1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Hard numbers on sustainable energy

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by CopperBrompton, 23 Jun 2008.

  1. CopperBrompton

    CopperBrompton Bicycle: a means of transport between cake-stops

    Location:
    London
  2. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    Interesting, looks like Nuclear is basically the only realistic option open to us in the medium term then.
     
  3. simon l& and a half

    simon l& and a half New Member

    Location:
    Streatham Hill
    that wasn't the impression I got.

    We've got this thing arse-backwards, and the more I work in architecture the more downhearted I get. There are big gains to be made doing very simple things to older houses - instead of which we're doing wildly complicated things to new houses, which don't work when the occupants have the bad taste to open the windows. We're obsessing about recycling timber for timber frame houses, and then building them out in the suburbs with two car spaces in front. And, sadly, we're not making much of an impact on private car use, although this last few months in London has been encouraging.

    The economic viability of sustainable energy has to be measured against oil prices now and in five years - or our least silly guess about what oil prices will be in five years. And we have to think about security - there's a lot to be said for having energy you don't have to buy from Russia.

    The article is a bit parochial. Our purchasing power is sucking water out of the aquifers in Uzbekistan and the southern USA. Those Chinese power stations are not being built to power heating in Shanghai - they're powering steel mills and factories that send product to Europe. But, then again, given that we can't get the easy stuff at home right, it's probably best not even to think about the global picture.
     
  4. Flying_Monkey

    Flying_Monkey Toll Collector on the Road to Nowhere

    Yep, that's much the same impression I get from my (as minimal as I can make it) involvement in mainstream planning...
     
  5. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    I generally have a lot of respect for you Simon (unrequited I fear :smile:), but this is just weird. Nuclear came out lengths ahead of anything else. And we don't care about retrospectively installing ground pump heating systems in Victorian semis, what we need is a readily available, plentiful and cheap supply of power to take us forward.
     
  6. jonesy

    jonesy Legendary Member

    If you are looking for serious analysis it doesn't exactly get off to a hopeful start: A topflight science brainbox at Cambridge University has weighed into the ever-louder and more unruly climate/energy debate..

    There's a rather more measured and indeed optimistic look at energy in the Economist leader and special report.
     
  7. hubgearfreak

    hubgearfreak Über Member

    you seem to be belittling sensible, affordable and sustainable solutions.
    whilst it's true that each install would only save a few hundred quids worth of electricity, if they were used in conjunction with other energy efficiency measures the impact on the fuel the country used would be enormous.

    as for a power supply that's readily available AND plentiful AND cheap it'd be great, but sadly it's fictional. so using less is the only option
     
  8. PrettyboyTim

    PrettyboyTim New Member

    Location:
    Brighton
    Okay, I've not finished reading the whole thing, but in his chapter on 'Stuff' he specifically counted the energy used to create stuff abroad on our behalf in his calculations.

    He is also quite explicit at the start that his focus is very much on the UK; I think it's actually aimed at UK policymakers. He does suggest that the general strategy he employs to come up with his numbers can equally be applied to other countries.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    CopperBrompton

    CopperBrompton Bicycle: a means of transport between cake-stops

    Location:
    London
    You can hardly blame him for the way a website over which he has no control chooses to introduce his study!

    Ben
     
  10. Night Train

    Night Train Guest

    I wouldn't go with nuclear as the best option. in my opinion the lead time is too long to get a working power station online, there is only a small amount of uranium ore left available to use as a fuel, though the energy is fairly abundent it comes at a large cost for security of the material and the management of the plant and waste, the estimates of the cost of a nuclear power station does not take into account the containment and monitoring of the waste deposits for the next 50,000 years (even at minimum wage it wouldn't be cheap), the promotors of nuclear power always gloss over the waste issue claiming some future technology will sort it out one day (hopefully).

    I would power down and only use oil for the things things that can only be made from oil instead of just burning the stuff. We should start seeing 'fossil resource' instead of 'fossil fuel'. I don't really know what technology would lead but if all fossil fuels were suddenly removed then I reckon it wouldn't be long before something else suddenly became available from the energy companies.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    CopperBrompton

    CopperBrompton Bicycle: a means of transport between cake-stops

    Location:
    London
    He does go into detail on the uranium supply issue. Executive summary: there is plenty available in existing sites, and will be more than enough in other deposits - it's simply that we need so little of it we've never needed to bother to mine more.

    Ben
     
  12. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    And you seem to be ignoring the elephant in the room. People like using energy, we like warm/cool homes, we like holidays abroad, we like driving to the shops, we like eating imported foods. Simply saying that we can survive as a species if we all hunker down and switch the lights off is not a lasting solution.

    It seems that there is plenty of nuclear material to last us for the next few hundred years even taking into account huge growth in global energy usage, so that it clearly the way forward.
     
  13. Crackle

    Crackle Pah Staff Member

    Location:
    Wirral

    I'll live next to one if you will.
     
  14. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    I was brought up not too far away from Winfrith in Dorset and indeed almost started working there as a graduate until I was made a slightly better offer.
     
  15. Crackle

    Crackle Pah Staff Member

    Location:
    Wirral

    Aha! dom[mutated]tyler - it explains everything.

    I'm afraid I wouldn't. I had my chance to work in the Nuclear industry but rejected it on the grounds that I don't like it, want it, or trust it.

    We already have issues disposing of waste, if you want to see bigger issues, look at France. The waste legacy is too great but the frustrating thing is successive governments have ducked the issue until we may really only have Nuclear as an option.

    I suppose some of these tossers who object to windmils won't mind a nuclear power station in their garden though.