back to article Germany orders Sept 1 shutdown of digital ad displays to save gas

Germany has ordered overnight shutdowns for non-essential digital signage, to save its reserves of natural gas for more important purposes. Like many European nations, Germany relies on natural gas imported from Russia. And thanks to Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine, that gas is currently in short supply. The European …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

    Presumably, the exception is to print out a copy of the timetable on paper and stick it in a frame?

    Most of the bus and tram stops around here (Potsdam area) have LED matrix signs that list the next few things stopping, with active advert screens generally on the vehicle itself (where they're comprehensively ignored, since the majority of passengers actually pay attention to the world outside and know where they are).

    Curiously, my local petrol station has huge e-ink displays to show the current price (it can change ten times or more a day).

    1. FILE_ID.DIZ
      Meh

      Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

      I am always amused by gas prices and not in a good way.

      I mean, yes - they need to charge relative to the price that they're going to pay the distributor, but how many delivery tankers does any one gas station receive on any given day?

      I mean, does the price of the gas change while that delivery truck is in transit?

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

        Gas prices in Canada or at least one chain, the "base price" is set from a central location.

        Driving into work (Calgary) I noted that the inbound traffic gas stations were more expensive, while the outbound ones were cheaper & vice versa going home.

        Also seen them change after the rush-hour/school runs are over in the morning & potentially switching back\forth around lunch times, then going up for the evening.

        1. FILE_ID.DIZ
          Facepalm

          Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

          The Uber model of pricing.

          I just came back from the future, and that worked out well for everyone.

          PS: Calgary is a beautiful city. Was there last year on a project for several weeks and have to say, of all the Canadian cities I've been to, Calgary appeals the most to me.

          Never been to as far west as BC (Bring Cash) or as far east as Newfoundland (heard they're strange) - but will hand it to Calgary. :)

      2. navarac

        Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

        For clarity, Gas in the article refers to Gas, literally, Not Gasoline/Petrol for those reading in N America.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

          What do they call 'Gas' in N America? Butane/propane? Something else?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

            They can't call actual gas "gas" since they borrowed that name for something else, so they have to call it "crisps" instead.

            Hence why they can't refer to actual crisps as "crisps" and have to refer to them as "chips".

            Hence why they can't refer to actual chips as "chips" and have to call them "fries" instead.

            Hence why they can't refer to the language of Friesland as.... etc.

            1. Fr. Ted Crilly Bronze badge

              Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

              It still gets worse...

              A fuel tank will have an 'petcock' (what an amusing word!) to shut of the flow of gasoline[petrol], or diesel etc.

              oh and the bacon is an excuse for a name, 'meatstuff' would be more accurate.

          2. Dinanziame Silver badge
            Flame

            Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

            ─ Gas is gas, but they call it "natural gas".

            ─ What do they call farts?

            ─ I dunno, I didn't go into Burger King

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

              Please give us an example of "Un-natural gas"

              Or is all gas "natural"?

              1. sebacoustic

                Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                that would be "man-made" gas from coke furnaces which was widely used in gas mains before the "natural gas"

                1. PhilipN Silver badge

                  Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                  Ta! for the reminder. I’d almost forgotten the aroma of a gas tap left open. Didn’t “they” have to add something for safety to aroma-less North Sea Gas or is my memory playing tricks?

                  More past history but our Physics teacher had the smartest idea: reckoned N.S. Gas should just have been piped into power stations instead of digging up the whole country to lay new domestic pipelines.

                  1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

                    Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                    How on earth did your physics teacher manage to become a physics teacher with that appalling grasp of... physics.

                    So.... instead of gas field -> consumers -> convert to heat, he wants:

                    gas field -> power station -> convert to heat (losses) -> convert to pressure (losses) -> convert to motion (losses) -> convert to electricity (losses) -> transform to transmission voltage (losses) -> transmit across network (losses) -> convert to consumer voltage (losses) -> convert to heat (losses).

                    It is *appalling* that so much gas is used to make electricity.

                    1. PhilipN Silver badge

                      Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                      Are you forgetting the "digging up the whole country to lay new domestic pipelines" and thousand upon thousand of households installing new gas appliances (many binning the old ones)?

                      All for a power source with a finite lifetime?

                      1. Glen 1

                        Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                        "All for a power source with a finite lifetime?"

                        Less finite than many of the pipes themselves.

                        Many existing houses have fireplaces as part of their original design that were meant for coal -- an equally finite resource.

                        Remember, electricity being in regular people's homes has only been common for about a hundred years.

                      2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

                        Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                        What "digging up the whole country to lay new domestic pipelines"? They used the pre-existing town gas pipelines. The only digging up was the new trunk network.

                        Over the years the domestic network has yes been dug up, but as the 200-year process or routinely replacing pipes as and when they wear out.

                  2. Jesthar

                    Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                    "I’d almost forgotten the aroma of a gas tap left open. Didn’t “they” have to add something for safety to aroma-less North Sea Gas or is my memory playing tricks?"

                    Indeed they did. My University campus had a site wide evacuation one day because a factory up the road that makes that smell had a leak...

              2. pirxhh

                Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                Anything with Plutonium, for example.

          3. DrSunshine0104

            Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

            Yes, at least in the States, we usually call it true gas fuels by their name propane/butane/etc, while gas is used as a short-hand for gasoline; like math/maths for mathematics. Using gas referring to propane/butane is less common, natural gas more commonly, it is usually context that tells you which usage the person is meaning. In more formal writing or where confusion might occur gasoline will be used to avoid confusion.

            1. Stork Silver badge

              Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

              What would you call the automobile fuel sold as LPG in some parts of the world?

              1. DrSunshine0104

                Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                LPG is used in various applications in the US and is usually, majority propane. Forktrucks commonly use LPG as a fuel, I seem to remember saying propane, fuel and maybe even just gas when I worked in a warehouse environment. It is common to see something stamped LP/LPG and most people familiar with the application would says propane.

                Gas, in the US, is often used as a catch-all term for almost any petroleum based fuel, even if it is a stable liquid at 1 atmosphere and room temperature. It would not surprise me if someone said their heavy equipment earth-mover 'ran out of gas', everyone knows the earth-mover isn't using a petroleum gas nor using gasoline as a fuel. The only time you might have to specify is if the person not mechanically literate or unfamiliar with the equipment.

      3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

        I mean, does the price of the gas change while that delivery truck is in transit?

        You're making the mistake of assuming that the 'free market' reduces prices to a minimum courtesy of competition. That is of course what the proponents thereof would like you to believe, but, in observed fact it actually *raises* prices to some figure technically known as 'all the market will bear'...

        I think I may have posted this recently, but in (at least this bit of) Germany, fuel stations are required to inform an official body within five minutes of changing their pump prices, and that body makes the prices available to e.g. web clients on grounds of transparency.

        https://ich-tanke.de/tankstellen/super-e10/umkreis/14469-potsdam/

        1. Screwed

          Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

          Whereas we in the UK have to rely on some petrol price web sites few by drivers' observations.

          The one I currently use has actually been quite accurate but the reported prices are often noted to be two or three days old. So am always suitable sceptical of some super-low price until I actually get it into my tank.

          Have recently seen a differential between forecourts of as much as 21p a litre. Which is large enough to cover the monetary cost of driving quite a number of miles to fill up. As it is ludicrous to use petrol to save money, we make sure we plan to fill up when already travelling in the direction of the cheapest petrol. But not everyone has that luxury.

          The times when supermarket petrol looked like a loss leader are well and truly dead. With Tesco now often being the most expensive in the area (though usually equalled by Morrison's).

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

            Whereas we in the UK have to rely on some petrol price web sites few by drivers' observations.

            If you have a Costco nearby they do all the monitoring for you, so they can pitch their price below the lowest.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

            "Have recently seen a differential between forecourts of as much as 21p a litre. Which is large enough to cover the monetary cost of driving quite a number of miles to fill up."

            I remember growing up in Northern Ireland only 1 or 2 miles from the Irish border. Petrol was cheaper in Ireland, due to lower government fuel taxes, so everyone locally just drove across the border to fill up. The nearest petrol station just across the border was, from memory, the 2nd busiest petrol station in the whole of Ireland, what with all the nearby NI drivers frequenting it (often had queues outside it).

            One company actually owned 2 petrol stations about 1/2 mile apart on either side of the border - over the course of many years they would mothball the one on whichever side of the border where petrol was more expensive, only to perhaps re-open it 5 or 10 years later when the price difference reversed direction.

          3. katrinab Silver badge
            Black Helicopters

            Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

            That is because EG, the largest chain of petrol stations, now owns Asda, and MFG, the second largest chain of petrol stations, now owns Morrisons. And Morrisons owns 33% of Greenergy, the largest operator of petrol refineries, which in turn owns the local franchising rights to Esso.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

          Yes, the requirement to publish prices was in lieu of real anti-cartel legislation against the refineries. Fuel pricing is elastic because the majority of customers have no alternative. Time and again a rise in oil prices is used to justify a hike at the pumps, even though the relationship between the spot market for oil and the contract market for refined products is more than a little indirect.

          Of course, higher prices should, in theory, lead to reduced use, which for most drivers is possible simply by lowering their speed on the motorways: 100 km/h instead of 120 km/h would produce a noticeable saving on many journeys; the savings would be greater the more people do it. But, even though a majority of German drivers are now in favour of it, the idea of a national speed limit is anathema to many politicians.

          But we're due for an almighty scream at the end of the month when the duty "holiday" runs out and petrol will go up € 0.30 a litre over night. This might encourage some people to drive less or at least lower for a while but, as has been observed with smokers, over time they'll be racing between traffic lights again.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Smokers that race between traffic lights?

            The ones I know tend to be short of breath already to a varying degree.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Smokers that race between traffic lights?

              NFT

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Boffin

          Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

          I mean, does the price of the gas change while that delivery truck is in transit?

          Yes it does. The price of commodities (including all forms of petroleum) changes second by second. Companies purchase contracts to lock in a price so the theoretical delivery truck's price won't change but the value of the gas it's carrying will.

          https://tradingeconomics.com/commodity/eu-natural-gas

        4. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

          While a free market does indeed push prices down, a truely free market is a rare beast, especially in energy.

          You're making the mistake of assuming that the market you see that does not behave freely is an example of a ideal free market.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

            In most of the EU the "merit order" principle has helped grow the supply of renewables by guaranteeing the feed-in price. The problem has been the reliance on gas-powered electricity plants to shortfalls because it's the most flexible. This was fine as long as gas was cheap but it's now driving the spot price for all providers. However, this isn't really failure of the market per se, just the lack of foresight about diversifying supply even after all the warnings for a continent that is not self-sufficient in energy.

      4. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

        It is gas (natural gas), not petrol, benzine, gasoline or whatever you want to call it.

        Russian gas was cheap and used to power the power stations that supplied the electricity grid in large parts of Europe, along with coal, wind, solar and nuclear power. Russia is artificially restricting supplies to Europe (due to oversupply of gas inside Russia, due to throttling what comes to Europe, Russia is allegedly burning 4.34 million cubic metres (117950986.778 cubic feet) of gas every day from a processing station near the Finnish border.

        As a result, the gas suppliers in Europe are having to look at alternate sources, such as shipping the gas in from the US, the UAE etc. That involves building terminals for the ships, which don't exist yet, and the cost of the gas is much higher than that supplied by Russia.

        As well as the signage, public buildings will only be heated to 19°C (66.2°F) this winter. Spain has gone a step further, air conditioning systems aren't allowed to cool below 26°C (78.8°F), although Germany has far fewer AC users than Spain, so such an order wasn't given here. Private households are also being adviced to heat to 19°C this winter and to turn down the hot water temperature, although you can't go below 50°C (122°F) due to Legionnaires Disease, we have dropped out hot water temperature to 52°C to be on the safe side.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

          air conditioning systems aren't allowed to cool below 26°C

          Slight error - it's 27°C. And that's the temperature on the controls, which is the temperature it'll never reach.

          After complaints, the government partially backtracked and allowed 25°C for restaurants, hair dressers, and hospitals.

        2. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

          Frankly, most lighting of public buildings and street lighting anywhere that's not a popular city centre should anyway be switched off from about 11-12pm until about 5-6 am. It's a gigantic waste of energy just on the offchance that someone might be going past, not to mention a nuisance for anyone whose windows are invaded by the streetlights. Cars have their own headlights (so should bicycles etc) and should be fine.

          If pedestrian safety is a potential problem, lights could be dimmed instead, or alternate lights turned off etc. (where technically possible of course). Energy-saving street lights that cast light only downwards have been around for years but there seem to be far too few of them installed (though to be fair I understand the energy and material cost of replacing a perfectly functioning existing light)

          "public buildings will only be heated to 19°C"

          It's hardly freezing is it? Again, frankly they never should be heating warmer than that anyway.

          1. Filippo Silver badge

            Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

            Agree. In winter I set my home to 19°C, and I do sedentary work there all day long. Just put on a sweater.

            1. Claverhouse Silver badge

              Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

              Personally I prefer a steady 61 F +/-, and even then minimal clothing.

              1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

                Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                61 F?

                1. gotes
                  Trollface

                  Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                  61 F

                  That's a very big capacitor.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

              At 19°C, my hands and feet get downright icy (and stiff) while sitting at a desk. I *might* manage to thaw somewhat if I put on both snowpants and winter coat - but more likely I'll end up sweating from neck to wrist to ankle, and *still* have hands and feet too cold.

              On the other hand I've become a lot more heat-tolerant as I've gotten older....

              1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

                Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                Horses for courses, I've become a lot less heat tolerant as I get older. I hate the summer, there's a limit to how much clothing you can take off; whereas in winter you can keep putting on more and more layers.

          2. Stoneshop Silver badge

            Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

            though to be fair I understand the energy and material cost of replacing a perfectly functioning existing light

            Around the time when LED arrays started to appear as a replacement for incandescents in traffic lights (generally just replacing the bulb and the reflector with a disc full of LEDs) I read that the energy savings plus the longer lifespan (less replacements) paid for them in three to five years. The same holds for train signals.

            Before that you could occasionally see traffic lights that appeared to be lit by a coiled-up fluorescent but those were usually total replacements or new installs as far as I could determine.

            For street lighting the pole and the luminant are often separate items, and it's a rare manufacturer who will not supply replacement LED-based luminants. For the borough/council/department/whoever, it's again a matter of energy cost against cost of retrofitting.

            1. big_D Silver badge

              Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

              Yes, our council (in north Germany) has been replacing incandescent street lights with LEDs gradually over the last 5-6 years, it would be too expensive to do it all at once, but when different streets reach a certain age, the "heads" are being switched out. It saves them a lot of money, I believe the more they swap, the faster they can swap out the rest, so the replacement age drops each year.

              1. hoola Silver badge

                Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                There is a lot of bull talked about LED lighting for street lights.

                Low & High Pressure sodium are actually very efficient and have a life span that is considerably longer than LED.

                LEDs are popular because the light is perceived to be better as it is white. It is also hugely brighter, insanely bright in many instances and the power usage will actually be higher than LPS or HPS.

                LEDs fail because they are over-driven to get the brightness & crucially it is the driver unit in the lamp head that fails (we have all seen the "flashing" street light.

                You also need more lights or much higher columns to get the same coverage due to LEDs being a point source or light.

                LED for exterior lighting as an energy saving means is total greenwashing. Reducing the amount of street lighting would have a far greater saving. We do not need lighting to provide "daylight" levels or lighting.

                1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                  Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                  You're making a lot of assumptions about street lighing in places you don't know: for example, Germany has historically not used sodium lighting, so the comparison is invalid. Even where sodium is used, the power and maintenance for modern LEDs (they can easily be autonomously powered with small solar cells) is significantly lower than sodium.

                  However, I would agree that much street lighting is often much brighter than necessary and the problems of "light pollution" are becoming more well known.

                2. david 12 Silver badge

                  Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                  I agree about the quality of many LED light fittings. but for a properly specked fitting, the cost savings are there, with a payoff period of about 5 years.

                  Our LED factory lights are much cheaper to operate than our Sodium vapour lamps were. The payoff period for replacement would be about 3 years if the LED quality wasn't so poor.

                  The same quality problem was true for retail compact fluorescents and incadescent bulbs. My first CF was a commercial-quality outdoor fitting, and lasted more than 15 years (until we moved and left it behind). My incadescents were always 2000 or 5000 hours, to save the trouble or replacing standard 1000 hour bulbs.

                3. Alan Brown Silver badge

                  Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

                  LED streetlighting can be dimmed 90% (or turned off entirely) and only brightened when there's movement below the units

                  Try doing that with a sodium or mercury fitting

                  Apart from the power savings, you get a large effect on light pollution

          3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

            Depends who you are what you're doing: hypothermia is a real risk for the elderly.

            Our rooms are normally set to 19°C in winter but I do tend to have my study a little warmer and that's with a sweater and additional socks.

            However, it's also been noticed that men tend to prefer 1°C less than women. I think this is because our greater muscle mass is producing heat even at rest.

            1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

              Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

              No, it's because women tends to dress nearly naked, whereas men tend to dress nearly fully clothed.

          4. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

            Germany did run some experiments in small communities a couple of years back, turning the lights out around 22:00 and people walking down a street after that could send an SMS to a number on the lampposts, along with lamppost ID and they would light up for a 5 minute period

            1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

              Re: ...could send an SMS to a number on the lampposts

              Slap one of those on Eros. That will save a lot of wasted electricity.

              I wonder if LandSec would mind...

        3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

          19C ? So I have to turn my heating up?

      5. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

        Also, here in Germany, gas prices change during the day, it is usually most expensive between 7 and 9 am and cheapest in the evening, prices can vary by up to 10c a litre (38c a gallon).

        1. Matthew 25

          Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

          That's only if you are using American gallons. It would be 45c for an imperial gallon.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

            As the OP mistook gas (natural) for gasoline, I assumed he was in the US, so deliberately used US Gallon.

      6. Oglethorpe

        Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

        I didn't realise this until I asked a German friend to confirm but, at some petrol stations, the price can change throughout the day. I initially thought it was poor memory on my part when I walked past the same station a few times.

        1. Stork Silver badge

          Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

          It is (or used to be) the same in Denmark. Prices tended to creep down Sunday to Wednesday, then they were reset to the list price, and then over again Wednesday to Sunday. I may remember the weekdays wrong, but that was the pattern.

          Some areas had “price wars” others not so much.

      7. Justthefacts Silver badge

        Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

        You understand that in Europe, gas means *gaseous* natural gas. Used for heating and electricity. Not petrol for cars, we don’t call that gas.

        Petrol prices are high and problematic, but it isn’t the crisis that gas prices are.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

      The bus stop signs around the Hague in NL are all solar powered... Not sure how long the charge holds, or if there is a backup non-solar source?

    3. Solviva Bronze badge

      Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

      In Gothenburg in the last couple of years they've decided it was a good idea to replace several of those static major road signs with... Incredibly bright (so you can see when the competing light from the sun shines on them) LED displays, shining brightly all day long (previously they would be lit for free by the sun during the day).

      Yes, those signs which are updated every decade or so, and if they need a short update for diversions then send a man on a crane in the middle of the night to put up a sticker on them. It's almost like they're waiting for some youngster to hack them and display <favourite naughty website> to passing drivers.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

        Just an idle thought, but if the illuminated LED sign saying "Welcome to Swindon" was hacked and replaced by goatse, how long would it be before anyone noticed...?

        1. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

          Forget it, Jake. It's Swindon.

    4. iron Silver badge

      Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

      Presumably the exception is to let timetable signs keep running. A printed note isn't going to work for something like a major train station timetable.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

        A printed note isn't going to work for something like a major train station timetable.

        One wonders how they coped before digital timetable displays appeared.

        1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

          Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

          One wonders how they coped before digital timetable displays appeared.

          Solari boards (Wikipedia:Split-Flap Display)

          The one at Waterloo was a sight to behold, and made a very distinctive sound as it updated.

          Going back to the 1920s, there appears to have been a fixed display between platforms 6 and 7.

          Interior view of Waterloo Station showing the concourse and a W.H.Smith news kiosk.From a New London photographic glass slide. c.1920

          If the direct link doesn't work, put reference 10846 in the image search here: https://boroughphotos.org/lambeth/

          NN

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge

            Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

            Solari boards (Wikipedia:Split-Flap Display)

            The large ones in the central hall of the larger railway stations (and in airports) tended to have flaps per individual character, as they had to be able to display any destination on any position, essentially shifting the displayed lines up every few minutes. The ones on the platforms usually had flaps displaying one or more stops or the destination in its entirety. There were also roll-sign displays which made the world move up after they'd stopped rolling down displaying a new departure.

            But the most common (and still in use) method is just printed sheets, commonly ordered by general destination if not just as a large list of departure times.

          2. hoola Silver badge

            Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

            I remember standing there watching those boarding seeing the route gradually form as the slats clicked over.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

        "A printed note isn't going to work for something like a major train station timetable."

        Admittedly I don't use trains all that often, but don't "major train stations" have dedicated timetable displays? People need to refer to them all the time, so AFAIK don't ever show adverts anyway.

        1. ChoHag Bronze badge

          Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

          There is no space left for the timetables among the adverts.

      3. gotes

        Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

        Timetables are generally quite static, departure/arrival boards are not.

    5. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

      I was amazed in the late 80s in the UK when we got LED displays at bus stops in London. No more having to look at the useless time table that was sometimes posted in the little window on the post. Now while waiting for the bus I could see from the display when the next one was. Eventually realising it was sometimes quicker for me to walk the mile home than wait for the bus. And a lot of the time I made it a game, see if I could beat the bus home :)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

        It was also interesting to watch the phantom buses: 3 mins.. 2 mins.. 1 min.. due.. gone. Without a bus ever showing.

        1. steviebuk Silver badge

          Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

          Yeah. I also forgot to mention I was in high school back when I'd play my "game" :)

      2. Mr. V. Meldrew
        Coat

        Re: Exceptions for such dual-purpose signs have been arranged.

        So you grew up and invented Peloton! Well done :)

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Would be nice in general

    It's annoying to be outdoors and see more ads than your browser's blocker lets through. In Silicon Valley, they're usually for big corporations that Reg readers would never trust.

  3. FILE_ID.DIZ
    Thumb Down

    FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

    About time digital adverts got the same treatment - this time for light pollution. (Although really, was it necessary to order the NUC or Pi to be powered down due to the slipshod language of the law or perhaps not tie the power of the NUC or Pi to the power of the physical signage?)

    For the last two or more decades, as homes around FRA encroached the airport (used to be nothing but fields nearby), eventually I suppose those homeowners forgot the reason why the land around the airport was cheap in the first place and started bitching that "hey, FRA is loud - let's shut it down" and the local government acquiesced.

    Accordingly, with the exception of emergencies, FRA has been shut to all flights between 11PM and 5AM local for over a decade.

    Of course - this is when freighters (think FedEx/UPS/AtlasAir/AmazonAir/DHL etc) typically perform their movements and FRA was Germany's most important international freight hub.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: About time digital adverts got the same treatment

      When I worked in the Mechanicals department of London Underground I learned that one of the "hot potatoes" for depot staff was that whatever else needed to be switched off on rolling stock, the Advert Cut Out Switch (A:COS ) was to remain on - sod the batteries and sod anyone doing electrical work.

      (For those that wonder what those abbreviations are, just below the adverts in tube cars - the cantrail - they are to identify equipment below the seats).

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

      That seems to be how it's going with all airports and airfields everywhere. Schiphol (Amsterdam) has the same issue and I know several small GA airfields (grass strips) that have problems with locals that moved in when the airfield had already existed for at least 50 years, but suddenly now aircraft noise on the weekends is a problem.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

        The New Rurals are like that everywhere. If it's not aircraft it's the village church bells, the farm animals, the tractors - anything that's been around since the estate agent brought them to view at the quietest time of the week.

        1. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

          It happens everywhere... not just rural areas. Areas around football/sports stadiums, anything that is noisy... estate agents will go out of their way to finish the sale with zero thought to what happens after. The Home Information Packs were supposed to resolve some of this, but there we are.

      2. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

        Well, given Schiphol (AMS) is surrounded by Amsterdam, Haarlem and to a lesser degree Hoofddorp and Utrecht, and the flight paths into and out of AMS cross those cities, and the airport has four runways, I think that it is justified to ask the airport to be more judicious with its aircraft movements.

        I've stood in Het Amsterdamse Bos (which as you probably know is the forest to the east of the airport) early in the morning and heard and seen jets come in for runway 27 or runway 24, and I've *been* on planes heading in on those two runways. Those two cross over Amsterdam and Amstelveen (and thankfully, turn over the IJmeer, which reduces the noise impact somewhat). I've also stood in the same forest late at night hearing the rumblings of jets spooling up for the other two runways, Runways 18/36 L and R. And the Polderbaan primarily, which like its sister runway is north/south, but which is more popular, hits Haarlem and Aalsmeer with direct noise. The Netherlands is *flat* and noise travels (even in Het Amsterdamse Bos).

        Charles de Gaulle (CDG) is lucky in the sense that it only really has Goussainville (and maybe Gonesse and a smattering of Paris/Saint Denis's suburbs) to the west to deal with. They're judicious with their runway uses and can get away with night operations. Brussels Zaventem (BRU) is in a similar situation to AMS, which is why all major freight operators head for Liège, which has a south-westerly approach into runways 4L/R over farmland. Leipzig-Halle (another major freight airport) also lies primarily in farmland and has deal with only Schkopau or Merseburg to the west in terms of noise while the east is clear.

        And Heathrow... well... I've sat in a hotel not too far from LHR where I've had to pause my conversation to let a jet pass in order to be audible. They're already under a noise curfew because I can understand the feelings of those in Harlington and Hounslow when they are constantly bombarded with jets coming in overhead up to 20 hours a day. To a degree I also commiserate with those in Mortlake and Richmond/Isleworth; I've stood on Chiswick Bridge with some really loud f***ers coming in overhead (surprise, surprise, usually the 747 or the 777). The A380 was again surprisingly quiet with more a rumble than a piercing whistling noise. If LHR's third runway ever happens, expect the noise curfew to be extended further with less aircraft movements allowed than they would like.

        However, given I aviate (*cough*) regularly and have a vested interest in the industry, I fully understand the conundrum and the consternation as to why people are suddenly ganging up on airports and airfields. GA airfields (if they host only prop planes) I fully commiserate with; it's unfair given that those planes are not really all that noisy - hell, I have Oxford Airport just up the road). GA airfields with jets (the small-noisy-bastard business kind) are somewhat in between (*cough* OXF). As a comparison, I was at the industry day of one of the previous Farnborough Shows pre-pandemic where the A380 was a display plane. It trundled onto the runway *after* one of the little business jets that are Farnborough Airport's bread and butter was departing. The difference in noise profile was striking. The A380 was, despite its size and its giant Trent 900s, perceived as quieter by a significant margin! Ditto for the 787 that did its display that day too. The piercing howl of the small diameter turbofans would be an irritation at night or at times you'd probably want to relax, even for someone with a distinct aviation bent.

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

          The problem is that Schiphol HAD approach and departure routes that kept mostly clear of built up areas, but they kept (and keep) building more and more and more houses within the noise abatement areas of Schiphol and then complaining that Schiphol is causing more and more people to lie awake at night. My opinion is that if you live in a house built after 1990 you simply have no right to complain. You knew Schiphol was there, deal with it. Not to mention the fact that because of all the complaining instead of a small number of people having a lot of noise it's now a massive number of people sharing not all that much less noise at irregular and unpredictable times depending on wind conditions and noise regulations

        2. Sub 20 Pilot

          Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

          My solution is much simpler. If someone is fucking dumb enough to buy a house next to an EXISTING airport, pub, concert venue, stadium, church with bells, farm with animals and machinery then it is their fucking problem.

          NOT the problem of whoever owns or runs the said facility. Sadly, as I have seen over the years, the local authorities pander to these fuckwits rather than ask them why they bought a property next to the said facility before telling them to sod off.

        3. David Hicklin Bronze badge

          Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

          and the airport has four runways

          Unfortunately aircraft have wind limits and if it is blowing strongly in the wrong direction...

          People in Kegworth hate easterly winds as the aircraft from East Midlands will use runway 09 instead of 27 which goes mostly across empty countryside

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

      Yes, shutting down the computers is part of the reason for doing this. There will be a huge shortfall in gas this winter, so measures are in place to save as much as possible. As a lot of gas is used on power stations, turning off all unnecessary electronic devices (or unplugging them if they only have a "soft off" an no physical power switch that cuts supply) is a big part of that.

      In addition, public buildings will only be heated to 19°C here and the government recommends private homes (at least gas and electricity powered heating) should also be reduced to 19°C, likewise the hot water temperature should be reduced as far as possible (50°C is the hard limit due to Legionnaires Disease, we dropped ours to 52°C to have a safety margin).

      1. david 12 Silver badge

        Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

        public buildings will only be heated to 19°C

        This is the bit that surprises me. When I was a lad, 'standard laboratory temperature" was 18C -- and that was an increase from when my teachers were tiny. When I was a bit older, I was poor -- and our home was unheated. That's possible where I live, but even so the winter temperature was 6-15.

        And my architecture text tells me that when heating was first introduced in London theatres, they were able to maintain the temperature at 12C

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

          Indeed, 19°C is a fine temperature for indoors. Unfortunately some people like to think they are spending the winter in the tropics: A cousin of mine usually heats her home to 27°-28°C, I get heat strokes each time I visit.

          1. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

            Yes, this irritates me a lot in winter in Europe (and to a degree in the US/Canada) - heat turned up to max. You come in from the freezing cold, you get blasted by furnace temperatures, you undo all your insulation (read coat, undercoat, cardigan, scarf etc) to not die of heatstroke or drown in your own sweat whilst in the shop/mall/whatever, only to have to hastily redo it on exit whilst in the weird double-door vestibule thing.

            Turn the heat down to 19C, the amount of people wandering about will *not* freeze but it will be cool, and yes, the staff will have to wear an extra cardigan or pullover to stay reasonably warm.

            At least in greater conurbations in Canada, the underground shopping streets (read, tunnels between the different stores/malls) are a Godsend - they're not hot, but they are warmer than the glacial/arctic temperatures outside.

            1. ThatOne Silver badge

              Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

              > they're not hot, but they are warmer than the glacial/arctic temperatures outside

              Yes, that's the whole point.

              For centuries our ancestors lived in badly insulated, drafty houses, only heated by a small fire in the main room, and yet they survived and thrived. They just had to wear an additional layer of clothing, instead of running around in mid-winter like they're on a beach in the Seychelles...

              1. Glen 1

                Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

                "For centuries our ancestors lived in badly insulated, drafty houses, only heated by a small fire in the main room, and yet they survived and thrived"

                A non-zero number of them died. That's called survivorship bias.

                Don't get me wrong, complaining about the cold when its slightly below 20C is being a bit too precious.

                Shivering in single digits because they can't afford to run the heating is something many will endure this winter. That's not a choice you would expect in a supposedly civilised 21st century country.

                So much for progress.

                1. ThatOne Silver badge

                  Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

                  > A non-zero number of them died. That's called survivorship bias.

                  Whatever you call it, the point was that humans as a species are well capable to live in temperatures below 20°C. Heck, they even survived a glaciation. And there is a considerable margin between freezing to death and trying to transform a northern latitudes winter into a tropical paradise...

                  .

                  > they can't afford to run the heating

                  Well, if some didn't waste all that energy there would be more to go around, wouldn't it.

                  I don't know how many billion dollars are wasted in overheating (some shopping centers come to mind) or textbook wasting (central heating running at full power, all windows wide open to keep the temperature below the sweating point), but it's just like all other inequalities: Some are wasting it without a thought, while others don't have enough of it to live decently (water, food, energy, healthcare, pick your poison).

          2. Sub 20 Pilot

            Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

            Same here, I go to people's houses in the winter and it is warmer than mid summer while they lol about in a t-shirt. I spend all year in shorts and a big percentage of that outdoors. Sometimes I have the heating on if stuck in front of my PC all day in a very cold snap. Each to their own but if people want to run their house like a bloody botanical gardens greenhouse then don't complain about the cost. Put a fucking jumper on.

        2. big_D Silver badge

          Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

          We usually have around 20°C, but when our daughter visits with our granddaughter, she turns up the thermostat to 22-23°C. That also seems to be fairly standard.

          Given that we are already in the 19-20°C bracket and we only heat the rooms we use, I don't think we will be able to save much this winter, so I expect our gas bill will probably double due to the price increases.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

            Check if you can reduce the flow temperature on the boiler, they're often set higher than they need to be. See e.g. https://www.theheatinghub.co.uk/articles/turn-down-the-boiler-flow-temperature

            1. Sub 20 Pilot

              Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

              Not really any good. Laws of physics being what they are, if you turn down the flow temperature your boiler will run longer to provide the same heat. Sensible thing to do is turn down the TRV's and thermostat and wear a bit more. Disclosure - I have worked in the design and construction industry for 40 years and had several qualifications relating to low energy / heat loss design. There is a lot of possibly well meaning but mainly useless information out there due to the impending cost rises.

        3. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

          And my architecture text tells me that when heating was first introduced in London theatres, they were able to maintain the temperature at 12C

          That’s interesting, because when theatres get filled up with hundreds of humans they require some effective cooling to stop them getting uncomfortably warm.

        4. David 132 Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

          > And my architecture text tells me that when heating was first introduced in London theatres, they were able to maintain the temperature at 12C

          Well yes, but they were made of sterner stuff back then. Heck, I remember my mother telling me that as a girl in the depths of winter in the more-recent 1950s, she'd have - if she was really lucky - a single bar of an electric fire in her bedroom. Getting ready for school on those cold mornings was a matter of dressing under the bedclothes and then hopping quickly out of bed to hunch over the electric heater. We are spoiled these days by central heating & air-con.

          Speaking of the Victorians and theatres, here's an informative documentary on how actors were treated back then.

          1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
            Flame

            Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

            I remember my mother telling me that as a girl in the depths of winter in the more-recent 1950s, she'd have - if she was really lucky - a single bar of an electric fire in her bedroom.

            Luxury [citation needed]

            When I was a lad we lived on the Pennines and there wasn't a bar heater. You just got dressed and undressed quick.

            Back in the 80s I lived in digs where the toilet bowl water would freeze most nights in winter.

            Kids today don't know what "cold" is. I do however have sympathy for those who weren't anticipating the acclimatisation they are going to face.

            1. Stoneshop Silver badge
              Coat

              Luxury [citation needed]

              "We collected the liquid oxygen that formed as dew on the icicles hanging from our noses, and sold that to the Cryogenics Institute for whatever they would offer, earning a few pennies that way so we could buy scraps of mouldy bread to go with the poisonous gravel that was our regular dinner"

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

            You don't need to go back to the 50s. I can recall that in the 80s along with ice on the INSIDE of the windows

        5. hoola Silver badge

          Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

          Yes but we have gorged on cheap energy so the cost of heating to 25 degrees and wandering round in a Tee-Shirt in the middle of winter has been accepted as the "norm" for around 20 years.

          Then you have the insanity of having to open windows in the middle of winter because the office it too hot. Not so much of an issue for those working at home, but where I used to work is still heating/cooling a largely empty office.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

        @big D

        It might be better to have a look at that, 50C is not good at al and if you mix between C and F it's not high enough for F either.

        Quoting the Wikipedia:

        "The bacteria grow best at warm temperatures and thrive at water temperatures between 25 and 45 °C (77 and 113 °F), with an optimum temperature of 35 °C (95 °F). Temperatures above 60 °C (140 °F) kill the bacteria."

        As funny as this sounds I decided about 2h ago to decrease the 70C to 62C at home to save some energy.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legionnaires%27_disease

        1. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

          55C is considered to be a good temperature to keep Legionnaire's at bay if you have a lagged hot water tank.

          If you have a condensing boiler, reducing the flow temperature will help your gas usage, more so if you have a condensing *combi*-boiler (i.e. you don't use the boiler to heat a tank of water), since your water will be at a lower temperature that you don't need to mix cold water back into (this is the irony of having your flow temperature too hot - you burn a lot of gas to get your water from 7C to 55-60C, only to mix more 7C water back in to get it back to 45C that you wash with).

          Apparently many boiler manufacturers set a flow temperature default of 60C and many installers don't mess with it because, well, "the manufacturer knows best". Setting it to 55C is more appropriate.

      3. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

        Be careful about fiddling with the heat setting too much. If you have an HR boiler (that pre-heats intake air using the hot exhaust) it's usually set to an optimal temperature for that heat exchange, changing it too much could be detrimental to the life of your heater or it's efficiëncy

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

        Advertising displays mostly draw power in the backlight. If done correctly they should be down under a couple of watts when blank

    4. iron Silver badge

      Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

      > About time digital adverts got the same treatment - this time for light pollution. (Although really, was it necessary to order the NUC or Pi to be powered down due to the slipshod language of the law or perhaps not tie the power of the NUC or Pi to the power of the physical signage?)

      Yes because this is about saving electricity and therefore gas (of the gaseous kind) and has NOTHING to do with light pollution. Light pollution that won't be affected because the still working street lights are brighter than any advertising sign.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        You haven't seen some of the LED panels in the villages around mine.

        Not to mention the absolutely ginormous one which is visible from a kilometer away when you drive into Luxembourg city.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          >visible from a kilometer away when you drive into Luxembourg city.

          "Abandon Hope All Ye Who enter Here" ?

          1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
            Trollface

            No, it is "The bucks stop here"

        2. hoola Silver badge

          How about the crazy ones on the M6 to the north of Birmingham or the equally bright ones on the M25 by Heathrow.

          They are so bright you need sun glasses in the day and by night they completely destroy in night vision. Much the same as all the overhead messages that are simply too bright when it is dark.

          Surely it is not that difficult to make them respond to ambient light?

          I remember making a little circuit for O Level Physics that did just this!

    5. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

      Not entirely correct. FRA wanted another runway (to go to four runways). The only way to get that extra runway was to agree to close for overnight traffic. They then tried to appeal the planning requirement. They lost, twice (first in Kassel, then in Leipzig).

      They're allowed a certain number of movements a night, but in general it means no flights overnight.

    6. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

      I live near Airport Stuttgart in Germany, a little town closer to the airport than Stuttgart itself, but parallel to the runway so the noise is IMHO not much.

      I don't complain about the planes or police choppers being loud, I know where I live. But I complain about those poser-cars which bang around the town at night, which are WAY louder than the planes.

      It is ridiculous: They want to live in a area with strong industry, and near an airport you have industry and infrastructure. This little town here has, to some extend, way more to offer than many larger towns. Noise from Planes is just the price to pay, but quite some don't want to accept it.

      Same applies to people living near tracks and so on...

    7. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

      Oh my, it took me two days to remember this famous scene! THIS is how FRA saves energy!

    8. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: FRA airport is very nearly in compliance with this law....

      "FRA was Germany's most important international freight hub"

      One airport in New Zealand which had plans on ensuring its freight ops didn't get interfered with spent 25 years acquiring farmland under the approach paths to prevent development occurring and hoovered up all the nearby housing as it went up for sale - reselling it as leasehold with a covenant prohibiting complaining about the airport

      It's one of the few without a night curfew. I wonder why? :)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this really going to make a difference? Flea on a dog's back I would have thought.

    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      Yes, but fleas are very annoying. Better to get rid of them completely.

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Up to 12 MWh/year for the largest ones apparently, which in real units is about 1.4 kW.

    3. navarac

      Not a lot. We did without them for years anyway.

    4. big_D Silver badge

      Given the amount of electrical signage - from neon lights to computer powered displays and everything inbetween - yes it should make a difference and every saved cubic meter of gas is a cubic meter of gas that can be diverted to industrial processes or heating homes, instead of idiotic things, like electronic signage in shops that nobody really sees or cares about, when the shop is closed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        it would be a bit 'ironic', if this reduction in outdoor ads made people more averse to them, when (if!) the 'good old times' come back. Same, I suppose to a 'forced' blocking of online ads. Keep them off for some time, turn them back on to 'normal' level, and people would run away in horror. I do hope ad industry might feel a little tremble in their boots. And are already furiously brainstorming alternatives on how to combat that...

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          > And are already furiously brainstorming alternatives on how to combat that...

          Don't give the barstewards ideas.

    5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      It won't make much difference in total use, no but it will be very, ahem, visible.

      More important changes that the article alludes to but strangely does not cover are requiring shops to keep doors closed and capping heating in public buildings at 19°C.

    6. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Devil

      Is this really going to make a difference?

      Depends if they can be turned off and on remotely or programmatically. As the advertising industry is evil incarnate, I bet many are going to try and get away with showing black displays instead of changing the hardware.

    7. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      The calculated energy saving is comparable to 40'000 average German homes.

      So it could be said that this is not much compared to whole Germany. But that little stuff, like this, adds up. Well, we Germans are known to be somewhat pedantic, we have to deliver! Or, as I say: "Take care of details, else they will take care of you!"

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Yes, I already swapped my power hungry Ryzen 7 PC out for an M1 Mac at the end of last year and I power down my NAS now, when I don't actively need it. We are also looking at saving in other areas as well.

  5. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Putin puttin in some choice Borkings.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Less ads is not that bad.

    == Bring us Dabbsy Back! ==

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      (but your grammar are)

  8. imanidiot Silver badge

    Pointless laws are pointless

    Seems like one of those "someone should do something" rules that don't actually DO anything in the grand scheme of things (except annoy people).

    Maybe they should, you know, not close all those nuke plants?? They'd have plenty of power (even without polluting their own and every neighboring country by burning lignite). But no, something, something, Fukushima something something Chernobyl (ie, rampant radiophobia).

    1. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Pointless laws are pointless

      It's frustrating being a nuclear supporter. Try to explain that there's more radioactive fallout from coal-fired plants than properly operating nuclear ones. People don't seem to comprehend it.

      We should have been honing our skills and building better designs decades ago. The problems of both Chernobyl and Fukushima are common in a sense: design flaws that people flagged, but were ignored, and then a bloody mindedness to sweep it all under the rug.

      High positive void coefficient, lack of containment, graphite tipped control rods, and an incredible lack of regard for safety during a test for the first, inappropriate design for the backup power for the second, and it was also an old design. I read the Japanese left the diesels in the basement because it was in the American plans, despite some voicing their concerns. But the later units had their backup gennys installed uphill from the plant, as far as I recall.

      There needs to be some way for engineers to voice their concerns in a way that forces the hand of the company building and running these plants.

      It's also a general issue that the fleets are getting older without enough new installed capacity to take over, so we just extend and extend. If we extend indefinitely, we're going to encounter problems.

      1. FILE_ID.DIZ
        Thumb Up

        Re: Pointless laws are pointless

        If we extend indefinitely, we're going to encounter problems.

        Correct you are. In loose terms, we are over-extending the designed lives of our nuclear fleet by years and years, today. And we're only able to do so because these vessels were overbuilt because, well, we're talking about nuclear FRICKING fission. You error on the side of caution on safety margins. ;)

        Yes, they are being inspected and are currently deemed safe, but we're not building new ones - and this will take 10 to 15 or more years for a new crop of generators to come online.

        I have to imagine that if we can apply 40 or 50 or more years of gained operational knowledge, a brand-new fission reactor will be better, cheaper and safer than ones built two generations ago that are running today - which are still supremely safe.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Pointless laws are pointless

          "I have to imagine that if we can apply 40 or 50 or more years of gained operational knowledge, a brand-new fission reactor will be better, cheaper and safer than ones built two generations ago that are running today - which are still supremely safe."

          Whilst I agree with you, I'll just throw this thought into the ring. Institutional and corporate memory. How often do we hear "Lessons Have Been Learned" only for the same mistake to happen again some years later as "Those Who Learned" moved on. The nuclear design and engineering industry is quite small too.

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Pointless laws are pointless

        People seem to get upset when I explain to them that if we replace all fossil fuels with nuclear, we can literally kill nearly 10 million people per year from radiation accidents and STILL do better than current fossil fuel output (from PM2.5 particulate output alone! That's ignoring all the other shit put out by anything burning dino-juice).

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

          Re: Pointless laws are pointless

          This is the point James Lovelock made

          1 nuclear accident every 50 yrs kills 50 000 people at a time..... global warming kills 500 million due to sea level rise/weather effects

          But then its like the MMR vaccine thing where the percieved risk of autism was actually 50 times lower than the actual risk of death from measles.....................

          1. Piro Silver badge

            Re: Pointless laws are pointless

            No, the MMR autism thing was literal baseless fraud.

            1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

              Re: Pointless laws are pointless

              I know.

              Thats why I used the false figures of 1 in 100000 percieved to be at risk from autism vs the very certain figures of 1 in 2000 dead from measles....

          2. hoola Silver badge

            Re: Pointless laws are pointless

            More to the point, people dying from the results of using fossil fuels (Dino Juice as a previous posted suggested!) is hidden.

            If there is any from of nuclear incident then the media and "interested parties" are all over it banging on about how dangerous it is.

            Look at lead in petrol and how long it took to get rid of that.

          3. imanidiot Silver badge

            Re: Pointless laws are pointless

            So far nuclear accidents (with civilian reactors) haven't killed even single digit thousands, let alone 5000

      3. VoiceOfTruth

        Re: Pointless laws are pointless

        -> Try to explain that there's more radioactive fallout from coal-fired plants than properly operating nuclear ones. People don't seem to comprehend it.

        Try explaining, self-confessed "nuclear supporter" about the 1,000 square miles of land in Ukraine which has remains evacuated to this day. The problem with the nuclear industry, and nuclear supporters, is they conveniently forget to mention this. And they keep forgetting to mention it.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          The explanation is simple : human stupidity.

          Try explaining why France has a nuclear industry that hasn't experienced any such incident.

          If nuclear was that dangerous, there would be whole portions of countries that would not be inhabitable.

          Go educate yourself on Tchernobyl before spouting such nonsense.

          1. VoiceOfTruth

            Here have been at least 50 nuclear accidents worldwide SINCE Chernobyl. Including in France.

            -> there would be whole portions of countries

            Chernobyl. Fukushima.

            Go educate yourself and stop parroting such nonsense.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              I am not aware of any portion of French territory that is out of bounds because of radiation.

              Even Mururoa...

              1. Fred Daggy Bronze badge
                Mushroom

                Funnily enough, France declined to test in Metropolitan France, but instead DID test in the South Pacific. I think there is a lesson in there somewhere.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Why do?

              People using such handles as voice of truth always spout out absolute bollocks?

              What internet rule number is it?

            3. hoola Silver badge

              So let's unpick those:

              Chernonbyl: old design and a series of issues during running/maintenance.

              Fukushima: a power station built in an area that is susceptible to earthquakes.

              All the facilities closed in Germany: neither of those........

            4. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

              Considering what happened to it (magnitude 9 earthquake + tsunami), Fukushima was actually a remarkable success story: it could have been a lot worse. Not saying it went well, exactly, but, you know.

        2. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Pointless laws are pointless

          Chernobyl is a really bad example for nuclear accidents. It's design was very unique to the soviet union and uniquely shit both for risk of exploding and for the amount of radioactive contamination it would spread out over a large area. The accident released very large amounts of longer lived isotopes (Strontium-90 with a 29 year half-life and Cesium-137 with a 30 year half-life), kept releasing them for a very long time and released them into a very hot column of heated air carrying them far and wide into the wide surrounding area. Authorities were slow to react, even slower to evacuate people and then even more slow in preventing consumption of contaminated foodstock like milk and vegetables contaminated by the fallout. The explosion was the result of (very) bad design with absolutely no containment and human error and in no way relevant to modern reactors. Nobodies been stupid enough to build RBMK reactors since long before the USSR stopped existing.

          There is simply no way a more modern BWR or PWR reactor with proper containment can spread that amount of long lived contamination that far and wide. Fukushima is a prime example of this. This is without doubt just about the worst possible thing that could happen to a modern nuke plant, a full station blackout with all local generating capacity destroyed, all backup generators destroyed AND all outside power hookups destroyed. On 3 reactors simultaneously. Fukushima released slightly more Cesium-137 than Chernobyl but far less of the other gamma emitters (like irradiated carbon, plutonium, uranium, etc) and spread those materials over far smaller area and basically released nothing else worth worrying about too much outside the plant. Lots of it has already been cleaned up, and of the zones left even some of the areas initially deemed "difficult to return" are already being cleaned up and opened up.

          Similarly much of the area contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster COULD be (safely, without exposing people to unneeded radiation) cleaned up if the will and need was there, but so far the will and need hasn't existed. It's easier to just keep the area off limits and let the radiation levels naturally fall as radioactive isotope half-lives tick by.

          I don't forget to mention the bits of Ukraine no longer (currently)safely habitable because of the Chernobyl reactor accident. I would however politely like to point out it's not a good (or relevant) example of why nuclear power utilizing more modern reactor designs is dangerous.

        3. Piro Silver badge

          Re: Pointless laws are pointless

          I literally mentioned it in my post.

          Is fission perfect? No, but it's the best we've got. We can't shy away from the fact we need a solid base load provider while we come up with something better.

        4. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: Pointless laws are pointless

          @VoiceofTruth, but that's where you're wrong. Supporters of nuclear power do not deny Chernobyl happened. They do not deny Fukushima happened. But they look at both as things everyone learned from and improved on what they did.

          Chernobyl only happened because a) every safety mechanism was disabled, and b) the RBMK reactor design used at Chernobyl was *not* self-regulating. It is an unstable design. It allows the reaction to 'run away'. Russia is the only country that still really relies on that unstable design in its facilities, although they addressed some of the failures of the design in later iterations.

          Modern pressurised water reactors, such as the ones pioneered by the US Navy for their submarines and then exported to the rest of the world as safe designs by Westinghouse, Toshiba, Areva (and its predecessors) etc, do not allow that to happen. Even the modern Russian design that is at the heart of the Ukrainian nuclear power station (Zaporizhzhia) currently under Russian control is of the design that if you don't bombard it with missiles or other armament and damage the reactor vessel, chances of a nuclear meltdown of epic Chernobyl-style proportions is not possible.

          And Fukushima (of a boiling water reactor design) only happened because all the pumps and electrical equipment, which were not mounted high up, were drowned by sea water when the tsunami overtopped the sea wall, and no other infrastructure survived. The safety mechanisms largely worked, which is why you only had hydrogen explosions with the subsequent release of radioactivity (and the irradiation of the water then used to cool the molten-down cores), not a full-scale fire that blasted radioactive materials into the air and spread it over thousands of square miles like it happened at Chernobyl.

          Hell, and even the nuclear accidents that are required to be reported by regulators across the world (which is why you know about them in the first place) are not nearly of the scale that are catastrophic. Everyone in the nuclear industry agrees that if you want to talk about catastrophic incidents, there are only 3, ever, in 60 years. You've already mentioned two. Three Mile Island is the third, and even *it* didn't even come close to what Chernobyl managed to achieve.

          1. Commswonk

            Re: Pointless laws are pointless

            @VoiceofTruth, but that's where you're wrong.

            Perhaps VoiceofПравда might be a better name...

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Pointless laws are pointless

              Perhaps VoiceofПравда might be a better name...

              Although there's some evidence that Russia supported anti-fraccing campaigners, Russia's kind of energy neutral. Want gas? It'll sell you gas. Want nuclear? Give Rosatom a call, as Hungary has just done. And strangely, it seems to be paying a lot less for the Russian reactors it's looking to build than we're being forced to pay for ours in the UK.

              1. Commswonk

                Re: Pointless laws are pointless

                And strangely, it seems to be paying a lot less for the Russian reactors it's looking to build than we're being forced to pay for ours in the UK.

                Not all that strange IMHO. Russia will expect a quid pro quo of one sort or another at a time of its choosing.

                For "expect" read "insist on and get".

                1. Oglethorpe

                  Re: Pointless laws are pointless

                  Especially as it would be a nightmarish proposition to get fuel from elsewhere (possible but not really practical). Not so much a problem with nuclear, just a problem of who you buy from.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Pointless laws are pointless

                    Especially as it would be a nightmarish proposition to get fuel from elsewhere (possible but not really practical).

                    Can be practical. The reactor Ukraine's currently shelling was built by Russia, then switched to fuel rods made by Westinghouse. Which used to be owned by the UK before one G.Brown flogged it off. Not sure if his brother, an EDF exec advised him on that deal, or his gold sale.

              2. Lars Silver badge
                Coat

                Re: Pointless laws are pointless

                @Jellied Eel

                "we're being forced to pay".

                Who has forced you.

                Hincley Point C is built, financed by EDF Energy and China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN).

                And for the cost to consumers:

                "EDF has negotiated a guaranteed fixed price – a "strike price" – for electricity from Hinkley Point C under a government sanctioned Contract for difference (CfD). The price is £92.50/MWh (in 2012 prices),[18][78] which will be adjusted (linked to inflation – £106/MWh in 2021[72]) during the construction period and over the subsequent 35 years tariff period. The base strike price could fall to £89.50/MWh if a new plant at Sizewell is also approved.[18][78] High consumer prices for energy will hit the poorest consumers hardest according to the Public Accounts Committee.".

                If that is a high price we don't really know yet.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinkley_Point_C_nuclear_power_station

                1. anothercynic Silver badge

                  Re: Pointless laws are pointless

                  Forced to pay in the sense that the *government* negotiated the strike price for energy from Hinkley Point C, which saddles *everyone* in the country with that strike price regardless of whether they'd like that or not.

                  Although, to be fair here, when you start building a £25 billion piece of power infrastructure, you'll want to know that you'll get a guaranteed price for what it'll generate so that you know whether it'll make a profit (of sorts) or not. And currently, the nuclear strike price set is something like £110/MWh (at 2021 prices), which, based on some of the other strike pricing I've looked at, is pretty much in the low end of what is currently being charged for wind energy from the Beatrice, Walney and Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farms, and also what Drax and Lynemouth (both biomass) charge, although it's twice as expensive as the Doggerbank Offshore Wind Farms.

                  Given that all gas-based power generation will head for Mount Everest, I think it's a fair strike price.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Pointless laws are pointless

                    ...although it's twice as expensive as the Doggerbank Offshore Wind Farms.

                    Don't forget the recent lowball off-shore CfD bids aren't in force yet, so those operators are enjoying a very large windfall given they're selling at current market price. Plus the £14bn a year we're spending subsidising 'renewables'.

                    As for Hinkley, it's costing double what Hungary are paying, and the taxpayer's being loaded with most of the liabilities. But that deal was 'negotiated' at a time when EDF was pretty much bankrupt.

                2. hoola Silver badge

                  Re: Pointless laws are pointless

                  What is interesting is the Strike Price for the cancelled Cardiff Bay lagoon was within a pound or two or Hinkley C. Something that all the green fuzzy-wuzzy brigade conveniently bury.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Pointless laws are pointless

                    Something that all the green fuzzy-wuzzy brigade conveniently bury.

                    See also-

                    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2022/08/30/who-owns-our-offshore-wind-farms/

                    In short, they are nearly all wholly owned by a mix of foreign energy companies, banks and other infrastructure investors. As with the London Array, all of these wind farms/owners would be unaffected by taxes on energy retailers, with the exception of SSE and Scottish Power.

                    The combined output of these eight and London Array is about 16 TWh a year. At current prices of £375/MWh, the excess profit now being “earned” is around £5 billion a year.

                    Nice lil earner, and explains why the Green lobby is so keen to keep this gravy train spinning. Too bad it has ne benefit and massive costs for energy consumers.

            2. VoiceOfTruth

              Re: Pointless laws are pointless

              I don't speak or read Russian. It seems that you do. Carry on Comrade.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                Thumb Down

                Re: Pointless laws are pointless

                ...and yet you claim to Speak Truth? Why should be believe you?

                1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

                  Re: Pointless laws are pointless

                  I think he means he speaks the kind of truth that's posted on Truth Social.

          2. VoiceOfTruth

            Re: Pointless laws are pointless

            -> Supporters of nuclear power do not deny Chernobyl happened

            What they ALWAYS fail to mention is the lasting effects of it - the 1000 square miles of evacuated land.

            -> there are only 3, ever, in 60 years

            In which case we are probably due for another one or two now. I would like to see it happen, not because I want it to happen but because I want to rub the noses of the nuclear supporters in it. I want to hear them and read them yet again coming out with their lies that "nuclear is safe" when it is not.

            -> You've already mentioned two

            Now add in all the times the nuclear industry has lied about events.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Pointless laws are pointless

              "but because I want to rub the noses of the nuclear supporters in it."

              So, to be clear, you are hoping for another nuclear accident and that people likely will die, purely so you can say "I told you so?"

              Nice.

            2. Robert Grant Silver badge

              Re: Pointless laws are pointless

              In which case we are probably due for another one or two now

              You're plotting a line of best fit based on three points. Interpreting data based on your preconceived ideas is a waste of time.

        5. Solviva Bronze badge

          Re: Pointless laws are pointless

          Funny, I'd say if you go ask a random person 'what is Chernobyl' you'd get a high percentage who know what it is. The nuclear industry isn't conveniently not mentioning it, it's so well known you don't need to mention it.

          You could compare it to the solar industry conveniently not mentioning solar panels don't work at night, or the windmill crowd omitting to tell us the wind doesn't always blow.

          1. First Light Silver badge

            Re: Pointless laws are pointless

            And yet the young Russian conscripts/soldiers/mercs clearly didn't know about it when they dug trenches in contaminated soil and ate contaminated deer they shot from the woods around the plant. And apparently their superior officers didn't either.

            1. hoola Silver badge

              Re: Pointless laws are pointless

              I think the statement "Russian conscripts/soldiers/mercs" provides all you the information you need to know.

              They were told to do and would have had very limited options in choosing not to.......

              More than likely they would end up in a covered trench in the same soil!

          2. KBeee Silver badge

            Re: Pointless laws are pointless

            Conversely, if you was to ask the general public "What disaster in Japan in 2011 killed about 20,000 people?" around half of them would now say "That nuclear thing..." because of the constant anti-nuclear narrative.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Pointless laws are pointless

      Given a large proportion of electricity in Germany is powered by gas, and the nuclear power stations are being shut off at the end of the year, it isn't a "someone should do something" rule, it is a critical measure to ensure as much gas as possible can be saved for heating homes or for critical industrial processes, who need it a darned sight more than electronic signage that few people will see, when the shops are closed.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Pointless laws are pointless

        If it's presented as the consequences of not thinking ahead it might be a very good thing in the long run.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Pointless laws are pointless

        "and the nuclear power stations are being shut off at the end of the year,"

        Did I not just read somewhere they reversed that decision?

      3. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: Pointless laws are pointless

        > Given a large proportion of electricity in Germany is powered by gas

        This is just plain wrong. Get the REAL numbers. Those are:

        2020: 13,7 % gas

        2021: 12,6 % gas

        Stop spreading your Russian-inspired propaganda in a public forum.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pointless laws are pointless

      I might be wrong, because I don't have an very good insight on German politics, but my impression is that the radiophobia is the fallout (yeah, right) of politics. Basically, every political party finds a machine to peddle (in theory their agenda, but really, it's about cushy political seats). And in Germany, the Greens have peddled the German fears of NUCLEAR! DOOM! for a very long time. And then, it's enough to chernobyl fukushima every now and then, and yes, an average German is no more knowledgeable than any other nation, and they say to themselves: three strikes... third time unlucky... oh no, not in my back garden! And the Russians might be actually playing on those fears with their little 'game' around that nuclear powerplant in Ukraine. Every little helps, you know. Not that the German folk will overthrow their government and sign up to a peace treaty and cheap gas from Russia, but their phobia, gently stoked by memories of Chernobyl certainly plays a part in German government strong reluctance to re-open their nuclear stations.

      1. First Light Silver badge

        Re: Pointless laws are pointless

        But many Germans lived through it and presumably were also subjected to fallout. A German friend told me they had no vegetables afterwards for a while as they couldn't be eaten. The last warnings on livestock in the UK were lifted only ten years ago. So their reluctance is understandable.

        https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-cumbria-18299228

    4. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Pointless laws are pointless

      Fukushima something something Chernobyl (ie, rampant radiophobia).

      Saddest joke is Germany's energy woes are entirely self-inflicted. It listened to the Green Blob, and built wind and solar. In doing so, it increased it's reliance on gas. Other EU nations followed suit, along with the UK because 'Net Zero' will save the planet from Thermageddon!

      Greta of course gave her impassioned 'how dare you!' speech, about how evil fossil fuels had robbed her of her childhood. Nations wept, and ordered more windmills. In hindsight, perhaps Greta will realise her speech was right, but for the wrong reasons and she'd been manipulated into being a puppet for the 'renewables' industry. She's made millions out of it though.

      So it's a problem our EUrocrats and political elite have created for us. The Russia thing has been a convenient excuse to blame someone else for their disastrous energy policy decisions. Russia has 'weaponised gas'. OhNoes! How evil!

      Of course that's... a slight divergence from reality given the gas/energy crisis is entirely self-inflicted due to Germany banning NordStream 2 and the EU's sanctions policy. But like the suicidle embrace of 'renewables'. admitting that sanctions are harming us far more than they're harming Russia is something they just won't do. Instead they tell us that 'we' must prepare to suffer for their policy errors. They won't, because they're well insulated.

      Unless of course there's a 'winter of discontent', and widespread civil unrest.. But they'll still be protected, unless the weapons that have been poured into Ukraine have leaked out.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pointless laws are pointless

        A small correction:

        The Greens asked for the nuclear plants to be replaced by gas plants, not by renewables...

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Pointless laws are pointless

          The Greens asked for the nuclear plants to be replaced by gas plants, not by renewables...

          Greens are strange like that, so promoting Russian gas whilst campaigning against gas production in other nations like the UK. Meanwhile, their beloved 'renewables' demonstrate why they're so great at dealing with extreme weather-

          https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11156599/Giant-2million-wind-turbine-knocked-WIND-raging-storms.html

          An investigation, launched by manufacturer Nordex, found a power failure caused the blades to run in an 'overspeed condition' for more than four hours and rotate uncontrollably in the 50mph winds.

          Oops. And the 'renewables' lobby want planning regs changed so windmills can be built closer to homes. Not their homes, of course.

    5. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Pointless laws are pointless

      Unfortunately, a lot of this radiophobia comes courtesy of the UK, ironically. CND has a *lot* to answer for, as I've discovered (after starting to watch a lot of the archive that ZDF, one of the German public broadcasters, has started to put online). A lot of anti-nuclear campaigners in Germany got their inspiration from CND.

    6. fajensen

      Re: Pointless laws are pointless

      Maybe they should, you know, not close all those nuke plants??

      "They" being France you mean?

      Germany closed their four nuclear plants quite a while ago, while France has quite recently closed half of theirs, nationalised and reconstructed the bankrupt EDF - so that someone can perhaps retain some of the nuclear capacity.

      They have 12 plants with corrosion issues and cracks in pipework, that they now seem to have a solution for.

      Then they have Flamanville, the never-ready next-generation EPR, with 10 years delay, cost overruns at about 15 billion EUR (so far), the parallel issues on Olkiluoto in Finland, Hinckley Point in the UK and to a lesser extent Taishan in China, casting grave doubts on whether anyone really has the skills to build these plants. "Grave Doubts" meaning: There will be no financing of nuclear plants unless bullet proof government guarantees decades into the future are given.

      The French relied on nuclear electricity always being plentiful and available, now it is not so. They have to import their electricity from Germany, at premium prices, which the French government has capped, but, somebody are still picking up the tab so "Markets" don't go hungry: French Taxpayers!

      Blaming for ones own inability to keep up with the mandatory scheduled maintainance of ones own nuclear fleet so it doesn't rot away at an inconvenient time, that is just crab mentality.

      Nuclear is a dying technology. No use in flogging zombie horse!

    7. hoola Silver badge

      Re: Pointless laws are pointless

      Whilst many will also have that view, what this crisis is bringing home is just how much energy (ultimately electricity at the point of use) is wasted on completely pointless stuff.

    8. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: Pointless laws are pointless

      Oh, we are back on the Nuke train.

      We, in Germany, have more than 10 (when I last checked) municipals which already run on > 100% renewable. Combine Wind + Solar + Bio-gas, and in some cases geothermics.

      What, over 100% ? Yes, they produce more than they need, some of them for over 30 years. Including night, winter and so on. They are SELLING the surplus, some of them produce over double of their need. This is what German people actually want, and it is proven to work! This is also the reason why we want to kick nuke power: It is way more expensive than renewables - proven with real cities in real environment. The nuke friends don't like this, of course, and I will get between 20 and 40 downvotes just by pointing out that 100% renewable is possible and proven to work for decades.

      If our administration and the decades of CDU government weren't so stubborn and blocking we would have way more, and we would care sh*t about what gas Putin passes.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Pointless laws are pointless

        @Jou (Mxyzptlk)

        That is very nice, how many municipals do you have in Germany, how many percentage does 10 represent.

        Let me guess, about 2.5%.

        My point is that - please try not to be ridiculous with stuff like "the Nuke train".

        Any country, every country will need energy of some kind until they can achieve anything like 100% renewable and nuclear is clearly greener than coal, gas and oil.

        There is of course always this discussion about how expensive it is, but in my opinion it's much too late to weep about the money now.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    uh-uh

    I'm flying from Koeln airport, early morning, on 1st September, wonder if they keep the timetable / gate displays on. Could be 'fun' otherwise ;)

    but then, what goes round, comes round, we've all had great fun in the last 20 - 40 years, now's the time to get up and head for the exit. What's that piece of paper... A BILL?! HOW DARE YOU!!!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: uh-uh

      "wonder if they keep the timetable / gate displays on."

      It's surprising how many people read electronic ad signage and immediately think that means all digital signage, despite the article going on to state info and dual use signs are exempted.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Energiewende...

    Germany has 63 coal-fired power stations (burning German lignite), 131 gas-fired power stations, and 3 operable nuclear power reactors. (France, incidentally, has 56 nuclear plants, second only to the USA which has 92). Germany's 'energiewende' policy is coming home to roost, as is the old maxim 'never allow your enemies to control your food and fuel'. It's also what happens when you let a Swedish teenage goblin dictate your country's energy policies... same with the UK, which now has but 3 coal-fired power stations (and is considering taking others out of mothballs this winter), 61 gas-fired plants, and 11 nuclear. France, incidentally, appears to have no gas-fired power stations at all, lucky them.

    China has 1,110 coal-fired power stations, 163 gas-fired, and 54 nuclear. Russia has 72 coal-fired power stations, 177 gas-fired, and 37 nuclear plants. Neither of those countries worshipped in the church of the sacred Greta, and I don't think their consumers are expecting horrifying numbers on their bills this winter.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Energiewende...

      Also Trump was upset by Greta, I think that is very childish, perhaps you do it too as you write as an AC.

      Comparing just the number of nuclear power plants tells a lot but what they actually produce together would give a better comparison.

      Also where they are built now and in the near future would also tell some, like that about half of that is in China alone.

    2. Solviva Bronze badge

      Re: Energiewende...

      Similarly in Greta's own back yard the Green party had the foresight to push through the early shut down of the dirty expensive* nuclear plants in southern Sweden, thus leading to the squeaky clean oil fired plant in Karlshamn, usually used to balance out load during the winter months, running at full pelt through the summer (to feed energy to mainland Europe, not for Swedish use).

      And just this weekend the Greens in a desparate attempt to hang on to some power (elections finally in 2 weeks), accused all the center to right parties of being tin-foiled hatted as they wanted to plan re-opening/new nuclear stations in their manifestos. Apparently that's not going to solve the energy crisis today - well yes, you don't build a power station in a week, or year, but who was it that lead to the fully capable nuclear plants being shutdown early? Hmm.

      *expensive thanks to the extra tax the Greens helped to place on power produced by them dirty nuke plants, thus making them financially unviable.

    3. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: Energiewende...

      -> same with the UK, which now has but 3 coal-fired power stations (and is considering taking others out of mothballs this winter

      The UK. Ah, what shortsighted politicians we have. Many of them have useless PPE degrees which means they can't add up and lack common sense. We have not had an energy policy in the UK for decades. We are sitting on 500 years supply of coal. Let's import gas!

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Energiewende...

        You aren't thinking in 4D chess like a politician.

        Liz Truss want's to be Thatcher, but is the exact opposite of Thatcher (cf Boris != Churchill)

        So logically Truss will re-open all t'pits, recreate the NUM and presumably resurrect Scargill

        1. First Light Silver badge

          Re: Energiewende...

          No, she'll put all the refugees in them. As live/work spaces.

    4. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

      Re: Energiewende...

      There are gas-fired plants in France, but only small ones.

      One made the headlines last week (in Landivisiau, Brittany) when Total sold part of it to a Spanish investment fund.

      So you can expect it to generate a lot of CO2 over the next years...

  11. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker

    What's a display these days?

    A driver (computer) and the actual display elements, be they LED matrices, LCD with LED backlighting, etc. I would imagine the bulk of the power consumption is in the display -- converting 'leccy to photons -- not the driver. Setting the driver to an all-black screen may cut consumption and may not, depending on the display tech used. Better to have independent power sources: your driver can remain on all night and get updates, using little power; the bulk power can be what's turned off.

    The high school (secondary school) I graduated from opened just before my final year. I did weekly programming for displays/animations for the roadside incandescent sign -- huge affair but only 80 x 16 resolution, double-faced, HUGE bulbs each in a square lens box with sun-shade. The whole thing had its own power meter and cutoff switch at the base, but the driving computer was inside the school office, linked with 100-1000 feet of buried comms cable. I set it to go "dim" before sunrise / after sunset and fully off overnight. No bulb output = no power use aside from electronics waiting for commands and cooling fans (no bulb heat = nothing to cool, so maybe those spun down overnight, or they might have been constant, though unnecessary in Minnesota winter). I'm sure over that school year, these (common-sense) settings saved the school money and the dim mode also saved drivers' eyes. Unfortunately, the computer stayed on 24/7 running the sign software (on MS-DOS no less) so it could wake the sign and show stuff in the morning; even with autoexec.bat, using some timer to power the computer wouldn't get it the display going properly.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Streaming video ads?

    Think how many electrons we could save if these were outlawed during energy crises.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Streaming video ads?

      Or, even better, if Facebook, Twitter, etc, were deemed excessive and unnecessary and ordered to shut down all operations until the Russian situation improves.

      What did we used to do, 20 years ago, before these "services" were available? How did we waste our time then?

    2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: Streaming video ads?

      **having** **a difficult time** **to hold back** **the physicist in me** **going insane**

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > And thanks to Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine, that gas is currently in short supply.

    Technically, the invasion itself did not significantly affect gas supplies.

    The European Commission's ill advised enthusiasm for economic sanctions against Russia and its citizens did set the stage for reprisals.

    I don't have to support neither Russia nor the US' heavy handed approach to gaining control of Ukraine (or Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, etc) to be disgusted by the amount of propaganda and warmongering going on in Europe at the moment and the short sightedness and pointlessness of it all.

    The thing about propaganda is that it actually works, thanks to a population that had not had previous exposure to totalitarianism.

    PS: anyone thinking of parroting references to 1938, let me remind you of Versailles.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Something to thank Putin for..."

    No, something to thank Merkel for not ensuring energy self-sufficiency, closing all the nuclear power stations, ramming through an insane net zero Green agenda and relying upon a dictator to supply your energy.

    It's never wise to start a proxy war with the guy whose hand is on the gas lever.

    You reap what you sow.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: "Something to thank Putin for..."

      @AC

      "No, something to thank Merkel for not ensuring energy self-sufficiency, closing all the nuclear power stations, ramming through an insane net zero Green agenda and relying upon a dictator to supply your energy."

      I cant believe I had to read this far down and its an AC who is writing such an important correction. Well said. This energy crisis is entirely self inflicted by green madness.

      Hell Trump told the Germans it needed to put money into the military and reduce its dependence on Russia, and finally the Germans are waking up far too late.

    2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: "Something to thank Putin for..."

      > and relying upon a dictator to supply your energy

      That shit started WAAAYYYY before Merkel got to power. But she shouldn't have continued the Nordstream 2 project, from my point of view.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Something to thank Putin for..."

      Geopolitically speaking, Russia is Europe's natural partner along with Turkey.

      The fact that there are unsavoury regimes in both does not change, unfortunately, the basic equation.

  15. stiine Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine,

    How could we have a legal Russian invasion of Ukraine?

    Has someone outlawed war?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine,

      >How could we have a legal Russian invasion of Ukraine?

      You get a Papal banner then it's a Holy War and any infidels you kill don't count toward God's naughty list.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Angel

        Re: Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine,

        You get a Papal banner then it's a Holy War

        Make sure you have a sufficient supply of Holy Handgrenades.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine,

          'O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.'

          1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

            Re: Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine,

            'First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then, shalt thou count to three. No more. No less. Three shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, nor either count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then, lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.'

    2. Oglethorpe

      Re: Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine,

      With a UN resolution?

      1. Zolko Silver badge

        Re: Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine,

        you mean that you see a possibility that the UN would one day declare a planned invasion as "authorized " ?

        On the other hand, I'm quite sure that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is legal under Russian law.

    3. EvilDrSmith

      Re: Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine,

      As Oglethorpe has posted, one way is with a UN resolution.

      I believe that there are also legal reasons to permit one nation to invade another - I think (not certain) that the Tanzanian invasion of Uganda was considered legal, since it was effectively to overthrow a genocidal maniac (but possibly also it was deemed to be in response to acts of aggression by Uganda).

      I think post WWII, wars launched with the intention of permanent territorial gain were deemed to be wars of aggression, and therefore illegal (please don't hold me to that - it's a dim memory of what I once read a long time ago). Since Putin intends to annex Ukraine, it's a war of aggression, and therefore illegal.

  16. bpfh Silver badge
    Go

    Get rid of the digital signage ASAP!

    I’ve been waiting for months for a Raspberry Pi 4…

  17. Micha

    Shouldn't be using gas for power

    Instead of turning nuclear power stations back on, Germany builds new coat plants and turns off modern civilisation amenities.

    When will this madness end? We need safe environmentally friendly base load energy generation to power or civilisation which does not beholden us to rogue states. We've had the technology for 80 years, it's bordering on the criminally insane not to use it and cling onto fossil fuels instead for dear life.

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: Shouldn't be using gas for power

      "We" (since I am from, well you already know) don't build new coal plants. "We" just activate those which were already on standby and waiting for an emergency. "We" don't even need to activate those which are already out of service, only those which were kept as standby.

      And further more: "We" don't turn the nuclear power "back on", we let the last three plants operate on instead of shutting them down over the next years as planned. Though it is actually more like "1.5" plants since all three have some parts of their former nuclear power already decommissioned several years ago.

  18. Teejay

    Germany, the country with no natural ressources and now also too little electric power.

    Just for context: Germany will at the end of 2022 have switched off its final atomic power plant. This is based on the lone decision of then-chancellor Angela Merkel after the Fukushima accident in Japan. Electricity in Germany costs a multiple of what it does in neighbouring France, which has kept its atomic power plants running. Germany has become a totally ridiculous country over the last decade, but the Germans haven't noticed it yet. They are destroying their economy on every level and are also trying to save the world from evil CO2. In reality, it's BlackRock and its ESG-eco-wokeness, but the Germans are the ideal nation to brainwash into this kind of BS. And I am allowed to say this, as I am from there. Of course, Britain has so many similar problems of its own.

    1. Teejay

      Re: Germany, the country with no natural ressources and now also too little electric power.

      One more thing: The Germans are burning the gas they barely have to make electricity to export to France, because of contracts once signed. The largest gas tanks, by the way, were sold off to Gazprom and thus the Russians. Germany has become a crazy neoliberal globalist pseudo-left country, it makes me weep. And regarding BlackRock, the failed former military minister Ursula van der Leyen, now chief puppet of the EU, is basically being hand-mimed by BlackRock into following their ESG-plans via a new green deal, costing 500 billion Euro of taxpayer's money, thus a huge forced redistribution from the bottom to the top. But sure, downvote me, even if some here probably haven't the faintest idea of what I am talking about.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Germany, the country with no natural ressources and now also too little electric power.

        I know exactly what you're getting at, there are powerful forces at play.

    2. fajensen

      Re: Germany, the country with no natural ressources and now also too little electric power.

      Electricity in Germany costs a multiple of what it does in neighbouring France, which has kept its atomic power plants running.

      Why is it that nuke-bro's are compelled to lie, even about things that can be easily verified: https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/europe-power-spot-prices-rise-as-wind-supply-set-to-fall

      Do they think they are convincing anyone that they are persons that it would be safe to have around nuclear technology, are they the kind of dumb-ass drama queens that like Biggly is Better, or are they just value-signalling to their little church?

      German baseload power TRDEBD1 for delivery on Wednesday was up 24.2% at 405 euros ($413.26) a megawatt hour (MWh) by 0911 GMT.

      The equivalent French price TRFRBD1 gained 15.3% to 559 euros/MWh.

      1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: Germany, the country with no natural ressources and now also too little electric power.

        > Why is it that nuke-bro's are compelled to lie

        It is their BELIEF. You cannot win against it, especially not with truth. But they are great at organizing hate campaigns, and if only to downvote non-believers in a public forum.

  19. gandalfcn Silver badge

    Maybe if they followed Japan and got back to nuclear there would be far fewer problems. For everyone.

  20. Pinjata
    Mushroom

    In other words...

    Russia is winning or Trump was right. What ever whatever tickles your fancy.

  21. steviebuk Silver badge

    Estate Agents in the UK

    Need to be pulled up for this. The amount that have the massive TVs in the window and they leave them running 24/7 showing bollocks. They already have the big window with all the houses on display, why the big, pointless TV as well.

    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

      Re: Estate Agents in the UK

      Ego

    2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: Estate Agents in the UK

      While you're at it, let's shut down those ~80kg machines they have that constantly blow hot air, too.

      1. bpfh Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Estate Agents in the UK

        The MP’s and Lords in the Houses of Parliament?

        1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          Re: Estate Agents in the UK

          Much as I'm against the inherent undemocracy of the upper chamber, they weirdly seem to talk more sense than the Commons a lot of the time.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Estate Agents in the UK

            Don't worry lets see what clowns Bojo drops in there.

          2. bpfh Silver badge

            Re: Estate Agents in the UK

            You can make a case about undemocracy for the choice of Prime Minister too as they are also named by the Queen - at least she selects someone who was democratically elected to the lower chamber!

            1. Norman Nescio Silver badge

              Re: Estate Agents in the UK

              She does now, but Alec Douglas-Home is a counter-example. Admittedly, he renounced his peerage, but after he took up office as Prime Minister.

              By convention, the Prime Minister is an MP, and leader of the political party that commands a majority in the House of Commons, but in principle the monarch can choose anyone to be Prime Minister. In practice, it needs to be someone who has the confidence of the HoC, which limits the field.

              The result is that the next Prime Minister is being chosen by members of the Conservative Party, which is not universally recognised as being a democratic process in this instance, as the general electorate are not getting a choice - it's a highly specific electorate with obscure rules of membership. At the next general election, people can vote according to their views, which may be influenced by who turns out to be the leader of the Conservative and Unionist party, among other things.

              It's the process the UK have got, for better or worse, and unlikely to change radically.

  22. Colin Bain

    Another simple mistake

    "simple mistake of substituting 06:00 and 16:00 – meaning digital signage could only run from 4PM to 10PM."

    Unless I am mistaken and/or Germany has a different interpretation of the 24 hour clock, surely the run time would be 4pm to 5.59am?

  23. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    Update on this, today on "Tagesschau".

    Decided by, for me, our German government today (Deutsche Welle in English as source): Two halfes of those three nuclear will be kept on standby. Yes, two half reactors are enough.

    (Deleted rest of comment since this is the wrong thread, sorry!)

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