I think what's coming out of all this is that mixed models for energy sourcing will remain for all countries in the foreseeable future. No country will have one go-to plan like a nuclear-only strategy, nor will they be able to meet all their needs from green grid or gas. Even on an individual basis, we choose different utilities, i.e when there's an electrical blackout I know I can still take a hot shower because that runs on gas. I'm not changing that scenario any time soon either; suspect countries have to follow a similar divide-resources plan.
Energy efficency (& smarter grids) seems like the key(as far as I am concerned).
If we an cut our individual per-capita usage by 10-20% through usage of more efficent devices and appliances,better insulation for our homes and use smarter Grids(like smart meters) more actively (which would help more if Utilities gave incentives for using power at different times).
Lets say(hypothetically) if peak usage is from 9AM-12PM and then from 7PM-10PM ,those are the hours when rates should be double.Which will automatically force consumers to shift their pattern of electricity usage(to off-peak hours);its not a revolutionary concept and can lead to not just more efficent utilization of existing resources and power plants and means there is less idling capacity lying around(for peak power requirements).
Wish there were more sane heads in Media & Govt who thought exactly like you did.
Unfortunately most Politicians are extremely short-term in thier thinking and right Nuclear bashing feels like the right thing to do.
Unfortunately they are extremely short-sighted and will come back to bite when countries when they get hit with all manner of brownouts and rolling blackouts(because of lack of investment in the electric Grid).
This is exactly the problem which most European countries are facing today.
Italy,Spain and Germany have slashed subsidies across the board for Solar Power,at the same time they are decommisiong all Nuclear plants(without any new ones coming online);so the burden of producing power falls on Heavily Polluting Coal and Fuel Oil Power Plants as well as extremely risky Natural Gas fired plants(risky because most of Europes natural gas supplies come from Russia which turns the tap off whenever it suits its fancy).
Only France is not giving into to this short-term thinking and forging ahead with is use of Nuclear energy.
Nuclear energy is(& remains an important part of the Energy equation for most countries worldwide).
Why else would an oil Surplus nation like the United.Arab.Emirates decide to build Civilian Nuclear plants in cooperation with the Koreans???
Politicians tend to over-react in reaction to events that happen around the world.
And with todays 24/7 news cycle ,politicians are constantly on the defensive regarding each and every major event.
Looking at it simply from the viewpoint of TEPCO(The company behind the Fukushima disaster)-They cut a lot of corners in the construction of the reactors(in order to save costs).And after such a unprecedented disaster the focus on all new reactors becomes more intense.Which is a very-very good thing.That will mean Construction is done only under the safest conditions with all manner of safeguards in place.
I know its tough to escape the NIMBY phenonmenon(Not in my Backyard),which is so common everywhere.But if you want to consume more and more amounts of electricity you have to accept that all kinds of power plants (including Nuclear)will have to be build.There is no escaping this fact.
So far,only the Chinese seem to appreciate this inescapable fact.
The more you look and understand Geopolitical strains globally,the more worried you get(and especially for Europe).
The Straits of Hormuz and the Bhosphorus straits are both major choke points through which most of the Oil Destined for Europe flows.
If for any reason either point gets shut down(for whatever reason),then Europe is most certainly going to see the mother of all Depressions(with Oil most certainly above USD 200/Barrel).
The big problem,is that alternative supplies(North America, South America and Africa) do not have enough supplies(what with Libya not yet upto full production levels & Nigeria seeing continous and non-ending Sabotage of Oil Pipelines.. ).
Europe is not best served by backing America in their fight with Iran over Nukes at this very moment.
Europe will be better served by thinking about its own self-interest right now & that means dragging Iran back to the negotiating table and making sure America backs off from its threat to attack Iran.
The obvious concern about nuclear energy is its safety. The recent diseaster in Japan is still fresh in our minds. However, Japan sits in the middle of fault lines that make the use of nuclear plants a very risky business. The United Kingdom on the other hand does not need to worry about earhquakes because it is lucky enough not to have a single fault line under it. This certainly makes it a less risky location for using nuclear power. Of course, there is always risks associated with the human factor involved in the operation of a nuclear plant however these can be minimised and often be eliminated by deploying strict security measures and conducting careful inspections. Therefore, the risks of using nuclear power certainly varies depending on the geography and these should be taken into account before panicking upon hearing the word 'nuclear'.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.