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J Hancock09/08/2021 09:19:39
832 forum posts

How did we manage international trade pre-1900.

Oh,, yes , sailing ships.,horses.

The difference ?

That which can never be mentioned , population , greed..

SillyOldDuffer09/08/2021 10:57:03
8491 forum posts
1891 photos
Posted by Paul Kemp on 08/08/2021 17:30:21:



At the present time I can use as much power as I like as long as I am prepared to pay, governed only by the size of the incoming supply. I like that. In the future it seems there will be some device or external intervention controlling what I can have, when. I don't like that!

I am also wary of 'smart' technology reliability. Looking at a fleet of vessels old and new, the newer ones incorporating smart systems have lower reliability figures than the old and the cost of rectification almost twice as much.


Apart from emergencies, where it might suit the supplier to selectively disconnect ordinary consumers rather than hospitals, I don't think Smart Meters will make any difference to when chaps fire up their lathes, even though Model Engineers are notoriously careful with their money.

A more likely target is ladies who hoover! There are millions of them, all penny proud, and potentially able to vacuum carpets when energy is cheap, and avoid doing it when the meter warns them power is expensive. Same thing applies to EV's: many motorists only travel short distances and their cars spend most of the day and night parked up. They can pick and choose when their cars are charged, and will probably always go for the cheapest rate available. (I used to commute 30miles per day, and do a 100 mile round trip every third Saturday. Even less now I'm retired. My neighbour owns a 4x4, but during the summer he commutes by motorbike; he enjoys riding it and can weave through traffic jams!) Point is, power management is much more about average behaviour than special cases like the 10% who have to drive long distances at peak times, or want to tow caravans across Europe.

As to reliability, all the cars I've scrapped over the years have gone to the crusher with their Radios and other electronics in working order. What got my cars was mechanical wear and tear; coming up to an MOT with a leaking diesel pump, worn brake discs, slipping clutch, corroding brake pipes, and odd knocking noises whilst cornering can add up to a big bill. And although simple mechanics are reliable don't forget complex mechanics, like a Strowger Telephone Exchange, are hopeless compared with the electronic equivalent. (Strowger exchanges filled a large room and were kept going by constant skilled maintenance. The modern equivalent is a small box in the corner, replaced when it eventually breaks.)

A number of posts point out domestic roof top solar panels are a dodgy financial proposition. Maybe, but solar panels are a better bet than all other home-made alternatives. Driving a generator with a car-engine is horribly uneconomic compared with grid electricity. Problem is domestic installations are too small to achieve economies of scale, their contribution will help rather than solve the energy problem outright. The answer is to think big, for the same reasons coal-powered generating stations are huge. Blyth B's turbine room and boiler house were both 206 metres long, and the chimneys 170metres tall. Plus considerable infrastructure for transporting and storing large quantities of coal and ash: not a back garden operation.

My local solar proposal describes a 17MW installation covering 30 Hectares of land, which is a much lower energy density than a fossil fuel or nuclear plant: UK solar takes up a lot of space for not much power. But this is offset by several advantages: no fuel has to be bought and transported to the site; zero pollution; and the site is on poor agricultural land currently used for grazing sheep, who will still have access to much grass because the panels only shade 30% of the land. Doesn't seem unreasonable compared with digging coal in Brazil, shipping it half way around the world, and then moving it to a UK power station by road, rail or barge.


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 09/08/2021 11:00:13

J Hancock09/08/2021 12:52:49
832 forum posts

On the last point , I think you will find all the big power stations in the UK sat on top of the coal-mine.

Killing the mines , killed the stations as well.

Crazy policies , as usual.

Nukes + coal for electricity. 1000 years

NS Gas for domestic heating+ some industrial uses 1000years

Too late , we've sold it all.

pgk pgk09/08/2021 13:49:59
2552 forum posts
293 photos

Fag packet maths:

1.4% UK's 242K km sq covered in buildings

Assume pitched roofs = 0.7%.
Assume 1/10 suitable for solar panels (position/shading etc) = 0.07%
Assume average 100w/sq metre generation x 4hrs/day average:

0.07% 242000 = 169.4 km sq = 16.940.000 KW x 4 = 67.76GWH generation * 365 = 27.3TWH/yr = 1/10th of our usage (290 Terawatt hours)

With luck one could double the efficiency of that but then again storage losses etc apply. The best one could hope for would be 1/5th of our current needs - which will likely double with increased leccy changes.

You'd have to cover every road/rail embankment that's suitable and a lot of hillsides to get close to 1/2 our needs which leaves an awful lot of wind/tide and costly nuclear dependence.

Then there is the issue of average 20-25yr lifespan, cleaning, inverters etc and the lot ending up in landfill.


Michael Gilligan09/08/2021 14:03:51
20081 forum posts
1041 photos


dont know

So that’s O.K. then [?]


J Hancock09/08/2021 14:29:54
832 forum posts

All achieved by closing our manufacturing industries and buying from China/Asia.

Close more and buy everything , 100% target reached.

Job done.

Now we don't need to do anything anymore.

Are they stupid, or am I ?

SillyOldDuffer09/08/2021 15:05:47
8491 forum posts
1891 photos
Posted by J Hancock on 09/08/2021 12:52:49:

On the last point , I think you will find all the big power stations in the UK sat on top of the coal-mine.

Killing the mines , killed the stations as well.


Not in my part of the UK! Not always possible to put coal power stations near mines.

I couldn't possibly defend Mrs T's methods, but she recognised UK coal mining was approaching the end of the line as major part of the British economy Disliking Unions was undoubtedly a factor, but she knew the taxpayer was subsidising British Coal heavily, and that it was considerably cheaper to get coal from abroad.

The reason British Coal is expensive is most of our accessible coal has long been worked out: British Coal is deep coal, difficult and costly to extract, and there isn't much of it left. The early Victorians estimated British coal would last roughly 150 years and they were about right. All good things come to an end.

I've no doubt British coal will be mined again when prices rise, but there isn't that much left, certainly not enough to assure the future. Coal is not the answer to the UK's problem, nor for much of the rest of the world. I also argue that coal and oil are far too valuable as chemical feedstocks to be burnt when electricity can be made by other means.

Climate change is a separate reason for burning less fossil fuels. Not to prevent climate change, because it's too already too late, but to reduce the effects. Naysayers have successfully blocked green proposals over the last 40 years by demanding absolute proof. However the evidence has mounted day by day with nothing to suggest it's wrong, and there's a lot of it now. Within 5 years, I suspect it will be embarrassing to deny climate change because the evidence is becoming so obvious.

Time to change. When a technology falters, try something else. Don't cling to the wreckage.


J Hancock09/08/2021 16:29:02
832 forum posts

Strange that buying cheapest is so discriminatory , ie sugar is much cheaper to buy 'abroad ' but 'tariffs'

prevent us from buying it that way.

.I wonder why that is ?

pgk pgk09/08/2021 17:35:01
2552 forum posts
293 photos

The UK has identified hard coal resources of 3 910 million tonnes, although total resources could be as large as 187 billion tonnes.


..seems a shame to waste it..

We are doomed: USA has 22% of the global coal resources and no way are the coal mining states going to give up their income - unless they get compensated.

J Hancock wrote <<

Strange that buying cheapest is so discriminatory , ie sugar is much cheaper to buy 'abroad ' but 'tariffs
prevent us from buying it that way.
.I wonder why that is ? <<

Reality check that trade deals aren't as simple as they should be - our trade deal with India includes accepting a number of immigrants from there and is tied up with aids grants we send - to a nation with more rocketry than we have. Deals struck often mean supporting domestic production or we become over-dependant in times of crisis or transport issues. Indeed it's stupid how we are dependant on 50% food imports.

Farm subsidies are a source of contention but everyone accepts a minimum wage that needs social welfare support to be liveable.. Effectively subsidising all low payers; hospitality in particular.


Paul Kemp09/08/2021 23:24:54
710 forum posts
27 photos


I can't really comment on detail that may be commercially sensitive so will leave it as "maybe the companies that made the radios in your scrapped cars should have branched out into more complex electronic systems". All I can say is older plant with simpler electronics in my world is far more reliable than new plant with more complex solutions! I went through recently a series of failures on equipment produced by a European major entity that as the manufacturer they were unable to diagnose or explain. The fault only disapearing when every "box" in the system was replaced.

My take on the mess we are in now is companies who make "stuff" need to sell more "stuff" to make it profitable. To sell more "stuff" their "stuff" needs a short and finite life either through obsolescence or failure in order to keep the market for "stuff" vibrant. The word sustainable is often used in relation to economy and environment but the two resultant phrases are moving further apart.


KWIL10/08/2021 10:49:28
3549 forum posts
70 photos


Seems like a lack of "Systems Engineers" who understand the overall principles and too many "my box" experts.

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