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scooby

Postby scooby » Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:51 pm

I am by no means an expert, far from it, but i do know that coal production in the UK was tossed aside prematurely for political reasons but thats another story. I think the guys main point would be that wind power has had no scientific methodology and there are corporations making big bucks out of the taxpayer etc etc. If it truly is the answer then lets get a million of the buggers planted and then we will all pay for cheaper electricity. Alas I think it is pie in the sky and we should just get rid of all the cows if we really want to stop climate change :? And he might be saying that just because a lot of people say wind power is cleaner,greener and cheaper doesn't mean it's true, as there are counter arguments (like the climate change debate) so until it is proven scientfically proven then I will always be sceptical.

scooby

Postby scooby » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:34 pm

Looked at the link provided Warwick but something straight away disturbs me. This quote on the first page:


Decommissioning Cost per kWh for Nuclear Power Plants

Nuclear energy is unique in that it must pay for future decommissioning of the facility. Decommissioning costs vary from year to year depending on changes in return on investment from the fund, but a general guideline is $0.0015 per kWh. This cost per kWh yields a $500 million decommissioning fund assuming a 4% return on investment over 40 years (useful life).

I stopped reading after this I'm afraid, because even by admission of Government, decommissioning is around 4 BILLION which makes the figures out anyway "assuming" a 4% return (what). And thats the problem, every site/link will either be for or against for some reason and it's so complicated that no one really knows. I wish that when asked a question that a so called "expert" could just say "I don't know".

Kilkis
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Postby Kilkis » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:30 pm

I agree that it would pay to be sceptical about the costs quoted for nuclear in the article I linked. Everybody has some sort of bias. This is a pro-nuclear paper therefore it is probably going to present nuclear in the best possible light. I didn't reference it to show nuclear costs however. I referenced it to show wind costs compared to coal and gas. Since it is pro-nuclear I assume it would present the others as poorly as it can. In reality it presents wind as worse than coal and better than gas, i.e. not the complete waste of space that others tend to suggest.

Interestingly, one of the articles referenced in the paper you linked, Scooby, claims that reserves of conventional energy sources in the USA are infinite and will never run out.

Warwick

scooby

Postby scooby » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:43 pm

Kilkis wrote:I agree that it would pay to be sceptical about the costs quoted for nuclear in the article I linked. Everybody has some sort of bias. This is a pro-nuclear paper therefore it is probably going to present nuclear in the best possible light. I didn't reference it to show nuclear costs however. I referenced it to show wind costs compared to coal and gas. Since it is pro-nuclear I assume it would present the others as poorly as it can. In reality it presents wind as worse than coal and better than gas, i.e. not the complete waste of space that others tend to suggest.

Interestingly, one of the articles referenced in the paper you linked, Scooby, claims that reserves of conventional energy sources in the USA are infinite and will never run out.

Warwick
Yeah I did notice that. can't quite grasp it.

Bagshot
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Postby Bagshot » Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:05 pm

An interesting debate, but difficult to know what the facts really are.

However, these are facts: in the UK I use electricity and natural gas in the house. 10% of my energy usage is electricity, 90% gas. It seems that the main products of the combustion of natural gas are carbon dioxide and water vapour.

So, if renewables can account for 20% of my electricity usage, they will only account for 2% of my total energy usage.

I couldn't find a convincing figure for UK electricity produced by renewables, so I have to guess that it's now of the order of 10%, reducing the proportion of my energy usage to 1% of the total.

OK, so my energy usage is not typical, and cannot be read across to other users (industry, domestic and commercial users).

However, someone somewhere must know the figures. My bet is that UK energy production from renewables is going to be no more than 5% of the total (on a sunny day with a fair following wind).

5% is better than nothing, but I think that we are just fiddling at the margins using heavily subsidised renewable production. I can't see how wind farms and PE arrays are going to make a significant contribution.

P.S. Of course there is also transport (road, air and sea) which uses fossil fuels. Can't believe that we will be flying in an electric aeroplane for some years yet.

kouti
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Postby kouti » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:21 am


Kilkis
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Postby Kilkis » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:36 pm

Personally I am ambivalent about shale gas. I recognise that it could provide a useful extension to energy provision as conventional gas sources pass peak production. It would be particularly useful as it would be on the increasing part of its production curve as conventional gas is on the downward slope.

I do have some concerns however. Shale gas is predominantly methane. Methane is a much worse greenhouse gas than Carbon Dioxide. While, for obvious economic reasons, the process of fracking attempts to collect all the natural gas released, the methodology seems to provide opportunity for a percentage of the released gas to be released into the atmosphere. This downside of fracking does not seem to be adequately discussed with debate concentrating more on earthquakes and water pollution. As the volume of natural gas being released into the atmosphere by fracking increases year on year this could become a major problem.

The first article referenced has a beautiful example how authors distort facts to fit their own agenda. The following is a quote from the article:

"Which would mean coal doesn't have the advantage of being cheap even as it kills us in various ways including ozone as the World Health Organisation points out: "

This statement seems to say that the WHO have especially pointed out that Ozone produced by coal burning is killing us. To support this claim they then quote from the WHO article:

"Excessive ozone in the air can have a marked effect on human health. It can cause breathing problems, trigger asthma, reduce lung function and cause lung diseases. In Europe it is currently one of the air pollutants of most concern. Several European studies have reported that the daily mortality rises by 0.3% and that for heart diseases by 0.4 %, per 10 µg/m3 increase in ozone exposure."

Sure enough the WHO are saying Ozone is bad for us so the claim in the gas article must be true mustn't it? Notice that the WHO quote doesn't actually mention coal. If you look at the WHO article you find the preceding paragraph, which the gas article doesn't quote, states:

"Ozone at ground level – not to be confused with the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere – is one of the major constituents of photochemical smog. It is formed by the reaction with sunlight (photochemical reaction) of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) from vehicle and industry emissions and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by vehicles, solvents and industry. The highest levels of ozone pollution occur during periods of sunny weather."

While it is true that coal burning will be one contributor to Ozone pollution under the "industry emissions" but nowhere does the WHO highlight it as a particular problem. In reality Ozone pollution is worse in towns due to vehicle emissions and is not a major problem in open rural areas where power stations are usually located. The casual reader is misled.

Warwick

George
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Postby George » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:56 pm

Here in Britain, we look across the "pond" with a superior smugness at the role of lobbyists in American politics, but it is exactly what we have all over the world now. everything we read is someones agenda. Trying to sort the wheat from the chaff becomes increasingly complex.
The only country I am aware of who has actually adopted a true policy to benefit mankind is of course China with their attempt to restrain population growth which is the biggest threat of all.
Collectively, we lambasted them for it - how dare they try to know better than us.
Meantime we shall retain our air of superiority whilst we continue to mete out aid to nuclear enabled countries who cannot feed their own people and promote the use of hybrid vehicles as we demolish 90% of the south American Atlantic forest to grow soya and sugar beet to run our cars......

scooby

Postby scooby » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:36 pm

George wrote:Here in Britain, we look across the "pond" with a superior smugness at the role of lobbyists in American politics, but it is exactly what we have all over the world now. everything we read is someones agenda. Trying to sort the wheat from the chaff becomes increasingly complex.
The only country I am aware of who has actually adopted a true policy to benefit mankind is of course China with their attempt to restrain population growth which is the biggest threat of all.
Collectively, we lambasted them for it - how dare they try to know better than us.
Meantime we shall retain our air of superiority whilst we continue to mete out aid to nuclear enabled countries who cannot feed their own people and promote the use of hybrid vehicles as we demolish 90% of the south American Atlantic forest to grow soya and sugar beet to run our cars......
But this only applies to about 35% of the population of China so is a bit misleading, is it not?

George
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Postby George » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:33 pm

Nowadays the up and coming middle classes can pay extra for more children, and of course running a policy like this will never be perfect given the sheer size of the country, but surely the fact that they actually tried is worth a mention?

Kilkis
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Postby Kilkis » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:04 pm

scooby wrote:...But this only applies to about 35% of the population of China so is a bit misleading, is it not?


Not totally misleading. The one child per woman is not absolute but more than two per woman is very exceptional. Thus if one per woman applies to 35 % of the population, more than two per woman is very rare and there will inevitably some women who never give birth, the average fertility rate is still below 2 per woman. That will lead to a declining population rather than an increasing one, albeit slowly. Given that the fertility rate only considers "live births" and does not take into account child mortality, the rate of fall in population number will be a bit faster than you would deduce from just the fertility rate. Thus the policy achieves its aim.

Warwick

PS It's worth noting that the policy hasn't yet produced a decline in overall population but that is due to other factors. For example, like western countries, improved health care is greatly increasing longevity. This is more than outstripping any decrease caused by the policy. You can see the effects if you take the percentage of the population under 16 compared to the total population. This is decreasing slowly as expected. Probably the best way to describe it would be that the population would be even bigger today than it is if the policy had not been adopted. I've seen 400 million quoted as a figure so not insignificant.

scooby

Postby scooby » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:40 pm

Found this, which makes it more complex.

China's one child policy is a government-dictated limitation on the number of children certain groups of people in China can have without paying a fine. More correctly termed the "family planning policy," it is often misunderstood as forcing all families to only have one child or face serious consequences. In reality, it has many exceptions, and enforcement is lax in some areas. Regardless, it remains controversial, as it is seen as a restriction of reproductive rights, and does sometimes lead to abuses of illegally-born children.
Exceptions and Loopholes

Though many outside of China are under the impression that the one child policy applies to all Chinese citizens, this is not true. In fact, there are a number of exceptions, and the legislation applies to only about 35 percent of citizens, as it only applies to married, urban, ethnically Han couples. Ethnic minorities, those in rural areas, and parents without siblings themselves can all have more than one child without paying a fine, as can those who have a severely disabled child or one that dies. In some circumstances, exceptions are also made for those who lose their children to natural disasters.

Kilkis
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Postby Kilkis » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:24 pm

I don't think it's that complex?

[quote="scooby"]...Though many outside of China are under the impression that the one child policy applies to all Chinese citizens, this is not true.../quote]

The fact that people outside China are ignorant of what goes on inside China doesn't make it complex. Let's face it most people are ignorant of what is happening next door. The point is that China is about the only country in the world that has recognised that uncontrolled population expansion will present them with a major problem and has done something about it. Surprisingly for a pretty much totalitarian regime they have also shown some sensitivity to the realities of life. As examples:

The problems caused by population expansion in an urban environment are much worse than in a rural environment. A slightly higher expansion rate in a rural environment might be beneficial in that it would result in a bigger labour force to produce the food needed to feed the expanding urban population. Food production tends to be more labour intensive than manufacturing. It is not unreasonable therefore to have stricter controls in urban areas than in rural areas.

Allowing relaxations for families where the parents are only ones or where a child has died is not likely to have a significant impact on the strategy and shows some compassion.

Allowing ethnic minorities to have more children obviously does not have a major impact on the strategy. The clue is in the name.

China has reduced its fertility rate from around six per woman to a little under two per woman. Imagine the population today if fertility had continued at six per woman.

I guess we are so used to government policy being dictated by what the Daily Mail will say about it that we find it difficult to react to a totalitarian regime where they tell their equivalent of the Daily Mail what to write. Obviously it is not all roses and there are numerous abuses but it is sometimes refreshingly pragmatic.

I guess the attitude is, " So it's not fair. Tough. It works." The overall opinion seems to be that while it is not perfect more people support the policy than oppose it. In the west we tend not to fear people dying of starvation so we can get more worked up about abuses of human rights. In China they have experienced millions dying of starvation within living memory for a large percentage of the population. You don't have many human rights when you are dead and that tends to give you a different perspective on life.

Warwick

bobscott
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Postby bobscott » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:15 am

Kilkis wrote: You don't have many human rights when you are dead and that tends to give you a different perspective on life.

Warwick


Expecially when you are dead!

Sorry Warwick, a well-reasoned treatise and I am only being typically flippant. As a tourist it's difficult to gauge what is really going on, particularly so in China. On a recent visit we were at once appalled at the poverty and full of admiration for the way in which new building of roads and houses was going full pelt.

You are right - it's not always fair; but I believe that the best lesson one can give one's children is that 'Life isn't fair'. Sadly not a concept embraced in our western cultures where we all expect the best and rail against those who don't deliver. Bob.
Yesterday today was tomorrow. Don't dilly dally!

George
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Postby George » Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:09 pm

Re efficiency of wind power. Scottish power released figures today that on the top week last year, wind farms accounted for 70% of domestic electricity in Scotland, and so are going to build another 20 wind farms.
Meanwhile it turns out the cost of decommissioning Sellafield now stands at 67.5 billion pounds and goes up by 1.6 billion each year. Oh, and they still have no one to accept the spent rods!
I don't have the figures for the other 51 weeks of last year in Scotland but given the fact that we had another summer "no show" they ought to be pretty good.
I am also offering the use of my garden shed (to be enclosed in concrete) to the relevant Sellafield authorities for the piddling amount of 10 million pounds. I await their answer with baited breath.


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