Can the UK be self-sufficient in energy?

#1
One for the energy strategists/people who either love or hate windfarms etc...

A Prof. of Physics from Cambridge has published a free online book discussing sustainable Energy.

Its big, but a decent (objective) look at our options as a country regarding energy production/use. It includes an analysis of the actual costs of changing our behaviour, and comparisons of the costs/gains associated with different strategies at a national level.

It makes interesting reading for those interested in actually making the country self-reliant in terms of energy (and therefore not being reliant on Ivan).

Nuclear energy gets a pretty good look in too...

SH
 
#2
In answer to your question, of course it can. It just needs a Government willing to dedicate some time and money to it.

Anyway, being a spotter on these matters (just finished a course on it!) I found the James May Big Ideas programme really good. Its no longer available on the BBC iplayer but it is on Utube, just search for James Mays' Big Ideas.


C_of_J
 
#3
Schleswig-Holstein said:
One for the energy strategists/people who either love or hate windfarms etc...

A Prof. of Physics from Cambridge has published a free online book discussing sustainable Energy.

Its big, but a decent (objective) look at our options as a country regarding energy production/use. It includes an analysis of the actual costs of changing our behaviour, and comparisons of the costs/gains associated with different strategies at a national level.

It makes interesting reading for those interested in actually making the country self-reliant in terms of energy (and therefore not being reliant on Ivan).

Nuclear energy gets a pretty good look in too...

SH
If the last conservative government hadn't sold off OUR gas electric telecomms etc (used to belong to the whole country) so that a few people could make a lot of money, then we would probably be somewhere near self sufficient and paying a lot less for our energy....

Johnny
 
#4
johnnyonthespot said:
If the last conservative government hadn't sold off OUR gas electric telecomms etc (used to belong to the whole country) so that a few people could make a lot of money, then we would probably be somewhere near self sufficient and paying a lot less for our energy....
How? Do you honestly believe the public sector is more efficient than the private sector?

msr
 
#5
Sitting as I am on the West coast, having had gusts of wind up to 119MPH this afternoon and a sea swell of several meters I feel that we could get much more energy from these renewable s. Weather of this intensity will be with us pretty well until March on the West of Scotland and it is an untapped resource.

Putting wind generated electricity straight into the grid is, in my opinion not the best way to utilise this surplus. Would it not be more sensible to use the 'free' but erratic wind energy to make hydrogen which could then be used to power smaller electricity generating stations as and when the demand was there?

You would of course have to give the various tree hugging groups and the RSPB a good slapping first though.
 
#7
.338lapua_magnum said:
Sitting as I am on the West coast, having had gusts of wind up to 119MPH this afternoon and a sea swell of several meters I feel that we could get much more energy from these renewable s. Weather of this intensity will be with us pretty well until March on the West of Scotland and it is an untapped resource.

Putting wind generated electricity straight into the grid is, in my opinion not the best way to utilise this surplus. Would it not be more sensible to use the 'free' but erratic wind energy to make hydrogen which could then be used to power smaller electricity generating stations as and when the demand was there?

You would of course have to give the various tree hugging groups and the RSPB a good slapping first though.
Read the online book - the additional costs (steel/concrete etc) associated with these renewables pump up the costs... I'm a mild tree-huger by the way :wink:
 
#8
Schleswig-Holstein said:
msr said:
How? Do you honestly believe the public sector is more efficient than the private sector?

msr
Well, the recent blinding performance by the private sector doesn't exactly leave me full of confidence in their ability to save us money...
British Leyland?

msr
 
#9
msr said:
johnnyonthespot said:
If the last conservative government hadn't sold off OUR gas electric telecomms etc (used to belong to the whole country) so that a few people could make a lot of money, then we would probably be somewhere near self sufficient and paying a lot less for our energy....
How? Do you honestly believe the public sector is more efficient than the private sector?

msr
MSR, The principle supposedly underpinning privatisation of the utilities (competition means driving down prices for the consumer) has proven to be false. Clearly , privitisation does not neccessarily mean better service for the consumer.

Also in the long term interests of the nation and in a worst case scenario, the state now has no real control over crucial utilities in times of a national emergency...... what if the needs of the nation contradict the wishes of the private companies...think they would want to forgoe their profits and act in the interests of the country.....? i dont think so.

Johnny
 
#10
I accept that the initial costing of any power station is high. It has more to do with just how much we are willing to pay because sooner or later we will have to face the way we use power.
The tree hugging jab relates to the fact that out here it is very difficult to get anything done without objections from self appointed environmental experts from afar who never take local knowledge on board. Case in point is the way the rspb (a charity) obstruct planning in the name of protecting a species: in this case the corncrake.
 
#11
private sector fine if comes to cars what you want to eat etc etc.

when fecking up can take the rest of the state with it banking,infrastructure not so sure
some inefficacy read redundancy probably a good idea :roll:
prefer a mixed economy some state support regulation so all the cash does'nt disappear in a pyramid scheme and the lights stay on.

this gov and politicons in general Dave's no better believe the market can solve all our problems it can't. does'nt mean it shouldn't be used but it needs watching and before every is placed in the private sector somebody should think what happens if it goes to shit.

energy self sufficency would mean the gov actually spending tax money on stuff rather than consultants so that means making a decsion not going to happen :x
 
#12
Schleswig-Holstein said:
One for the energy strategists/people who either love or hate windfarms etc...

A Prof. of Physics from Cambridge has published a free online book discussing sustainable Energy.

Its big, but a decent (objective) look at our options as a country regarding energy production/use. It includes an analysis of the actual costs of changing our behaviour, and comparisons of the costs/gains associated with different strategies at a national level.

It makes interesting reading for those interested in actually making the country self-reliant in terms of energy (and therefore not being reliant on Ivan).

Nuclear energy gets a pretty good look in too...

SH
Sounds good. I'm interested in how switching to nuclear would help us be self-sufficient, though. We'll have to get the fuel from somewhere, we don't have much fissile material in the UK.

As a stepping stone to self-sufficiency it'll help break our dependency on fossil fuels, sure. But insofar as we'll still need to buy our fuel abroad, it'll be like swapping heroin addiction for methadone addiction. To be truly independent we'd need to find some energy source native to the UK and to my mind that's either coal or renewables.
 
#13
msr said:
johnnyonthespot said:
If the last conservative government hadn't sold off OUR gas electric telecomms etc (used to belong to the whole country) so that a few people could make a lot of money, then we would probably be somewhere near self sufficient and paying a lot less for our energy....
How? Do you honestly believe the public sector is more efficient than the private sector?

msr
I certainly think so when it comes to this type of industry. Energy is important and should be owned nationaly IMO. Essentials should not be run just to maximise profit over a 12 month period to secure a bonus. Rather we should be running them with consumer service in mind and with long term strategies that puts service over profit.
 
#14
smartascarrots said:
Sounds good. I'm interested in how switching to nuclear would help us be self-sufficient, though. We'll have to get the fuel from somewhere, we don't have much fissile material in the UK.

As a stepping stone to self-sufficiency it'll help break our dependency on fossil fuels, sure. But insofar as we'll still need to buy our fuel abroad, it'll be like swapping heroin addiction for methadone addiction. To be truly independent we'd need to find some energy source native to the UK and to my mind that's either coal or renewables.
These are questions he asks in the book... (honest, I'm not on commission!)

Turns out that a mixed approach is the best.
 
#15
We certainly used to be self sufficient, prior to Nuclear stations opening in the 50's, but we had coal in those days. Privatisation was one thing, but the deliberate closure of the pits was entirely another. Politics aside and without getting into the union argument and price per tonne, the pits should have been put into preservation, as we are unlikely to be able to survive without them now.

Wind is great on windy days, but there are several tens of days where no wind is available and unfortunately this happens also to occur in winter when demand is highest. Wavepower is too much in infancy to be regarded as a solution.

Im afraid its nuclear and possibly coal that will hold this country's power futures.
 
#17
At home we have solar hot water, in the summer (May to Sept) we rarely, if ever have the boiler on as the 220 litre tank is normally around 55-70 degrees C each day. Our Gas bill is around 1/2 our neighbours and even in winter it can pre heat to 25 by the early afternoon. If all houses had this the nation would be much better off as would our air, remember an average house central heating/hot water produces more CO2 than your car!
 
#18
Schleswig-Holstein said:
msr said:
How? Do you honestly believe the public sector is more efficient than the private sector?

msr
Well, the recent blinding performance by the private sector doesn't exactly leave me full of confidence in their ability to save us money...
Or National Strategic assets over Private profit.

Being an auld trout i remember growing up as a child in The Winter of discontent so i am well aware of the dangers of the state trying to run a business. How ever i have grown to see that the State now has little or no real control of national strategic assets.

And also have seen that RD in alternative power being let fall by the way side. North sea oil was at one time in the early Thatcher years praised not only as a bounty of revenue but as a means of making the Nation independent of foreign oil and gas...

But of course privatisation spunked that...on well good question certainly not on alternative enegry sources. Wind Solar and wave was trying to get investment and be taken seriously in the mid 70's, and the issues of nuclear was also something that needed the next stage in both making it efficient and cheap which it never has been and also the issues of waste disposal.


But why do today what can be done at double the cost tomorrow, that is of course is good for profit but not good for a national strategy.
 
#19
bobthedog said:
Wind is great on windy days, but there are several tens of days where no wind is available and unfortunately this happens also to occur in winter when demand is highest. Wavepower is too much in infancy to be regarded as a solution.

Im afraid its nuclear and possibly coal that will hold this country's power futures.
There are very few days when no wind blows in the Northern and Western isles of this country. In winter it blows almost continually, 15 to 25Kt being the normal on a quite day. The problem is matching demand to supply. If the energy produced by wind can be stored to be used when demand is high we start to see a way out. Although making hydrogen is not difficult it does have problems. If the plant is kept outdoors leaks are not a problem as escaping hydrogen goes up, minimising the obvious fire hazard. Also, When hydrogen burns we get water, cant see too many greens getting shitty about that.

I do feel that when more research is put into utilising swell (not wave) energy that a more consistent energy will become available.

Has anyone in the UK looked at deep hole boring? Find some stable rock, drill down several Km, pump high pressure water down and it comes back up superheated. Man made geothermal energy.
 
#20
bobthedog said:
Wind is great on windy days, but there are several tens of days where no wind is available and unfortunately this happens also to occur in winter when demand is highest. Wavepower is too much in infancy to be regarded as a solution.
The engineers go to great lengths to make sure they site these windmill thingies in areas in which the wind is constant. They don't just wet a finger, hold it up and say: "That seems to be enough".

MsG
 

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