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mountainhiker

Solar Power System in Nevada Desert Reaches Grid Parity

Solar Power for the same cost

At least according to the calculations of one analyst, a 12.5 MW solar power system installed by First Solar for Sempra Generation produces electricity at a lower cost, without any subsidies, than conventional fossil fuel generated power.

Mark Bachman, at Pacific Crest, concluded that the electricity from the First Solar system cost $0.075 per kilowatt hour to install, while conventional power cost $0.09 per kWh.

Technology as finally got us were we need to be start switching to solar, now we need to implement it on a larger scale.

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>> ... now we need to implement it on a larger scale.<<

Or do we? The 889 MW Davis-Besse Nuclear Generating Station sits on a 954 acre site, but 733 of those acres are devoted to a National Wildlife Refuge - in other words, the plant produces about 4 MW per acre (used for energy production). In comparison, the 10 MW El Dorado plant sits on 80 acres - and that translates to only 0.125 MW per acre. Which is the most environmentally-friendly option?

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>> ... now we need to implement it on a larger scale.<<

Or do we? The 889 MW Davis-Besse Nuclear Generating Station sits on a 954 acre site, but 733 of those acres are devoted to a National Wildlife Refuge - in other words, the plant produces about 4 MW per acre (used for energy production). In comparison, the 10 MW El Dorado plant sits on 80 acres - and that translates to only 0.125 MW per acre. Which is the most environmentally-friendly option?

the one that produces the cheapest power (solar) and oh it sits in the middle of a desert so "wildlife" is not an issues here.

The point is that in order for the switch to be made to more environmentally-friendly power, the cost had to come down to where it was on a par with coal etc. and now it has. Solar is always better than Nuclear and in this case I bet is much cheaper. :D

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>>and oh it sits in the middle of a desert so "wildlife" is not an issues here.<<

Desert ecosystems are as important as any other ecosystems.

>>The point is that in order for the switch to be made to more environmentally-friendly power, the cost had to come down to where it was on a par with coal etc. and now it has. Solar is always better than Nuclear and in this case I bet is much cheaper.<<

But is it more environmentally-friendly? To produce the same amount of energy as a nuclear plant, a solar plant requires considerably more space. How much of our desert ecosystems do you think we should cover in solar panels? Calculate the GHGs produced by the manufacturing/construction process and divide that by the life expectancy of the plant (or the panels). Which has the smaller number? Nuclear or solar?

And we really do need to start looking beyond the whole cost thing. So what if option A is cheaper than option B? If option B has a more environmentally-friendly outcome than option A, then option B is the one we should choose. When we're sick, we want the best and most effective treatment, not the cheapest treatment. We need to start thinking about environmental health in the same terms.

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>>and oh it sits in the middle of a desert so "wildlife" is not an issues here.<<

Desert ecosystems are as important as any other ecosystems.

>>The point is that in order for the switch to be made to more environmentally-friendly power, the cost had to come down to where it was on a par with coal etc. and now it has. Solar is always better than Nuclear and in this case I bet is much cheaper.<<

But is it more environmentally-friendly? To produce the same amount of energy as a nuclear plant, a solar plant requires considerably more space. How much of our desert ecosystems do you think we should cover in solar panels? Calculate the GHGs produced by the manufacturing/construction process and divide that by the life expectancy of the plant (or the panels). Which has the smaller number? Nuclear or solar?

And we really do need to start looking beyond the whole cost thing. So what if option A is cheaper than option B? If option B has a more environmentally-friendly outcome than option A, then option B is the one we should choose. When we're sick, we want the best and most effective treatment, not the cheapest treatment. We need to start thinking about environmental health in the same terms.

In the real world, cheaper wins over environmentally-friendly. And it takes much less time and money to bring on-line solar, oh, yeah, for years every enviro-nut has been preaching against nuclear power so doubt you will get them to do an about face just because its more "environmentally-friendly". :lol:

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The US could completely eliminate energy production related emissions by:

1. Replacing coal-burning plants with nuclear plants; or

2. Covering the whole of Connecticut with solar panels.

Which option do you think is the most environmentally-friendly?

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The US could completely eliminate energy production related emissions by:

1. Replacing coal-burning plants with nuclear plants; or

2. Covering the whole of Connecticut with solar panels.

Which option do you think is the most environmentally-friendly?

"environmentally-friendly" is not going to be the deciding issue, the answer is that we should be doing both. Solar makes sense in the West where they have more sunshine days and nuclear makes more sense in the east and northwest(more cloudy days). Geothermal energy is also is coming into play but you are not going to cut out the coal-burning plants anytime soon. The enviro-nuts in the US continue to preach against nuclear power. The enviro-nuts are at the far left of the environmental movement in the US and have never like nuclear power.

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The enviro-nuts in the US continue to preach against nuclear power. The enviro-nuts are at the far left of the environmental movement in the US and have never like nuclear power.

Maybe that is because:

Nuclear Energy is Expensive, Dangerous, Not Cost-Effective and Will Worsen Climate Change

Or that:

A new study puts the generation costs for power from new nuclear plants at from 25 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour — triple current U.S. electricity rates!

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Simon says:

>>A new study puts the generation costs for power from new nuclear plants at from 25 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour — triple current U.S. electricity rates!<<

To repeat: we need to forget about economics. We need to start doing what's best for the environment, not what's best for the bottom line.

>>Nuclear Energy is Expensive, Dangerous, Not Cost-Effective and Will Worsen Climate Change<<

Yup, there are risks associated with nuclear energy production, but there have only been 4 minor accidents since 2000. Cars and sports account for way more deaths than nuclear energy production. The fact is that increasing nuclear energy production is the only way that we can substantially and speedily reduce GHG emissions. The comment in your signature:

>>For the same investment, wind generates 5 times the jobs and 2.3 times the power as a nuclear reactor<<

Yup, but to meet even a small proportion of current energy needs, you'd need to cover an absolutely enormous amount of space with wind turbines (to meet completely meet current US consumption, you'd need to cover the whole of Texas). To replace the energy produced by Canada's nuclear plants with hydroelectricity, you'd need to damn an area that was roughly the same size as the Province of Ontario. These are simply not realistic options.

Facts:

1. Scientists say we need to substantially reduce GHG emissions. And soon.

2. Energy consumption shall not decrease any time soon.

3. Roughly 80% of our energy is produced by burning gas, oil and coal.

4. We cannot realistically meet our energy needs with energy from renewable sources at this point in time.

What do you think we should do? Keep on burning coal while we debate how much space to commit to wind turbines and solar panels? Keep on burning coal while compulsory land purchases (all those solar panels have to go somewhere) are contested in the courts? Keep on burning coal while we hope for advances in renewable energy technology? Keep on burning coal while we encourage people to use less energy?

What do you think we should do, Simon?

MountainHiker says:

>>"environmentally-friendly" is not going to be the deciding issue, the answer is that we should be doing both. Solar makes sense in the West where they have more sunshine days and nuclear makes more sense in the east and northwest(more cloudy days). Geothermal energy is also is coming into play but you are not going to cut out the coal-burning plants anytime soon.<<

Yup, we should be doing both. Wind, solar et al energy has excellent potential, but the fact is that it's not going to be able to replace the energy produced by coal and oil burning plants any time soon. We are not going to cover Connecticut with solar panels and Texas with wind turbines. It's simply not going to happen. So that means that we either keep on burning coal while gradually increasing the proportion of our energy that comes from clean sources. Or we replace our coal burning plants with nuclear plants - immediately eliminating energy production related emissions - and then work on developing and enhancing renewable energy technology.

Yup, there's a risk with nuclear energy, but it's a risk we need to take if we want to be able to substantially reduce GHG emissions any time soon.

>>The enviro-nuts are at the far left of the environmental movement in the US and have never like nuclear power.<<

Yup, but those enviro-nuts need to get real. Global warming came to the attention of the masses a couple of decades ago, but what's happened during the years since? Not much at all really. We have made no real progress towards either reducing energy consumption (which has actually increased each year) or substantially reducing our reliance on gas, coal and oil. And it's a trend which looks set to continue. There are no government plans or schemes which will substantially reduce energy consumption, and there is not the slightest chance that we'll soon be able to produce enough renewable energy to be able to substantially reduce our reliance on gas, coal and oil.

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Simon says:

>>A new study puts the generation costs for power from new nuclear plants at from 25 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour — triple current U.S. electricity rates!<<

You glossed over a key point that Simon made: nuclear cost is triple current rates! I realize that this will come as a shock to you but these are not really good economic times. If you think that in these times they are going to vote to only go with the most expensive solution to the problem, you need to get a grip on life. What you will see is people going for the best mix of solutions and for the time being, burning coal is one of them.

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>>You glossed over a key point that Simon made: nuclear cost is triple current rates!<<

Intentionally so. Because it's riddled with errors and factually incorrect. Were nuclear energy to be 3x the cost of the alternatives, do you really think that there'd be more than 400 nuclear power plants in operation today? The fact is that nuclear energy costs roughly the same as coal et al. As for the author of that report ... well, who the heck is this guy (Craig A. Severance) anyway? He's clearly not somebody who knows much about nuclear energy production. And who, exactly, commissioned that report? ExxonMobil? No, it couldn't have been them - they'd have bought somebody with a bit more credibility!

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Simon says:

>>A new study puts the generation costs for power from new nuclear plants at from 25 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour — triple current U.S. electricity rates!<<

To repeat: we need to forget about economics. We need to start doing what's best for the environment, not what's best for the bottom line.

I agree. But so far the majority of the resistance against expanding the renewable energy market has been that "oohh but green energy is too expensive". But when someone complains about the real cost of nuclear energy it's defendors says that we shouldn't care about the costs.

Bullsh*t I say!

>>Nuclear Energy is Expensive, Dangerous, Not Cost-Effective and Will Worsen Climate Change<<

Yup, there are risks associated with nuclear energy production, but there have only been 4 minor accidents since 2000. Cars and sports account for way more deaths than nuclear energy production. The fact is that increasing nuclear energy production is the only way that we can substantially and speedily reduce GHG emissions. The comment in your signature:

I somewhat agree with you here too. But nuclear energy does not "substantially and speedily reduce GHG emissions". Its just a tiny and minor part of the worlds total energy sources, and it will continue to be so. Heck, around the whole world we get a lot more energy from renewable energy than from nuclear energy. And extreme amounts more energy from fossil fuels than expensive and dangerous nuclear energy.

You talk about the security? Take Sweden as an example. Last year we had several accidents and inccidents on our nuclear plants. As such they had to be temporarily closed down for due to the huge security risk. As a result we had to import dirty energy from outside of Sweden, the energy costs rise and the energy companies lost millions every week these nuclear plants were closed. Nuclear energy is not safe. And its not an reliable source of energy compared to renewables.

>>For the same investment, wind generates 5 times the jobs and 2.3 times the power as a nuclear reactor<<

Yup, but to meet even a small proportion of current energy needs, you'd need to cover an absolutely enormous amount of space with wind turbines (to meet completely meet current US consumption, you'd need to cover the whole of Texas). To replace the energy produced by Canada's nuclear plants with hydroelectricity, you'd need to damn an area that was roughly the same size as the Province of Ontario. These are simply not realistic options.

Dont be stupid. Renewable energy is not just windfarms or hydrodams.

What do you think we should do? Keep on burning coal while we debate how much space to commit to wind turbines and solar panels? Keep on burning coal while compulsory land purchases (all those solar panels have to go somewhere) are contested in the courts? Keep on burning coal while we hope for advances in renewable energy technology? Keep on burning coal while we encourage people to use less energy?

Energy efficiency and renewable energy is the way to go. We use way too much energy than we actually need. And renewable energy (again is not just windfarms) will create millions of new green tech jobs.

Yup, we should be doing both. Wind, solar et al energy has excellent potential, but the fact is that it's not going to be able to replace the energy produced by coal and oil burning plants any time soon. We are not going to cover Connecticut with solar panels and Texas with wind turbines. It's simply not going to happen. So that means that we either keep on burning coal while gradually increasing the proportion of our energy that comes from clean sources. Or we replace our coal burning plants with nuclear plants - immediately eliminating energy production related emissions - and then work on developing and enhancing renewable energy technology.

Nuclear will never be a major player in the worlds energy market. Cause its too expensive to build. You end up paying more than the amount of energy you actually get out from it. The waste is also dangerous, expensive and we still have no idea what to do with it.

Yup, there's a risk with nuclear energy, but it's a risk we need to take if we want to be able to substantially reduce GHG emissions any time soon.

You wont be able to "substantially reduce GHG emissions" with nuclear energy. If we are to do that we need to build around 1000 new nuclear reactors around the world. And frankly, we dont have the money or the time for those.

It takes too long to construct these nuclear plants. A much faster and less expensive alternative that will create millions of green jobs is renewable energy. Also, nuclear energy is not an renewable source. It will some day get depleted. Some experts says that with the current nuclear reactors around the world the fuel for the nuclear reactors will be depleted within 40-80 years.

Yup, but those enviro-nuts need to get real. Global warming came to the attention of the masses a couple of decades ago, but what's happened during the years since? Not much at all really. We have made no real progress towards either reducing energy consumption (which has actually increased each year) or substantially reducing our reliance on gas, coal and oil. And it's a trend which looks set to continue. There are no government plans or schemes which will substantially reduce energy consumption, and there is not the slightest chance that we'll soon be able to produce enough renewable energy to be able to substantially reduce our reliance on gas, coal and oil.

No, I think it is you who need to get real.

Nuclear energy is expensive. Its dangerous. It's not cost-effective. And it will worsen global warming.

And all due respect Brett. I dont think its up to you, the older generation, to create yet another environmental problem for the younger generation just because you are ignorant about renewable energy and energy efficiency. It's more than enough that you old people have wrecked the climate.

You glossed over a key point that Simon made: nuclear cost is triple current rates! I realize that this will come as a shock to you but these are not really good economic times. If you think that in these times they are going to vote to only go with the most expensive solution to the problem, you need to get a grip on life. What you will see is people going for the best mix of solutions and for the time being, burning coal is one of them.

Yes good points. Politicians and economists all say we are in an economic crisis. Everywhere people are loosing their jobs and governments are spending billions and billions on bailing out failed companies and banks.

That is why I hope, and think, that people and governments are starting to realise what a win-win situation renewable energy is for everyone. It will create a stable source of energy, create millions of new high-tech green jobs while helping to fight global warming.

>>You glossed over a key point that Simon made: nuclear cost is triple current rates!<<

Intentionally so. Because it's riddled with errors and factually incorrect. Were nuclear energy to be 3x the cost of the alternatives, do you really think that there'd be more than 400 nuclear power plants in operation today? The fact is that nuclear energy costs roughly the same as coal et al. As for the author of that report ... well, who the heck is this guy (Craig A. Severance) anyway? He's clearly not somebody who knows much about nuclear energy production. And who, exactly, commissioned that report? ExxonMobil? No, it couldn't have been them - they'd have bought somebody with a bit more credibility!

Nuclear energy does not cost "roughly the same as coal". Its way more expensive than anything else. The true cost of nuclear is much higher if you dont count in the mad subsidies the governments give to these energy companies and their nuclear reactors (as well as paying for their insurance as no insurance company in the world wants to deal with nuclear reactors.. hmm I wonder why..?).

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>>You end up paying more than the amount of energy you actually get out from it.<<

No, initial constructions costs are certainly extremely high, but when those costs are amortised, nuclear energy is similarly priced (per KWh) to coal and hydro. The costs vary, of course, depending on the nature of the construction and the availability/cost of the fuel. In some instances, it's cheaper to produce with either hydro or coal than nuclear; in others, coal is the cheapest option; in others, it's nuclear.

>>It takes too long to construct these nuclear plants.<<

They can be built reasonably speedily.

>>Also, nuclear energy is not an renewable source.<<

Which is why we need to invest in projects such as ITER and Harvard's Clean Energy Project.

>>That is why I hope, and think, that people and governments are starting to realise what a win-win situation renewable energy is for everyone. It will create a stable source of energy, create millions of new high-tech green jobs while helping to fight global warming.<<

... and have an emormous environmental impact. What you seem to be missing is that, with current technology, there is no way that we replace the energy produced by coal-burning plants with clean energy without radically altering the landscape. How much space do you think should be committed to wind turbines and solar panels? How many rivers should be diverted/damned?

>>I dont think its up to you, the older generation<<

I wish I could object to that comment!

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>>It takes too long to construct these nuclear plants.<<

They can be built reasonably speedily.

There has NEVER been a nuclear plant build "reasonably speedy" or anywhere close to budget.

I suspect you must own stock in this area! <_<

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Spend enough money, and we could replace every coal-burning plant with a nuclear plant within 4 to 5 years. How long do you think it will (realistically) be before we are able to replace fossil fuel energy (80% of what we use) with renewable energy?

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Spend enough money, and we could replace every coal-burning plant with a nuclear plant within 4 to 5 years. How long do you think it will (realistically) be before we are able to replace fossil fuel energy (80% of what we use) with renewable energy?

Oh, yeah, "spend enough money" and you can accomplish anything. However, in the real world, you are NOT going to get anyone to pop unlimited money to build nuclear plants, which is why you have to take a more realistic approach.

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Oh, yeah, "spend enough money" and you can accomplish anything. However, in the real world, you are NOT going to get anyone to pop unlimited money to build nuclear plants, which is why you have to take a more realistic approach.

To reduce GHGs, we need to spend. Decommissioning coal-burning plants and replacing them with clean energy plants shall will be extremely expensive - no matter which source of alternative energy is used.

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To reduce GHGs, we need to spend. Decommissioning coal-burning plants and replacing them with clean energy plants shall will be extremely expensive - no matter which source of alternative energy is used.

extremely expensive
Which is why it will not happen anytime soon! :D :D :D

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Sadly, you may well be right. But let's hope otherwise!

What we have to hope is that they really will spend money on alternative energy research that will produce the necessary break thrus that we need make solar, etc so much more cost effective that switching will be a "no brainer". :D

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>>You end up paying more than the amount of energy you actually get out from it.<<

No, initial constructions costs are certainly extremely high, but when those costs are amortised, nuclear energy is similarly priced (per KWh) to coal and hydro. The costs vary, of course, depending on the nature of the construction and the availability/cost of the fuel. In some instances, it's cheaper to produce with either hydro or coal than nuclear; in others, coal is the cheapest option; in others, it's nuclear.

Nuclear is the single most expensive energy source available today.

Example of this is the proposed nuclear reactor in Turkey:

"Today, the bidding consortium announced how much the electricity produced by the new plant would cost: 21 cents per kilowatt hour. That's three times the current average price of electricity in Turkey. Electricity would have to triple in price before the reactor became economically viable.

This would make Turkey's reactor the most expensive electricity generating power plant in the world.. Wind power by comparison is currently generating electricity at one third of this offer." [source]

>>It takes too long to construct these nuclear plants.<<

They can be built reasonably speedily.

No. They cant.

They take several years to build. They don't last very long compared to other energy sources. And the decommission of the plant takes years and costs even more. Take the UK and their +40 year-old nuclear plant Oldbury as an example of this. The Oldbury plant will cost more than one billion pounds (£) and take 110 years to decommission (thats almost three times the period it has been active and working!). And if the UK were to decomission all of their old nuclear plants it would cost, according to the "Nuclear Decommissioning Authority", over 70 billion pounds (£)!!

>>Also, nuclear energy is not an renewable source.<<

Which is why we need to invest in projects such as ITER and Harvard's Clean Energy Project.

Projects that are Expensive, Dangerous, Not Cost-Effective and Will Worsen Climate Change.

>>That is why I hope, and think, that people and governments are starting to realise what a win-win situation renewable energy is for everyone. It will create a stable source of energy, create millions of new high-tech green jobs while helping to fight global warming.<<

... and have an emormous environmental impact. What you seem to be missing is that, with current technology, there is no way that we replace the energy produced by coal-burning plants with clean energy without radically altering the landscape. How much space do you think should be committed to wind turbines and solar panels? How many rivers should be diverted/damned?

As I said before: "Renewable energy is not just windfarms or hydrodams."

There has NEVER been a nuclear plant build "reasonably speedy" or anywhere close to budget.

I suspect you must own stock in this area! <_<

Yeah, I almost thought the same thing! ;)

But take the Finnish Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) reactor (the only nuclear reactor being built in the West since many years back) as an example here. The Olkiluoto reactor is already 3 years behind schedule (estimated time before the construction started was 5-6 years), has had several severe security incidents and mailfunctions during construction and the construction is massively over-budget. That ill-fated project accounts for 85 per cent of Finland's energy investment for 2006-2010. The opportunities lost in that time for building a renewable energy future are unimaginable.

And as the planet is warming up, is nuclear really a smart move?: Thirsty Nukes Can't Take the Heat and Climate change puts nuclear energy into hot water

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Ok, Simon. How about a game of let's pretend? Let's pretend that you're elected to be the president of the good ol' US or A. Your leading scientists tell you that you need to do something to reduce GHG emissions - and fast. Faced with real-world constraints (namely, the need for your intended actions to be approved by the legislature), what do you do? Do you attempt to introduce a bill that would enable government to compulsorily purchase enormous tracts of land on which to build wind turbines and solar panels, ruining ecosystems in the process? Do you destroy habitats by building hydro-plants? Or ... ?

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Ok, Simon. How about a game of let's pretend? Let's pretend that you're elected to be the president of the good ol' US or A. Your leading scientists tell you that you need to do something to reduce GHG emissions - and fast. Faced with real-world constraints (namely, the need for your intended actions to be approved by the legislature), what do you do? Do you attempt to introduce a bill that would enable government to compulsorily purchase enormous tracts of land on which to build wind turbines and solar panels, ruining ecosystems in the process? Do you destroy habitats by building hydro-plants? Or ... ?

What is that for kind of question? :) First of all, why do I only have those two options that doesnt make any sense at all? And second, I cant say what I would do as President of the US of A because they would never elect me! :cute:

But I can say what I would do in Sweden, in short of course: I would keep the nuclear plants we have here until they reach their maximum age. Then I would close them down. At the same time I would invest money and time to build up a Swedish renewable energy sector that can create thousands of jobs in Sweden (a recent swedish study has come to the conclusiont that the windpower sector alone in Sweden can create 15 000 jobs, and thats a lot in a country with 9 million people.). Invest more in renewable energy (which is not just wind farms or hydro-plants) and energy-efficiency laws and policies.

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>>Invest more in renewable energy (which is not just wind farms or hydro-plants)<<

See the scenarios in the document to which you linked. Each shows that it would be a substantial number of years before renewable energy can substantially replace dirty energy. Do we have that much time? And do you know what percentage of Sweden's land area would need to be dedicated to producing renewable energy in order to completely meet the country's needs?

>>and energy-efficiency laws and policies.<<

Something which, if you were to do it in any meaningful way, would result in you being voted out of office pretty damned quickly!

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In one of my previous posts here I talked about the Finnish Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) reactor. Here are some fresh updated news on it:

TVO seeks EUR 2.4 billion in damages for Olkiluoto nuclear reactor delays

The Finnish nuclear power company Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) is seeking damages of EUR 2,400 million from the consortium of Areva and Siemens for delays in the construction of Finland's fifth nuclear reactor in Olkiluoto.

The matter was noted in an appendix to the Siemens interim figures published on Tuesday.

Areva and Siemens reported some time ago that the nuclear reactor project would be completed 38 months behind schedule, in 2012.

According to the contract signed with TVO, the reactor was to have been ready for commissioning in 2009.

TVO signed an agreement for the third Olkiluoto plant in December 2003. The price of the reactor was in excess of EUR 3 billion, making it among Finland's largest-ever individual industrial investments.

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