Just a quick word about yesterday's post. This morning, the French power company, EDF's finance director has resigned, saying that the company's agreement to build a new power-station at Hinckley Point on England's North Somerset coast will destroy it, as the £18 billion it will cost is more than EDF is worth on paper, despite that the project will be underwritten by France and China. They have immediately appointed a new finance director. Hollande and Cameron are going to get this bloody station built if it takes them ten years. It will be ten years at least before it begins to generate any power. This is beyond the limit of my understanding, but I am not invited to any of the board meetings.
I am also not normally one to jump on any Green bandwagon, but it really seems like a no-brainer to build a couple of tidal lagoon generators in the same area that the new Hinckley Point station is going to be situated. As I said yesterday, I believe the Severn Estuary has the second highest tide in the world - I think it is about 30 feet - that's a lot of water tonnage. It may even be the highest tide in the world, but I'm not sure.
My limited knowledge of tidal generators was gleaned from a desperate planner of one, who was explaining how they work on the radio the other day, and that he has the permission and site to build one, but just lacks government commitment for half of the cost. Actually it's worse than that - they have flatly refused to cooperate on the grounds of cost.
I cannot remember the figures in detail without looking them up, but I know that the power-output is around half that of a nuclear station, but the cost to build one is much less than nuclear, with the added advantage of a useful productive life of 100 years as opposed to 60 for nuclear. Of course - as Rachel pointed out - you cannot make atomic bombs from waste water, but you could probably make hydrogen bombs from it, if your heart is set on a big, fat WMD.
Correct me if I am wrong about any of the following:
One tidal lagoon generator is 550 metres long, of which only 50 is visible when the tide is in. Most of this length is the turbine hall, and the colossal weight of water running in and out as the tide goes up and down, runs the turbines which generate the power.
The tide is infinitely predictable, so the power output is also predictable for the whole of the 100 years, unlike that of the rows upon rows of massive wind turbines cluttering up the horizon and killing migratory birds.
Once the generator has been built, you just plug the energy into the grid like you would with any power house, and maintenance is the only future expense. There are no waste products because there is no waste - the water comes in and spins the massive turbines, then it goes out and spins the massive turbines - on and on. A century of guaranteed, safe power.
On top of the Hinkley Point nuclear power station, how much is the British government going to spend on Trident?
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