104 posts • joined 9 May 2007
NHS Direct once told me to go direct to casualty, who sent me home.
5 days later I was back in casualty and admitted for emergency operation...
Re: Place your bets
10/1 it is a nuclear armed Islamic country with a reputation for hosting terrorist training camps in ungovernable badlands, a widespread fundamentalist insurgency , strong cultural and economic links to one of the big five, and a local intelligence community who are as likely working for the opposition as the home team.
Still secret because we sold it as secure post war to tin pot regimes - or were our targets more domestic? Would it turn out that that a programmable decoding machine could decode the transmissions of embassies to Germany, France, or even more trusted partners?
Re: All references to unicorns are just for the hype
There is a two horned unicorn in the zoology museum at Cambridge University. (currently closed for
18 months for refurbishing). They are straight, helical, and attached to the skull. Donated by a whaler many
Problems with fracking.
1. It is not cheap.
Oil companies in the US are losing their shirts on shale gas. They have had a supply glut since 2008 collapse in demand and no export capacity. The UK is not so blessed.
2. Nobody knows how much is there that can be economically extracted. Shale geology is very localised. Until we drill hole it is hard to predict what will come out. A hole 5 miles away will tell you very little. I would bet good money that 90% of what is claimed to be down there either isn't there or stays there forever.
3. Each well depletes very very fast, so to extract all the resource that is claimed would require 30,000 wells. That is a lot of holes and and a lot of disruption and a lot of contaminated water to dispose of. Also, although the risks of any given well suffering a blowout or bad cement job is low, multiplied by 30,000 it becomes disturbingly large.
4. As pointed out above, only a few percent of the methane needs to escape before NG becomes as bad a greenhouse gas source as coal.
5. All this hype is leading to the expectation that UK energy security can be fixed for a generation or more by drilling a few holes in the ground. Nothing could be further from the truth. Shale is the last gasp of the fossil fuel industry, expensive, unpredictable, and above all short lived. Money spent developing shale resources is money not spent on building sustainable energy supplies, or more importantly, building a resilient LOW ENERGY society. The cheapest energy in the world is the joule not dissipated.
Renewables can be more than afart in a hurricane.
I'd just like to point out that yesterday at mid day, Germany was generating over 60% of its electricity demand from renewable energy.
Enough to meet the entire UK demand.
I'm a bearded vegetarian cycling greenie...
...and I have been saying that industrial scale biofuels are a disasterous idea for a decade.
Apart from the eoccide of cutting down rainforests to plant oil palms or the vast quantities of primae agricultural land that is used for corn ethanol or rapeseed biodiesel - both of which need huge amounts of natural-gas based fertiliser etc. to grow, driving up the price of food in many countries, attempt to supliment the global oil supply with biofuels is bound to fail the thermodynamic test.
The global oil supply has peaked, global population continues to grow at 90M a year, and we are very close to the global limits to economic and population growth. There is no more land, fresh water or cheap high density protable fossil fuel to exploit. We are the generation of yeast on the petri-dish who suddenly notice that doubling consumption of resources every 20 years is not such a good strategy when the dish is 70% full of yeast.
I think there have been studies that show that biofuels growth for use in agricultural machinary are marginally more efficient than using the same land to feed workhorses to do the same work.
Too right we are running out of gas.
UK North Sea production of gas peaked 13 years ago. It has been in steady precipitous decline ever since and has now declines to less than a third of its peak production, and is likely to decline a lot further in the next decade, regardless of onshore fracking, which will not be cheap or extensive enough to save our bacon.
We are in the middle of decommisioning most of our coal and nuclear power stations, and no new ones will be built for at least a decade. We import most of the coal we burn anyway, and we import nuclear powered electricity from France.
We also import an increasing percentage of the oil we consume. We even import wind generated electricity from Denmark. Sterling has devalues 10% in the last year. That is 10% on our bills straight off.
Add to that that global supply of oil has peaked, more or less, and the price has increased 5 FOLD in the last decade, and we are now competing directly with Japan and Germany for LNG imports at twice the price of North Sea gas, and China is buying an ever larger fraction of world coal exports, we are up the energetic creek with an empty fuel can for outboard motor.
We do have one small glimmer in this cloud. Wind turbines have been producing a continuous 5GW of electricity for the last 3 days in this stiff NE wind that has been freezing us. Without that exta power we would already be facing powercuts.
29 M tonnes - that is about 25Kg per person per year. Less than a litre a week. Assume a 70% conversion rate to fuel, and you get about 30 billion litres. China has about 100 million cars, so that is about 300 litres per car per year. Enough to drive each one about 2,500 miles ar 35 mpg That will help the fuel bill.
Data in context
To put this data in context, here is the last 30 years of data (sea ice area)
And here is the same plot for the arctic
I haven't got the plots for sea ice volume to hand - but they are far more dramatic.
Now, which record is more significant?
Re: Dredging the bottom of the barrel
Whats not to like ? We import more gas than we import oil already as it is. Our coal reserves are 95% depleted - we peaked production in 1914 - 98 years ago, we import most of our current consumption and prices on the global market are rising for both as China , japan etc. increase imports at exponential rates. The FT process is hideously inefficient and polluting in terms of CO2 emissions and would generate petrol at twice the price we pay today.
It will take a minimum of at least a decade to build new nuclear, and I don't see plans for more than about 6 reactors - not enough to even replace the current generating capacity due to be retired. The only nuclear station being built in Europe is already 5 years late and hideously over budget. This is normal for nuclear industry. We are facing an energy cliff today. Consumption is already falling as we a priced out of the industrial age, this process is accelerating.
We are building wind turbines. Once they are built, the energy is almost free. We can't sustain our current lifestyles, but the difference between 0 and 1 KWh/day is far larger than the difference between 1 and 10 KWh/day.
Dredging the bottom of the barrel
Oil is the largest single source of primary energy used by humans, about 37% just ahead of coal (which, thanks to China, is catching up rapidly) and gas at about 20%. Nuclear, hydro and renewables make up the scraps. UK oil and gas supply peaked about 12 years ago, and we are once again a net importer of both, and imports are rising rapidly as domestic production is falling at 7% a year, every year, for over a decade.
This is not good for the UK economy. Tens of billions not good. The global supply of oil has peaked, and consumption is now a global zero sum game, with China et al increasing consumption and OECD nations being priced out of the market - 10% fall in consumption in the last 4 years. The real price of oil has gone up 5 fold in a decade - because the easy to develop oil has mostly been found and drilled, and because theremaining oil exporting countries are now so rich they are burning more of their own oil and selling less on the global market. Either way we are consuming less oil in the UK and will continue to consume less oil, year on year, for ever. We are broke as a nation and we are going to have to adapt to living on a lot less energy.
Spending a few millions on drilling the dregs of the North Sea is not going to change much.
Re: The discussion is beside the point
There you go spoiling a good slanging match by introducing a bit kill joy morality into the fire over what is exclusively a matter of individual self-interest, whether enlightened or not!
Who cares about the rest of the world? They are not on facebook.
The surface area of sea ice in the arctic as a whole is below the long term average - as it has been continuously for the last nine years.
However, the volume, or mass of arctic sea sea ice is calculated to be equalling last year's all time low for the time of year.
If this trend in the rate of melting continues, we will sea the Arctic completely ice free at its summer minimum before the end of this decade, possibly even in September 2015.
Gas - the energy of the future?
UK natural gas production fell 20% last year. It fell 15% the year before and 12% the year before that. We now import more than half the gas we burn, a lot of it inherently expensive LNG. There is growing global competition for this gas, with Japan and China amongst others. Prices have risen relentlessly in the last few years, and Sterling has decline 20% in value in the last 3 years, so we are paying near record prices. Demand for gas has fallen, because it is cheaper to burn coal, and our CO2 emissions are rocketing as a result. (we already import 2/3 of our coal, and we also import an ever increasing percentage of our oil).
Shale gas is also an inherently expensive technology, the UK reserves are uncertain, and the logistics limitations means we will never be able to ramp up shale production faster than North Sea production is falling.
Importing energy into this country is already costing our country tens of billions of pounds a year, is rising exponentially, and we are already broke.
It may be cheaper to build a gas power station than a wind farm, but if we can't afford to buy the gas, then it is no more than a giant rusting monument to our own stupidity.
Re: Re: This post could not be more wrong
Bioethanol from maize or sugar cane looks and behaves nothing like oil, being a low energy density substitute for petrol, but is counted in global oil production, as is bio diesel.
Natural Gas Liquids are short carbon chain hydrocarbons, a by-product of natural gas production. The carbon content is too low for transport fuels, but it is used as a petrochemical feedstock. They are counted in global oil production.
Tar sands are so thick that they are dug out of the ground with a mechanical shovel. They need chemical treatment to break down the long carbon chains to a point where a conventional oil refinery can use them as a feedstock, but it is probably reasonable to call them 'unconventional oil'.
There is as yet no peak in total fossil fuel production, but oil is the largest single source of primary energy on this planet, at about 30%. There is no way on earth it can be replaced by ramping up any other energy supply, fossil, nuclear or renewable.
Re: Re: This post could not be more wrong
A report on the internet does not make a fact. The US has been a net importer of oil EVERY DAY since 1964. Very briefly they exported more refined products (petrol and diesel) than they imported.
That was because domestic consumption has collapsed in the recession, and land-locked supplies of Canadian Tar sand oil were so (relatively) cheap that it was cost effective to use spare refining capacity and export the products. Since then those refineries have been shut down as uneconomic.
The lies the US media put out about oil are hard to credit sometimes.
Shale oil is a light oil that is extracted from the same hole in the ground as shale gas. Recent widespread deployment of horizontal well drilling combined with multistage fracking (facturing of the source rock by pumping in liquids under high pressure) has lead to an increase of both oil and gas production in the US in recent years, US oil production has increased from 5.1Mbpd to 5.6Mbpd, but US production peaked permanently at over 10Mbpd in 1971. The US consumes about 15 mbpd of oil products, and imports about 8 -9 Mbpd at the moment (and falling rapidly). (The numbers don't add up because of 'refinery gain').
Oil Shale is a oily shale resource rock found in huge quantities in parts of the US. Nobody has ever worked out a way of extracting oil economically from it, because it uses almost as much energy to extract as is contains. It is also hugely polluting. Oil shale will NEVER be produced.
This post could not be more wrong
Global conventional oil production peaked permanently in 2006, SIX years ago.
All growth of supply has since come from tar sands, coal to liquids, and biofuels.
The price of oil is $124/barrel today an all time record when converted to Sterling or Euros.
(Brent front month futures contract). When the UK North Sea supply peaked in 2001 it was below
Tar sands and similar reserves have a future production potential of 5-10 millions barrels per day, in 10 -2 0 years time. The world burns 85 million barrels per day.
Biofuel consumption has a global potential of 3-5 million barrels per day, but all it really does is turn natural gas into ethanol or prime rain forest into palm oil plantations. The US has just cancelled its bioethanol subsidy. Last year, Brazil IMPORTED both oil and ethanol from the US!
In the last 4 years US. Europe and Japan have cut oil consumption by 3 million barrels per day. The rest of the wold has increased consumption by 4 million barrels per day.
Last year another superspike in the price of oil was only avoided by releasing 60 million barrels from the US and EU strategic reserves. There is already talk of another release in the next few months.
The global supply of oil has peaked, and economically inefficient users of oil (Europe and the US) are being systematically priced out of the global market. At the rate that China and India are expanding imports, and the global supply of available exports is shrinking, then there will be NO oil available for import to any other country by 2025.
The US has not been self-sufficient in oil since 1964. We have been net importer since 2009.
Hydrogen is a bad answer to the wrong question
There is no efficient way to make hydrogen. There is no long term way to store hydrogen. (It leaks out of containers too quickly), It's energy density is quite low so you need large heavy tanks to give practical range. There is no infrastructure to distribute hydrogren, and you cannot retrofit existing vehicles to run on hydrogen (to my knowledge). It is inherently expensive.
Compressed natural gas is a mature technology. Vehicles can be retro-fitted. Range is practical, national distribution network already in place. Duel fuel vehicles can have increased range. Widely used in parts of the developing world already.
Of course natural gas is a fossil fuel, we currently import an ever increasing percentage of our supply, but global supply has not yet peaked (unlike oil). At present, it costs about half as much as oil per unit energy.
Unfortunately, CNG is not the long term answer to personal motorised transport. We are at the peak of industrial civilisation and beginning the downslope. 30 years from now, there will be very few cars on the road, anywhere in the world.
Given that the global supply of conventional crude oil peaked permanently in 2006 and is beginning to go into rapid decline, it is a fair bet that the only two of these cars on the road 20 years from now will be the leaf and the Mclaren, because the only the super-rich will be able to afford petrol.
This is pie in the sky.
We will not be getting most of our electricity from gas. UK North Sea gas is in terminal decline, and the UK economy will have imploded to the point where we will not be able to afford to import much gas either. Or coal. Or oil. We will still have a little bit of shale gas left, but that is all.
We will be largely running on renewables, because once built, the wind , waves, tide and sun are free. The more windmills we build now before our credit rating finally expires in the face of peak oil and global energy shortages, the more electricity we will have in 20 years time.
We might manage to build one or two nuclear reactors before the bailiffs move in, but I doubt it.
Malthus did not anticipate better technology and fossil fuels.
There are limits to the productivity that better technology can provide, and there are limits to fossil fuels. We are approaching the first, and we are already at the second.
Poor third world farmers are already being out-bid for fertilisers and fuel for the irrigation pumps by first world SUV drivers, who are topping up their tanks with food-derived ethanol. Once they can no longer afford the pesticides or the seed corn for their terminator gene round-up ready GM ready crops, they will starve.
Shale gas is not cheap natural gas. The production decline rates are very high on most wells, requiring the well to be regularly re-fractured to sustain economic flow rates. The true volume of economically recoverable shale is unknown, and any figure reported by a shale gas drilling company needs to be treated as pie in the sky. It will require drilling of thousands of on-shore wells, which will be at least as disruptive and more polluting and noisy than a large scale wind farm in the same area. There is widespread hysteria about the fracturing process itself, this has been widely used in the industry for decades already, and the dangers are well understood. The earth tremors recently caused were extremely small, but there is need for careful control and clean-up regulations to avoid serious environmental impacts.
It is a fossil fuel. It is a lot less polluting than coal, which is the fuel it will replace in our power stations. It will not, however, prevent us being a net importer of natural gas because we cannot drill wells fast enough to offset North Sea decline. It will make the coming energy crisis sllightly less painful, but we are still facing fossil fuel powerdown in the next twenty years, We cannot burn what is not there.
My father worked on a little known very early computer in the early 1950s whilst in the MOD. He designed a punch tape reader for it, using compressed air. Needless to say, it didn't catch on... He did use it for early neural net and image recognition experiments, I have seen the report, dated 1954. Vertical reel to reel tape drives were still employed by the MOD in the 1980s. My hippy brother got his locks trapped in one, and had to be cut free. The drive was wrecked.
Yes, the MOD did employ hippies ... he is still there
This does not provide energy independence
Even if these initial reports are true, and oil and gas companies drumming up investment are notoriously over-optimistic, this will not stop the UK being a large, and rising net energy importer of oil, coal, (nuclear) electricity and energy infrastructure hardware.
Shale gas has stopped the USA suffering a natural gas energy crisis this last 5-10 years, but even the USA is still a net importer of natural gas. In all probability this find will still result in the UK being a net importer of gas too. Shale gas wells are notorious for being 1. expensive and 2. having very rapid production decline rates, requiring multiple refracturing of the wells, with variable success.
I am not against these wells on pollution grounds - they are no more polluting than conventional wells, but this will not result in cheaper energy bills, or prevent an overall energy crisis in this country and the whole world.
Terrorism is whatever we want it to be.
So playing a stupid prank is now terrorism.
Wasting police time, yes. Terrorism no.
Throw the book at 'em on the sentencing. Make it clear that there are real terrorists about and even a tweet can cause major panic. But a tweet is a tweet. It is not killing people or planting bombs.
Forget 20 years...
Forget 20 years time. When UK oil production and exports peaked in 2000 we were selling it at $10 a barrel. UK oil and gas production has declined steadily at 5-7% a year since, and we now import oil at $110 a barrel. Global oil production has peaked. We import half the gas we use. We (along with the US and most of the OECD ) are being systematically outbid for the remaining reserves of oil, gas and coal by Chindia who continue to expand consumption at 5-10% a year. We are as a nation also deep in debt to these nations, and we need (fossil) energy to grow our economy out of recession again.
It isn't going to happen. Without energy we are back in the middle ages. It's renewable energy or fuedalism. Nuclear could be expanded, but we will struggle to support working reactors as we go through the transition to our inevitable third world status. If Japan can suffer a triple meltdown/dirty bomb style explosions, then so can we.
Death and Statistics
There are over 2000 deaths on our roads each year. That is enough for some statistics
Like the kind of road, which for mile driven, is the most dangerous. Which turns out to be quiet B roads. There is nothing physically dangerous about about quiet B roads, it is where all the stupid drivers go to try out their (in)ability to drive at lunatic speeds without having to worry about speed cameras.
Two books got more votes than the next 48 put together. Something smells of trawler rigging.
Personally I think Foundation (3rd) was the obvious winner, not least because it is the only one I have read!
Why is petrol cheaper?
Petrol and diesel are two different fractions of the same barrel of oil. There is some overlap, and they have different additives. How much you get of each is a matter of the grade of oil, the complexity of the refining process, and the relative market prices. Europe uses more diesel then petrol, the US uses far more petrol. In Western Europe, which costs more at the pump is entirely decided by the tax man. In Turkey petrol is far more expensive.
Unfortunately, the best oil grades for diesel included Libyan oil. That has caused a massive headache for European refiners, and almost stopped me buying a diesel car. Any technology that improves petrol efficiency is to be welcomed, on energy security as well as environmental grounds. Unfortunately the technology will come too late to prevent the end of the oil age.
Saudi Arabia promised to make up any shortfall in Libyan oil from their spare capacity. However, far from increasing production by 1.6 million barrels per day, they have cut it, by 0.8 million barrels/day. Because the world is 'oversupplied' with oil. At $124/barrel.
Production is finally collapsing at Ghawar, the largest oilfield in the world. Saudi Arabia is running short of oil.
The price of oil will continue to rise until global demand is choked off. In 2008 most of the demand destruction was in the USA. Where will it fall this time?
We will all drive less in the future.
The RAC are completely out of touch with reality. Congestion is falling, because we are driving less. We are driving less because we have had the worst recession in 80 years and UK fuel prices are at an all time record high. These factors are directly linked.
Global oil supplies can no longer keep up with exponentially growing world demand. Even before the US stopped deep water drilling. When the financial bubble was at maximum inflation in 2008 oil production was stalled at 86M barrels/day, and the price just kept going up until the Western World's debt bubble burst. We are now stoney broke, and being systematically outbid for soon to be declining oil supplies by China and the developing world. We are simply going to have to consume less, and drive less, year after year. The supply is limited and we cannot afford it.
So, it will be electric cars, biofuels or nothing. Mostly it will be nothing. If it takes double double dip, triple dip or permanent recession, then that is what will happen. We will be consuming a lot less oil in future.
I run the entire IT setup for my employer (by myself, since the last round of redundancies) and I don't get 25,000 salary, let alone a bonus. My bonus this year will be to still have a job come Jan the first.
If any of those Bank IT staff want to resign in protest, I'll be happy to do their job...
This is not news.
Roman soldiers were renowned weaklings relative to Northern barbarians. They made up for that with better training, weapons tactics and discipline.
When the Vikings invaded in the 9th century they were feared as much for their giant proportions as their fighting skills.
Modern man evolved on the plains of Africa, when keeping cool whilst tracking game long distances were more important than lion wrestling skills. It is no coincidence that African runners win a lot of marathons.
Neanderthals needed to be be stockier and stronger because they lived in the icy north and had blunter weapons.
Cameras can work
Fixed cameras, especially when brightly painted, are pointless. Better to install automated warning signs that light up for speeders - as they do in our village. They are solar /wind powered and very cheap and effective.
Also, average time cameras work. The A14 near Cambridge is much safer and has better average speeds since they were introduced. There are still plenty of accidents because the road is inadequate for the number of cars, but there are a lot fewer fatalities.
Anyway, with North Sea Oil running out in the next decade, and the economy going belly up, we will all be driving like grannies because we can't afford petrol at £10 a gallon.
If history serves me right,
There is an unpleasant term which refers to a polity where private commercial interests like ACPO become part of the legal system of a nation. It was popular in Germany in the 1930s.
talking hot air
Jupiter is just that - a gas giant with a small , dense liquid core. The density of an ideal gas like hydrogen is proportional to its temperature, all other parameters being constant. This planet is so close to its sun, it must be much hotter. It probably has its core heated by gravitational and magnetic effects as well. The only surprise is that it hasn't boiled off into space. Perhaps it has only entered this orbit recently, and will be boiled away in a few (tens of ) million years.
Wheel at each corner?
But is it a conventional transmission 4X4 with one motor, or a rational design with one electric motor in each wheel? The latter would be mechanically much simpler and more efficient. The Prius is horribly compromised and over complicated.
If they can sell this for £15000 after subsidies, and return 100mpg average consumption, then I would buy one.
Whatever you think of 'leccy cars...
...this government is bankrupt. UK plc is running out of excuses and 'the cheque is in the post' just doesn't cut the mustard any more.
Our civil service are in denial. We are not going to honour our pledges. We are going to start defaulting on our treasury bonds soon, then the IMF will come knocking and we will really learn the meaning of crisis capitalism.
Pension? What's a pension?
And, when you have read without hot air,
Please visit this site
and learn about the future of energy, which is not what you might expect.
BTW Mackay is neighbour of mine. Just been elected as a fellow of the Royal Society.
Very expensive electricity...
...is not avoidable.
In case you hadn't noticed, ten years ago the UK was a net energy exporter. North Sea oil and gas were a major revenue generator, for the private sector and the public purse.
UK oil production peaked in 1999 and has declined at 7% per year for a decade. Gas similarly. We are now a net importer of oil, gas, coal and (French nuclear) electricity. This is not cheap, and it is going to get a LOT more expensive. The UK government has a current account deficit of £800Billion, and yet is paying to bail out private banks who are largely owned by foreign shareholders. The banks, previously our other main revenue earner, are on life-support. What little is left of our manufacturing industry (cars, steel, wind turbines) are all being shut down.
The current value of Stirling is unsustainable. It is bound to fall hard soon.
If we don't invest very heavily in renewables, (mostly wind, some tidal) then in ten years a bankrupt UK will be importing 80% of its energy needs using ever more worthless pound notes.
Renewable energy infrastructure may not be cheap, but the wind is free, forever.
Nuclear stations will not be built fast enough to offset the decline in available energy, Without energy we do not have industrial society. The UK has a critical energy crisis.
(Not to mention the global supply peak of oil that happened last year - or climate change!)
It's well known...
That the US and the UK do not spy on their own citizens.
We spy on theirs, they spy own ours, then we exchange intelligence...
Too little too late
Passenger traffic down 5%. Freight traffic down 15%. Oil price double what it was five years ago. Air India not paying staff for two weeks. BA threatening not to pay them for a month.
The global supply of oil peaked last year, permanently. Mass aviation is dead. Shaving 5% or 10% off the fuel bill here or there will not save it. Most air travel is a luxury, not a necessity. It is a luxury the world will choose to do without.
Have you seen the price of fuel?
OK, it's probably no thirstier than a US style SUV, but the world past peak oil production last year, and after slumping in the credit crunch, the price has once more doubled in the last six months to $68/barrel.
By the time this thing is ready for production, the world will have stopped building anything thirstier than Polo bluemotion.
Just because it is a critical system...
...does not mean it cannot fail.
It will not stop overnight in 2010. If the coverage started dropping to a level that affected military operations, then a satellite would be in orbit in 24 hours.
However, the US military do not give a monkey's fart about supporting critical civilian infrastructure.
And in the long run, it will crash and burn, just like the rest of IT.
For an unbiased analysis of options...
Read David McKay's 'without hot air' free at
He knows his chips. Hydrogen stinks.
We are moving back to Victorian levels of teaching. By age ten I was doing independent research and writing reports on the history of timekeeping. These days you are lucky if a ten year old can tell the time on an analogue watch. By maths they mean arithmetic, useful for the little consumers they are being trained to be, but it will teach you nothing about the fundamentals of maths.
We need less emphasis on conforming to the median. As long as schools meet their targets the best and the worst just get ignored.
Don't I know it!
In addition to this, Parcelforce REQUIRE my organisation to use this interface to log all our parcels, and it is impossible to link to the site directly from our intranet, requiring our operators to double-type the full dispatch details for all our orders. What's more, they need to run PC emulation on their Macs even to to do that.
We ship a lot of parcels to many countries.
Didn't stop the bicycles...
...here in Cambridge.
I walked the first 200 metres of ungritted road just to be safe. I didn't want to be totaled by an out of control 4X4 on the rat run that my suburban road has become.
Four miles to work and only two minutes slower than usual.
Fiddling whilst Rome burns...
Thanks to the European free market in natural gas, and political/business dispute in eastern Europe, our national winter reserves are at the lowest level for several years. We may not import gas from Russia, but for three weeks we were exporting it to Europe as fast as week could pump it. If we see another cold spell like we did two weeks ago, we could yet see power cuts.
Regardless of the global energy situation, the UK is rapidly running out of fossil fuel, and given the hopeless state of our national finances, we will find it very expensive to be importing 80% of our energy in a few years time. We need all the indigenous energy we can get, and for all it's faults, wind power is cheap and quick to install, cheap to run and almost free to decommission. Recent worldwide experience with running and building nuclear is that they are prone to huge cost overruns and delivery delays, and our existing fleet is lucky to get 60% of boilerplate capacity. I'm not saying all nuclear is bad, but right now we need to be building as much capacity of both as fast as we can because ten years from now we will be grateful for every watt, at ten times the price (which is probably what it will cost us).
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