back to article Want a clean energy transition? Better start putting cash into electrical grid

Renewable energy investments continue to rise, but a key component of our planned zero-carbon future is being ignored, and could endanger the future of Earth: Energy grids. The International Energy Agency (IEA) concluded as much in a report it put out yesterday. The intergovernmental group found that some 80 million kilometers …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Strategy 2

    Or instead of investing in electrical grid you can:

    - Ensure most people can't afford electric cars

    - Ensure most people can't afford electric anything

    - Ensure wage slaves don't have to roam too far - they have their supermarket, doctor, school, pub in 15 minute distance

    - Ensure there is good internet, so that people spend most of the time consuming your propaganda

    - Ensure people rent rather than buy, so they are dependent on big corporations and government

    - Ensure to monitor all communication to nip any dissent in the bud

    - Ensure social credit score is implemented to shape people behaviour

    - Use any available manipulation techniques to ensure people can reframe living in open prison as peak of happiness.

    1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

      Re: Strategy 2

      First one's already in place.

      You missed ensure every property has a smart meter just in they can afford electrical stuff then it can be turned off remotely.

      Apart from that a bit OTT I think

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Devil

        Serious question

        (Top-posting in an attempt to drag the forum back on topic)

        Do we have enough copper and lithium to do this?

        Do the macro-economists really think that if copper is $6000/ton (say) and we need 100 million tons of copper to build all these new electric grids, that we (the world) could actually buy 100 million tons without affecting the price of copper? How about the labour market of people trained in HV electrical engineering?

        Throwing billions at something without first improving the entire supply chain usually just makes it more expensive. Just ask HS2 Ltd.

        Then there's the small issue that electricity imports are the ultimate in "just-in-time economy". It's pretty much impossible to store on any useful scale (the best we have is on a scale of minutes)..

        1. Thought About IT

          Re: Serious question

          This is the nub of the problem. People in government know that the climate is changing and accept that it's caused by our CO2 emissions, but the fossil fuel industries have made it politically impossible to take the requisite actions. So effective have their propagandists been that they can confidently agree in public that their products are destabilising the climate, while doing everything they can behind the scenes to undermine every attempt to reduce CO2 emissions.

          Hence, the idea of having access to basic services within a 15 minute walk or bike ride has become the conspiracy that local councils can decide how often you go to the shops and that they ration who uses the roads and when, and police it all with CCTV. Wind turbines slaughter birds. Solar panels are a blight on the countryside. Etc.

          What they don't talk about is that global heating will lead to a huge influx of refugees from countries that become uninhabitable. Choose carefully who you want to believe.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Serious question

            @Thought About IT

            "People in government know might believe that the climate is changing and accept that it's caused by our CO2 emissions"

            "but the fossil fuel industries have physics has made it politically impossible to take the requisite actions"

            A bit of fixing for you.

            "Hence, the idea of having access to basic services within a 15 minute walk or bike ride has become the conspiracy that local councils can decide how often you go to the shops and that they ration who uses the roads and when, and police it all with CCTV. Wind turbines slaughter birds. Solar panels are a blight on the countryside. Etc."

            Very much facts. Why should people be fined for leaving their administrators fantasy boundary? Why should people accept monuments to a sky god in place of energy generation?

            "What they don't talk about is that global heating will lead to a huge influx of refugees from countries that become uninhabitable. Choose carefully who you want to believe."

            What we want to believe is irrelevant. Facts dont care about your feelings. This is where there is a massive problem with green madness and its ignorance of reality.

            1. Thought About IT

              Re: Serious question

              "Why should people be fined for leaving their administrators fantasy boundary?"

              That's only ever been suggested by conspiracists. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the idea of not having to travel far to the shops and doctors and dentists - except in the minds of conspiracists.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Serious question

                @Thought About IT

                "There's nothing intrinsically wrong with the idea of not having to travel far to the shops and doctors and dentists - except in the minds of conspiracists."

                The idea has nothing wrong. Practically its a big problem. Why would some no nothing administrator (even if it was some friggin genius) know what people need in a 15 minute radius? Or what is economical? Desirable?

                1. Thought About IT

                  Re: Serious question

                  "Why would some no nothing administrator (even if it was some friggin genius) know what people need in a 15 minute radius?"

                  How much of a genius would you have to be to work out that you need shops, access to public transport, schools, play areas, pubs, doctors and dentists? And no, there is no secret plan to stop you from travelling further for anything more exotic!

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Serious question

                    @Thought About IT

                    "How much of a genius would you have to be to work out that you need shops, access to public transport, schools, play areas, pubs, doctors and dentists?"

                    At what capacity? Remember this is for people within 15 minutes so you need to get this right and for a changing demographic of child births, deaths, migration. What kind of shops? What if its not profitable to have said shop/pub there, will prod nose insist it is propped up with public money? What public transport in what quantity, especially as people naturally prefer the freedom of private cars even though idiots keep trying to close down roads to force walking/cycling? What happens when prod nose administrator claims there are too many takeaways, what is the right amount?

                    And yet left to people this is resolved with the quantity desired in the locations desired. Bar of course the public services such as buses.

                    1. jmch Silver badge

                      Re: Serious question

                      "At what capacity? .... etc etc"

                      You seem to be working on a straw-man fantasy that some soviet-style administrator is going to set quotas on the number of people, supermarkets, doctors etc etc can fit in a particular area and somehow impose this on the population, which is a dystopian fantasy that has no grounding in reality. The idea of a '15-minute city' is to organise road infrastructure and public transport around a location in a way that people can move within that location quickly, easily, and with as little negative effect on the environment as possible. While that is being built, and once that is in place, market forces will ensure that the number of supermarkets, doctors and other services and amenities matches the population size, in the same way, in fact, that it already does.

          2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: Serious question

            the idea of having access to basic services within a 15 minute walk or bike ride

            Who's going to force my local council to build another 90 schools so they are all within 15 minutes?

            Who's going to force the NHS to build another 115 hospitals in my city so thay are all within 15 minutes?

            Who's going to force B&Q to build another 100 branches so they are all within 15 minutes?

            Who's going to force ForgeMasters to open up 500 one-man forges so they are all within 15 minutes?

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: Serious question

              Those are all "old world" problems , from when we had unlimited energy supplied by Oil

              Cost , Economics , and Council Authorities are all man made barriers that we need to be rid of , and thats the easy bit.

              The world and our way of life pretty much needs to change beyond recognition in a carbon free future .

              And a big part of that is being "local"

              Just making it happen at all without billions dying will be a miracle

              Making it happen and retaining some sort of creature comfotrs would be nice

              The fact there is no longer a starbucks nearby doesent fucking matter .

              .

              .

              However reading social media and getting the opioins of the masses on these issues I'm pretty certain this "Transition" will be a completely unprepared disaster that the human race will be lucky to survive.

              Also this Transition will happen with or without Climate change Activists - the Oil will run out . soon.

              1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

                Re: the Oil will run out . soon.

                No, it won't.

                Because as it gets more expensive to extract from the ground, we'll reach the point where it's economically feasible to manufacture / grow the oil-based products (petrol, diesel etc) directly from feed stock.

                We don't do it now in any significant quantities because it's too expensive. At the moment.

              2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

                Re: Those are all "old world" problems , from when we had unlimited energy supplied by Oil

                We could have unlimited energy supplied by nuclear power, if the greens hadn't convinced know-nothing politicians that any level of radiation is a boogeyman that must be avoided at any and all costs.

                This is despite many parts of the world naturally have higher background levels that are permitted at any nuclear plant.

                Maintaining and added sufficient grid capacity is the other side of this unlimited energy coin. Simple facts are we could already have it, but instead our lazy gormless, short-sighted politicians have led us down the road we're now on.

        2. garwhale Bronze badge

          Re: Serious question

          Aluminium is used for wiring as well. It does seem that there is enough lithium and copper. The price of raw materials, increasing, will encourage recycling, exploration and re-opening mines that have closed because the price was too low.

          The demand for engineers will help move people from low paid jobs that are being replaced by automation and AI.

          I'm not sure what you mean by 'imports are the ultimate in "just-in-time economy"'; electricity can indeed be stored.

          1. jmch Silver badge

            Re: Serious question

            Upvote for the rest of your post, but this calls for comment:

            "I'm not sure what you mean by 'imports are the ultimate in "just-in-time economy"'; electricity can indeed be stored."

            Yes, electricity can indeed be stored, just not (at least for now) in the volumes required to power large swathes of the country for more than a couple of hours. Grid storage needs to improve by a couple of orders of magnitude to avoid needing 'just-in-time' generation (or load throttling)

        3. Binraider Silver badge

          Re: Serious question

          Copper is mostly needed for high capacity underground cables and transformers. Most of the rest of the transmission system uses aluminium. Copper used in EHV (132kV and up) environments generally needs to be virgin, as impurities in recycled metals screw with performance : no transmission operator can afford the risk of it being wrong.

          Global copper mining was outstripped for some time when China went through a phase of installlong shedloads of underground cabling. Offshore uses quite a bit too, which is why wholesale copper prices persist.

          There are insane projects like the Iceland interconnector or Xlinks to Morocco that will consume most of the worlds virgin copper production for some time.

          The problems can be solved but a joined up approach thinking about global networks in concert instead of many regional operations would seriously reduce overall requirements. Good luck with that, given the direction media has gone...

          If you are an investor, opening a copper mine right now is a good bet.

        4. AVR

          Re: Serious question

          Aluminium's often used for long distance cables. Cheaper and lighter than copper, you can get the same electrical resistance by using a thicker cable. And yes, there's surplus aluminium production in the world right now, at least up to a point.

          Most of the world's not quite as screwed up as the UK right now thankfully and if it was scaled up relatively slowly (the only way it's likely to happen, really) more grid investment could happen without messing up to the extent of HS2.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Serious question

            Diminishing returns on increased diameter, due to amongst other things the skin effect.

            See IEC60287 for examples.

            Best regards, one of El Reg's resident transmission system designers and policy writers.

            A/C for obvious.

            1. adam 40 Silver badge

              Re: Serious question

              A/C for obvious...

              obviously skin effect only applies to A.C.

              Interconnectors are now generally D.C. (because of capacitance, too).

        5. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Serious question

          All of that simply means that it will cost more than predicted / calculated using today's money / prices. It still has to be done, and not just because of the electrification of transport and heating, but also because of the severe underinvestment in grids in the past decades.

          The other mitigation option is what datacenters have been exploring / doing, which is to build the required power generation on-location, that way you bypass the grid completely. To be honest, it anyway probably works better for security of supply to have your own generation, ranging from solar panels on the roof for a single family house, all the way up to a local SMR for a datacenter.

      2. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Strategy 2

        Is there anyone in the UK with a smart meter that's capable of turning their energy off?

        I don't think they've rolled any such devices out.

        The only smart meters I see are normal meters with "monitoring" boxes so you can see what you're pulling (basically a clamp meter and a remote screen).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Strategy 2

          All SMETS 1 and later smart meters can be remotely commanded to shut down - in theory - for non bill payers.

          That the functionality exists means it will undoubtedly be used in event of brownout, etc.

          A/C because again, this is your resident el reg transmission engineer and giving away my identity would probably be bad for my career!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Strategy 2

      Mostly true but unrelated to climate change - thats late-stage capitalism in action as those with lots of money try to grab whats left.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    I would be willing to agree that ...

    the Tories can have the grid upgrades done by their favourite party donors if that is what it takes to get it done quickly.

    Better that they trouser lots of our dosh than we be dead or suffering greatly due to climate change.

    Having looked at Sunak's limp wristed approach to dealing with climate change massive corruption might be the only way to get him to do something.

    Far better of course would be that he has an epiphany and does the right thing in the right way, but I am losing hope that that might happen.

    1. John Sager

      Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

      than we be dead or suffering greatly due to climate change

      Someone has swallowed the kool-aid good and proper. Despite what you have been told, you ain't going to die by boiling or whatever the really scary threat du jour is today.

      Sadly Sunak didn't go far enough as we still have the Climate Change Act on the books with all its malign consequences.

      1. Lars Silver badge

        Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

        @John Sager

        That was stupid.

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

          It's a shame there is little information how people achieved the ice age last time. Clearly they didn't have electric horses nor means to tax the population to death.

          On the other hand when we last time had a period of global warming, people didn't know what carbon is and didn't try to capture their cows' farts.

          But I am sure clever propagandists will find a way how to fit all those scams into equation. Electric cars didn't make a difference? Oh well, we just didn't have enough of them! Closing all manufacturing didn't help? Oh well, we should probably have tried harder at depopulation!

          Anyway, as it is always with those things, just make sure to make right contacts at gentleman's clubs and get on that green funding spree.

          After all the rich are exempt from all this nonsense.

          1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

            -- It's a shame there is little information how people achieved the ice age last time. --

            My theory is its a bit like the No. 58 bus. Wait for one for ages then three turn up all at once.

          2. Filippo Silver badge

            Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

            >It's a shame there is little information how people achieved the ice age last time.

            Well, the details are spotty, but, for the purposes of this discussion, I think that "with great difficulty" should be answer enough? I mean, it's not like we don't have ample historical evidence that climate change events in the past caused great hardships. Not extinction, obviously, but surely you realize that there is a vast, vast space between "extinction" and "everything is fine"?

            Honestly, I get that predicting the oceans will freeze and/or boil in the next 30 years is an annoying exaggeration. But surely it's better if I have to suffer because I can't have a car that makes that really satisfying "BRAAAA" sound and I have to wear a wool sweater in my own home in winter, rather than my grandkid have to suffer because his city is now in a tornado zone? Or are we that selfish? Is that "BRAAAA" sound that satisfying? Is the wool sweater that itchy? Do I dislike the grandkid that much? Maybe the answer is yes, I dunno.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

              Is an electric car that does 0-60 mph (0-97 kph) in ~3 seconds so much better for the future of Humanity that it deserves a $7,500 government subsidy today?

              Maybe you can guess by my rhetorical phrasing that I don't think so - even without the BRAAA sound a car with 3s specs is resource sink in terms of materials and energy consumption.

              1. Filippo Silver badge

                Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

                Sure, that's an inefficient way to allocate public funds, and it should be improved. But is it so outrageous that it's worth rejecting the entire idea of electrical mobility over, in favor of keeping burning dead dinosaurs? Even though those dead dinosaurs are killing people? Is the thought of government wasting money so intolerable that we'd rather die than look at it? Is the idea of dead dinosaurs killing people just too cool to miss? Again, I dunno.

              2. garwhale Bronze badge

                Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

                ICE engines that achieve high acceleration generally have a low fuel efficiency, mainly because the engines are larger, heavier and are geared to people who want to drive fast.

                EV engines can achieve high acceleration, more or less a by-product of the technology. They can also use regenerative breaking, unlike ICEs. For EVs, it's the top speed that determines the engine size and weight, but most of the weight is in the batteries, not the engine.

                An EV is about 4x+ more efficient than an ICE on average, so replacing an ICE Porsche by an EV version or a Tesla is a win for the environment.

                The US $7,500 subsidy will only be paid for cars coming under a threshold, not for Ferraris etc.

          3. Spherical Cow Silver badge

            Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

            "It's a shame there is little information how people achieved the ice age last time."

            Communities previously living north of the Thames faced a simple choice: either don't be north of the Thames, or don't be living. The reason: a huge ice sheet covering the land.

        2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

          I fully agree the first line "than we be dead or suffering greatly due to climate change" was stupid.

          The rest of the post was spot on.

      2. Captain Boing

        Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

        LOL all the down votes! I literally only came into this thread to see all the mugs that have gobbled down St.Great's BS

        Climate change is natural - all you pansies screaming right now answer one question: Where did the last ice age go and why when there was no industrialisation of any kind?

        1. Jedit Silver badge

          "Where did the last ice age go"

          That's why it's referred to in more scholarly documents than the Daily Express as man-made climate change. You are correct that there's a natural cyclic process at work, but it's being accelerated and intensified by human activity.

          Let me use a simple analogy. Everything dies, right? But I'll wager that if someone came at you with a knife you'd be screaming for help like a "pansy" and you'd expect to get it - and you wouldn't be unreasonable to do so. Because death is natural, and murder is not.

          1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            Re: "Where did the last ice age go"

            but it's being accelerated and intensified by human activity.

            Correlation is not causation.

            Scientists are generally poor people and there is a lot of money to be made on the green gravy train.

            1. fajensen

              Re: "Where did the last ice age go"

              there is a lot of money to be made on the green gravy train.

              Not as a scientist, which you would know if you were ever near science.

            2. garwhale Bronze badge

              Re: "Where did the last ice age go"

              But vastly more money to be made on the oil FUD "research" and lobbying.

        2. IGotOut Silver badge

          Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

          Wow full on climate deniers today. Must be getting a more US centric site by the day.

          "Global warming is natural".

          Yup over thousands of years, not less than 200.

          "Did it wipe us out last time?"

          Ahh surviour bias in full action. Try asking the massive amounts of people that did die through famine and note the huge mass migration that happened before boarders existed. Or are you so naive that you think an ice tundra is capable of supporting several thousand people in a few hundred square km?

          1. cracked and broken

            Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

            Obligatory XKCD for the climate change deniers...

            https://xkcd.com/1732/

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

              Nobody is denying that climate is changing lol

              People are questioning whether the actions that we take, that make certain people rich are going to have any meaningful effect.

              The XKCD mentions short spikes are being smoothed out. The presented spike at the end, qualifies as a short spike that most likely in 1000 years time won't even be visible if our successors will use the same methodology.

              Now make yourself feel better and buy some carbon credits. Flatten the curve!

          2. Andy Gates

            Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

            The Reg used to be full-on denier central, huffing on the long tailpipe so much I abandoned the site.

            Old engineers are resistant to change. That's why they bring up old busted arguments over and over. That and the lucrative disinformation mill (brace for "only X ppm, smol number how big change" full arse exposure by people who didn't do chemical equilibria).

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

              and ad hominems coming...

              How predictable.

    2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

      Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

      I have a solution just fix the computer models so that either the 1.5C increase doesn't happen or if it does all it means is a nice day at the beach.

      I'm sure there must be a web site somewhere showing all the predictions the doomsters have made and which have and which haven't come true (or possibly pushed out to the next century so they can't be checked)

      1. garwhale Bronze badge

        Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

        If you have 1,000 non-identical predictions, they can't all be entirely correct. With this argument, you can say there is no point in making any predictions on anything.

        As for predictions far in the future, such as the sun becoming a red gas giant, is there also no point? If you have to wait until the predicted event occurs before one is willing to entertain a prediction, then it's no longer a prediction but an observation.

      2. Andy Gates

        Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

        Here you go: https://skepticalscience.com/climate-models.htm

        Honestly the core predictions from the 80's still hold.

    3. Jedit Silver badge
      FAIL

      "Better that they trouser lots of our dosh than we be dead"

      I don't know why you think that allowing massive corruption would actually get Sunak to do anything. Why would it, when the Tories can simply give massive public works contracts to their favourite party donors with no expectation that the infrastructure will be delivered? Corruption isn't about being paid over the odds to do a good job. It's about transferring maximum cash from the public purse to your own pocket. And the "best" way to do that is to take the money for a job and then not do it, because you know that rather than there being any pushback or consequences you can simply ask for more money and be given it.

    4. garwhale Bronze badge

      Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

      Regrettably, giving contracts to party donors, friends, and relatives has proved to be inefficient, a waste of public money and results in poor quality or unusable products. Is that what we want? No - stick to public tenders, consultation. Competition is what (ostensibly) the Tory party wants…

    5. AVR

      Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

      The evidence from the UK is that giving all the business to Tory donors without good processes gets lots of money wasted and the job not done. You're suggesting a truly terrible bargain there.

    6. jmch Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

      "...the Tories can have the grid upgrades done by their favourite party donors if that is what it takes to get it done quickly."

      Except that in practice the usual suspects will pocket the money for studies, plans, coneferences and consultants without actually delivering anything!!

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I would be willing to agree that ...

      That's how Tories work, privatise the profits and socialise the losses.

      The grid does need upgrades to connect new customers, as well as replacement of older equipment. Both at distribution and transmission levels.

      The cost of doing so is a function of how you want to borrow money. Go the the capital markets or fund from UK gov borrowing. Both are viable, and one is cheaper than the other (including buying out the existing debt to capital markets).

      Yours, your resident el reg transmission engineer.

  3. HereIAmJH

    One more strategy,,,,

    How about putting renewable power generation near the demand? Instead of pouring more corporate welfare on monopolistic utilities, encourage people to install their own and be self sufficient. Ban HOAs and local governments from passing rules against rooftop solar. Offer rebates to homeowners, instead of tax deductions, for installing wind/solar. And block utilities from implementing punitive tariffs on homeowners with renewable energy.

    And for the datacenters, locate them next to power sources. Just like they used to do with aluminum manufacturing.

    If we learned nothing else from the telecom companies, we should remember that giving private utilities piles of cash to update infrastructure that they have neglected for more than 1/2 a century will not encourage them to do so now.

    1. munnoch Bronze badge

      Re: One more strategy,,,,

      Wind turbines don't work very well in built up areas. They need to be high up to get into non-turbulent air and they're pretty noisy, distracting and need firm anchorage. Strap one to your chimney and you'll lose both in fairly short measure. They also tend to need fairly regular maintenance, but wait that could create thousands of highly skilled jobs... No really, terrible idea.

      Solar is also a terrible idea at UK latitudes. Production in the winter when you actually need to heat your home is near zero.

      And microgeneration is limited to 16A per phase (just over 3kW or about a kettle's worth) for feed in unless, guess what, the local grid is strengthened.

      1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        Re: One more strategy,,,,

        Don't work very well on Tesco either. When they built the Tesco in Wick (Scottish Highlands) they put little wind turbines on and had posters up telling us how green they were. All gone now - its a bit to windy.

        I also have this weird idea that rather than just dish out grants to the local communities near them reduce the electric bills of the inhabitants. My calculations for Lybster (based on wild guesses) should give each house about £250 pa.

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: One more strategy,,,,

          Don't work very well on Tesco either

          Very little helps.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: One more strategy,,,,

            If everyone does a little, collectively we achieve little.

            A quote from my late acquaintance Dr David Mackay. It's a few years old now but the content is still solid - anyone with an real interest in this subject beyond bashing one policy or another should read his book; Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air.

            It's free to read, so there is no excuse not to. And happens to be an entertaining read as well as informative.

            A/C as it's your el reg transmission engineer again.

            1. HereIAmJH

              Re: One more strategy,,,,

              If everyone does a little, collectively we achieve little.

              How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

            2. munnoch Bronze badge

              Re: One more strategy,,,,

              Couple of things that popped out at me from the book

              "Energy versus entropy"

              low entropy energy -- more useful

              high entropy energy -- less useful

              So the reason HP's are not very effective, without significant additional measures, is that they take low entropy energy (electricity) and whilst they turn it into more energy (well, they move the energy from somewhere else because energy can't be created or destroyed) (heat), its high entropy energy.

              High entropy energy being less useful than low energy, even if you have more of it there are some jobs it just can't do for you.

              Extreme example -- hot water at a temperature of 10' hot water will never provide you with a comfortable shower, even if there is an infinite amount of it.

              The other thing is the total energy input per person per day (from all sources), 125kWh (2008 figures) -- so those of you saying "my 7kWh per day PV panels meet my demands" are deluded. You might be covering the cost of your TV and fridge, but its just a drop in the ocean compare to all the other aspects of your existence.

      2. HereIAmJH

        Re: One more strategy,,,,

        It has to be all or nothing, right? We aren't talking no grid. There have been suggestions of setting up solar in the deserts in Africa, and transmitting the power around the world. That's ridiculous. There are areas not too far away from cities where wind turbines work well. And there are lots of places where adding ~3% to the cost of a new home would make them 90% energy independent.

        3kW for a kettle? How big is it. The largest appliances I have use about 1kW, and run for a few minutes a day. OTOH, I could easily put 6kW of solar on my roof and should produce around 30kWh per day average. And with solar my days of higher output would be the ones where I use the most, summer air conditioning.

        If it's too cloudy there, I don't see a problem with nuking the UK.

        1. Filippo Silver badge

          Re: One more strategy,,,,

          >It has to be all or nothing, right?

          Yup. And, of course, that always translates to "nothing". That particular fallacy is more widespread than the common cold, and a lot more damaging.

        2. Binraider Silver badge

          Re: One more strategy,,,,

          3.2kW of solar and a couple of batteries covers my normal usage very happily including cover into evenings.

          Cloudy days and winter are a bit worse but still cut demand by about half.

          Do that to every resi property in the land and you make a massive difference. Add in commercial property too...!

          Govts too scared of the big 5 energy companies losing revenue to do the right thing.

      3. garwhale Bronze badge

        Re: One more strategy,,,,

        https://solarplanet.uk/8-solar-myths-busted/

        There are small vertical wind turbines designed for installing on buildings, usually generating under 750 watts. There is typically more wind in winter.

        If you use solar or wind or both. Optimally, you should be able to store electricity and heat for later use.

      4. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

        Re: One more strategy,,,,

        >>Solar is also a terrible idea at UK latitudes.

        "Every little helps" said the monkey as he piddled in the sea... though I do appreciate solar is not really economically viable for many/most people.

        My solar output (in one of the traditionally wetter areas of the UK) is enough in October (on a vaguely sunny day) to mean I don't use much grid based electricity between sunrise+30 minutes and ~30 minutes before sunset(ish). The battery means I can even run the cooker/washing machine for a bit as well an still just sip energy from the grid (<100W for the duration).

        In the summer I will use no grid electricity during the day/evening and, with respect to the limit of ~3kW for grid push back, even kWh pushed back into the grid at 15p/kWh for, say, 8 hours is still £6 a day credit to the electricity bill next winter; here is hoping for more long clear summer days!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: One more strategy,,,,

          I disagree. At current rates my solar system will pay for itself in 5 years, with a lifetime of 10-20 years for the major components.

          Anyone that thinks bills are coming down again is deluding themselves. When did we last have deflation for more than a fraction of a moment?

          Anyone with moderate savings can do the NPV calculations to prove if panels are right for them. Upping your mortgage by 10 grand to do it is not a bad idea either tbh.

          Basically anyone wealthy enough to own a house should at least think about it. The rental market - that's more problematic. Not a landlord in the land will benefit from doing so.

        2. munnoch Bronze badge

          Re: One more strategy,,,,

          But will your PV heat your home in winter and charge your car all year round?

      5. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: One more strategy,,,,

        "Solar is also a terrible idea at UK latitudes. Production in the winter when you actually need to heat your home is near zero."

        I rode through a 4-hour power outage last night in the depths of Oxford countryside, with a pretty poor charge all day long because of the gloomy, wet, stormy weather.

        Sorry, but solar at UK latitudes is perfectly viable. So long as you're not playing with toys.

        https://www.fabhabs.com/solar-insolation-calculator

        At worst-case, you get 1KWh / m^2 / day. My daily usage is 7KWh. 7 m^2 is nothing in terms of solar panels on a standard UK roof.

    2. Roger Greenwood
      Pint

      Re: One more strategy,,,,

      "How about putting renewable power generation near the demand?"

      It is happening with a lot of UK industry, mainly solar of course. Most UK water companies have the space to do it (and they are) and of course have a constant demand.

      In years gone by a lot of water was pumped overnight (to fill service reservoirs) as the 'leccy was cheaper and the MD (maximum demand) limit higher. Today more can be done during the day when the sun shines - shifting water around uses a lot of energy.

      Icon is 95% water.

  4. drankinatty

    It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

    "If the world fails to get its grid in gear, limiting long-term global temperature increases to 1.5°C will be impossible, and there's a 40 percent chance global temperature rise would surpass 2°C."

    After watching the climate change for nearly 60 years, and understanding the gravity of a 1.5C change, the prospect that target was nothing but a lofty goal is chilling. I really want our efforts to succeed, but just within the past decade we have seen the warming target creep from 1.0-1.5C, and now the realization that we have a near even-chance of seeing 2C unless our grid capacity is magically doubled.

    As a realist, the chances the needed grid refit/expansion can/will take place within the time required to prevent seeing a 2C rise is sadly laughable. Is there a silver-lining I'm missing? Maybe some more magic fairy dust like "Biomass"? Or, is the inevitability simply due to not facing the actual root cause, population growth?

    It looks worse each time I have to think though this issue. How about a cheery climate article next time El Reg?

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

      @drankinatty

      "but just within the past decade we have seen the warming target creep from 1.0-1.5C, and now the realization that we have a near even-chance of seeing 2C unless our grid capacity is magically doubled."

      Really? I saw the target of 5C, then 3C then 1.5C as they try to push us back into mud huts and peasant lifestyle. All because they are certain we are doomed but dont have a clue how or why. If historical data is 'adjusted' enough we will all burn or drown or whatever. Look at the vast amounts of money thrown at this non-problem which has reduced our energy supply, security and availability but then they want us to spaff loads more money on their next wet dreams.

      All to stop the tide from coming in.

      "How about a cheery climate article next time El Reg?"

      Are you kidding? Propaganda of fear cannot be cheery. The best we can look forward to is abandoning the madness and that will upset those who think the end is nigh.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

        as they try to push us back into mud huts and peasant lifestyle

        There's lots of whinging that an unspecified they are making us do things we don't want to do, and then people's houses flood due to torrential rain or their roofs blow off in a hurricane and the whinging becomes "they should have done something".

        I do wish people would realise that governments are generally fairly useless at doing most things, deep complex conspiracies only exist in the minds of paranoids and half wits, and that there's just us(*) and we need to take responsibility for what we do rather than blaming everything on a nebulous them.

        (*) ™ PTerry

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

          @Arthur the cat

          "There's lots of whinging that an unspecified they are making us do things we don't want to do"

          Unspecified? Very well specified that governments are doing so. Green pressure groups and the church of the MMCC we all doomed. Who actually voted for our energy policies? Not just UK but Germany, US, etc.

          We laugh at St Greta the idjit and the decision makers go pander to the child. Normal weather is being portrayed as exceptions caused by the new sky fairy. We are all taking higher energy prices and everything being more expensive for this religion that helps nobody. The propaganda is touted as truth and it has taken a long time for people to start looking at this nonsense and increasingly realising they have been taken for a fool, regardless of your belief in MMCC.

          Idiots closing power generation. Idiots insisting food should be put in fuels. Idiots insisting we need to electrify everything without the foundations to do so nor even the sense to check if it is viable or even worth doing. Idiots trying to increasingly regulate the minutia of our lives. And not even a convincing reason to do any of it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

            Also, eejit Tufton Street religious zealots, hmm?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

        "as they try to push us back into mud huts and peasant lifestyle"

        The Tufton Street is strong in this one ...

      3. Filippo Silver badge

        Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

        >Propaganda of fear cannot be cheery.

        "They want to push us back into mud huts" and "vast amounts of money thrown away" and "reduced our energy supply, security and availability" and "historical data is 'adjusted'" and "stop the tide" and "madness" is not exactly comedy gold either. In fact, now that you mention it, it looks suspiciously like propaganda of fear.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

          @Filippo

          "In fact, now that you mention it, it looks suspiciously like propaganda of fear."

          Really? So factual statements (granted a little but not too much hyperbole with the mud hut bit) seem like propaganda to you? Do you believe vast amounts of money havnt been thrown at this green madness? Are you under the illusion that our energy supply, security and availability hasnt been reduced (I am in the UK but this applies for countries following the green madness)? Have you been asleep as the facts have come out about historical data being adjusted? Stop the tide being a reference to the King Cnute anecdote if you didnt get it, but if you do then you can surely draw the parallel with trying to stop natural climate change?

          And I was responding to someone who is panicking over 0.5/1C and things always look worse in our attempts to limit the climate changing. They cant even long term historically measure to that degree of accuracy, but we doomed I tell ya!

          1. Filippo Silver badge

            Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

            >So factual statements (granted a little but not too much hyperbole with the mud hut bit) seem like propaganda to you?

            Well, when every other sentence is a hyperbole, yes. That's pretty much how propaganda works. It doesn't have to outright lie; misrepresentation works just as well. Describing dissenters as "asleep" and "under an illusion" and "panicking" is also fairly typical of propaganda.

            By comparison, the OP's most emotional language is "chilling" and "laughable" and "magic fairy dust", each of which is applied to one specific point such as the 1.5°C target or biomass as a mitigation strategy. That looks like a fairly reasonable style for an Internet comment. It's a far cry from multiple repetitions of heavily-loaded words like "idiots" and "doomed", all applied to highly generic contexts such as "they" or "energy policies". Describing it as "panicking" is a clear attempt to paint the OP as irrational and emotion-driven, but if one reads the conversation impartially, the emotional language and style is actually nearly all on your side.

            Your message is also flickering between "there is no climate change" (e.g. you reject the accuracy of historical data) and "we cannot stop climate change" (e.g. King Cnute). These two concepts both support your ultimate position of "we should not enact carbon reduction policies", so you deploy both, ignoring the fact that they are logically incompatible - something can't be both nonexisting and unstoppable at the same time. That's also a red flag for propaganda: employing highly emotional language to prevent people from thinking rationally about the underlying message.

            I'm not even saying you're factually wrong here, I'm just pointing out the style of communication. Yes, it seems like propaganda, much more so than most of what the other camp is doing here.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

              @Filippo

              "That looks like a fairly reasonable style for an Internet comment"

              At no point do I consider his comment an unreasonable style. Instead I was responding to what sounded like a hopelessness and resignation to something bad by pointing out the lack of reasoning to assume bad nor that the doom should be taken too seriously as there wont be any positive articles when it comes to the climate change fear. I dont know if you have seen positive climate change news but generally its a continuation of the usual propaganda of fear.

              "Your message is also flickering between "there is no climate change" (e.g. you reject the accuracy of historical data) and "we cannot stop climate change" (e.g. King Cnute)."..."ignoring the fact that they are logically incompatible - something can't be both nonexisting and unstoppable at the same time."

              That is where corrupt language is a problem. The redefinition is that a climate change denier must deny the MMCC co2 green madness. Yet just look at the words themselves- climate change denier, clearly someone who denies the climate changes. And we know the climate changes as it has throughout history. At what point do I deny the accuracy of historical data? That we cant measure 0.5C long into history shouldnt really be controversial. That the climate has changed is just one of those glorious facts that stands.

              The reason the corrupted redefinition is a problem is that people now look at any climate change as MMCC which of course could make them a real climate change denier! Personally I would accept we might maybe have some effect on the climate but the actions taken in response seem to demonstrate it isnt important, followed closely by not believing a lot of the propaganda.

              "That's also a red flag for propaganda: employing highly emotional language to prevent people from thinking rationally about the underlying message."

              So we can agree the article is using emotive language as does propaganda and that OP doesnt need to feel so down?

      4. garwhale Bronze badge

        Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

        I doubt that anyone set a target of 5C for global warming. Reference, please.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

          @garwhale

          "I doubt that anyone set a target of 5C for global warming. Reference, please."

          Dunno why someone downvoted you. To be honest its from memory and a good while ago when any old lie could be pushed to strike fear and push the solutions of the new religion. Maybe if I am bored at some point I will see if I can find a reference but probably at least a decade ago.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

            pwned.

    2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

      Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

      -- After watching the climate change for nearly 60 years --

      So you remember the ice age predicted in the 70s then.

      1. graeme leggett Silver badge

        Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

        Thr 1970s ice age predictions were what some were saying. Others at time were saying warming was the trend. And the latter were right.

        https://arstechnica.com/science/2016/06/that-70s-myth-did-climate-science-really-call-for-a-coming-ice-age/

    3. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

      >How about a cheery climate article next time El Reg?

      Well, let's see. I haven't yet turned on house heating, because it's warmer than it's ever been. That's a record. Usually at this time of the year I'd have turned it on a few weeks before.

      Also, we haven't had any meaningful snow in my town in the past 10 years, and some recent years we've had no snow at all. When I was a kid, it snowed hard enough to bring car traffic to utter chaos at least once a year.

      So, I'm saving gas money (and carbon), and I had snow when I was young enough to like it, and I don't have snow now that I'm old enough that it'd be annoying. That's nice, I guess?

      >is the inevitability simply due to not facing the actual root cause, population growth?

      I've got you covered! My country's fertility rate is the second-lowest in the world, and governments of all stripes have proven time and again they have absolutely no clue of how to convince people to have kids again, so it's not going to rise any time soon. Yay?

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: It's not even 2024 and 1.5C is already slipping away...

        I *never* turn on my house heating. I have a magic device called a Ther Mo Stat that does it for me. I'm not surprised people don't know about them, they've only been around for about five centuries.

  5. Abominator

    So consumers are expected to fund the capital spending, but get no equity.

    The shareholders of the utility get the equity....while putting in no equity. This is not capitalism, this is robbery.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Otherwise known as privatisation.

  6. david 12 Silver badge

    Nuclear?

    Never mind the opposition to Wind and Nuclear --- the real difficulty is getting people to agree with putting in transmission lines across their farms or near their business.

  7. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    The important question is what it will cost if we *don't* spend $600bn a year? If the cost of not-doing is less than the cost of doing, then doing is the wrong thing to do.

    1. Binraider Silver badge

      If you think the cost of doing will exceed the cost of not, then you're deluded.

      A global 1-2m sea level rise will result mass migrations and wars.

      When the levee breaks is an apt song, and reminder this shit is as likely to mess up us entitled wealthy westerners as it is the rest of the world.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like