Birds, sharks and unexploded bombs from World War II are being blamed for holding up offshore wind farms, raising doubts about the costs of the technology.
The U.K. market is crucial to the industry because it’s the biggest source of new projects and accounts for more than half the global installed capacity. Prime Minister David Cameron’s government has set incentives for offshore wind through 2019, hoping to stimulate clean-energy jobs.
Those ambitions are being chipped away as developers better understand the costs of the projects. Utilities have canceled as much as 5,760 megawatts of planned capacity since Nov. 26, when RWE AG dropped its 1,200 megawatt Atlantic Array.
EON, a German utility, along with Dong Energy A/S and Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co. yesterday abandoned plans to expand the 630-megawatt London Array by as much as 240 megawatts. EON said it couldn’t guarantee progress even if it met requirements for a three-year study of impact on red-throated divers, a fish-eating bird that can swim more than a minute under water.
Every energy source, particularly in early days, deals with woes, pitfalls and unintended consequences – heck, that’s true of most human endeavor. Worth a read.
From the Environmental Protection Agency, which is considering revising a 1977 rule that “limits radiation releases and doses to the public from normal operation of nuclear power plants and other uranium fuel cycle facilities":
Growing concern about greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels has led to renewed interest in nuclear power. Nuclear energy emits very low levels of greenhouse gases, and unlike solar and wind power, provides a proven source of electricity capable of supplying a base-load that is not subject to varying weather conditions. The nuclear industry anticipates a demand for construction of several new nuclear power plants in the next 10 years. Increased demand would likely result in the construction and start-up of any additional facilities to support the fuel cycle for LWRs. Other parts of the fuel cycle are experiencing growth as well. For example, new uranium enrichment facilities are coming on line, such as the facility in Eunice, New Mexico by Louisiana Enrichment Services (Urenco USA). The facility was licensed by the NRC in 2006, began operations in 2010, and is an indication of the industry's improved outlook. The licensing and operation of spent nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities are not expected in the near future.
So now we know. Could have knocked me over with a fuel rod.