Talk:Environmental impact of electricity generation

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Mercury emissions[edit]

What about mercury emission from coal plants? I expect that the mercury emissions are a bigger problem than the trace radioisotopes. The article doesn't mention any controversies at all, for example, as to the issue of net reduction of emission of CO2 by displacement of fossil power by hydroelectric projects, and resulting reservoir emissions of CO2 and methane. Time for me to do some fact-digging and contribute. --Wtshymanski 17:06, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Please do! I think there's also some more I could add about the negative effects of hydro power... Andrew 04:52, Nov 29, 2004 (UTC)

is workers dieing an environmental concern[edit]

Is the death of workers an environmentla concern? I'm thinking of people dieing while constructing plants and mining resources. But is this a good place? Even if you don't veiw 'environment' as broadly as the law does, I think that gets to the point of this document but perhaps others disagree. Thougts? Pdbailey 23:53, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Well, not really, but I think what you're asking is whether it belongs in the article. That one's a bit harder to answer; the problem is that any large negineering work kills a few workers (less now than they used to). So it's a bit hard to balance these costs. I'd say focus on the effects on non-invloved people and the environment. But if you can add it nicely, go ahead. --Andrew 06:01, Dec 3, 2004 (UTC)
It's not usual to consider construction injuries and fatalities as an "environmental" issue. You can't balance "costs" against "lives", they are incommensurable. I'll have to look at the article on coal - that's the place to describe the risks of coal mining, since coal has uses other than electricity generation. "Occupational health and safety" is a different topic from "environmental concerns", I think. So, I wouldn't expect to see more than a pointer to "occupational health and safety" as a related but separate issue. --Wtshymanski 21:48, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for the replys. I think the two of you are right. While I would be more interested in reading an artile about 'total societal costs of electricy generation' this is not that article and it stands on its own as a good article. Cheers, Pdbailey 16:23, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

i understand that concerns in of itself requires negative aspects to be discussed about the topic. However, there needs to be additional information that supports these claims, otherwise they are merly speculation. (see FUD). Please provide wikilinks and external sources with more information to round off the edges and increase the overall value of the content.

The Wind Energy section is extremely biased![edit]

There seems to be hardly any cons there at all, only pros. I thought this goes against Wiki's commitment to Neutrality. I signed up just to point this out!

Cons of wind power are more than just the heritage/landscape ones mentioned in the article. For example, the variability of wind - capacity factors are around 30% in most cases. Any large deployment of wind turbines requires an equally large deployment of controllable "back-up" generation to make up for the shortfall when the wind doesn't blow, and even in the windiest areas, weeks can go by with no wind at all.

The circa 300 cubic metres per large turbine of concrete used in the base creates huge CO2 emissions and the lime leaches into the soil making it alkaline.

The infrastructure needed for construction - new roads etc are often built just for construction and maintenance, and have no other traffic.

Noticable low-frequency vibrations to residents within 0.5miles during times when a turbine is downwind of another turbine.

The way that windfarms drive a wedge between communities, forcing old friends, neigbours and families to be either for or against. Suicides have been commited which are directly attributable to the divisions caused.

I realise I have no references for all this - but I just wanted to point out the blatant bias of the Wind section in the hope that an Administrator will correct this. The neutrality of Wikipedia is it's most valuable strength.

Marley909 23:21, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

No administrator will correct this. Fixing this article is your civic duty! If, however, you can find sources for things like the concrete used, I would love to see them. -Theanphibian (talkcontribs) 23:23, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

I would add that frequently the transmission infrastructure is not positioned to bring power away from major wind farms, but instead from existing power generating facilities (which are not necessarily where the wind blows). Additional lines would have to be built, for new wind farms, with all the right-of-way issues this brings. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dbkehoe (talkcontribs) 02:10, 16 April 2008 (UTC)


I have noticed a contradiction in this article and information from Vattenfall (a power producing company). My concerns are about the property in italics:

"Greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution produced by its construction are small and declining. There are no emissions or pollution produced by its operation." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_electricity_generation#Wind_power)

According to Vattenfall's home page the released amount of carbon dioxide is about 13g/kWh for wind power, and that is a lot compared to other figures on the site:

- The total amount of released CO2 from the Swedish electric power supply is 6,3 g/kWh
- Nuclear power 3,3 g CO_2 /kWh
- Hydroelectricity 4,4 g CO_2 /kWh

I may agree that the released amount of carbon dioxide is low compared to the combustion of fossil fuels, but that doesn't make it low, or does it?

The source that contradicts this Wikipedia page (it is in Swedish): http://www.vattenfall.se/sv/elens-ursprung.htm

I hope "discussion" is the right place to write this, and I hope that someone with knowledge in the subject (and good English) will read this and take action whether I have noticed something you consider faulty or not. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.142.154.22 (talk) 20:07, 9 April 2011 (UTC)


No Mention of Nuclear[edit]

There's a link to this article from Nuclear Power, which includes a nice (if brief) discussion of the environmental impacts of nuclear power generation. I'd suggest that it should be moved to this page (and the link retained, of course), which would 'complete the set' on this page, and make it easier to find that information. Gholson 12:10, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Management of the material across the different articles is difficult. I just created a new article about the environmental effects of nuclear power - and one of my motivations for doing so was that this was sort of a POV fork, where poorly structured and weaselly statements worked their way in when it wouldn't have been allowed in nuclear power. But now that I've done that, I find someone has created a new summary here that's very to the point and I'm rather happy to see. -Theanphibian (talkcontribs) 07:11, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Water usage data[edit]

The difference between nuclear electricity generation and fossile fuels (second table, third data column) seems to be too large. While nuclear generation is less efficient and fossile fuel plants discharge some of the waste energy in the flue gases, a ratio of 1200 vs 2700 is bigger than any figures I come across.

Looking at the source for the second table: "Report to Congress on the Interdependence of Energy and Water", the figures given for tower cooling are:
  • fossil, biomass, waste: 300-480 gal/MWh
  • nuclear: 400-720 gal/MWh
In liters these are respectively 1140-1820 and 1520-2740. In other words, the highest estimate is quoted for nuclear power, the lowest for fossil fuels (except coal where both are mentioned) and biomass. Ssscienccce (talk) 20:18, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

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