Oil and the Island of Ireland

In resent years the Irish government in agreement with EU directives has handicapped it’s agricultural and fishing indrustry in order to secure funding of various infrastructure projects. And while in the short term this has benefited the Irish people, this is very much a shortsighted view, a typical Irish view of, ‘It’ll be alright’. However the issue is the assumption that the future will be, more or less like the present. And that is where it all falls down, the future of oil is not just one of increasing cost, it’s the eventual loss of oil altogether. This coupled with global warming issues poses different issues to Ireland, and to a lesser degree England.

They are Islands, truly geographiclly and economically. Issues of food production and importation are less of a concern to the continent EU than to the Islands of EU. Irish politicans are desperate to avoid thinking about what would happen without cheap oil, and the shipping of imported food and other commodities into Ireland. If food importation were to end tomorrow, vast numbers of people would starve in Ireland, perhaps worse than the famine years.

This is the future of Ireland, increasing food costs for imported food and goods, as there is less natively produced agricultural products and fishing. This will lead to economic ruin for most other industrial development as cost of living expences will drive industries to move to cheaper locations. Eventually with the complete loss of oil, Ireland will be isolated and destitute. And the Irish politicians who’s shortsightedness has destroyed Ireland, will be living elsewhere.

The Irish government should be focused on making Ireland self sufficient, less dependent on importation of food, and energy. All effort should conclude with infrastructure to support Irish food production, windfarms, and green issues.

The current government apparently does not have this perspective, and in the future, the Irish must seek to replace the narrowminded, shortsighted Fianna Fáil politicans. The future of the Island of Ireland is at stake.

9 comments on “Oil and the Island of Ireland

  1. Well actually we produce 7 times more food then we consume. The food that is imported tends to be of the fancy variety and in a dooms day senario not needed.

  2. Do we grind our own flour or make our own salt and sugar. Raise enough beef, pork and chicken? Enough electricity, is there a way to transport the goods from one end of the island to the other without gas?

  3. Is there a way to transport any of that with wind power anyway. Even if you have a vast train network. You still have to get the food to the train station. As for sugar we used to but lost the EU subsidies. If you want to the government paying subsides be my guest but remember who you are doing out of a living. The millions of suger cane produces in the third world. As for salf I have no idea. But not something difficult to look at.
    Yes we do raise enough beef pork and chicken. Go to your local supermarket the majority it Irish. we export 7 times what we eat and our main export is beef.

    I live in the Countryside anyway. So I can see my food. 🙂

  4. The answer is of course nuclear but since Irish “environmentalists” are still stuck in some 1970’s China Syndrome time-warp unlike many of their brethern around the world, it’ll be a long time before any reasonable and informed discussion is possible on that topic here.

    As to the age-old “would you live beside a nuclear power station?”, I would if it was one of these Toshiba beauties. I drove past a wind farm in Klmore Quay two weeks ago. There was a house 100 yeards from it. I cannot see those people continuing to live there once they turn them on.

    There is a wonderful series of articles on alternative energy sources from a few years back over at: USS Clueless. Well worth a read if the concept of scalability is of interest to you. Ireland even gets a mention.

  5. That would be interesting, except for the fact that I used to work at the most radioactively contaminated site in the free world, Hanford Washington. And there, I learned an interesting lesson in Nuclear power, Fission nuclear power that is. It’s a battery, nothing more.

    The amount of energy that it takes to find uranium, mine it, refine it package it, consumes more energy that you will ever get out of the reaction. Add to that, the extra energy necessary to build the reactors, and deactivate and dispose of the radioactive wastes. And as a total Cost of Ownership of this type of energy is a net loss.

    The TCO of nuclear energy is a negative number. Assuming that Fusion can make a breakthrough in the near future, then we are talking. But Fission is out of the question.

    If you want to see the numbers, let me know. The BS flying around about current nuclear power is amazing.

    Besides who is asking people to live next to wind turbines?

    I did look at that site, and the guy is clueless, most of his preconceptions are based upon the existing centralized power distribution model. and Commercial (capitalist) centrally controlled model. Most alternative energy systems work with a more distributed method. Call it grassroots if you will.

  6. Good points all. You should definitely post the numbers as the dismissive hand-waving that occurs in Ireland on this topic is insulting to the intelligence of all.

    I’m guessing all the houses I saw in Kilmore that were beside the wind farm didn’t ask to live beside it. I’d dearly love to know how they didn’t manage to block planning permission. Unless they own the wind farm….

    You should write more about this distributed grassroots idea. We cannot cover the country in windmills, we cannot cover it in crops that we will burn so what do you mean exactly? How is it implemented? Who pays for it? What technologies are used? What costs are involved? Are they available now? And does it involved actual grass roots? 🙂

    On a personal house heating level, I’m very interested in the wood pellet boiler idea (as is my coal man) since it is renewable and local but again I don’t know if it stands up to ROI or cost-benefit analyis rather than just being feelgood.

  7. You might look here

    The availability of nuclear fuel will be a main precondition for a massive contribution of
    nuclear power to ambitious emission reduction targets in 2050. Currently the annual demand for nuclear fuel is about 70,000 tons of uranium. For a three- to sixfold expansion in a comparatively short timescale, the demand for nuclear fuel would be increased several times, even in the case of the efficiency of fuel use being increased significantly. The supply of nuclear fuel would have to rely on speculative (undiscovered) resources (see Kreusch et al 2005) in a few decades. The uranium mining capacities would have to be extended substantially, which will take many years in the light of past experiences. (Price et al. (2004) give an overview of mining projects where the time between the beginning of exploration and the start of production was 20 to 30 years and the time between the discovery of the deposit and the start of production was 10 to 20 years)
    Furthermore, significant new enrichment capacities would be required. Lovins (2005) reports that 15 new enrichment plants must be built for 700 GW additional nuclear power plants.
    Against this background, Rothwell/van der Zwaan (2003) rank light-water reactors systems as non-sustainable against the criterion of non-renewable resource depletion. Moreover, the roadmaps for Generation IV reactor systems clearly highlight the problem of finite fuel resources for light-water reactor systems (NERAC 2002). If the availability (and the costs) of nuclear fuel for light-water reactor systems is seen as a problem, once-through fuel cycles will be of limited importance in future. At present once-through fuel cycles are the preferred option because of the lower costs and the exclusion of risks from the reprocessing of spent fuel. Although the Generation IV reactor concepts are still speculative in many aspects, with their focus on ‘closed fuel cycles’, the wide-range introduction of fast breeder reactors and the reprocessing of spent fuel is back on the agenda (NERAC 2002). If the nuclear technology chain is extended to breeder reactors and reprocessing facilities (and additional transport requirements) the risks of accidents as well as the vulnerability with regard to terrorist attacks or military conflicts will be increased significantly. Lovins (2005) illustrates the dimension of reprocessing for the case of additional 700 GW nuclear power plants which would require about 50 new reprocessing plants worldwide

  8. Think about the ‘reprocessing’ issue with regards to Iran’s wish to start reprocessing of their own light water reactors. They too know that uranium fuel will have to reprocessed in the future.

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