# Homes in London under threat as datacenters pull in all the power

Housing in London, western Europe's largest city, is famously in short supply, but it seems there is a new barrier to building more homes in England's capital – the electricity grid can't supply enough power and datacenters are being blamed for using up all the capacity. According to the Financial Times, housing developers in …

1. We tried to get some more power capacity for our own bit barn (Tiny compared to the major players) and the grid told us "No chance".

1. Round my way they are selling new warehouse barns by stating the grid connection rating. It seems having a 10megawatt connection is something to shout about.

2. #### And they said...

Moving everything to the cloud was a good thing?

Concentrating all that processing into a few large... no make that Giga centres instead of it being on-premises and distributed all over the place wasn't such a good idea now, was it?

Still, it made a lot of people a shed load of money. Those people are probably sitting on their private islands (complete with wind and solar power) and raising a glass to all the suckers who funded their retirement.

Cynical? you bet.

1. #### Re: And they said...

If everyone had on-site equipment rather than off-site, then a LOT more power would be used overall in the UK (more seperate air-con units, single servers rather than large virtual servers/vhosting, and all power consumption would be in the UK rather than some in foreign DCs).

Considering we're going to go through a massive energy crisis before 2025 (when the last remaining coal stations and the last of 8 reactors go offline), then it's probably a good idea we used UK datacentres (and a vast amount shipped off to DCs in other countries).

1. #### Re: And they said...

So this is a bit of a double edged sword. On the one hand yes, the use of cloud provision rather than self-hosting or colocation is likely to be massively more efficient and thus generally a good thing for efficiency and climate impact.

The issue is potentially one of induced demand. The key value prop of cloud is that it practically eliminates barriers to entry. Coupled with the fact cloud providers don't really make it easy to do things like set consumption limits, and I'd be willing to bet that while the per-unit efficiency is miles better, cloud computing is enabling us to use way more units than we had ever thought possible. It's now perfectly normal for small companies of 5-10 people to be running fleets of tens of thousands of hosts and hundreds of thousands of cores spooling up and down on demand. That simply was not feasible a decade ago.

Right now we're not doing a good job of ensuring that the induced demand is worth the impact. There's a good discussion to be had around whether we even should - cloud works best when it's a neutral utility, not an arbiter of value or impact.

1. #### Re: And they said...

That's why we need to get rid of the computers.

And replace them with rooms full of clerks writing invoices long hand. And if the hero of A Christmas Carol is correct then they don't need more than a bit of coal and have year round uptime, including Xmas day

2. #### Re: And they said...

> Right now we're not doing a good job of ensuring that the induced demand is worth the impact

From an energy use perspective, if you replace every participant in a Teams or Zoom call or Miro board session with a car drive, you might soon want to go back to the demand that's created by the ability to make digital services easier.

1. #### Re: And they said...

Except Teams and Zoom have invented work which never existed before they did. Kinda like PowerPoint. And just as useful to the Corporate bottom line.

2. #### Re: And they said...

No I don't think so - because if the hosting is on-site, then the energy would be spent only on performing the necessary functions, rather than the endless gigawatts that Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook et al spend analysing, modelling, optimising and manipulating every last keystroke, mouse-movement, and soon to be eye-twitch of every one of their data cows users.

1. #### Re: And they said...

Being big evil corporations they are only going to be doing that if it makes them more profit.

What is the return on that analysis? How can it manage to be so valuable that it not only pays for those expensive endless gigawatts of electricity but also turns a nice and evil profit at your expense?

1. #### Re: And they said...

You just have to say to the usual suckers politicians that it is in the name of fighting terrorism, and you get unlimited funding...

Why do you think there are so many dacenters near Langley?

2. #### Re: And they said...

> What is the return on that analysis? How can it manage to be so valuable that it not only pays for those expensive endless gigawatts of electricity but also turns a nice and evil profit at your expense?

Because they can sell the data analytics to whomever they like.. Your data is worth more than you realise.

See recent reg article: https://www.theregister.com/2022/08/01/pregnant_womens_data_sold/

Microsoft happily spend endless gigawatts and giga-dollars on GitHub and LinkedIn so that they not only "own" all open-source software, but they also "own" all software developers too. Even your Office 365 account is handily tied to your LinkedIn account by default, so that Microsoft knows how hard you work, your style of work, how you phrase sentences, how you interact with your colleagues. Ultimately it could replace you with a tweaked version of GitHub CoPilot that writes code the way you do and even pretends to be you on Microsoft Teams - the technology is there to do it, the data is there, only that pesky issue of 'ethics' prevents them from doing it. There are even companies who offer a special "service" to bereaved families by turning a dead person's online data profile into a personalised chatbot/deepfake of the dead person. It's fucking creepy I tell you.

2. #### Re: And they said...

Centralised infrastructure will almost certainly use less power than decentralised infrastructure. Especially if you can keep the utilisation of that kit at 90%+ by selling it to multiple customers.

3. #### Re: And they said...

Who are the 17 fuckwits (at the time of writing) who are up-voting this tripe? Do you understand anything about IT at all, or do you automatically vote for anything that is against “the cloud”? There seem to be a lot of dumb posts today.

1. #### Re: And they said...

we understand the cloud bollocks.

And understand it's just fucking timeshare main frame shit being brought back from the grave.

Combined with turning everything into a fucking shitty repeating subscription that costs more than just having the hardware local.

Only the dumb fucks put data in others computers.

1. #### Re: And they said...

Putting data in other's computers is OK (consider this post, for example).

Trusting other's computers with private/corporate assets/secrets, not so much.

3. #### They might as well just build the houses

It's not as if anyone will be able to afford electricity by the time they're finished.

1. #### Re: They might as well just build the houses

Datacenters bring much more tax profit, so it's preferable to reserve the available real estate for datacenters and similar structures. What would you prefer to have on your area: A dozen quiet, clean, rich datacenters minding their own business, or 10-20 thousand unruly humans demanding all kind of services?

1. #### Re: They might as well just build the houses

Datacentres don't need schools, GPs, dentists, jobs or green space.

Just electricity, fibre optic connections and water.

Ah. London's running out of that, too.

And while they pay very little tax, they do make political donations and that's far more important.

4. The problem seems to be power distribution capacity rather then generation. Given that it's easier to move data than power we should see data centres clustered round power stations. That would include the landing points of the off-shore wind farms.

It's not too difficult to envisage trade-offs - housing developers buying a data centre's power allocation when it moves.

1. #### Not near wind farms

Wind farms are not constant suppliers - in calm weather they consume rather than produce electricity and data centers need a constant supply.

A better option would be to require data centers to generate their own electricity thereby removing their load from the grid.

1. #### Re: Not near wind farms

Some of these perhaps?

arstechnica.com/science/2022/07/us-regulators-will-certify-first-small-nuclear-reactor-design/

1. #### Re: Not near wind farms

Ugh

I'm a fan of nuclear power(*) but _all_ the "small" designs (under 600MW) end up generating too much waste or being too fiddly/sensitive to fluctuations for economic operation

The best size looks to be "about the same as a coal station burner" - mainly because it can be more or less a dropin replacement for one if it's hot enough (ie: molten salt or similar)

(*) Properly designed nukes. We should have moved on from tea kettles a while back. Anything with water as a moderator can never get hot enough to be economically viable in the long term (triple point issues) and poses an added danger over non-pressurised, non-burnable designs

1. #### Re: Not near wind farms

Correct. The larger the reactor, the more efficient the power station. This is why the new gargantuan one (well, 2) being built in Somerset is... gargantuan.

The thing about water as a moderator is that it is self-moderating, although you have to dope it a lot with boron to maintain the envelope of reactivity.

The small designs from RR are... cute, but they are awfully wasteful. They're based on submarine designs that will never be opened (to be refueled), and that kind of thing doesn't particularly fly well with those who want to milk every bit of juice out of every bit of the radioactive actinides in the reactor.

1. #### Re: Not near wind farms

Water as a moderator is great.

The problem is that if you need to produce something hot enough to drive supercritical steam turbines, you have a bit of a problem (as soon as you get that hot you're going to have supercritical steam voids inside your reactor) and there's the wee problem of "high pressure vessel containing nasty radioactives which can never be serviced during the entire life of the system" - which means massive overbuilding and an even more massive containment structure - which is why the sites are so expensive

Weinberg's Tea Kettle design worked well for small builds like the Nautilus and Shippingport - proving that nuclear power is feasible, however they were laboratory glassware equivalents and not meant to be scaled up to gigawatt sizing. They're just too fiddly for day-to-day operation. Almost every civil nuclear incident has involved water in some form or another and most of the ones which didn't involved burning sodium instead

His Mark2 design did away with the pressure vessel by doing away with water and avoided using substances which might burn or escape easily, whilst also operating at 600-900C instead of 350C - meaning it can actually work efficiently on the power generation side without needing things like being derated in hot weather as we've seen recently

Unfortunately it got shelved after proving viable and has only just been revived (Wuwei went critical in October 2021). We've lost 50 years of development

1. #### Re: Not near wind farms

"We've lost 50 years of development."

Thank the hippies. They are directly responsible for destroying the environment. (Who saw that coming?)

2. #### Re: Not near wind farms

The off-shore ones are more reliable. They also have a good connection to the grid so that a data centre close to the landfall is going to have a reliable supply even if the wind isn't blowing much off-shore.

1. #### Re: Not near wind farms

The problem is NIMBYs don't want pylons to bring the power across land from the windfarm landfall.

I bet they wouldn't want data centres either.

But I guarantee they don't want to pay the significantly higher cost of buried cables - and would almost all object to them being buried on "their land".

It's pretty much a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation.

3. #### Re: Not near wind farms

The issue with that is a lot of people want easy access to their DC (even though visits tend to be pretty rare), so that would cross off using it for co-lo etc. The other issue might be a lack of skilled staff in those areas. But yeah apart from that it would make a lot more sense.

1. #### Re: Not near wind farms

Sometimes you just have to move to where the work is. I've done that a few times, It was pure good luck I ended up back where I started.

2. #### Re: Not near wind farms

They can just hop into their electric vehicles and go there if they're within range...

3. #### Re: Not near wind farms

Good luck with that as time goes on. Giving random customers access to locations housing other people's kit and shared infrastructure is a big risk. It's also a significant expense to configure the space to permit it.

I know one large organisation in the capital with some specialised kit that no colocation service would accept given its nature and the access needs that, ironically, ended up buying a private house to put it in (with appropriate change of use).

4. #### Re: Not near wind farms

Or they could change from venting excess heat to piping it into a communal heating project? Has been proposed in hospitals to help heat wards where they had server rooms, and some businesses have looked into it, too. Not so good during the hot summers, but during the winter: Win!

Or use the generated heat to generate power to help offset the draw from the grid? Again, something that was considered as a cost saving exercise.

The one thing holding it back? Initial cost.

Now if it were made into a requirement then we might see faster adoption of such technologies, not just a reliance on external supply.

1. #### Re: Not near wind farms

"The one thing holding it back? Initial cost."

If the politicians could just take some time from slugging it out with each other to look at what's important they might get round to some form of tax incentives - positive and negative to push people into it.

1. #### Re: Not near wind farms

take some time from slugging it out with each other

Politics is now a game of competitive fantasy. It's imperative that reality is kept at bay so no-one notices that everything around them is shit. Literally, in the case of the waterways. Distraction is the only thing that's important.

2. #### Re: Not near wind farms

There are plenty of circumstances where low grade heat is useful all year round, the most obvious is public swimming pools which cost a fortune to keep warm but there's many more such as industrial laundries who always need plenty of hot water.

1. #### Re: Not near wind farms

I keep seeing this fantasy about hot water. Bear in mind that the average heat increase on a trip through the data centre is only 10C - at best you'll get lukewarm for your washing

Heating greenhouses? Perhaps that's a decent plan - a datacentre in a sea of polytunnels actually makes some sense

1. #### Re: Not near wind farms

10C is already a pretty big win. The ground source heat pump at the Chatsworth Estate has made a huge difference to their energy needs. There it's just about that heat difference that they then uprate to get pretty warm water for the heating system (which dries out the massive house, and actually makes it feel livable).

You can do a lot with 10C.

3. #### Re: Not near wind farms

It's very low grade heat and difficult to pipe anywhere. At best you could take the chill out of the air but that's really about all - and forget about it if you plan to move the heat more than a couple of hundred metres

DCs mostly reject direct to atmosphere with a very small refrigeration boost on hot days

Even my suggestion to pipe our output into the workplace swimming pool to extend the usage season was turned down as unworkable

4. #### Re: Not near wind farms

This already happens with some data centres, in that district heating systems are being designed to help the nearby houses with cheap heat/airconditioning (look up the Sterling engine for that). I'd be all for that, but a) I'm too far from the nearest bitbarn, and b) my little conurbation is also full of NIMBYs who'd prefer it quietly die (because it's so pretty and nice and... and... and...).

2. When I've come across issues with a lack of power or limits on power it has generally been down to the distribution network not an absolute lack of power. It seems the distribution companies don't like to upgrade and when forced try to push the costs to the end user.

At one point around 10 years ago in Suffolk both Felixstowe Docks and BT's Adastral Park were running large gas turbine generators as the could get gas but not the electricity required. Sizewell B & the large off-shore wind farms there all connect to Ipswich area so shouldn't have been an issue.

Felixstowe docks in the end paid for a new cable along the A14 through the Orwell Bridge from the super grid station near Ipswich to the docks. BT looked at connecting to that too, but went a different route...

If you look just by the A12/A14 junction south of Adastral Park you will see a Solar farm which is plugged into the overhead lines that run straight into the back of their site. I think there is a second farm closer to their site now too. As they tend to need more power during the day it works providing the capacity they were getting from gas.

Both the docks area and Adastral Park have long term plans which shows the need for more power, but the distribution network was happy to do nothing.

1. Felixstowe docks in the end paid for a new cable along the A14 through the Orwell Bridge from the super grid station near Ipswich to the docks. BT looked at connecting to that too, but went a different route...

Oh, I remember that, and got an opportunity to walk through the inside of the Orwell Bridge. We'd been looking at building a datacentre on the old Cranes (or RS&J?) site because their closure, along with I think a Fisons chemical production plant had left a large power surplus. Plus there's fibre routes coming down the A12 from landings around Aldeburgh and Leiston.

Challenge was getting wayleaves through the bridge, and ISTR the job you mention ending up mole drilling under the Orwell instead. It's one of life's little challenges in telecomms, dealing with river and bridge crossings. But idea was to link in to existing routes towards London and mainland Europe. East Anglia's one of those fun destinations where diversity/resilience got expensive given the reliance on the A12, and lack of infrastructure to create loops. So diversity in Ipswich* generally meant one leg towards London, the other up to Norwich and finding a cross-country route.

But the land ended up being flogged off to housing developers, and the idea was canned.

*Spike Milligan once described Ipswich as the land of the living dead. The local newspaper moaned about that for a few years, thus proving it's point. Then again, I did get to see bands like AC/DC playing there as a kid, which may or may not explain my tinnitus.

2. #### The distribution firms are not charities

Installing a new electricity transmission line costs multiple millions (and takes years to complete - in part because of the need for planning permission and the need to purchase land rights). For the companies (National Grid and others) to make such an investment, they need to be reasonably certain that they will make a profit from doing so. The firms are not charities. For any new line the end users will be paying for it in one way or another - a small proportion of the price of electricity covers the cost of construction and operation of transmission lines. If the predicted demand is insufficient to cover the costs of the transmission lines then it will not be built unless the end user(s) provide part of the funding.

Icon for the people who find that they can not charge their government mandated electric vehicles due to no power being available =========>

3. Grid operators are being forced to swallow the cost of hooking up "renewables" generators, whereas previously a generator had to pay for running the connection to the nearest grid distribution yard (which might be 30 miles away)

Endusers have always had to pay one way or another, the problem is a critical lack of ongoing investment simply makes the eventual bill ever larger

Intermittency of delivery has meant the entire grid needs to be massively overlaid to handle flows rapidly changing direction throughout the day/night.

On top of that the entire British domestic structure is based around the average dwelling drawing less than 1kW on average. With gas/oil heating going away, the rise of electronic home entertainment and the proliferation of EVs, the cabling in the streets isn't up to the task, let alone feeders from substations to street-level HV transformers and the feeds to those

This stuff was predicted 20 years ago by nearly everyone but all the politicians and "business leaders" kicked the can down the road whilst trousering massive profits which should have been reinvested into intrastructure. When the shit hits the fan they'll expect everyone and his dog to pay for it, whilst laughing all the way to the bank

1. This stuff was predicted 20 years ago by nearly everyone but all the politicians and "business leaders" kicked the can down the road whilst trousering massive profits which should have been reinvested into intrastructure. When the shit hits the fan they'll expect everyone and his dog to pay for it, whilst laughing all the way to the bank

It's been like this since the early 1980s. Market forces were supposed to sort this out. But they didn't. Why invest for the future when you can sweat the assets and pay yourself huge salaries, bonuses and stock options right now?

It's not just our power grids that are clapped out and lacking capacity. BT's rusting copper, no high speed trains (or even a decent train network), crumbling schools/hospitals, shit roads, etc are other obvious examples.

Tomorrow's infrastructure is someone else's problem and they can bloody well pay for it. Now where's that private jet catalogue?

3. #### distribution losses vs transmission losses

> The problem seems to be power distribution capacity rather then generation. .. We should see data centres clustered round power stations.

Yes and no. Low-voltage distribution is the real problem. Long-distance HV transmission is extremely efficient (less than 2% losses in transmission, IIRC) because it happens at hundreds of thousands of volts, so you need less current for the same power, and the resistive losses of a cable (which are the bulk of the losses) go up with the square of current.

So actually siting a datacentre next to its own HV substation would be just as good as putting it next to a power station. The trouble is that 400kV transformers are incredibly expensive, so there's no point in building a small one just for a datacentre, you have to build one big enough for a city, step it down to 132kV for transmission around the city, then 33kV to the really big datacentres, 11kV for the medium sized ones, and the really crappy little ones would need to tap off 415V from the same distribution wire that supplies houses etc.

The 415V and 11kV local distribution lines in most cities (and even the 132kV and 33kV distribution mains) are hugely overstretched due to the expansion of electric heating and EVs etc, not just datacentres, and as they get hot, the resistance goes up even further. We lose about 10% in this local distribution (iirc again)

> That would include the landing points of the off-shore wind farms.

Er, probably not a good idea for reliability, wind farms have a habit of tripping offline very suddenly, even if the wind IS blowing (e.g. if it is blowing too hard, or if the grid frequency goes too high or too low)

1. #### Re: distribution losses vs transmission losses

"wind farms have a habit of tripping offline very suddenly, even if the wind IS blowing (e.g. if it is blowing too hard, or if the grid frequency goes too high or too low)"

We're well past the point where renewables generators should be required to buffer their output (ie: battery farms) and the South Australia experience shows the benefit in doing so - ironically the operator makes more money from the grid stabilisation provided by those batteries than from the wind turbines beside them

1. #### Re: distribution losses vs transmission losses

And here in California, we've already saturated the space where wind farms can be built and turn a profit. It is about maxed out at ~7% of California's energy needs ... but we sell a good deal of the juice to other States.

The coast could be converted to a ~840 mile long wind farm, but the nature nazis say no.

5. #### We all know why

Just a coincidence or both London and Washington DC having massive datacenter power consumption issues. We may soon be hearing about other capital cities having similar issues. Realtime data analysis for the snoops to report to their bosses is the reason for the locations at the capital cities. There is also the odd fetish of certain corporations having their HQs or secondary HQs in the capital which may also not be coincidental.

Now, how to solve the issue of going 100% electric vehicles in short time frames? I have heard of DC outskirt commutes where from the highway you can see your destination and probably walk there in 10 minutes, but still have at least half an hour of car travel, probably an exaggeration. So for the electric vehicle not so much a range issue, but an endurance issue for occupant comfort. And, will there be enough electricity available to charge at the destination? Remember, us 'mericans just don't do mass transit, must have our own means of vehicular freedom.

1. #### Re: We all know why

>Realtime data analysis for the snoops to report to their bosses is the reason for the locations at the capital cities.

In the case of the UK this is total nonsense. UK data centres are up the M40 because that's where the cables are and because at the end of that road you have a little known airport called Heathrow and just a few more miles into the M25 the biggest financial centre on the planet.

"London" in this sense is being used _very_ loosely.

1. #### Re: We all know why

Similarly situated, even the relative proximity to capital city international airports. Municipal boundaries are of little consequence to the power supply, the data centres, the snoops' HQs, etc. Areas like these are regions named for their influential city. Plenty of examples worldwide even scaled down to populated areas less than 10,000 people.

On significant difference, the largest US financial centre in NYC is too far to share data centres with the DC region.

1. #### Re: We all know why

"the largest US financial centre in NYC is too far to share data centres with the DC region."

To say nothing of financial centers in Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In the US, they are "centers" ... but have fun with your hoity-toity French antecedents.

2. #### Re: We all know why

Also, Britain's snoops are in a town called Cheltenham (although I don't discount them having facilities at various key exchanges around the UK - but Jacob Rees-Mogg has most likely seen to it that any government-owned London estate has been sold off to his mates whilst muttering something about "efficiency").

The NSA likewise famously have their big black box in Maryland (by Fort Meade, the Integrated Cyber Centre and Defense Information Systems Agency) along with another DC in Utah.

Whilst those bit barns no doubt have a substantial IT Demand, I doubt that (in the broader scheme of things) either of these are imposing any great demand on the DC power grid.

3. #### Re: We all know why

Correct. In the UK, the big snoop HQ is in quaint lil Cheltenham. They have (they refute it, but pretty much every fool no/assume) that the GCHQ has several sub levels underground. They are the second-largest round building in the UK (Diamond Light Source has the honour of having a larger circumference), and Cheltenham also happens to be in the kind of place that you can easily reach the fibre running along the M4 in two places: Swindon and Bristol.

4. #### Re: We all know why

A lot of the DCs are located under the western approach path to Heathrow or the approaches to Farnborough

Computers and warehouses don't complain about aircraft noise

1. #### Re: We all know why

but they main complain (briefly) about air crashes...

2. #### Re: We all know why

Yeah, that's not it. It's going to happen around the largest or best connected cities, not necessarily the capitals. London is the largest metropolitan area in the UK. It has a lot of power and networking and technicians and companies in it. In the US, the Washington metropolitan area is the fourth largest. Yes, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago exceed it, but that still makes it kind of big. There are many DCs in those cities as well, but in some cases, people outsource to areas with good connections to those cities, which puts more pressure on the eastern US cloud regions.

In some other countries, the capital isn't as large and won't be the bottleneck. When we see a story about Canada, expect to hear about problems near Toronto, not in Ottawa. In Australia, it will be Sydney and eventually Melbourne, not Canberra. Germany has a few cities it could be first, but I'm betting on Frankfurt. It's about where everyone puts the servers, which doesn't have to be where the capital is. Even if surveillance consumed most of the resources, which it probably doesn't, that's not a latency-sensitive activity so it's likely they'd use resources in more remote parts over which they have more control, not rented facilities next door.

3. #### Re: We all know why

If you look at the numbers, Bracknell is actually the place in the UK that has the most foreign HQs relative to population size, with companies like HP, Dell, and 3M.

1. #### Re: We all know why

But Jesus, Bracknell....

Maybe making everybody live and work in London isn't such a bad idea?

I mean Bracknell FFS

1. #### Re: We all know why

We are speaking of HP and Dell, they deserve it

2. #### Re: We all know why

It looks like it's town center is being regenerated, I only hope they completely demolished the old one

4. #### Re: We all know why

"I have heard of DC outskirt commutes where from the highway you can see your destination and probably walk there in 10 minutes"

Have you ever tried walking for 10 minutes in the DC area in the humidity and 30C+ heat of summer or the -5-10C and 50cm+ of snow in winter? Besides, walking in the USA is a commie plot to bankrupt the oil and car companies.

1. #### Re: We all know why

Jaywalking being a crime in the US, you'll be shot down rather fast if you try it after staying in the sun for a few minutes, especially if you are a beet-red British

1. #### Re: We all know why

"Jaywalking being a crime in the US"

Absolutely wrong. The USA as a country does not have any jaywalking laws.

Pedestrian regulations on the wheres, whens and hows of so-called "jaywalking" may, or may not be contained within an individual state or city's traffic laws. Many states have no such law, and said law, if it exists in any given town or city, is usually ignored by all and sundry, including law enforcement UNLESS the jaywalker is endangering others, which is a crime of its own.

"you'll be shot down rather fast if you try it after staying in the sun for a few minutes, especially if you are a beet-red British"

::sighs:: Someone should let the Brits know that DearOldTelly lies. Lies to children, lies by ommision, so-called "noble" lies, name it. Telly lies. Politely, perhaps, but pathologically.

6. #### Cloudy checkmate

If the electricity supply gets eaten up by the cloud, then you won't be able to access Netflix and Office 365 from your home and office as there'll be no electricity there. If the power goes to your home and office instead, there'll be no electricity to run the Netflix and Office 365 clouds.

1. #### Re: Cloudy checkmate

So it's win-win

2. #### Re: Cloudy checkmate

And if the power goes off at home, the cloudy stuff will also go down as WFH sysadmin administrator terminals get disconnected one by one.

7. #### And we also want EV's?

With the push to move away from fossil fuels and the promotion of EV's as the solution, the issue of infrastructure for charging EV's was already on the table. Now it makes sense: Datacentres have taken all the power so there's not enough capacity to boil a kettle, let alone charge a car! And with Datacentres, it's a 24 hour draw, too.

Makes you wonder if anyone had actually sat down and thought this through (Hmm... Government + Thinking? Not a hope!)

Guess Londoners will have to swap to bikes instead: Forget EV's for now.

1. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

And yet National Grid still claims that it can easily meet the needs of EV charging stations, even though the numbers always made that seem doubtful even without the DC demand. Someone's telling porkies.

1. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

Don't forget that there are two entities involved here - National Grid is responsible for the "big" stuff - the 400kV, 275kV, interconnects and such. I suspect that the capacity problems here are down to the Distribution Network Operator, of which there are several across the UK with the one responsible for the Heathrow, Ealing etc. area being (I believe) UK Power Networks - it looks as if their boundary finishes at the M25 with Scottish & Southern westward of that.

DNOs are responsible for connections to businesses and homes and most of the substations and transformers you see locally, so while National Grid may well be able to shovel electrons around the country perfectly sufficiently, if the local transformer is undersized for the demand, or the underground 11kV and 415V cables need uprating, it's not really their problem.

The thing works the other way too, I recently met a very interesting local enterprise which takes the council's compostable waste, turns it into biogas and generates 2x 500kW (IIRC) from that, day and night. They are connected to their local DNO and cannot expand because the DNO's local network couldn't cope. In order to expand they would need to run a cable to the local National Grid substation, which is prohibitively expensive in their current plans. An alternative they are considering is to feed some excess gas into the gas network, which is apparently slightly closer to hand and has a bit of spare capacity.

M.

1. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

Most EV charging is done at home (or at least to date). I charge my EV at home between the hours of 01:00 and 05:00. New regulations have been introduced to limit the leap in demand from thousands and thousands of people like me doing it all at the same time. Now the charger will randomly delay the start of charge to level out the demand.

I also charge my EV directly from the output of my PV array when the sun is out. Zero grid demand there.

As an aside, because I also have 33kWh of home battery storage, the PV output keeps them topped up at this time of year. Last month I used the grand total of 12kWh of grid power to run my home. That does not include any EV charging, which took 96.3kWh, but it shows what can be done by individuals.

1. #### Re: ... but it shows what can be done by individuals.

Indivuals with the money, roof structure and space to have a PV array and battery storage. You are clearly more fortunate. Many are not.

1. #### Re: ... but it shows what can be done by individuals.

Fortunate? No, just careful with my money now that I'm a pensioner. I worked hard and saved for my retirement. My children are just the same.

Investing in PV etc is an investment in my home. When the time comes to sell it, I'll get a lot more for it than if I had done zero to improve it.

My EV is not a Tesla. They are totally overpriced. Mine cost £30,000 or thereabouts.

For those who downvoted my original post, I actually feel sorry for you. If you can't see the way forward then more fool you.

2. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

Last month I used the grand total of 12kWh of grid power to run my home.

Shame that you still have to pay the daily standing charge to the power company even when you're not using any power.

1. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

I have a couple of servers in my house and the daily charge is STILL higher than the kWh cost

2. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

Consider that an insurance policy for when your home generators break.

3. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

"Now the charger will randomly delay the start of charge to level out the demand."

Who decides what "randomly" means? Are some delays more "random" than others? No doubt some people will be allowed to be somewhat less than random ...

The whole "random delay" option is inherently inequitable. People will rebel. Loudly.

1. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

It's a random spread over 10 minutes, so the switch-on becomes a ten minute ramp instead of an instant surge, followed by an instant drop as the trip pops out.

And yes, it's absolutely necessary and the need was always obvious to all the engineers.

1. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

All this does is spread the surge

It does nothing to deal with the issue of households drawing 3-7kW for extended periods (whether that's EV charging, winter heating or AC) - UK infrastructure is simply not equipped to handle more than 10% doing so simultaneously and that goes down to neighbourhood level

Whilst virtually every street in the UK has underground power cabling, that was installed over a 70-80 year period. It's all going to have to be substantially upgraded over the next 20 years or less (this applies across most of the developed world, not just the UK)

1. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

"It does nothing to deal with the issue of households drawing 3-7kW for extended periods"

And households with multiple cars would draw more, of course. Here in the States it is not unusual for families to have four or five daily drivers. (Mom, Dad and three kids of driving (and working) age).

2. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

Can confirm your suspicions, albeit anonymously, that it's the DNO where the problems lie.

1. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

It is well known that the "last mile" has problems in many parts of the country, and if National Grid says they can cope, they probably can. The infrastructure inherited by and installed by DNOs was largely designed in the days when you could budget 2 or 3kW per house and be safe at that, and that's what the biogas operation I mentioned is dealing with. They are still - partly - a farm, but the overhead lines which feed the farm and the substation to which they are attached cannot cope with (much) more than the 1MW they currently generate.

Quite why installations made in the last 10 years or so should be underpowered, I dunno. Western Power has already carried out trials of domestic three phase connections (not the link I was looking for, but gives an idea). An overview of the system and some of its limitations can be found here (PDF) in a very readable guide to connections.

Anecdotally, whenever work needs to be carried out on the single pole-mounted transformer which powers our entire hamlet (maybe 70 or 80 houses) WPD usually bring along a 100kW generator, which works fine during the day but usually conks out around tea time. Gas came late to the village and many houses still rely on electricity for heating, hot water and (particularly) cooking. Last time they came they couldn't even get the thing started at breakfast time and had to send out for a bigger unit. My point? Current "rule of thumb" estimates of use may not be valid for much longer.

M.

2. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

But that's no problem, we can just wire the cars up to lamp posts.

Something that is designed to power a 50W light bulb will have absolutely no problem powering a 7kW car charger.

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1. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

In what way is that a different opinion? 32A x 240V is 7680W. It is not something you are going to connect to a lighting circuit.

In case it isn't clear, the icon in the previous post is what might happen if you draw too many amps through an electic cable.

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1. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

No, clearly it is Your sarcasm detector that is faulty. The statement is too obviously false for it not to be sarcasm. No troll/joke icon needed.

2. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

Given the space between poles these days, Shirley that would potentially be eight or a dozen cars, per poll? Plus the actual light, of course.

Grand Daughter, when she heard of this option, asked "What kind of breakers do street lights use?".

1. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

A 6 amp cutout usually. Some have 16A... but they're mostly daisychained off a cable that may only be 2.5mm2... which, can handle a max of 26A (32 if it's more modern thermosetting SWA), and that's for the entire street. The only places it might work are where the streetlights are individually teed off the service cables. Usually that's only on overhead...

3. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

Easy.

You live in London.

- you charge your EV in Bristol

- boil your kettle in Oxford

- charge your iThingy in Exeter

2. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

EVs usually aren't as hard on the grid as one might suspect. First, the majority of EVs are charged overnight when grid usage is low, as rates tend to be lower as well. Second, the majority of non-fleet BEVs are driven well under their total range on a typical day, with modest charging amounts as a result (some reports put it around 10 kWh/day). Third, PHEV batteries are tiny and slow to charge in comparison to those of a BEV.

In the rare case where overnight winter weather may put building heating and vehicle charging on a collision course, V1G (unidirectional power flow, grid aware, controllable load) and V2G (bidirectional power flow, grid aware, controllable load and return) will eventually smooth things out (even if a fair number of drivers opt-out).

There is a pilot program in California testing V2G with six electric school buses that will generate $2 per kWh sent back to the grid during times of grid stress. They also receive credits for pausing a charge during such times. 1. #### Re: And we also want EV's? "There is a pilot program in California testing V2G with six electric school buses that will generate$2 per kWh sent back to the grid"

That'll be a neat little money-maker for somebody, given that current average cost of electrical power from the grid in San Diego (where these busses are located) is about 34 cents per kWh. And subject to regular rotating blackouts and brownouts.

Charge the battery, thus helping to load the grid beyond capacity, then sell the juice back to the needy grid full of other, similar EVs charging. For six times what you paid not an hour earlier. Then it becomes the turn of those other EVs to make a quick buck, re-charging your vehicle. Lather, rinse, repeat. Who is getting rich off this obvious scam?

1. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

More to the point, battery farms are now a "thing" that all the utilities are heavily investing in to stabilse the grid

At the same time as V2G is being touted, it's already being made mostly redundant. What matters more is being able to remote-disconnect charging vehicles at times of peak load (hence the mandated changes to "smart chargers" - essentially a glorified version of economy 7 switching)

1. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

Note "smart meters" all include a remote switch off capability.

If the electricity supply is stressed they can turn off the supply to plebs so that the rich and powerful still have electricity.

One of the major reasons that governments have been promoting "smart meters" is this switch off capability which has received very little publicity. (What publicity there is has been deflected to saying that it would be used if people do not pay their bills - totally ignoring the additional power that it gives to the government.)

1. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

And Smart meters can very easily be used for electricity rationing. Not by cutting off, but by introducing astronimcal rates during supply shortages. Need to run that hot water heater at 8am - that be £5 per kw/h, please.

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4. #### Re: And we also want EV's?

A meeting of the planning committee:

"This one is for new EV charging points in a major car park".

"Refused. We have no spare capacity".

"This one is for a new tube line."

*Refused. We have no spare capacity."

"This one is for a data centre to control a new smart power capacity management system..."

8. #### Baffling!

For decades the UK has been restricting and reducing the size of the population whilst freely allowing new generating capacity to be built, so how can it have come to this?

What? The opposite of that? Oh!

1. #### Re: Baffling!

Well, in their defense the whole world has done just the same. It's the good old "we'll find a solution when it happens" carelessness optimism.

Also the population increases all on itself (the only country having tried to do something about that gave up eventually AFAIK), and generating additional capacity is a financial no-no: Building new capacity costs money, making your old investment pay for itself as long as possible creates profit, so you'd try to hold out for as long as possible.

1. #### Re: Baffling!

ThatOne: "It's the good old "we'll find a solution when it happens" ... optimism."

Also known as the "I'm alright Jack!" approach to problem solving. As long as the higher ups are 'ok', us plebs can suffer. Rather as Proust explained in 'In Search of Lost Time':

'When it rains, the rich ride in carriages, the bourgeois have their umbrellas, and the poor get wet.'

9. #### planning?

Given that councils are required to have at least five years of housing planned, and some have more, why have the electricity planners apparently not taken this into account when allowing the data centres to be built? i.e. it's not news that more houses need to be built, so why haven't electricity generation and distribution plans accounted for that?

1. #### Re: planning?

One those three councils, Ealing, hasn't published their strategy for some years. This makes no difference because they'll continue rubber-stamping 20+ storey blocks of flats on the understanding that no-one tells the far-eastern off-plan investors that all those lucrative buy-to-lets alongside the lizcrosspurp line will lie empty for years after the sales have been banked because they can't connect the power.

2. #### Re: planning?

Why should the electricity planners be any different.

The council might be required to publish their 5 year plan for building new houses but even other departments in the same council don't act on the plan. They're only just starting to put the schools in place for the houses they built decades ago and they're not doing anything about road planning or even making sure that there is a safe way for the kids to cross the roads to get to the new school from the existing housing.

1. #### Re: planning?

It's not just "not acting"

My local council has been pushing forward on plans which are guaranteed to cause increased flooding - and drop legal liability back on the council when those affected start investigating

Council officers and councillors weren't happy to be informed they were probably personally likely to be found legally culpable if they persisted and any steps to "ringfence" their assets having been informed would be relatively easy to render null and void - including clawing back assets from their descendants, etc

Shortly after that wee bombshell, half the planning department "retired"

3. #### Re: planning?

Privatization. They're profit making companies now, they can only see as far as net year's profits statement

4. #### Re: planning?

>why have the electricity planners apparently not taken this into account when allowing the data centres to be built?

Because it isn't their responsibility, it is the responsibility of the utility companies to upgrade their infrastructure to satisfy demand!

In my village a developer decided to increase a development from 500 homes to 800 homes, even though all the installed utilities had been sized for 500 homes, it got through because insufficient utility capacity is not a valid planning reason to reject a planning application.

I would not be surprised if the first the local authority knew about the extent of the problems was when they were hit with planning and works applications for major ie. disruptive, utility infrastructure works.

Brewery..

11. #### And now, throw in the electrical cars!

If London's capacity is already stretched too thin, how do they plan to feed the EVs they are advocating?

I guess with the same capacity and a little three-card Monte: "We produce (let's say) 100 kW, this means datacenters can use 100 kW, which leaves 100 kW to charge EVs, and with the remaining 100 kW people can run their appliances at home."

1. #### Re: And now, throw in the electrical cars!

Advanced mathematics for politically active people: You forgot the 100 kW for lighting up the sky and the 100 kW for the (hungry) games. Then you have the 100 kW for your bicycles and the 100 kW allocated to the Pub (important).

Then you still have 100 kW left... where to use all that power...

the NHS?

1. #### Re: And now, throw in the electrical cars!

No, the NHS will get extra 350 MWh - per week. Or that’s what I’ve heard…

2. #### Re: And now, throw in the electrical cars!

If London's capacity is already stretched too thin, how do they plan to feed the EVs they are advocating?

Not advocating, legislating. So all the Climate Change Act and Net Zero bollox. ICEs will be banned, along with gas for commercial and residential heating and cooking. Energy demand will triple, and it's all going to be someone else's problem.

So it'll be excellent news for our privatised utilities and strap-ons like National Grid, the 'Energy System Operator' and the 'renewables' lobby. Thousands more windmills will be 'needed', and acres of farmland covered over with solar panels.

In a nationalised world, politicians would have more levers, ie could look at parts of the UK with available power and try to incentivise large energy users settling there. Currently it's all a collosal mess where rather than having power generation close to demand, we're moving it further offshore.

1. #### Re: And now, throw in the electrical cars!

London's ULEZ expansion too.

Sadiq Kahn really isn't thinking with that one. The infrastructure just isn't there - you can't do a supermarket shop by bus.

1. #### Re: And now, throw in the electrical cars!

No, but you'll have to do it on foot...

3. #### Re: And now, throw in the electrical cars!

They don't.

Royal Mail planned to electrify their inner london delivery fleet around 2010.

Not being able to get sufficient electrical capacity into their North London depot to support the overnight charging load for at least another 20 years was a show-stopping big spanner in the plans

A lot of the data centres around both Slough AND Dartford are there because of the unavailability of power. 20-30 year waiting periods are now the norm inside the Innner London ring road, even after several large tunnelling projects to bring in heavy duty cabling - and those infamous "exploding footpaths" you see on the news occasionally are almost always the result of overloaded feeders finally breaking down

If you've seen Brazil - there were no terrorists. Things were exploding and falling apart due to overloading and lack of/shoddy maintenance whilst the government was using propaganda to pretend it wasn't happening. It wasn't supposed to be a tutorial

12. #### I still don't understand

Why they don't mandate that say all 2+ bedroom houses must have solar panels installed.

Doing as they are built is a fraction of the cost of retrofitting.

1. #### Re: I still don't understand

> Why they don't mandate that say all 2+ bedroom houses must have solar panels installed.

I guess suburbia housing isn't the biggest issue, apartment buildings are, and a city is mostly apartment (and office) buildings.

One house = one family, while one apartment building = dozens of families and a tiny (usually already crowded) roof. Not to mention shadowing from neighborhood high rises. Sorry, solar roofs don't work where they would be needed most.

1. #### Re: I still don't understand

while one apartment building = dozens of families and a tiny (usually already crowded) roof. Not to mention shadowing from neighborhood high rises. Sorry, solar roofs don't work where they would be needed most.

Still quite a large (vertical) surface area though. I wonder what the practicalities of hanging solar panels on the south facing wall of a tower block (e.g. as part of a cladding system) would be. Naturally, they'd lose some efficiency (unless you could tilt them out, giving the building a saw-tooth look), but there's a lot of urban real-estate on a conventional (not all-glass) tower block. Even in urban areas, tall developments could panel the top few floors which get full-sun, even if they just use conventional cladding for lower floors which get shaded. Might reduce solar heating of the building at the same time.

Conventional panels of course are quite heavy, but thin-film systems exist. I'm sure some material-science bods could come up with a way of applying thin-film PV layers to a (non-flammable, ahem) cladding panel. The cladding system itself could then have that saw-tooth shape to angle the PV surface a bit more sky-wards.

What's key with high density housing of course really is to leverage that density into centralised utilities - a central GS heat-pump (or district heating) which supplies every apartment - not individual boilers or anything ridiculous like that.

1. #### Re: I still don't understand

"Conventional panels of course are quite heavy"

They used to be. The mounting and drive system for my setup is about 35 times heavier than the panels themselves ... but then I went for a system that should be magnitude 8.0-proof. (I live close to the Rogers Creek Fault, probable home of the Bay Area's next big one. When (not if!) it hits, I'll be the guy with the lights on in the news helicopter shots ... ).

2. #### Re: leverage that density

A relative lives in a (social housing) high rise which until this year had a central gas boiler for heating purposes. It's been decommissioned now. Did they replace it with a greener centralised system? No, they ripped out and replaced individual radiators with electric storage heaters.

1. #### Re: leverage that density

Because gas is EVIL! 'Leccy is pure and natural!

I wonder how much more gas it takes to make and transmit all that electricity compared to having a single gas powered boiler in the basement ...

Whodathunk that the doo-gooder hippies would end up destroying the environment?

2. #### Re: I still don't understand

one apartment building = dozens of families and a tiny (usually already crowded) roof

Let me see now .. solar panels benefits the block tenants, so no money to made there. Lots of phone masts looking like a metal porcupine = a steady stream of money for the block owner. As usual, it's down to dirty money.

2. #### Re: I still don't understand

Or even make it easier for people with existing houses to fit solar panels. Above a certain capacity you have to have the OK from the local electricity lot and they can take months to OK schemes.

1. #### Re: I still don't understand

"Above a certain capacity you have to have the OK from the local electricity lot"

WTF? I checked with the State and County and filled out the required permits, installed mine, had it inspected (insurance) and then called PG&E and told them to remove their crap from my land. They bitched about it, but did as I asked ... except they chainsawed the poles at ground level. I made 'em come back and dig out the stumps.

Of course, they are trying to get the State to pass a law forcing me to pay "my share" of the cost of the grid ... Greedy bastards. PG&E needs to be shut down.

1. #### Re: I still don't understand

The paper work you have to get sorted is to allow you to connect your system to their power network, in theory you can sell them any excess power you might generate over and above what you're consuming at that moment and what you can store in onsite batteries.

The "feed in tariffs" used to look quite appealing but now that more people are fitting solar panels they've slashed the amount they'll pay you for your excess electricity. Actually the best you can hope for is that you have a very old fashioned meter which will spin backwards if you're producing more than you use as this will wind the clock back :-) One more reason they are absolutely desperate to replace all the working electricity meters with "smart meters" which are smart enough (from the companies POV) not to count backwards.

I guess I could fit the system and cut myself off from the power grid without any paperwork, but in the UK there is bugger all chance of generating enough power year round so any solar solution is only a partial solution to our electricity needs.

3. #### Re: I still don't understand

If you have a budget to supply x m² of solar panels, I would suggest you put them somewhere that gets more sunshine than England, like maybe Southern Europe.

4. #### Re: I still don't understand

Because pretty much any home with over two bedrooms has enough roof to power that house with today's solar panel technology. The power companies hate that, and they have better lobbyists than you do.

Likewise, why is it that all new buildings aren't fitted with GSHPs? They just work ... and mine are nearly 20 years old! Today's technology is much. much better.

1. #### Re: I still don't understand

pretty much any home with over two bedrooms has enough roof to power that house

Speaking for the UK, our 2-bed or even 3-bed houses would often struggle to find enough suitable roof to provide enough power for the whole house, especially in an all-electric future. At between 50°N (Cornwall) and 60°N (North Scotland) and with often inclement weather (ranging from 1,100 to 1,750 hours of sunshine a year) it's harder to maximise output, and with a typical new-build 2-storey, 2-bed house in the UK having a footprint of perhaps 35m² or less*, and situated on a development higgledy-piggledy style so that most properties do not have roof oriented anywhere near South, you might need quite a lot of panel to average the 10kWh per day typically consumed in a 2-person gas-connected house, much less the 25kWh per day you'd use in an all-electric situation (same source, my assumption that 33kWh of gas is replaced with 15kWh of electricity by using a heat pump).

That isn't to say that you shouldn't consider solar PV. "Every little helps" as they say, but your sweeping statement isn't necessarily true worldwide.

As for a ground source heat pump, typical house plots in the UK are nowhere near large enough (see the Taylor Wimpey link above again - that house has a total plot of perhaps 100m² including the bit on which the house sits) for either a horizontal pipe or a vertical trench pipe**. Boreholes are prohibitively expensive and in large parts of the populated country are impractical due either to underground infrastructure (gas, water, electricity, sewers, London Underground, nuclear bunkers and the like), abandoned or still-active underground workings (coal mines, ore mines) or complex ground conditions. Our own house, for example, sits on top of several coal seams, some of which may have been worked many years ago (but no-one knows for sure), a couple of mineral seams and a geological fault line. A borehole would be a risky investment.

Oh, and in terms of new-build, no developer is willingly going to fit £10,000 of PV and £15,000 of ASHP or £30,000 of GSHP if his competitors are fitting £2,500 worth of gas boiler. Either his houses will be correspondingly more expensive off-plan (and it's that headline figure which grabs the attention, not the ongoing running costs) or his profit margin is vastly reduced.

There are some PV technologies in development which are much less expensive than existing technologies, but they are also much less efficient. There comes a point, however, where something becomes cheap enough to be almost an "impulse" purchase, and you can compensate for lower output by installing more.

M.

*because I know that link will expire at some point, it's to a 2-bed semi-detached property by Taylor Wimpey which has a gross floor area of 771ft², which is around 72m² which implies a footprint of around 36m²

**one company I found estimates that for a horizontal GSHP pipe layout, a maximum figure of 12m² per 1m² of floorplan should be used - let's be generous and say that for a modern, well-insulated house you could get away with 4m² per 1m², that's still four times as much total plot as the house in question actually has, and that's assuming you're happy to run the pipe under the house itself

5. #### Re: I still don't understand

>Why they don't mandate..

Doing that would increase the build cost and so make those 2 bed homes even less affordable to new buyers and that doesn't go down well with politicians trying to show they understand voters...

That the marginal additional cost would more than pay for itself in energy savings, doesn't cut it.

Also mandating the fitting of solar panels during construction would mean fewer roof tiles are necessary and hit a thriving after-market installation sector (think jobs and tax revenues).

13. #### Isn't this a government's failure?

This can't be a surprise. Power companies, councils and the government all have a good view of the grid's capacity and surely should have regulated the creation of large power grants.

This all sounds like a planning failure and a failure to build the needed infrastructure in those areas, or to regulate the construction of datacenters. After all they granted permission for all of them.

1. #### Re: Isn't this a government's failure?

This is "there is no society, only families", "small government", "I'm alright jack" and "What can I make out of this" all coming home to roost

Not that it's anything unusual. Lack of planning ahead, callous disregard for the poor and diverting money by the truckload are long-established British traditions dating back to tudor times or earlier. Russian anti-corruption tzars with apartments full of cash are amateurs compared to the likes of Dido Harding and her husband. (The russians are merely playing catchup)

2. #### Re: Isn't this a government's failure?

v13: "This can't be a surprise."

\begin{RANT}

I'm sorry, have you seen the UK's 'government' lately? (You may need a little sit down and something to drink when you look, I certainly do). Liz and Rishi are currently trying to out tax cut each other whilst ignoring the multiple crises of Covid-19 (yup it is still here folks), Brexit (which most definitely is NOT (actually is) causing delays on crossing from Dover to France), cost of living due to the soaring costs of gas and oil (strangely France, which controls the things has managed to have a very small energy price rise for domestic premises) and the fact that the NHS is stuffed full of people who could be transferred out of hospitals if only someone's* plan to solve the social care problems had A existed and B worked. Oh and there's war in Ukraine too, and Yemen, and Syria, and then Afghanistan is facing the worst humanitarian crisis the world has ever seen (like over half the population could actually starve to death according to some sources). I mean like, nobody saw that coming

\end{RANT}

*Forget the guy's name, lives in London, shaggy hair, reminds me of Sir Toby Belch** from Shakespeare's play.

** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Toby_Belch. (Until I read this I was basing my comparison on Mel Smith's performance in the film, but now I see it is uncannily how I see him.)

OK, tin hat screwed on real tight, hatches battened down, all sails reefed, etc etc., let the downvotes fall.

14. #### Unclear from article and FT is paywall

Is the issue that there is not enough power, or is the problem that we cannot get enough power to where its needed using the available infrastructure.

These are two distinct issues... Capacity of the generation or capacity of the grid? Speed or bandwidth, but with leccy..?

1. #### Re: Unclear from article and FT is paywall

It's a distribution issue. We generate enough but the local infrastructure (so the bit outside the remit of the National Grid) can't handle it.

15. #### The Tory Government to the plebs

Let them use candles.

1. #### Re: The Tory Government to the plebs

But if they burn the candles, what will they feel the children? /s

2. #### Re: The Tory Government to the plebs

Reminds me that in the Thatcher years, there was a satirical half hour news show on BBC Radio 4 called 'Week Ending'. I recall the following sketch:

Announcer: "And now here is a statement from the government concerning the unemployment situation"

Government spokesperson: "Ooh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

Still, never mind."

1. #### Re: The Tory Government to the plebs

Weekending ran for a lot longer than Thatcher did, had a great theme tune in the 1980s and was edited by (among many others) Lissa Evans who is still in the business - worked on Father Ted, for example, and Have I got News for You. I've a couple of episodes on cassette tape knocking around somewhere. No idea why, must have a listen and find out if it was just my younger self recording it because I could, or if they were actually important episodes.

A successor in some ways I believe, to TW3 (That Was The Week That Was) and a forerunner of Dead Ringers among others.

M.

16. #### It's all about cities AKA a systems problem

According to one historian the reason Rome fell is that when it grew in size, earlier design decisions came back to haunt it. In this case, roads one chariot wide: intended to enable rapid deployment when the natives got restless, prevented food getting in quickly enough and the byproducts of living getting out fast enough.

London is a ramshackle place, never mind data centres, look how all the food until relatively recently was brought into the markets to be distributed out again. Smithfield is last example standing and soon to go.

The north and south circulars eventually had to be replaced by the M25

You just can't keep adding to a city and not expect legacy infrastructure problems.

1. #### Re: It's all about cities AKA a systems problem

"The north and south circulars eventually had to be replaced by the M25"

The North Circular at least feel like a proper actual single purpose built road.

The South Circular is a line some twat drew on a map along a random swath of existing roads that happened to be going in roughly the right direction and labelled it "The South Circular"

1. #### Re: It's all about cities AKA a systems problem

Look up "london ringways project" to understand why

TLDR: It's because someone did just that, after the planned trench-dug south circular was axed.

The ironic thing was that it was routed so that most of it would have been on farmland and planning rules proposed to keep housing a reasonable distance away (the trenching was to keep noise under control too) but the objections mostly centred around it being too noisy for housing

The M25 is the remains of Rings 4 and 5 - the reason it's so busy most of the time is because it's carrying the load of TWO motorways along with a third unbuilt one planned to be along the route of the A25

You can find remains of the outer ring on the north side between the M11 and M1, although it's been turned into narrower road more recently

(Ring1 was a disaster of planning, because councils cheaped out and didn't move people away from the noise. There are huge underground car parking facilities at regents park, etc and the entireity of london inside Ring1 would have been off-limits to private vehicles from 1970 if it'd gone forward. The whole project was hopelessly car-centric but something was (and is) needed, both to improve life for inhabitants and reduce journey times (probably by concentrating on making public transport much better and discouraging cars)

1. #### Re: It's all about cities AKA a systems problem

probably by concentrating on making public transport much better

Having just returned from a few days in the capital, while I'm sure things could probably be improved (though major re-routing of underground or overground lines simply ain't gonna happen), public transport in London is already vastly better than anywhere else I know in the UK. I will never forget the first time I took my then 17 year-old on the underground. We needed to travel from Paddington to Tower Hill. Firstly he was amazed with the workings of Oyster cards (no faffing about buying paper tickets), then we saw a Circle Line train pull out, so he started looking for a bench to sit on. After all, around here you are lucky if buses or trains come along more often than every 20 minutes. Of course there were no benches, but before he had explored even half the length of the platform, another train pulled in. "Gobsmacked" is putting it lightly.

Spend even half the amount of money London gets for its transport infrastructure thinly across the whole of the rest of the UK and marvellous things could be done. Same offspring returned from work today to a station about a 3 mile drive from our home. Sensible planning in the 1970s means that there is a bus station right outside, but the bus he normally uses, which gets to within a quarter of a mile of our house, had just left and another wasn't due for at least 30 minutes. Instead he was surprised to find the "community" bus - which only runs three times a day - waiting. This bus stops within 200m of our house, but I believe it took him over 45 minutes to get there, so circuitous is its route. Oh and, even subsidised it cost him about the same to travel that distance as it costs to travel on the Underground from Zone 3 to Zone 1 off-peak, say 9 miles from Ealing to Piccadilly Circus. As for the bus, a flat rate of £1.65 off peak? As far as I'm aware there is nowhere else in the country which can match that.

M.

1. #### Re: It's all about cities AKA a systems problem

Just because public transport in London is better than elsewhere in the UK doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement - it just shows how much worse it is everywhere else

One of London's bigger problems is that whilst public transport IS really good in the centre, the periphery isn't served well with most of the focus being almost entirely on "edges to centre" and the hours of that service relatively restricted. If the planning isn't properly joined up then people take cars and once in cars they're hard to get out of the things

1. #### Re: It's all about cities AKA a systems problem

I specifically said that there are probably ways in which it can be improved - and now you come to mention it, the "circumferential" routes do seem to be a problem. As visitors last week we were, of course, doing mainly edge-to-centre and around-the-centre, which seems to be extremely well-served on nearly all counts. One of my main gripes though is that it seems as if some (all?) services are subsidised in London (particularly buses), whereas in the rest of the privatised country, very few are, because when privatised, the new companies generally cherry-picked profitable routes, which the councils used to use to cross-subsidise socially important but unprofitable routes.

It's not that the rest of the country has generally been slacking in the matter - these changes (much like the enforced sell-off of council houses and the ban on rebuilding) were forced on them. It's why some places are trying to take back some form of "centralised" control; why where we are, Transport for Wales was formed and has grandiose (though as yet mostly unrealised) plans for a modern, integrated transport system. Budgets, however, are still a problem.

M.

2. #### Re: It's all about cities AKA a systems problem

> and planning rules proposed to keep housing a reasonable distance away

Ha ha!

The distance planning rules seem only to get applied to the planning of the route of new roads and railways.

Ie. it is used as the main reason for routing through open countryside, SSSI's, Ancient woodland etc. and allows the developer to crow about how considerate they are being when they are actually reducing their build costs.

Once the road/railway has been built, developers queue to build new housing on these buffer belts. The laugh is that developers seem to be keen to show off their more expensive "executive" homes, so these are the ones that seem to be built in the worst locations. Near me there is a row of such houses either side of the main estate entrance roundabout overlooking an arterial dual carriageway.

17. I will never understand why DCs are usually built in urban areas.

I have heard some justify the chosen locations by citing the availability of power - clearly that's not true. There are plenty of brownfield sites with good connectivity to the grid. Indeed there such site which are adjacent to power stations or even sites that are ex power stations. Not only do these sites have outstanding connectivity to the grid, but also there will be no problems getting planning permission.

Another other reason given is connectivity. Maybe that was a consideration once, but these days high speed connectivity is not all that expensive wherever you may be. Maybe the initial provision is more expensive than in a urban area, but this will be more than offset by cheaper property prices.

Of course in more labour intense industries the proximity of a workforce is a damned good reason for locating in an urban area, but DCs famously don't need many staff.

1. Another other reason given is connectivity. Maybe that was a consideration once, but these days high speed connectivity is not all that expensive wherever you may be

High speed (residential) connectivity != DC connectivity. A house might get 100Mbps to 1Gbps, a big data centre will have multiple 100Gbps links.

Digging a trench to run optical cable hasn't gotten much cheaper over the last decade, so if you're not too far from where some optics are already running things aren't too bad, that's why they are clustered around the M4 corridor. Once you start getting further away then the cost still goes up steeply

1. You'll be surprised just how many national fibre networks there are in the UK, most major business parks will be served by one or more PoPs from these operators.

I've found the difficult part has been the cross-town connection; for one site, whilst the as-the-crow-flies distance was sub 1km, there was a small problem of a railway line adding to the fun of duct routing. In the end the easiest solution was to upgrade the PoP-to-BT exchange trunk and have Openreach run a line through their ducts resulting in nearly 3kms of new fibre.

I mean, that's the main reason I can see that you'd want your servers inside the M25 as opposed to a bit further afield. A few milliseconds of latency shouldn't ever matter, the fact that it does is an entirely artificial construct.

So why not just ban HFT, or at the very least make it totally uneconomical, and while we're at it, ban bitcoin mining, NFTs and other wasteful uses of electricity that serve only to enrich a handful of arseholes/criminals?

1. #### Re: High Frequency Trading?

HFT should be banned because it is a big risk to the stability of the global financial system.

What's the reaction time for someone to hit the off switch compared to the reaction time for HFT to sell off stocks in a falling market?

19. And we're supposed to be able to add electric cars onto the demand? By the tens of thousands...?!

The Transmission network (132kV and up) are by and large OK for the extra demand (see recent projects like the London Power Tunnels) but the local distribution stuff isn't. Adding distributed generation helps with some aspects and hinders in others.

The really sad bit is that all of this is well known and understood. The regulator's mission of the last 30 years has been to drive down cost and run things to the bone. In that mission, they have succeeded; at great cost to consumers now becoming apparent to all.

And rather like dealing with health problems, the worse you are often the harder it is to do anything about it to mitigate the damage.

It's almost as though having some central planning functions would, you know, be useful. When dealing with infrastructure that takes decades to build and lifetimes of half a century or more. Ahem.

20. #### Ha

"electricity grid can't supply enough power and datacenters are being blamed for using up all the capacity"

Because it cant be blamed on the green madness. The loonies will scream if you do that. So lets keep making monuments to a sky god in hope that he farts and make driving too expensive for those plebs who cant afford a leccy car.

What is the glorious success of green madness? Higher bills and less energy. Who could have seen that coming (everyone paying any attention)

1. #### Re: Ha

The data centre is agnostic to the source of its power.

Distro networks being choked to breaking point by chronic underinvestment is nothing to do with the generation source in question.

In fact any power installed within the distro network would help to alleviate demand, thus freeing up capacity. There's a reason there are incentives and penalties concerning disparity of supply and demand.

But it's all the green lobbies fault. Riiiight. Eejit.

1. #### Re: Ha

@AC

"The data centre is agnostic to the source of its power."

As long as it gets power. The price of power being very much related to the cost of generating it and its availability/reliability.

"Distro networks being choked to breaking point by chronic underinvestment is nothing to do with the generation source in question."

Sure, so thats the EV pushing out of the window then? Holding off the EV chargers until the infrastructure can be upgraded?

"In fact any power installed within the distro network would help to alleviate demand, thus freeing up capacity. There's a reason there are incentives and penalties concerning disparity of supply and demand."

Maybe set the networks up with nukes? They do need reliable power.

"But it's all the green lobbies fault. Riiiight. Eejit."

Your saying it isnt? Assuming your in the UK look at your gas and electric bill. Unreliables have been creeping it up and rely on gas as a backup. Eejit.

1. #### Re: Ha

Codejunky once again demonstrating the ability to regurgitate what his lobbyists have told him to say, but not understand the problem. Nothing new there.

Nukes don't connect to distro networks. They connect upstream, to the transmission network. Therefore more nuke does not address the capacity problem within the DNO. The touted "SMR" designs I can assure you, will not be connecting at DNO level; not least due to the regulations around provision of connections of nuclear sites to the UK grid.

Embedded generators, i.e. mostly solar panels and windmills within distro networks reduce demand that has to be carried over the capacity of the DNO. Thus aiding in capacity. (Though, not without other well documented and understood issues).

Blaming the green lobby for this particular problem is both counterproductive and incorrect.

Blaming the regulators and distro networks for being forced into corners for generating profit and headlines for cost reduction (i.e. Ofgem's remit) at the expense of system capability or long term need is the problem.

You may have noticed Ofgem have failed interminably at their remit for fighting for the consumer interest; but their masters are doing very well at generating profit in the energy supply chain.

Not understanding the failing of the current design of the market will perpetuate those failings.

1. #### Re: Ha

@AC

"Codejunky once again demonstrating the ability to regurgitate what his lobbyists have told him to say"

Lobbyists? Who the hell do you think I am?

"Nukes don't connect to distro networks"..."The touted "SMR" designs I can assure you, will not be connecting at DNO level; not least due to the regulations around provision of connections of nuclear sites to the UK grid."

I like how you say no but yes except regulation would need updating. Not that I am advocating SMR nuke power (or rejecting it, fairly agnostic) but it would be more reliable than solar and wind and could be a way to move the data centres off the normal grid.

"Embedded generators, i.e. mostly solar panels and windmills within distro networks reduce demand that has to be carried over the capacity of the DNO. Thus aiding in capacity. (Though, not without other well documented and understood issues)."

Fairly painful and expensive issues, especially around wind but affecting unreliables in general. A sudden increase in demand because the sun stops shining or the wind is/nt blowing.

"Blaming the green lobby for this particular problem is both counterproductive and incorrect."

Ok so lets look at the issue. We have an under invested grid which is not gonna be cheap nor quick to fix. We have falling power capacity in general and a serious reliance on gas. At the same time we have invested loads into monuments to a sky god that increases our reliance on gas, requires large areas of land to produce very little energy, increases all of our bills ridiculously (used to be 25% of an energy bill was green subsidies before the gas price shot up) and produces little.

Imagine investing that money into a working power grid to provide enough power and replace ageing infrastructure!

1. #### Re: Ha

>>>Lobbyists? Who the hell do you think I am?<<<

A Tufton Street simp.

1. #### Re: Ha

@AC

Oh hey my unwanted coward pet troll. Was it you all along? I didnt know you could write so many words!

1. #### Re: Ha

Nope, you've got more than one pet.

1. #### Re: Ha

Should that be, "You've got more than one, pet."?

AC is Legion.

2. #### Re: Ha

@AC

So for whoever was the AC having a conversation, it might be better to use your account name as I have a coward pet troll who believes it is many but cant find one with enough braincells to write half decent comments.

1. #### Re: Ha

Has it occurred to you that when only the ACs are conversing with you, it's because only you are feeding the trolls? The rest of us tend to drop out of such conversations troll feeding sessions because they are, not to put to fine a point on it, quite tedious.

If you feed the trolls, you get to keep them. PDNFTT

1. #### Re: Ha

"Has it occurred to you that when only the ACs are conversing with you, it's because only you are feeding the trolls?"

A troll ouroboros? Or The Troll Centipede?

2. #### Re: Ha

@jake

"Has it occurred to you that when only the ACs are conversing with you, it's because only you are feeding the trolls?"

I try to give the benefit of the doubt if it looks like they can string a sentence together. I think I can usually identify my pet troll by their lack of many words. but yes I know I risk collecting strays.

2. #### Re: Ha

"Who the hell do you think I am?"

Quite frankly, I haven't the foggiest idea.

::shrugs::

2. #### Re: Ha

"Nukes don't connect to distro networks. They connect upstream, to the transmission network. "

That depends entirely on where the power generator is

A DC near a nuke plant might well run lines directly to it - and take waste heat to run the cooling systems

21. #### Swap CRT for LCDs

One solution at Adastral, many years ago, was to get everyone to swap CRT for LCDs which reduced power consumption. It was a popular solution - leave a CRT on Friday & on Monday it had been swapped for a new LCD!

1. #### Re: Swap CRT for LCDs

Simply register the DC somewhere else for power purposes?

The whole point of the cloud is that you don't care where the data center is physically located.

It's registered in German for the purpose of GDPR, Luxembourg for VAT, Ireland for corporate tax and in Slough for connection to London. Simply decide that for power purposes it's in Quebec or Norway and then it can use all that green power

22. #### And so maybe Amazon …

Will move into power generation, making their barns self sufficient and cutting out the middle man?

23. #### If....

If the government want everybody to be in London they will have to start building it with space for 60m people.

Simply forcing them to live in tents because there's no jobs "Oop north" isn't an infrastructure strategy.

24. #### And there

was a nice piece on BBC about Hinkley B nuclear power station shutting down because it was life expired (actually about 15 yrs beyond the original expiry date) and the fact it supplied 3% of the UK's electrickery and you really think people might have noticed 20-30 yrs ago that most of our power generation system was going life expired in 2020-2025 and built replacements (wind is crap and solar fails completely at night) which means lots more gas generation as its cheap and quick to build.

Which sums this country up nicely , anything that takes longer than 5 years (nuclear power plant replacement, power cable replacement, trainings loads more doctors/nurses) is automatically kicked down the road by the government as the next election happening and we dont want the next government getting credit for something they've done.

I'll give it 6 months before we'll getting rolling blackouts/load shedding as the french wont send us any nuclear generated electrickery as it will all be needed to power Germany after the russkies turn off the gas supply.

Good job I put off getting a "smart meter" then.

1. #### Re: rolling blackouts/load shedding

This is exactly WHY I refused to get a smart meter

25. A properly designed DC should need little or no external energy for its air-con - they use the difference between outside and inside temperatures to operate an air source heat pump in reverse. This tech has been around for at least a decade. And with a nice flat roof there's absolutely no excuse not to fit solar - actually every flat roof built anywhere in the UK should have mandatory solar. And all new build houses. Instead of forcing us to use a technology that's not fit for purpose unless your house is designed for it from the ground up.

This would be an explanation for the proposed Australia-Asia Powerlink, connecting Singapore to electricity from Darwin. Singapore is the hub for data cables from all over the Pacific, Indian Ocean, and South China sea, making it a natural location for data centers.

I had thought that the proposed link was just blue-sky investment speculation, greenwash and supply diversification, but this would suggest also sharply-rising power demand.

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