Utility Week

UTILITY Week 15th January 2015

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

Issue link: https://fhpublishing.uberflip.com/i/626032

Contents of this Issue


Page 30 of 31

utILIty WEEK | 15th - 21st January 2016 | 31 Community Editor, Utility Week, and content director, Utilities: Ellen Bennett, t: 01342 332084, e: ellen. bennett@fav-house.com; News editor: Jillian ambrose, t: 01342 332061, e: jillian.ambrose@ fav-house.com; Assistant editor (insights): Jane Gray, t: 01342 332087, e: jane.gray@fav-house. com; Associate insights editor: Mathew Beech, t: 01342 332082, e: mathew.beech@fav-house. com; Research analyst: Vidhu Dutt, t: 01342 332026, e: vidhu.dutt@fav-house.com; Reporters: Lois Vallely, t: 01342 332080; e: lois.vallely@fav-house.com; Lucinda Dann, t: 01342 332083, e: lucinda.dann@fav-house.com; saffron Johnson, t: 01342 332050, e: saffron.johnson@ fav-house.com; tom Grimwood, t: 01342 332061, e: tom.grimwood@fav-house.com; Business development manager: richard Powell, t: 01342 332062, e: richard.powell@fav-house.com; Business development executive: sarah Wood, t: 01342 332077, e: sarah.wood@fav-house.com; Publisher: amanda Barnes, e: amanda. barnes@fav-house.com. General enquiries: 01342 332000; Issn: 1356-5532. registered as a newspaper at the Post Office. Printed by: Buxton Press, Palace road, Buxton, Derbyshire sK17 6aE. Published by: Faversham house Ltd, Windsor Court, Wood street, East Grinstead, West sussex rh19 1uZ 3,580 average circulation Jan–Dec 2014 Membership subscriptions: uK £637 per year. Overseas £749 per year. Top Tweets Ooh, Christmas lights… The jury is still out on whether the climate change agreement reached in Paris, COP21, will actually deliver any meaning- ful emissions reductions, but the disparity between nations when it comes to energy consumption was brought home to the great man by a recent report from the Centre for Global Development, which calculated that Americans use more electricity on their Christ- mas lights than some countries do all year. According to the group, the US consumes 6.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity over the festive season just on Christmas lights, and that is more than the total annual electricity demand of poor countries such as Ethiopia and Nepal. So when commentators complain about third world countries not being prepared to address their "addiction" to carbon-hungry fossil fuel, perhaps we'd better acknowledge where the real problem lies. Let me float an idea for you What we need is more renewables, and there seems to be no end of ingenious ideas about how we might harness the sun or the wind – albeit some of them do not look like they'll get off the design board any time soon. Take "solar balloons", for instance, currently being worked on by researchers at NextPV, a lab jointly operated by the French National Centre for Scientific Research and the University of Tokyo. The idea is that by floating above the clouds they can generate electricity whatever the weather, and by combining this with the production of hydrogen, they can store energy for use on demand. Hey presto, you've overcome the twin problems of intermittency and unreliability. The boffins at NextPV say they are confident about hav- ing a working prototype soon. The problem is that as an idea it hasn't really been thought through, thinks Disconnector. Even discounting its central looniness, you would need hundreds of thousands of the things to produce any significant amount of power and, apart from anything else, all those guy ropes would be a flight hazard. How would Amazon's drones deliver all our Christ- mas presents, for instance? The skies over Nepal and Ethiopia are clear most of the year, and as such ideal, but the locals may resent being asked to fill them with silver balloons so that we can enjoy the sort of well-lit, present- strewn Christmas we've become accustomed to. Canny Serbians You don't have to go all sci-fi to address electricity genera- tion, of course. Disconnector doesn't want readers to think these pages are any place for technological snobbery: there are plenty of low-cost solu- tions that are just as ridiculous as any mad French boffin can dream up. There is Darko Milicevic, for instance, the 39-year-old maths teacher from Paracin, in central Serbia, who has invented what he swears is a working domes- tic solar heating system built from beer cans. It's not photovoltaic, of course. That would be stupid. No, it's a thermal solar system, but instead of using (highly heat conductive) copper tubing, Mr Milicevic uses 44 empty beer cans (painted black) mounted in a 3.5 square panel. Holes are drilled in the cans to circulate the air, add some tubing, and there you go. "I placed it on the southern wall of my house. The sun's rays heat the air in the cans and the hot air naturally goes up through the cans and into the house, heating the space there," he says. Who knew it was that easy? Another nail in the coffin of the solar industry in this country, methinks. Disconnector Gaia Fawkes @GaiaFawkes "I heard the news today", global warming set to rise as coolest man on planet dies. UN Climate Action @UNFCCC Remarkable: @NASA can observe the impacts of pollution – and of environmental policies – from outer space #COP21 Tim Malecek @SICPMalecek Sweden recycles so well that only 4% goes to landfills. It imports trash from Norway to power its waste-to-energy plants. #FunFactFriday The Climate Group @ClimateGroup Wind power provided 11% of UK's electricity in 2015. All renewables: 21%. liarpoliticians @liarpoliticians #KeiserReport Countries not investing in renewables (UK) crying as oil production cost goes up, renewables getting cheaper undercutting oil American Wind Energy @AWEA #Windpower fact of the day: wind energy is 66% cheaper than it was just six years ago #windworks Leonie Greene @LeonieGreene 'Increasingly clear that so-called 'unprecedented' weather events are here to stay.' Indeed. Climate science clear. Climate Reality @ClimateReality The single biggest contributor to climate change in California? A blown-out natural gas well UberFacts @UberFacts Nuclear waste retains 95% of its energy, which means the nuclear waste that exists today could power the entire planet for 72 years. Paul Flynn @PaulFlynnMP Osborne's new best friends the Chinese, who helped him when all sensible investors fled Hinkley Point, are now in financial trouble William Marchant @richonlyinname If they can't get rocks from Cornwall, cd build the lagoon out of pound coins. At the strike price they're seeking, can probably afford it.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Utility Week - UTILITY Week 15th January 2015