Posted by: energyblogwalter | June 14, 2006

Ontario will build new, refurbish old, nuclear plants :: CBC June 13th, 2006

After reading the CBC article, Ontario will build new, refurbish old, nuclear plants
you’ll note that it’ll take 10 years to spend billions of dollars just to maintain and create new electrical capacity for our current lifestyle.

Too bad. This won’t be in time to cull the effects of peak oil. If we instead spend those oodles of dollars on conservation efforts (even y’know…pay us directly to subsidize solar panels and geothermal, getting rid of wasteful water heaters and air conditioners, ban cul-de-sac suburbs and condo development etc) and make new wind lake generation, we could SAVE billions and be ready for peak oil in the next 5-8 years instead. Grr…

It doesn’t look like we’re going to be ready in time.

1) no one is banning condo development. Paris pre-industrial buildings are no higher than 7 floors, so all that energy going into condominium development is a collossal waste.

2) new nuclear to also support wasteful suburbia low density cul-de-sac development. We don’t point our windows south-east at the sun, no new residential roads are grid patterned, we live and work in square lifeless caves powered by uranium. How quaint. We live the 1950’s ideal.

3) we can support nuclear with billions of dollars over 10 years, rather than support conservation with millions of dollars in 5 years. Duh

4) most house energy goes to the water heater running 24/7/365 for about 20 minutes of use a day, if that. Replacement of water heater with on-demand heating is cleaner and saves money and energy.

5) Heating and air conditioning can be replaced with geothermal. Tubes underground where the temperature is constant at about 12 C. Pump air down get cool air back. Although the highest saving are in summer, in winter too you save energy because you’re starting from 12C not -30C etc. Pipes will not burst.

6) Use wind turbines at every opportunity to get your 500KW for home use. Excess energy not used is paid for by the province to you. (net metering). Small ones can also be put along roads, highways, and windy areas.

7) Subsidize the use of solar panels to home owners, not billions to nuclear power companies. Individual needs are less and excess electricity is credited to the homeowner not power companies.

8) Banks notice that the House value increases since it sends power back and now has cash flow, so banks help homeowners with reduced mortgage rates, help homeowner reinvest in the home with geothermal and water-less heaters too. Win-win.

All of the above is realistic, easy, and saves our taxes. With an energy budget by the province every month, people will have incentive to barter their quota to others for a fee. So if your neighbour wants to run an air conditioner beyond his/her quota limit, you can sell yours if you want to. No longer are you left feeling that saving electricity is pointless. This in turn reduces wasteful energy behaviour. People will want to save.
The city modifications in building cannot be done in time, but the bank supported geothermal, water heater and solar subsidies for home owners mean that they still have viable places to live in the next 7 years. The carrying capacity of Toronto is spread out, maybe even reduced and not increased too much into one area. Other neighbouring cities would then have an increase, spreading out the load.

My reaction just seems way more appropriate. Most optimistic timeframe for peak oil production collapse is 2013, only 7 years. Many feel that we are in the plateau of peak right now and that peak was in late 2005. By the next 7 years then, we will be on the other side of the peak oil sine-wave hump, and already into the energy crunch before nuclear is even ready. Either way, hoping we will be in time when nuclear will be online, no cost overruns, everything on time (!!) is unbelievably unrealistic.

We still don’t really have a local wind generation industry or enough local tool and die manufacturing that makes turbines at the capacity that we need, although there are those doing this kind of work now. We have no local solar panel capacity. It takes a couple of years to get solar manufacturing buildings up and running for example.

The average age of workers in the trades is quite high. No new or few new workers. Much wind has been added, but it’s cleary not the key part of the Ontario plan for electricity.

Ironically, the hydro building at the corner of University and College has to be one of the windiest places in the city, yet no one sees this opportunity for small wind generation all around us? Enwave’s Deep Water lake cooling system (gigantic circulating pipe in the lake using geothermal energy) was a great start, but that now look like that’s it.

Time to consider your own energy needs and capacities. Spend the money now to have anything nice to live in after the next 7 years. The Ontario government has at least the 500KW self generation law in place. Too bad they went nuclear.


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