Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Even more problems for Wylfa B (updated again)

Yesterday's Times newspaper reported that Horizon, the joint venture between E.On and RWE npower -- and the company which is planning to build Wylfa B, has urgently contacted Energy Secretary Chris Huhne to seek clarification over remarks he made last week which seem to indicate he will reject Horizon's proposal for a consumer-funded levy to support new nuclear builds, such as in Wylfa. Horizon's position is that modern nuclear power stations are far more expensive to build than conventional coal and gas-fired stations and therefore need some financial support (such as a consumer-funded levy) in order to make the business case viable.

Mr Huhne is reported to have said that he thought the industry had converged on the view “that the carbon price floor will be enough” to make new nuclear plans viable economically. Setting a carbon price floor would essentially make cheaper but higher polluting energy (i.e. that made from coal and gas) more expensive, thus making expensive but cleaner nuclear energy more competitive. The current price of a tonne of carbon allowances is around €13, whereas nuclear competitor EDF, the French state controlled giant, believes that carbon price floor of around €50 per tonne would be sufficient to make nuclear energy competitive. Mr Huhne appears to agree with EDF, thus allowing him to keep to coalition policy of promoting new nuclear power stations as long as they do not require public subsidy. Setting a floor price for carbon would not be a hidden subsidy to nuclear energy alone as it would also make expensive renewable energy technologies more competitive. Of course, the end result is that we all end up having to pay more for our energy... (and we should not forget that it was carbon-trading schemes like this which were one of the largest contributing factors towards the closure of Anglesey Aluminium by making its operation economically unviable inside the EU).

Personally I find Horizon's stance a little surprising as a "consumer-funded levy" is essentially a subsidy by another name -- whereas it has long been known that the long-standing policy position of both the Labour and Conservative parties on new nuclear builds has been to reject the need for any further subsidies to the nuclear industry. Therefore to be fair to Huhne he simply appears to be adhering to this long standing cross-party stance and official coalition policy. As far as I can see, the fuss seems to be more related to competition between German-owned Horizon and French-owned EDF. EDF currently owns a fleet of eight UK nuclear power stations and the setting of a carbon price floor would boost the profitability of these existing stations whilst at the same time making new nuclear builds, such as Horizon plans at Wylfa, less profitable in comparison because of the estimated approx £7bn construction costs.

Anyway, this all goes to show that Wylfa B is by no means a certainty yet.

UPDATE: I thank learned commentators for alerting me to it, but its seems that the German government has announced plans to impose a tax on nuclear fuel rods from 2011 onwards which will have a large impact on German nuclear utility firms, such as E.On and RWE npower. According to reports by the Wall Street Journal, this could see E.On's after tax profits reduced by up to €1bn every year for the next six years. Chris Huhne's remarks therefore represent a substantial double-whammy to Horizon's owners, E.On and RWE npower and again show just how incredibly precarious the proposed £7bn investment in Wylfa B actually is.

UPDATE 2: Interestingly it appears that the Council has arranged an open seminar with Horizon and Centrica on Friday this week for Anglesey businesses to learn how they could benefit from the Energy Island project. From the Council website:

"On Friday September 24th 2010, Horizon Nuclear Power and Centrica Energy Renewable Investment Ltd will outline potential supply chain opportunities relating to the proposed new nuclear build programme and offshore wind power development.
This special event - to be held at Cartio Môn, Bodedern, between 8.30am and 1.00pm - will conclude Anglesey's first ever Business Week. (At junction 4, off the A55).
Energy Island Programme Director, Sasha Wynn Davies, explained, "Friday's event will give businesses a unique opportunity to actively engage with both companies as well as gain a greater understanding of the business opportunities associated with the Energy Island programme."
"The event will also be used to raise awareness of existing Nuclear / Decommissioning supply chain opportunities and the proposed off shore wind Centrica development. Local businesses and companies present will have an opportunity to ask questions about these developments and the wider Energy Island Programme."
If you would like to attend the event, please contact Energy Island Programme Coordinator, Linda Wyn Jones, on (01248) 752462 or e-mail: lwjpl@anglesey.gov.uk"
Did anybody else know this week is Anglesey Business Week? No? Me neither... 

48 comments:

The Great Councillini said...

It's a very wide-ranging post, Druid!

I recall from my studies that public subsidy of nuclear power, not including the decommissioning costs which have hitherto been simply ignored, make up 11% of thhe domestic electricity bill. 1% of that has been top-sliced to subsidise renewable energy technology.

So, the question is one of whether the public know their electricity bill could be 10-11% cheaper than at present if nuclear wasn't in the mix? I remember being surprised by the level of subsidy, and I doubt the vast majority know about it at all.

The fact is that any technology - including nuclear and green technologies - can be made to appear sensible, economically-viable options for energy supply if you twiddle around with the subsidies, levies, carbon floor prices and the like. I'm not sure that fiddling with the numbers is what capitalism is really meant to be all about, although twiddling happens on an enormous scale in all aspects of the system.

What is the true price of carbon emissions? Well, that sort of depends on a whole host of complex assumptions and value judgements. What price a litre of oil and its combustion products, which takes 300 million years to form and lock away, but we use and relaease in a few minutes' car travel? I suggest it logically means the price should be extremely high, and not less than a litre of fizzy drink.

Then again, a 50 Euro floor would indeed make just about any current green technology viable, which may in the longer term make nuclear fission, but not fusion, rather obsolete.

And where's energy use reduction in all of this? No money to be made from that? I think there probably is...

Jarlath said...

It is clear to me that to ensure our electricity supply, whilst at the same time meeting our international commitments to reduce global warming gases we need a minimum 4 new nuclear power stations.

I think the argument put forward by E.on is that nuclear power is in the only long term the proven solution that can provide a guaranteed supply.

Whereas gas power is dependent on imports and international fluctuating gas prices. Clean coal would seem to be an answer, but the technology to ensure a clean supply is many years away.

Nuclear power has it problems with safe disposal of waste, and in the future another form of generating power may replace it, but today and in the near future, this is the only option for us, if we want to lead the lives we lead.

What’s important is that we need to accept subsidies for the nuclear industry, like say the one, we already give energy produced from wind.

The debate currently is about the level of that subsidy, and with a known nuclear power opponent as Energy Minister it’s no surprise that the future of new nuclear power stations is uncertain.

However, we should not forget that if Labour when in power had the courage then, Wylfa B might already be well into the construction phase.

Groundhog Day said...

I think that the financial pressures Eon is under in Germany speaks volumes, it certainly puts the prospects for the new station into persepctive. I admit to an uneasy feeling that we may well see this consortium cutting its losses and leaving the scene.
As for nuclear power, we do need it in the short to medium term until new technology is sufficiently developed whereby we are not at the mercy of other foreign nations - particularly Russia for our energy supplies. It is bad enough that under 13 years of a Labour government we have sold not only our industrial heritage but also our water and energy suppliers to foreigners. Does anyone for a minute believe that the French would allow other nations to buy their industries?
I have cut and pasted the following post of mine from the other Wylfa B thread.

"Disturbing article in the financial pages today (Sunday 19th Sept)regarding Eon which I understand to be the German company involved in the proposed Wylfa B. It appears that following imposition of new financial burdens in its domestic German market the company is now reconsidering all investment in the UK. A new nuclear tax in Germany will take an estimated £2 billion a year out of the business making it more difficult to raise money and potentially threatening the company's ability to build nuclear stations in the UK."

Anonymous said...

Lets go back to the horse and cart with candle-power.

Sober up guys, we need this....

The Red Flag said...

Sober up guys, we need this....

'Tis all deja vu.

We do need this, but we are not in control of events. We have no say on internal German taxation proposals and quite rightly so - they have no say in ours and we don't want them to either.

As for funding, direct government subsidy is illegal now within the EU I believe, and indirect subsidies are not on the table for anything at all - Huhne made that clear the other day as did the Tory party BEFORE the election.

As for the consortium, they have always made it clear that without major financial help it's a no-no.

Next it will be extending Wylfa A for a few more years while they try to sort this out, but even that is dodgey in that it is not economically feasible to keep it going for much longer without government funding (which isn't available), and around-and-around- and-around we go, where she stops nobody knows.

Until the next deja vu.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Red Flad - a good summary of the situation. Of course had the previous Labour government not spent 13 years posturing on carbon emissions and renewables, then Wylfa B could have already been built and AAM may have been saved -- before the recession and before punitive nuclear taxes in Germany, etc etc....

MH said...

This is good news, and comes as a welcome balance to some of the more negative stories about Huhne's position. But this is still not enough to make the new nuclear station at Wylfa a non-starter, even though Citigroup said: “It’s extremely unlikely that any company could invest in new nuclear plants based solely on a carbon floor price.”

The economics of nuclear are quite clear. No company can afford to build a new nuclear station unless it receives public subsidy. The previous Labour government was prepared to fudge this by not properly allowing for the full cost of waste storage and processing, decommissioning and clean up. It still remains to be seen whether the new government in Westminster will re-address that.

Yes, it's easy to see this, as you have Druid, as a spat between competing factions in the nuclear industry. But the picture is much wider than that. If a carbon trading mechanism is introduced with a floor price, then it does of course make the current operation of existing nuclear plants more profitable, something which EDF want for obvious reasons. But it at the same time will make renewable energy investment more profitable as well. So who is going to spend money building a nuclear plant when they could invest in renewable energy instead?

The danger is that, despite the promises about no public subsidy for nuclear, the government will introduce them anyway.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

MH - thank you as always for your informed input. I assume you consider this 'good news' from a Plaid Cymru position of not wanting any further nuclear reactors on Welsh soil?

The Red Flag said...

then Wylfa B could have already been built and AAM may have been saved -- before the recession and before punitive nuclear taxes in Germany, etc etc....

Exactly Druid. around-and-around-and-around we go. I am beginning to believe that the only way the people of Anglesey will ever be able to sort this out is through the formation of a Plaid Ynys Mon that fields candidates in local and WAG elections. Possibly european as well - but not Westminster - they have made a complete blx of this.

Anglesey politics. An ego trip MP, an invisible AM, an 'allegedly' corrupt council (but definately useless).

Is that Rome burning I see out the window? Pass the fiddle.

;) said...

I didn't know it was Anglesey Business Week either.

I had to look twice at the date as we're already half way through it.

Looking at the council web-site the events look pretty relevent to local business. Pity there's not more detail accessible without contacting the press office.

How about one on Marketing and getting your message out?

Jarlath said...

Putting aside Plaid Cymru dream of a nuclear and GM free magic world, let’s consider the actual facts.

If we are to generate sufficient and reliable electricity for the short or medium term that does not vary widely in cost and meets our international commitments to reduce our impact on global warming then the only viable option is nuclear power.

Yes, it will cost us, but contrary to what some say (and mostly the opponents of nuclear power) subsidy of nuclear power is not illegal. The amount of subsidy to a particular sector may be seen as uncompetitive, but I think if this means a secure electricity supply it is a price worth paying.

Anonymous said...

No, I didn't know about it, either! What a joke.

Dazzler said...

As a lay person on these matters I'd like to put forward something. Even with the porspoect of such a massive build, should we not be training, educating, re-training all those out there who've found or are going to find themselves unemployed. Call me thick but personally, if my son(14) asks me which career path he should follow, I'll be urging him to go into the construction arena. Shouldn't Mam Mon( or the powers that be who claim to represent us) be telling the same to the next generation. 7billion squid? Be nice if most was spent on the island.

Anonymous said...

Dazzler, the construction teams will be brought in from outside hence why a couple of weeks ago they were looking for sites near Wylfa to put the transit accommodation that will house them.

Groundhog Day said...

I would take issue with the Druid when he says that had the govt got its finger out and Wylfa B would have been built by now and AAM saved. The agreement under which AAM received cheap power was agreed prior to our entry into the EEC and once it was flagged that Wylfa was closing then that under EEC law it would have been illegal to allow subsidised electricity to AAM from the new station under a new agreement. Therefore AAM was doomed from the day Wylfa stopped providing cheap power on closure. I do agree however that under Labour's incompetence in allowing our expertise in building nuclear power stations to evaporate we have handed the French and Germans and open door to print money at our expense.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Groundhog - you are only partially right. EU law prevents Government subsidy to certain companies or sectors, there is nothing to prevent independent companies working out cut price supply agreement between themselves.

When the current Wylfa reactor was moved to decommissioning stage it was acquired by the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency - a government body - and it was at this point the NDA's lawyers pointed out that the cheap electricity deal with AAM amounted to a public subsidy and needed to end.

My point is that if Labour had pulled their finger out and promoted the building of Wylfa B much earlier in their 13 year rule, then Wylfa B would have come online much earlier and possibly would have been able to continue the cheap electric supply deal with AAM. As it would be operated by a private company - not a government agency - there would be no restriction on such a deal and EU law would not come into it.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know it was Anglesey "business week"

You would if you were a Director of Y M Investigations Ltd.

Anonymous said...

Wylfa B cancelled soon, the cost and location too prohibitive, the Wylfa B was a project that would have worked, but the location was the problem, on the plus side, Ieuan's van passed it's MOT today.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Prometheuswrites said...

I thought that the government were signalling their intentions when they cancelled the Sheffield Forgemaster's funding.

MH said...

Assumptions are probably your downfall, Druid. I'm not opposed to nuclear because it's Plaid Cymru's policy; I don't want nuclear power stations because:

- they will cost too much, and will be a financial burden around the necks of our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren ...

- Wales can produce all the electricity it needs without nuclear, and the vast majority of a new Wylfa's output will go to England (which can probably do without them too, judging from the reports I mentioned here, but that's a decision for them).

Of course I'm glad that Plaid are against them, but that's only one of the reasons I'm a member.

The Great Councillini said...

"- [nuclear stations] will cost too much, and will be a financial burden around the necks of our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren

Hear! Hear! Not only financial, but environmental and health burdens, too.

If we put as much money and subsidy into developing fusion reactors, then we'd be able to forget about fission reactors like Wylfa forever, at least for civil energy purposes.

The other take is energy use reduction. Councils have recently been allowed for the first time to generate their own income through electricity generation. It means that they could, with some energy and enthusiasm of their own, start installing solar panels, wind turbines and the rest for residents at no cost to them. The payback to the Council comes from the income paid by government under the Feed-in Tariff scheme, guaranteed for 25 years; residents' benefit under the deal is free electricity, or at least a significant contribution to their annual needs.

I can see some more enlightened councils will do this, but Anglesey? What will it do? Probably lose-out to private companies who can do the same - give you a green energy system for free in exchange for the FIT payments. You still get the free electricity.

There is a need to move away from the endless pursuit of more generating capacity, and also to decentralise generation. These renewable systems can achieve both whilst giving rise to far more and more diversified jobs than even a nuclear station can bring. The general public also needs to do some reading and ditch the pub-talk opinions about solar not working in the UK and turbines never turning. That really adds to the resistance to change.

Groundhog Day said...

Without nuclear plants we will be at the mercy of foreign governments such as the Russians. We need nuclear for the short to medium term because with the best will in the world wind power and the like will not be able to keep the lights burning in this nation. A new offshore windfarm has just opened today off the south east coast but this will only supply power whent he wind blows and according to everything I read even when the wind blows these generate only 30% per unit in terms of output. Even Denmark who were in the vanguard of wind power have reined back on this tecnnology now reccognising the limitations. Tidal power is way down the road with regard to development and I feel that this is where we should have been concentrating as the tide works all the time with the exception of an hour at slack water. Tree huggers like the nationalists need to wake up to reality. Nuclear power is not going to go away. The French will continue to build them on their side of the Chanel maintaining their expertise in the technology while we wither on the vine. The safety argument is not viable for the same reason, nuclear plants the other side of the chanel will not be selective as to where any fallout from accidents deploys, remember Chernobyl?

Jarlath said...

The stark message I have for all those opposed to nuclear power is this, if we want a safe and reliable supply of electricity for our factories, our homes, our trains, for consumer goods such as computers, mobile phones, so called green electric cars then nuclear power is the only proven answer.

Whilst there are alternative means of electricity production under development that quite rightly we should invest in the research of the problem is they are currently only theories. For power generated by gas we would need to depend on imports, and widely fluctuating costs, which it seems depends apparently on whether Russia sneezes or not. Then there’s coal, and we have plenty of it buried underground, but as yet no real means of producing so called clean energy from it, putting aside the environmental costs of digging up the coal in the first place.

Wind power, you need wind, power from the seas still in the development stage. As for power generated locally, we had that at one time, villages supplied by small generators, now I wonder why we developed the national grid ?

Then there the cries that (nuclear power) it’s not safe, with reference to accidents in the past, a bit like saying I wont fly today because a plane crashed in the sixties, or that I will not buy a car because an old Lada is so unsafe.

Let us get this straight the biggest threat to our children and our children’s children is global warming. We need to reduce our global emissions, and quickly, we all need to contribute, and we cannot just think within national boundaries, this is a global threat, and if this means a new nuclear power station in Wales well so be it.

Anonymous said...

The Great Councillini said and also to decentralise generation.

And that is a very very telling statement in all of this. Electricity 'leaks'. The reason Wylfa was built here was because Tinto was built here - symbiotic relationship. One of the major factors that will decide Wylfa B if there is no government funding will be that 'leakage'. Wylfa B will be generating vastly more electricity than North Wales needs. The nearest centre of population is Cheshire/Merseyside/Greater Manchester. by the time it reaches Chester, 40% of the power has leaked from the cables.

Jarlath said...

To anon 11:01 can I ask why was Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station built then ?

Jarlath said...

And thinking about it further maybe Dinorwig Hydro Plant is pointless also, if we accept the case put foward by anon 11.01.

Anonymous said...

Because Jarlath, back then we were experimenting because we saw ourselves as a superpower and nuclear was all in state hands for strategic reasons not to mention people were scared of the bogeyman and so back then they were built in sparsely populated areas - out of sight, out of mind. It was also on land the government already owned and had a rail line already in existance. You have to remeber back then that nuclear plants were an awful lot to do with the nuclear materials for nuclear weapons. Electricity generation was not the overall deciding factor for the construction of nuclear plants. Now it is purely on commercial grounds if it's for electricity generation.

Dinorwig on the other hand is really to smooth-out the highs and lows of consumption and the way it is used (production at cheap times, release at expensive times) means that it needs to be sited where water is as opposed to consumer densities. Back then they had a huge nuclear programme planned (far far bigger than came to fruition) and it's origanal primary purpose was 'in-filling' holes in the generation timetable from Trawsfynydd etc to balance the gridt. Again, back then it was all ntionalised and done for strategic reasons. No private company in there right mind would build that today. It is only economically feasible because it uses off-peak electricity to produce on-peak electricity. If you evened it out it actually uses 30% more electricity than it generates. It is merely a ''hole filler'.

Now generation is a private sector industry and their primary concerns are shareholders and profit margins, not UK strategic interests. The two building the new generation of nuclear power stations are French & German. Could you have envisaged back in 1950 power generation being privatised and n'our' nuclear production being in foreign hands with no weapon involvement? And the fate of a UK proposed nuclear power station being in the hands of a German Chencellor's whim over taxation?

Leakge in transmission is real and any electrician on here will tell you that.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to add Jarlath, back in the 50's and 60's nuclear generating was sold to the public on the grounds that it would provide limitless dirt cheap electricity forever and there would be no need for coal or gas and that by the 21st century even cars, trains and planes would probably be nuclear powered. Lovely them government information Pathe News black and white promotional films at the pictures were. Just a shame it was total balls really.

The Red Flag said...

But this little story from today's Telegraph will help lower the costs for the proposed renewables schemes for the Island thus making them more attractive:-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/scotland/8020079/Ofgem-to-review-discriminatory-renewable-energy-charge.html

Jarlath said...

Whatever the past, it’s the future that’s important. You could build a Dinorwig type facility anywhere in the Country, you only need a reservoir and a means of replenishing it.

Yes no doubt we where mislead in the past about the actual cost of nuclear power, and what it could deliver. And no we are not flying on the magic machines that the then Tomorrow World programme, said by now we would.

But no doubt the same was said about steam engines, which ironically is still today the basis of the our main electricity output.

Jarlath said...

Anon 13:40

Aslo to produce Nulear Weapons you need enriched uranium, which is not produced from a conventional nuclear power station,

Not really sure where you are taking your argument towards, but answer me a simple question - without nuclear power how are you going to meet the likely elecrity needs of the United Kingdom

Jarlath said...

Oh and before you shout at me, first try the BBC Electricity calculator:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/uk/06/electricity_calc/html/1.stm

Anonymous said...

thats

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/uk/06/electricity_calc/html/1.stm

Anonymous said...

Aslo to produce Nulear Weapons you need enriched uranium, which is not produced from a conventional nuclear power station

No they dont but having nuclear power stations helps with the provison of the base materials to enrich. Why do you think Iran needed a nuclear power station?

Anonymous said...

Not really sure where you are taking your argument towards, but answer me a simple question - without nuclear power how are you going to meet the likely elecrity needs of the United Kingdom

Thing is Jarlath, I'm not against nuclear power in the short and medium term so long as the private sector meets all the costs - building, production and decommisioning, and all the waste remains in the UK. If that means that electricity gets so expensive that it becomes like it was in the seventies where even a working couple worried about the bill and can no longer afford freezers and dishwashers and two or more TVs etc, and fridges become a luxury again then so be it. - I don't have a problem with that even though it will affect me greatly. But if your argument is that we need this power to maintain or even increase our lifestyle then that is wrong.

But what I find pointless is listening to politicians banging on about our future power generation needs when first of all every new house should be automatically on a water meter, automatically have a mini-turbine and automatically have roof solar panels. Then every government building - local and national - should have a wind turbine and solar panels, and all planning applications for existing dwellings should come with a caveat that where not fitted they must be put on water meters, must have roof solar panels and must have a turbine.

But will the politicians do that? Nope. Because that will directly affect them so they haven't got the balls.

Likewise the buildsites. It is more ecomomic to have the production as close to the consumption as possible. There is absolutely no reason why the powerstations cannot be built in Merseyside next to the river, in London likewise etc etc. They are perfectly safe, so siting them in areas of dense population is perfectley safe and makes more sense economically.

Wonder why they don't. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Its our own greed that feeds the Nuclear Energy Machine, we have an insatiable demand for electricity, it's our own greed that's causing this massive demand for more and more electricity, just as Liverpool saw a need for more and more water, they saw Wales as their own water scource, evicting families, demolishing homes and churches then flooding valleys and send the Water to the greedy insatiable mouths, if they want it they will have it, if England wants more electricity, then the Wylfa B will be built, the electricity will pour down the pylons to the greedy consumers.

Anonymous said...

You could build a Dinorwig type facility anywhere in the Country, you only need a reservoir and a means of replenishing it.

A mountain doesn' go amiss, preferably one that has been extensively quarried so that the construction costs are affordable. And the grid very near by.

The Red Flag said...

All this to-ing and fro-ing. Playing right into the nuclear lobby's hands whether you are pro or anti. Why don't you mention thorium nuclear enery? Cheap, safe, plentiful. So cheap it requires no subsidies or tax breaks and elimanates the need for research into fusion (with all the lucrative grants).

Which is exactly why the nuclear industry is not interested.

Read this article then trawl the web. You'll find dozens of papers and research work from universities etc all over the world.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/7970619/Obama-could-kill-fossil-fuels-overnight-with-a-nuclear-dash-for-thorium.html

Anonymous said...

The best energy saver is the off switch.

Jarlath said...

To Anon 18:45

You miss my point (which I think is very similar to yours) the public have a choice. Which is if they want to continue the current economic growth based on the purchase of global manufactured goods then they have to accept an increasing cost for electricity, and in order to meet their demands then nuclear power is the only current option.

It is a fatal flaw in the current economic model, the requirement for year on year growth, and tell me which politician is going to stand on a platform of no more white goods like say flat screen TV’s.

However, it is a choice that in a democracy, we should allow the public to decide on, and if they say yes, we should expect them to pay towards, whatever their choice is.

The Red Flag said...

we should expect them to pay towards, whatever their choice is.

Which is my point Jarleth. If we have it, it is to be unsubsidised with the costs fully met by the power companies and ultimately the consumer and ALL the waste to remain inside the UK. Other than that, fine build it. I have no problems.

Anonymous said...

And mine

Jarlath said...

But let us above all be upfront with the public, and rather than saying no subsidy, let's be honest and explain the true costs of all options available to them.

Who do you think the companies would pass the costs onto, me thinks the public.

So rather than hidding the costs, lets be upfront and honest and say option A will cost X and option B will cost Y

Then and only then can the public make a reasoned choice.

Anonymous said...

Some kind contributor a few days ago said:

"by the time it reaches Chester, 40% of the power has leaked from the cables. "

Grossly incorrect. Don't take my word for it, check it out with Professor David Mackay of Cambridge University, author of the excellent freely downloadable book Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air. He suggests that transmission losses account for less than 10% of power generation output, and most of that loss occurs close to the end user, in the local substations and the local wiring. At the end of Section 11, just before the Notes, he says 8%:
"Of the energy that gets turned into electricity, about 8% is lost in the transmission system."

Everyone with an interest in the future of our energy supplies (which should be all of us) should read the excellent book:
http://www.withouthotair.com/

Incidentally, when I last visited Wylfa (for a nice soup in the cafe after a cold morning's touristing) two or three years ago, I had the pleasure of briefly watching the ex-BNFL promo video in the visitor centre. I am a qualified physicist with some understanding of the nuclear and power generation industries. There were more lies in the first few minutes of the video than in a half hour of Call My Bluff or whatever its modern reincarnation is called. If the industry would do something about acknowledging their fifty year record of lies and disinformation, they might get a bit more public sympathy from folk like me, who trust the technology but not the managers.

E.g. I'll start in 1957 with "what Windscale fire?", and proceed via "Windscale sea discharges are perfectly safe", "Dounreay is perfectly safe", "thermal oxide reprocessing (THORP) will be not only safe but profitable", right up to a couple of years ago with "Olkiluoto is going to be perfectly safe, on time, and on budget"

The Red Flag said...

Grossly incorrect

My istake for over=-simplifying. Yes it would only lose 8-10% by the time it got top Chesyet, but that's provided that there were noo taps into the cables between here and there. It's the tapping in to the main overheafdrun and then subsequent splitting down where the inefficiencies are. While it's all up in the main pylon it's actually quite efficient. But between here and Chester it would have a junction around Bangor, another probably around Llandudni Junction, another at Rhyl, etc etc (you get the drift)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I thought I'd replied (again) to this. Did I not hit submit?

Anyway, shorter version: if you can find a source to support your "40%", feel free to quote it. You won't, it's not right.

But that's not really the topic here is it.

The topic here should be getting decent technical jobs on Anglesey to replace the ones lost at Wylfa. Manufacturing doesn't look promising for the same reason it doesn't look promising anywhere in the UK right now. Which is sad.


Has anybody looked into the possibilities of an Anglesey offshoot of Machynlleth's Centre for Alternative Technology? The Anglesey offshoot could feature wind and marine technologies, and maybe work with Bangor Uni's School of Ocean Sciences, or anything else that makes sense.

What are the chances of that happening?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the Druid will report it in due course, but today (Oct 13th) the nuclear authorities announced an up to two year extension (to 2012) of Wylfa's operating licence. This extension was not entirely unexpected and as far as I can tell it's a damn shame nobody told Anglesey Aluminium to expect it before they shut down. Shame on whoever...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-13/u-k-s-wylfa-nuclear-station-will-operate-until-2012-update1-.html