power interconnect between Iceland and the UK, which sounds kind of science fiction, but is part of a trend, with already existing connectors between France and the UK and the Netherlands and the UK as well as proposed ones linking Ireland, the UK and Norway. What is not shown are underwater interconnects between the various skandinavian countries, esp. including Denmark
As an aside, the proposed link to Iceland does not go through Scotland, perhaps because their not exactly sure that Scotland will be a part of the UK after 2014? But then again, maybe this is just an artist's impression.
The point of these interconnects is to balance load between a variety of green and greenish generation methods. The French link, of course, can network in the nuclear plants in France, the Norway links take advantage of pumped water storage and other hydro capabilities. Spain, in addition to rain has a lot of wind on the plain which it already covers a significant fraction of its electrical needs from. Ireland has potential excess wind generating capacity and there are plans for new tidal electric generation in France. Although not shown here, Sahara solar could easily be linked to Europe by the same technology. A hidden implication is that as long as a number of countries continue to develop nuclear political decisions to forego may not have much of an effect on the continental scale, with the developers selling power to the others. If this is the case we may see many such links between Japan and Asia.
Eli wants to stress the non-breakthrough nature of these initiatives. This is not pie in the sky carbon capture so favored by Ethon's food groups. The Pie PushersTM ER are, like those who favor birth control by thinking pure thoughts, fabulists. These are significant, commercial projects for which financing is available, and construction underway, quietly, but to good effect. The technology was developed over the past few decades and is currently available.
The net is to ameliorate the intermittent element of wind, solar and tidal power. Repeating Rabett (Ms. Bunny has problems with that) wants to point out again that in a Science Policy Forum article entitled "A Road Map to US Decarbonization", (available in part in the Energy Bulletin) Reuel Shinnar and Francesco Citro point out that while nuclear is well suited to support baseload electricity generation, solar is ideal for handling peak demand, being most available, when most needed, during the hot days.
Same goes for wind and tides, it's always blowing somewhere. In theory if you can move those electrons about, the wind can power the electrical fans where the sun is too hot, which.... oh well, let's not go there, somebunny will start muttering about the Second Law.