Nuclear output gas with steam turbines in Wallonia

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synthetic article Laurent Minguet, Author of blog NowfutureIncluding many interesting figures showing that a nuclear phase-out is possible with steam Gas Turbines. Application encrypted Wallonia.

More: debate on the nuclear exit or visit our forum on nuclear power

Nuclear exit for Dummies

Pending Wallonia-Brussels federation 100% powered renewable electricity, it will go through a transitory phase based on three new turbine-steam-gas power plants. These TGV stations are the ideal cradle for the development of renewable energy, because it is easy to vary their production according to actual needs. This is not the case of nuclear power, which produces the same amount of power continuously, even at night when demand is low. The main obstacle to the abandonment of the atom in Belgium is not the cost of renewable energy is the striking power of the nuclear lobby. He has managed to infiltrate EDORA, the federation of renewable electricity, which has never taken a position on nuclear despite Fukushima.

Many people are worried about the release of the nuclear industry in Belgium. The stakes are high: it is replaced by 2025 production capacity of nuclear power plants or 5.900 megawatts (MW), of which half is in Tihange.

In 2009, Wallonia has produced just under 34 TWh or billion kWh (1), including 24 10 TWh TWh in Tihange and non-nuclear. Since the Walloon region consumes only 24 TWh per year (2), to satisfy our consumption should therefore replace nuclear with a production capacity of 14 TWh per year.

An easy solution: 2 CCGT

Pending Wallonia fueled 100% renewable electricity, TWh 14 1.800 can be produced by MW turbine-steam-gas power stations (TGV) additional, running just under 8.000 hours per year (90% of the time). A draft 900 MW has already obtained a license to Vise. It remains 14 years to realize a second project of the same ilk. And it can go very quickly between the investment decision and implementation, it takes between 3 and 4 years.

What is the cost per MWh produced?

The investment of these two plants only amounts to one billion euros, less than a year of "nuclear rent" (Equity earnings Electrabel arising from the fact that the company no longer amortize its central) estimated by the federal energy regulator CREG to two billion. The cost of this investment, financed 5 20% on year is 4 € / MWh, which must be added 3 € / MWh operational costs (3).

Today, the price of gas for a major consumer of about 28 € / MWh. With a regular production as a nuclear plant, a central train can reach a yield of 58%. The cost of electricity would be about 55 € / MWh (a little less than double the price of gas), three times less than what is charged to the residential consumer.

No one can predict with certainty what will be the price of gas in the future but to give orders of magnitude, the price at the Zeebrugge terminal (year ahead) to change between 12 € and 22 € / MWh 2009 (4). The market price free on board (excluding transport) is about 10 € / MWh (4 $ / MMBtu).

What about the production CO2?

A reason 198 kg CO2 MWh primary, additional CCGT will issue annually a few 4,8 Mt CO2, about the production associated with the stimulus of high Liege furnaces (5) or combustion 1,5 million tonnes of oil .

To compensate for this production CO2 would require, for example, substitute home heating fuel oil, polluting and expensive, by heating with pellets (pellets), much cheaper.

In fact, there are a multitude of ways to reduce the production of greenhouse gases (GHG) through energy efficiency (saving light bulbs, appliances A +, heat pumps, cars sober, efficient boilers, etc.) not to mention the techniques cogeneration gas which reduce 25% production CO2 relative to the heat and separate energy.

In this regard, it would be better to continue to promote decentralized electricity production by cogeneration gas whose performance of primary energy exceeds 90%, rather than building large CCGT.

Moreover, the increasing production of renewable energy (wind, photovoltaic, biomass) directly reduce production CO2 generated by fossil (coal, oil, gas).

The Walloon government wants to increase the annual wind production by 4 2020 TWh, an annual savings of at least 1,3 million CO2 equivalent tonnes (MtéqCO2).

Wallonia has already reached the EU target of reducing CO2

For the European energy-climate plan, Wallonia does not exist. It was Belgium who agrees to limit its emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) in 123 MtéqCO2 2020 15% or less than 144,5 2 MtéqCO1990 of reference year. (6)

In 1990, 54,7 Wallonia issued MtéqC02 (7) against less than 46 2007 or 16,5 Mt% less. Wallonia has already reached the European goal imposed on Belgium to 2020.

Also, in his statement of regional policy, Wallonia has set a more ambitious target of 30% GHG reduction in 2020. We should then limit our greenhouse gas emissions to 38 Mt (8) is 8 Mt less than what Europe we needed.

Even with transient CCGT, Wallonia remain one of the best students of the European class for the goals of reducing CO2.

Renewable Electricity? At what cost?

Today, the cost of the most competitive electricity in the Walloon Region is to wind 54 € / MWh taking as assumptions a price of € 1,25 / W funded 5 20% for years 2.200 h wind, and 15 € operational cost per MWh (4)

The advantage of CCGT in relation to nuclear power is very flexibly provide the additional electricity to renewable production. It is the ideal cradle for the development of renewable energy. Moreover, it is this model that ecologists have proposed since 20 years as an alternative to nuclear power. True to this vision, they were the architects of the law on nuclear exit to avoid the Fukushima disaster occurs one day Tihange. Is the maintenance of nuclear power plants that should make us fear the black out and not vice versa.

Ultimately, the balance between renewable energy production and consumption will be provided by fluctuating storage, probably thanks to the turbine pumping plants such as Coo. This technique is well mastered for decades, and allows a return of over 75% of the electricity stored at a reasonable cost.

100% renewable electricity? Does the potential exist in Wallonia?

With the assumption of 6 3 MW turbines km2 (2.000 h / year), the wind potential in the agricultural zone (8.350 km2) is 300 TWh.

The photovoltaic potential of that area is 835 TWh. The essential difference between the photovoltaic and wind power is that only the latter is compatible with agricultural production.

On paper then, without agricultural production, this area could produce 1.135 TWh of electricity, compared to our electricity needs 24 TWh.

Even supposing that we should generate some additional TWh to offset losses from storage, only 3 4% to% of which would be sufficient to achieve the renewable electricity autarky.

The renewable potential of the Walloon soil far exceeds our consumption requirements.

Of course, this does not exclude that one can also import renewable electricity. It is likely that, even if the potential exists widely, it will be appropriate to continue to import part of our renewable energy as biomass or electricity if the market offers more competitive prices.

Brussels and then?

On 6 TWh that consumes the Brussels region (9), it will replace approximately 3 TWh of nuclear electricity annually, the equivalent of the production of a TGV 350 MW plant. It will also achieve a further reduction of one million tons of CO2 knowing 4,3 Mt are issued today.

With energy efficient buildings park officials 70% of emissions (Mt 3) in Brussels, there is a huge potential for energy savings and energy efficiency.

In Brussels too, the development of cogeneration to decentralized gas yield 90% is preferable to building a CCGT big.

Who fears the end of nuclear power?

The French nuclear electricity generators that are the groups Suez (Electrabel) and EDF (SPE) enjoy an annual income of at 1,75 2,3 billion from CREG. They therefore great interest to extend as long as possible these radioactive cows milk.

To achieve this, many messages have been spread by the lobby of the atom: the fear of shortage in case of closure, the fear of a greenhouse gas with increase unable to fulfill our European commitments, fear of increase in electricity prices, job losses and expertise.

A massive lobbying was deployed to convince decision makers of some political parties of the benefits of nuclear power.

This lobby has also entered academic circles, including universities, some chairs are subsidized by the nuclear industry.

The general public also suffered nuclear propaganda forum posting its message through TV infomercials, radio and poster campaigns of 20 m2.

This lobby seat continuously within EDORA, the federation of renewable electricity, which has never taken an official position on nuclear power.

Conclusions ...

The Fukushima disaster has had the dubious merit of reminding arrogant and greedy technological world that even within a country among the most advanced, democratic world and cautious, do not play with nuclear fire.

Belgians pay more for their electricity than most of their European neighbors, some of whom do not even have nuclear power.

The technologies of production and storage of renewable electricity exist. They are a great opportunity to develop the know-how, technology and employment, no relation to the nuclear industry.

If the cost of producing renewable electricity is a little more expensive than the current cost of conventional energy sources that do not include the externalities they generate, it is significantly below the price paid small and large electricity consumers Belgium.

Do not fear the cost of renewable because it is transparent: it gives full visibility on future prices. This is not the case of fossil fuels, whose prices are extremely volatile, nor of nuclear energy that future generations will pay the bill for centuries.

Laurent Minguet


(1) Electrabel. The Tihange nuclear plant.
(2) Including 1 TWh of distribution losses
(3) Energy Portal Wallonia. provisional toll 2009
(4) Energy savings and policies (JP Hansen-J. Percebois) of boeck 2010.
(5) Arcelor Mittal / Ougrée: when pollution is big, IEW, March 25 2010.
(9) 2008-2012 allocation plan of the Brussels-Capital Region (February 2008)


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