Posting in Design
Italy follows Germany's lead, voting to sideline nuclear power in the fallout of Japan's Fukushima disaster.
Renewable energy has received more validation in Europe. Italy has followed Germany’s lead, voting today to sideline nuclear power in the fallout of Japan’s Fukushima disaster and as a rebuff to the priorities of its increasingly unpopular prime minster.
Italian voters put the brakes on a planned nuclear revival with a referendum for a one-year moratorium on nuclear power. An astonishing 94.05 percent majority sided against nuclear power, with 54.79 percent voter turnout, the AFP reports.
Italy currently imports nuclear generated power from France, and Italy’s domestic energy provider Enel SpA was recently negotiating a stake in a new 1,650-megawatt Evolutionary Power Reactor, or EPR, in France.
The EPR is a third generation+ reactor design that features added safety measures over older reactor designs. It was developed throughout the 1990's into this decade.
A 1987 anti-nuclear referendum shuttered Italian reactors after the Chernobyl accident, but was effectively overturned in 2009 when Italy sought France’s assistance to restart its nuclear program in response to high energy costs as well as supply risk with oil and natural gas.
The impact of today’s referendum will not be immediate, however, the Berlusconi government had planned for nuclear energy to produce 25 percent of Italy’s electricity by 2030. Up ten reactors would have been built.
Italy’s long term energy plan will be greatly affected. “The part reserved for renewables will be much bigger," Economic Development Minister Paolo Romani told the press.
Its current renewable energy action plan for 2020 outlines heavy reliance on hydropower, followed by wind and biomass, each taking up a nearly equal share of the mix. Solar and geothermal are the least represented technologies.
“Solar can make an enormous jump,” solar industry group Assosolare said, in the AFP’s report.
Italy’s current plan would make it the fifth most developed renewable energy producer in the EU, according to a March, 2011 report by the European Wind Energy Association.
Jun 14, 2011
...how long this attitude prevails when rates continue to rise, and the grid becomes less reliable because the alternatives don't live up to their billing.
Solar and wind will never be major contributors to a nations power grid unless the storage issue is resolved. Large-scale affordable energy storage and dynamic power management between renewable and conventional sources are needed to avoid the scandal that Scotland is facing. On the windiest days the owners of hundreds of windmills are paid to shut them off because the grid cannot handle their peak output.