Ireland 3rd highest in EU for oil consumption per capita

RTÉ highlights one of the policy options, Ireland may need nuclear power, recommended by Forfás, the national board responsible for providing policy advice to Government on enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation in Ireland, in its latest report [full document here pdf file], but the report’s main focus is the Irish economy’s increasing dependency on oil and how to lessen the risks that dependency holds.The key finding of the report were –

Key Findings

– There is growing evidence to suggest that the era of a plentiful supply of conventional oil is approaching an end2. Various experts and groups have developed projections for when peak oil will occur. While there is a wide variation of estimates about the likely timing, most expert commentators believe that 10-15 years from now, conventional oil supply will no longer be capable of satisfying world demand at current prices. While this subject is clouded by a low level of quality data, there is near global consensus that the potential consequences of peak oil for governments, economies, businesses and indeed individual consumers should be considered now as it will take at least ten years to prepare for its onset.

Ireland consumed nine million tonnes of oil in 2004, an amount that has doubled since 1990. In 2002, Ireland ranked 3rd highest among the EU-25 countries in terms of oil consumed per capita.[emphasis added]

– Electricity generation and transportation are the two main factors for Ireland’s high oil dependence. Ireland has relied considerably more on oil for electricity generation than most other EU countries and, as of 2002, had the 6th most oil dependent electricity generation system of the EU-25 countries. The amount of oil used for transportation in Ireland tripled between 1972 and 2002, leaving Ireland consuming at least 50 per cent more per capita than the average of the EU-25 by the end of the period4.

– Taking into account the Irish economy’s relative dependence on imported oil and the relative share of oil in total Irish energy consumption, Ireland is among the most sensitive to rising oil prices and therefore among the most vulnerable to a peak oil scenario.

And the policy options recommended in the report, as summarised –

Key Policy Considerations for Ireland

The findings of this study suggest that Ireland needs to develop a national strategy to prepare for the challenge of peak oil. The Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources is currently preparing a Green Paper setting out Ireland’s proposed medium to long term energy policy and this provides an opportunity to develop options for dealing with this challenge. Sweden has already taken a pro-active approach to the challenge of peak oil, putting in place a strategy designed to greatly reduce its remaining dependence on oil by 20205. Ireland also needs to consider pro-active measures.

An important consideration in the context of a peak oil scenario is the need for an EU energy policy that sets out a common co-operative approach to dealing with oil peaking. The European Commission recently launched a Green Paper that put forward proposals for a new comprehensive European energy policy, focusing on sustainability, competitiveness and security as the core principles6. In order to react to the challenges of high and volatile oil prices, increasing import dependency, strong growing global energy demand and global warming, the EU needs to have a clearly defined energy policy and Ireland should be fully supportive of this.

This report outlines a list of key policy options for Ireland that should be considered in developing a strategy on peak oil (see section 6). A summary of these options are outlined below.

– Ireland should undertake a number of initiatives to reduce the usage of oil in transportation, for example, by bringing about the replacement over time of the existing stock of vehicles with more fuel-efficient vehicles and the provision of alternative modes of transport, particularly public transport, that run on electricity rather than petroleum related fuels (e.g. electrified trams, trains and buses). The potential of using biofuels for transportation should also be investigated

– Ireland should assess options to address security of supply concerns that may arise in the context of peak oil. Options should include expanding domestic oil storage capabilities and contracting bilaterally with oil-producing countries that continue to have a surplus of production relative to their domestic requirements. Accelerating plans to develop more East-West electricity interconnection with the UK would also provide a significant degree of energy security, subject to the UK resolving its own security of energy supply problems.

Ireland should consider increasing the use of renewable energy sources for electricity generation (such as wind, wave, tidal energy etc), maintaining the continued operation of Moneypoint (Ireland’s only coal fired power station). Although not economically feasible in the short to medium term, Ireland should consider the possibility of developing nuclear energy as a more long-term solution.[added emphasis]

– Ireland should adopt a proactive approach to energy efficiency, seeking to place Ireland at the leading edge of energy efficiency practices. The EU Energy Performance Building Directive (EPBD), which came into effect in January 2006 will provide a basis for assessing and improving energy usage in commercial and residential buildings that is intended to result in a more efficient use of electrical energy.

– Ireland should accelerate the implementation of the National Spatial Strategy in preparation for peak oil. Current spatial patterns in Ireland militate against the development of an efficient and effective public transport system. The development of regional gateways and hubs will play a key part in enabling urban communities to respond to the challenges of peak oil. Those communities that are adequately resourced in terms of public transport infrastructure will have greater choice in relation to how they respond.

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  • Francis

    This is one thing i would fight to the end. I believe that the irish people would never allow a nuclear plant anywhere on the island of Ireland.

    If the government north and south got their fingers out and radically overhauled public transport and started using alt sources of energy.

    For god’d sake this place is coming down with water and the west coast you would get your head blowin off you by the wind.

    Get your fingers out and do something about it and not resort to the easy and most dangerous way out.

    No to Nuclear Power!!

  • Keith M

    Our oil consumption figures are disgraceful considing the size of the country and our relatively mild climate. This is a disaster waiting to happen. All we need is another oil crisis and the the country will come to a halt. Far more money needs to be spend on public transport and our petrol prices need to be brought in line with those in the U.K.

    As for nuclear power, we are already using it, as we are part of an inter-connect system with the U.K. But adopting our usual ostrich approach we ignore the fact and many people take the NIMBY approach. Bring it on, I say and the sooner the better.

  • DK

    Ireland’s entire energy needs would be met by one nuclear reactor. So, where would it be built? How would it be paid for (including waste management)? and how wise is it to put the country’s energy needs all in one basket, so to speak?

    Far, far wiser to go for the renewables & learn a bit of energy efficiency. Stick pump prices up by 10% to curb some car usage.

  • slug

    It is time, and well past time, that the Irish Republic raised its petrol tax to harmonise with the UK at the very least.

  • Stephen Copeland

    Slug,

    It is time, and well past time, that the Irish Republic raised its petrol tax to harmonise with the UK at the very least.

    You obviously don’t live near the border!

    Do I sense some sour grapes?

  • Shuggie McSporran

    I think the whole “Celtic Tiger” era will be judged in the very near future to have been a massive wasted opportunity.

    All the development that has been carried out in Ireland over the last couple of years should have been undertaken with a view to the not distant future.

    Shame.

  • It should be built, and it should be built in Mayo. Rossport, possibly, although the natives are a little restless in those parts. The West needs industrial development – time for an industrial development overdose! It could also serve as a dual purpose station, serving both gas and building for nuclear, offering a medium and long term solution. Makes all the sense in the world.

    As for Keith M’s point, he’s absolutely right, we are already using nuclear power. It would be cool to be able to *sell* power though, wouldn’t it! And let’s face it, we’re already subject to nuclear threat, let’s at least get some benefit out of it by owning the bloody thing.

    As for waste disposal, isn’t that what they do in Sellafield? That would be one way to settle our dispute – dump all our nuclear waste on Sellafield.

    The Finn’s are just completing a massive new plant, and they reckon it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Saw it on Newsnight a few weeks ago, I think.

    Anybody fancy South Armagh?

  • slug

    The Irish Republic has beggar thy neighbour tax policies.

    Fact.

  • Keith M

    DK “So, where would it be built?” I would have thought that that was obvious; Cork. Nobody would notice any generitc disorders 😉

  • Stephen Copeland

    slug,

    The Irish Republic has beggar thy neighbour tax policies.

    Are you arguing for tax harmonisation, or are you just envious of the lower tax rates in the south?

    What you call “beggar thy neighbour”, others might call a business friendly fiscal environment. And since it does appear to benefit business, and also workers and consumers, why argue against it? If southern voters feel that they would like higher taxes to pay for extra public goods, then they have the freedom to elect a party that will raise those taxes and provide those public goods. We call it democracy. Every other state can do the same, and if they chose not to do so, they cannot claim that they were not aware of the possibility, and the likely consequences.

  • DK

    Anthony B,

    Nuclear power stations need lots of water to work, so you couldn’t locate it in South Armagh. It would need to be coastal – West coast may be too stormy/distant. So, probably somewhere on the East Coast – ideally replacing an existing power plant (Northwall or Poolbeg).

  • slug

    Stephen I am not arguing for anything, I am just saying that the Irish Republic has classic beggar thy neighbour tax policies.

  • Lorcan

    What the hell is begger thy neighbour tax policies??

    We need so badly to invest in renewable energy sources. The wind coming in off the sea on the West coast is constant and strong we could easily have 25% of our electricity generated from this alone in 5 years if there was a will to do it.
    We need to act now or it will be too late. Putting 10 – 15c per litre on the price of petrol would hugely offest the costs of setting this up.

  • foreign correspondent

    Nuclear power plant in Ireland. Er sorry but that sounds like a bit of a crap idea to me.
    Why not have a referendum on whether building a nuclear power plant in Ireland is a good idea or not. But I would suggest a catch to the vote. If one ever does get built it should be located in the constituency where the highest percentage of people voted in favour of nuclear power…

  • If memory serves DK, there was a plan many moons ago to build one in Wexford. Mayo has lots of water, it comes out of the sky 😉 I’m not sure why storms would be a problem…no hurricanes in any case 🙂

    Anyway, the site was picked and everything was prepared for the Wexford site, but local opposition was too strong.

    If anyone objects in Mayo, we can always lock them up.

  • slug

    The term beggar thy neighbour is explained here Beggar thy Neighbour in the context of international exchange rate policy.

    More generally it is a policy that, if one country adopts, it harms others but benefits its self. Such as low petrol tax or company tax. If, everyone adopted it, would leave all no better off or sometimes worse off. Also called “race to the bottom”.

    The Irish Republic practices classic beggar thy neighbour tax policies.

  • What’s it called when you invade Iraq in order to safeguard oil supplies?

  • Stephen Copeland

    What’s it called when you invade Iraq …

    Bugger thy neighbour?

  • “What’s it called when you invade Iraq in order to safeguard oil supplies?”

    Irrelevant?

  • mook

    If we can’t afford oil and don’t want nuclear, then the only viable renewable source that could generate a useful amount of electricity would be wind. Are people willing to accept the west coast covered in a blanket of wind farms and the resulting visual impact that this would have?

  • Shuggie McSporran

    Paul

    “Irrelevant?”

    On a thread about oil consumption? Hardly.

  • steven

    at least the south have openened the debate on the idea-what if blair goes for nuclear is there then not an opportunity for the north to play its part and have one sited here?
    there would be construction jobs as well as the possibility of far lower energy charges -who could disagree with that-as well as lower charges for industry which could attract new businees and stimulate the economy.
    if the french and the Finns can use this form of energy why can’t we?
    i wonder what our “politicans” think re this.

  • Yokel

    Whats with Denis Donaldson being dead?

  • Shuggie
    “Irrelevant?”

    “On a thread about oil consumption? Hardly.”

    And on a thread about Ireland’s oil consumption?

  • Shuggie McSporran

    Paul

    “And on a thread about Ireland’s oil consumption?”

    Maybe you think oil grows on trees – in Ireland

    It doesn’t.

    Ireland gets it oil from abroad.

    Indeed, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland invaded Iraq a few years ago with the primary objective of freeing up some of the world’s largest supplies of oil. Maybe you missed that.

    Irish regiments are still there.

    The troops haven’t managed to free up the oil yet. In fact it has become even more expensive, hitting record highs on world markets since the United Kingdom of GB & Northern Ireland invaded.

    Oil dependant Irish consumers share the burden of those increases as well as the tax burden paid directly by those taxpayers in Northern Ireland to finance and service the invasion force.

    Phew!

    Can you tell me again – what’s irrelevant?

  • Crataegus

    I would have thought this one obvious.

    Lots of water, lots of wind, lots of waves, tide twice a day, so why on earth think nuclear? Lots of envelopes?

  • Shuggie
    “Irish regiments are still there”
    Well, Irish regiments comprising part of the British army…;)

    Still think Anthony’s little diversion about Iraq didn’t help us all that much with finding a solution for Ireland’s problems, but anyway Point taken with the rest of your post, thanks for enlightening me 😉

  • George

    On oil and Ireland,
    the current Irish government’s strategy is to give the oil companies a free hand to find the stuff in Irish waters so that Ireland will then have its own supply of energy.

    The tax would be 20% as opposed to 78% in Norway, for example.

    With oil at 60 + dollars a barrel, the porcupine basin could yet become viable so it will be limitless energy supply for decades to come.

    Unfortunately, the pay off is that Sir Anthony, who has bought up huge tracts, will cash in and not the government although it can be argued that a secure oil supply in these times will be priceless.

  • Brian Boru

    I live in Co.Wexford where the abortive Carnsore plant was planned in the 70’s, before being aborted due to huge demonstrations in the area. There will be hell to pay if any govt dares try that again. They will be signing their electoral suicide note. There must not be one in the North either. Otherwise we may have to demonstrate up there too because of the contamination of agriculture and the explosion of cancer cases a nuke-plant would cause. Remember that cancer-cases in Belarus after Chernobyl rose from 1 per million to 100 per million after the accident. Sellafield in Cumbria processes 80% of the world’s nuclear waste. An accident or terror attack there would dwarf Chernobyl. Then there is the Wylfa plant based on outdated magnox technology – and just 60km from Dublin where 1/4 of the Southern people live. These plants are nuclear bombings waiting to go off – either through a terrorist attack or an accident. Do people want children to grow up with the scale of deformities found in Belarus and parts of Ukraine? We need to support other renewables like wind, solar, wave, biomass and biofuel and not be taken in by vested interests and their political proxies.

  • Brian Boru

    “Remember that cancer-cases in Belarus after Chernobyl rose from 1 per million to 100 per million after the accident. ”

    I meant per annum and I also meant from 10 per million to 100 per million in some areas.

  • Brian Boru, surely the point is that we are already exposed to the threat of nuclear disaster, but we‘re not benefiting from it. Better to take control of it ourselves. If you take the fallout map from Chernobyl and put it on either of the two sites you mentioned, we’re in big trouble. We’re also in big trouble if we don’t adequately address our energy requirement. I’m all for renewables, energy conservation and all that, but if we don’t have oil, or if the price of oil increases by an order of magnitude as it becomes more scarce, renewables simply cannot make up the shortfall, with all the tidal, solar, wind and biomass plants we can fit.

    There is a realistic alternative, however, and that is that we buy our electricity from abroad. This makes sense, but it also leaves us vulnerable to global instability. One nuclear power plant would not only allow us to generate our own power, but additionally allow us to sell power internationally.

  • Crataegus

    We should look at this from a different angle, local production of energy is good for the economy. Ireland could be a net exporter of energy if we invest in proven renewables such as hydro and wind. Every barrel of oil we don’t need is a plus on the balance sheets.

    There is also the possibility of generating much needed employment in the West and rural areas.

  • Crataegus

    Anthony B

    “renewables simply cannot make up the shortfall, with all the tidal, solar, wind and biomass plants we can fit”.

    Your source for this assertion please?

  • J McConnell

    Crataegus

    There is a huge amount of material on the web on how the power gen industry works, especially on how its demand load is very different from other utilities.

    There is a daily cycle of demand between 20% and 80% of capacity with an overloaded seasonal cycle as well. There is no easy way to store electricity so the system must be able to handle almost instantaneous spikes in demand, and very large demand ranges over 24 hours periods.

    Ireland has 4300MW of generating capacity, of which around 300MW is non-fossil fuel. Ireland has no meaningful unused hydro capacity, and NIMBY planning laws guarantee that no more will be built. Geothermal and tidal are complete non starters in Ireland.

    There may be 500MW of wind generating capacity but the max you can realistically expect from current wind gen is 150MW. If you average more than 25% output from a wind gen facility you are doing very well. Wind has lots of other problems, inability to deal with short-time period demand change, widespread destruction of rural landscapes per MW generated, large-scale killing of wild birds, not to mention noise pollution. Wind can never account for more than 10% to 15% of generating capacity of a stable power grid.

    No other options left except nukes, or very very expensive electricity. And, no conservation does not work. It may reduce peak power requirements by a few percent points but it cannot change the fundamental equation – the daily and seasonal demand load curves plus the requirement for instantaneously available excess capacity to handle unusual peak loads.

  • Dk

    The problems with nuclear power for Ireland are:

    1. It is really expensive to build a nuclear power station, although one station should be enough.
    2. The fuel comes from abroad – just like oil.
    3. Waste disposal is really expensive
    4. They are very unpopular
    5. A single site is very vulnerable to a terrorist attack or freak accident.

    Ireland’s (South) enery needs (from memory) are 4000 MW, probably 8000MW needed for contingency. A wind power station generates 10MW or so, wave ones 10-100MW. Coal and oil and gas ones vary from 500MW to 2000MW (most are nearer 500MW size in Ireland). A nuclear station will produce up to 8000MW.

    There are a few peat burners producing about 500MW in total, but peat is a finite and endangered resource. Biomass isn’t likely to produce much more than that. The difference could easily be made up from wind (primarily) and also wave stations – no idea where J McConnell gets his/her assertation that there is only 150MW of wind available in Ireland.

  • J McConnell

    500MW of current wind gen capacity multiplied by 25% average output is around 150MW of current gen capacity. Total current gen capacity is around 4300MW.

    You would have to pave large swaths of rural Ireland with windfarms to even get close to suppling 50% of current demand, let alone hoping to supply future demand.

    As I said wind cannot provide more than 10% to 15% of capacity for a stable power grid because of it very nature. Try building large numbers of windfarms and most planned wind farms will be (rightly) denied planning permission because they are such a blot on the landscape as well as all the other problems they cause.

    The Finns and the French seem to have no problem generating most of their power using nukes. If you are serious about global warming, and dont want the Irish economy to return to the 1950’s levels of poverty, then nuclear power is the only real option.

  • DK

    I believe that wind farms would end up being as expensive as nuclear, although as J McConnell points out the environmental impact would be different (dead eagles vs. cancer; Noise pollution vs. radiation pollution etc.).

    However, they are far more sustainable than a nuclear station in that their numbers make them less vulnerable than a single nuclear power station, and easier to replace on a rolling basis.

    In terms of wave energy – far more reliable than wind – it is even more expensive, although the technology is getting better.

    I just think that, for Ireland, nuclear is not sustainable as a power strategy. Phasing out existing power stations with a mix of wind/wave/biomass is more suitable for the scale of Ireland’s needs.

  • Crataegus,

    Your request for source seems to have been substantially answered by more learned contributors 🙂 However, I heard this from two Forfas experts on the Last Word last Tuesday evening.

    Regarding the five objections to nuclear from DK, yes, it is really expensive. Really expensive. So expensive that even Forfas saw that it is not currently (ha ha) viable. That the fuel comes from abroad is true, but I think you can stockpile materials fairly easily. You need a lot of oil, but a really small amount of fissile material (if that’s the right term). Also, it should be sourcable in the UK, and other nuclear neighbours. Waste disposal is certainly expensive. They are unpopular yes, and they are subject to accident and attack also.

    I don’t think the expense / economic argument is really at issue. It’s a sum, a big equation, that will tell us whether or not nuclear is a viable option. I think the real problem with nuclear is this Chernobyl thing, the fear of a meltdown in Mayo, or Wexford, or wherever, whether caused by accident or design.

    Nuclear plants are becoming safer and safer. They will never be 100% safe. But let’s face it, we’re already under threat on that score with our near neighbours having so many nuclear power stations, and old ones at that, built under less rigorous safety standards than are in place today. And I think we can all agree that the Brits have far more enemies than we have. Anyone who thinks that that threat doesn’t impact on us because it’s not on our island is living in cloud cuckoo land. The Chernobyl thing had an impact here in terms of radiation levels, if I remember correctly, and that was three thousand miles away. So the threat is already there, why not benefit from it?

    Anthony.

  • Crataegus

    Property development is something I know a bit about and I would refute J McConnell’s claim that there can’t be substantial savings. I could easily build houses that that would be massively more energy efficient if the legislation was put in place so that everyone has to do it. There have been enough pilot schemes so lets get on with it. There is the potential to make massive savings in the built environment but it will require investment particularly in existing stock.

    However this will not answer our fuel needs for transport but nor will nuclear power stations. To address that issue you need an efficient transport system and a coherent, co ordinate planning policy with sustainability criteria at its core. Sod all to do with nukes.

    In addition instead of thinking large scale and damming the Shannon start to think of lots of small scale production. We should have turbines in our built environment where the electricity is used. The Antrim Hospital is a good example and it looks fine.

    I was out in Mayo last month and the amount of potential in the rivers is enormous. To harness requires easy, and proven technology and I would prefer to alter the environment with dams and windmills than risk the down side of a nuclear plant. Nuclear waste is lethal.

    Why rely on one nuclear plant for a large percentage of production when you can spread your risk. But you are not just spreading the risk you are spreading ownership and development opportunities, it is more democratic and empowering. Nuclear power in Britain has been hellish expensive and I for one see no reason to trust that industry given its track record on openness and honesty.

    I think we are lucky in Ireland, Scotland and Wales we have alternative options to nuclear and we should get on with it now.

  • J McConnell

    Crataegus

    I once lived in a house that was built in the mid-80’s, using all the then current energy efficient techniques. Large south facing windows, large passive solar heating walls, high levels of insulation and triple glazed windows etc. And my electric utility bill showed pretty much the same domestic electricity usage as when I lived in a late 1940’s tract house where absolutely no attention was paid to energy use.

    Heating cost were lower in the energy efficient house but not by any large amount. Maybe $40 a month rather than $60 a month during the winter months. I could detect no great financial benefit from living in an energy efficient house.

    The heating system would have been easy to convert to a heat exchange system but when one did the numbers it would have taken almost 8 years for the upgrade just to break even.

    These calculation were complicated by the fact that the local Green party, who had three members on the local city council at the time, bankrupted the city owned electric utility company, and the cost of electricity went from being among the cheapest in the US to almost the highest.

    In the real world conservation only slows down the rate of growth in electric consumption. There is now more than 25 years of experience of this effect in the US. Not a single power plant has been shut down due to a reduction in consumption caused by conservation programmes.

    And a few tens of KW here, a few tens of KW there, from rivers, domestic windmills, biomass, or whatever is not going to replace even one 100MW gas power gen plant.

  • Crataegus

    J McConnell

    In Ireland the difference between internal and external temperature is seldom that great and you soon arrive at a point with insulation where the law of diminishing returns applies. To make real savings you need to move beyond good insulation and think of buildings literally as machines that generate power with controlled heat exchange ventilation, proper controls etc. Legislation is required to increase the demand for the various bits of kit and by so doing reduce the unit cost of equipment.

    I agree with you that for an individual to install a piece of plant really is difficult to justify unless fuel costs go up significantly, but if you look at householder spending many will buy a house and build a conservatory or an expensive kitchen or refit the bathroom. So quite often the money is there but the spending pattern has other priorities. Also power prices are increasing rapidly and likely to further increase so the economics of investment improve. In my opinion 9 years pay back is starting to look like a sensible investment.

    Heat pumps are excellent bits of kit for families that own a house that is occupied most of the day especially if they have some onsite generation, but the unit cost needs to drop. They can even be put in reverse to cool the house down. Excellent.

    I have a green house on the south side of the house and am currently monitoring a small heat exchange system. The main problem from my point of view is that the temperature has to be set to suit the plants rather than the heating needs of the house. Winter there just isn’t enough heat but in the summer too much. Also have very basic home made system of rads in the greenhouse to preheat water and I think it is simple and very effective.

    I have absolutely no doubt that we could significantly reduce the energy requirements of new buildings. The real problem is the existing building stock. How do you upgrade, really complicated? In many cases it is uneconomic with energy costs at current levels. So given a life of 60 – 100 years we have a legacy of inbuilt demand but we MUST reduce demand in new buildings,

    Where you and I would disagree is on the production of energy. You are in USA and I was wondering just how familiar are you with Ireland? Are you aware of the average rain falls and how often have you stood on a hill on the west coast? Everywhere you look there is the potential to generate power, be it wind, wave, tide or hydro. The single offshore tidal turbine at Lynmouth produces 300Kw not tens of Kw. With regards hydro the vast majority of rivers in Ireland are totally untapped. It is not a few hydro plants that are needed. We need to generate power wherever we can. It needs to become second nature. If we take this approach production ownership is spread and it would change the way we view energy.

    I believe the projected cost of cleaning up Britain’s nuclear plants is 70 billion!!! This is serious liability.

  • J McConnell

    Crataegus

    > You are in USA and I was wondering just how familiar are you with Ireland?

    I’m very familiar with Ireland. I grew up here and am currently in Dublin…

    The problem will all ‘renewable’ power sources is that all of them, apart from geothermal, leave you at the mercy of the vagaries of nature. Wind not blowing, no power from you 10MW wind farm, a couple of dry winters and you hydro dams stop working, an uncooperative tide pattern this month and your tidal barrage is just a weir.

    Build a 200MW gas powered plant and it will produce 200MW whenever you need it.

    Due to the very nature of the way power grids work renewable power gen sources can never replace conventional plant. The can be used to compliment the conventional mix, as non-peak replacement sources, but thats about it. And you need to have excess conventional power gen capacity equal to the ‘renewable’ sources for those times when the ‘renewable’ source are not available. The only reason Denmark can have all those windmills is because when the wind is not blowing it can buy power from Norway and Germany.

    As for the $70B for nuclear station decommissioning. That is a made up number. The discounted number is less than half this amount according to the NDA, and as the decommissioning costs seem to cover the next 100 years plus the discounted number is probably a gross over estimate. Plus two thirds of the cost is the cost of decommissioning Windsacle / Sellafield, which like Hanford is a very expensive special case.

    In the US the costs are estimated at $300M per reactor, total cost maybe $40B for all reactors currently in operation. To put this number in some perspective, the US has spent more than this on the removal of asbestos from buildings over the last 20 years.

  • Crataegus

    J McConnell

    “The problem will all ‘renewable’ power sources is that all of them, apart from geothermal, leave you at the mercy of the vagaries of nature”.

    The tides are twice a day every day and ocean currents keep flowing. Rain falls and rivers flow all we have to do is regulate the flow. Hardly rocket science.

    I just don’t have your rosy view of the nuclear industry and see no reason, based on past experience to vary that view. Perhaps it is BNF and their track record of ‘openness and clarity’ that has rocked my confidence or reports I have read on the implications of low levels of radiation on health.

    Let’s agree to differ.