Register with us or sign in
in Tools and techniques
Gold1locks - why is it bad that the wind turbines are off the coast of Skegness - not wanting to pick a fight, just wondered why it was especially bad that they are there? There are also lots of them further down the coast, near Yarmouth. Surely it's better that they are out there, rather than inland where they'll be more controversial?
I try to use energy responsibly, as we only have a limited amount of fossil fuels, and we aren't producing enough coal to run our power stations - the stuff we import is rubbish, and has to be mixed with Yorkshire or Welsh coal to actually burn properly! Also, even when it's windy, the turbines have to be kept ticking over, you can't just turn a power station off. It's a bit of a black art, as during the evenings, or especially when there's a big event like a royal wedding, the bods in charge of the national grid have to predict useage, and bring extra power stations on-line to cope with the surge in demand during ad-breaks in programmes. I also used to work in a steelworks, that used a very large electric-arc furnace to melt steel. During the winter we used to have 'peak loading' at certain times, eg between 5 and 6pm when people were getting home from work and starting tea, there'd be a surge in demand for power. The company would normally get their electricity dead cheap normally, and then during peak loading they'd be charged 100 times the normal rate, so everything non-essential got turned off, monitors, printers, we weren't even allowed to boil the kettle - you made sure you'd got a drink 5 minutes before peak loading. That was to help keep demand down, as it would be on particularly cold days during winter, when they didn't want to have to bring another power station online.
Some of the coal fired power stations on the trent have not been totally decommisioned, but mothballed. At some point we'll need to start opencasting, or reopen some of the deep mines as the coal is still down there, but geologically difficult (and WAS uneconomic) to get out.
All people can do is try and lessen their demand for energy. That includes wall and loft insulation, solar panels, heat exhchange pumps, low energy appliances and lightbulbs, turning things off or down, and putting a jumper on rather than turning the central heating up. We have/do all of these, apart from a heat exchange pump, which is the next thing on my list to save up for. It does annoy me when those in the house at the back wander round in their T shirts with a gas patio heater on full blast.
Have to admit i've looked at small scale energy a lot, but it always comes back as invest in your gear and maybe in 25 years you will get your money back.
However what does work is using less energy. Typically this netbook is using 12 watts my fridge and freezer are A+ and A++ rated. Which can make a big difference I've seen fridges burning 12 kwatt a day typically i use about 3kw a day in total, sometimes less. What is annoying is the standing charge and levys are higher than the cost of the electricity I use. last bill for feb16th to april 16th is €78 and about €50 is standing charges.
It's quite easy to save cfl bulbs or even better led bulbs sip electricity but the biggies are fridge freezer washing machine and tv. Replacing them with new ones will pay you back quite quickly.
I too think the best way forward is to reduce energy consumption by insulating homes and having more efficient machines in them, more efficient transport systems both personal and public and more home production of fuel to lessen reliance on unreliable or costly imports. We reduced our bills by almost a third last year simply by being more careful about lights, using the oven less an doing fewer but bigger loads of washing and changing from grilled bacon and poached eggs to fruit and cereal for breakfast.
I think wind farms probably have their place but that's a long way from human habitation and wildlife migration routes and habitats on land or in the sea. The planet is theirs to live in and inherit as well as our children's. However round here I see the indecent haste with which short termist politiicans are rushing to erect them in unsuitableplaces and also see here, where we nearly always have some wind, even if it's only a breeze, how often the damn things don't trun or are turned on grid power. Ludicrously inefficient and wasteful.
I recently saw a programme about genetically modified cyan bacteria which can prodcue methanol for fuel which sounds good and means food crops can provide food instead of "green" fuel but do we now have to worry about who controls such organisms and their escaping into the environment?
Fracking seems to me an eminently sensible process as long as they are sensible and careful about it but taht's ever the trouble with industry isn't it? They're there to make money for their investors and safety standards for personnel, the environment and local community tend to have to be imposed form outside and all too often aren't in less developed countries.
I don't think windfarms are rubbish. I think they have their place, like those further down the coast that are not so visible from the shore - miles out to sea. I only chose Skegness because I was there yesterday and when I arrived at the beach I was stunned that an army of them that greeted me. I used to look out to sea to the horizon and imagine what lay beyond and what it was like for sailors centuries ago that wondered about possible new worlds. I won't get that from Skeggie any more! I am not a Nimby. There are windfarms a few miles from where I live, in the Lincolnshire Fens. I can see them way in the distance. Some more are being built and I have no problem with that. But I wouldn't want to look out of my lounge window at one looming as close as those as Skegness.
Although we need to reduce energy consumption by insulation etc., the elephant in the room is that the world's population is forecast by the UN to grow from 7 billion today to 10 billion by 2050, a 50% increase. And the populations of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) are getting a lot wealthier and are going to want more cars, central heating etc. Oil will last maybe 50 - 60 years, and what is going to power our cars then? Wind turbines, wave power and solar power aren't going to scratch the surface in addressing that. Right now politicians are sitting on their hands not wanting to upset voters that could make the difference at the next election. Maybe a few weeks of power cuts will bring a dose of realism.
The electricity companies are also to blame. They are supplying electricity at 255 volts, which is over the given tolerance (230 volts plus or minus 10%). We are in dispute with the electricity company, as we can only export energy to the grid when it's within tolerance (so lots of us in the area that have solar panels are complaining). This is not good for appliances, either, as they are designed to run at 230 volts, so will reduce the lifespan of the appliance, as well as getting you to use more electricity. They need to sort their act out - they've known about the problem for 6 months now, they're trying to sort out the problem, but because they're not prepared to invest in infrastructure, the power is either too high, or keeps going off. They need to bite the bullet and spend some money.
Anyway, back to the question of those solar lights..........