Thursday, December 15, 2011

Renewables Have No Prospect of Becoming Economically Competitive

Renewable Energy has no prospect?
Believe it or not, that headline is a direct quote from a new report from the right wing Adam Smith Institute, titled "Renewable Energy: Vision or Mirage?" which was published on December 12.

The web site has picked up on this report. I include a portion of their article as a quote below, but for the full text you should visit their web site:

The report has been criticised by the renewables industry as the 'same little clique of people repeating the same tired old arguments'. 
According to the report the government's focus on renewable energy sources is misguided and unrealistic.
As these technologies cannot provide the secure energy supply the country needs and could potentially lead to an energy crisis by the middle of this decade. 
The report concludes the 'official enthusiasm' for renewables has more to do with the 'power of the green lobby'. 
Joint author Martin Livermore: said: "For too long, we have been told heavy investment in uneconomic renewable energy was not only necessary but would provide a secure future electricity supply. 
"The facts actually show that current renewables technologies are incapable of making a major contribution to energy security and - despite claims to the contrary - have only limited potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. 
"It seems ministers have not yet realised the need to invest in more nuclear and gas generating capacity if the electorate is not to be badly let down." "

It is of course hard to contest that nuclear and gas are the most viable energy sources for base load electricity demand for the near future. 

Renewable sources are "orders of magnitude" smaller, and the shear numbers of facilities needed will take time to gather investment funds, build, and train the owners in operating. So, governments should not be distracted from pushing forward with the next generation of nuclear and gas installations, nor take their attention away from those just because renewables might seem attractive.

A quick look around the web and you will find that the opposing view to that made in the Adam Smith Institute report is well made on blogs such as the Maritime Journal where they announce that the anti-renewables report is "slammed" and quote s follows:

Dr Gordon Edge, director of policy at RenewableUK said: “This report is simply another example of the same little clique of people repeating the same tired old arguments against renewable energy, regardless of the facts. Their report cannot be seen as an impartial piece of research - it was written by anti-renewables campaigners.”
The report even goes so far as to suggest that the UK generates electricity by importing vast quantities of expensive fossil fuels from abroad, rather than utilising the free and abundant low carbon source of wind energy that it has at its disposal.
This is because renewable energy sources "only produce power intermittently so they can’t replace gas, coal or nuclear."
RenewableUK has hit back that wind turbines generate electricity 80-85% of the time and that it’s not that the gas industry needs a more viable back-up, it needs wind energy to supplement it and deal with demand.

So far the Anaerobic Digestion Community seems not to have risen to the bait, to counter this report. 
A quick internet search revealed no that there are no responses online today which defend Anaerobic Digestion. That is surprising as so much of the case made by the anti-renewables lobby is about the lack of availability of other competitor renewable energy sources wind and solar when there is no wind and the sun isn't shining. 
Anaerobic digestion is so different and much better. It will always win over those renewable sources precisely when neither solar nor wind power will deliver. That's during those very cold windless winter nights (and cloudy overcast days) which are exactly those times when peak power demands will require every power station in the land to be belting out power as fast as they can go! 
That's how anaerobic digestion power generation earns its strategic "weight in gold" allowing the community to avoid building power stations which will only ever be needed on those peak demand days. Providing power for those coldest days, risks having to keep open old fossil fuel power stations which don't run for the rest of the year, at a huge cost for the power they do create.
So, if you would like to make the case for anaerobic digestion. If you don't agree that "renewables have no prospect of becoming economically competitive".  Don't forget that we have a comments facility below (click through to the "posts page if you can't see the comments form) for you to comment and air your views. Or, if you know of a web site where anaerobic digestion has been defended please add that link to your comment.

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