back to article CERN draws up shutdown plans to save energy

CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, is preparing to idle some of its particle accelerators to save electricity, currently in short supply due to the war in Ukraine. Serge Claudet, head of the CERN Energy Management Commission, lately told The Wall Street Journal that CERN is making plans to shut down some of its …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1.3 TWh per year

    and only 500 TWh produced by France ... This is a serious portion !

    With the confusing mess of EDF having stayed tight lipped for more than one year about when any reactor would be restarted (32 down out of 58, remember ?), and now the govt saying all of them will magically be restarted by feb. 2023, I don't know what to think. Probably safe to assume the govt words are a lot of bollocks.

    On top of this, Macron is patronizing everyone (minus his friends) on how to spare electricity.

    End of the day, it is likely CERN will have to be ready to shut down the LHC in case things go pear shaped ...

    1. Elledan

      Re: 1.3 TWh per year

      Tight-lipped? EdF has the maintenance schedule and expected restart dates for each of their reactors right on their website.

      Most of the NPPs undergoing maintenance/repairs were scheduled to be back online by December this year already, long before the recent announcement.

      Together with the energy-saving measures already implemented, I don't expect CERN to have to shutdown. Only blackouts and load shedding are likely to incur in Germany, but that really is their own darn fault for removing 8 GW of capacity from their grid.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: 1.3 TWh per year

      ready to shut down the LHC in case things go pear shaped ...

      Ah, yes, if a Black Hole opens up during tests

      1. Mishak Silver badge

        Re: 1.3 TWh per year

        Aren't black holes donut shaped?

        1. Yes Me Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: 1.3 TWh per year

          Hard to tell, since nothing can escape them. My experience with jam doughnuts is that the jam escapes only too easily.

  2. Lusty

    Propaganda

    I don’t come to the Reg for news propaganda. The shortage of power is due to lack of planning not the war in Ukraine. With Cern’s budget and needs they could have built their own nuclear power station quite easily.

    We need to stop blaming everything on this war. Yes it’s bad but it’s not the root cause of our problems.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Propaganda

      I don't come to the Reg for news propaganda.

      Not to read it maybe, but to spread it, it would seem.

    2. EBG

      Ukraine is a (large) straw that broke the camel's back

      but yes. At least in the UK, our energy policy has been very lacking. Government drank the Kool-aid of "it'll all be solved by having a Smart Grid and smart meter demand management." We've neglected nuclear, closed coal plant. So when the wind doesn't blow, all our eggs are in gas. And, to top it all, we've closed the strategic gas storage facilities.

      This was always going to end in tears.

      1. Bonzo_red

        Re: Ukraine is a (large) straw that broke the camel's back

        Strategic gas storage? You mean the two weeks' storage? Hardly strategic compared with Germany's 2 months' but then Germany doesn't have much North Sea gas. The UK's storage was only ever there to smooth out the supply/demand differences.

        1. Lordrobot

          Re: Ukraine is a (large) straw that broke the camel's back

          UK has cut off European Gas supplies... That should smooth things out a bit in Europe...

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Ukraine is a (large) straw that broke the camel's back

            UK has cut off European Gas supplies... That should smooth things out a bit in Europe...

            Citation needed. UK gas companies have been profitting massively because the UK has LNG terminals, and most of the EU.. doesn't. So lots of money to be made landing gas here, and piping it across to the EU. Downside is we still don't have much in the way of gas storage, despite the usual demands for bribes to re-open Rough etc.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: Ukraine is a (large) straw that broke the camel's back

              The UK has no option but to sell gas on to EU countries in summer and has to import from EU countries in winter precisely because it has no storage as it flogged the last of it off in 2017. This is hardly a virtue.

              Centrica thought it would be great for their profits though and their chums in the government let them go ahead and sell off an important piece of national infrastructure. Any other country would ensure they have the storage to store cheaper gas in summer and use it in winter.

      2. TeeCee Gold badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Ukraine is a (large) straw that broke the camel's back

        Pandering to the eco-loons, rather than taking a more scientific approach, turns out to be a huge mistake?

        Who Could Possibly Have Seen That Coming?

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Ukraine is a (large) straw that broke the camel's back

          Pandering to the eco-loons, rather than taking a more scientific approach, turns out to be a huge mistake?

          Certainly not the Bbc. They're still micturating in the wind. They're also still blaming Russian economic warfare, rather than admitting it was a misguided attempt by the EU, UK, US to indulge in economic warfare against Russia. Or as Credit Suisse's Zoltan Poznar put it-

          "Minsky moments are triggered by excessive financial leverage, and in the context of supply chains, leverage means excessive operating leverage: in Germany, $2 trillion of value added depends on $20 billion of gas from Russia… …that’s 100-times leverage – much more than Lehman’s."

          That was one way to committ economic suicide. And I can't really see a way out for Germany. Cold showers and switching off LED lights is not really going to have much impact vs Germany's total consumer and industrial demand, not just for electricity, but also raw petrochemicals. The 'nuclear' option takes time, ie building nuclear, or political will, ie authorising NordStream 2 and hoping Russia feels generous.

          There are some small signs of sanity, eg the FT's reported more on potential EU energy caps with a suggestion that non-gas generation be capped at €200/MWh. This would cut the massive profits 'renewables' are generating, and still leave a healthy profit margin, even at UK CfD prices. Kinda makes sense, given the real problem is lack of gas, so coal, nuclear & renewables are profiteering. Obviously the loony Greens won't like the idea of curtailing subsidies.

          Bigger challenge will be structural reforms to the energy markets so they're regulated on a cost+ basis. But there isn't much time left before the first frosts arrive.

    3. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

      Re: Propaganda

      -> The shortage of power is due to lack of planning not the war in Ukraine.

      That is correct. The energy crisis started over a year ago. Ukraine is merely an extra.

      1. Yes Me Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Propaganda

        I don't think it's "merely" an extra. Stopping Nordstream 1 became pretty much inevitable the day that Putin launched his lunatic invasion, but it's a tactical problem. Scrapping Nordstream 2 was a fatal blow to the long-term strategy of depending on Russian gas. That strategy was an enormous blunder, committed in slow motion over several decades, triggered by German Greens and their irrational hatred of nuclear power.

        Getting back to the OP, kudos to CERN for being public-spirited.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Propaganda

      Russian gas was cheaper than any other power source - certainly cheaper than nuclear. (Also in the US, shale gas is cheaper than nuclear.) I think the cause and effect could be reversed - EU dependency on Russian gas emboldened Russia to initiate a war against Ukraine, and continues to.

      If only the EU, particularly Germany, had rejected dependency upon Russian gas, the EU would instead have moved on to the second most cheapest source - which is US & Canadian gas from shale.

      1. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

        Re: Propaganda

        US gas being shipped to Europe is nowhere near as cheap as Russian gas. It doesn't even begin to compete. If it did, it would already be in place. Also why trade one dependency for another?

    5. Persona Silver badge

      Re: Propaganda

      It's convenient to blame it all on the Russian invasion and whilst that does make matters worse it's just a contributory factor. Energy suppliers were going bust many many months before the invasion because the wholesale price of gas was way above what the price cap allowed them to charge customers. The BBC likes to show the spike after the invasion but now ignores the rapid increases that were already happening.

      Gas is expensive because of climate change promises. Countries pledged to stop burning coal. This caused a huge increase in global demand for gas. Countries then went on to say they would be carbon neutral in 2030 or 2035. This destroyed the case to invest in gas infrastructure as "theoretically" we should have a massive excess of supply in half of that time. For example, in 2021 alone plans for about a dozen LNG terminals with a total capacity for 250 million tons of gas per year were canceled. Increased demand and reduced supply will always lead to prices increasing to the point that they become unaffordable for some.

  3. alain williams Silver badge

    "the world's largest publicly known particle collider"

    Is this suggesting that someone has a private particle collider ?

    Would this be in a volcano on an island owned by someone with a penchant for white cats ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "the world's largest publicly known particle collider"

      Ahh, yes, cats. Douglas Adams tried putting us off the track by saying it was mice experimenting on us when every fool knows it's the cats.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Joke

        Re: "the world's largest publicly known particle collider"

        The mice just want you to think that

        1. Ken Shabby
          Black Helicopters

          Re: "the world's largest publicly known particle collider"

          The cats are too busy taking over the internet, I know mine does the night shift.

    2. JDX Gold badge
      Mushroom

      Re: "the world's largest publicly known particle collider"

      I wondered about this phrasing too. Are their rumours of secret colliders elsewhere? Do I need a tinfoil hat?

    3. BOFH in Training
      Alien

      Re: "the world's largest publicly known particle collider"

      They meant those alien colliders using blackholes as a power source.

      I don't think those are known publicly.

      ;)

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: "the world's largest publicly known particle collider"

        They are now you fool!

    4. Screepy

      Re: "the world's largest publicly known particle collider"

      Came here to ask the same question.

      What an odd choice of phrasing.

      1. Colin Bain

        Re: "the world's largest publicly known particle collider"

        Enquiring minds want to know, and I am surprised that there is no clarification. Conspiracy theories threading their insidious way into my consciousness.

  4. Mishak Silver badge

    Isn't this normal?

    The maintenance periods are scheduled for year end (YETS - Year End Technical Stop). I always thought part of the reason for this being in the winter was to help manage grid loading?

    1. tswsl

      Re: Isn't this normal?

      "CERN officials are talking to representatives of France's state-run power company EDF SA to arrange a day's warning should a shutdown become necessary to save power."

      So it sounds like this is about arrangements to shut down experiments at (relatively) short notice in addition to the usual YETS period.

  5. fitzpat

    Not that much compared to baseload

    At the optimistic end, 600GWh per year for LHC implies that shutting off the other accelerators will save 700GWh per year, an average of 80MW load.

    That's a small generating unit. Sounds very token. Would it be more related to the cost?

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Not that much compared to baseload

      It's not a constant load, the peaks are very much higher so while on average the load is not massive, at run time it can be quite significant.

      Moving to night running might be an option.

      1. fitzpat

        Re: Not that much compared to baseload

        Found it.

        From home.cern: "At peak consumption, usually from May to mid-December, CERN uses about 200 megawatts of power".

        So not an order of magnitude out.

      2. swm

        Re: Not that much compared to baseload

        I believe that the Batavia ring (near Chicago) actually negotiates with the power company cycle by cycle for power. They do not need a continuous supply (i.e. every cycle) so the power company can reduce the peak loads somewhat. This doesn't change the overall kwh requirements though.

      3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Not that much compared to baseload

        I believe that one of the reasons for JET's location is ready access to the National Grid at Didcot. JET used so much lower that the grid had to prepare for a run, and Didcot power station meant there was a lot of capacity there - normally outbound, but inbound if needed.

        Only another ten years to go until we have fusion power, as they started saying during Project Zeta.

  6. herman

    Boring

    CERN runs the same experiments over and over. It must be the most boring place to work.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Boring

      Millions of times a second, and every one gives has a slightly different outcome.

      Consider writing "trigger" software to look at over a million complex events every second that has to select a thousand that are worth recording along with a number of uninteresting events as controls. They cannot save every event, nobody has networks fast enough or the Yottabytes of memory it would need.

      The data collected will keep particle physicists happy for decades.

      Also over 70% of people working at the LHC are engineers who keep the thing running, most of the science on it's results are done by university teams either remotely or on secondment.

      That might be boring for some people but I know the people who are involved are far from bored.

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Re: Boring

        I forgot to mention there are 4 main experiments running on the ring and each of them need trigger software.

        Each experiment team has to write their own trigger programs as using the same software in multiple experiments risks error propagation.

        In the business world duplicating effort is rightly discouraged, in this sort of research it is essential for them to be confident the results are true and not a software glitch.

    2. LogicGate Silver badge

      Re: Boring

      Not really,

      The boring stopped after they had finished creating the LHC tunnels.

      It may recommence if theydecide to build an even larger the next generation collider.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: Boring

      > CERN runs the same experiments over and over. It must be the most boring place to work.

      Unlike, say, every other business in the world that does the same thing over and over, with the occasional introduction of a new product.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Boring

        Yes if you go into Tesco or McDonalds you'll see the same person buy the same exact product over and over again.

        What an absurd thing to say.

        1. GrapeBunch

          Re: Boring

          In days of yore

          EinstHeisen did abhor

          That their Physics score

          Would be nulled by Niels Bohr.

          Heat a good round tunnel

          While air above is warm and fresh?

          It need not thee amaze

          Your brain's in a runnel

          Next you will be plannin fission

          Not outside to catch de rishi'n.

          Foam address to Di Johnnehs.

          Twonnihilate the cows go moo

          They farty like it's 1922

          Give me an Exclusion Principle

          Or give me Entro pee.

          Give me a <br>

          Fork Jeavons' sake

          Bosons up in 23.

          Heat it when you need it

          Funnel waste heat to the poor

          If it's charged go speed it

          There will always be one mooer.

  7. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Stop

    Get your facts straight

    France and other countries in Europe rely on natural gas and oil supplied by Russia

    France is heavily dependent upon nuclear power for electricity and gets its gas mainly from Algeria. There isn't even an energy shortfall in Europe, at least not a general one. As always the problem is about getting the right amount of power to the right places at the right time. You can see this right now in California, in a country with supposedly unlimited energy resources.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Get your facts straight

      UK has a gas pipeline to Europe, and has big gas terminals to accept tanker shipments of gas, for example shale gas from USA. Lots of that LNG gas is coming to the UK now, because it has the infrastructure to take it. But the pipeline is not big enough to move enough gas to Europe quick enough.

      So the UK is burning the excess gas like crazy in power stations and exporting the electricity over the interconnects. The main interconnects are to France though, so France exports electricity to its neighbours.

      1. Lon24

        "Gas by wire"

        Yep, I noticed that too. Exporting electricity to France and The Netherlands. France & probably The Netherlands are then exporting that to Germany. Presumably so they can shut down their gas turbines at night and divert the gas saved to storage.

        https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk is a handy place to watch the UK & French generation and interconnector flows.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: "Gas by wire"

          Right now, obviously that could be different to when you looked, we are exporting at pretty much maximum capacity to France, Netherlands, Belgium, and Norway. Which is something I've never seen before, usually it is flowing in the opposite direction.

          We are importing from Ireland and Northern Ireland, which usually only happens when it is really windy. I don't think it is particularly windy at the moment. Certainly not weather-warning levels of wind anyway.

          1. Lars Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: "Gas by wire"

            @katrinab

            "exporting at pretty much maximum capacity to France, Netherlands, Belgium, and Norway. "

            What do you base that claim on, and I suppose you talk about electricity.

            Please leave a link to that claim.

            Looking at 2021 where we have government information you find this.

            "Electricity supply increased in 2021, due to higher demand for electricity, but UK generation fell with higher supply from net imports. Total electricity supplied in 2021 was 333.2 TWh, with net imports of 24.6 TWh, 7.4 per cent of electricity supplied. Electricity generation fell to a record low of 308.7 TWh in 2021, 1.2 per cent less than in 2020.

            Total net imports were a record 24.6 TWh in 2021. Total imports were 28.7 TWh in 2021, up 28.4 per cent compared to 2020, while total exports were down 7.0 per cent on 2020 to 4.2 TWh. Interconnector capacity rose to 7.4 GW in 2021 with new operational cables between the UK and Norway (North Sea Link), and a second link to France (IFA 2)."

            https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1094628/DUKES_2022_Chapter_5.pdf

            1. katrinab Silver badge

              Re: "Gas by wire"

              My source is Gridwatch at the time I posted my previous comment. It has changed now. We are exporting a bit to France, importing at maximum capacity from Netherlands, exporting at almost maximum capacity to Norway, and importing quite a bit from Belgium. Flows with the Island of Ireland balance out to approximately zero.

              By the time you look at Gridwatch, it will of course have changed again.

        2. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: "Gas by wire"

          You seem to assume Britain is only exporting electricity.

          Still these are the facts for 2021, 2022 not of course available yet.

          "Electricity demand increased in 2021 to 334.2 TWh, up by 1.2 per cent from 2020. The increase was primarily a result of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which severely restricted the activity of business and industry in 2020 but had a smaller effect in 2021.

          Electricity supply increased in 2021, due to higher demand for electricity, but UK generation fell with higher supply from net imports. Total electricity supplied in 2021 was 333.2 TWh, with net imports of 24.6 TWh, 7.4 per cent of electricity supplied. Electricity generation fell to a record low of 308.7 TWh in 2021, 1.2 per cent less than in 2020.

          Total net imports were a record 24.6 TWh in 2021. Total imports were 28.7 TWh in 2021, up 28.4 per cent compared to 2020, while total exports were down 7.0 per cent on 2020 to 4.2 TWh. Interconnector capacity rose to 7.4 GW in 2021 with new operational cables between the UK and Norway (North Sea Link), and a second link to France (IFA 2)."

          https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1094628/DUKES_2022_Chapter_5.pdf

          Note, we talk about "net" as a good grid works both ways, or perhaps the word "interconector" is a better word.

          Many countries both export and import according to demand and availability.

          It's positive to leave a link as you did but I wonder if you are capable of understanding it properly.

          1. Lon24

            Re: "Gas by wire"

            As the other correspondents noticed the typical flows we saw in 2020/21 have dramatically changed this summer. Flows have reversed, we have keeping the UK gas turbine fleet hard at work at night even when there is plenty of wind around the north sea. Historically as our demand dipped they would be the first to be rolled back.The surplus often maxes out the interconnectors to the continent. Hence, it is highly probable that Germany in particular is conserving its gas supply and effectively using our gas turbines to fill the gap via France et al.

            The link I gave shows a snapshot of what is happening at anytime. You need to watch these frequently and over time to appreciate the change.

            Somebody is quietly making a lot of money out of this.

  8. Lordrobot

    Another case of the CART drawing the HORSE

    Let's be CLEAR... European issues over energy have to do with their CHOICE to boycott RUSSIAN energy and Russia's propensity to take the cheap talk for real.

    So if Germany's support of Ukraine is so overwhelming as to destroy its energy base, and industrial energy base in Germany, all the power to them for their virtue signalling posture, BUT THEY ALONE made that decision. Russia merely accommodated it.

    You can blame whoever you want but don't BLAME RUSSIA. Blame BIDEN... The US was buying 1% of its oil from Russia, so JOE made a big symbolic gesture of it by cutting that off but then going to Europe to encourage Europeans to do the same even when 60% of European energy came from Russia. But in the end who made the decision? Brussels. Meanwhile, Joe Biden was grovelling to Venezuela and the beheaders for some oil scraps...

    One would think after the British misadventures with Bush II's Weapons of Mass Destruction that Europe would have been more cautious than following the US meaningless gesture into a colossal Energy disaster for the EU. It is one thing to support a cause and another thing entirely different to cast yourselves upon the flames of self-immolation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another case of the CART drawing the HORSE

      Bob, is that you?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another case of the CART drawing the HORSE

      Blah blah blah, random, random, random, BIDEN, blah, random, random, random, blah, blah, blah, ad nauseam.

      You forgot "FREEDOM" and "NRA".

    3. deadlockvictim

      Re: Another case of the CART drawing the HORSE

      A friend for Bombastic Bob» This is what happens when a country follows WOKE policies...

      El Reg really needs a foaming-at-the-mouth icon.

      The alternate text should be written in a mixture of all-caps and regular sizes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another case of the CART drawing the HORSE

        Sir! I re53mb1e that r3MaRk.

        We m33t at dawn. With pi55holes drawn!

    4. GrapeBunch

      Re: Another case of the CART drawing the HORSE

      36 downvotes to only 4 ups? Sure, it's offensive. But it isn't that offensive. If Boris were President of Europe, this never could have happened.

      I'll tell you the solution, though. Run all the ocean water in the world through a picofabric filter. You'll get millions of tons of microplastic fibre. Then burn it as fuel, without compounding the fossil problem. Sure, you might find other stuff in the ocean. Be flexible. And who wouldn't like a tasty Crevettes-à-l'Orange-brûlées-avec-des-microplastiques?

    5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Another case of the CART drawing the HORSE

      We have a war on our borders that could easily spill over them if we don't do anything to stop it. We sleepwalked into an overdependence on Russian energy despite the lessons of the 1970s.

      As for US policy, both houses have voted to support the Ukraine so get your fucking facts straight!

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Danny 2

    CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research

    I am smart enough to have designed a computer board as a teenager that CERN bought.

    I am stupid enough that I never once wondered what CERN stood for.

    My brain seems to be heavily air-gapped, I'm hoping the smart side is encrypted because I've not been taking backups. Maybe posting here is my backup.

    1. GrapeBunch

      Re: CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research

      Sports fan, do you belong to that elite group of .000001 % of people whose actions are not predictable? If so, you are suffering from "I'm-the-only-person-everybody-else-is-a-bot Mania". We can help you. Just sit where you are. Thank you. You will soon be a disCERNing but amenable host.

  11. Roger Kynaston
    Unhappy

    Perhaps not the biggest outcome

    I am still sad that the current situation might curtail this sort of research.

    Speaking as a so called "eco loon" as well.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    shouldn't we have fusion by now?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's 5-10 years away.

      1. GrapeBunch

        When I was a kid, circa 1970, fusion power was 15 years away. So that's real progress. By 2074, fusion power should be 3-7 years away.

        Let's see, we've got dog years, cat years, pandemic years, fusion power years. Those are real. Stuff like sidereal years, that's made up.

        Here, let me prove that the Universe will keep expanding forever. "A parsec is the distance from the Sun to an astronomical object that has a parallax angle of one arcsecond." But in a while, it probably won't be soon, but the actual amount of time doesn't matter, it will happen, the sun will expand to swallow up the orbit of the earth and there will be no parallax because the earth will be inside the sun. The rest is simples. You do the math. I love to say that. I think there should be a special club for people like me. The Parsehole Club. Because we understand parsecs. And the Universe. We're even capable of understanding the Universes. Nudge nudge, wink wink. Nothings get past you, sir. Now, where's my membership card?

  13. Binraider Silver badge

    The power used to drive experiments are likely considerably less than the data centres and compute needed to do anything with the output!

    By far the easiest way to make a dent in demand is to voluntarily cut usage. Even with sky high prices you still see lights blaring everywhere, all the time; flatscreen marketing screens left on 24/7. Menus in McDonalds routinely consist of a dozen screens on 24/7.

    A 50" TV at full tilt is probably drawing somewhere around 150W, so in the tradition of establishing obscure el Reg units, 1.3 million typical TVs are roughly the equivalent of CERN's demand. Or shutting down the video menus in ~110k fast food establishments. (Noting that the UK has approx 44k takeaways - admittedly not all of them are going to have video menus... but the idea stands)

    Insert suggestions for other frivolous demand that could be avoided here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't forget air-conditioning and half-a-million-watt max-draw Telsa eco-cars.

      Which must be replaced by fans and 1-horse-power buggies, respectively.

      1. Crypto Monad Silver badge

        I was sure someone would have mentioned bitcoin by now - but strangely they haven't.

        IMO, we should be turning off bitcoin miners before turning off CERN.

        If it comes to that, we should be turning off bitcoin miners before anything else, including outdoor patio heaters.

        1. Binraider Silver badge

          Wholeheartedly agree on ending the madness that is crypto power consumption.

          I have no aversion to the idea of a digital currency or independence from fiat currency, but I do have a pathological aversion to the ridiculous quantity of energy that some crypto systems demand.

          VISA and MasterCard power consumption is not insignificant, but nowhere near crypto.

          1. Crypto Monad Silver badge

            I do have a pathological aversion to the ridiculous quantity of energy that some crypto systems demand.

            It has to be like that, by design. There must be ridiculous quantities of power used, or disk space, or expensive hardware, or some other difficult-to-obtain commodity.

            Why? Firstly, it is because the coins themselves are a value store. They are something you can prove ownership of, and you can transfer that ownership in exchange for goods and services. Without a central issuing authority it must be difficult to bring new ones into existence - otherwise there would be an infinite supply and they would all be worthless.

            Secondly, the decentralized ledger requires consensus between a group of anonymous parties - in effect, they are voting between themselves to agree how the ledger proceeds. If it were easy to gain votes, and any one party could throw enough resources at it to get >50% of voting rights, they could make any transaction they wanted (such as, transferring all assets to themselves). Hence this part must be very hard as well.

            Now, you are quite right: there are other ways of doing this which would use far less energy.

            To start with, some central authority could issue unique tokens. They could be as simple as a serial number with a digital signature. Very easy. This authority would control the supply and who it gives or loans them to.

            Then if user A agrees to transfer their token to transfer B, the document recording this transfer could also be notarised by some central authority (not necessarily the same one). Just add a transaction timestamp or serial number and a digital signature - job done.

            Notice that this central authority would also be able to reverse transactions or confiscate funds, since they are able to sign any transfer - including ones they create themselves.

            But what you've just invented is regular fiat money, with a central issuer (e.g. Bank of England) and the banks which interact with it.

            Visa and Mastercard transactions are cheap, precisely because they are making single-source-of-truth digital records of regular money transactions, with no need for distributed consensus, and using money that already exists.

  14. CapeCarl

    "R2! R2! Shutdown all the...

    NetFlix servers on the 4K CDN...Just stream 480P video".

    "A Watt saved, is a Watt earned".

  15. Il'Geller

    A great idea to close CERN! Anyway I created a continuation of Einstein's Theory of Relativity, based on molar masses and volumes, proved by double-slit and Lebedeva's light presure, which means a great revision of everything. And suddenly, at random, there are problems with energy. Now everyone will have time to reflect and decide what to do in the future, in view of the continuation.

    1. Anomalous Cowturd
      Windows

      Do let us know when you have finished the revision of everything. I'll look out for the article in Nature.

    2. GrumpenKraut
      Facepalm

      Hello, Ilia Geller. Is this your third or fourth account?

      If anyone doubts he's serious, he is.

      1. Il'Geller

        “Ilya” is my first name.

        I managed to prove the stationary Schrodinger equation by experiments, along with the String Theory. I am damn serious.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Errrm

    Didn't it traditionally wind down over winter anyway to say energy? Collect data in summer, have a looksie over winter.

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