Sunday, June 6, 2010

Who's got the power?

The government of Finland approved recently licences to build two new nuclear power plants. Is this good or bad decision, I can't say. Perhaps only future generations can determine that but what are the options?

Wind power?
This does not harm environment similarly as fossil fuel but apparently we would need to build the coastline full of windmills if we would try to cover the same need as what is covered with nuclear.

Would you want to have a windmill humming at your backyard? Or next to one of the hundreds of thousands of the summer cottages by the Finnish coastline?

I thought so, NIMBY - Not In My Back Yard...

What about the solar panels?
Apparently a good option for some places. I have seen them also in Europe at the roadsides providing energy for the emergency phones. It seems the cold winter would cause an issue at this part of the world since the battery charge runs out faster in winter conditions.

The area the panels require can be way too large vs the need. Some parts of the world are more likely to benefit from this but e.g. in Lapland, northern Finland, where the sun doesn't come up in 6 weeks you must have some other options.

The battery has been an issue also with the electricity van our company tried to use already 5-6 years ago. Also the charging options are still weak. It's all nice to have an environment friendly vehicle but would you like to drive a car with a 10 liter fuel tank and in the city only few places to fill it?
Water power is also an option but I think we have used in Finland a big part of the capacity that can be taken without large scale environmental compromises.

We have 180.000 lakes in a country about the same size as Italy but not that many rivers that would enable having water power production.
The sun energy should be used where it brings reasonable benefits but again some challenges.

I guess we all agree that the fossil fuel usage is not a truly sustainable solution? The oil resources are said to run out sooner or later and the global warming link is obvious so I guess that is not a solution.

Also the events in the Gulf of Mexico are not encouraging... However, what will happen to the oil do the sea? Will it all come to our beaches, kill our birds, fish and shrimps? Or will it cause some damage and most of the oil will go into the bottom and convert into hard material which will just "be there". I don't have an answer...

Funny, I thought the damage would increase oil prices but on 17 May the price sank below 70 Euros, lowest in 3 month period...

What about fission energy (is this a correct term?) then, when could we get benefits of this development? Some time ago the scientists were able to make breakthrough test in CERN so there is progress. This also would be without the waste problem that nuclear energy has got.

I saw a documentary about the animals in Tshernobyl area. So far there are no 3-eyed frogs but the cancer monitoring is ongoing; one reason for fairly low cancer rate until now can be short life of the animals... 

All and all, I guess we all agree we should think about the options and where possible, take smaller or bigger steps towards sustainable environment!
...BIG words but I claim we can make a difference, every day...

PS You should also read this! And if you are in Helsinki by June 9th, you should visit Narikkatori at Kamppi (mentioned at the end of the linked article).

1 comment:

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