22 March 2013
Which renewables, according to Claudia Belahmidi are not scaleable? Not wind, which could produce all the UK's electricity using on-shore and offshore sites. See Renewableuk and various resource estimates. Wind is now at ~8GW installed capacity and producing 6% of the UK's electricity, according to Renewable UK, with plenty more going in. Solar PV is now at 1.4GW installed in about one year, but could produce ~100TWh pa, using south facing roof area. Solar PV halved in price in one year, 2011-12, and further reductions will bring it to parity. As for the "intermittency", wind is very variable in output and like all other sources needs to operate in conjunction so that there is back-up. This applies especially to inflexible nuclear. But wind and solar complement eachother as has been shown in Germany. Back up can be provided by biomass, eg co-firing or biomass fuelled stations, demand management to avoid peaks, interconnection, and other renewables which have different variability patterns. Renewable sources are providing about 10% of the UK's electricity at present, and are expected to overtake nuclear at about 15% currently but declining as stations are closed. Renewables are expanding fast, can be deployed much quicker than the 8-10 years of nuclear and at a lower cost. Edf requires the very high strike price because without the UK business this 80% state owned "private company" will go bust. In fact France can only afford to replace two thirds of its own nuclear stations and is investing in renewables, wind, solar, biomass, already having 15% supply from hydro electricity. But the nuclear deal is very bad for the UK; a very expensive deal with a foreign company creating mostly foreign jobs (at the higher value adding end), 'lock in' to nuclear, and a "TINA" response from government which ignores what is actually happening in the UK.
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