Yeh it takes 20 years to change an Energy Mix.
If we don't start now we will simply have to rely on importing gas from Russia and Norway for the next 20 years.
"This decline in performance means that it is rarely economic to operate wind farms for more than 12 to 15 years. After this period they must be replaced with new machines, a finding that has profound consequences for investors and government alike."
Really? The whole machine? Not just the magnets or other parts of the generator? Wind turbines are relatively simple machines with a substantial proportion of the upfront capital cost in the major structural components and the actual erection or the structure (this is especially true of offshore). Even if you need to replace the whole genset, that will be a fraction of the upfront capital cost and after 15 years it just might make sense anyway as new gensets may be smaller and more efficient for the same volume.
I don't know who REF are, but that report is highly suspicious.
I'm sticking to my thoughts on nuclear personally - thorium based reactor research should be at the top of our agenda, along with fusion reactors.
An electric vehicle can be cheaper right now, in certain circumstances, even taking into account a limited battery life and a high replacement cost. So it's a bit problematic to say it is simply uneconomic.Quote:
As for wind farms being uneconomic - same goes for battery powered cars - yes they pollute less where they are but the batteries are not very long-lived and uneconomic to produce not to mention the electricity they use
Lets give some perspective on energy use here and abroad.
The Hoover Dam provides enough power for 25% of Las Vegas power needs and a large portion of the states around it (So the tour guide told me - 4.2 TWh/year - from wiki).
2,355 TWh/year is the average consumption for the entire UK
That's only approx 3% of our needs.Quote:
At the beginning of March 2012, the installed capacity of wind power in the United Kingdom was 6,580 megawatts (MW)
Still only meets 16% of our needs - 69 TWhQuote:
There was an 11% increase in the use of nuclear power in 2011, which helped to bring greenhouse gas emissions down 7% on the previous year.
What about geothermal? If Iceland/etc could split water into hydrogen and oxygen and ship it off to other countries to be cleanly burned...
Dhicks- I agree, it's the future. But for now, IMO nuclear is the best stopgap measure
Solar could work, it is doing well in Germany. However, there are vested interests that really don't want us generating any proportion of out own power. Why? They can't charge you for it!
On the flip side, there would have to be development of the infrastructure to deal with a "distributed generation" system.
Having just been to Iceland, I doubt the nimbies would accept a full scale geothermal plant on their doorstep.
So, not green where powered by coal.
"However, in some cases electric cars still made sense, the researchers said."
So even though they are doing an exhaustive analysis over the lifetime of the product including build and disposal costs, in some cases it does already make sense. Battery technology is steadily improving. The case for electric cars will only get stronger.
I'd be highly sceptical of anything that originates from the Renewable Energy Foundation - they've been anti wind power from the get-go and you've got to be suspicious of an organisation campaigning against windpower that's sponsored by Calor Gas? See Will the real Renewable Energy Foundation please stand up? | Leo Hickman | Environment | guardian.co.uk
Digging a bit further it appears that the Dude who wrote the REF's paper, Professor Gordon Hughes, testified at the Energy and Climate Change Committee in July 2012 as a representative of the Global Warming Policy Foundation - the one set up by Nigel Lawson. This website puts it bluntly - "The Renewable Energy Foundation is a front for biofuel and energy-intensive industries, and anti-wind campaigners"
That said, IMO wind is a total waste of time. It isn't constant, it's incredibly expensive, it's bad for the environment and it's noisy and unattractive. If you were having a contest for 'Worst choice of energy solution', wind would be at the top.
My energy mix for now would be shale gas for the next decade, followed by a rapid ramping up of our fission power, with research in to alternative nuclear solutions and fusion at the top of the tree, and renewables consigned to the fantasy bin of history where they belong.
There's also the issue of the impact on the environment of a running turbine - it could be dangerous to birds, and a field of them will alter the wind to unpredictable effect - if only to make the energy returned from a turbine farm much less than predicted.
I'm a little suspicious of any point of view that suggests it's all cut and dried one way or the other. There's a lot of devils still to be found in all the details of all the options.