How much does our power cost?
Here are some facts from Wikipedia on the cost of power generation:-
|Natural gas turbines without CO2 capture||61|
Germany - The following figures arise for the costs of electricity production in newly constructed power plants in 2010
34.7 – 126.7
107.0 – 124.0
106.0 – 118.0
104.0 – 107.0
Wind Energy Onshore
49.7 – 96.1
Wind Energy Offshore
35.0 – 150.0
284.3 – 391.4
Where does our power come from?
In the UK - By 2004, total electricity production stood at 382.7 TWh (up 23.7% compared to 309.4 TWh in 1990), generated from the following sources:_
- gas – 39.93% (0.05% in 1990)
- coal – 33.08% (67.22% in 1990)
- nuclear – 19.26% (18.97% in 1990)
- renewables – 3.55% (0% in 1990)
- hydroelectric – 1.10% (2.55% in 1990) - going down!
- imports – 1.96% (3.85% in 1990)
- oil – 1.12% (6.82% in 1990)
The Scottish Executive has quoted a target of generating 17% to 18% of Scotland's electricity from renewables by 2010, rising to 40% by 2020. Apparently, this is mainly wind based. However, again from Wikipedia - the 100 MW Glen Doe project, currently under construction and Scotland's largest civil engineering project, is the first large scale scheme in Scotland for almost fifty years but is likely to be one of the last of its kind.
To put this in context: -
Scotland has 85% of the UK's hydro-electric energy resource, much of it developed by the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board in the 1950s. The "Hydro Board", which brought "power from the glens", was a nationalised industry at the time although it was privatised in 1989 and is now part of Scottish and Southern Energy plc.At the end of 2011, there was 4,796 megawatts (MW) of installed renewables electricity capacity in Scotland, (1330 Mw from Hydroelectricity), an increase of 9.5 per cent (416 MW) on the end of 2010.
My research was hampered by the lack of recent figures for many of these technologies - for instance, will the cost of wind power go down as more wind turbines are activated? However, it is apparent that:-
- We are not investing in this area
- It is comparatively cheap compared to other energy sources
- Construction of reservoirs/power plants would bring jobs
- We need more water storage facilities - an extra bonus, as are the leisure facilities this could provide.
- It's green and clean and doesn't produce carbon dioxide
- If Scotland can construct hydro, why can't we?