Skip to main content

Europe May Have to Think Twice About Wind Power

In Europe, wind power is running in to more objections:

It can cost between 54 and 102 dollars to save emission of a tonne of carbon dioxide by using wind energy, says a report released last week by a German government energy agency and two other independent groups.

Germany, which has the world's largest number of wind farms, would have to spend 1.4 billion dollars to link wind farms to the electricity grid to meet its declared aim of producing 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015, the report says. That would cost the average German home an additional 21 dollars a year . . .

The Country Guardian, a British group that has opposed wind farms for years claims the new German report validates their objections. "We have been saying for years that wind energy costs three times as much as conventional energy, and damages the landscape," Ann West from Country Guardian told IPS. "Wind farms are such horrible blots on the landscape."

Elfam, the largest utilities company in Denmark found in a study that wind farms had not reduced carbon dioxide emissions, she said. The Germany energy giant Eon, she said, had found that wind energy needs to be backed up by conventional energy.

"Wind energy is not just more expensive but it leads to more pollution," West claimed. She cited a report by the Royal Academy of Engineers in Britain to suggest that a conventional power station produces more carbon dioxide when it is turned down to make room for energy from wind farms, and also when it has to "ramp up" when wind energy is insufficient.


Click here to read about the Royal Academy's report. I think it's important to note that we don't have anything against renewables. It's just that when you take an honest look at future electricity demand, and add in concerns about environment, it's going to take more than just renewables to fill the gap.

Comments

Elizabeth King said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elizabeth King said…
The carbon dioxide emission rate for the United States is roughly 0.87 metric tons per MWhr, according to Environmental Protection Agency's CEMS (Continuous Emission Monitoring System) data. Based on that emission rate, It takes about 1.15 MWhrs of clean-air nuclear generation to avoid one full metric ton of CO2. Using the average 2003 US nuclear production cost of $17.2/MWhr, that amounts to a cost of around $19.78 to avoid one metric ton of CO2. This is less than half the cost of avoiding a single ton of CO2 using wind power, according to the European study.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…