Skip to main content

Nuclear Energy and Renewables Can Work Together

In today's edition of the Guardian (U.K.):
Surrounded by some of the world's roughest seas, Britain could generate a fifth of its electricity by harnessing the power of tides and waves.

The potential of marine energy is revealed in a report by the government's energy advisers. Wave and tidal power could replace the electricity that is currently produced by UK nuclear power stations, they state, and could prevent the need for Britain to rely on increased Russian gas imports.
To which Tim Worstall replied:
Wave and tide power are indeed interesting sources of electricity. But, umm, why use it to replace nuclear? Why not get 20% (roughly the current share) from nuclear, 20% from tide and wave? Then we'’d be even better little global citizens, wouldn'’t we?
Once again, we see yet another example of blinkered thinking. Worstall is correct here: There is no reason why nations can't leverage both wave energy and nuclear power in order to offset imports of natural gas. In fact, forgoing either option would put the world that much further away from achieving any sort of meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while building the new baseload electric generating capacity the world will need so much in the years to come.

Thanks to Filibuster for the pointer to the Guardian article.

Technorati tags: , , , , , , ,

Comments

Anonymous said…
I think "environmentalists" are going to kill any proposals for large-scale development of tidal energy. There will be all sorts of arguments about interference with littoral currents, impacts on marine ecosystems, installation of transmission lines, etc. Just look at the NIMBYism surrounding the proposed Cape Cod wind farm. That is what will face any proposals for tidal/wave power development.

But, that aside, Worstall's point is a good one. If there is any development of alternate sources of baseload electricity that are reliable and economical, probably the LAST thing you want to "replace" with that added capacity is nuclear capacity. Better to replace natural gas-fired generation first, then coal, and finally what little oil-fired capacity there is still out there. NG has better uses than being burned in utility boilers or gas turbines. Displacing coal will help on the GHG issue. Less oil use is just common sense. So keep nuclear around, and maybe supplement it, where feasible, with (so-called) renewables.

Popular posts from this blog

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

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…