The shoe has dropped. In a straight out economic fight withnuclear, wind wins. And worse, once paidoff, and they do get paid off, it is practically free.
Worse, they can be all done inmonths wherever it make sense and offshore is looking better every day.
The wind industry is mature andcan support a flat out building program that can make it the dominant source ofenergy. Recall also that we are enteringthe age of superconducting power lines that will shift power across a continentat no real cost. Thus a shortfall in
Hungary will be replaced by power from easily. Spain
Variable as it may be in terms oflocal output, tens of thousands of windmills throughout
Europeonly experiences the average effect and that is never variable.
And it all comes down tocost. Windmills are getting larger andtherefore cheaper in terms of cost to output. They never need fuel and that hand wave disappears. They become ideal for pension funds to investin.
In fact they are perfect. Buy a windmill at age twenty five with fortyyears amortization and at sixty five you owe no money and you sell your powerat the prevailing rate. You even getdepreciation to use tax money to pay it off. In fact, in the years I have spent around investments, this is asperfect a retirement asset as one could hope to own. Even better it is immune to inflation and thelike.
Wind power cheaper than nuclear, says EU climate chief
Connie Hedegaard says declining cost of offshore wind energy makes itgenuine alternative to crisis-hit nuclear industry
Thanet wind farm off the coast of Ramsgate, Kent. Photograph: GarethFuller/PA
Generating energy from wind turbinesat sea would be cheaper than building new atomic power plants,
Europe's climate chief has said, in the latest challengeto the crisis-stricken nuclear industry.
ConnieHedegaard, the EU climate change commissioner, said: "Some people tendto believe that nuclear is very, very cheap, but offshore wind is cheaper thannuclear. People should believe that this is very, very cheap."
Offshore wind energy has long been seen as an expensive way ofgenerating power, costing about two to three times more than erecting turbineson land, but the expense is likely to come down, while the costs of nuclearenergy are opaque, according to analysis by the European commission.
The nuclear crisis in
Japanhas led the UK, France and other countries to tell theirnationals to consider leaving Tokyo, in response to fears of spreading nuclearcontamination. The crisis also prompted the EU's energy commissioner, GüntherOettinger, to say: "There is talk of an apocalypse, and I think the wordis particularly well chosen."
Hedegaard told the European Wind Energy Association's annual conferencein Brussels that the problems facing nuclear power put renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar power, back in thespotlight.
"There are 143 nuclear power plants in
Europeand they are not going to disappear," she said. "But when it comes tonew energy capacity that discussion is likely to be very much influenced bywhat is happening in ." Japan
She suggested that the Japanese nuclear incidents, which have not yet been brought under control, would"automatically" turn attention to renewable power.
However, she was careful to insist that it was up to member states todecide on their energy mix, as long as they adhered to the Europe-wide targetsof cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 and generating 20% of energyfrom renewable sources by the same date.
Hedegaard published a "roadmap to 2050" this monththat showed the EU was on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% ifcurrent policies are implemented. She said this strengthened the case put bysome member states that the EU's current target of cutting carbon dioxide by20% by 2020 should be toughened to 30%.
Europe's biggest nuclear operator, EDF of France, insisted that plansto build a new generation of reactors in
Britainshould not be held back by the problems in . Japan
Vincent de Rivaz, chief executive of EDF Energy, said:"While we understand the importance of adjusting the timetable to takeinto account the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate report [on the Japanesecrisis], it is also equally important that establishing the framework for newnuclear should not be subject to undue delay. The events in
Japan do not change the need for nuclear in ." Britain
He said meetings this week with local authorities regarding places suchas Hinkley Point in
,where EDF wants to build a new reactor, had still been positive. Somerset
De Rivaz told the Nuclear Development Forum, including the energysecretary, Chris Huhne, that there was "local determination to press aheadwith our project, and the strong feeling that whilst we should learn anylessons we may need to from Japan, we should not delay our progress".