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Topic Title: Thanet Wind Farm
Topic Summary: The Thanet Wind Farm will cost us £1.2 bn in subsidies, why are we not building nuclesr power stations to keep the light
Created On: 27 September 2010 05:30 PM
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 27 September 2010 05:30 PM
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aanderson

Posts: 5
Joined: 09 January 2003

Over the coming years we will be handing over £1.2 billion in subsidies to the Swedish owners of the Thanet Wind Farm.
That single sum,invested in a single nuclear power station could yield 13 times more power with much greater reliability.
The array of 100 x 3MW turbines will, on average, be lucky to supply 25% of that installed capacity i.e. 75 MW.
On top of the £30 -40 million annual cost of the electricity itself , a subsidy of £60 million per year is guaranteed, which means £1.2 billion over the estimated 20 years lifetime of the scheme.
That amount, based on the French nuclear programme costings, would buy 1 gigawatt of carbon free nuclear generating capacity.
The green lobby, the EU and the rest who support these intermittent renewable energy schemes will cost us billions, investing in the wrong technology to keep the light on in this country.
 27 September 2010 11:10 PM
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poo

Posts: 227
Joined: 07 May 2008

£1.2 billion is peanuts compared to what the government has handed out to the nuclear industry over the last 50 years. The figure I saw for decommissioning the existing nuclear power stations was a further £68 billion.We were told once that nuclear electricity would become "to cheap to meter".
No one really knows the cost but we will all be paying for it.
Edf are building two of the"new" European nuclear reactors now.One in France and one in Finland.Both are over budget.The original cost of one was £3 billion and the latest estimate is £5 billion.Edf are heavily in debt.
Nuclear reactors can be shut down for months at a time when repairs are required.
They still don't know what to do with the high level radioactive waste. They have had 50 years to think about it.
I don't want the atom to be split just to heat my bath water. There are safer, greener ways to do it without loading our children with the responsibility of guarding the radioactive waste.
 27 September 2010 11:46 PM
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Ipayyoursalary

Posts: 265
Joined: 21 November 2009

The Royal Academy of Engineering estimates the current cost of energy production as:

- Gas Fired 2.2p/kWH
- Nuclear 2.3p/kWH (including decommissioning)
- Coal 2.5 to 3.2p/kWH
- Wind 5 to 7p/kWH

But don't worry - the extra 300% wind subsidy you'll be paying to climate profiteers for the next 20 years will help will make the weather a bit colder next century according to reliable sources like the CRU's Phil "Hide the decline" Jones and climate multi-millionare Al Gore.
 28 September 2010 09:54 AM
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rogerbryant

Posts: 863
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poo, your figures don't seem to make sense.

Taking a 25% utilisation factor for the wind turbines and a 20 year life span £1.2 billion buys you 1.5 GW years of electricity.

Taking your cost for a new nuclear plant of £5 billion which would supply 1 GW output for 40 years, £5 billion buys 40 GW years of electricity. To supply this quantity of electricity with wind farms like Thanet would cost £32 billion.

I think I would install 3 nuclear plants and use the money I save to decommision all the old ones!

Best regards

Roger
 28 September 2010 05:28 PM
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pbarnfather

Posts: 33
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$5,000 per MW construction cost for nuclear is a reasonable estimate (sometimes lower, can be a lot higher). I therefore think rogerbryant's figures are more reasonable than the original poster's (which seem to be 4x too low).

I think you need to factor in the fuel & running costs for nuclear (which are not insignificant over 40 years) and also the availability of the plant (which is not going to be 100% - I think it's between 70 and 90%).

Note also Ipayyoursalary, that the the prices you quote are BASE load generation - something that nuclear is eminently suitable for. It is a little more tricky (and for some designs, technically impossible) for nuclear to supply intermittent, varying load. So your figures are useful but do not tell the whole story i.e. you can't (currently) supply anything like 100% of demand with nuclear, even though it looks like the cheaper option.

Given the above, nuclear is probably still cheaper on current cost (assuming the fuel supply is secure). How much cheaper is a subject for debate. It's not absolute, as the above random estimates/guesses demonstrate...
 28 September 2010 06:12 PM
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ectophile

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I'd also like to say that the assumption that an off-shore wind farm will only produce 25% of it's rated capacity is pretty pessimistic. It should be nearer 35% (assuming that the turbines are properly designed and the gearboxes don't all seize up, which the early ones did).

The wind is steadier off-shore so the achievable capacity factor is a bit higher than for on-shore installations.

-------------------------
S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 28 September 2010 10:52 PM
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poo

Posts: 227
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There is an "Allowance"made for the cost of decommissioning a new nuclear power station. The station is designed to run for 60 years. After 60years,hopefully, the "allowance" will have grown big enough to pay for decommissioning the station. That is a very big hope. Well,not many of us can accurately predict the cost of things in 2070+. If there is not enough money in the kitty then who do you think will pay for the clean up?
I think it will be the taxpayer,again. Back door subsidy.
 29 September 2010 08:13 AM
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rogerbryant

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What provisions are put into place for the decommisioning of obselete wind turbines in 10-20 years time? I have seen pictures of abandoned wind farms in California that have just been left to rust.

http://www.americanthinker.com...energys_ghosts_1.html

The cost of removing hundreds or thousands of wind turbines from remote, relatively hostile, locations is certainly not trivial, especially if the foundations also have to be removed.
Is there a legal requirement in the UK for the removal of obsolete or non working turbines or will they just be left for the govenment to clean up?

Best regards

Roger
 30 September 2010 08:53 AM
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chrisjtaylor

Posts: 34
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With regard to obselete turbines, the good people of Thanet don't have to look very far. The grid connection for the Thanet wind farm is at what was Richborough Power Station, and in 1987 a 1MW turbine was installed, it didn't run often and in the last 10 years its fallen in to disrepair. I know that the 11KV switchgear has had a scoffold pole put through it, (someone thought there would be lots of copper) and bits have fallen off the ends of one of the blades, who knows what its future is. I drive past it most days, it never looks any better.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/63241892@N00/2859791015

http://www.flickr.com/photos/26587553@N00/3366209214/

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co...index.php?topic=2383.0

-------------------------
Is the search for the Higgs Boson mass hysteria?
 30 September 2010 09:26 PM
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poo

Posts: 227
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Wind farms don't end up highly radioactive. If they do then there is something seriously wrong.This is may be worth a look. http://www.noneedfornuclear.org.uk/
 01 October 2010 01:35 PM
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rogerbryant

Posts: 863
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poo, I have looked at the website and tracked down some of the references. It appears to be a typical politically/ideologically motivated group who tend to cherrypick results to suit their arguments.

The wind versus nuclear costs from Cabinet Office data were the predictions for costs in 2020 in a 2001 paper justifying the 'Dash for Gas'.
I was unable in the time available to track down the quoted DTI figures. Proper referencing is not difficult and tends to improve your credibility.

The other main data set is mostly taken from two Department for Energy and Climate Change documents which propose scenarios that could be achieved with the inclusion of nuclear power.
The huge jump in large scale renewables between 2020 and 2030 which is key their argument appears to be based on extrapolations of previous assumptions and extrapolations.

I suggest that you follow up some more of the points and links and see how credible you feel that this group is.

Best regards

Roger
 18 October 2010 10:44 AM
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rogerbryant

Posts: 863
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I followed up another of the links:

http://www.withouthotair.com/

which is quite a large book which has taken me some time to read and digest. It is well written and referenced and explores the numbers behind energy use and sustainable energy. I would recomend this to anyone with a real interest in energy supplies for the future.
To quote the introduction:

"I'm concerned about cutting UK emissions of twaddle - twaddle about
sustainable energy. Everyone says getting off fossil fuels is important, and we're all encouraged to "make a difference," but many of the things that allegedly make a difference don't add up.
Twaddle emissions are high at the moment because people get emotional (for example about wind farms or nuclear power) and no-one talks about numbers. Or if they do mention numbers, they select them to sound big, to make an impression, and to score points in arguments, rather than to aid thoughtful discussion.
This is a straight-talking book about the numbers. The aim is to guide
the reader around the claptrap to actions that really make a difference and to policies that add up."

Best regards

Roger
 18 October 2010 04:08 PM
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Ipayyoursalary

Posts: 265
Joined: 21 November 2009

Roger, the book starts from the assumption that man-made CO2 is causing catastrophic global warming. It never questions this assumption, nor does it offer any evidence to support it beyond a vague claim about 'the consensus of the best climate models'. These 'best models' have singularly failed to predict the lack of warming this century. They cannot predict the weather next week, nevermind years ahead.

Furthermore he accepts without question that the effects of any warming would be catastrophic. He even presents the nonsense claim that 'the Greenland icecap would melt and sea-level would rise by 7m'. Even a cursory perusal of the facts illustrates this is pure nonsense: The Greenland ice cap covers almost 2million square km and is up to 3 km thick with temperatures as low as -65oC in winter. Clearly it would take thousands of years for all the ice to melt - even if the most extreme predictions of 5oC warming came true.

He also says we're fast approaching an energy crisis: The same peak-oil crisis that's been predicted since the 1970's but which has mysteriously failed to happen - although the fear of it has helped keep prices nice and high for the oil producing cartels like Opec.

He fails to acknowledge any political or vested interests behind global warming alarmism. Instead he accepts all their propaganda as truth and proceeds to perform his calculation on the basis of that propaganda. He's what the climate profiteers would call "a useful idiot".
 19 October 2010 02:33 AM
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s0091681

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Ipayyoursalary, despite your criticisms about the authors terms of reference I think the book provides a good assessment of low carbon options, and shows that there are no magic bullets. I think that any discussion about climate change should mention the large range of uncertainty around the amount of warming projected to occur, ranging from some to a lot. The scientists are keen to highlight this, take a look at the UKCP project. We need a risk based assessment of how to design the energy system, expecting the worst and hoping for the best would be very costly, on the other side of the coin doing nothing is likely to be costly (basically what Stern said).

Your probably right about Greenland, Wikipedia suggests it will take millennia to melt, although apparently that doesn't account for feedback mechanisms - but I guess that's still up for debate.

North sea oil and gas production is undoubtedly in decline, certainly making UK energy choices tougher in the future - whether you would call this a crisis or not, well I guess that depends upon your perspective, it could potentially be...

I saw recent figures for onshore wind of £1200/kW from SSE, I imagine new nuclear would be upward of this price, construction of nuclear plant is very risky for private firms so expect some form of subsidy/guaranteed purchase price/backstop to make it happen. Compare this this to the cost of gas plant at around £400/kW. Leave it to the market and we will have 80% capacity from gas!

So in my opinion we should subsidise wind, nuclear, whatever as long as its not astronomically expensive just don't build any more gas plant!
 19 October 2010 08:12 AM
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rogerbryant

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Ipayyoursalary, have you actually read the book? The author states the climate change debate as his motavation for investigating renewable energy sources. He goes through the standard "man made global warming" arguments with some caveats regarding the uncertainty of the models and the results. This is what he actually says:

"So, if humanity succeeds in doubling or tripling CO2 concentrations
(which is where we are certainly heading, under business as usual), what happens? Here, there is a lot of uncertainty. Climate science is difficult. The climate is a complex, twitchy beast, and exactly how much warming CO2-doubling would produce is uncertain. The consensus of the best climate models seems to be that doubling the CO2 concentration would have roughly the same effect as increasing the intensity of the sun by 2%, and would bump up the global mean temperature by something like 3 ◦C. This would be what historians call a Bad Thing. I won't recite the whole litany of probable drastic effects, as I am sure you've heard it before. The litany begins "the Greenland icecap would gradually melt, and, over a period of a few 100 years, sea-level would rise by about 7metres."

The rest of the book is a reasonable study of energy sources and energy consumption, well referenced and with most of the assumptions stated. It goes quite deeply into the problem of the low energy density of most renewables, eg a realistic amount of wind generation would mean covering 10% of the UK with wind turbines and converting 100 of the largest lakes/lochs to pumped storage systems to cope with the fluctuations.

Best regards

Roger
 19 October 2010 12:00 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
Joined: 28 May 2002

If anyone here feels that they have good evidence either that man-made climate change is a fallacy, or even better that climate change does not exist at all, I suggest they present this to any government or any fossil fuel company who will give them huge sums of money in return. It does not have to be 100% proof, just a good solid basis for an argument. There are literally billions of Pounds available from these sources to support this work, not to mention huge legal and scientific resources to back you up, and you would be pushing at an open door - these organisations desperately need that to be the right answer.

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 19 October 2010 02:00 PM
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rogerbryant

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I don't think that there is any argument against long term climate change, without it the UK would still be buried under ice, but man made climate change is not so certain.
We should certainly not be wasting finite natural resources in the way that we do, but justifying this with dubious science is not such a good idea. If in 20,30,50 years the climate does not follow todays predictions it is going to be very hard to put forward an argument against continued excesive consumption of fossil fuels. The skeptics would certainly win.
I'm not sure that the fossil fuel companies, or govenments are too worried by the man-made climate change lobby, they just hedge their bets and invest in renewables as well, which with the current subsidies and feed in tarifs we the consumers support.

Best regards

Roger
 19 October 2010 05:36 PM
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amillar

Posts: 1918
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Originally posted by: rogerbryant
I'm not sure that the fossil fuel companies, or govenments are too worried by the man-made climate change lobby,

I don't think they're worried by it at all, it was very noticable that it was only when the scientific evidence became unavoidable that anything at all happened. I've had enough to do with environmental campaigning to know that it is not taken seriously by anybody.

However, avoiding man-made climate change is going to cost huge sums of money which governments don't have and fossil fuel companies would rather not spend. So my (slightly mischievious) point was that if anyone - including the unnamed person above - really did have "proof" that man-made climate change did not exist then they could easily retire in a life of luxury on the proceeds from that proof. And maybe that would be more useful - for any one of a number of reasons - than yelling at the world on an obscure message board.

Meanwhile I'll put my money on the scientists who a) actually understand this stuff and b) generally have considerably less vested interest (since they too could make far more money from large oil companies by saying "it's all fine"). I think a post doc research student still earns slightly less than the MD (or even ex-MD) of BP...

(Incidentally, going slightly sideways to discussions elsewhere on these forums, I love the idea of environmentalists and senior academics forming a global conspiracy like something out of a 1960's spy film. Anyone who has worked with either will know that if you put any two of either group in a room together an argument will start in typically five minutes flat! Unfortunately it also means that if they do start agreeing it's probably worth listening to...)

-------------------------
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMI

http://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
 19 October 2010 07:27 PM
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Ipayyoursalary

Posts: 265
Joined: 21 November 2009

I would like to reply to the thoughtful comments of Roger and s0091, but first I must reply to amillar..

Originally posted by: amillar...yelling at the world on an obscure message board.

It's not an obscure message board. It's the discussion forum of the professional institution of which I have been a paying member for over 20 years.

Regarding 'proof' that man-made global warming is not a problem: The null hypothesis is that the climate is changing naturally as it always has. I'm not advocating trillions of dollars of new taxes and drastic reductions in people's standard of living. You are. Therefore it is up to you to prove your case. Not for me to prove the null hypothesis. There is no proof that MMGW is a problem: We've seen negligible warming this century. The warming last century was well within historic variability. Sea level rise has remained at a negligible 3mm/yr since the little ice age. There's been no increase in the frequency or severity of storms, hurricanes, droughts or floods. It's a non-problem.

Regarding your faith in 'experts' who's careers and prestige depend entirely upon the climate scare: You say these people have nothing to gain; How about Phil Jones' £13.7M of research grants? How about the millions of state funding for any research linked to 'climate change'?

There's no need for a conspiracy here - just groups with a common interest:

1) Scientists who can obtain fame and funding by producing exaggerated alarmist research papers - often based entirely on unverified, garbage-in, garbage-out climate models.

2) Politicians always on the look out for ways to increase taxes & controls while claiming they're doing it to 'save the planet'

3) Banks and energy companies who stand to make billions from taxpayer subsidies, rigged markets and carbon credit trading.

I've had enough to do with environmental campaigning to know that it is not taken seriously by anybody.

You mean campaigns like the 10:10 No Pressure Video in which they advocate the execution of anyone who disagrees with their demands? Trust me - alot of people take that very seriously indeed.
 19 October 2010 10:12 PM
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Ipayyoursalary

Posts: 265
Joined: 21 November 2009

Hi Roger,

Just looking at the opening paragraph you quoted:

Exactly how much warming CO2-doubling would produce is uncertain.

How about no warming or even cooling from negative cloud feedbacks? We can't even be sure the net effect will be warming. And how big is the man-made CO2 effect compared to other natural variations like ocean and sun cycles?

The consensus of the best climate models seems to be..

He's referring to the same climate models the MET office used to predict the Barbeque Summer and last 3 'mild' winters. Predictions which proved so embarrassingly wrong the MET have now given-up publishing seasonal forecasts altogether.

..that doubling the CO2 concentration would have roughly the same effect as increasing the intensity of the sun by 2%, and would bump up the global mean temperature by something like 3 ◦C.

He misses a key point here: In isolation a doubling of CO2 would only produce a 1oC rise. The extra 2oC are based on pure speculation about positive feedbacks - feedbacks which many even be negative (eg. more humidity, more cloud cover, less sunshine etc).

3oC warming would be what historians call a Bad Thing.

Why? Where's the evidence that 3oC warming would be exclusively bad? We've warmed by 1oC over the last century with no ill effects. Warmth is good - longer growing season, more food, less severe winters. Why is warming bad? Mankind already lives happily in a range of climates from sub-zero to the 40's. Warming would allow frozen wastes in the North to be farmed and developed. Why the doom and gloom?

I won't recite the whole litany of probable drastic effects, as I am sure you've heard it before. The litany begins "the Greenland icecap would gradually melt, and, over a period of a few 100 years, sea-level would rise by about 7metres."

As I've already stated - the Greenland icecap covers almost 2million square km and is up to 3 km thick with temperatures as low as -65oC in winter. What kind of engineer believes a 3oC temperature rise could melt that much ice in a mere 100 years?

Sorry but if the introductory chapter is so full of unsupported alarmist nonsense how can you have any confidence in the rest of his analysis? One can only conclude either a) he's an unhinged eco-loon, or b) one of the many consultants in the pay of the Big Green renewable lobby.
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