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Monday, July 21, 2008


It isn't just China that is building lots of new coal powered plants. So is Russia & so, more remarkably, are the Gulf States. Exporting oil & importing coal.

Abu Dhabi (largest of the seven UAE emirates) has announced that it will switch to coal-fired power plants. Dubai (the second largest) is already building four of them – with a combined output of 4,000 megawatts

......They have opted for coal for a single compelling reason: cost. They can produce a megawatt-hour of electricity using Australian coal, Der Spiegel calculates, for $17.49 (U.S.). Using natural gas, the cost rises to $41.34. Using oil, the cost rises further to $79.50. At the same time, they can sell their oil on the global market for something approaching (or occasionally exceeding) $140 a barrel.
That is remarkably cheap. 1.75c or 0.9p a unit. It even compares favourably with French nuclear at 1.3p a unit though the French figure is years old so I suspect it can be improved on & shifting Australian coal to the UK would be more expensive than the trip to the Gulf. Meanwhile Britain's coal costs 2.5p a unit, onshore wind 5.4p & offshore 7.2p & I suspect that because the cost of doing anything here is higher even the cheapest coal generation here would not undercut nuclear. But it is certainly, economically, a runner.

Dubai's (population 1.3 million) new output of 4 Gigawatts is about 2/3rds of Scotland's which means it will be more than all of ours when Hunterston, Torness & our high emission plants close. The relationship between electricity production & GNP is well accepted. At this rate we are going to see Europe turn into a 3rd world area, entirely because of its deliberate embracing of eco-fascism.

How long before the Luddites, whose hatred of nuclear exceeds their general hatred for everything manmade, start telling us that to prevent global cooling we must build not nuclear but coal plants to pour as much CO2 as possible into the air. At least that would not be as economically insane as their current views.

Story found on Al Fin

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