new nuclear power stations either. Let’s reveal the plan in stages.
First, we turn down all the renewable knobs from their very high set-
tings in plan D to: wind: 2 kWh/d/p (5 GW average); solar PV: 0; wave: 0;
tide: 1 kWh/d/p.
We’ve just lost ourselves 14 kWh/d/p (35 GW nationally) by turning
down the renewables. (Don’t misunderstand! Wind is still eight-fold increased
over its 2008 levels.)
In the NIMBY plan, we reduce the contribution of nuclear power to
10 kWh/d/p (25 GW) – a reduction by 15 GW compared to plan D, but still
a substantial increase over today’s levels. 25 GW of nuclear power could, I
think, be squeezed onto the existing nuclear sites, so as to avoid imposing
on any new back yards. I left the clean-coal contribution unchanged at
16 kWh/d/p (40 GW). The electricity contributions of hydroelectricity and
waste incineration remain the same as in plan D.
Where are we going to get an extra 50 GW from? The NIMBY says,
“not in my back yard, but in someone else’s.” Thus the NIMBY plan pays
other countries for imports of solar power from their deserts to the tune of
20 kWh/d/p (50 GW).
This plan requires the creation of five blobs each the size of London
(44 km in diameter) in the transmediterranean desert, filled with solar
power stations. It also requires power transmission systems to get 50 GW
of power up to the UK. Today’s high voltage electricity connection from
France can deliver only 2 GW of power. So this plan requires a 25-fold
increase in the capacity of the electricity connection from the continent.
(Or an equivalent power-transport solution – perhaps ships filled with
methanol or boron plying their way from desert shores.)
Having less wind power, plan N doesn’t need to build in Britain the
extra pumped-storage facilities mentioned in plan D, but given its depen-
dence on sunshine, it still requires storage systems to be built somewhere
to store energy from the fluctuating sun. Molten salt storage systems at the
solar power stations are one option. Tapping into pumped storage systems
in the Alps might also be possible. Converting the electricity to a storable
fuel such as methanol is another option, though conversions entail losses
and thus require more solar power stations.
This plan gets 32% + 40% = 72% of the UK’s electricity from other
Some people say “we don’t want nuclear power!” How can we satisfy
them? Perhaps it should be the job of this anti-nuclear bunch to persuade
the NIMBY bunch that they do want renewable energy in our back yard
We can create a nuclear-free plan by taking plan D, keeping all those
renewables in our back yard, and doing a straight swap of nuclear for