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– “what else could so easily provide base line electricity?”
The answer to that is probably nuclear power. I don’t like pressurised water reactors and I don’t like the spent fuel. If better political decisions had been made we’d probably have much nicer reactors by now. But PWRs and CANDU etc. are what we have experience with, and rationally, although Chernobyl and Fukushima were immensely scary, in fact the death toll and wider health impacts have been very low, and even modern PWR designs are much safer than those old installations.
Nuclear power is also very “expensive” – I’ve scare quoted that because nuclear power is expensive in terms of money, but frugal in terms of resources – it uses little land area per megawatt, little steel, little concrete etc. But I expect a lot of the expense is because private contractors know they can milk governments like a cash cow. Governments never seem to have trouble affording nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers.
No I don’t like it either. Damn politics and damn the news media; we had forty years warning, we shouldn’t be in this mess.