The idea that “the lights will go out” unless we have the Kingsnorth power station or nuclear power is not right:
a.. Nuclear power stations and “clean” coal-fired power stations cannot be built quickly enough to fill the supposed “energy gap”.
b.. Most renewable sources of power are quick to build. And there are more than enough of them to meet UK needs (see www.mng.org.uk/gh/spreadsheet.html ).
c.. The idea that renewables are “too expensive” is not right:
a.. Although carbon capture and storage (CCS) has not yet been demonstrated on any power station, it is likely that “clean” coal will prove to be one of the most expensive sources of electricity.
b.. When all the environmental and hidden costs are factored in, nuclear power is one of the most expensive sources of electricity (see www.mng.org.uk/gh/no_nukes.htm ).
d.. Here is a way of safeguarding against any possibility of a temporary shortfall in electricity supplies:
a.. The Government should introduce a vigorous programme of “zero-carbon eco-renovation” of existing buildings as described on www.mng.org.uk/gh/ecorenovation.htm . Germany already has a programme of eco-renovation to bring existing buildings as close as possible to the “passivhaus” standard.
b.. Since most buildings are heated by gas, this would mean large savings in the amount of gas that the UK is using for heating.
c.. If there is any shortfall in electricity supplies, some of the gas that has been saved by eco-renovation may be used for generating electricity.
d.. Naturally, any gas that is used in that way should be burned in combine-heat-and-power units (CHP) to make maximum use of waste heat from electricity generation. The Stern report has made it clear that we must start spending money now to avoid much larger costs later. Renewables with energy conservation are the way forward.
“From Greenhouse to Green House”
Dr Gerry Wolff PhD CEng