When a nuke closes


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Apr 28, 2008
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by Schmoe
I was all for wind energy too, and living in Oklahoma, wind turbines are EVERYWHERE. Just drive up I-35 from Texas to OKC, you'll see. However, the truth has been coming out. When you look at cradle to grave, they emit a lot of CO2. Just in the manufacturing process alone. Then look at transportation to the sites, then look at the infrastructure required to place a windgen. Also, those long blades do not last a long time and are changed more frequently than you'd think. They are opening up landfills, especially in Wyoming, that simply lay the blades flat, and then bury them. No recycling whatsoever. When you take into account all that energy needed to get these things to produce power on-line, natural gas is cheaper and cleaner. A new natural gas plant built next to a coal plant saves tons of CO2, use existing infrastructure. Getting natural gas to a site takes minimal amount of work with all these new pipe lines coming on line from the Anadarko Basin.
I was an early opponent to wind energy due to almost having a wind farm put up behind my parent's estate out east. We had a large property that backed onto the marshland and the same developer that had been installing the wind turbines in Nova Scotia wanted to build some here. A local group, which included my parents, was established of people who lived in the area and didn't want them and there was actually a guy that had recently emigrated from Germany who was vehemently opposed and had a wealth of information on them, their intermittency, the true cost of operation, which included the required backup generation, provided by gas, as well as the infrasound issues, raptor kills....etc. The group won their fight and the farm was never constructed. When I moved back to Ontario, I watched our administration go all-in on the same boondoggle that had unfolded in Germany, signing billions and billions of dollars in 20 year contracts for wind farms, the vast majority of which were owned by private companies that were either fossil fuel companies, pipeline companies, or owned fossil generating sources, such as gas peaker plants. This was of course no coincidence. This caused installed natural gas generation capacity to soar, as it was constructed in parallel with the wind farms to provide backup support for them, and delivery charges for consumers went through the roof due to the largest utility in the province, Hydro One, having to connect all these wind farms to the grid, rolling out thousands and thousands of kilometres of new transmission infrastructure. Consumers were of course then hit with a double-whammy. We were not only forced to fund the feed-in tariffs for wind (and solar), but we were forced to pay for the fast-ramp gas plants to back it up, which included minimum monthly compensation, idle payment....etc. Gas in Ontario is paid almost $0.30/kWh! On top of the feed-in tariffs, compensation for curtailment was also awarded as part of these contracts, so when it's December at 3AM and it's windy and there is nowhere to put the power that just decided to randomly come online, we pay them to put the brakes on. Utter lunacy. Wind being out of phase with demand results in for-loss exports and significant curtailment. It also means that when there actually is demand, like when it is hot, wind isn't there, so we burn gas. It's literally the worst possible "solution" here with its capacity factor during the summer months being constantly in the toilet and in the fall and spring, when demand is the lowest, it's at its peak performance, costing us in curtailment and for-loss exports as we dump the unneeded power in foreign markets.
Aug 5, 2002
Silicon Valley
Nuke has to be a political topic, mainly because it is a NIMBY issue no matter how you cut it, it will affect people's real estate value and it is not something you can tear down and walk away like other plants. Another reason I suspect is, the nuclear powers do not want nuke technologies to improve too fast, even for civilian market, so the chances of either other nation catching up or an accidental proliferation in non friendly nations will be reduced. You can't have too many new nuke plants without people coming up with more proliferation. I don't believe green energy is the cheapest way to go forward, but you never know, because non oil producing nations may want to dump everything they have at them, to make their energy sources independent. Look at solar and wind, that's what happening right now. Gas is just too cheap right now, so yeah, if I'm shutting down a nuke I'll build a peaker asap. No one will build a nuke if a gas peaker is all you need.