SERIOUS MONDAY: AN ALTERNATIVE TO NUCLEAR PLANTS


Environmental organisation, Greenpeace, believes it has come up with an excellent solution that could help to meet Britain’s energy needs and reduce C02 emissions.

It has commissioned research into CHP (combined heat and power) which it says shows that industrial sites around the country offer a great opportunity for bulk electricity generation.

According to Greenpeace, power stations in the UK currently waste almost two thirds of the energy they generate – and a massive 20 per cent of our total CO2 emissions come from the fuel which is burned to create this “wasted” heat.

Greenpeace says  the government has so far focused mainly on electricity generation but this accounts for only 17 per cent of our total energy demands whereas almost half of our energy needs are in the form of heat.

It says the government has no heat strategy for the UK and is concentrating on nuclear power which can provide only electricity whereas CHP has the  potential to generate enough power for the annual needs of two thirds of UK households.

The research carried out for Greenpeace by leading energy experts Poyry, claims that this potential could be harnessed by siting combined heat and power plants at existing industrial sites.

And it has identified nine sites around the country where CHP plants could be installed to meet the heat and power needs of local industry and supply electricity back to the national grid.

The proposal also offers substantial cost benefits since an industrial CHP plant is much quicker and cheaper to build than a nuclear power station. (Greenpeace cites the example of a CHP development at Immingham which supplies two refineries in Humberside with heat, steam and power. It is being expanded at the moment and is eventually expected to have the same generating capacity of  Sizewell B power station!)

You can read a summary of the report here

If the statistics stand up, it sounds like the obvious way forward but if it really is that simple then it begs the question – why hasn’t anyone thought about this before now ????

Susan

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