Double Standard For Nuclear Energy and Wind Energy In UK?

by Zachary Shahan

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I’ll be honest — I’m not a “nuclear power hater.” But if you look at nuclear power objectively and calculate its costs — including insurance costs and waste management costs — it is simply a bad deal. It’s very, very expensive. The private industry would never develop nuclear on its own. The only way it gets built anywhere is from huge government support.

Dr. David Toke, Reader in Energy Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Aberdeen, recently took a brief look at how nuclear power gets extra-special treatment from the UK government. First of all, he took a look at assumptions regarding the working lifetime of wind turbines vs. nuclear reactors:

Ed Davey’s excuse for limiting wind power contracts to 15 years whilst Hinkley C gets a whopping 35 year contract is blown away by some elementary history checking. Lots of wind turbines in Altamont Pass – installed during the so-called Californian ‘windrush’ – are still turning after 31 years. Davey claims that the contracts he has awarded are in proportion to the technologies’ design life expectancy. Yet the Altamont turbines will be turning until 2015, a 33 year lifetime, and only then taken down because of a repowering exercise, and also modern planning conditions which they did not have back in 1982. See http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/23757. I am given to understand by a leading authority on the subject that it is likely that quite a few machines built in the early 1980s are expected to carry on running past 2015….

Certainly one can expect modern wind turbines to last a lot longer than these efforts right at the start of the modern windmill era.

So using the Davey formula (about 60 per cent of lifetime as a contract length), using even 33 years as an example, wind power should get a 20 year contracts, not 15. But if this happened, the ‘strike price’ for wind (£95 per MWh at year 2018) would be reduced below that set for Hinkley C.This would breed trouble as the UK Government tries to claim that they are giving the same incentives to renewables as nuclear to pass through the EU’s state-aid regulations (see previous blog post).

Dave then touched on the under-discussed issue of nuclear power loan guarantees:

Then there is the loan guarantee for Hinkley C, all £10 billion of it, that constitutes 65 per cent of the capital cost of the 3.2GW development. If wind power got such guarantees, their costs could be reduced much further as well, since the borrowing costs would be a lot less. Indeed borrowing costs could be reduced by at least 2 per cent – which makes a big difference to the economics of wind power.

And then he did a simple calculation on what the overall price effect would be from if two things were made the same for wind power as they are for nuclear power:

I have calculated what the effects of these two changes – increasing the contract length from 15 years to 20 years, and giving loan guarantees for 65 per cent of the capital costs. The result is that if this was applied to wind power then a strike price of £75 would be the equivalent of the £95 per MWh the Government is offering wind power from 2018. This figure is considerably less than what the Government is giving to Hinkley C.

Dave included much more in the full article, including some comparisons with pricing in Germany, so check that out for more.

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This article, Double Standard For Nuclear Energy & Wind Energy In UK?, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Zachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

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Top 10 Gigawatts: Offshore Wind Power Capacity [Infographic]

by Amber Archangel – Special to JBS News

Originally published on 1Sun4All.

This infophoto shows the current information available on offshore wind in a graphic form, so we can easily see the big picture. It will be fun to update this in a year and look back at the progress that’s been made. It will also be wonderful to see the United States participate in the offshore industry.

offshore wind

When we discuss gigawatts of offshore wind, the place to begin is megawatts. The wind farms that are operational at this time are all megawatt (MW) in size. There is one project underway in the United Kingdom that will be more than 1 gigawatt (GW) in size. The planning consent has been granted for what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm at Triton Knoll, off the Lincolnshire and Norfolk coast. It represents a £3.6 billion investment, around 1,130 jobs created and will provide power to 820,000 homes.

According to RenewableUK:

Great Britain has been the world leader in offshore wind since October 2008, with as much capacity already installed as the rest of the world combined. Total offshore generating capacity in UK waters is currently around 3,653 MW, providing power for around 2 million homes.

In addition to the capacity already installed, a further 3.8 GW is either in construction or has planning approval, and a further 7.8 GW is in the planning system. One of these projects that in the planning system is the 1.1 GW Rampion Offshore Wind Farm. It will be located off the Dorset and Hampshire coasts, near Brighton & Hove.

The US Department of Energy reports:

Offshore wind represents a large, untapped energy resource for the United States, offering over 4,000 gigawatts of clean, domestic energy potential – four times the nation’s current total generation capacity. According to a recent report commissioned by the Energy Department, a US offshore wind industry that takes advantage of this abundant domestic resource could support up to 200,000 manufacturing, construction, operation and supply chain jobs across the country and drive over $70 billion in annual investments by 2030.

This article, Top 10 Gigawatts: Offshore Wind Power Capacity (Infographic), is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

is an artist, painter, writer, interior designer, graphic designer, constant student of many studies and founder of 1Sun4All.com. Living with respect for the environment close at hand, the food chain, natural remedies for healing, the earth, people and animals is a life-long expression and commitment. As half of a home-building team, she helped design and build harmonious, sustainable and net-zero homes that incorporate clean air systems, passive and active solar energy as well as rainwater collection systems. Archangel is fond of private aviation, would love to fly in the solar airplane and install a wind turbine in her yard. She is a peaceful, courageous soul who believes that clean energy is helping our economy and helping our world; she enjoys contributing to this effort.