Electricity Generation and ‘Base Load’

So I’ve written a little on climate change, and tweeted/posted on climate change, talked to people etc and one reoccurring theme seems to keep coming up and seems to cause the biggest rifts between climate change activists, climate deniers and even those who know better!

So lets look at a few arguments and dispel a few myths.

Baseload.

Baseload seems to be universally dismissed as something that will go away at some point in the future… or as something I haven’t quite worked out what people think it is…

Very simply base load is:

The amount of electricity that is always needed, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, regardless of night or day, regardless of winter or summer etc.

… it is NOT anything else. Follows are some simple questions and answers that will upset a few of the Greenies (I, the author, am one.) “Supplied” below means all the time, every day of the year.

Can baseload be supplied by solar or wind? NO
Can baseload be supplied by batteries or pumped hydro? NO
Can baseload be supplied by hydro? Maybe
What can base load be supplied by? Coal, Gas, Oil, Geo-Thermal, Nuclear.

Smartgrids

Smartgrids are the supposed technological solution. In reality, they are if they are done right, but unfortunately there are many people and policies that make the smart grids not so smart.

A Smartgrid is a power grid with the ability of all generators (large and small – including home solar panels etc) to all work together to ensure the power requirements at any one time are satisfied to maintain reliability and stability. (more on it over here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_grid )

What does it mean for the consumer?

Reliable power that is stable (in theory) but nothing else.

What does it mean for a producer (someone pushing power into the grid)?

A central control (or localised control hub) will tell your generator (whether it be an inverter supplied by batteries (like a Tesla Powerwall II), rooftop solar, or even a gas/diesel/petrol generator) to stop pushing as much power into the grid or push more depending on what is needed.

This means if your power is not needed, you won’t get paid for it, regardless of the number of solar panels on your rooftop. What it does mean though is if you have batteries that can supply the grid, when power is not needed your batteries will be charged up, and if power is needed and the sun is not shining the batteries can supply the extra power for the grid… or the extra power can be sent to power the pumps of a pumped hydro system, or (in theory) to charge someone else’s batteries.

This means with a smartgrid and enough people supplying it with storable solutions it is possible to reduce the baseload requirement in your area…. oops there we go, this is where the confusion happens.. it does *NOT* *REDUCE* the BASELOAD .. it supplies part of it!

Pulling that concept out further if you have enough people with enough storage and generation to cover the baseload requirement then you have baseload supplied without additional generation needed. It’s still there, still a requirement, but you have it covered… this is very very different from eliminating baseload!

Power generation types (carbon and not.)

Solar

The rooftop panels on houses, ‘farms’ of them supplying MegaWatts of power. “Free Power from the Sun” … well people got news for you. After 25 years they are expected to be at 80% their original efficiency. They are currently NOT recyclable for the major component. This means you have a 10kw set of panels on your house, in 25 years time you have a set of 8kw panels – this is assuming you keep them clean. If the projected degredation is linear (ie a straight line and not a curve) it means in 125 years time they will be generating 0kw (zero, nothing, nada!).. Great, I won’t be around to worry, but what of my children or my children’s children? Huge amount of non-recycable materials that no one can do anything with!

Carbon wise, no emissions, but carbon is put into the atmosphere creating and transporting/installing them.

Wind

We’ve all seen windmills, the precursor to the wind turbine, they’ve been around for hundreds of years, but as with all things, they wear out. They have bearings that wear out, they have blades that will degrade and eventually need to be replaced… They also have an environmental impact, though the sound of them does NOT cause cancer regardless of what the President of the United States says.. Are they recyclable? I don’t know the be honest, parts of them are, but parts are not.

Carbon wise, no emissions, but carbon is put into the atmosphere creating, maintaining and transporting/installing them.

Nuclear

Despite what you see in the media (all types) this is currently one of the safest power generation types and has the fewest deaths/illnesses relating to it (along with wind and solar.) It is usually depicted in the media with the first image of a mushroom cloud from a nuclear warhead, which instills FUD (Fear, Uncertainty (of it’s safety) and Denial (from using it)). The fact of the matter is nuclear bombs and nuclear power use completely different types of technology and the only link is you can dilute the fuel used in bombs for use to generate power… in fact this is the very reason for the Megatons for MegaWatts deal between Russia and the USA where Russia decommissioned 20,000 nuclear warheads and the Uranium was mixed with other things to make it suitable for use in the USA’s nuclear reactors to generate power. Yes you got that right, the disarming of nuclear weapons resulted in cleaner power.. how about that for recycling!

Nuclear power is also the only true ‘renewable’ power generation method, as the fuel is naturally occurring and continuously being replaced deep in our oceans. We have enough for billions of years.

Carbon wise, no emissions, but carbon is put into the atmosphere creating, maintaining and transporting the fuel for them. Expected lifetime of modern reactors is 60 years.

The amount of power generated from fuel ratio is the average person will use 1 kilo of fuel through out their whole life (70 years).. thats a bag of sugar or 2.2 pounds for those that don’t know what a kilo is… per person, for 70 years of normal electricity….

Waste has to be stored, but everyone forgets it (currently) is being dug up, already radioactive, the waste can go back in the same hole it was taken out of (in theory.) There are waste solutions!

Gas

The cleanest of all the fossil fuel generation. Also with availability (at the moment) one of the cheapest, but as more is used, soon it will be expensive!

Carbon wise, lower carbon emissions, but carbon is put into the atmosphere creating, maintaining them. Expected lifetime of modern power stations is 60 years.

Oil

The not the cleanest of all the fossil fuel generation… but probably the most expensive, especially as it’s a finite resource that is rapidly running out and it is needed for many other things.

Carbon wise, a significant producer of carbon emissions, carbon is also put into the atmosphere creating, maintaining them. Expected lifetime of modern power stations is 50 years, none as far as I know are being built, instead they are all being converted to gas or decommissioned.

Coal

The dirtiest of all the fossil fuel generation… but one of the cheapest (fuel cost), it is a finite resource that will run out. It has a massive ecological impact both for the production and burning of the coal, and by far has the most deaths relating to its production and use every year.

Carbon wise, it is the worst producer of carbon emissions (highest), carbon is also put into the atmosphere creating, maintaining them. Expected lifetime of modern power stations is 50-60 years.

To be continued… (in a later post.)

Climate Hypocrites

So a short post on climate change and the hypocrisy surrounding it.

It occurred to me a few minutes ago the massive hypocrisy of the “Climate Deniers” so I thought it was about time I made comment, and get a whole load more people hating me for just confronting them with an uncomfortable truth.

No matter which side of the debate you’re on ask yourself some serious questions about your beliefs and behaviour. For example, how many of you have children and tell them to put a tooth under their pillow so the tooth-fairy can come along and convert it into money? How many of you teach children about Father Christmas/Santa Claus. How many other imaginary creatures/people do you teach your children exist? We as adults teach these figures to our children, who in some cases don’t want to believe in them, yet we don’t listen to scientists that tell us something we don’t want to believe in.

Now lets take that a step further, how many of you believe in imaginary creatures?

Now ask yourself again after I rephrase the question… How many of you believe in creatures/beings that have no scientific basis or fact to support their existence…?

Still not including yourself? Do you believe in God? Do you believe in Allah? Do you believe in Buddha? Do you believe in any other deity? Do you believe in Aliens? If the answer to any of these is, “Yes” then you believe in the existence of something that has no scientific basis or fact. There is nothing wrong with this as it should give you purpose and make you feel better about yourself.

So now ask yourself the question, why do you not believe in Climate Change, why do you not believe in Global warning? There are many scientists that specialise in climatology that are warning us of what’s coming, there is empirical evidence of global warming. You can even see things for yourself with no scientific training, just look how the hurricanes and cyclones are getting more severe. How drought for traditionally fertile land is now causing massive ‘dead zones’. How deserts are expanding and how glaciers are receding.

Now I know what you’re thinking, there are all those scientific reports that state the opposite, or those that show as the decades pass there are warm times and cool times “Its part of the natural cycle”… but look at the evidence are the cool times as cool as they used to be? Are the warm times warmer than they used to be? There is evidence out there, you only need to open your eyes and look.

The worst part of this whole saga for me is how a 16 year old girl with Aspergers syndrome, rather than being praised for her dedication to bring the possibility of our impending doom to light (whether well founded or not) is being attacked for “Mental Illness”, for her age, “How can a 16 year old know this, she needs to go back to school?” Seriously, this is another doing the rounds, “She must be a Nazi because she is white with braided hair.”

Then those same people, say, “I believe in God” where Christianity (for example) teaches love and compassion for others. Sorry you can’t be Christian if you are spreading the hate about a vulnerable 16 year old girl for telling the world that we are on the brink of destroying ourselves unless we start improving how we use the limited resources of our planet.

If you got here and still deny the science are still unwilling to listen to those who make it their life’s work to find the facts. Perhaps you should also stop listening to those others that do the same, like the scientists that created drugs to cure your illnesses, next time you get sick, don’t take those drugs no matter how ill you are. Perhaps in the same vein to those that discovered how to harness the power of electricity, get rid of your TVs, your Phones, your solar panels, your incoming electricity connection, your ovens, your fridges. Go back to lighting fires to cook, digging up vegetables and using spears to kill animals to eat… Even give up your homes (which are built using science) and go back to living in caves as you once did.

Science has provided you many luxuries in life, it has made you live longer, and now it is warning us that if we don’t change we will all (as a species) die within just a few hundred years… so now you chose not to believe in it?

€500.00 Reward offered…

For several weeks now, cars on Triq, is-Swieqi, Triq, is-Sirk and Triq, il-Hemel all in Swieqi, near St Julians have been deliberately vandalised, including broken wing mirrors, slashed tyres and ‘Keying’ paint work.

I am therefore offering a €500.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.

If you know who is doing this, why or when they are about to do it again (so they can be caught in the act) you should contact the St Julian’s police station on: +356 2137 1694 or myself via Email: michelle@sorbs.net or myself via SMS/Phone: +356 77 543 114.

To claim the reward, you will need to have given me details of when and whom in advance, or you will need to accompany me and make a statement to the police which results in successful prosecution of the offenders.

Is-sena t-tajba! or…?

Well the title says it all, is-sena t-tajba..  literally ‘Year good’ .. but in reality the equivalent of Happy New Year..

Last year I posted this and went into my own little thing, this year, I have not written until today.  I messaged it to a few friends, and I saw lots of posts on Facebook .. then I saw a post by a friend saying he wasn’t going to conform or post as so many say it without any conviction or meaning.  So I thought I wouldn’t either, because he was right, what is different about this time of year from any other?  Why should be say we are going to do a good thing as a New Year resolution?  I mean for f**ks sake, we’re intelligent beings (well that’s what most think) so why do we have to have an excuse to decide to do something good?  Why don’t we just do it?  Why do some people change their attitude at Christmas in an attempt to placate people?  Seriously, if you want to be a good person, be a good person all year!  Change your life, and really change yourself and those around you!

So why has this come up.. why am I preaching again?  Well 3 adverts on TV in a row, and a friend’s status did it..  The status in question:

I have always stated that for alot of people, wishing the best during the festive season is a massive sign of hypocrisy…this was confirmed by none other than Malta’s fave comedian, Wayne Hewitt, with his status;

‘nawgura s-Sena t-Tajba lil kulħadd bla ebda distinzzjoni ta’ kulur politiku, ġilda, orjentazzjoni sesswali jew reliġjon. Awguri mill-qalb.’

This coming from a racist who constantly attempts to belittle and hurt Labourites throughout the year..

L auguri mhux reciprokati Hewitt!

Which for the non-Maltese speakers, basically he (the Comedian) said: “happy festivities, irrispective of skin colour, sexual orientation or political ideology to all”

Now, I thought this was all good, I see it every year, and as a comedian it’s not uncommon for him to make jokes, racist or against the ‘in power’ government for laughs.  I even laugh myself.. (and I laugh just as hard if it’s a joke about being Gay or Transgender, providing it is a joke and not just something in bad taste.)   But, it was then pointed out this guy is a bit of a douche… he doesn’t mean it, he just jumps on the bandwagon for Christmas to be popular..  Now I do not know the truth of that statement (but I have no reason to doubt it either) and so it started me thinking..

If this guy is really sending his best, why do people not just accept it, why do people question his sincerity?  Well it could be because they know this person (I don’t) they could know that he doesn’t actually mean it, but thinking further many people do it, then after Christmas they go back to the same old stuff, making jokes about the less fortunate, making racist comments and explaining them away as ‘comedic’…  Well I think we should really practice what we preach…  Seriously, if we want the world to be a happier place, why do we not just make it such?  It’s in our power, each individual, we just need to make it happen!

So enough of that for a minute.. lets get on to the adverts…

First one was this, it’s been around for a while and I have seen it many times…

The advert has many, many facets and always gets me thinking, it’s very much a car advert, but if you watch it from a point of interest instead of yet another advert, it shows technology at it’s best.  It shows this beautiful world we live in in such a clean and friendly light, then shows the smog and 1930’s mechanical engineering as a contrast.  The advert is no doubt designed to show extremes, but if you look through the marketing bulls**t (the bit that we’re using 1930’s technology and should be switching to 21st century electric hybrid vehicles) and you realize as a race how far we have come..  What power we have at our disposal, and yet how we wield it….

The second advert, by the company I love to hate .. Coke which is here:

Now this is a classic New Year advert, it’s using all the things that good people associate with and then discard to associate a product in an attempt to gain sales.  Well as much as i despise the company for it’s shameless ‘on the band wagon’ advertising, I actually appreciate this one, and it’s very much like the previous Toyota advert in the messages.  We are intelligent people, there are bad things going on around the world, and for every bad thing there is many more examples of the good we have in ourselves.

Now here’s the thing, I like jokes about the Irish, and about New Zealanders (not the Māori but anyone from New Zealand)  I love jokes about politicians, I love jokes about people that are not white in colour…  I get a great laugh out of it, but at the same time, and unlike a few, I also love jokes about the English, about white people (especially ‘White Trash’), about Transgender people, about Gays, about Australians, and about Techies…  I guess that what makes me a person that is not racist… because I appreciate a joke, no matter what the target, whether some consider it racist, discriminatory or not…  This is not something I can say about everyone, and unfortunately this brings me to the last thing I have seen in this new year…   Yet another round of the ‘do gooders’ that do nothing…

$2 trillion when $100 billion would eradicate poverty and give us World Peace
$2 trillion when $100 billion would eradicate poverty and give us World Peace

It’s true, sort of..

Here’s the problem, while people have religious beliefs that state, “eradicate all those who don’t believe” or “all those who don’t believe are evil” we will never have world peace… no matter how much you spend on it.  Wars will go on in the name of the righteous and just..  People, innocent people, will be slaughtered for the profit and beliefs of but a few.  Corruption in the world will go on, some will live the ‘high life’ some will be kept in poverty…  We will never achieve true enlightenment and we will never be truly good people.

So back to my title, ‘is-sena t-tajba’..  I do wish all people a Happy New Year, and I do so in the language of the people whom have hosted me and who have (mostly) made me feel at home despite that I am very different from the ‘normal’.. and so I say it in Maltese!.. and I have this thought for you all…

If you have to conform and create New Years resolutions, if you feel you have to wish everyone a Happy Christmas even if you hate all blacks, whites, gays, non-locals, but *truly* want to be a good person, and make the world a better place.  Put your hatred aside all year, and…

Help the person next to you, your neighbor because they are old and can’t mow their lawn.

Help the Somalian boy in the middle of the road bleeding because some racist, fascist idiot kicked the living daylights out of him just because of where he was born.

Help the young man that you see at your bar that loves another man, but is too afraid to show his feelings because some say it’s bad to be gay.

Help the young mother who was raped which resulted in a child but everyone shuns her because they think she’s just a slut that sleeps around because no-one knows her story.

Be good to people.. make it a point to help someone, just one person if you want, less fortunate than yourself every day of 2014.

.. and if someone else doesn’t agree with your faith, your religion, say to them, that’s good, I don’t mind, I have my own beliefs and I respect that you have yours…!

Happy New Year everyone, please make it so… BECAUSE ONLY *YOU* CAN!