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back to article Abu Dhabi emir rescues Thames Estuary mega-windfarm

The government of Abu Dhabi has stepped in to rescue the financially-troubled London Array mega-windfarm project, intended to build a massive forest of turbines in the middle of the Thames estuary. In a deal inked today, the Masdar Initiative of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC) acquired 20 per cent of the Array …

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Paris Hilton

Petrodollars to pedtrotodollars

Makes sense. If you understand underhand.

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Not a single barrel of oil

The sheikh's are happy to drop a bit of loose change for some windmills for us, because they know that not a single barrel of oil will be saved by these enormous follies.

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DONG Energy..?

*snigger*

Talk about new and innovative forms of energy..

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Coat

There's a point in there somewhere

Fact is we can't continue consuming at 2001 levels, even if you disregard the reality of climate change as Lewis seems to. Global and UK population is growing, global living standards are rising and the recent trend of soulless and selfish consumerism will continue, maybe not at the same rate. And as the current financial crisis shows, the world is changing, you can't rely on the status quo. In the UK we are rubbish at tackling the real issues, how many people here know about the PassivHaus standard where domestic insulation means heating needs are met with minimal heating?

Mine's the one made from sackcloth!

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Coat

Stereotypes'R'Us

> They'd need to be very dark, cold homes full of smelly people wearing dirty clothes and eating > their food raw.

Then they should be building this windfarm in the Tyne estuary rather than the Thames, if the recent hand-washing survey is to be trusted.

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Alert

Farewell to more silverware

Great, more of our essentials being sold off to Johnny Foreigner

Not being Xenophobic, but especially given the article today stating how HMG's defence policy is to "Keep it British" (albeit a flawed ideal as detailed in the article), the idea is to prevent us being compromised by a foreign nation by cutting off our supplies of ammo, parts etc. How then, does it make sense to sell off all our utilities to foreign investors???

What use will Westland/DML etc be as our source of military equipment when Abu Dhabi/France/Russia etc can pull the plug on our electric, turn off our water supplies, stop the gas supplies, etc? Or are we going to build helicopters by hand in the dark whilst eating salads (as we won't have power to cook on)?

At the very least, we'll be wallet-raped once they own all our utilities (cf. "Car Industry" if not convinced), and at worst we'll be significantly compromised by a nation we've fallen out with (and don't say it'd never happen - who'd have thought such a swift change of relations between Iceland and the UK could have occurred?)

Words fail. Please see sketch.

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Anonymous Coward

I don't really understand these numbers

"...household uses 22,795 kilowatt hours a year ... thus 750,000 such homes would require more than 17,000 gigawatt-hours annually. But the Array will produce only 3,100 gigawatt-hours."

"...only considering electricity consumption - and forgetting about the more significant gas or heating oil..."

So the 22795 figure is not just electricity but factors in gas and oil too?

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Boffin

Go nuclear

Because nuclear technology has been neglected for too many years, too much time has been wasted in the nuclear industry in NOT cleaning up it's act.

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Unhappy

No doubt

the pro-nuclear lobby will start bleating again. Ignoring the arguments about security and waste disposal, will someone please explain how going nuclear (with fission reactors) is a good idea when it's the second most expensive form of generation around and has no hope of getting cheaper because we're already near, if not at "peak economic uranium production" and at the end of the technological improvement cycle? Unlike renewables, which show plenty of room for improvement, and no worries about running out of fuel)

Of course, if we build breeder reactors, the fuel problem goes away, but they are even more expensive than fission, create lovely weapons grade waste, and even if we started now, they won't be ready before the lights start going out.

However, my main concern is that this represents yet more of UK Energy being owned overseas. This is just plain insane - every country should be aiming to own it's own power sources, both physically and financially, just for economic stability, if nothing else!

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Linux

An average UK household uses 22,795 kilowatt hours a year

that would be on average 2.6 KW every single hour of the day!!! Seems like an unbelieveable statistic to me, or did they just survey TheReg readers with mini-datacentres in the attic?

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New monopoly or is that trust?

Why not monopolize and potential alternative energy source while you still have the oil money.

Then here is all that pork and access to power brokers.

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Does this mean

The wind farm won't be a target for Al Quaeda or it will?

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The Dastardly Duo

So now, Gormless Gordon and Millibrain V2.0 are claiming credit for Abu Dahbi's petrodollars being spent here !! Things must be getting desperate for that bunch of clowns !! The END is well and truly nigh for them !!

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Re: I don't really understand these numbers

I also don't understand. Windfarms produce electricity, so I'd suppose that only electricity consumptions would be relevant, wouldn't they?

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Anonymous Coward

@AC

"So the 22795 figure is not just electricity but factors in gas and oil too?"

Yes - look at your bill. Mine was ~1000 kWh of electricity for the Dec-Feb quarter last year, but ~7500 kWh of gas for the same period (of course when the central heating is being used the most).

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Joke

Lemme get this straight...

Dubai is helping Denmark stick its DONG up in England's estuary?

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Re: Not a single barrel of oil

Yep. Because we do not generate a lot of electricity from oil. In fact very little. However, the emir is happy to INCREASE our energy dependency. Till now we depended on him for our vehicles, from now on we will depend on him for our electricity generation as well. Smart move. Applause

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Paris Hilton

Tangential comment

Unfortunately, El Reg has missed out on the 'sex on the beach' case in Dubai (possibly due to its complete lack of any IT angle).

But as it's a salacious tale, as it borderline PH, and as today's Friday, I'm being forced to hijack the Abu Dhabi windmills story comments. After all, as any Englishman knows, all these johnny foreigner places in the Gulf are interchangeable.

I've no time at all for greedy ex-pat Brits living it up tax free in the sun but expecting sympathy when they break local laws and enrage local sensibilities. The woman in this case, Ms Palmer, claims to be having a nervous breakdown because of the harsh press coverage - life is tough, dear, get over it. Like the odious Mr Acors who got over you - let us hope his quest for casual sex is fulfilled - but not in a nice way - in a Dubai jail.

@Ralph B - I laughed aloud at your comment! Respec', bro.

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Reasonable...

Since these things are designed to generate electricity it seems perfectly reasonable to me to talk about the number of homes that could have their electricity demands satisfied by the development. Where does gas and oil come into it?

We're still in the very early days of exploring non-coal/gas/oil energy sources, and this is how you advance - you try things. Wind energy may be viable, it may not. We'll know in a few decades. Likewise nuclear, solar, tidal, farting cows and all the other crazy or not so crazy ideas out there. The only thing we do know for sure is that fossil fuels are not viable as a long-term solution, If you accept that long-term extends beyond your own short stint on the planet.

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@ AC - No doubt

'... will someone please explain how going nuclear (with fission reactors) is a good idea when it's the second most expensive form of generation around and has no hope of getting cheaper because we're already near if not at "peak economic uranium production" and at the end of the technological improvement cycle?'

So-called Gen-IV reactors can 'burn' thorium, of which there are much greater reserves than uranium. They also fission all isotopes of uranium, so increasing utilisation by a factor of fifty or so. Even better, they can fission transuranic elements; so they are capable of reducing the half-life of existing waste from hundreds of millennia to a few centuries. Oh, they could also 'burn' plutonium, were the powers-that-be so minded, in order to reduce and safely dispose of stocks of weapons-grade material.

This isn't to suggest that fission alone provides the solution to future energy needs. It will, however, be a good deal easier easier to tackle the problem with it than without.

The main difficulty with nuclear energy, western governments included, seems to be that of encouraging its peaceful use rather than continued misuse in the absurd quest for global domination with which the industry has been tainted from the outset. To turn plutonium stocks into energy and to denature existing waste would be a step in the right direction.

The cost estimates that I've seen (and done as best I can) seem to show that with nuclear fission included in the energy mix electricity will be less expensive, both financially and environmentally, than with other options.

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Coat

Off to the brokers.

I'm buying into the Danish power business.

The propect of being able to sit in the pub and say that I have a lot of Dong energy is just too tempting.

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David Pollard makes some good points

We can't supply our current needs using renewable sources and nothing else. Sensible use of nuclear energy as a stop gap makes lots of sense especially those thorium eaters.

Interestingly wind causes more deaths per gigawatt of power generated per year than nuclear does. (sources: The Paul Scherrer Institute and the ExternE study quoted by David MacKay in his book 'Sustainable Energy – without the hot air')

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@David Pollard

"So-called Gen-IV reactors can 'burn' thorium, of which there are much greater reserves than uranium."

Fascinating to see the thorium bandwagon roll into the debate given the recent report by the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority. And fourth generation fission reactors are apparently twenty years away - why this is should be obvious if one considers the relative lack of expertise in using thorium as a fuel. Given the tendency of the established nuclear industry to milk the taxpayer, there's a reasonable chance of seeing a viable route to commercial fusion power generation being worked out before then.

And of course, wind power isn't the renewable option with the most potential: it's a conservative option whose economics are fairly well understood. To pick a more promising alternative, there's a steady stream of developments in solar power these days, perhaps unknown to those who think that the solar-powered Casio pocket calculator they used at school is still state of the art.

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Stop

What ?

So its not OK to build a new airport in the Thames Estuary or do anything useful with it because its a 'habitat for migrating birds' - but its ok to kill said birds with eco-loony windmills.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: What ?

Er, objectively I'd think destruction of habitat would account for a few more bird deaths overall than windfarms. I don't know, but refusing one thing and not another isn't always the height of hypocrisy, like.

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Unhappy

nice day today

Lovely sunny but cold day in London today - with hardly a breath of wind - as are many winter days. So b*ggered if I know how wind farms are supposed to be the answer. Get the nukes built asap otherwise we are doomed!

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Re: What?

Let us look at some figures. Denmark produces around 9% of its electricity using windymills. These wind (bird) mills kill around 30,000 birds per year (Lomborg, 'The Skeptical Environmentalist' 2001). Around 1,000,000 birds are killed by cars a year in Denmark (same source). Even the RSPB say wind turbines don't pose a significant risk to birds in this country and they really really like birds and would hate to see them milled. Destruction of habitat is much more of a threat to birds (ref: Sarah Bee 17/10/08). Take away feeding grounds, breeding grounds and migration stopover places and they are in a mess.

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