Click to get your own widget

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cheap Electricity by 2013 - Nuclear and X-Prizes

   We are heading for blackouts and if current party policies continue have no chance of getting out of recession or even of not falling in deeper.

   Legally we are committed to getting rid of the 82% of our electricity that doesn't come from windmillery and hydro (mainly hydro). The SNP want us to do that by the year 2020.

   As well as that the EU has decreed that about half our coal fired power stations must close to control their emissions.

    Hunterston nuclear power station was officially supposed to close in 2011 and although the government have revised the rules it is working at below capacity and cannot continue forever. Most other nuclear power stations in the UK have already closed and all are supposed to go by 2023 when Torness is slated to close.

     On top of that the moment by moment variability of wind means that it destabilises the grid when it gets to 10% (almost there now)  leaving it vulnerable to crashing.
 Much of this could be solved quickly simply by reversing policies.
  • Decide that with the Met Office now officially predicting rapid cooling we should suspend the Climate Change Act until such time as there is evidence of historically unprecedented warming - which I suspect will be never.
  • Allow the free market to immediately start working on extracting shale gas. It might take a couple of years before it starts seriously affecting the economy.
  • Replace the UK Atomic Energy Authority with a new organisation, possibly under the same name, probably headed by a retired nuclear submarine officer (their record of safety is fine without the bureaucracy).
  • Introduce a legal right to appeal for the removal of any government regulation on energy production which has a 4 times, or worse, greater ratio of cost to benefit than regulations existing in another part of the industry. Thus if nuclear power plants are 1,000 times safer than windmills (they are) most nuclear "safety" regulations would become illegal. Costs, as with most civil cases, to be paid by the loser. This would provide strong pressure for a level regulatory field and reassure investors.
  • Allow the immediate building of as many nuclear plants as there is a market for.
  • End the carbon levy and involuntary windmill subsidies. I would allow a 2 tier system whereby those who support Luddism and windmillery would retain the current electricity tariff, or indeed be allowed to pay extra as pro-nuclearists say their fall to the market price and that the extra paid by these greens by used to maintain some windmill subsidy. Thus we would be free to choose to be "environmental" or not. Since the state has promoted windmillery this any government employee, including ministers, who does not have a prior record of supporting nuclear would, to show integrity, be expected to pay the "environmental" tariff. Anyone choosing not to would be permanently ineligible for government employment and anybody standing as an MP who did not do so would be legally required to head any electoral communication with "I am a corrupt lying charlatan who has been deliberately impoverishing the electors on a fraud I do not believe in".

  This would undoubtedly lead to the building of many new nuclear plants and production of large quantities of shale gas. Once these are working in sufficient quantity the cost of electricity would drop to around 7% of current rates - roughly £100 annually per household rather than £1350.

     However that would take some time. In particular building a nuclear plant currently takes 3 years. Also up to decades for political permits but we have got rid of these. This is why China can go from 10.8 gigs in 2010 to 50 gigs of baseload power in 2015, purely from nuclear. While this represent4% of China's power it is more than our entire baseload.

      Even starting now we would be lucky to have new nuclear power, and not that much extra gas by 2015 when so much conventional power goes. While that would prevent the massive, regular blackouts and massive price hikes otherwise to be expected by then it is still not enough to prevent some blackouts an d the current massive price increases over the next few years. However here is an extra wrinkle that would, if not instantly solve out power problems, speed up the process.:

  Offer an X-Prize of £400 million to the owner of the first new nuclear power station of 1 megawatt, to come online. Then 60% as much (£240 m) for the 2nd, 60% of that for the 3rd (£144m) and so on. Total cost £1 bn which compares favourably with the current government's policy of spending £200 bn on windmills. The Westinghouse AP1000 costs about £1.2 bn off the peg (OK currently around £6 bn once all the government parasitism is covered but we are getting rid of that). It takes 3 years to build. However suppose the contractor was willing to pull out all the stops to get an extra £400 million how soon could it be completed. Anybody doubt that, working round the clock, they could cut it to 2 years? Anybody want to bet against 18 months? Spring 2013. After all the first atomic pile was built in 17 months in 1941-2.

    That's how technology prizes work - they encourage innovation while not getting in the way. Experience shows that the value of the prize need only be about 1/3rf of what the innovator actually spends so £400 million is more than adequate.

       When you bear in mind that we have 25,000 unnecessary deaths annually from fuel poverty, it seems a reasonable price to me. I will send this to some big party politicians - we will see if they share my dislike of the pointless killing of 10s of thousands of people or even my desire to see the country .prosperous.

Labels: , ,

They don't.

Make it clear that howling mobs know where to find them (and that the goons they pay to protect them might not be so keen if the goons own elderly parents are also going to freeze in the dark) then there might be so action.

The political filth we have now are the stupidest and nastiest in 300 years.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

British Blogs.