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I think the argument for hydro is the same as for gas, not for nuclear and or wind, at least in Sweden. The reason being is that hydro plants in Sweden were built during a regulated power regime, and the strict credit regulations we had until 1985 especially excepted hydro power (and public housing), shoveling vast amounts of credit in their direction. Furthermore, there are (I suppose) far fewer possible surprises during the construction of a dam than a reactor, as there is so much greater experience of constructing the former, and the fact that it is inherently simpler. Add to this that hydro is not only flexible but also cheap, and you get a throughly superior mode of generation. Countries with an abundance of hydro (like Norway) use nothing but it.

So yes, even in a deregulated environment everyone is going to build hydro, until you run out of good sites, Which usually happens mighty quick. The Swedish hydro program was more or less completed by 1965-1970, after which it was topped up by oil-fired power plants (Stenungsund, Karlshamn etc). Then came the oil crisis, which meant a massive push for district heating and nuclear power to replace oil.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Mar 28th, 2011 at 06:39:12 PM EST
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