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Government Energy Consultation period

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by conundrum, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. conundrum

    PermaBanned

    Joined: Jan 11, 2006

    Posts: 215

    What would you say to a Government representative regarding UK energy provision over the next 30 years ?

    Renewables
    Nuclear
    Bring back home grown coal
    Do some far reaching research into radical alternatives (mad scientist style)
    Build more hydro electrics

    What would you say to the Governments Energy representative ?
     
  2. PlacidCasual

    Soldato

    Joined: May 13, 2003

    Posts: 6,025

    As someone who is always rather opinionated in energy debates here’s my stab at it.


    My first comment would be “why have you waited so goddamn long to make any kind of decision you half wits?”

    On nuclear I would ask how they can persuade any private company to invest in nuclear power under the current energy market rules? I would also ask how they intend to shorten the inquiry phase of the nuclear program so that should we decide we are willing to build nuclear stations we stand a chance of building them no more than 10 years after we actually need them? I would ask what their long tem plans for high level waste storage are, and how much additional waste of each classification is likely to be created over the working life of any replacement stations compared to what we have already committed to?

    On coal power in general I would ask how you expect anyone to invest in new plant given the absolute and crushing inability of any European or domestic governmental agencies to make timely decisions on core emissions legislation? I would ask how they intend to meet their rashly agreed to Kyoto Protocol commitments whilst maintaining a healthy balance of energy supply diversity? I would ask whether the coal industry is actually technically capable of reopening any closed mines, is it technically capable of opening and new mines, and do the people still exist to train any potential next generation of miners?

    On renewables I would ask how much money the Government was spending on subsidies to support renewables given they have allowed market conditions where renewable energy is commercially unviable? I would ask how many wind turbines and of what size would be required to meet the Governments hopes for reneable energy and how much spare thermal plant would be required to compensate for availability?

    On hydro power I would ask why the Government isn’t spending more money on the fundamental technology of free standing tidal turbines? And why it isn’t undertaking public inquiries on tidal turbine installation should the technology prove feasible? I would ask how many more Welsh or Scots valleys they would be prepared to flood to smooth the load and demand profiles for future expansion of either the wind or nuclear power supplies?

    But my main gripe would be after nearly 9 years of inaction why they only now raising questions that are at least 5 years over due? And is it a symptom of political cowardice to try and leave meaningful decisions to your successors when they really need making today?
     
  3. anarchist

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    Along with all of placidcasual's excellent points I would also make the obvious point that we should try and reduce our energy consumption. Really simple things, given enough education and discipline by the general population, could cut consumption in half probably (wild guess).
     
  4. PlacidCasual

    Soldato

    Joined: May 13, 2003

    Posts: 6,025

    Seeing as we are once again on the subject I would like to give you some perspective. In a year a single oil fired power station burning a vegetable based oil could easily produce more electricity earning Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC’s) than all of the wind farms in the United Kingdom put together. There are several power stations in this position at the moment. The question for their operators, who all are major wind farm operators, is whether to do so because by following such a plan they would massively undercut wind farms in the ROC market potentially destroying the industries artificial economic viability.
     
  5. conundrum

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    This is what I think at the present time. Oil provides 40 % of world energy needs, 90 % of transport requirements and it is most likely to peak between now and 2025. Sooner rather than later is the loudest view at the present time especially oil analyst Matthew Simmonds whose book The coming Saudi Oil shock has been well received in this regard.

    Web sites such as http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/ene_oil_pro_res_tho_mil_bar procliam to tell us how much Oil is currently retrieveable with proven available technologies. This is around 1.1 Trillion barrels. I am sure that future technologies will retrieve around another trillion barrels if it exists and that we are chomping away at it to the tune of 1000 barrels a second, 82 milliojn per day or 28 billion per annum and that means around 60 years impoverished and intermittent supply. The USA is the 20 million barrels a day country (it has the largest economy) but its current administration makes no bones about their fossil fuel intent.

    There is no replacement for Oil at the present time for transport that can be brought online to replace Oil within 30 years world wide. Hydrogen and fuel cells or something else needs urgent finance to be made a practical technology for transport. Well except for trains, Oil is not often burned for electricity relative to transports use.

    For heating and lighting and industrial processes we can go nuclear for some of it, get microwind and microsolar, get the breakthrough in nanasolar, look at thermo depolyerisation, tidal power needs more investigation as it looks promising along with giant offshore wind farms, geothermal and hydro to boot. All these can surely provide the non transport energy we require.

    We need a mix surely ?
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2006
  6. William

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 26, 2003

    Posts: 10,948

    Location: Derby

    I think I read today that 7Terrawatt hours are lost every year due to appliances being on standby. :eek:
     
  7. Jokester

    Don

    Joined: Aug 7, 2003

    Posts: 38,843

    Location: Aberdeenshire

    Yep, what ever the figure was, it was enough to shutdown two power stations if people switched them off properly.

    Jokester
     
  8. Willowbark

    Gangster

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 270

    Location: Elsewhere

    Renewables: Fantastic, mostly harmless, still early days - spend some cash! see what happens. Realistically I think this sector will grow by private individuals opting to have their energy needs met by 100% green generators (mostly wind at the moment), and paying a slight premium for the pleasure.

    Nuclear: I should perhaps start by making it clear that I'm not anti-nuclear, I think it is a realistic option. It's a proven technology that this country does well. But I question whether something a little more world-leading would be better. Especially whilst other nations are demanding the right to build nuclear. The timing of a debate over whether to build new nuclear power, just as our nuclear deterrent is up for renewal is just disgusting. Why do we not want other nations to build nuclear? - because it can be used to produce weapons. So why are we building new nuclear, just as we need to build new weapons? This just makes us look bad. A Modular Pebble Bed Reactor using a much less "weaponizeable" fuel such as Thorium seems to be the the message to send.
    Also, I took a tour around Trawsfynydd nuclear power station, they are doing fine work but this is going to take a long long time to finish. This will cost a fortune in the long run. Tally up the money that this will cost and apply that sort of figure to some of the alternatives and they become attractive.

    Coal: mmmm, I like coal, but not ours. WAY too much sulphur, even for clean-er technologies. Increasing efficiency in power generation only to loose it all twice over in scrubbing all the crap out of the emmissions is not viable.

    Wacky sci-tech stuff: Go go cold-fusion. But I'd like something I can invest in now without buying up the world supply of Palladium.

    Hydro-electric: Superb way to meet peak-flow demand, this will be used in any of the final combinations of power supply. Not a realistic main supply in my personal opinion though.

    I agree that reducing consumption is by far the most effective way of limiting our energy burden. Campaigns, advertising, education and scare stories have limited shelf-life in consumers memories - it's going to need a great big carrot to get people interested in this "what's in it for me" culture.

    How about a dispersed technology such as solar photo-voltaic(PV)? Splash some cash on subsidising the early converters to get a grass-roots movement of people that want to save the planet but also want to make some cash. Get these micro-generators to feed surplus energy into the national grid! As the number of net contributors grows - our energy deficit will decrease. People with a vested interest will make more effort to reduce their consumption. As take-up increases costs will be driven down - thus making the technology more available. Maybe I should post this in the Seti forum, grid computing meet national grid PV.

    That's what I'd say anyway.
     
  9. Saberu

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 25, 2003

    Posts: 3,263

    Location: Stafford (uni)

    This is already being done. There are businesses that sell solar cells for home use and the cost is subsidized by the government. Also I think surplus energy does get fed back into the grid, although not too sure on that.
     
  10. Willowbark

    Gangster

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 270

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    I've found some interesting information on that Saberu http://www.solarcentury.com/ . Looks like my house is perfect for it too. Upto 50% subsidisation, this needs government backing more than nuclear needs prelicencing.
     
  11. Baker

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    Correct. A mix of as many renewable sources as we can feasibly acquire (without covering every hill in Britain with turbines), and cover the rest with Nuclear. Send the waste over to America, no-one needs them anyway.
     
  12. conundrum

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    I am unsure if any renewable in its current form can provide a substitute for more than around 40 % of our current fossil fuels usage. Looks like we need energy efficiency as well as renewables.

    Solar needs a breakthrough in order to be considered cost effective.
     
  13. Saberu

    Mobster

    Joined: Feb 25, 2003

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    Location: Stafford (uni)

    Agreed, even with subsidization from the government it is still way too expensive. Nanotechnology is making waves in many industries though, and I suspect it to play a big part in solar cell technology in the near future.
     
  14. conundrum

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    Nanosolar looks promising and could be a big player if a suitable breakthrough is made and commercial production can begin within 10 years
     
  15. big_white_dog84

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 8, 2004

    Posts: 1,183

    We need:

    1 - new nuclear for the medium term
    2 - renewables for the long-term
    3 - energy efficiency forever

    The Russian gas problems at the moment highlight a big potential problem for the next 10-15 years before we can get new nuclear stations built.
    I think there is a BIG problem with public ignorance of the problem. So many people on radio phone-ins etc harp on about renewables being able to meet all our demands. NO CHANCE! ALL viable hydro-electric stations have already been built. Windfarms are not a constant source of energy and can cause grid stability problems on a large scale. Photovoltaics are far far too expensive - a typical payback period for a domestic installation is 60 years +. Renewables are also not economically attractive. If it wasn't for the ROCs very few schemes will exist.
    When the lights start going out we will regret listening to the anti-nuclear lobby (and I as an electrical engineer will be getting very rich :D).