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Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by boofagle, Nov 18, 2015.
The UK Is Shutting Down All Its Coal Power Stations
If Britain can do it so can we! Shut them down! Shut them ALL down!
If the United States was only 57% the total size of California, we could do a lot of things here. Look at Texas and their wind power... Texas is 3x larger than the U.K. This is also one of the reasons that rail network is so much better in western Europe as population density and smaller land mass make engineering feats much easier.
Sorry, I don't understand the relationship between population density and the fuel used in power stations. Could you explain why switching to natural gas or nuclear wouldn't be better for everyone, either in the UK, Tennessee, or Texas?
Not to take away from other replies, but the USA could not switch as quickly as it would overwhelm the world's ability to supply other fuel sources for electricity. Short term supply price spikes would follow. Nuclear time frame is too fast. Solar farms require too much regulation. Distributed solar with Batteries might work that quickly but cost prohibitive still.
Our coal is going away naturally due to fracking without artificial dates. This is a much more efficient process and may go away nearly as quickly.
According to the Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal wind is the most efficient power source, and the price is about the same as coal. Natural gas is the cheapest, hydro second cheapest.
The OP basically said that if the UK can do it, we (U.S.) can do it. And my response was that there is a big difference between the UK and the US as far as land mass and geography. I was using Texas as an example. If Texas were a country on its own, it would already be in a position where at times almost all of their energy needs come from renewables. I don't like comparisons such as if country x can do it, why can't the U.S. because it ignores the fact that there are different challenges here.
And where did I ever say that switching to natural gas or nuclear would not benefit everyone?
Except for the fact that the USA has _dramatically_ better renewable resources than the UK. The UK doesn't have a bunch of sunny deserts.
The UK government is pushing for more NG, and I think it will use elimination of coal (29% of capacity) to push fracking and new nuclear. The side benefit is that any NG turbine capacity can be paired with renewables, and the UK (especially Scotland) has a lot of wind potential (especially offshore, although that's more expensive). The UK also has high tidal and wave potential.
Some areas of the UK are _OK_ for solar and could be economical if prices drop further, though nothing's really great.
Other helpful things for the UK are that:
- across La Manche there's a bunch of nuclear
- a 1.4GW HVDC line to Norway is being built, and UK demand peak was 57.490GW: doesn't seem like much, but access to Norway's dispatchable hydro will help with increased intermittent power generation.
Argh. Looks like it doesn't jump to 5:45, even though it's in the link. Oh well. I tried!
As @ItsAboutTheMoney points out, there's a big difference in public opinion between the UK and the US and, more importantly, these differences are reflected in public policy. The UK renamed its Department of Energy to the "Department of Energy and Climate Change," and the department takes its charge seriously. For example, the government supports renewables by a competitive tender of 20-year "contracts for differences," which basically guarantee pricing for a renewable energy project, with the government taking the risk that the market price for power is below the contract rate.
It does help that power prices in the UK (at both the wholesale and retail levels) are significantly higher than in the US. Against that, though, the higher population density makes siting wind farms challenging, and the lousy insolation makes solar farms less economic than in the US.