Energy policy – time for a new look?

I have been UKIP’s Energy Spokesman since March 2012, and during that time we have been resolutely opposed to renewables. There have been many reasons for this stance. Æsthetic reasons. Environmental reasons. Animal welfare reasons. But above all, the inter-related issues of intermittency and cost. I have raised the intriguing question of why wind power operators on the one hand claim that they have achieved “grid parity”, but on the other hand insist that they need subsidies to continue operations. The answer: because they choose to ignore the massive indirect costs of intermittency.

I have been concerned that fossil fuels have been outflanked by renewables, not because fossil fuels are uncompetitive, but because renewables benefit from massive subsidies and regulatory protections. I have complained that it has become difficult to attract investment into major energy infrastructure projects because of the high level of regulatory uncertainty.

But on the key issues of cost and intermittency, we may now need to consider recent developments in large-scale battery storage. I have always said that the game-changer for renewables would be very-large-scale – and I mean very large scale – energy storage. If it were possible to store (say) solar energy through the summer and use it in the winter, the economics would be transformed, and intermittency would cease to be a factor. If we could store just a few days’ usage, the picture would dramatically improve.

In a Telegraph comment piece on Thursday, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard explains why he believes that a break-through is coming in this area. He speaks of the very concerted efforts that the US Department of Energy is making to develop large-scale storage with new battery technologies, quoting the Advanced Research Projects Agency (Energy) at some length.

We need to approach this question with a cool head. In my view, Ambrose has always been just a little bit too gung-ho on renewables, when the rest of us simply saw their drawbacks. Nonetheless it does seem that new battery technology is coming. Ambrose speaks of the “Holy Grail” of battery development – large-scale storage at a capital cost of $100 per KWh. US scientists and technologists believe this should be achievable.

On this basis (says Ambrose) the US economy could be totally “decarbonised” by 2050, and the UK “within a generation” (I’m not sure which comes first).

Before we get carried away, we should consider the down-sides. This will require both very large-scale storage, to back-up the grid, as well as energy-dense small-scale storage, for vehicles and other applications. I don’t believe that widespread up-take of electric cars will happen until the industry can offer 300+ miles range (with air-con and other electrics operating), plus very rapid recharging facilities. And while solar is already (arguably) price-competitive in the Sahara desert, it still struggles in our gloomy northern latitudes.

We are still left with the hideous æsthetics of wind and solar, and the millions of birds chopped up by turbine blades (RSPB please note). And the bats. You can’t evict the bats from your parish church when they’re leaving a mess on the silver chalices, but you can kill bats on an industrial scale with wind turbines.

Then there is the issue of efficiency. All energy storage schemes involve some degree of inefficiency, and therefore cost – even pumping water up-hill to use later in your hydro scheme. But it won’t help having a low capital cost on the storage facility if the costs of operating it are prohibitive.

Nor does Ambrose’s position justify any immediate decisions (apart perhaps from the cancellation of Hinkley C – but there are many reasons for doing that). Ambrose himself admits that the timing is still in doubt: “The question … is whether the inflection point arrives in the early 2020s or the late 2030s”. So there is little justification for upping investment at this stage in renewables, because the turbines and solar panels we deploy in 2016 will be obsolescent by “the early 2020s”, and downright antique by the “the late 2030s”, and we will wonder why we didn’t save our investment funds for more modern, cost-efficient devices. Indeed the turbines we erect today are unlikely to last until the late 2030s.

Nonetheless, the probable availability of cost-effective large-scale storage in the next two or three decades should perhaps now start to colour our thinking – especially as nuclear plants represent a six-decade investment.

UKIP will announce a new Party Leader on September 16th, and that Leader will no doubt wish to make his/her own decisions on policy spokesmen. I shall be happy to hand on my portfolio responsibilities to whomever is designated for the task. But I think that the recent developments outlined above need to be taken into account and factored into our UKIP energy policy in coming years.

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45 Responses to Energy policy – time for a new look?

  1. Has anyone ever found a “Holy Grail”? Just asking…

  2. rfhmep says:

    Ambrose advises me that the phrase “late 2030s” appearing in the hard-copy version was a misprint — it appears as “late 2020s” in the electronic version. But I still wouldn’t rush into renewables investment until we see a little more solid evidence on the storage front.

  3. Hugh Rose says:

    The way forward to redress the balance in the UK’s generating capacity must be to develop mini nuclear power plants.

    UK used to lead the world in this technology and we still produce our own nuclear reactors for our submarines. As the old fossil-fuel power stations close down, they should be replaced on site by small nuclear generators. The land is already spoilt and maybe contaminated to some degree with heavy metals; the required infrastructure of power lines and voltage substations is already in place; there is a work force already employed and many of the skills are the same; there is a local demand for power and there may even be ways of using surplus heat/cooling water economically and efficiently for intensive agriculture, pisci-culture or local community heating projects as well.

    Instead our “well past their sell-by date” planners cannot think outside the traditional box of constructing ever-larger nuclear power stations using foreign capital and expertise at very expensive rates and despoiling the few coastal landscapes we have left. Having put all the eggs into one basket, they then have to build large expensive and wasteful power lines to transport the power to where it is required.

    Instead of building yet more housing and increasing the demand for power and placing additional population pressure in the capital, Battersea power station should have been converted to nuclear generation. Our unreliable wind turbines and solar farms should have mini-nuclear power stations backing them up and using the same distribution infrastructure.

    Anti nuclear campaigners will complain about risk but a reactor has operated perfectly safely at Greenwich for years and the small size of such plants makes the minimal risks much easier to manage.

    • Ian Hicks says:

      I could not agree more with this articul, I feel that crowd funding might help buy these small nuclear power plants, I think Miitsubishi are one manifacturer, with a price tag around £50 million.
      Another idea would be free solar panels, never mind withdrawing the feed in tarif, this is very cheap crowd generation, why would the government not want to encourage this , combined with the Tesla Power Wall batteries, or someone else’s ?
      The infrastructure is there, Feed In and or personal storage.
      Regards
      Ian

  4. martinbrumby says:

    C’mon Roger!
    You can do better than this!

    If either Evans Pritchard or you really believes this stuff, I’ve got a lovely bridge across the bay in San Francisco which I can let you have, Mate’s Rates!

    Yes, I accept that cheap, efficient & reliable energy storage is something of a “Holy Grail”. Just like cold Fusion in fact. Another technology “just a few years away”.

    And, like George Washington. the boffins being hosed with taxpayers’s money to work on these projects Could Not Tell A Lie, could they?!

    Just as a little clue:- Pritchard writes breathlessly
    “……many claiming “drastic improvements” that can slash storage costs by 80pc to 90pc and reach the magical figure of $100 per kilowatt hour in relatively short order.”

    A few paragraphs later we read:-
    “Hinkley Point locks Britain into a strike price of £92.50 per megawatt hour – adjusted for inflation, already £97 – and that is guaranteed for 35 years.” which he rightly points out is double current market prices.

    You may wish to ponder the fact that the “magical figure” of $100 per kilowatt hour works out as an electricity price of £77,000 per megawatt hour. And you have all the costs of Ruinable Energy on top of that!

    Now, about that bridge I can sell you……

    • rfhmep says:

      I think you may be confusing capital cost with operating cost. £77,000 is the capital cost of the storage equipment — not the cost of storing a single megawatt hour! We shouldn’t be taken in by promises of emerging technology — but we shouldn’t ignore real current developments either.

  5. Oliver K. Manuel says:

    My first priority is to get an open discussion at the London GeoEthics Conference on Climate Change (8-9 September 2016) on precise and irrefutable experimental evidence NEUTRON REPULSION is the powerful source of energy that offers humanity powers beyond the dreams of scientific fiction (See the last paragraph of Aston’s 1922 Mobel Lecture.

    • Oliver Manuel says:

      (See the last paragraph of Aston’s 1922 Nobel Lecture).

      NEUTRON REPULSION powers the Sun and the expanding universe. See p.7 of Kuroda’s autobiography: http://www.omatumr.com/abstracts2005/PKKAutobiography.pdf

      On 13 June 1936 a 19-year old student at the Imperial University of Tokyo realized that a 30-year old nuclear physicist did not understand Aston’s nuclear “packing fraction.” That same year a 30-year old nuclear physicist joined forces with Dr. Carl von Weizsacker to produce the well-known Weizsacker-Bethe semi-empirical mass formula to predict nuclear “binding energy.”

  6. ian wragg says:

    Like Carbon Capture and Storage, I don’t think large scale electricity storage will ever be mainstream.
    The beauty of electricity is it is easy to transport and traditional generators only generate what’s needed by controlling frequency.
    If we had large scale storage as AP says, we would lose an enormous amount through heat losses when we turned it from DC to AC together with associated transmission costs.
    I can see a future for domestic scale storage to flatten out solar energy or store cheap off peak power.
    Almost 50 years in the power industry and all I can say is get fracking.

  7. catweazle666 says:

    No chance!

    Apart from the environmental problems that will be inescapable with any form of chemical storage, there is the problem of scale. How much energy storage will be required when a nice big stable blocking high takes up residence in the North Atlantic for a few weeks in winter?

    Then there is generation density. How many hundreds of thousands of wind turbines and how many square miles of solar panels will be necessary to produce enough energy to run the country not only through the day, but – given that we really do have these phantasmagorical batteries – through the night too?

    Once again, every milliwatt of energy from the ‘unreliables’ will need to be matched by the equivalent from good old thermal plant.

    So basically, it can’t be done. Grid scale batteries will come around the same time that we master cheap nuclear fusion. If we’re lucky.

    As an aside, there is a type of battery that uses cheap, common, relatively non-toxic and very recyclable ingredients, the nickel-iron battery.

    It is robust, very long-lived, doesn’t mind standing flat, resists both overcharging and short circuits and doesn’t lose charge if it is not used. There are a few negative features, but had even a tenth of the research been devoted to it that has been devoted to the lithium based batteries, I’m sure they could have been overcome. Granted, compared to the lithium batteries they are heavy and bulky, but for non-portable applications, that is not a problem.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel%E2%80%93iron_battery

    They have a design life of 30-40 years and there is known NiFe batteries that are still going after 80 years!! If your looking for a long term battery solution, this is it!! They are the most environmentally sound battery available.

    http://www.bimblesolar.com/batteries/nifebatteries

    • We build a lake in Snowdonia or the Cairngorms and pump a million gaollons of water up there when the Sun is shining, At 8:00am when everybody puts on their 3kW kettles On (Which should be 2kW but takes one min longer) we let it go onto the generators to even out all the peaks, Could be Sea water if near the Ocean, All you need is a Pump and a Generator, Whats the problem?!

      • catweazle666 says:

        The problem is that there are very few sites in the UK where such a scheme is practicable, and that even if there were, the cost per unit of energy is very high.

        The real problem is that very few advocates of pumped storage seem to appreciate just how big the numbers are.

        Let’s do the arithmetic for your 3kW kettle.

        One horse power = 550 foot pounds per second = 746 watts (let’s say 750 for simplicity).

        So your 3kW (4 x 750w) kettle requires 4 x 550 = 2200 foot pounds per second.

        One cubic foot of water weighs 62.5 pounds, so that means 35.2 (2200/62.5) cubic feet of water per second would have to fall 550 feet to warm the aforesaid kettle for one second.

        Let’s assume the kettle takes one minute to boil, so that means 2112 cubic feet of water would have to fall 550 feet to boil an average kettle. So that means 58.92 (2112 / 2240 x 62.5) tons of water falling 550 feet.

        Or conversely, to store enough water to boil an average kettle you will have to pump 58.92 tons of water up 550 feet.

        That of course assumes 100% efficiency, over the full cycle you might expect 85%.

        NOW do you see the problem with pumped storage?

        Feel free to check my numbers if you so wish!

      • The EU tried to reduce these peaks by limiting the size of domestic appliances but a usual the politicians turned it into a row about the EU. However a few more details for you.

        http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2014/ph240/galvan-lopez2/

      • catweazle666 says:

        Now let’s see how many kettles a million gallons of water pumped up 550 feet might boil, shall we?

        1,000,000 gallons = 16054 cubic feet.

        16054 cubic feet weighs 448 tons.

        448 divided by 58.92 = 7.60.

        So your million gallons of water would be sufficient to boil 7.6 kettles – at 100% efficiency.

        So to be realistic, let’s say five…

      • How about a 27 Billion gallon reservoir?
        https://www.consumersenergy.com/content.aspx?id=6985
        Or should I tell them it’s not worth it? I take your point though but the Idea is not to heat the Kettles, it’s to remove the peaks and to use the excess energy caused by Solar Panels. At the present time my energy goes onto the grid and is sold a second time by some other supplier.

      • catweazle666 says:

        “How about a 27 Billion gallon reservoir?”

        That seems more like it.

        I notice the information states the installation has an output of 1,872 megawatts, but tells us nothing of its megawatt-hour capacity, a far more important number.

        However, peak chopping in Ludington, Michigan is a somewhat different application to backing up the grid in the UK where there are occasions in most winters where a blocking high in the North Atlantic can cause some weeks of very low wind velocities and low temperatures over the whole of Northern Europe and the efficiency of solar panels is low at latitude 55° North.

        In any case, there are very few locations in the UK where such a pumped storage solution is possible – even for peak chopping purposes, and they are already in use. Norway is a different matter, very much lower population and a vast area of very suitable terrain.

        https://www.withouthotair.com/c26/page_191.shtml

      • Great Link Cat!
        I remember working on the Control Systems at Denorwig when it was built! Very interesting data from the link you published on this facility.
        Thing is this is powered from the grid at night and if we had enough spare Solar capacity we could be charging this during the day as well. Once the peaks are removed the base load (Winter and Summer) would have to be generated by conventional means. Yesterday I generated 21 kWh and even with my automatic switching of loads still exported 8 kWh and also I actually paid for 4kWh during the dark hours. Maybe small scale water storage could also eliminate this and I would be totally independent of the grid, (OK maybe a few batteries but would try to avoid this)
        Once I achieve this it just needs to be scaled up to National Levels.

        http://12hgc.dtdns.net:2582/uifappsetup1.html

        Worth a second look!
        https://www.withouthotair.com/c26/page_191.shtml

        Dinorwig is the Queen of the four facilities. Let’s review her vital statis-
        tics. The total energy that can be stored in Dinorwig is about 9 GWh. Its
        upper lake is about 500 m above the lower, and the working volume of 7
        million m3 flows at a maximum rate of 390 m3/s, allowing power delivery
        at 1.7 GW for 5 hours. The efficiency of this storage system is 75%.

        If all four pumped storage stations are switched on simultaneously,
        they can produce a power of 2.8 GW. They can switch on extremely fast,
        coping with any slew rate that demand-fluctuations or wind-fluctuations
        could come up with.

  8. Simon Richards says:

    Roger,

    If it is of help to you, I spent the greater part of my career in the oil and gas industry, so if there is anything you need to know please get in touch. Presently I’m looking for a new career.

    best regards

    Simon Richards

    ________________________________

  9. Kevan Chippindall-Higgin says:

    I noticed that Ecotricity will be charging £5 for a 20 minute charge at its motorway charging stations. As far as I am aware, modern battery cars can manage around 100 miles per full charge. This will cost £10 and take 40 minutes. From Southampton to Glasgow is 427 miles. The cost in electricity en route will be £35 assuming a full charge but ignoring the cost of same. This equates to 45 mpg in a diesel car and that is ignoring the initial charge. Mine returns 50 mpg. More to the point, I can do that journey on a single tank. The electric car will need 140 minutes of charging en route.

    So, my journey time will have increased by 2 hours 20 minutes and it will cost me more in fuel and that is before we take into account the high cost of the car, or rather the batteries.

    This is not even faintly viable by any sensible measure.

    Battery technology is going to have to improve by several quantum leaps before this can be taken seriously as a long range technology. The last viable electric fleet I can recall was milk floats and how many of those are around these days? I do know of electric removal lorries in London, but these things do extremely low mileage, perhaps 15 miles each way, so the charge would last and it could even be topped up at the loading address, although the householder might not be amused. That works on a limited and specialist scale, but nothing else makes much sense.

    • rfhmep says:

      I agree it needs a quantum leap — but that, it seems, is what the US government is investing rather a lot of money in. It must happen — the question is when. Then there is the question of what happens to the Treasury’s revenues from fossil fuels when most motorists switch to electric….

      • catweazle666 says:

        “Then there is the question of what happens to the Treasury’s revenues from fossil fuels when most motorists switch to electric….”

        One word – tax.

  10. ian terry says:

    Can we just repeal the CCA and get on with energy for today and tomorrow. I have the greatest faith in our scientists and industrialists to deliver the new forms of energy, because when push goes to shove they will deliver all that will be required. They do not need the shackles of all this green crap that keeps falling on their heads from a great height.

  11. davidbuckingham says:

    URGENT !!!!! Please read – or re-read – Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case For Fossil Fuels – and/or watch various U-tube moments of him arguing that case against the leaders of environmentalism. The fundamental issue behind alternative energy is the legitimacy of the concept of man-made climate change. If ground is given on the massive virtues of the likes of proven nuclear, oil and fracking energy sources to the well-being of mankind the case will be lost.

    Only a moral case against fossil fuels justifies subsidies. If that collapses all energy subsidies can be removed. Let the best energy source win in a free market. If solar wins in a straight fight that’s fine. At present all economies benefit so vastly from oil production in so many ways its destruction could be fatal – and all for a bogus reason.

    The environmental agenda is a powerful way to control technology, capitalism, producers and the economy with global government. It gained real traction when world communism failed. It has as little credibility as eugenics which was also latched onto by the intelligentsia, political class and media as a convenient power lever for the first 50 years of the last century – until Hitler gave it a bad name.

    Please give Epstein a viewing or better still a read.

    • rfhmep says:

      I agree. I simply don’t believe in man-made climate change. Renewables will only be justified when they can compete on price. The point is that large-scale energy storage might enable them to do so.

  12. Dung says:

    I would not pay AEP in washers, he rarely manages to say anything that is both correct and useful.
    The comment on his amazing new should be simply “prove it”.
    This country has spent hundreds of billions on unproven scientific ideas that are basically garbage and oh look, the politicians are making megabucks on the side.
    There is absolutely no need for a new technology until it is tested on the required scale and proven to work.
    Oil and gas and coal are fine and will last for hundreds of years, we have had relatively clean air since the seventies but if you want to be picky we can leave the coal in the ground.
    Carbon Capture and Storage is a joke, the Earth has been doing the job for 4.5 billion years and it does a bloody good job.
    The only fly in an otherwise wonderful ointment is that CO2 is running out and the planet has been taking it out of the atmosphere and storing it usefully as coal, gas, oil, methane hydrates and other stuff, NO CO2 – NO LIFE on planet Earth, it is as simple as that. Our brilliant scientists want to stop us putting CO2 back into the atmosphere and instead dig holes and bury it, you could not make it up!

    • rfhmep says:

      No need for unproven ideas — but there is a need for secure, abundant and affordable energy. The question is — will renewables plus large-scale storage deliver it? As I stressed in my piece — there’s no point in splurging money on renewables until we can give a positive answer to that question.

      • catweazle666 says:

        “The question is — will renewables plus large-scale storage deliver it?”

        Round about the time we get nuclear fusion up and running – and then we won’t need it anyway, will we?

        As a matter of interest, how large a scale do you reckon we’ll need to cope with a nice big blocking high sitting in the North Atlantic for two or three weeks, right in the middle of winter when the solar panels are going to be working for less than six hours per day, and even then not at anywhere near full output – especially when the plans to close down all gas central heating, hot water and cooking have been put into effect, not to mention all those electric car batteries that are going to need charging every night so the owners can commute to work in the morning?

        Obviously, with the best will in the World there will never be a time when the UK is going to be capable of functioning for more than a very few hours without every last milliwatt of “renewable” energy matched by a milliwatt of energy from thermal plant – and that means fossil fuel. Think “base load” and dispatchable”…

        FRACK BABY FRACK!

  13. Oliver Manuel says:

    Here, Roger, is your personal initiation” to the end of the energy crisis:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/ENERGY.docx

  14. catweazle666 says:

    Roger, can you tell me why my post of August 11, 2016 at 4:53 pm is still in moderation?

    I don’t believe it contains any language that contravenes the site rules, and I consider it was reasonably pertinent to the matters under discussion.

  15. Richard111 says:

    “When most motorists switch to electric…” implies windmills and solar panels big time.

    Just think of the results of one really bad winter storm. Stored electricity does not transport food to the hungry

  16. Ex-expat Colin says:

    I can’t see that battery tech would work satisfactorily in regard to large area power Dist. I suppose I should research about the place a bit. Don’t think so…it won’t solve/address the huge difficulties we have and created by the UN/IPCC (CC scare/scam) for at least a couple of hundred years or so. Long may they research, but current and medium to long term supply needs to be fixed and VI’s forever eliminated.

    It appears to be about large scale and huge dangers….as regards reliability/maintainability, please discuss.

  17. tjames@doctors.org.uk says:

    when wind and sun derived energy is not subsidized and hence paid at same rate as other sources, then, maybe renewables, but of course renewables need conventional back-up– we should frack gas and use our coal and small scale nuclear power stations–hinkley is not viable

    ps battery technology has hardly improved in decades and batteries have a short life-span–solar panels rapidly degrade, and wind turbines rarely recover the energy consumed in manufacture and siting. wave power is also fraught with problems.

    we do not need to reinvent the wheel

    regards terry sullivan

  18. This week my 4kW Solar Panels passed the 9000 kWH target. For more details see my Website where I publish the daily amount generated and how much I export.

    http://madeiracardcraft.webplus.net/Site.html

    I personally cover every drive,cycle path, motorway and all roof space with these devices ( but not fields). problem is storing the power that is not used. More development needed here such as pumping water to a high altitude to be released when needed. Big advantage is solar:
    1. No global warming, (actually cooling)
    2. No burning of fossil or nuclear fuel
    3 . No changing Wind or Tidal patterns.
    4. Cheap to install.

  19. peter monaghan says:

    Why hasn’t the Severn Barrage project been mentioned. It could produce as much power as Hinckley Pt using clean tidal energy and be built with British finance and expertise?

  20. catweazle666 says:

    Repost with one URL removed.

    No chance!

    Apart from the environmental problems that will be inescapable with any form of chemical storage, there is the problem of scale. How much energy storage will be required when a nice big stable blocking high takes up residence in the North Atlantic for a few weeks in winter?

    Then there is generation density. How many hundreds of thousands of wind turbines and how many square miles of solar panels will be necessary to produce enough energy to run the country not only through the day, but – given that we really do have these phantasmagorical batteries – through the night too?

    Once again, every milliwatt of energy from the ‘unreliables’ will need to be matched by the equivalent from good old thermal plant.

    So basically, it can’t be done. Grid scale batteries will come around the same time that we master cheap nuclear fusion. If we’re lucky.

    As an aside, there is a type of battery that uses cheap, common, relatively non-toxic and very recyclable ingredients, the nickel-iron battery.

    It is robust, very long-lived, doesn’t mind standing flat, resists both overcharging and short circuits and doesn’t lose charge if it is not used. There are a few negative features, but had even a tenth of the research been devoted to it that has been devoted to the lithium based batteries, I’m sure they could have been overcome. Granted, compared to the lithium batteries they are heavy and bulky, but for non-portable applications, that is not a problem.

    They have a design life of 30-40 years and there is known NiFe batteries that are still going after 80 years!! If your looking for a long term battery solution, this is it!! They are the most environmentally sound battery available.

    http://www.bimblesolar.com/batteries/nifebatteries

    • Can only comment on my own experience in this field. Three years ago I installed a kW Solar Panel System on my Roof and because being a retired Control Systems Engineer decided to do my own monitoring of these devices to really understand whether they are worth the effort or not.
      The daily results I publish on the Web and can be viewed by anyone at this address,

      http://madeiracardcraft.webplus.net/Site.html

      Anyway after three years results in my situation which is a four bedroom house in the North West of England I have concluded the following:

      1. In three years since installation I have generated 9000 kWh of Energy of which I have exported almost 50% back to the grid to be resold by an unknown supplier. However with a FIT of 15p (Unlike today’s FIT of 6p) has returned 9000 x 15p or £1300. Add to this the 4500 kWh(50%) I have not had to buy at 16p/kWh 4500 * 16 = £720. So the combined total = £2020.

      2. Solar Energy is clean, no burning of Fossil or Nuclear Fuels, No Global Warming (In fact Global Cooling as my Loft is colder) No changing of Wind or Tidal Patterns with unknown effect.

      3. Solar Panels or Tiles should be installed on every flat surface including, All Roofs, All driveways,All Motorways All Town Centres.Cycle Tracks etc(But not in fields used for food production) The result of this would be massive generation of Energy during the Daytime, as I generate usually more than the 10kWh i use a lot of excess Energy is produced.

      4. Problem with this as everybody knows is how to store this Energy for non-productive times. Batteries have been suggested but I think the cost and poor efficiency is a problem. My solution has been in used in Wales for many years i.e Pumping water to a High altitude lake to release at suitable times. This storage can installed at high level and once built would not need a lot of maintenance. Home storage heaters and domestic water heating is successful (I use these) .
      With the Control System I developed on my own system I can report that I use up to 80% and would say I am almost Energy Neutral over 12 Months.

  21. Alan Wheatley says:

    I agree, cost effective energy storage would be a game changer and am interested in all reports in this area. So far it has seemed to be hope over expectancy, and I wonder if the latest reports from the USA will turn out to be like fusion, so near yet so far away.

    What is near and not so far away is Thorium reactors, though political interest is inexplicably tiny. Perhaps if Thorium is a commercial success too many vested interests will be hurt.

    Thorium is old science. The Americans had a thorium electricity generating station operating decades ago. What is needed now is a modern engineering implementation.

    We still do have a nuclear capability in this country, though a shadow of its formed self. We must in any event retain some nuclear capability, and thorium is an ideal opportunity to refocus and re-establish the UK as World leaders.

    Thorium will see us through the medium term, and if storage or fusion, or both, do become practical they would operate in parallel.

  22. Alan Wheatley says:

    Does VERY large scale energy storage equate to a VERY large explosion should things go wrong?

    Are there sufficient natural resources available in locations in “friendly” parts of the World to build the storage?

    What will be the lifetime costs, such as clean-up and disposal?

  23. Alan Piper says:

    Re “holy grails”, about 5 years ago I was researching heating alternatives for the house I was about to build, and came across TKPV on Google.
    Tokyo photo voltaic
    It’s not on Google now but then,
    Attached was a scientific paper that described their invention of Windows that acted as solar panels to generate electricity using “photosynthetic proteins” as a holy grail
    They also said the company had a building in London entirely glazed with these panels which made it energy self sufficient.
    Subsequently all mention of it disappeared from Google and talking to various solar panel vendors, I understand that TKPV was bought out by a US company and the technology has disappeared with it.
    I only mention it because the potential, if realisable, would be vast and I wonder if anyone in Ukip has ever heard of it, or what became of it.

    • catweazle666 says:

      It has probably joined the long list of “inventions” that have been suppressed by the Evil Oil Orcs and their minions, along with the carburettor modifications that enable your car to run off tap water, Alan.

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