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Sunday, June 19, 2011

"Age of Cheap Energy has Barely Dawned"- Metro Letter

  This letter went out to papers across Britain. It first went to the Scotsman where it was written as a direct reply to an op-ed article by Michael Kelly saying the "end of the age of cheap energy guff but it wasn't published so I rewrote it. I found it was published in the Metro (free newspaper, not well known for the political content of its letters and with no link on Google News) on Thursday. It probably, thereby reached about 10 times as many readers as in the Scotsman. Bits edited out highlighted.
Numerous politicians, while one day lecturing us that "the age of cheap energy has ended" the next are lecturing Scottish Power for putting their prices up. The fact is that the only reason prices are going up, rather than sharply down, is because these selfsame politicians, of all parties, introduce extra fuel taxes to subsidise windmills while spending the last 2 decades vetoing the actual producers wishes to build inexpensive nuclear plants.

The age of cheap energy has barely dawned. There is enough uranium dissolved in sea water alone to keep the world economy going for billions of years - producing electricity at 1/10th what we currently pay (I guess that means 1/11th of what we will pay in the autumn). There is 4 times as much thorium. Before billions of years have passed, or even many decades, we will have solar power satellites and fusion, both of which can provide thousands of times more power than we use now.

However our Luddite political class, Britain & even the EU may make it illegal to use such power, just as the 16th C Chinese government made it illegal for citizens to own ocean going ships. That did not end the age of sail it merely ensured it would be a European dominated age. In the same way our politicians will not prevent the age of cheap energy, merely exclude us from it.
  The editing simplified it and I suspect their core readership knows little of Chinese history. The exclusion of the reference to fusion suggests that the editor understands the subject - fusion is certainly decades away, unless cold fusion turns good, and possibly hot fusion will never be fully practical because keeping a hydrogen bomb going at unvarying output is inherently difficult. There is no problem getting power and when there are several methods of doing it some will work but that overriding principle is more important than what particular methods will work.
Chinese solar satellite design (the Earth is China upside down - the Chinese compass points south)

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There is enough uranium dissolved in sea water alone to keep the world economy going for billions of years - producing electricity at 1/10th what we currently pay (I guess that means 1/11th of what we will pay in the autumn).

Yes there is a lot of uranium in seawater only one will expend far more energy in transforming it into fuel than it will supply negative equity for the insane.
Nice job, if it's the London Metro you maybe short on your estimate of only ten times more readers.
Juat to back up my claims.

Mining the Oceans: Can We Extract Minerals from Seawater?

Extracting uranium from the sea is not a practical possibility.
"According to the OECD, uranium may be extracted from seawater using this method for about $700/kg-U"
whichn is many times the current price which is why it isn't done. However uranium makes up a very small fraction of the cost of nuclear electricity so, despite what anti-nuclear campaigners say, and they have a long record of being wrong by many orders of magnitude*, it is clearly possible.

*I remember even you got excited about the Fukushima catastrophe and disputed when I said I thought it would not kill more people than a small car crash. In fact i was wrong - it did not kill more people than a small pillow fight = zero.
However uranium makes up a very small fraction of the cost of nuclear electricity

You obviously don't understand that this has nothing to do with cost it's about EROEI i.e. Energy returned on energy invested. Go and ask a schoolkid who does physics. No wonder any paper with any creditability wouldn't publish your letter as it goes under the 'bullshit' column.
Unfortunatyely the other letters are from Scotland too so I assume it gots no wider coverage. On the other hand I believe the Scotsman is down to 30,000 copies so beating that is hardly difficult.

CH using invented measures of alleged value rather than the well tried traditional one shows the desperation of ecofascists who know that traditional measures will prove they are talking nonsense. If you understood how the world works you know that if you are really putting in more input than you are getting out the process is inevitably going to cost far more than it returns (well except for windmillery when the return is provi=ded by subsidy. Sorry to have answered you seriously.
Cynical Highlander has a point about separating uranium from seawater. Just getting salt from seawater takes a lot of energy. You would then have the further problem of separating a few molecules of uranium salts from the predominately calcium chloride salt.This reduction in local entropy requires a greater increase in entropy elsewhere, and that means a lot of energy is expended.It would be like separating a few milligrams of sugar from a bag of salt. Turning our backs on nuclear energy is however a form of protracted economic suicide, because the rest of the world would prefer the benefits of modern technology.
But uf it were henuinely that difficult it would cost more. If it actually took more than a gigawatt of electricity to refine enough uranium to produce a GW then the cost would be greater than the retail value of that GW. Indeed many times greater, because there would be a lot of manpower and other investment going into it & distribution costs of the electricity and profit.

Since it can be produced at $700 per kg that clearly isn't the case. I have no interest going through the details of how this alleged figure was fabticated for the same reason that I would not spend time checking out an alleged scientific theory that proves water normally runs uphill.

The ecofascists regularly claim that we must subsidise "renewables" because they are cheaper. This is the same sort of rubbish.
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