Producing lots of electricity the components

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To make lots of electricity, each plan uses some amount of onshore and offshore wind; some solar photovoltaics; possibly some solar power bought from countries with deserts; waste incineration (including refuse and agricultural waste); hydroelectricity (the same amount as we get today); perhaps wave power; tidal barrages, tidal lagoons, and tidal stream power; perhaps nuclear power; and perhaps some "clean fossil fuel," that is, coal burnt in power stations that do carbon capture and storage. Each plan aims for a total electricity production of 50kWh/d/p on average - I got this figure by rounding up the 48kWh/d/p of average demand, allowing for some loss in the distribution network.

Some of the plans that follow will import power from other countries. For comparison, it may be helpful to know how much of our current power is imported today. The answer is that, in 2006, the UK imported 28kWh/d/p of fuel - 23% of its primary consumption. These imports are dominated by coal (18kWh/d/p), crude oil (5kWh/d/p), and natural gas (6kWh/d/p). Nuclear fuel (uranium) is not usually counted as an import since it's easily stored.

In all five plans I will assume that we scale up municipal waste incineration so that almost all waste that can't usefully be recycled is incinerated rather than landfilled. Incinerating 1 kg per day per person of waste yields roughly 0.5 kWh/d per person of electricity. I'll assume that a similar amount of agricultural waste is also incinerated, yielding 0.6kWh/d/p. Incinerating this waste requires roughly 3GW of waste-to-energy capacity, a ten-fold increase over the incinerating power stations of 2008 (figure 27.2). London (7 million people) would have twelve 30-MW waste-to-energy plants like the SELCHP plant in South London (see p287). Birmingham (1 million people) would have two of them. Every town of 200000 people would have a 10 MW waste-to-energy plant. Any fears that waste incineration at this scale would be difficult, dirty, or dangerous should be allayed by figure 27.3, which shows that many countries in Europe incinerate far more waste per person than the UK; these incineration-loving countries include Germany, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Switzerland - not usually nations associated with hygiene problems! One good side-effect of this waste incineration plan is that it eliminates future methane emissions from landfill sites.

In all five plans, hydroelectricity contributes 0.2kWh/d/p, the same as today.

Electric vehicles are used as a dynamically-adjustable load on the electricity network. The average power required to charge the electric vehicles is 45GW (18kWh/d/p). So fluctuations in renewables such as solar and wind can be balanced by turning up and down this load, as long as the fluctuations are not too big or lengthy. Daily swings in electricity demand are going to be bigger than they are today because of the replacement of

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Figure 27.2. Waste-to-energy facilities in Britain. The line shows the average power production assuming 1 kg of waste ^ 0.5 kWh of electricity.

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Figure 27.3. Left: Municipal solid waste put into landfill, versus amount incinerated, in kg per day per person, by country. Right: Amount of waste recycled versus amount landfilled or incinerated. Percentage of waste recycled is given beside each country's name.

Figure 27.3. Left: Municipal solid waste put into landfill, versus amount incinerated, in kg per day per person, by country. Right: Amount of waste recycled versus amount landfilled or incinerated. Percentage of waste recycled is given beside each country's name.

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gas for cooking and heating by electricity (see figure 26.16, p200). To ensure that surges in demand of 10 GW lasting up to 5 hours can be covered, all the plans would build five new pumped storage facilities like Dinorwig (or upgrade hydroelectric facilities to provide pumped storage). 50 GWh of storage is equal to five Dinorwigs, each with a capacity of 2 GW. Some of the plans that follow will require extra pumped storage beyond this. For additional insurance, all the plans would build an electricity interconnec-tor to Norway, with a capacity of 2GW.

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