Thursday, July 23, 2009

The British Present An Energy Plan

Ed-Miliband-visiting-the--002 Great Britain released last week its analogue of the Obama administration’s energy bill, called the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan. It’s goal is to cut carbon emissions 34% by 2020, using 1990 levels as a baseline. That’s more ambitious than the American plan, but starts from a different place economically and industrially. To put it another way, it’s easier for the Brits to contemplate such a steep decline in such a short time – and it still qualifies as very optimistic.

Here’s what the report say about nuclear energy:

The Government is streamlining he planning and regulatory approvals processes for new nuclear power stations. It is currently assessing sites where developers would like to bring new nuclear power stations into operation by 2025, and this assessment will be included in a draft National Policy Statement for nuclear power, which the Government will consult on later in 2009.

So it’s in the mix. How much in the mix? We think the balance of nuclear and renewables is problematic, but that’s what you’d expect from us.

Energy secretary Ed Miliband said that 30% of electricity would be produced from renewable sources − primarily wind energy, and a further 10% would be from nuclear power.

We’ll really be surprised if that nuclear percentage doesn’t edge upward. Here’s the jobs estimate:

The nuclear power industry would need 11,500 to 16,500 new people by 2015, while the renewables sector will need another 400,000, he [Engineering & Technology Board chief executive Paul Jackson] said. “In order to achieve these [targets] we will need more skilled engineers with the relevant skills and further investment in green technology.

There’s a lot more, of course, but we’ll direct you here to read the whole plan. As you’d expect, energy efficiency, clean coal, a new grid and better fuel efficiency all play a part. We’ll look at some of the reactions to this proposal later, particularly the balance between nuclear and renewable energy.

We’re not expert enough in British government to know how Parliament interacts here (the report itself says it was presented to Parliament), but we’ll see if we can’t sort out how that will go, at least roughly.

Here is the Telegraph’s James Delingpole on Energy and Climate Change minister Ed Milliband, pictured:

“There are, of course, many things to loathe about Ed Miliband: his wonky, slightly sinister face like a giant egg with a hedgehog on top; the way he says “sure” all the time; his Estuarial inability to pronounce his final consonants; the fact that there’s not just him but his ruddy brother too; the annoying missing “l” in his surname; but definitely the worst is the drivel this grinning eco loon is allowed to spout, largely unchallenged, on “climate change.”

Classless and snobby at the same time, a unique combination.

4 comments:

perdajz said...

Jobs, jobs, jobs...

Isn't this post stark evidence that renewables (whatever that means) are not competitive with nuclear power in the long run? To outproduce nuclear power 3:1 "renewables" would require 30 times as many workers. So per unit output, "renewables" require 10 x as many workers.

woofer said...

Has anyone done a good study of worker safety on renewable energy sites including necessary extra power transmission infrastructure?

perdajz said...

Hey woofer,

Paul Gipe is the only researcher I know who's done it right. He tallies up wind power accidents, fatalities in particular, and normalizes them on a per unit output scale.

It's bad news for wind power fans. A few years back, Gipe conceded that per unit energy, wind power is little better than coal mining, although wind power doesn't have the emissions problem. Still, that's pretty bad compared to nuclear power.

I haven't seen anything on extra transmission infrastructure. Wind power fans never count that as part of the wind power problem.

You might check out the European Commission's Externe study.

Aaron Rizzio said...

Specifically Paul Gipe found the "current mortality rate of wind energy of 0.15 deaths per TWh is roughly equivalent to that of mining, processing, and burning of coal to generate electricity according to some researchers."

@ 0.15 deaths per TWh we'd have ~250 annual coal miner and coal plant deaths per year in the US, which seems a bit high (unless one includes latent black lung disease) but certainly if averaged worldwide especially including China.

The NRC among others surely keep vary rigorous stats on nuke worker injuries for comparison, a 0.15 per TWh mortality rate would mean ~120 worker deaths per annum, so I'm guesstimating wind work is some two orders of magnitude more dangerous; apart from automobile accidents among commuting workers which are probably not included in such data.