.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, February 20, 2009

More Plaid Confusion

A letter to this morning's Western Mail from John Dixon, the Chair of Plaid Cymru and Plaid Cymru Environment Spokesperson, Leanne Wood seeks to bring some clarity to their party's policy on nuclear power. Unfortunately, all they have succeeded in doing is to raise more questions about Plaid Cymru's position on this issue and that of their leader.

The letter itself seems unequivocal enough: At Plaid Cymru’s 2007 conference the party membership passed a motion reiterating the party’s “total opposition to the construction of any new nuclear power stations in Wales”.

Our principles are clear. Wales should decide whether a new nuclear power station comes to Wales. But this decision will be taken in London.

If we had the powers to make these decision in Wales, a new Wylfa would not be built.

So Plaid Cymru are opposed to the building of a replacement to Wylfa. Instead they want to see the UK Government invest in renewables on Anglesey:

However, it is fair to say that Ynys Môn has specific economic problems which must be addressed.

That is why we believe that there are vast opportunities for green-collar jobs which could be realised there, and across Wales, via an Obama-style green new deal.

There is an urgent need to vastly expand renewable energy from marine, solar and wind sources, small-scale and large.

Why not invest in jobs in these technologies to regenerate Ynys Mon?

In my view they make some valid points, so why is the Leader of Plaid Cymru not making them as well? Is it because he is in favour of a new nuclear power plant on the island?

I am more than happy to acknowledge that as the local member Ieuan Wyn Jones must represent the views and interests of his constituents but he is also a political figurehead and his views cannot be so easily divorced from those of his party.

Plaid Cymru are trying to have their cake and eat it on this issue. They are either opposed to nuclear power or they are not. If they are going to allow their leader to take an alternative view then that is fine, but do not try and pretend then that everything is black and white and that the party as a whole is on the side of the angels on this issue. That is clearly not the case.
How many wind turbines does it take to drive an aluminium smelter?

Wind farms do not create many permanent jobs.
Neurosurgery: The Lib Dems are trying to have their cake and eat it on this issue.

Come on Peter bit of consistency eh!
Not at all. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have never had policy on neurosurgery. It has always been a matter of local members advocating what is best for their own area. I have always been consistent that Swansea needs to retain neurosurgery and as the Party's health spokesperson I am happy to support the present compromise for as long as it is sustainable that enables both Cities to benefit from a networked service.
Firstly let's get it clear:- John Dixon is a failed Plaid Cymru candidate. Leanne Wood is one of only two currently elected Welsh Politicians who has been very rude to the Queen. I'm not a Royalist / Monarchist, but I believe in courtesy. So we are talking here of Dixon & Wood - "Failure and Rudeness"! Secondly, having got that off my chest, can someone ask "Failure & Rudeness" to spell out FACTS not opinions on how their Renewables will replace Nuclear. Exactly how many Wind Turbines? What will make the power when the wind don't blow? How can we have Hydro with such small rivers in Wales? Do they support a Severn Barrage? Solar Panels produce pitiful amounts of power - our giant Tesco Store has a solar powered roof that struggles on good days (not nights) to produce enough power to only boil four kettles. Can "Failure & Rudeness" give us the FACTS of Plaid Cymru's energy policies please and no more greenwash waffle?
# posted by Green Man : 6:32 PM

I'm sure that you'll correct me if you have the evidence to do so, but I don't think that Ieuan has ever said that he is in favour of a new nuclear station in Wylfa. He has certainly said that he supports any possible extension to the life of the existing station, but as far as I'm aware, he's never given outright support to a new station.

As far as Plaid as a party is concerned, our policy is clear and unequivocal. But I can't really blame you or others for seeing an opportunity for a bit of point-scoring here at our expense.

Green Man,

Using Peter's blog for a bit of name-calling, and then e-mailing me to tell me how clever you've been looks more like an attempt to pursue your long-standing grudge against Plaid than to engage in debate. However, if you're really interested, you'll find comments from me on some of the issues you raise here and here.
You are right John that Ieuan Wyn has been very careful how he words his support for nuclear power but it amounts to much the same thing. For example this is his and the Plaid PPC's reaction in Bangor and Anglesey Mail to the news that the Government is investigating building a new nuclear power plant on Anglesey to replace Wylfa:

'Anglesey AM Ieuan Wyn Jones, deputy leader of the Welsh Assembly, said: "My priority as the local Assembly Member for Ynys Môn has always been to safeguard jobs on the island and if yesterday’s announcement is a step towards securing a future for Wylfa then that is good news.

"I have always stressed the need for any future decision to take account of the strategic economic importance of Wylfa to Ynys Môn and the economy of North West Wales."

Dylan Rees, Plaid Cymru parliamentary candidate for Anglesey, said: "It is clear that in the short-term the UK cannot combat the very real threat of global warming and produce available, affordable energy by relying solely on renewable sources.

"Consequently there has to be alternative means of supply and nuclear energy is the only other viable option."'

To Mr JOHN DIXON, Plaid Cymru Chair:- in your BLOG posting this Weekend on Peter Black AM's Blog site you refer back to the posting of August 11th 2008 on your own Blogsite. That posting of yours is full of opinions and flaws. It reflects the inability of many politicians to come to grips with Energy Policy reality. Let's consider what YOU posted in August in your name Mr Dixon:-

Your attempt to justify the statement [hydrogen for storage] is worth reference to the Utisira project which concerns me, as I suspect you, or your advisers, are not in possession of the full facts. I certainly hope you were not intending to imply that electrolytic storage of hydrogen currently exists as a practicable 'backup' technology for wind power, in anything other than as a demonstration project.

Utisira is an island near Stavanger, Norway, with 240 inhabitants and just
10 households are cabled to the project. The budget for this demonstration project was about NOK 40 million over two years. In sterling that is £3.3 million or £330,000 per home! I could stop there in shock-horror!

I assume that Plaid Cymru's enthusiasm for wind power would not make you consider that any sum of money, however big, is worth the candle? In any case market forces would step in, as there is just no way that even the huge 'effective subsidy' of the Renewable Obligation could cope with the resultant electricity costs from this tandem partnership of wind power and electrolytic hydrogen, neither is there any chance that economy of scale and/or future development will make it feasible by the near future.

Incidentally I speak as someone who has attempted and admittedly failed to understand hydrogen technology and a hydrogen economy - but not hydrogen derived from Wind Turbines the largest time-untested rotating structures in the world, which are probably the most expensive source of commercial electricity that exist!

You may be interested in a comparison of the capital cost of wind power
alone, ordinary thermal generation and wind power tandemed with electrolytic
hydrogen, using Utisira figures: -

Wind power at an over generous load factor of 30% costs c. £2,500,000 per 1.0 MW of achieved generating capacity (WAG data gives £0.75 million/MW installed capacity).

New thermal generation (coal fired) costs between £300,000/MW and £600,000/M
per 1.0 MW of achieved generating capacity (Powergen data). Capital cost of
nuclear would be similar. If we continue down the Wind Power /renewables path as advocated by the likes of Plaid Cymru, Nuclear Energy may be forced upon us as the only option when renewables fail to deliver (as they most certainly will)!

Wind power at an over generous load factor of 30%, coupled to electrolytic
hydrogen costs at least £10,000,000 per 1.0 MW of achieved generating
capacity, judging from Utisira data. Even with the economies of scale and
development there is little likelihood of this figure falling to a level
where market forces would allow it to be adopted.

I will not dwell on your other suggestion that pumped-storage might be an
answer. Wales has two pumped storage power stations, the huge Dinorwig and
smaller Ffestiniog. They are fully utilised for Grid balancing purposes and
could not be appropriated for wind power backup. Pumped storage is
remarkably expensive of both capital and operation. It also requires very
special site conditions and it is difficult to know where in Wales adequate
new sites might be found. If located, they would be commercially
unaffordable. So I still pause in shock-horror! The wind-hydrogen combination will cost, in capital, more than 16 times as much as conventional generation.
Green Man's comments are bizarre and seem like he is nurturing some kind of wind-based grudge against Plaid Cymru. The Minister presiding over the current expansion of wind power in Wales is from the Welsh Labour party. Plaid's policy on renewables (last time I checked) is to support a broad mixture of different sources. Plaid hasn't ever had a chance to put their energy policy into practice.
Illtyd Luke seems to confuse "bizarre" with "actual facts". Plaid Cymru claims to be "The Party of Wales". That being so, you'd at least expect Plaid Cymru to defend Wales. Also it seems that Illtyd Luke does not seem to understand that Plaid Cymru are a Party in Government with Labour and they support the TAN8 Policy. Where do you live Mr Luke? Is it in another time zone on another planet?
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?