A wind farm may be bulldozed to clear a site on which a new nuclear power station will be built. This seems to me a telling sign of the future, in that wind-farms are being marginalised in favour of the tried and tested, and it must be said, far more powerful. On average, a nuclear reactor produces around 1.2 GW of electricity, which allowing for a capacity factor of 30% is the equivalent of a farm with 1,500 "2 MW" wind turbines. The "capacity factor" for a coal, gas or nuclear power station is similar at around 36%, but when a figure of say 1 GW is quoted that is the actual output, from a thermal capacity of around 3.6 GW, which is less misleading than the figures listed for wind-turbines. Unlike the wind which does not always blow, uranium always burns, so long as there is enough of it in the reactor.
Indeed, to meet EU targets, it will be necessary to build a new wind-turbine every day for 12 years, which does not seem to me a particularly realistic objective . The Haverigg wind farm, located between the hills of the Lake District and the waters of the Duddon Estuary on the coast of Cumbria, is the second commercial wind farm to be built in Britain, and has run for 17 years. However, six of its eight turbines (quite a lot less than 1,500) fall within the blueprint-boundaries of the proposed Kirksanton nuclear power plant where the German RWE plans to construct "at least three" new reactors.
There is naturally a huge environmental hoo-ha, but as RWE points out, the wind farm produces 3.5 megawatts of energy while the nuclear power station would generate 3,600 MW, or enough to power 5 million homes. There is also the equally unexpected NIMBY, in that people living in the nearby village of Kirksanton have formed an action group, because the plant is only 150 yards from the village boundary. I don't blame them, but nuclear power plants are actually pretty safe in their running; it is just the issue of long term storage of nuclear waste that remains to be sorted to everybody's satisfaction. Couldn't they shift the site a little bit though, and keep both sides happy, and keep the wind farm too?
Given the amount of energy we use, and that time is of the essence, I think they should build the nuclear plant, and several others too, if only to buy some more time while we rethink our "sustainable future". Running out of juice would be a more horrendous matter than global warming, nuclear waste and all other calamities, at least in the short term.
On the matter of juice, I note an interesting development in oil exploration: namely that drillers in northern Kurdistan have identified 3 to 4 billion barrels of oil there. Now this is only enough oil to quench the world's thirst for it for around a month or so, but it is probably going to be worth $300 to $400 billion, assuming that the price of oil rises to $100 a barrel again, which it almost certainly will, and probably much more than that. The company behind the project, Heritage Oil, is doing well on the stock market with shares going for 360p per unit and 30% growth, which speaks volumes, especially in the current financial climate when 150 British businesses are going to the wall every day, and doubtless many more across the world.
 "Wind farm may be torn down to make way for nuclear site," http://news.google.co.uk/news?hl=en&q=Wind+farm+may+be+torn+down+to+make+way+for+nuclear+site&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=oRj0SaLzFYqRjAf6vcTZDA&sa=X&oi=news_group&ct=title&resnum=1
 "Kurdistan discovery boosts Heritage," By Bryce Elder and Neil Hume, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7ba6ce02-2bb1-11de-b806-00144feabdc0.html