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Wind industry blossoms
Thursday, 31 July 2008 09:48

Wind IndustryDagens Industri published an article today about how the Swedish wind industry blossoms. Sweden may not reach its target of producing 10 TWh per year from wind power in 2015, but we are have passed the 1 TWh bar and the industry is optimistic.

One of the reasons is the new subsidiaries which lasts for 15 years for a new wind turbine, since wind turbines have a life expectancy of 12 to 20 years the subsidiaries are finally long enough to be included in a stable budget.

Immediately though the nuclear power proponents appeared, commenting on the article and filled the forum with comments like "it's unprofitable, wind power makes us poor", "nuclear power is the only solution" and so on.


But the nuclear power proponents often have not studied the energy crisis enough to be able to back up their arguments. Finding a solution to the energy crisis is difficult, and to just shout "Nuclear power!" without thinking about what it means is naive.

Nuclear power is a dead end similar to oil (you've heard about Peak Oil, right?) since uranium is a finite resource.

The price of uranium will go up now that more and more countries want to use nuclear energy. We do not have sufficient production capacity or enrichment capacity to support the increasing consumption.

We are also becoming increasingly dependent on the Russians who have uranium enrichment capacity, and I would prefer if we could stay away from them as much as possible since we've seen in the last couple of years how the shut of energy supply during political disputes.

If all the energy we currently get from coal and oil would be replaced by nuclear power there would be enough uranium to last us only 6 years. Nuclear power will never be more than a parenthesis in history just like oil and coal.

Moreover, the research funding to nuclear power is a lot larger than the what the wind and other renewable energy sources get combined. Is this included in the cost of nuclear power? Or the cost of our old heavy water reactors which was built with tax money by the government to acquire nuclear weapons but later were shut down because they were uneconomical and we no longer wanted WMD:s? Nuclear power has many hidden costs that we need to look into further before we take any decision to build more nuclear power plants.
We must not ignore the fact that we lack a final storage option for the nuclear waste.
 
One must also look at the new Finnish nuclear power plant that is being built as we speak. It will probably be twice as expensive as calculated, and has already been much delayed and more expensive than expected.

One of the major problems with nuclear power is that it takes up to 40 years before being paid off. It is a very long period of time. It requires that electricity consumption is stable over time, that fuel prices are stable over time, and that no better alternative during this time can replace the production from the nuclear power plant. If one of the many factors in those 40 years does not come out in favour of nuclear energy the cost could become enormous.

My hope is that wind turbines will be cheaper to build over time so that the certificates are not needed in 20 years. Until then, it is wonderful that I live in a country where we can sacrifice a little "economy" to achieve a goal of not destroying the rest of the planet. For what are we going to do with our cheap electricity when we are surrounded by smog and nuclear waste? Where is the joy in that?

Just my five cents.