Producing just one ton of aluminium uses more power than the average family does in 15 years.
About 3 years I think.
I tonne of Al uses around (from Australian numbers) 15 MWh. The average families usage for a year (from Scottish figures) is 5 MWh.
But yes, it\’s a lot and Huhne is playing silly buggers with the \’leccie price which will mean the last smelter closes down. As the Anglesey one has already closed because the nuclear power plant specifically set up to feed it is not longer allowed to \”subsidise\” it.
And a very interesting set of numbers:
The Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) and The Sunday Telegraph asked Colin Gibson, former power network director at the National Grid, for an estimate that takes into account these production costs. His figures suggest that across its whole life, onshore wind will cost as much as £178 per megawatt hour of electricity generated, three times nuclear (£60). Offshore wind, with its much higher construction cost, is more than four times dearer, at £254 per megawatt hour.
This is when you add in the costs of building the backup and the connections to the grid.
Which means, remarkably, that offshore wind power simply doesn\’t make the grade. Something I hadn\’t realised. I knew it was expensive, but not so expensive that it doesn\’t pass the Stern Review test.
Which is, let us recall, that the cost of not having emissions must be lower than the costs of the damage such emsissions would cause.
We have our damages number, $80 per tonne CO2 (or we can use his \”upgrade\” of $120 a tonne).
OK, so let us also take our most polluting form of generation, coal, and how much CO2 do we get per MWh? According to the septics it\’s 2 lbs per kWr or close enough to a tonne per MWh.
So, looking purely at the carbon costs, non-carbon generation can only be $120 per MWh, at the most, more expensive than coal fired for it to be a sensible thing to be doing.
I\’ll assume that coal and nuclear are about the same price (I\’m pretty sure that coal is cheaper, otherwise we wouldn\’t be having all these arguments, but bear with me here).
So, coal is £60 per MWh, competing sources have to be no more than £60 plus $120 in order to be viable even including carbon costs. Call it £140, £150.
Onshore wind doesn\’t meet this test, let alone offshore, which is even more expensive. And we don\’t even have that infant industry argument either. We can posit that solar PV is coming down in price so quickly that supporting it until it is viable makes sense (I know I generally argue the other way around, that because solar PV is coming down in price so quickly we don\’t need to support it…..my point here is rather than windmills aren\’t on that same technological cost curve so even if the argument works for solar it doesn\’t for wind).
But this simply does not hold true for windmills.
So, even if we include all of the carbon costs, even if we do everything just as the Stern Review (and even sensible economics) suggest, we still shouldn\’t be building bloody windmills.
So why are we?
It can\’t be blackmail, for with Huhne, given the leaving his wife for a lesbian PR dolly, the speeding points and his past as an MEP, what on earth could there be to blackmail him over?