Tuesday, December 14, 2004

PBS.... eases the pain...

Seriously, if you want some fun (this is for the nerds out there) dig around PBS's Frontline website. They've got all sorts of crazy stuff.

The most recent one is a feature "Why do Americans Fear Nuclear Power?" [oops - it's in fact a pretty old piece, it's just been posted recently] I like it mainly because I got 100% on the Quiz. Also, they point out that France gets the vast majority of it's domestic electricity from nulcear power. They even export electricity to Germany. Now, there are a number of things that make the French experience unique, but it does show one possibility for the future if we want to reduce our CO2 emissions to meet Kyoto. All the same, I don't think it's necessarily useful for Canada.

First off, wind is already cheaper than nuclear, and the Canadian nuclear industry doesn't have a good record on meeting cost expectations. Also, CANDU reactors are technically different from the French industry standard and who knows what that could mean for costs and feasibility?
Secondly, solar is already coming down in price rapidly, and if it isn't cheaper than nuclear already, then it will be soon.
Finally, the cheapest "energy" of all is simple efficiency, and there are HUGE possible savings here. Most homes and offices in Canada could probably reduce their electrical usage by at least half in short order without changing their lifestyles. If we're willing to put some real money behind it, the savings are even greater - on the order of 75-90%. We could probably run all of Canada on Hydro and Nuclear alone if we were willing to put the necessary cash in to it. Alas, this country hasn't yet faced up to the fact that it's not just "Them" (the US, developing world, whoever) that is using all the energy, it's Us too. Once we get that through our heads, and once we realize what it's costing us, maybe then we can make some progress.

No comments: