Tuesday, October 28

National Grid warning indicates renewable energy is underinvested

Today the National Grid has given a warning about the margin between total grid capacity available this winter and demand. The margin has narrowed because of the recent Didcot power station fire, numerous other problems with various other power stations and scheduled closures of various coal fired power stations.


What does this indicate?

Large Power Stations

Well firstly if shows that large centralised power stations can pose a significant risk to electricity security.

In the past they have been the targets of union campaigns against government policy, resulting in long black outs as a result of strikes.

Large power stations also have to be taken off line regularly so that they can be maintained and worked on, this can have a significant impact on their availability. It is a fantasy and a myth to think that a power station is available 100% of the time every year. They can be available for as little as 50% to 60% of the year.

They also potentially present a greater 'defence/terrorism' security risk because they are centralised and present large easier to hit targets.

Putting your eggs in a small number of baskets isn't a particularly sensible idea.

Finally, fossil fuel and nuclear power stations require imported fuel or fracked gas. This poses a potential risk both economically and militarily.

Renewable Energy

The first advantage of renewable energy is that it is massively distributed. One wind turbine or a solar panel on the neighbours house becoming defective, has no effect at all on overall grid performance.

The massive distribution of renewable energy also means it is more secure. It would be very hard indeed for an enemy to 'take out' hundreds of thousands or millions of distributed renewable energy installations. Potentially renewables can serve a similar purpose that the original internet was designed to do, basically a secure and tolerant system that is difficult to destroy or harm.

Renewable energy also tends to require less maintenance. Solar panels are solid state with no moving parts, whilst wind turbines are automated and can be left to run with little human intervention. This reduces potential disruptive action such as strikes interfering with supply.

As well as those issues, renewable energy reduces carbon emissions and does not depend on imported or 'fracked' fuels. Renwable energy is (apart from the eventual success of nuclear fusion) the only long term energy solution and one of many essential technologies that are required to tackle our climate change problem.

Thursday, October 16

Oh dear - Owen Paterson shows his true colours...

I haven't blogged much about Owen Paterson but have always considered this trouble maker a serious problem for us all. I always suspected he blagged his way into DEFRA.

How did he ever become Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs?

Only two scenarios that I can think of:

1. He kept his anti-climate science and climate change denial a secret and misinformed his colleagues. I use the word denial instead of skeptic because I assume, like in the past, he hasn't told the full truth about is belief system.

2. He didn't keep it secret and the Conservatives knew full well that they had placed a bull in a china shop.

Whatever the case, he set out to cause trouble once he got into DEFRA.
How can anyone trust this person? Over time he has gone from alleged environment lover, to wind farm hater and now climate science attacker.

Why do politicians believe they know science better than scientists?
Why are so many politicians so arrogant that they believe they can rewrite science, history, statistics and goodness knows what else!

He apparently claimed today that there has been no global warming for the last 18 years. This is of course plainly wrong, for many reasons. One is that it has warmed, two is that trends are more important than relatively short snap shots and three is that the science calculations show it is warming. The measurements match the theory!

Facts from NASA:
Global Temperature anomaly 18 years ago (1996) = 0.33 degrees C
Global Temperature anomaly in 2013 = 0.61 degrees C

The temperature has gone up, so why would Paterson make misleading statements suggesting it hasn't?