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EU plans to reduce Russian energy dependence | EurActiv
A two-day summit ended in Brussels today (21 March), with EU leaders tasking the European Commission to come up with a plan for decreasing energy dependence, primarily from Russia.

Well... you can keep dreaming. (And wasting time & money on useless studies.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Mar 21st, 2014 at 03:32:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, if you''re the guy that gets the job to do it, it's a lice little earner. I'm sure someone could spin it out for 6 months and a couple of million in the bank

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Mar 22nd, 2014 at 04:46:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, this little flap in Ukraine is concentrating the mind of our classa dirigente on the fact of our vulnerability.

Pity it takes so much of an external shock, when the obviousness of that should have been seen a mile and 30 years away. It was our oligarchs who decided to made Putin rich as Croesus by enslaving Europeans to antiquated, fragile fossil fuel dependency chains. How many UN observers will it take to patrol thousands of miles of highly inflammable pipelines?

So while China is now rich enough to take over that job, we can go back to figuring out how to make Europe energy self-sufficient without nukes or fracking.

Energy is the new gold.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Mar 22nd, 2014 at 06:03:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh.. with nukes, ditching Russian gas would require a doubling of the reactor fleet. Without it.. Do you mind expanding the union into north africa? Because large scale installations in the north african desert is about the only other option that doesnt strike me as a complete pipe dream.

Or one could bet big on small-scale fusion.

by Thomas on Sat Mar 22nd, 2014 at 11:13:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Large-scale desert solar because:

 1:installation costs for distributed solar has stubbornly not fallen to any significant degree and are now dominant - free solar panels would still be obnoxiously expensive power if you insist on rooftop solar. It should be possible to drive the cost of balance-of-plant way down with plant in the desert.

2: Seasonal variation in solar flux in europe proper runs counter to seasonal variation in power demand. This is a fatal problem. Equatorial installations are at least steady year round.

by Thomas on Sat Mar 22nd, 2014 at 11:20:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But installation costs are dominated by work hours, no? So basically just politics.
by generic on Sat Mar 22nd, 2014 at 02:49:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
with nukes, ditching Russian gas would require a doubling of the reactor fleet.

Erm, nukes give baseload, gas doesn't, they aren't replacements for each other.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Mar 22nd, 2014 at 01:32:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reactors can load follow. But you have a point - a single doubling would almost entirely substitute for coal. To get rid of the gas, we would need to build rather more than that. New build equal to 3 times current fleet or so? Also substantial storage and/or accelerated uptake of electric transport.

Solar is a somewhat better fit for the supply curve currently covered by gas, but if the motivation is to lessen the geopolitical vulnerability of our energy supply..

by Thomas on Sat Mar 22nd, 2014 at 02:09:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For load-following power wind would be cheaper because it correlates with demand, so you would need less overbuild.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 22nd, 2014 at 04:46:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's fun that you keep repeating the same points over and over again as if there had been no previous discussion, until we get tired of repeating the rebuttals. But, lets play off the broken record once again:
  • "Can do" and "do" aren't the same. Given that most of the investment costs of nuclear are front-end costs, they are most profitable resp. supply the cheapest electricity when run with the highest possible average load factor until the investment is paid back, and that's why the only examples of significant load-following operation are just with the oldest and least safe reactors, and France prefers to do most of the load balancing with the variation of exported power (that is, de-facto load-following with Italian, Dutch and Spanish gas and coal power plants).
  • Even if you did the economically nonsensical thing of deploying large-scale new-build load-following nuclear capacity by guaranteeing even higher electricity prices than at Hickney Point, there is also the question of maintenance costs and safety in practice when load-following is done on a large scale for years.
  • On the triple issues of pollution, import dependence and third-world impact, large-scale nuclear expansion to replace coal means the replacement of open-strip coal mines with open-strip low-grade uranium mines, not a real advancement.
  • Breeders and thorium reactors aren't any better than fusion reactors in solving the inherent problems of traditional nuclear power until a commercial unit has proven itself, and even if China's researchers can fulfil the drastically shortened ten-year deadline, that's two decades away.
  • The load factor advantage of solar power in Africa is weighted against by the need for new (and by its gateway nature vulnerable) power line infrastructure and the political risk premium, and it is also problematic due to its neo-colonialist overtones, and that's why the Desertec initiative has already all but died a slow death.
  • Meanwhile, there is more than enough building surface and non-arable land available for solar power within the EU and enough land and off-shore areas for wind power.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 24th, 2014 at 04:51:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with domestic solar is not really space - it is seasonal variation -  Domestic solar is just bloody useless in winter.  
Also, there is the fact that green roofs are probably a better use of the roofspace in most cities. Black rooftops aren't going to make the microclimate nicer.

The accelerated time table is still somewhat lacking in ambition, people have been doing design and lab work on molten salt reactors for fifty years, at this point the thing to do is to build one. And the reactor bit will work - I am somewhat less confident about the online reprocessing being economical.

by Thomas on Mon Mar 24th, 2014 at 02:51:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
^^^^^^
This!

DoDo:

  • Meanwhile, there is more than enough building surface and non-arable land available for solar power within the EU and enough land and off-shore areas for wind power.


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Mar 24th, 2014 at 03:20:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While we're talking about pipe dreams, let's add the notion of expanding the EU to include North African countries. Even supposing the huge extension of the EU's borders in Africa could be "worked out", what can the EU, notorious now for its treatment of its own southern countries, offer these countries (Algeria essentially) that would make them not feel cynically re-colonised? What hope of security, in these conditions, for cables bearing essential supplies of electricity to Europe, and obvious magnets for terrorism?

Renewables offer the attractive advantage of generating from indigenous sources. Where is the point in swapping one form of energy import dependence for another?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 23rd, 2014 at 03:11:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
What hope of security, in these conditions, for cables bearing essential supplies of electricity to Europe, and obvious magnets for terrorism?

Yes they would be vulnerable, as indeed any grid is, so clearly the shorter the supply chain the less vulnerable, thus any homeharvested energy trumps long undersea cables.

Still when you think that water supplies can be attacked too, where does that leave nuclear with its massive need for daily cooling of fuel rods?

That's vulnerable for ya...

As for re-colonisation, point taken, but the shoe may fit better on the other foot, ie the former colonies would have us over a supply barrel, much as Russia is doing now with her gas, threatening to switch off or increase prices.

Sure the Sahara has huger potential supply, but until we have solar-roofed every possible building in Southern Europe, we shouldn't need to go there. Ditto for tidal and wind.

In fact a Marshall Plan to do just that would be the ideal Keynesian stimulus to save the peripheral economies, surely?

In a perfect world free of fossil fuel lobbies, natch!

Shoot for the stars, settle for the moon...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Mar 23rd, 2014 at 07:11:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because terrorists have the magical power to make rivers and seas go away? There is a nice video on the net of the cooling pipes for flamaville being dug. Breaking them would take... enough explosives to level parliament, and getting them in place for that would be easier.
Reactors are probably the least terror-vulnerable infrastructure we have, at least if you define a successful attack as "actually damages target". An utterly failed attack on a reactor might still scare people silly, so in that sense...
by Thomas on Sun Mar 23rd, 2014 at 01:41:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't knock out the cooling pipes, you figure out where the lead engineers live and suffer him a series of Unfortunate Accidents. I'm betting there are fewer people in the country who can run a power plant than who can run for parliament.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 23rd, 2014 at 02:59:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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