Week 16: What factors are important when comparing different methods of electricity generation?

What factors are important when comparing different methods of electricity generation?


  1. In no particular order:

    1) Cost/MWh Generated
    2) CO2 emissions/MWh Generated
    3) Safety
    4) Scalability
    5) Supporting infrastructure.

    Just for starters.

    George Hague

  2. Local employment opportunities in construction, operation and maintenance and the types of skills involved.
    Local supplies of materials and equipment used for construction and maintenance.
    Need for cooling water.
    Environmental impact.
    Decommissioning requirements.
    Ongoing subsidies required.

  3. All energy generation technology should be appropriate for the society we wish to live in. While there are technical factors to consider, there are also social factors. In some respects, the social factors may be more important as they may ultimately determine which technologies are supported and which are not.

    Given the multiple risks of climate change, global economic/financial instability, the growing dominance of large corporations, the increasing gap between rich and poor, it is imperative that energy options remain manageable at the community level. Energy generation needs to support simplicity and democracy (as well as minimizing environmental impact as mentioned in comments above).

    (1) Simplicity. The community should not have to become literate in technical nuclear jargon. The type of energy we use has an impact on the kind of society we become. It would be far less risky if the community were to become fully literate in solar and renewable energy factors and able to control their own energy supply and needs.

    (2) Democracy. Disruptive social technologies are changing the way society works. Where the community used to be passive recipients of energy, we are now co-generators. This same phenomenon applies to news/media (where we now create content) and a number of other important areas of society. Decentralised, low tech solutions allow the community to maintain control of their own power generation and supply without the need for excessive intervention by governments or large corporations.