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Apocalypse Soon « the Air Vent
I have been reading a book which is crucially interesting and which sadly bode ill for the future, particularly for our children and our childrenâ€'s children.
€"œSustainable Energy Without the Hot Air"€ by Professor David J C Mackay, see: http://www.withouthotair.com/, the entire book or subchapters can be downloaded free on the internet. And, also see a recent review in the Economist at http://www.economist.com/books/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13437900
Look at this diagram from the Economist and be very worried particularly for the UK. Much of Europe will have similar profile except for France with 85% nuclear electricity generation and still building:

UK%20Energy%20Production.jpg
Predicted electricity demand and generation capacity after forecast closures
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldselect/ldeconaf/195/19505.htm


You really think windmills are going to fill that gap between demand and production capacity?

Comments

Gas will fill the gap.The supply of shale gas will turn the US into a major supplier of gas from a net importer. In a year ot two they will be exporting natural gas. World gas prices have fallen and the link to oil prices is breaking. Note todays announcement about energy companies profits in the UK. Even Ofgem has noticed that gas prices are falling.

With a world oversupply of gas there is no need for nuclear power stations or coal fired stations with carbon capture or storage (which is why none of the energy companies are building any). World estimates of gas reserves have pretty much doubled. There is enough gas to keep the world powered for 100 years. As a fuel it is also 'cleaner' than coal so less of the toxic CO2 is produced. Much of the new supply of gas is also from places where we will not be held to ransom by the suppliers. We do not need gas from Russia when we can buy it from Poland, Norway, Canada, Jamaica or the US as well as Quatar and Nigeria.

Because of energy efficiencies in the West, it could be that demand for energy may be peaking and that the forecast demand is too high.

I agree about the gas power generation.
Also, gas power stations will be built to back up the windmills, as they are quick to build and can be switched on and off. The government may therefore accidentally blunder into the correct energy policy, but with added waste and inefficiency.

The gap is largely artificial.

It is caused by the projected closures of a lot of our generating capacity as a result of EU regulations.

Therefore, if we tell the EU to take a hike, there will be no gap.

Or at least, no gap that we can't fill by normal market-driven means and existing technology.

Of course, we have to grow a pair in order to tell the EU where to go in the first place, so Cameron is not going to hack it!

Assumng the assumptions in the prediction are accurate, which they generally have not been in the past, I think the conclusions are wrong. There are two major factors not considered: 1) Conservation. Because of the simple fact that 1st world countries use so much energy they have the most to gain by conservation. I sit comfortably in my modest 1600 sq/ft three bedroom house temperature set at 70 degrees. But I grew up in a three bedroom house where only the kitchen was heated and winters where I grew up were severe. I could easily put in a small wood stove and heat one room hanging a blanket in the doorway to the rest of the house as my mother did. I could cook on that small stove. I could easily ride a bike to the store, we rarely had a car when I was a child. We had a tub but we would heat water on the stove all day so that we could wash at night. I regulary stood in the tub using a wash cloth to bathe and rinse with from a large bucket of wamr water. Just those three changes alone would cut my fossil energy use by about 90%. Imagine what it would do to the authors chart if conservation alone cut fossil fuel use by 90%.
2)New discovery: Twenty years ago we were simply ignorant of new oil and gas discovered since that time. What will the next twenty years bring. Especially if the added incentive of serious energy shortages is part of that equation. The author uses some static assumptions and some inflated future guesses to make his case. Could he be right? Possibly but more ikely twenty years from now we will know where he was wrong.

All of this is not to say we do not have any crisis looming but more to point out we do not yet know what we don't know.

And the chosen remedy will be forced reduction in energy consumption by installing "smart meters" which automatically shut down your electricity when you've reached your daily (or weekly, monthly) quota.
So expect to have electricity roughly from midnight to 10AM only, the rest of the day you're going to have to live in the dark and the cold as candles and woodstoves of course are disallowed for "health and safety" and because they produce too much CO2 and soot to meet environmental regulations.

Robert: "As a fuel it is also 'cleaner' than coal so less of the toxic CO2 is produced." Twat

So will government offices also have smart meters and be shut down when they exceed their use and will they get more or less then a household gets? I'm betting ONLY the sheep will be limited.

CO2 is not toxic. It is essential, life as we know it would not exist without it. It's level in the atmosphere is not particularly high today and at the slow rate it is increasing it will undoubtedly not exceed what it was in the previous global warming of the 11th century. When the next global cooling begins the colder oceans will absorb more CO2 and it will decrease in the atmosphere. Ironically it is exactly then that we will need more CO2 to increase crop production. The next global cooling will be a true disaster. Our current pleasant and temperate global warming is a blessing.

So will government offices also have smart meters and be shut down when they exceed their use and will they get more or less then a household gets? I'm betting ONLY the sheep will be limited.

CO2 is not toxic. It is essential, life as we know it would not exist without it. It's level in the atmosphere is not particularly high today and at the slow rate it is increasing it will undoubtedly not exceed what it was in the previous global warming of the 11th century. When the next global cooling begins the colder oceans will absorb more CO2 and it will decrease in the atmosphere. Ironically it is exactly then that we will need more CO2 to increase crop production. The next global cooling will be a true disaster. Our current pleasant and temperate global warming is a blessing.

"When the next global cooling begins the colder oceans will absorb more CO2 and it will decrease in the atmosphere."

The oceans are already cooling, and as we know, CO2 level is a lagging indicator of temperature, not a leading one (you can even see this on the charts in Al Gore's notorious propaganda film, but needless to say he does not notice or mention it).

So the trouble may already be upon us.

How many years before we're back to scares about a new Ice Age? Anyone betting?

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