This post is an attempt to summarize the information collected in a different and much longer post http://wp.me/p1RKWc-af (in the Danish language).

I must apolobieze for the slightly improoved Google-translation from the original post (http://wp.me/p1RKWc-f8)
_____________________________________________________________________

Unfortunately, it must be noted that prices for energy are skewed so that it is almost impossible to supply the community with power and warmth without subsidies and regulations.

IMF has found, that approximately 6.5% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) is used to subsidies for fossil energy. $ 10 million per minute.
This huge amount is consistent with information from the EurActiv.

Europe

As a result of a political desire, European countries give very big subsidies for energy from sun and wind.

  • Thus the spot price of electricity is so low that existing conventional power plants do not become profitable even though they actually are well functioning.
    However, in order to balance the economic, electric energy i heavily taxed.
  • It is rarely mentioned that nuclear power is subject to a special fuel tax in both Germany and  Sweden.
  • In order to maintain the supply it has been necessary, particularly in Germany, to give huge grants, especially for solar energy.
    Still it has been necessary to expand the use of lignite.
    This has given rise to serious environmental damage; both from the required strip-mining and from the increase in greenhouse gases.
  • In England discussions are concentrated on a prohibitively expensive nuclear novelty (EPR)
    This has been harassed by Austria and especially Greenpeace, who for reasons of principle are opposed to nuclear energy and have taken court action by the EC.
    If nothing else, you can delay and increase the cost.
  • Especially in Denmark wind-power get subsidies in the hope that it can be the cornerstone of future supplies.
  • In the Eastern European countries which have attained political independence, it was a condition for joining the EU that well-functioning nuclear power plants should be closed.
    Now the aim is to build a realistic supply, with nuclear power.
    Now with known Russian design and hopefully a realistic price.

Sun and Wind

Still it is unreasonably expensive.
With more marketshare it will be a serious challenge to maintain stability of supply and store the necessary energy for use at night or in windless periods.

  • In Denmark the supply is maintained through help from Sweden and especially Norway.
  • In Germany, where the demand is much greater, it will probably be impossible to obtain sufficient “green backup” in the winter.

Security of supply

No matter what, it is impossible to maintain the modern society without a secure supply of power and heat.
With the increased share of the unpredictable energy from sun and wind, there are new challenges.
It will be necessary to store energy, and it is very large amounts of energy.

  • Only Norway has enough hydroelectricity to cope with winter consumption.
    Switzerland, Sweden, Finland and Austria have quite a lot of regulated hydroelectric power, which can be deployed as needed.

In addition to regulated hydroelectric power, there are no economically viable alternatives for storing energy.

  • Without natural options, pumped storage will be excessively expencive.
    More than 100,000 €/MWh – Probably the double.
  • There is much talk about batteries, but it will be outside the financial reach to use for anything more than “a little local”.
    Of course also for cars and ships.
  • All talk about ‘just’ to store hydrogen has apparently been silenced.
  • Some countries have started to come to an agreement on “standby supply” (England) and “interruptible industries” (Germany).
  • In cooperation with Siemens in Germany green entusiasts are working to develop energy storage in the form of “thermal storage”.
    Unfortunately, a low efficiency will probably destroy the economy.

Nuclear

In what a bit sketchy is called ‘The West’, nuclear power has not only been on a harmful erratic course, but has also suffered from strong opposition that may be seen as a systematic crusade against goasts.
(See also Nuclear what is wrong? And Greenpeace and nuclear power.)

  • At least in Denmark’s electrical energy is a taxation object while some forms of energy get abundant subsidies.

This, and more, has undoubtedly left very deep marks on the development.

Whatever is the reason. In the West the nuclear industry has hesitated for 15 years while ‘we just sat on your hands’ and could not figure out what to do.
Slightly shallow it can be said that one can not have it all:
– Satisfy the endless and unreasonable demands ‘more security’.
– Continue with what is known and thus get new facilities at a reasonable price.

Traditional Coal

With Exception of few countries, coal is still the main element of the supply.

Hydropower

Few countries have much hydropower and can benefit from others, such as Denmark, when they require regulated energy that can be deployed as needed.
Unfortunately, there is most need for this in the winter when there is not so much rain to fill the reservoirs.

USA

Also here is the coal is the bearing element in energy supply.

  • Not as much as in Europe, but there has been campaigns and unreasonable demands as soon as we talk about nuclear power.
  • Today USA rides high on a wave of shale gas, provisionally both cheap and plentiful.
    There is talks about environmental damage. Furthermore, it is only half as polluting greenhouse gases.
  • In contrast to Europe, energy in the US is not a taxation object and consequently, energy prices are significantly lower, somehow distorting the international competition.

Nuclear power in the new countries

In Russia, China, Korea, India and other countries, there is not the same tradition of saying NO – NO – NO to everything new and where you do not ‘just’ come with endless contradictions and complaints. There, it has been possible to begin a realistic use of nuclear energy.

In sharp contrast to the old-established countries in Europe and the US the new countries are working worldwide to come up and try to get cheap and reliable energy.
This applies to most to the “Asian countries”, but also countries which previously was under Russian influence.

Korea

Korea exports four reactors to the UAE at a price less than half of what is paid in England for the disputed EPR.

China

China is working hard to improve the energy supply, with the expansion of hydropower and nuclear power. Of course, also solar and wind.
According to its own data, the price of new nuclear power is on par with that of Korea.
At the same time, China is leading in developing nuclear power with the use of thorium molten salt.

India

In addition to traditional nuclear, work is going on to develop a different system for utilization of thorium.

Russia

Probably due to the strong resistance, especially from Germany, Russia is the place where Eastern European countries could turn for help to both engineering and finance.

Overview

Worldwide there are 436 reactors in operation and 233 “under construction” or “on order or planned”.
The vast majority of these new reactors are from what is called “developing countries” or countries which have recently attained political independence after the dissolution of the old Soviet.

Other CO2-free energy

Instead of going into details, I refer to another, more detailed post: http://wp.me/p1RKWc-af

Overview of data

– Cheapest new-built onshore wind turbines: € 67 / MWh
– German onshore wind turbines: 100 € / MWh
– New large offshore wind farms: € 190 / MWh
– Horns Rev lll (Denmark): € 103 / MWh
– Cheapest nuclear power from ‘old plants’ (Sweden) 26 € / MWh
– Cheapest nuclear power from new power plants (Korea) : 27 € / MWh
– Most expensive nuclear power (Hinkley Point C): € 124 / MWh
– Solar Germany: € 110 / MWh
– Typically, the spot price of North Pole El market: 30 € / MWh
– Whole-sale price in England: € 66 / MWh
(This large discrepancy may be explained by ‘old Swedish nuclear power’ and especially Norwegian hydropower has been cheap.)

Energy from the sun and wind have ‘priority to the network’ and does not need to sell at the current market price and will thus further destroy the economy of traditional power plants that are built to run without many random interruptions.
In addition there is the “system costs” (primarily back up) something, which with large market share for wind and especially for sun will become a highly burdensome expense.
Again, I refer to what is found on http://wp.me/p1RKWc-af
In reality, these costs ‘just’ paid by ‘the other’ (The Net).
Thus, the price discovery further skewed.

After close examination of the above data, it becomes easier to understand why the Swedish Vattenfall consider early retirement for old nuclear power plants rather than upgrade and pay the incresed special taxes.

Spot prices

In a desperate attempt to argue for open competition and honest pricing, I have tried to assess the opportunities and challenges associated with what is optimistically called smart grid.
See: http://wp.me/p1RKWc-1e (in the Danish language)

Postscript

To avoid misunderstanding, I emphasize that I will be grateful for any comments or detection of factual errors, which of course, will be corrected.

Write to thorkilsoee@gmail.com

Advertisements