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Keerthi Wong

Singapore, Singapore, Singapore


Member since January 08, 2014

  • 20140104_blp509_177_

    MOST people agree that carbon emissions from power stations are a significant cause of climate change. These days a fiercer argument is over what to do about it. Many governments are pumping money into renewable sources of electricity, such as wind turbines, solar farms, hydroelectric and geothermal plants. But countries with large amounts of renewable generation, such as Denmark and Germany, face the highest energy prices in the rich world. In Britain electricity from wind farms costs twice as much as that from traditional sources; solar power is even moredear. What makes it so costly?

    Enthusiasts have used wind turbines to generate electricity since the 1880s, but efforts to build very large wind farms started only in the late 1970s. Utility-scale solar and other renewable generation is more recent still. Despite the lure of government subsidies, there are still too few companies making renewable kit (almost all the wind turbines in British seas, as one example, are produced by a single firm). Supply-chain bottlenecks have frustrated governments scrabbling to install new renewable capacity. And compared with traditional power stations, renewable generators are cheap to run but costly to build, which makes them particularly vulnerable to changes in the cost of capital. A more fundamental challenge is that renewable generators also impose costs on the wider electricity grid. The best sites are often far from big cities (on Scottish hillsides, French lakes or American desert...