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Green, ethical, energy issues in the news (last 2 weeks)

edited 9 October 2018 at 10:41AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
5.3K replies 416.5K views
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  • zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    ... But with nuclear fusion now being 'just around the corner' ( is that still 10-15 years ??! ) wouldn't it make sense to wait for the 'holy grail' of energy resources ... after all, it's finally 'just around the corner' .... still !!!

    <shades on, looks skyward> ... :cool:
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • joefizzjoefizz Forumite
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    zeupater wrote: »
    ... But with nuclear fusion now being 'just around the corner' ( is that still 10-15 years ??! )


    2021 apparently.
    Just get the tesla truck up to 88 miles and hour, harness some lightning and you can go and get a mr fusion for the truck.
  • ABrassABrass Forumite
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    Nuclear isnt a good supplement for RE power. It has to run at full pelt to make sense and doesn't adjust up or down at all well, they run at ~100% or nothing. So if there's no wind or sun for a week then you still get the fraction of the power nuclear provides but it can't step up to fill in more.

    Load shedding and cracking hydrogen makes a lot more sense. If there's surplus RE then crack hydrogen. If it's about right then stop cracking and if there's insufficient then burn the hydrogen you created earlier for more power.
  • edited 22 November 2019 at 5:23PM
    Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    edited 22 November 2019 at 5:23PM
    joefizz wrote: »
    Its not about economic sense Martyn, more about grid security and permanence.
    People give off about China building coal fired stations but they were supposedly building them to fill the gap before all the nuclear ones come online... pity they are restarting some of the stopped developments.
    The problem with the UK (and most other places) is that every future energy discussion seems to come to an impasse around nuclear to some degree. Well its either that or behaviour modification (which would solve a lot of the emissions problems!)

    Sorry, but nope, it's all about the economics I'm afraid.

    If nuclear can supply X amount of leccy at £Y's, but RE + storage can do the same for less than £Y's, then there is simply no justification for the nuclear at all.

    This isn't about nuclear bashing, it's about getting the same amount of low carbon generation, but sooner and for a lower cost. If RE + (RE + storage) can do that, then nuclear should be dismissed entirely simply on economic grounds.

    If we want to add in a bit of green and ethical, then we can dismiss nuclear even if it was a bit cheaper than the RE option, but fortunately that discussion is over as nuclear is no longer economically competitive.

    Edit - regarding that last sentence, the latest off-shore wind CfD auctions brought us 15yr deals for less than £50/MWh, for commissioning 2023-25, whilst the latest nuclear CfD is for £102/MWh for 35yrs and commissioning around 2028.

    So wind will be close to average wholesale price and subsidy free, whilst nuclear will be double it.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • joefizzjoefizz Forumite
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    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    Sorry, but nope, it's all about the economics I'm afraid.


    Nope, its all about grid stability. You will need something to set the frequency and provide for responses. Its still going to be coal, oil, gas, nuclear. Pick one. (well actually pick two) Unless theres a geothermal source in the uk we dont know about...


    RE can take up the rest but until network is sorted out to be distributed and possibly intermittent/throttled we need something else to manage the base loads/frequencies etc.
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  • ABrassABrass Forumite
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    Batteries can do grid stability. Turbines running on hydrogen can give you the old school retro feel if you want. Hydro is still part of the mix.

    The power cut a while ago wasn't due to frequency issues, those were a symptom of too much power being dropped too quickly. No amount of turbines could have stopped it.
  • GreatApeGreatApe
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    Martyn1981 wrote: »
    Sorry, but nope, it's all about the economics I'm afraid.

    If nuclear can supply X amount of leccy at £Y's, but RE + storage can do the same for less than £Y's, then there is simply no justification for the nuclear at all.

    This isn't about nuclear bashing, it's about getting the same amount of low carbon generation, but sooner and for a lower cost. If RE + (RE + storage) can do that, then nuclear should be dismissed entirely simply on economic grounds.

    If we want to add in a bit of green and ethical, then we can dismiss nuclear even if it was a bit cheaper than the RE option, but fortunately that discussion is over as nuclear is no longer economically competitive.

    Edit - regarding that last sentence, the latest off-shore wind CfD auctions brought us 15yr deals for less than £50/MWh, for commissioning 2023-25, whilst the latest nuclear CfD is for £102/MWh for 35yrs and commissioning around 2028.

    So wind will be close to average wholesale price and subsidy free, whilst nuclear will be double it.



    Why should people base nuclear prices on one UK build?
    The biggest builder is China where the price is affordable and construction speeds are 4-5 years
    They should build lots of nukes and hopefully will do so

    For the UK nuclear is dead and we won't be building any more imo
    But it was never a question of nuclear Vs wind power

    It was always a question of existing infrastructure Vs new wind farms
    And new wind farms do not come close to existing infrastructure anytime soon especially when you consider one is a load following valuable source and wind is intermittent

    Existing infrastructure works and works for around £40/MWh
    Wind mills got a bid of £47 or thereabouts but with no storage and this is for deployment in about five years time

    For wind to be economic Vs existing infrastructure you need wind plus storage to cost £47 or so

    This doesn't even take into account all the grid upgrades that have been done and will need to be done to allow wind to fit in


    Overall wind will grow but done lie that it needs no support or is price competitive because those lies lead to subsidy removal like with solar and the result is despite some people claiming otherwise with no subsidy solar deployment crashed
  • joefizzjoefizz Forumite
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    ABrass wrote: »
    Batteries can do grid stability. Turbines running on hydrogen can give you the old school retro feel if you want. Hydro is still part of the mix.


    All in the future. Hydrogen still currently primarily produced from/by fossil fuels. You have to plan for forseeable with whats available right now and incorporate that into your current grid structure and utilisation patterns.

    Ive stood in the generator rooms for hydro, geothermal, coal and oil plants. One of the coal sites has been converted since for battery stabilisation use but in conjunction with the oil turbine. A lot of the recent balancing requirement in the uk has been installed using diesel/gas generator sets, not batteries.
    Sad fact is that a lot of the surge in high powered motorway charging in England for the next couple of years will probably need to be provided by these diesel sets.


    Hydro is part of the mix but dont see too many of those plants about england (1 or 2 I think?) and very little scope for new natural non pumped hydro in England.


    If you want a good example look at Ireland. About to go 50% renewable grid whereas the uk is about to maybe go 30%.
    Quite possible that Ireland will go to 70% renewable grid in 10 years time whereas the UK will struggle to go to 50% in the same period. Ireland will probably not go to 100% renewables without mindset/technology changes, ask me again in 10 years.
    Of course that 70% figure is possible but it will then come down to around 50% again if in 10 years there has been the planned significant migration to evs...

    Big difference in size of populations vs land mass etc but you get the idea. Some countries will find they are more suited to shift totally, others wont. The countries that are close to or at 100% renewable grids have massive hydro/geothermal sites and future capability in excess of their needs and can then top this up with wind/solar etc (where its probably not actually needed)


    Scotland could possibly go 100% renewables domestic grid in the next year or two, Ireland with the lack of hydro cant but it will get to the optimal maximum quicker.
    To put that in perspective they would have to more than double what they currently have in wind etc to replace nuclear in their mix. Running to stand still. Again its not impossible but needs other changes as well.



    Once you take the weapons production argument out of it nuclear has always been about national security, the ability to produce energy without resorting to large amounts of imports (although now former soviet weapons form a large part of the fuel in certain countries). Renewables are seen in the same way, the ability of a country to manage its own resources.



    Northern Ireland has about 25% renewable grid. We could go to 100% renewable grid tomorrow.... just as long as we dont expect electricity available 24/7.



    England by and large doesnt currently have the will/capability to go 50% renewable grid in say the next 10 years (ignoring nuclear as renewable) without significant investment and mindset changes (planning etc). Add evs into the mix and you kick that date further away.

    Anyone who has been involved in a planning application for a wind turbine knows the optimum placement vs whats allowed by planning arguments. Until that changes....
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    joefizz wrote: »
    Nope, its all about grid stability. You will need something to set the frequency and provide for responses. Its still going to be coal, oil, gas, nuclear. Pick one. (well actually pick two) Unless theres a geothermal source in the uk we dont know about...


    RE can take up the rest but until network is sorted out to be distributed and possibly intermittent/throttled we need something else to manage the base loads/frequencies etc.

    Again, sorry but nope. I don't know if you are ignoring what's being said, or don't understand it, but I'm also talking about grid stability and addressed it fully in my first response to you.

    The nuclear option can provide predictability, but so can a mix of RE plus storage. ESO are already aiming for a grid that can cope with 100% RE generation by 2025. They do not expect 100% RE to happen by then, but aim to be ready.

    For intra-day storage the technology is already available, and that's simply batteries, be they supply side, or demand side, such as V2G.

    In the longer term, when we want to get into seriously high RE penetrations, let's say around 80-100%, then we will also need longer term storage, but as ABrass has explained, this can be done by storing excess as H2, be it burnt in a gas generation plant, or via fuel cells. There are also a host of additional technologies that can provide this longer term solution going forward, such bio-methane from excess generation, bio-mass as a demand follower, PHS, CAES, LAES and so on.

    So your argument about grid stability is, I'm afraid to be blunt, completely bogus.

    And for frequency response, as has been proved (and proved economically) in Australia, batteries are better, faster and ready for this role.

    So, again, I dismiss your side issue, and bring the discussion back to the main issue of RE v's nuclear.

    Nuclear will cost around £100/MWh, will take 10-15yrs to build out, has low (and falling) public support (~35% support / 23% oppose), requires enormous subsidies despite being supported already for 60+yrs, it's not entirely clean nor safe, and is not low carbon when the additional ~10yrs of FF burning (time difference between nuclear and RE build out) is included in the comparison.

    Whereas RE will cost around £50/MWh, will take 0.5-5yrs to build out, has enormous and growing public support (depending on technology ranging from 70-85% support and 2-6% oppose). It's clean, safe, predictable.

    Note - I haven't included a cost for storage support, but that's because it might be covered by arbitrage, with longer term storage covering the costs and losses via the difference between buy and sell rates. For instance, LAES might buy 'cheap' excess at £10-£20/MWh, and sell at £100-£200/MWh during peak periods, this will hopefully cover costs and efficiency losses (30-40%).
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    joefizz wrote: »
    All in the future. Hydrogen still currently primarily produced from/by fossil fuels. You have to plan for forseeable with whats available right now and incorporate that into your current grid structure and utilisation patterns.

    Again, you seem to be missing or ignoring the facts. We are not talking about producing Hydrogen from FF's for grid support/storage, we are talking about using excess RE generation for storage, such as batts, PHS, or H2 production.

    Also we are talking about what's available right now.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
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