Sunday, January 13, 2008

This Will make Your Brain Hurt

Check out the document that Greenpeace put out claiming that the UK doesn't need new nuclear plants.
It's predictably unconvincing, but the problem is that it's not merely poorly argued: much of it is just plain factually untrue.

Take this gut-buster, for instance:

“We need baseload, and renewables can’t supply that.”

We also need what’s known as baseload – guaranteed electricity to meet constant demand - and Britain can generate it with low-carbon technologies like CHP and some renewable technologies like tidal, biomass, biogas and hydro. More efficient use of fossil fuels also has a part to play.

This would all be well and good- except that Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is NOT a low-carbon technology, and it's no more efficient at producing electricity than other types of fossil fuel plants. And the last sentence an admission that Greenpeace's answer to nuclear is more fossil fuels, and given current technology, more CO2 emmisions.

Also take this clunker:

“If we don’t go for nuclear we’ll be dependent for gas on unstable regimes like Putin’s.”

The real threat to our energy security is interruptions to our oil supply. However, essentially all of Britain’s oil is used for transport and cannot be replaced by nuclear electricity. Much has been made of the threat of becoming over-dependent on imported gas, particularly from Russia. Unfortunately, half of our gas is used directly for domestic space and water heating and cannot be replaced by electricity.

I was unaware that space and water heating could not be accomplished with electricity. I was under the impression that my grandmother's house featured these apparently impossible technologies, but I guess that its warmth and hot water is simply a figment of her 91-year-old imagination. (Seriously, this is technology that was widespread in the US before my parents were born.)

If this is typical of their work, it seems that they pose no great threat to the UK's energy future- which is a blessing to both Britain and the world.

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

Keep up the good work. Cheers:-)