation and fuel cell technologies, as well as technologies not yet thought of, are good reasons why politicians should not be squandering money subsiding wind farms and inappropriate technologies.

Furthermore, as has been blogged many times, the rise in oil prices can be seen as a good thing as it makes R&D into these technologies more attractive.

SACKERSON said...

My wife's uncle, a retired heating engineer, say don't bother with double glazing, fit 1/4" glass or thicker - same thermal gradient and doesn't mist up like DG. Any other simple fixes?

Nick Drew said...

it's OK we can discuss faulty plumbing and glazing here too - Flanders & Swann, anyone ? *... idea ...*

(good luck, Mr E, I know the syndrome)

think we're gathering a bit of consensus around these parts - next energy post will therefore be a (critical) look at the Tories' offerings

in the meantime I've stuck something up on Sterling, rather than Stirling

Richard Elliot said...

Nick - directed here by your comments on Ed's blog.

I hear from Ed that you are an energy expert, so I'm not surprised it makes a lot of sense!

My main concern is that we need to sart doing something now. Many of our power stations (nuclear and fossil fuel) are reaching the end of their life. Gas supplies are becoming less not more stable.

The government needs to get its finger out. It doesn't feel like a lot is being done!

neil craig said...

Nobody is really suggesting any subsidy for nuclear. As far as "waste" goes it is a non-problem. A reactor creates about a cibic metre of reacot waste per year, which, precisely because it is highly radioactive, has a short half life & will be less radioactive than the ore it came from in a few hundred years. It also contains a lot of valuable isotopes.

Improved efficiency for coal is highly desireable & might well change the economics but we nuclear already works if we let it.

look said...

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