‘The House of Delusions,’ Take Two

 

“The house of delusions is cheap to build but drafty to live in, and ready at any instant to fall” – A.E. Houseman

The last time I wrote a post on this quote from one of my favorite poets was in August 2021.  It was on a completely different subject, but I ended it thus:

Sometimes, actually, the house of delusions is quite expensive in terms of both blood and treasure on all sides.  One thing we can be sure of however, just as day follows night, is that we know who’ll feel the draft and who, when the house does come tumbling down, will pay the price.

And we know who won’t.

I thought of that post this morning, when I read a headline in today’s Telegraph:  “Relying on wind power means Britons must get used to cutting energy use, says National Grid.”

No [expletive], Sherlock.  Can Britain be waking up at last?

First, let’s clarify:  Britain’s “National Grid” is the umbrella company into which several regional transmission companies feed their electricity, and which distributes it to the very great majority of the UK and Northern Ireland.  So it’s safe to assume that this edict will apply to almost all Britons.

And, indeed, the first attempt to cut the population’s use of electricity starts this afternoon, when ‘National Grid’ has announced that it will ‘pay’ its customers to ‘cut’ their electricity usage between five and six PM.  (Britain is currently experiencing what it regards as Arctic conditions, with temperatures in most of the country plummeting to just below the freezing point.)  Presumably, the smart meters now installed in most UK homes will be used to monitor the electricity consumption, and will be in charge (see what I did there?) of reporting those who comply and–presumably–the miscreants who don’t, and both groups will probably appear on a “T” chart somewhere for follow-up in the social-credit scheme at some point.

Apparently–underlying National Grid’s radical decision–is the fact that someone, somewhere, has realized that increasing dependence of wind and solar power, the shutting down of coal and oil, the ambivalence about nuclear, the mounting war on gas, and the difficulties of importing from parts of Europe all adds up to a wobbly energy supply.  On top of that, there seems to be light dawning that–wind and solar–the shaky foundation on which Britain is basing its net-zero policy, are least effective and productive in the winter, when it’s even cloudier and darker than usual in the UK, and the winds drop relative to the rest of the year.  Couple that with cold weather, and the country is tobogganing willy-nilly (mostly willy) toward a catastrophe.

And all the above doesn’t factor in the rush to electric cars–as of 2030, Britain has committed to ban the sale of fossil-fuel vehicles.  So one can assume an exponential increase in electrical demand, demand which the country can’t meet, even today.  (With spectacularly bad timing, the country’s so-far only lithium car battery manufacturer, Britishvolt, has just announced bankruptcy and is hoping for a government bailout.  (It’s the first attempt at a UK factory manufacturing lithium car batteries.  The government expects (in yet another delusion) to have ten such manufacturing facilities located near car manufacturing plants in the next ten years.  Glory be.)

The Financial Times article tells the tale of a company living beyond its means, greasing the wheels for its top executives, communicating poorly (to say the least) with its investors, and ultimately–doomed to fail.  No doubt, because of the reckless rush towards net-zero, the unfortunate British taxpayer will soon be paying for those hubristic mistakes, and many more, as well.

Britain’s already in the grip of a self-inflicted energy crisis many times that of the one in the United States, and people are being aggressively nagged by the nanny state and told how to dress in layers for cold weather, told to move their dinner times around to avoid peak energy use times,** and told to turn their thermostats down to no higher than 18 Celsius (64 Fahrenheit) and to reduce their boiler-flow temperatures as well.  The private sector has started advertising “warm spaces” where people–especially the elderly–can go and warm up and be given a cup of tea and a biscuit, if they can’t afford to heat their homes adequately.  People are forming co-ops where they visit each others houses on certain days of the week, and the host has the heating on for the one or two days a week he can afford to, so they can all be warm.  The government has ‘capped’ private residence energy costs this year and is rebating the public hand over fist–what Mr. She used to call “bribing people with their own money.” (Saddest of all, when it comes to this sort of thing, is to watch people bleating gratitude that their government is “helping” them out of a situation which that same government has put them into.)

And while the Davoisie fly their private jets into Switzerland to congregate, pontificate, party, and–at least some of them–enjoy rampant and very expensive sex (I’ll bet their bedrooms are warmer than 18C/64F too–the weather channel says it’s -11C, +11F in Davos this morning, probably colder than it is anywhere in the UK at the moment), my countrymen struggle to pay their bills and stay warm.

And yet.

Perhaps a glimmer of hope.

From the Telegraph article:

The push to net zero means that electricity demand will rise as households switch to electric cars and heat pumps.

Meanwhile, more electricity is coming from wind turbines and solar plants, which are intermittent.

This makes power supplies more complicated to manage compared to the historic system dominated by large coal-fired and gas-fired power plants which can easily adapt to demand.

With less control over electricity supplies, National Grid hopes therefore to have more control over electricity demand.

This means greater efforts to incentivise households to use electricity at different times if needed to help balance supply and demand.

One way of doing this is through time-of-use tariffs which enable customers to take advantage of times when electricity is abundant and cheap, such as charging the car during a windy period overnight.

Yeah. Remind me to set my alarm for every couple of hours between 10PM and 4AM each day, so that I can wake up, look outside, and see if it’s windy enough that there might be enough electricity to support plugging my car into the ‘National Grid’ so that I have enough oomph to get myself to work in the morning.

I don’t know if the public is yet ready to take to heart the statement buried in there that “National Grid hopes therefore to have more control over electricity demand”  and to understand the implication.  But it better start paying attention, as it should to the rather obvious, but much under-reported fact that wind and solar are “intermittent.” These are, to be sure, rather gentle peeks under the hood at the lunatic system that’s emerging in the UK, but perhaps it’s a start.

The house of delusions is cheap to build but drafty to live in, and ready at any instant to fall.

And fall it will.  And we know, once again, who’ll pay the price.  And who won’t.

**While I may not be the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree when it comes right down to it, I can’t help wondering about all these “suggestions” that people should move their peak energy use to different times of the day or night.  Doesn’t that just move the times at which the grid is most stressed?  And how, in the long run, does that actually help?  I can see where telling people to dress like Nanook of the North, inside, after they’ve shut off their gas fireplaces, their oil or coal stoves and their woodburners, turned their electric down, and they’re freezing their asses off because there isn’t enough power to heat their homes at the same time as they charge their now-mandatory electric car–now that would actually reduce consumption.  But how does it help if five million people run their dishwashers at 5AM, rather than at four in the afternoon?  Or if everybody switches their dinnertime to 4PM or 9PM?  Doesn’t that just create a new “peak-use” time?

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  1. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    A reference through the link back to your previous post displays another interesting facet of the culture’s determination to live by lies. The bureaucrats who are creating energy policies know no more of what they speak than the pseudo-Africans do of the real Africa. We have to start resisting daily, this woke stuff where and when we come across it.

    • #1
  2. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Several years ago when I read about the Ivanpah solar power plant that was being built in the Mojave Desert (southern California), I thought this might actually be able to deliver cost-effective electricity.  Sadly, it has under-delivered.  If the Mojave [expletive] Desert doesn’t have enough sunlight to deliver electricity at a reasonable cost, I don’t know how these dunderheads in places like England, Vermont, and Minnesota think it’s going to work there.

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    • #3
  4. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    She: I can’t help wondering about all these “suggestions” that people should move their peak energy use to different times of the the day or night.  Doesn’t that just move the times at which the grid is most stressed? 

    Not everybody can or will shift their peak energy use. I believe the hope is that enough will so that demand evens out. Of course it won’t.

    • #4
  5. She Member
    She
    @She

    Al French (View Comment):

    She: I can’t help wondering about all these “suggestions” that people should move their peak energy use to different times of the the day or night. Doesn’t that just move the times at which the grid is most stressed?

    Not everybody can or will shift their peak energy use. I believe the hope is that enough will so that demand evens out. Of course it won’t.

    Of.  Course.  It. Won’t.

     

    • #5
  6. She Member
    She
    @She

    Al French (View Comment):

    She: I can’t help wondering about all these “suggestions” that people should move their peak energy use to different times of the the day or night. Doesn’t that just move the times at which the grid is most stressed?

    Not everybody can or will shift their peak energy use. I believe the hope is that enough will so that demand evens out. Of course it won’t.

    Of. Course. It. Won’t.

    Eighty years ago, I’d have been on-board.

    These days, I’m not so sure.

    • #6
  7. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    I will answer your abstract theoretical questions. But you have to promise to answer any livestock care and feeding questions or other practical questions I may have.

    She:

     I can’t help wondering about all these “suggestions” that people should move their peak energy use to different times of the the day or night. Doesn’t that just move the times at which the grid is most stressed? 

    No. It reduces the level of peak power demand.

    If you have instantaneous peak power demand that sometimes exceeds the instantaneous power capacity of the current system, due to interventionist meddling in the economy, you have will have failures: brownouts or deliberate selective power cutoffs.

    If you lower peak demand by shifting it, that will eliminate those unnecessary failures caused by the stupid greedy voters giving the interventionists power, and replace them with different interventionist-created failures, like people freezing to death or whatever.

    And how, in the long run, does that actually help?

    Yes.  No more problems created by insufficient power generation capacity to meet peak demand.

    I can see where telling people to dress like Nanook of the North, inside, after they’ve shut off their gas fireplaces, their oil or coal stoves and their woodburners, turned their electric down, and they’re freezing their asses off because there isn’t enough power to heat their homes at the same time as they charge their now-mandatory electric car–now that would actually reduce consumption.

    As you know, there is a difference between electrical power consumption at some instant in time, and electrical energy consumption during some period of time.

    But above you are mixing the two. First you are talking about reducing peak instantaneous power consumption (by not charging a car and using lots of electrical power at the same moment in time).

    That is addressing the problem of insufficient power generation capacity to cover peak power demand.

    But then you are talking about reducing electrical energy consumption for some time period. That is a separate problem with a separate solution. If you lack sufficient peak power generation to handle peak power demand, reducing energy consumption for some period by itself will do nothing to help.

    And vice versa.  If a coal-powered plant lacks enough coal (energy) to get the people through the winter, then reducing peak power demand will do nothing to solve it.

    • #7
  8. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    She: The private sector has started advertising “warm spaces” where people–especially the elderly–can go and warm up and be given a cup of tea and a biscuit, if they can’t afford to heat their homes adequately.  People are forming co-ops where they visit each others houses on certain days of the week, and the host has the heating on for the one or two days a week he can afford to, so they can all be warm.

    Not that long ago, Britain was the greatest empire on the planet.

    Now, the English are huddling around small heat sources in one another’s homes, trying to stay warm in the winter, just like people did in all those primitive societies that the English helped lift into civilization and prosperity.

    Horrifying.

    What’s even more horrifying that that, is that environmentalists and other leftists view these things as positive developments.  Socialism is about sharing resources, and cooperative effort, you see.  It brings the community together, you see…

    • #8
  9. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    She: The private sector has started advertising “warm spaces” where people–especially the elderly–can go and warm up and be given a cup of tea and a biscuit, if they can’t afford to heat their homes adequately. People are forming co-ops where they visit each others houses on certain days of the week, and the host has the heating on for the one or two days a week he can afford to, so they can all be warm.

    Not that long ago, Britain was the greatest empire on the planet.

    Now, the English are huddling around small heat sources in one another’s homes, trying to stay warm in the winter.

    Horrifying.

    What’s even more horrifying that that, is that environmentalists and other leftists view these things as positive developments. Socialism is about sharing resources, and cooperative effort, you see. It brings the community together, you see…

    I always thought that the moderately cold climate, but not stiflingly arctic cold, was one of the biggest reasons the British advanced to the point that they ruled the world.

    A place where fireplaces, metal tools, and iron heating stoves had to be manufactured led to many other inventions and ways of learning how to make things.  For example, in Costa Rica a one-woman show of a baker spent all morning baking bread in a huge clay oven within a leaf-covered hut, using dried coconut husks as fuel.  But in England, I assume, in order to survive better, fireplaces were best made out of stone and mortar and eventually iron for stoves, if only to heat water.  While in Africa, people didn’t need fires for warmth, to heat a home, but only to roast meat, and so they never advanced in their heating technology.

    The English are now apparently abandoning their hard won and necessary technologies.

    • #9
  10. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Load-shedding is a misery that ruins lives in Pakistan.

    Actually, it killed someone I knew. The accident would probably not have happened in better lighting. If I remember correctly.

    Western countries and states–California in particular–are volunteering for this. In worship of Gaia. Without even understanding the science. And failing to do anything useful to stop global warming, assuming it even exists.

    Delusion, delusion, delusion. Folly on an epic scale. Hiring an eco-friendly event planner to arrange deck chairs on the Titanic. Fiddling with slow-charging car batteries while Rome burns around them.

    • #10
  11. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I always thought that the moderately cold climate, but not stiflingly arctic cold, was one of the biggest reasons the British advanced to the point that they ruled the world.

     

    My theory is that it was the food. There is only so much one can take when the local cuisine sports such monikers as “toad in the hole” and “bubble and squeak.”

    “So help me, if one more person asks me if I’d care for some ‘spotted dick,’ I’m sailing to India!”

    • #11
  12. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    As you know, there is a difference between electrical power consumption at some instant in time, and electrical energy consumption during some period of time.

    Ah, yes! Like flattening the curve. O-kay. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.

    • #12
  13. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Percival (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I always thought that the moderately cold climate, but not stiflingly arctic cold, was one of the biggest reasons the British advanced to the point that they ruled the world.

    My theory is that it was the food. There is only so much one can take when the local cuisine sports such monikers as “toad in the hole” and “bubble and squeak.”

    “So help me, if one more person asks me if I’d care for some ‘spotted dick,’ I’m sailing to India!”

    Actually, I seriously agree that bad cuisine spurred the spice trade, which opened things up to the British taking over of the world.  But the inculcated thinking that created or improved upon technologies was what made it all possible.  Of course I can’t prove any of this, it just seems so in that in hot countries technology isn’t needed for survival and doesn’t seem to have developed locally, but in moderately cold countries technology was either invented or imported and improved upon.

    • #13
  14. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I always thought that the moderately cold climate, but not stiflingly arctic cold, was one of the biggest reasons the British advanced to the point that they ruled the world.

    My theory is that it was the food. There is only so much one can take when the local cuisine sports such monikers as “toad in the hole” and “bubble and squeak.”

    “So help me, if one more person asks me if I’d care for some ‘spotted dick,’ I’m sailing to India!”

    Actually, I seriously agree that bad cuisine spurred the spice trade, which opened things up to the British taking over of the world. But the inculcated thinking that created or improved upon technologies was what made it all possible. Of course I can’t prove any of this, it just seems so in that in hot countries technology isn’t needed for survival and doesn’t seem to have developed locally, but in moderately cold countries technology was either invented or imported and improved upon.

    Jared Diamond’s thesis was the West rules the world because our ancestors were exposed to diseases by living with livestock, and because they found metal ores.

    • #14
  15. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I always thought that the moderately cold climate, but not stiflingly arctic cold, was one of the biggest reasons the British advanced to the point that they ruled the world.

    My theory is that it was the food. There is only so much one can take when the local cuisine sports such monikers as “toad in the hole” and “bubble and squeak.”

    “So help me, if one more person asks me if I’d care for some ‘spotted dick,’ I’m sailing to India!”

    Actually, I seriously agree that bad cuisine spurred the spice trade, which opened things up to the British taking over of the world. But the inculcated thinking that created or improved upon technologies was what made it all possible. Of course I can’t prove any of this, it just seems so in that in hot countries technology isn’t needed for survival and doesn’t seem to have developed locally, but in moderately cold countries technology was either invented or imported and improved upon.

    Jared Diamond’s thesis was the West rules the world because our ancestors were exposed to diseases by living with livestock, and because they found metal ores.

    Sounds like part of it, especially the immunity.  Lots of countries developed their own mining and manufacturing processes including steel and gunpowder.

    • #15
  16. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I always thought that the moderately cold climate, but not stiflingly arctic cold, was one of the biggest reasons the British advanced to the point that they ruled the world.

    My theory is that it was the food. There is only so much one can take when the local cuisine sports such monikers as “toad in the hole” and “bubble and squeak.”

    “So help me, if one more person asks me if I’d care for some ‘spotted dick,’ I’m sailing to India!”

    Actually, I seriously agree that bad cuisine spurred the spice trade, which opened things up to the British taking over of the world. But the inculcated thinking that created or improved upon technologies was what made it all possible. Of course I can’t prove any of this, it just seems so in that in hot countries technology isn’t needed for survival and doesn’t seem to have developed locally, but in moderately cold countries technology was either invented or imported and improved upon.

    Oh, I was only half-joking. Portugal and then Spain had a corner on spices for quite a while

    • #16
  17. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Percival (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I always thought that the moderately cold climate, but not stiflingly arctic cold, was one of the biggest reasons the British advanced to the point that they ruled the world.

    My theory is that it was the food. There is only so much one can take when the local cuisine sports such monikers as “toad in the hole” and “bubble and squeak.”

    “So help me, if one more person asks me if I’d care for some ‘spotted dick,’ I’m sailing to India!”

    Actually, I seriously agree that bad cuisine spurred the spice trade, which opened things up to the British taking over of the world. But the inculcated thinking that created or improved upon technologies was what made it all possible. Of course I can’t prove any of this, it just seems so in that in hot countries technology isn’t needed for survival and doesn’t seem to have developed locally, but in moderately cold countries technology was either invented or imported and improved upon.

    Oh, I was only half-joking. Portugal and then Spain had a corner on spices for quite a while

    Right.  I thought of them.  And spice definitely gave a broad incentive.  But generally the colder countries seem to have developed and refined engineering and manufacturing — Hmm.  I’m sure I can find a timeline of who developed what technologies when.

    • #17
  18. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I like the post, She, and agree with you about most of it.

    I have one quibble:

    She: And all the above doesn’t factor in the rush to electric cars–as of 2030, Britain has committed to ban the sale of fossil-fuel vehicles.  So one can assume an exponential increase in electrical demand, demand which the country can’t meet, even today. 

    This seems very unlikely to me.  It does stand to reason that electric cars would increase electrical demand, but probably not exponentially.

    What would be the calculation?   Start with the number of cars sold in the UK, then multiply by electric use per electric car.  It would be phased in rather gradually.

    More likely, though, the UK simply won’t meet its commitment, because electric vehicles will probably still be too expensive.

    • #18
  19. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    So I had to do the math about the electric vehicles.

    It looks like the typical electrical vehicle uses 200 W-h (watt-hours) per kilometer.  The average car in the UK is driven 7,400 miles per year, or about 11,840 km.  That’s about 2,368,000 W-h per year, per vehicle.

    UK auto sales are running a bit under 2 million/year.  If all were electric, the power requirement would be about 4.736 TWh (terawatt-hours) per year.

    UK electrical production is about 310 TWh per year.

    So each year’s worth of electric cars would add about 1.5% to electrical demand in the UK, if I’ve done the math right.

    • #19
  20. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    One huge difference between the Old Left and our current ‘progressives’ is in their attitudes toward energy and industry.

    Fabian socialist Sidney Webb had some very positive things to say about what he called the Machine Age, which I excerpted here.

    Both the American New Deal and the Soviet Communist Party were huge supporters of hydroelectric dams… today, many of the Progs want to tear them down.  The Prog attitudes may be even worse in the UK.

     

     

    • #20
  21. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    So I had to do the math about the electric vehicles.

    It looks like the typical electrical vehicle uses 200 W-h (watt-hours) per kilometer. The average car in the UK is driven 7,400 miles per year, or about 11,840 km. That’s about 2,368,000 W-h per year, per vehicle.

    UK auto sales are running a bit under 2 million/year. If all were electric, the power requirement would be about 4.736 TWh (terawatt-hours) per year.

    UK electrical production is about 310 TWh per year.

    So each year’s worth of electric cars would add about 1.5% to electrical demand in the UK, if I’ve done the math right.

    The logic’s right. So as long as the data and the arithmetic are too, we’re good.

    Note:

    We often get problems and solutions related to

    • matching power supply and demand
    • matching energy supply and demand

    badly confused, and that is an unrecoverable error!

    So here is a suggested edit:

    sub/the power requirement would be about 4.736 TWh (terawatt-hours) per year./the energy requirement would be about 4.736 TWh (terawatt-hours) per year.

    (You can’t measure power in TWh.  It would be like measuring speed in miles: “My car’s top speed is 100 miles!”)

    • #21
  22. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    If asked to reduce use, I will use more. The heat will go up. The lights will come on. 

    I don’t think this will happen here in GA USA, but I stand by to increase my consumption of electricity, whatever the cost.

    (Please read in voice of Jim Hacker when he goes all Churchill)

    • #22
  23. She Member
    She
    @She

    Percival (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I always thought that the moderately cold climate, but not stiflingly arctic cold, was one of the biggest reasons the British advanced to the point that they ruled the world.

     

    My theory is that it was the food. There is only so much one can take when the local cuisine sports such monikers as “toad in the hole” and “bubble and squeak.”

    “So help me, if one more person asks me if I’d care for some ‘spotted dick,’ I’m sailing to India!”

    I’m not so keen on bubble and squeak, but toad in the hole and spotted dick are excellent.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    So I had to do the math about the electric vehicles.

    It looks like the typical electrical vehicle uses 200 W-h (watt-hours) per kilometer. The average car in the UK is driven 7,400 miles per year, or about 11,840 km. That’s about 2,368,000 W-h per year, per vehicle.

    UK auto sales are running a bit under 2 million/year. If all were electric, the power requirement would be about 4.736 TWh (terawatt-hours) per year.

    UK electrical production is about 310 TWh per year.

    Yes, and apparently it’s not enough.

    So each year’s worth of electric cars would add about 1.5% to electrical demand in the UK, if I’ve done the math right.

    I have no idea if you’ve done the math right, but I’m so glad someone is doing his best to keep me honest when it comes to a bit of purple prose…I’ll leave it to someone else to tell me if it’s right or not, what the implications are over the next seven years or so after which (with the exception of a very few hybrids) the sale of gasoline cars (33 million currently on the road) and light goods vehicles (currently about 5.5 million) will be banned.  Next up the half-million heavy goods vehicles, and somewhere in there, the motorcycles.

    When taking into account the state of British homes, and that construction in the “New Towns” is largely cheap and shoddy, that  the buildings in many built-up areas are 2-3-4 hundred years old and that dodgy wiring is the norm, or the fact that lots of people are already being told that their homes won’t support a charging station for an electric car without a substantial and expensive upgrade to the mains electricity service, then perhaps you are correct, and the actual charging station–if a person can actually find one for his car–may be the least of it in terms of what it’s going to take.  It’s going to be interesting to watch.

    Fact of the matter is, the majority of the UK populace is–and the electric car debacle is just one reason among many–barreling towards third-w0rld status (possible hyperbole alert) while the cosmopolitan congnoscenti sit on the sidelines and clap. 

    • #23
  24. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    So I had to do the math about the electric vehicles.

    It looks like the typical electrical vehicle uses 200 W-h (watt-hours) per kilometer. The average car in the UK is driven 7,400 miles per year, or about 11,840 km. That’s about 2,368,000 W-h per year, per vehicle.

    UK auto sales are running a bit under 2 million/year. If all were electric, the power requirement would be about 4.736 TWh (terawatt-hours) per year.

    UK electrical production is about 310 TWh per year.

    So each year’s worth of electric cars would add about 1.5% to electrical demand in the UK, if I’ve done the math right.

    You forgot to multiply by the lifespan of the vehicles. 10+ years.

    You forgot to include energy lost in charging.  20%+

    That per-kilometer energy consumption is suitable for the tiniest vehicles, and in the summer.  The numbers get much worse in the winter, and for larger vehicles.

    The numbers get much, much worse when you start including trucking.

    The numbers get much, much worse when not in a densely populated country like the UK.

    • #24
  25. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Key thing about electricity is you have to worry not just about the aggregate amount needed, but *when* you need it.  A kwh produced by solar at 1PM isn’t of much use when you have heavy air conditioning loads at 7PM on a warm evening.  A kwh produced by wind on one day is of no use when you need electricity for heating a week later and the winds have been quiet for several days.

    The distinction between power and energy, mentioned by @MarkCamp, is essential.  Media almost always gets it wrong. I’ve seen countless articles excitedly quoting the ‘capacity’ of a battery system or other storage system in terms of Megawatts or Gigawatts.  But this says nothing at all about the *storage* capacity of the system.  If a battery system has a rating of 100 megawatts, that tells you have rapidly energy can be added to the system or drawn from it.  But it tells you nothing about *how much* energy it can store.  If it can store 2 hours worth at max withdrawal rate, that is a capacity of 200 megawatt Hours…and if it can store 8 hours worth, that is a capacity of 800 megawatt hours.  Same 100 megawatt power rating.

    Few journalists understand this point, and that is true of business and ‘technology’ journalists as well as general ones.

    • #25
  26. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    David Foster (View Comment):
    Few journalists understand this point, and that is true of business and ‘technology’ journalists as well as general ones.

    Do you really think it’s that bad? I can’t tell, I never know what to expect anyone to know. But energy vs power is really simple. 

    • #26
  27. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Barfly (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):
    Few journalists understand this point, and that is true of business and ‘technology’ journalists as well as general ones.

    Do you really think it’s that bad? I can’t tell, I never know what to expect anyone to know. But energy vs power is really simple.

    If many journalists don’t know the difference between a bullet and a round, the difference between semi- and fully-automatic, and think there is something special about what they call “assault weapons”, you can rest assured that they don’t know about energy vs power.

    • #27
  28. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):
    Few journalists understand this point, and that is true of business and ‘technology’ journalists as well as general ones.

    Do you really think it’s that bad? I can’t tell, I never know what to expect anyone to know. But energy vs power is really simple.

    If many journalists don’t know the difference between a bullet and a round, the difference between semi- and fully-automatic, and think there is something special about what they call “assault weapons”, you can rest assured that they don’t know about energy vs power.

    I think Biden referred to “assault” pistols the other day.

    • #28
  29. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):
    Few journalists understand this point, and that is true of business and ‘technology’ journalists as well as general ones.

    Do you really think it’s that bad? I can’t tell, I never know what to expect anyone to know. But energy vs power is really simple.

    If many journalists don’t know the difference between a bullet and a round, the difference between semi- and fully-automatic, and think there is something special about what they call “assault weapons”, you can rest assured that they don’t know about energy vs power.

    The inability of the journalist to distinguish between the value of a real-world “variable” and the rate of change in that variable is a classic sign of something is fundamentally different about the way you and Barfly and I think and the way the journalist thinks: his instinctive, habitual

    • problem-solving method
    • way of perceiving the world and organizing it into a mental model of it
    • what he latches onto and what he discards
    • how he assigns significance to data, or rejects the significance of it
    • how he makes sense of the world–why did that happen?
    • what distinctions he fails to make between mental categories that we would make
    • what distinctions he makes between two cases that we would recognize as not distinct, but rather examples of the same category with non-defining differences

    We think far more abstractly and relationally/relatively.  The journalist’s mind thinks concretely and non-relationally.

    A rate is a relationship between energy and time.  The method of thinking of the journalist tends to reject or fail to process, store, and use relationships in thinking, so it fails to recognize the distinction between the rate and the energy itself.

    Their method of thinking is well-tuned to their job, and poorly-tuned to scientific thinking.

    • #29
  30. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):
    Few journalists understand this point, and that is true of business and ‘technology’ journalists as well as general ones.

    Do you really think it’s that bad? I can’t tell, I never know what to expect anyone to know. But energy vs power is really simple.

    If many journalists don’t know the difference between a bullet and a round, the difference between semi- and fully-automatic, and think there is something special about what they call “assault weapons”, you can rest assured that they don’t know about energy vs power.

    • #30
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