The coming UK energy meltdown

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
More and more, I'm convinced that major, long-term infrastructural decisions need to be taken out of the hands of, and so protected from the vagaries of, the political party of the day and handed to appropriately appointed, apolitical bodies.

I'm perhaps driven by a (reasonable) dread of the Labour Party in particular, who seem determined to have ideological aspirations take precedence over what actually bloody works. (That said, the Lib Dems policy on nuclear leaves me - or will do, quite literally - cold.)

The problem is where do you start and stop? Energy, other utilities and transport all require long-term policies. But then so do industrial policy and by extension education, housing, immigration and healthcare.

If you took off them all that needs running properly, there'd be nothing left for the buggers to do.

Hey, I think I see a solution. Keys to the armoury, please... :-D
 

AirHippo

War Hero
If it's needed in a hurry go for open cast or strip mining. The occupants of the former pit-villages may be put out, but in the grand scheme of things, not beyond the legislation of the day.

I wouldn't get too stressed about running out of gas any time soon. The Norgies are more than happy to sell us their surplus.

Might be a bit difficult to get at the rock that's three or four thousand feet underground, in that case. A lot of British coalfields have been quite heavily worked and require deep shafts to access the remaining seams. For my money the best thing to do is to go nuclear and gradually re-open the more accessible collieries, with modern methods of operation. I gather that nowadays a common trick is to cut out a huge underground chamber, by blasting away massive faces of coal. The fallen coal and spoil are then moved onto conveyor belts or similar and hauled away. Very little manpower involved and huge amounts produced per man.
 

alib

LE
...
The problem is where do you start and stop? Energy, other utilities and transport all require long-term policies. But then so do industrial policy and by extension education, housing, immigration and healthcare.

If you took off them all that needs running properly, there'd be nothing left for the buggers to do.

Hey, I think I see a solution. Keys to the armoury, please... :-D
I was listening to a Septiic Podcast a month ago based on some global research. Water is the utility that gets singled out as being silly to privatize, you'll just get fleeced, it seems the consumer can get some benefits from the private sector being involved in others if its well managed.

You have to take into account the ability of countries different institutional cultures to manage the private sector, the Swiss for instance are very successful collaborating intimately and shrewdly allowing the private sector to run much of their heavy state at a decent profit while only getting ripped off occasionally. That country is much smaller than the UK, richer, locally governed sensibly without much real transparency. Perhaps because of its former passion for the much simpler business of running lumbering but obedient nationalized utilities all recent UK governments have been notably naive stewards of privatized projects which in itself should be a disincentive from engaging in them. Fools are soon parted from their money.

You do need some folks on top with the power and will to rush in when either public or private sectors drop the ball. I think a suitable approach for the UK would be relatively free from ideology, risk tolerant, fact based and experimental. It should be understood that expensive failures are part of the process to be identifies early and corrected. A mix of free market berserkers and stolid state builders guided by technically literate mandarins and legally isolated from industry lobbyists. Never happen of course.

Energy and more visibly public transport underwent such an experiment a few decades ago. Thatcher herself said privatizing rail was far too big a risk and the dogmatic free market zealots in the Major government that they would not know if it had worked for 20 years which should have been a red flag for the similarly minded Blair administration. Neither have gone well for the electorate. Unfortunately all the guys in charge this century think its just time for business as usual and seem most intent on shoveling increasingly unattractive pork to industry chums.
 
Might be a bit difficult to get at the rock that's three or four thousand feet underground, in that case. A lot of British coalfields have been quite heavily worked and require deep shafts to access the remaining seams. For my money the best thing to do is to go nuclear and gradually re-open the more accessible collieries, with modern methods of operation. I gather that nowadays a common trick is to cut out a huge underground chamber, by blasting away massive faces of coal. The fallen coal and spoil are then moved onto conveyor belts or similar and hauled away. Very little manpower involved and huge amounts produced per man.

Good plan, but I wonder where we are going to find folk prepared to work underground. Dirty, dangerous, shift-work probably won't sound too appealing to a generation of unemployed media studies graduates.

B
 

alib

LE
Good plan, but I wonder where we are going to find folk prepared to work underground. Dirty, dangerous, shift-work probably won't sound too appealing to a generation of unemployed media studies graduates.

B
Lots of Poles will lap that up.
 
One could say that destroying the pits in the 80s was far sighted by Maggie at least the UK does have a fuel reserve, the fact that it is 1000s of feet below ground is prity imiterial when we need I am sure the Polish chaps will nip over and dig it up for us.
The only issue I see is the lack off coal fired power stations unless some clever git has built the oil/gas stations as fitted for but not with?
 
One could say that destroying the pits in the 80s was far sighted by Maggie at least the UK does have a fuel reserve, the fact that it is 1000s of feet below ground is prity imiterial when we need I am sure the Polish chaps will nip over and dig it up for us.
The only issue I see is the lack off coal fired power stations unless some clever git has built the oil/gas stations as fitted for but not with?

I'm all right... i've got an open fire and an aga in the house and a chimnea in the garden.
 

alib

LE
...
The only issue I see is the lack off coal fired power stations unless some clever git has built the oil/gas stations as fitted for but not with?
Nah, the clever gits went for gas power stations because they are much, much cheaper to build than coal ones and they were sensibly interested in making a fast buck. Market forces innit.
 

Yokel

LE
Can they burn gas produced from coal?
 
Probably... but they could also cut the coal up realy finely and blow the dust in n lieu of gas.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
you have to coke fuel first, gas lighting came about due to the by product when coking coal for steel making etc... all the gasometers kicking about in every town are due to the coking plants and one reason why the sites are so contaminated.

according to the papers the people think we should have more wind turbines which means the people do not understand them. what the govt should do is model the weather and in real time roll out brown out and power cuts in relation to the weather. so no power when its not windy or too windy.

give it a week and the fickle deluded public will be clamoring for nuclear power and coal plants. :)

current coal plants do burn coal dust which is why they are so expensive to build. each burner has a giant tumbler infront of it full of steel shot which smashed the coal and the dust is blown into the furnace. makes for a lean burn solution with little ash but expensive in steel shot as there are thousands in there, fist sized and getting smaller every day.
 
........... we should have more wind turbines which means the people do not understand them. what the govt should do is model the weather and in real time roll out brown out and power cuts in relation to the weather. so no power when its not windy or too windy.................
.

I think you will find that despite all the claims of "we have 100 Gigawatts of capability here". that no wind farm has operated better than 30%. (But it can be offset in carbon credits.)

Sorry, I do not have a link, but was told this by someone involved in the design and installation of them.

Cheers
Gadge
 
Whats wrong with using nuclear generated electricity? From nuclear power stations built in the UK?

Or is that so simple, obvious, and straight forwards that I'm missing something? "Objections"? Reduce electricity bills by 75% and I bet those objections reduce as well.
 
Always the same arguements...

Wind - what if there is no wind
Solar - what if it is dark
Tidal - what if the tide goes out.

Coal - It will run out/become to difficult/expensive to procure.
Uranium - as above.
Oil - as above.

Perhaps UK should have rolling brown outs... it would encourage more efficient use of our energy. Perhaps improve the builds of houses and what not.
 

alib

LE
...
Perhaps UK should have rolling brown outs... it would encourage more efficient use of our energy. Perhaps improve the builds of houses and what not.
Conservation strategies do make a lot of sense but then along rolls a new generation of flat TVs consuming more and more watts.

If I recall correctly from reading links above yonks ago the rolling blackouts are on the cards if something big isn't done in the UK which means a shit load of investment will eventually be needed and the only place that's likely to come from is the public purse as the private sector will hate the narrow and distant profit margins on any realistic solution.

Yet another form of debt kicked down to the grandkids.
 
I think most white and brown goods are getting more efficient...

I know my flat screen is more efficient tha tthe portable I had for years.

And my new dryer is better than my old one.

The big difference between me and my neighbours (for example) 1. they use less efficient dryers. 2. they use them all th etime. They regard putting out the washing as a treat... All of my washing goes ont he line. The dryer is for last minute.com or when it is raining. I have a heated drying rack which is very economical and useful too.

I've also taken to turning the stuff i do't need at source. Flicking off the breakers for the lights and plugs downstairs... or when I go out.

Seems to make a small impact, plus fleece lined curtains. Gotta love them.

Get an owl electric monitor. It's amazing what chages you can make in your lifestyle.
 
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