The UK has now managed to support it's electricity demand coal free for two whole months now. We only had 4 coal power plants anyway, but the fact that we havnt had to rely on them for two months is excellent news for the atmosphere, local air quality and our future generations. Let's hope they don't have to fire up the old dirty beasts again!
Yea Scotland can produce enough electricity for a year in just two windy weeks, its just a shame storage is not yet able to collect it all until its needed. We have alot here in Wales too as you can imagine, the biggest one I know of is off the coast of Llandudno, so far in the distance it basically looks like a flock of seagulls sitting on the sea.
What replaced the output of the coal plants? I've read about wind lately and one article talked about the huge impact of disposing of the blades in landfills. According to the article they have to be replaced every 5-6 years at major cost both monetarily and environmentally.
I watched the Fully charged news episode when they talked about this. Makes me very happy that things are finally changing for the better. There are a lot of wind turbines that have been installed here in Canada where I live, and we get more and more power from them. Wind turbines are constantly getting bigger, better and last longer. Today we get about 16% of the electricity from wind in Nova Scotia,in 2007 it was 1%.
According to figures from two years ago, we get 39% from gas, 5% from coal, 19% from nuclear and 33% from renewables. But the gas is imported from Norway and the uranium is imported from Kazakhstan so its very expensive making renewables more appealing year on year. Wind turbine blades is the latest green haters propaganda in the media, those blades you see are over 30 years old and many are recycled. As technology develops, blades get bigger, stronger, more efficient, more durable and have second lives after 25-30 years.
I'd personally like to se more hydro systems given how many powerful rivers and waterfalls we have here in Wales, and tidal too given that the UK despite its size, has quite an extensive coast line that runs the circumference of the nation.
Nuclear is not a green renewable source as far as I'm concerned. Orkney produces so much tidal energy they cannot use it all or ship it to the mainland (cable not heavy enough). They turn it into Hydrogen and use it to power the ferries, while docked in Orkney.
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My dislike of wind is the harm to all the birds it kills. I don't know if hydro would be harmful to ocean life or not. Nuclear is probably the most efficient and best option. Just too many people who dislike it because they are told to and do what they're told regardless.
In the UK they estimate as a worse case scenario, 100,000 birds could be killed by turbines in a year, but these figures are very rough estimates. In comparison, 55,000,000 birds are killed by house cats, so if it's brids you care about, you'd be better off campaigning about banning cats instead of clean energy. Also, 64,000 people in the UK die from air pollution if you believe the stats, again, human life, especially those of children are more important than birds in my opinion.
Nuclear is not my bag, chernobyl, fukushima were complete disasters and still affect farmland here in the UK 30 odd years later. Plus the whole burying toxic nuclear waste "out of sight out of mind" attitude is just wrong in every aspect. We've got to stop burying everything and hoping people forget about it. Cities by the sea have only managed to expand because there was no way of disposing of people's rubbish so it was thrown into the sea. London, New York, Tokyo and many other big cities are all built on people's trash. Even bombay in India used to be 7 separate islands, so much rubbish was dumped there they fused into one mass. We've really trashed out beautiful planet.
All types of electricity generation causes an impact on the environment. I believe wind and solar are probably the ones that least affect the environment. I'm not sure how many birds are killed by windturbines, but if it's a few hundred a year then I could live with that. The windturbines that I checked out in the past didn't really have any dead birds around them, but that doesn't mean birds are not killed by it. I know that in the USA alone, cats kill about 2.4 billion birds a year; and this is a huge issue.
I used to like nuclear power plants a lot, but they cost a fortune to build, maintain and decommission. I studied coal and nuclear power plants in university and the costs for a nuclear plant are astronomical. Usually there are about 50 engineers working at one plant, if they make about $50,000 a year; that's $2.5 million just to pay the engineers. Then you have gaskets, pumps, heat exchangers to replace; and there are a lot of redundancies; so multiply everything by 2 or 4. Plus there are strict regulations on how to obtain the uranium and how to dispose of it. Just because they store the used up uranium in abandoned mines, it doesn't mean it's not there. Nuclear is great, but it's just not worth the cost. We are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars.
Nova Scotia experimented with tidal generators, but they are also way more expensive than wind; so most of those projects were abandoned.