Brave New Energy

A few news articles that caught my attention…

As reported in The Independent:

“Britain is still paying for nuclear-generated electricity consumed a generation ago because of the hidden costs of an industry reared on the expectation of public subsidies, the Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said yesterday.”  (my bold)

Hmm, no mention in the article of that other heavily subsidised form of energy we seem to hear so much about these days.

Clive James on TV reviewing The Secret Life of the National Grid (BBC Four) asks:

Is it just my impression or is the Beeb screening more and more shows about our energy sources that take it for granted they won’t be replaced by “renewables”? How odd. Does that mean we won’t be seeing any more shows about wind farms and solar panels?”

The Grauniad reports Electric car infrastructure begins to roll out across the UK.

“Chargemaster’s new network, Polar, should go some way to reduce that fear [of running out of charge]. It says it’ll have 4,000 points by the end of next year, built at the rate of around 300 a  month with its partners, Waitrose, NCP and others.

What doesn’t look so good – and is often used as a selling point for electric cars – is the money side. Membership of Polar works out at £24.50 a month, and you pay 90p per charge. That seems steep in comparison to Boris Johnson’s Source London network, which while limited to the capital for now, costs just £8.33 a month and comes with free charging.”

They’re missing a trick though – they could relate the cost of a charge to the weather: encourage charging with low-cost when it is windy and make it expensive when there’s no wind blowing. Then the country wouldn’t have to pay operators to switch off turbines.  Perhaps it would make pious Prius owners see the reality of renewables from wind.

Of course we’ll have new pylons to deliver the juice.

An artist's impression of the winning entry for a contest to find a new design for electricity pylons. Photograph: Decc/PA

Personally I liked some of the weirder ones (#23 for example – see gallery) even if they did look somewhat postapocalyptic, left over from some remake of War-of-the-Worlds. Still I suppose we must brave the new 😉

And we’ve so thoroughly embraced the digital age that now Britons leave internet passwords in wills (Telegraph):

“We have started to advise clients on the topic of digital inheritance as it is something people should be thinking, and doing something about as part of the provisions in their will.
“Making provisions for digital inheritance in a will or codicil is relatively straightforward.”
The European Union is currently working on enshrining a “right to be forgotten online”. 

Good grief.

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5 Responses to Brave New Energy

  1. It is pretty rare for me to agree with the certifiable James Hansen but I have to admit that he writes really well. He understands that Huhne’s dreams are laughable, so here is an apt quote:

    ““Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.”

  2. a.batty says:

    Shorter gid towers means More of them /mile.Also more difficult to spot from the air.
    How many Kites will be wrapped arround the Lower cables.
    New is not always better,look at the new government for confirmation,how many of their friends and relations are fiscally submerged in “climate change “scams

  3. Verity Jones says:

    Are bad decisions being made in the headlong rush for change? I reckon so. It is a case of the wrong questions being asked so even the ‘right’ answers are wrong.

  4. Chuckles says:

    The Huhne article is real political strawman ducking and diving isn’t it? The man doesn’t seem able to grasp the fact that nukes can be ordered ‘off the shelf’ these days. No inventing of anything required.

    And the leccy car charging points are noteworthy insofar as there were about 2500 elec cars registered in the UK in July, according to the RAC, so any expectations of a profit anywhere for the providers would seem fanciful.(Other than the usual subsidies etc)

    And the pylons are ‘just a competition’, won by a Danish company, and destined for ‘who knows’ –

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/10/14/electricity_pylon_new_design_winner/

    • Verity Jones says:

      Thanks for the link. Interesting. Actually the ones that looked like people #14 in the gallery made me smile. When we were on holiday in France many years ago, our daughter, then about 5, remarked on the different designs of electricity pylon – in fact she ‘sexed’ them and on car journeys she was the arbiter of whether a new variant fell in the ‘male’ or ‘female’ category.

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