Sweden Decides Electricity Might Be Nice

Every once in a while somebody in Europe actually has to confront reality.  In this case, it is Sweden realizing that if they decommission all their nuclear power stations they will either a) freeze or b) open lots of nice coal-fired power plants.  They have been able to pretend since 1980–when they first passed their law outlawing new nuclear power plants–that they will phase out all nuclear power plants.  But now its coming down to the time when they are supposed to actually shut them down.

In 1980, Sweden was on the vanguard. In that year, a referendum passed calling for a ban on the construction of new nuclear reactors in the country and the ultimate phase out of existing reactors. It was a model that was eventually emulated by Germany and seen as the way of the future.

On Thursday, the country once again took a step into the future — by abandoning the ban on new nuclear power plants. Stockholm said the move was necessary to avoid energy sources that produce vast quantities of greenhouse gases. While Sweden has been a leader in developing alternative energy sources, they still have not been enough to completely replace nuclear power, which supplies half the country’s energy.

The new proposal, presented by the country’s center-right coalition, calls for the construction of new reactors as the old ones are taken out of service. Parliament will vote on the bill on March 17.

Its always interesting how the prospect of freezing to death concentrates the mind wonderfully.  Of course, the ecoNazis are going ballistic:

The decision has angered the Swedish opposition as well as environmentalists around the world. “To rely on nuclear power to reduce CO2 emissions,” Greenpeace spokeswoman Martina Kruger said, “is like smoking to lose weight. It’s not a good idea.”

There are no ideas from the ecoFreaks about how to replace 50% of your country’s energy (the amount now provided by nuclear power).  Sweden subsidizes the ever-lovin’ snot out of every “renewable” energy source they can think of, and it only amounts to 14% of their energy use.  And no matter how much the ecoCrazies yell, people still want things like electricity and heat and cars and food and medicine and all the things that are part of civilization today.

I have an idea.  Perhaps they could breed lots and lots of little hamsters and then put them on cages and have them run around and around.  And just connect generators to them and you will have non-nuclear power.

Your future power generator

Your future power generator

UK Government Plans 2 Wind Turbines for Every Mile of Shorline

Its hidden down at the end, but the ugly little fact about wind power is down there. You must have some backup power plant (like coal or natural gas or nuclear {GASP!}) because you can’t have 100% reliance on wind power. At least if you want electricity all the time.

clipped from news.bbc.co.uk
There could be more than two offshore wind turbines per mile of UK coastline under plans being set out by ministers.

Wind farm

Business Secretary John Hutton says he wants to open up British seas to allow enough new turbines – up to 7,000 – to power all UK homes by the year 2020.
He acknowledged “it is going to change our coastline”, but said the issue of climate change was “not going away”.
“It is going to change our coastline, yes for sure. There is no way of making that shift to a low carbon technology without there being change and without that change being visible and evident to people.
The other choice was, he said, whether it was “easier to have these developments offshore rather than onshore”.
Asked what would happen if there was no wind for a few days, Mr Hutton said that was why there had to be a mix of energy sources – including nuclear power – to cover for calmer weather periods.
Wind turbines have proved to be controversial onshore and offshore.

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