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Weekend, and other things,

This weekend we were descended on by Londoners for the Beer Festival. ali_in_london, marnameaow, shadow_jess, kitty_goth and julietk, appeared at about 2.30 on Saturday, and we then spent a few hours in the Porter, then back to al_bullit's for coffee, which I managed to spill somehow. Then there was beer fest, with a number of rather nice ciders also being on offer. During which I discovered that I know too many groups of people in Bath, and ended up flitting between about 4 groups of friends. Then twas off to entropy, via Schwartz for food.

During Entropy kitty_goth and I ended up having a somewhat deep conversation about religion, during which he posed to me one of the most fundamental questions "Why him?", to which, even now I'm sober, I still can't find a response to.

Sunday, involved lunch at the Curfew, and a Backstage training day. Oh and turning URB back on, which was boringly simple, nothing went wrong :)

Today, was as simple as most Mondays tend to be for me at the minute, 10.15 lecture, with Sarma who still talks way too fast, and a seminar on power systems, that was actually quite interesting. Tracing problems in power distribution systems, and why renewable energy isn't actually practical for the UK.

I do however, now have a final year project :
"Developing parallel programs for a parallel Beowulf system"
Which should be really interesting. And for those who keep mentioning that I'm doing an Elec Eng degree and that that should be a Computer Science project, it's being used to analyse elec-eng-type-stuff.

Comments

... and why renewable energy isn't actually practical for the UK.

Why?

I'd like to know.

Oh, and who funded the seminar?
Why?
What it basically boils down to is the fact that wind power, etc, can not be relied upon to be generating at any given point in time (And weather forcasts are not reliable enough). As such the coal, gas, etc, stations MUST be kept running (at minimum functional levels, which are actually about 50-70 % !!), bare in mind that it takes far too long to bring power stations back online for it to be safe for them just to be turned off, where as, if they're running even at minimum, cranking them up a notch is possible.

Running the system with too much energy is also not an option, since this causes the frequency to deviate too much, and there are laws about how much it may deviate.

At the moment, also, the distro companies can also buy coal, gases, etc, power cheaper.

It is also less efficent to run convential power stations at less than maximum power.

Oh, and who funded the seminar?
The research was funded by the power distribution companies, who have obligations to increase renewable usage, and the government. (So yes probably a slightly bias view, but the points made are all valid, and would cost large amounts of money and space to get around. (Storage of power is possible, but normally requires flooding large areas)
So in other words, renewable energy is impractical under current distribution models.

I see no mention of batteries, storage heaters, etc. I see no mention of individual power sources (solar heat, photovoltaics, wind) at houses and offices.

I imagine there was some mention of trying to further reduce power usage.

I <3 my solar-powered battery charger.
It's not so much the models, as the sheer cost of updating the system it's self.

storage heaters - they're only good enough for moving general consumption of power, and are in use already.

solar heat, is possible but relativly expensive.

The usage of wind (and wave), where ever placed, if it becomes more than 10% of power generation, causes reliability issues as previously mentioned.

It mainly boils down to a lack of reliability when non-conventional power is used, and the cost of updating current systems so they can provide such reliability, since companies have investors to keep happy long term planning in the required manner isn't always possible.
I meant storage heaters, batteries etc in general usage rather than at power-station level.

I have not to my knowledge seen any private homes with storage heaters or central batteries. I have seen a few with solar water heating (even if only supplementary), and heard about ones with photovoltaics (yes, expensive - we need to make longer-lasting higher-quality photovoltaics first, although the ones that are the size of roof tiles and are used to tile a domestic roof are somewhat promising) or windmills.

The extreme lack of reliability we're in for when we simply run out of oil-based sources of power is going to be a real treat for stockholders, of course ;P But I guess I don't seriously expect power companies to base any of their decisions on that.
Storage heaters are becoming more common, (I had one in my last flat), but generally in newer houses. Power companies like these because they flatten out the usage curve, making things more efficent.

As previously pointed out the power companies have share holders etc, who don't think in terms of "oh shit we're going to run out of coal/gas/oil, we need to upgrade every thing", they think in short term profits, and being honest very few ecomonic models would change this.
*mumble mumble* human nature *mumble mumble*

I do grok this, I just don't LIKE it.
Oh, and yes, as it stands it sucks, renewable energy is good, just not practical with current technology. :)
fireworks

August 2010

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