back to article Minister blows away plans for more turbines

It looks as though the wind energy boom is over. UK energy minister Greg Barker has hinted at a significant change in government strategy - cutting subsidies for the deployment and operation of environmentalists’ favoured technologies. The climate change minister hinted that R&D handouts would continue, but for the wind lobby …

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Meh

Re: Laugh? I nearly cried.

@Symon

Thanks for the headsup at any rate. I don't know enough about IFR to hold an opinion, so I've written to ask a few people who'll know better. It's been a long time since I trusted anything that comes out of Monbiot's mouth.

As for risk assessment, I'm specifically talking about the risk assessments used to derive "worst case" scenarios, which if exceeded, lead to meltdown.

As for the impacts of nuclear disasters, there's shockingly little information out there about the scale of long-term civilian deaths caused by particulate contamination. The biggest scandal of all is that there have been no (that I or anybody I have ever spoken to am aware of) systematic and major studies into the impacts of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Windscale (which was a dramatically larger event than made public at the time) and even now... Fukushima. Most of the hard data I've seen is coming from amateurs in Japan collecting and analysing the radioactive content of things like car air filters.

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FAIL

Re: Re: Laugh? I nearly cried.

"....With those little solar panels on your roof, you can split rain-water into hydrogen..." Great, so your solution is two very explosive gases stored in my roof? Oh, and what happens when we have those drought thingummies, which, IIRC, happen a darn sight more often than those tsunamis you lot are pretending are a daily occurence in the UK. Fail, fail, fail.

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Anonymous Coward

Please don't bring Chernobyl into this

It was a bad design, compared to some Western ones, even when it was built!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Laugh? I nearly cried.

Tory down votes? Nah, just from people who think you are a twat for even suggesting it.

More efficient devices by all means, which have been improving since electricity was first networked, or haven't you noticed.

Less consumption? Only by more efficient devices and not as I suspect you are suggesting, by somehow using less in our daily lives.

I'm sorry but modern life has got way beyond that. Lighting, cooking and everyday living sees to that, and the increasing use of air conditioning is a product of modern life as well, and will become more necessary if the doom-laden forecasts of global warming come to fruition.

Of course, if it is the disaster that the doomists predict then humankind will just do what it has always done along with the rest of life on earth. Adapt or die, and if the latter, then problem solved as we won't need so much electricity to produce all the new shiny (more energy efficient) gadgets as there won't be as many sold.

Result.

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Mushroom

Re: Laugh? I nearly cried.

"In the meantime, Fukushima has shown PWR's to be faulty by design (containment vessel unable to withstand the pressure of hydrogen buildup),"

Uh, the Fukushima reactors were BWR's, not PWR's.

And the hydrogen problem was that the idiot Japanese didn't fit hydrogen recombiners like sane (non Japanese, non American) people do.

As for storing the fuel rods on top of the reactors...

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Re: Laugh? I nearly cried.

@Cantennas:

"I want to see the reactor design of a real reactor which can passively dissipate heat immediately after SCRAM."

Thorium-fuelled molten salt reactors can do this.

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oooh

PWRs are indeed old, but not as old as BWRs. Which is what Fukushima had. Um... you can read that on Wikipedia.

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Seems some sense at last

Some of the costs and subsidies for wind and solar that have come to light recently show these technologies to be very inefficient in terms of return on investment. Not sure how this compares to nuclear, someone out there probably can answer that.

Saw this on artificial photosynthesis http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-04/16/artificial-photosynthesis but could not find any information on how much was being invested by governments.

The advances sound amazing, but I expect there will be a down side of massive photosynthesis panels being erected instead of wind turbines, needing large subsidies and being considered a blot on the landscape, the same as turbines, or maybe not. I hope it is the latter, the potential for sunny developing countries must look promising.

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Meanwhile in Brussels

The same department is, together with France, Poland and the Czech Republic, lobbying for EU subsidies of nuclear power. Unlikely to go anywhere because those horribly inefficient Jormans have ditched nuclear for renewables, massive imports of lovely French nuclear power during the winter notwithstanding. All this to say that if for every gravy train that gets retired another is ready to enter service.

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Silver badge

Re: Meanwhile in Brussels

I believe Germany has in fact ditched nuclear in favour of coal

Then you are ill-informed. Coal has been being phased out in favour of (Russian) natural gas for years. Renewables are ahead of target thanks to the very generous feed-in tariffs we have here and effectively a swap with France with nuclear from them in the winter; and renewable to them in the summer when they don't have enough water to cool the nuclear plants. Though even France is going renewable with EDF busy offering free installation and maintenance of photovoltaic systems on nice new barns and free power to the farmers. Though, if they can get EU subsidies for nuclear then you can imagine the free barn programme being phased out pretty quickly.

Renewable energy might be of questionable value - I am in favour of it; the feed-in tariffs can be seen as a gravy train - but all those installations require people on the ground and I can think of worse government-sponsored employment programmes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meanwhile in Brussels

One of the biggest emitters of radio active material at AWRE Aldermaston was in fact their coal fired power plant

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I smell elections coming

as title

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Coat

Re: I smell elections coming

i read that as electrons. all this talk of nuclear power, must have jolted something

sorry :)

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About time.

I suspect that the subsidies are only part of it. I wonder if they've also been looking at the infrastructure cost of supporting those extra turbines. I do remember reading something about spending billions just to get the leccy from proposed turbines in Scotland. Let alone the gas generation required to back up wind farm generation.

Finally, the maths of what's being added (and will be added) to consumers fuel bills has met the politicians desire to be re-elected.

Full steam ahead with nuclear and shale gas then. Or rolling blackouts.

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Re: About time.

Yes, and I wonder what the environmental cost of smelting all that copper and steel is?

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Re: About time.

"I do remember reading something about spending billions just to get the leccy from proposed turbines in Scotland."

Do you have a link to the original info by any chance?

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Sounds reasonable.

So there needs to be an energy storage mechanism that can bank power to be distributed later. Not so different from hydro which banks power, water, and generates on demand. I understand there are such things with large solar installations that can distribute power at night..

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Re: Sounds reasonable.

Which valleys are volunteering for flooding then?

We've already built pretty much all the pumped-storage that people will accept - there are plenty of places where it could be built, but people either live there or it's an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Or there are newts.

This is the thing - hydro-electric is incredibly destructive. It's not green, it's only low-CO2.

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Anonymous Coward

F*ck the newts

How are they endangered? They're everywhere, whether you're building a town-sized shopping complex or a garden shed!

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Mushroom

What we actually need are some new big ass nuke plants. All this renewable crap is just nibbling at the edges and will be for a long time.

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Yes I agree, right next to your house!

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Why not??

There is so much hype against nuclear reactors that has been instilled in people by the hippies of the 70s and 80s. Those people don't apply critical thinking, they just react as they were brainwashed to do!

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Go

reverse nimby...

so we can only have nuclear powerplants if we agree to have them built in our own back yard?

I dont know who you are who can dictate where and when nuclear power plants are built at will, but I wouldn't mind living next to one as it happens... small sacrifices to be made in order to keep my house warm and my lights on and so on... I wouldn't mind a little bit cheaper leccy since I would live close by but I guess that is hoping for too much ;)

where do I send in the form?

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Anonymous Coward

Too right! I already live about a mile from a Gas fired powerstation that has pride of place in the view from my back garden, so contamination aside it won't make much difference to the already shite landscape views I enjoy!

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I'd *gladly* get a nuclear plant next to my house. Or do you think that us pro-nuclearists are hypocrites? Personally, I'd pin that label on greenies with air-conditioning.

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Silver badge

Re: reverse nimby...

A power plant in your own backyard? Probably not yet, but perhaps one in your neighborhood or hamlet? More likely. Part of the Gen IV movement is making the reactors smaller (which also reduces the danger factor). Some of the designs being proposed are intended for smaller settings like rural communities.

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Re: reverse nimby...

"so we can only have nuclear powerplants if we agree to have them built in our own back yard?"

Having a nuke plant built in your backyard does not worry James Lovelock, environmentalist and inventor of the "Gaia" theory. Nor would it worry me: I've worked in them.

I wouldn't want to live near a coal plant (far too much radiation) or near windmills, as they are very noisy and prone to exploding in fireballs.

Suggest people check WHO stats on deaths in energy. Wind power has killed many more people in the last 30 years than nuclear :-)

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@Filippo

"do you think that us pro-nuclearists are hypocrites? Personally, I'd pin that label on greenies with air-conditioning"

That would be hypocritical in all probability but that doesn't mean it's the only possible hypocrisy.

I'm sure many pro wind power people would object to having the windmills built near them and the same would go for pro nuclear people with those plants - it's normal enough. In the end someone's objections have to be brushed aside (or bribed aside with jobs and subsidies).

Incidentally, I don't know anyone who has air conditioning in their house, 'greenie' or not; is this freakish? I'm in the south of the UK and have family in the North of France.

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Mushroom

Ruddy EU deal commitments :|

Renewable energy is fie but rushing to get there only uses up more resources/energy than it saves and the whole renewable aspect should be that these things are added organicly and small more managable and economical bites.

Name one UK company that makes wind turbines and by this I mean the ones being attached to grids. I had a look at this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wind_turbine_manufacturers and it does mary up with what I thought about UK production of these lovely windmills.

So we signed a agreement in the early hours after a long session which was the previous goverment and the current one still aint had the balls to renegotiate it.

End result is mad buying from other countries who love the extra driven demand so we can meet a quota that by reaching would mean some crazy outlays to meet the timescale.

Lets not exclude the aspect that the current generation are ugly, why not fasion them after old windmills, or do we have to relive the old GSM mast story again!

Given pylons are also ugly though having been about longer more acceptable; Why not add a wind turbine ontop - sorts your plugging into the grid aspect and also saves lots on planning/extra land. Yes they might not be best located but there again they can be smaller and add up alot more overall.

Also landscapes have natrual funnels and in that you can look at these and place windfarms there, akain to dam's. So end of a long valley that catch's the wind be nice. Also you can funnel the air into a tunnel and have the turbine vertical instead of horizontal. But weer in a mad rush to just put pins on a map so any nicer non-70% effecient placement gets poo'd upon sadly. Despite the aspect that you gain 100% asthetics.

Also a long cable to Icelend and a deal to buy lots of renewable electriciy from them would not only be cheaper and more practicle but also greener.

All I realy expect is the goverment to moan about the previous lot and as they dont expect to be in power come 2020 as they will hand it back to labour by then, well they will let this timebomb of a poorly thought out disaster carry on, un negotiated to the extent that nothing positive will be done. Hope I'm wrong, I realy do.

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Joke

The electrical wind car

We need electrical wind cars that are charged only when there is an excess of wind power.

The car you lend to your kids, you know.

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Happy

Thorium nuclear power anyone ?

seems to rarely get mentioned ...

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TRT
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Wrong deployment...

Direct power generation from wind was never going to be a good solution. They should be using the wind turbines to pump water into storage dams for hydro-electric generation.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wrong deployment...

Sounds fine in theory, until you work out just how big those lakes will need to be, and try to figure out where to put them. I suppose no-one really needs Scotland, do they?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wrong deployment...

Scotland already has shit loads of natural water they don't use, bung a few more hydro dams up there and pay them for the power. Probably at the back of Salmonds mind, cut Scotland off from the UK and while England/Wales has no new power plants planned, wait for the "Sassenachs" to come begging for power!

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Paris Hilton

And I thought...

that they were going to rig enough of those turbines up and then fly Blighty down the Bay of Biscay a bit, until it got some warm weather... :-D

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Holmes

Translation...

"Basically, what we're going to do is cut funding to the windmill brigade, then use the quid to hire a bunch of plods to do a 'feasibility study,' and then start building windmills again when the Greens arm-twist the plods. So, really, we're not going to save any money at all, but it will look like we did, and it will make the Greens happy, and they will like us. Then we can all gather in the Commons and sing Kumbaya."

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FAIL

Re: Translation...

What could possibly make you believe this?

The Greens have no power in the U.K.

Where are their representatives in Parliament? Totally locked out by First Past the Post.

Where is the strong arm of the 90's "grass roots" political movement? Infiltrated and broken up by undercover police spies who clearly don't mind a bonk on the job while they're at it.

Do the "greens" have any leverage in the U.K. at all? Economic? No. Through the upper social strata? No.

All power in the U.K. is held by those who already have power and the self-interest to use it for their own enrichment. The principles of the Labour movement are long dead. The LIberals are in their grave. The Tories are in the hands of the bankers.

You seriously, for one moment, think that the Greens have got the power to twist anything in the U.K. ? With what? Public opinion? What a joke.

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Re: Translation...

Er, doesn't Brighton have a Green Party MP?

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Re: Translation...

@Kevin

Well that's a shock, they do! So... that's 1 MP out of 650. I can see why the Greens are causing the regime to tremble at the knees.

It's 4 out of 577 in France for that matter....

In the EU parliament it's 46 out of 754....

Still can't see where the Green's are getting their arm wringing power from.

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Re: Translation...

>> "The Greens have no power in the U.K. Where are their representatives in Parliament? Totally locked out by First Past the Post."

Point of order, Mr Speaker... allow me to introduce Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion. Not *totally* locked out.

But I agree, the idea that this government would worry about keeping the Greens happy is ludicrous. Not when there are huge, wealthy corporations behind the nuclear lobby.

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Meh

Re: Translation...

You guys don't seem to realise: misanthropic environmentalist dogma has completely over-run all three main UK political parties. This is a result of polling and focus groups which told the politicians that a significant portion of the electorate were worried about green issues. This provided the ideal opportunity for politicians to posture and claim to be 'saving the planet' by spending huge sums of taxpayers money on green boondoggles. Fortunately the public are starting to wise up so the politicians are starting to change their tune. However, make no mistake, at the moment the greens *are* the establishment - and will remain so for many years.

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Oily stuff available now!

" Basically, that means reducing costs quicker"

Obviously it costs the government nothing to help push oil above $500 a barrel.

Planning, well that's for socialist government!

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Thumb Up

Re: Oily stuff available now!

The UK government has no say at all in the wholesale price of crude oil or distillates. Yes, they can tax it as high as they want and easily achieve the 500 USD per barrel equivalent of price at the pump, but oil is traded on an international market and guess what, if the UK (refineries/chemical plants/forecourts) stopped buying any oil at all tomorrow and kept it that way for a year we would hardly affect the international price of crude at all. We are not the navel of the world and the 60 mill or so living in the UK are a drop in the proverbial 7 billion of us that walk around on this planet today).

likewise, cutting all the oil that ultimately gets spent needlessly building wind turbines will have limited impact on the price of crude, but it will nevertheless mean we pullute less (what, you thought all that infrastructure, metals, construction, maintenance, landscaping and facilities for storing off-peak energy was made out of pixie dust and rainbows?)

Socialist governments are usually nothing of the sort, and don't have to pander to public opinion, so they can plan properly, and therefore don't have to build wind turbines. they tend to go all out nuclear if they can (or coal if they really really don't give a shit).

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Meh

Send them to Ontario!

Yes, despite the fact that the world is turning against the wind turbines, Ontario Canada chugs straight ahead into economic disaster buying up these things and scattering them around the landscape against everyone's wishes! Even T. Boone Pickens is trying to get Ontario to buy up his giant white elephants, because no one wants them anywhere else.

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hooray!

Up here in dampland we got a 900KW community turbine, then the local landowners started turbine wars to get their own. In fact everybody and their dog is applying to have one. Sizes from small to fucking huge.

All sorts of "get rich quick" schemes are being touted by various companies. If you have suitable land put up no money and you will be the owner of a clapped out turbine in five years etc. (and bear the cost of repair and/or decommissioning)

Someone wants to build a dozen monsters right in front of my house. All so that numpties can have 50" plasma TVs and sit watching crap all day. I'll stop here before I explode.

IMO the only answer is to use *less* energy but no government will ever implement it.

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Re: hooray!

Not really sure how a government could implement that - would need a change from a democratic system at least.

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230 million cups of tea per year!

I was watching Countryfile on telly on Sunday night, and John Craven or some such was introducing a piece about wind turbines, and produced a factoid "a wind turbine like this can produce enough electricity to make 230 million cups of tea per year". I got my calculator out to calculate how much electricity that was, and the numbers were big.

Unfortunately the corresponding numbers for the first tiny PWR I could think of were 80 times bigger, and when I started examining the assumptions in my back-of-an-envelope calculations, the numbers for the wind turbine got smaller, and the ones for the PWR got bigger.

I love it when the greenies rate wind turbines in terms of kettles. Suppose I did not want to sit in a yurt drinking tea, but stand in an office looking out of a window at people operating my aluminium smelter?

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