Securing Energy Supply (1)

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12 comments for “Securing Energy Supply (1)

  1. March 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    “Trillema”, I like it.

    But the Holy Grail, electricity storage is another ponderable. As you say, pumping water up into reservoirs is one way of doing it, but even the country with the best pumps and suitable reservoirs can only “store” how much electricity? A few minutes’ worth? A few hours at most?

    I know that at the National Grid, when the usual spikes come along (usually straight after East Enders or Coronation Street, or in half time of an England international football match) they like to “throw water at it” and that provides that extra bit of electricity for the five or ten minutes it’s needed, but that’s all. I have now idea for how many minutes we could supply the whole country with it.

    Further, while such storage is great for smoothing short term spikes, it seems a bit daft to convert chemical or heat or wind energy into potential energy and then convert that potential energy back into electricity again. “Conservation of energy” and all that. It is surely cheaper to store oil, gas, coal etc.

    • March 3, 2013 at 10:32 pm

      There are about 5 hours-worth of electricity available from the UK pumped storage, MW – but only 2.8 GW of capacity (= 2.5% UK winter peak demand), so can’t ‘supply the whole country’ at all

      the point is to pick up load when a short-notice problem arises, bridging until some slower-to-respond capacity can be wound up, or demand can be wound down

      Energy efficiency of pumped storage is 75-80%. Night-time prices (for buying power to pump the water up-hill) are generally much lower than 75% of day-time prices, so it’s a viable proposition

  2. john in cheshire
    March 3, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I think the list should be, is order : delivery at the cheapest price, reliable supply, minimum impact on people, flora and fauna. And low tax level for all fuel and power sources (certainly not more than 20% tax rate), and no subsidies to any fuel or power source.

    • Valentine Gray
      March 3, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      What is below our feet?, go down far enough all the heat we could ever need

      • March 3, 2013 at 10:37 pm

        Yes, and arriving from the sun all the time, too

        It’s just a technology issue – we always have to work with what we’ve got

        My assumption is that 50 years from now, energy won’t be an issue: but it sure is for the time being

    • March 3, 2013 at 10:35 pm

      Most people would put reliability way above price, when push comes to shove, John. Elasticity of demand is almost nil, in the short run. That’s the problem – the politicians know they can charge almost anything for leccy and we have to pay (so they put the subsidies on the bill, rather than general taxation)

  3. Edward.
    March 3, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    The trilemma of a mission impossible and how to square a circle in EU logic.

    Who designed that schematic – WWF?

    If you start in a science fiction scenario – what hope is there of reasoning through a non existent set of improbables?

    Brussels, they should have included winter population reduction – that’ll be the likely end result of EU meddling in national energy security and supply.

    Time to say bye bye and we won’t miss you – to the Western Soviet and their mad socio-economic planning.

    • March 3, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      Inclined to agree !

  4. March 3, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    “the dismal long-term average output from windfarms which in most installations struggles to achieve 25% of its rated (notional) capacity.”

    Barely 20% in Germany according to this source.

    • March 3, 2013 at 10:39 pm

      Correct. And performance declines with turbine age, to the point where it’s possible their lifespans will be 5 years less than originally assessed

      so they’ll be asking for even bigger subsidies !

  5. March 4, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Subsidies. Yes, the bane of society, courtesy of Statism.

  6. Greg Tingey
    March 4, 2013 at 8:42 am

    The wierd thing is that “Lisbon” is also, fundamentally, the most reliable.
    Clean coal in the short term (Scrubbers on top of power-stations are a good start), + nuclear, + renewables, + r&d, + shale gas(?) ……

    I note no-one mentions a UK speciality, that others (possiblt Denmark/Norway/Fance/Spain might be able to, but not as much as us …. BIG (really big) tidal .. rows of 25-metre (+) diameter turbines sat at least 10 metres below the surface in all the big tidal flows, spaced out, so that only one or two “stations” are off-line at any one time.

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