The Anonymous Widower

Engie Partners Innovate UK For £4 Million Energy Transition Competition

The title of this post is the same as this article on Current News.

  • This is an interesting link-up between the UK Government Agency; Innovate UK and the French energy giant; Engie.
  • Wikipedia defines energy transition as a long-term structural change in energy systems.
  • It is the first time Innovate UK has secured overseas private funding.
  • It aims to fund the very best of \british innovation in clean growth innovation.
  • Grants of between £100,000 and £1.2 million will be awarded.
  • There appears to be no mention of Brexit!

It looks to me, like a very strong endorsement of British innovation and the British energy industry by the French.

I also think, that if there is one industry where the British and the French should be linked, it is energy.

The UK has the following energy sources and resources.

  • Offshore and onshore oil and gas.
  • Redundant gas fields for carbon capture and storage.
  • Offshore and onshore wind.
  • Large areas of sea for offshore wind.
  • We have 8,183 MW of installed offshore wind capacity, which is the largest in the world.
  • The possibilities of tidal and wave power from a long Western coast.
  • Vast experience in building off-shore structures in some of the worst weather on the planet.
  • Interconnectors to Norway and Iceland to import their surplus geothermal and hydroelectric energy.

Could we become a renewable-energy powerhouse?

The French have the following.

  • Nuclear power, some of which will need replacing.
  • Only 500 MW of offshore wind.
  • More solar power than we have.
  • Easy connection to North Africa for solar power.

But in some ways, most important is the several interconnectors between the UK and France, with more planned.


Between the UK and France, with help from Ireland, Spain and Portugal, can develop a massive Western European renewable energy powerhouse, backed  by the following, non-renewable or external sources.

  • French nuclear power.
  • North African solar.
  • Icelandic geothermal power
  • Icelandic hydro-electric power
  • Norwegian hydro-electric power

It should be noted that in a few years, the UK will have joined Iceland, Norway and North Africa outside of the European Union.

I believe that Sovereign Wealth Funds, Hedge Funds, Pension Funds, Insurance Companies and other individuals, groups and organisations will increasingly see renewable energy as good places for long-term investment of their funds.

The two big problems are as follows.

  • What happens when all these renewable energy sources are producing more energy than we can use?
  • What happens when there is an energy deficit?

Energy storage is the solution, but the amount needed is massive.

In Airport Plans World’s Biggest Car Parks For 50,000 Cars, I looked at the mathematics in using car parks for electric cars for energy storage.

These are a few figures.

  • Electric Mountain is the UK’s largest electricity storage scheme with a capacity of 9.1 GWh.
  • The largest battery in the world is the Bath County Pumped Storage Station with a capacity of 24 GWh, which works on similar principles to Electric Mountain.
  • Building another Electric Mountain would cost £1350 million, if we could find somewhere to put it.

But supposing half the 35.5 million cars and light goods vehicles in the UK were replaced by new electric vehicles containing a battery of around 20 kWh, that would be a total storage of 355 GWh or nearly forty Electric Mountains.


Harnessing all of these batteries will be an enormous challenge, but it will be ideas like this, that will enable the world to go carbon neutral by 2050.

But I don’t think we’ll ever see Trump or Xi Jinping in an electric limousine..


June 21, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt To Power Europe By Underwater Cable

The title of this post is the same as that of a short news item on page 32 of today’s Times.

Egypt appears to be using gas from four new offshoregas fields to generate the power.

But surely, they could also use solar, as I’ve heard Egypt gets a lot of sun!

I do think though, that countries like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco, which are all reasonably close to Europe could generate substantial amounts of solar power, which could then be exported to the North, through undersea cables, which are not very long using today’s technology.

I also think, that solar power will grow Southwards from the countries bordering the Mediterranean.

Will these basket case countries like Sudan, Mauritania, Somalia and Chad, acquire both an income and the electricity they need to improve the lot of their people?

Whether, their people will benefit, is another question, but Europe’s need for green energy could be the need, that these countries will fill, using unproductive desert.

I also think, there’s scope to combine solar farms with agriculture in the shade to create the food they need.

Read Solar Farms And Biodiversity on Solar Power Portal.

May 24, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s The Weather Like In Africa?

This is a difficult question to answer, as Africa only has a limited number of weather stations.

So along comes Kukua, which has designed a low-cost, mobile network-connected, solar-powered weather station.

There’s a report in the latest edition of BBC Click.

It shows how the devices are helping small farmers in Africa.

November 5, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

The Joy Of Physics

On the One Show on BBC television, yesterday there was a report about a man called Ian Tansley, who has invented a vaccine fridge for use in places like Africa, where the electricity is not reliable.

This Wikipedia entry for Sure Chill Technology describes the technology and this report on the BBC, describes how the invention has been backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Physics to many is a dull subject at school, but to me, it’s the key to so many interesting inventions and ideas that will shape our lives in a better way.

October 24, 2017 Posted by | Health, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Africa’s Great Green Wall

The Sunday Times has an article today about the Great Green Wall. Wikipedia describes the project like this.

The Great Green Wall is a planned project to plant a wall of trees across Africa at the southern edge of the Sahara desert as a means to prevent desertification. It was developed by the African Union to address the detrimental social, economic and environmental impacts of land degradation and desertification in the Sahel and the Sahara.

The aims are wider than this according to the Sunday Times, with hopes that trees can be planted that provide useful crops and income, so that the men aren’t drawn to terrorism and general mayhem.

The article also talks about how Kew Gardens is being drawn into the project, because it has the expertise to make sure the trees germinate and thrive.

By the end of this year they hope to have planted 162,000 trees in 2,500 acres. The forty species include gum arabic, tamarind and desert date.

This project is one of the ways to help stop poverty in the poorer areas of the world, whereas the article is the reason to buy the Sunday Times today.

Putin sends a missile battery, whereas Kew sends in and trains botanists and gardeners.

July 20, 2014 Posted by | World | , | 2 Comments

The Danger Of Religious Fraud

This story is running on BBC’s London News. This is the first part.

TV shows made in London that encourage viewers to believe they are cured of life-threatening illnesses by prayer have been condemned by charities.

Charities criticised an episode of the Miracle Hour show, on Faith World TV, during which a diabetic caller was told he was “set free” from the disease.

“It is particularly dangerous and puts his life at risk,” said African Health Policy Network head Francis Kaikumba.

It strikes me that when people like these make dangerous television programs like this, that the law should get involved.

At least they should be charged with fraud, as that is what it is!

February 21, 2013 Posted by | Health, News | , , , | 2 Comments

Hell’s Angels

This was the title on the second leader in The Times today and it talked about a charity called Riders for Health.  It has been chosen as one of the newspaper’s charities for Christmas.

I think what they do is brilliant and it’s so simple.  Providing transport in the rural areas of Africa must surely get better healthcare.

December 3, 2012 Posted by | Health, World | , | Leave a comment

Where Is The Africa Cup of Nations?

I’ve always enjoyed this football tournament, as I said here.

But this year it’s on Eurosport and the only way to see that is by using Sky. All you get is highlights on ITV4 and that’s not in my guide.

January 21, 2012 Posted by | Sport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nairobi’s Two-Wheeled Taxis

I like this story.

We must think creatively about how to deal with young offenders.

August 14, 2010 Posted by | World | , , | 2 Comments

Beware of Baboons

Baboons are the hooligans of Africa, and as this story from Cape Town shows they can do a lot of damage to get what they want.

I was first made aware of the habits of baboons in of all places, Penang in Malaysia.  C and I were waiting for the cable car, when we met a friendly Canadian couple and their three early teenage children.  The couple, who were both teachers, had sold everything and were taking a family trip round the world, staying generally in a couple of dollar a day guesthouses.  They had crossed the Sahara in a truck, travelled overland to Kenya by a variety of means and then from Tanzania, they’d crossed to India in a dhow.  I asked if they’d had any problems and they said no, except for the baboons.  They told of how they could open the most secure of cases and would do anything to steal food. They had had another problem incidentally, when their son had broke his humerus in Nigeria, only for it to be set perfectly, by the local bonesetter.

Ever since that conversation I’ve always been wary of baboons.

I remember an incident at Cape Point, near Cape Town in South Africa.  There is a tea bar there and the baboons were all on the roof, trying to steal food, as they always do. But they had found that if they put their backside over the edge of roof and defecated, they could get a lot of laughs and hopefully someone would drop a burger or a sandwich.  I have seen some revolting behaviour in my time, but this ranks with the worst.

Their behaviour was little better in Gambia on one of my last holidays with C and in Kenya, they were always looking to create some trouble.

So keep clear of baboons.

I’ll always remember that charming Canadian family and wonder if they ever wrote a book about that adventure of a lifetine.

July 26, 2010 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | 1 Comment