1.3 kWh/d/p. Wave: 3 kWh/d/p. Tide: 3.7 kWh/d/p. Solar power in
deserts: 7 kWh/d/p (17 GW).
This plan gets 14% of its electricity from other countries.
E stands for “economics.” This fifth plan is a rough guess for what might
happen in a liberated energy market with a strong carbon price. On a level
economic playing field with a strong price signal preventing the emission
of CO2, we don’t expect a diverse solution with a wide range of power-
costs; rather, we expect an economically optimal solution that delivers the
required power at the lowest cost. And when “clean coal” and nuclear go
head to head on price, it’s nuclear that wins. (Engineers at a UK electricity
generator told me that the capital cost of regular dirty coal power stations
is £1 billion per GW, about the same as nuclear; but the capital cost
of “clean-coal” power, including carbon capture and storage, is roughly
£2 billion per GW.) I’ve assumed that solar power in other people’s deserts
loses to nuclear power when we take into account the cost of the required
2000-km-long transmission lines (though van Voorthuysen (2008) reckons
that with Nobel-prize-worthy developments in solar-powered production
of chemical fuels, solar power in deserts would be the economic equal of
nuclear power). Offshore wind also loses to nuclear, but I’ve assumed that
onshore wind costs about the same as nuclear.
Here’s where plan E gets its 50 kWh/d/p of electricity from. Wind:
4 kWh/d/p (10 GW average). Solar PV: 0. Hydroelectricity and waste
incineration: 1.3 kWh/d/p. Wave: 0. Tide: 0.7 kWh/d/p. And nuclear:
44 kWh/d/p (110 GW).
This plan has a ten-fold increase in our nuclear power over 2007 levels.
Britain would have 110 GW, which is roughly double France’s nuclear fleet.
I included a little tidal power because I believe a well-designed tidal lagoon
facility can compete with nuclear power.
In this plan, Britain has no energy imports (except for the uranium,
which, as we said before, is not conventionally counted as an import).
Figure 27.9 shows all five plans.
In a future world where carbon pollution is priced appropriately to prevent
catastrophic climate change, we will be interested in any power scheme
that can at low cost put extra carbon down a hole in the ground. Such
carbon-neutralization schemes might permit us to continue flying at 2004
levels (while oil lasts). In 2004, average UK emissions of CO2 from flying
were about 0.5 t CO2 per year per person. Accounting for the full green-
house impact of flying, perhaps the effective emissions were about 1 t CO2e
per year per person. Now, in all five of these plans I assumed that one