November 2, 2005

Wind barely better than nuclear

George Monbiot wrote in the October 25 Guardian (U.K.):
Ten cents of investment, [Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute] shows, will buy either 1 kilowatt-hour of nuclear electricity; 1.2-1.7 of windpower; 2.2-6.5 of small-scale cogeneration; or up to 10 of energy efficiency. "Its higher cost than competitors, per unit of net CO2 displaced, means that every dollar invested in nuclear expansion will worsen climate change by buying less solution per dollar." And, because nuclear power stations take so long to build, it would be spent later. "Expanding nuclear power would both reduce and retard the desired decrease in CO2 emissions."
It is notable that wind power is almost as bad an investment as nuclear power for reducing CO2 emissions.

Note: I pointed this out, that wind was hardly better than nuclear, to Mr Monbiot, who has written an incisive critique of the "wind power madness" yet still supports it. His reply was, "20-70% hardly better? Try telling that to an economist." One hopes that some economists are better at math than this. The comparison in this analysis is to what ten cents could buy if best spent, namely, 10 KWh of energy efficiency, so that wind is only a 2-7% better investment for reducing CO2 emissions than nuclear.

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