Can we keep the lights on?

Can we, as a nation, keep the lights on, with these intermittent wind turbines? Can we keep the lights on, without nuclear power stations or coal burning power stations? Can we keep the lights on, with all these climate change targets? You often hear journalists and politicians ask these questions when discussing energy. The question indicates the importance of energy security, being able to flick a switch and know that the lights will come on, every time. However, they are asking the wrong question. Energy security is not about keeping the lights on. Continue reading

The Energy Tipping Point of Mr Laidlaw

Mr Sam Laidlaw, Chief Executive of Centrica, said at the recent Economist Energy Summit that he believes that we are rapidly approaching a tipping point in energy. Presumably a tipping point occurs when the old regime of there being sufficient energy to meet the world’s needs changes to there being insufficient energy to meet the world’s needs. Mr Laidlaw points to three factors that are creating this tipping point. The first is dependence on volatile world markets for fuel, the second factor is climate change and the third factor is affordability. Continue reading

Energy Policy Folly – Wind Turbines

Christopher Booker, writing in the Daily Telegraph on 23rd April, rightly, in my view, argued that the lights in Britain will go out more sooner than expected because of European Union and UK energy law and policy. He sets out the facts as Continue reading

War and Oil

I have a memory of a television news report just after theIraqwar started. A man, whose child had been killed by Allied bombing shout “just take the bloody oil and go, leave us alone”. At that time many of us thought that theIraqwar was about oil, and so it has proved. TodayChinabuys Iraqi oil than all the other nations put together, butChinadid not fight inIraq, so what benefit was there to the Allies for fighting the war? Continue reading

Changing our environment through crisis

There have been two new crises in the world that have occurred in the past few weeks. One crisis is the devastation of the nuclear power facility in Fukushima in Japan, which was caused by building the nuclear power plant close to the sea in region where earthquakes happen routinely, without sufficient protection for the plant from damage by earthquake and tsunami. The second crisis is taking place in Libya, where a civil war, with one side backed by most nations, is happening, with all the loss of life, bombing, explosions and waste that happens in war. Continue reading

The efficiency of wind turbines

Wind turbines derive their energy form the kinetic energy in wind. When the wind blows the turbine revolves and the turbine is connected to a generator which generates direct current electricity. The electricity is inverted into alternating current electricity and then fed into a grid or into a place where the electricity is used. There is a limit to the energy in any given amount of wind, but there is also a limit to the maximum amount of energy that any turbine can collect and harness. Continue reading

Renewable Heat Policy – muddled thinking

The United Kingdom Government has published an Energy Statement in the form of Departmental Memorandum from the Department of Energy and Climate Change. As a whole it is much of the same, with little change from the previous position, but that is to be expected from such a new government that has to get to grips with securing our energy and climate change future which is the most difficult and important of its tasks, whether it realises it or not. Continue reading