Razib sums up France’s power situation (very, very good) better than I can, so his thoughts get priority:
Gene Expression: France and nuclear power
France Reaffirms Its Faith in Future of Nuclear Power:
Nuclear power provides 77 percent of France’s electricity, according to the government, and relatively few public doubts are expressed in a country with little coal, oil or natural gas.
France generates half of its own total energy, up from 23 percent in 1973, despite increased consumption.
Electrical power generation accounts for only 10 percent of France’s greenhouse gases, compared with an average of 40 percent in other industrialized countries, according to EDF.
There is No Free Lunch, and life is about trade offs. Those who live in the American Pacific Northwest know this well; hydroelectric power is great and low risk, and results in cheap electricity which helps drive high tech industry such as aerospace and electronics. But, there are ecological downsides.
Energy-dependence on unstable gap countries (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, etc) is fundamentally bad not because it “funds terrorism” or “warms the globe” or whatever, but because it limits the freedom of action of market-driven economies. The energy-exporters are essentially parasitic states, that limit the ability of pro-growth states to naturally develop their economies.
Nuclear, wind, solar, hydroelectric, and other domestic and renewable sources of fuel are very important for us. France is a great example.
Little Denmark is too.
Very good news, if true & accurate:
Energy Dept: 20% Of US Energy From Wind By 2030 Feasible
NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- In a new report, the U.S. Department of Energy said that generating 20% of U.S. energy needs from wind by 2030 is technically feasible, but would require $197 billion in investments, especially in interstate transmission build-out.
Arguments against wind power as an unreliable and marginal source of power are “frivolous and uninformed,” said Andy Karsner, DOE assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, while presenting the report at a press conference. Preliminary findings from the report were previously available, but the DOE made the final results public Monday.
(This story also appeared in Clean Technology Investor, a daily newsletter published by Dow Jones & Co.)
The expenditure needed to reach the 20% goal would only be $43 billion, or 2%, higher than if the U.S. didn’t add any wind whatsoever and reached the same power capacity from other sources, the DOE and its industry collaborators said in the report. They estimated that the additional spending would translate into 50 cents per month on the average customer’s utility bill. Adding that much wind to the grid would also cause natural gas prices to decrease, the report said.
The true benefits of such a program are described by Bjorn Lomborg in Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalistâ€™s Guide to Global Warming (which itself is featured in the bibliography for Tom Barnett’s newest, Great Powers). Lomborg subjects climate change to the same analysis as any other social problem, and comes up with one critical tool for fighting it: research and development. Most carbon taxes would be wasteful, many cap-and-trade systems are foolished, but making new technologies economically affordable has real pay-offs.
Generating 20% of our nation’s energy by 2030 would not only limit the increase in the amount of energy we “rent” from countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia: it would create economies of scale that make renewable energy more affordable for anyone.
20-in-30? Let’s do it.