The Anonymous Widower

Lockdown Scepticism Is Part Of The Brexit Divide

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article on the London School of Economics web site.

It is a must-read article about the views of the British on lock-down.

This is a paragraph.

Additionally, there are indications that lockdown scepticism is becoming increasingly entwined with the Leave/Remain divide that dominates most aspects of British politics. Many pro-Brexit Tory MPs are increasingly critical of the high costs of lockdown on individual freedoms and the economy and have been pushing, both publicly and privately, for easing of the restrictions.

If this view is reflected in the general population, will it increase your chance of Brexiteers getting the Covids, simply because they may be more tempted to break the rules?

January 6, 2021 Posted by | Health, World | , , , , | 4 Comments

Brexit: Duty-Free Makes A Come-Back For Travellers Returning From Britain

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Irish Times.

This is the first two paragraphs.

For the first time in more than 20 years people travelling to the State from British ports and airports will be able to load their luggage or their cars with tax-free tobacco, alcohol, perfumes and so-called luxury items once the new year bells chime in less than a week.

Duty-free between Ireland and Britain was abolished 21 years ago as it was not considered compatible with the emerging single market. However with the UK now leaving the EU and its single market from the start next year the old rules are set to revert.

As someone, who never buys anything in duty-free, I can’t say I’m bothered.

January 3, 2021 Posted by | Food | , , , , | 2 Comments

Activists Cheer As ‘Sexist’ Tampon Tax Is Scrapped

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the first two paragraphs.

The 5% rate of VAT on sanitary products – referred to as the “tampon tax” – will be abolished in the UK from 1 January.

EU law required members to tax tampons and sanitary towels at 5%, treating period products as non-essential.

My late wife; C had very strong views about this and I suspect that my late mother and my granddaughter would share C’s views.

Is this a glimpse of the future, where when we feel European Union policy is wrong, we can diverge?

It would certainly be a good test of unfair policy by the UK government, if the EU objected and tried to stop us removing the tax.

At least smugglers, who decided to switch from smuggling drugs and other nasties to  sanitary products would be doing something that caused less harm!

January 1, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 4 Comments

EDF Determined To Play ‘Major Role’ In UK Flexibility As It Signs 50MW Battery Optimisation Deal

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Energy Storage News.

This is the opening two paragraphs.

EDF is set to optimise Gresham House Energy Storage Fund’s 50MW Wickham Market lithium-ion battery site.

The French energy giant will use its Powershift platform to optimise the asset to deliver optimal value and minimise battery degradation at the site in Suffolk, England.

This is a paragraph from the article.

Recently, EDF has signed a number of agreements with battery storage owners, including to optimise SWGT‘s 30MW utility-scale battery earlier in December. The company is also working to build up its own battery portfolio, investing in cleantech startup PowerUp to support its 10GW of storage by 2035 ambition.

Note.

  1. I suspect in this section of the article, whoever wrote it, doesn’t know a MW from a MWh or a GW from a GWh. Storage or capacity should be measured in GWh not GW.
  2. SWGT would appear to be Still Waters Green Technology, who are building the 30 MW battery near Swindon.
  3. EDF purchased Pivot Power in June 2020.

It seems to me that EDF Energy are moving fast into both building and optimising energy storage.

Conclusion

Brexit seems to making little difference to EDF’s plans to invest in the UK.

But then we have the potential for the generation of Gigawatts of offshore wind, that is less of a resource for France.

December 24, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | Leave a comment

Ready To Charge

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in Issue 898 of Rail Magazine.

This is the sub-title of the article.

Vivarail could be about to revolutionise rail traction with its latest innovation

The article details their plans to bring zero-carbon trains to the UK.

These are a few important more general points.

  • The diesel gensets in the trains can be eco-fenced to avoid unning on diesel in built-up areas.
  • The Transport for Wales trains could be the last Vivarail diesel trains.
  • A 100 kWh battery pack is the same size as a diesel generator. I would assume they are almost interchangeable.
  • Various routes are proposed.
  • In future battery trains will be Vivarail’s focus.
  • At the end of 2020, a battery demonstration train will be dispatched to the United States.
  • Two-car trains will have a forty-mile range with three-cars managing sixty.
  • Trains could be delivered in nine to twelve months.

The company also sees Brexit as an opportunity and New Zealand as a possible market.

Modifying Other Trains

The article also states that Vivarail are looking at off-lease electric multiple units for conversion to battery operation.

Vivarail do not say, which trains are involved.

Vivarail’s Unique Selling Point

This is the last two paragraphs of the article.

“Our unique selling point is our Fast Charge system. It’s a really compelling offer.” Alice Gillman of Vivarail says.

Vivarail has come a long way in the past five years and with this innobvative system it is poised to bring about a revolution in rail traction in the 2020s.

Conclusion

Could the train, that Vivarail refused to name be the Class 379 trains?

  • There are thirty trainsets of four-cars.
  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • They are under ten years old.
  • They meet all the Persons of Reduced Mobility regulations.
  • They currently work Stansted Airport and Cambridge services for Greater Anglia.
  • They are owned by Macquarie European Rail.

I rode in one yesterday and they are comfortable with everything passengers could want.

The train shown was used for the BEMU Trial conducted by Bombardier, Network Rail and Greater Anglia.

The only things missing, for these trains to run a large number of suitable routes under battery power are.

  • A suitable fast charging system.
  • Third rail equipment that would allow the train to run on lines with third-rail electrification.
  • Third rail equipment would also connect to Vivarail’s Fast Charge system

As I have looked in detail at Vivarail’s engineering and talked to their engineers, I feel that with the right advice and assistance, they should be able to play a large part in the conversion of the Class 379 fleet to battery operation.

These trains would be ideal for the Uckfield Branch and the Marshlink Line.

If not the Class 379 trains, perhaps some Class 377 trains, that are already leased to Southern, could be converted.

I could see a nice little earner developing for Vivarail, where train operating companies and their respective leasing companies employ them to create battery sub-fleets to improve and extend their networks.

February 16, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are Extinction Rebellion Counter Productive?

I am coming to the conclusion that Extinction Rebellion are a bunch of climate-change fascists of the left, that mirror, the racist and immigration fascists on the right.

Both have unrealistic ambitions and just like Hitler and Stalin want to control out lives and give themselves and their acolytes absolute power.

In my mind, there is no difference between the extreme left and extreme right. For instance the extreme-right is generally thought to be anti-Semitic and who is being accused of that now? The once respectable Labour Party, which is now more useless than a chocolate teapot.

I am scientifically green and have been so since my I left Liverpool University round fifty years ago.

I have believed in global warming for about thirty years, ever since I was told by a guy on the NASA team, that measured the Earth’s temperature from satellites, that the world was warming up.

No matter what Bolsonaro Trump, Xi Jinping and other leaders say, global warming is a NASA fact!

But large numbers of people don’t believe in good scientific practice and behaviour.

  • Some are anti-vaccination.
  • Some believe in homeopathy.
  • Many believe in religion, some of which are totally bonkers!
  • Some think the 9/11 attacks were faked or carried out by the Israelis.
  • Some believe the moon landings were faked!
  • Some believe in log fires.
  • They drive hundreds of miles to work every year.
  • They drive their children everywhere.
  • They never talk to anybody of a different race or religion.
  • Some have a holiday home in Cornwall, North Norfolk, France or Spain.

There is only one way to convince morons like these to change to a more scientifically-green lifestyle.

By nudging them to it, by showing them it can be better and more affordable.

Extinction Rebellion and their ilk just alienate Middle England and they push green issues under the carpet for another day.

Incidentally, we need politicians at both a National and local level to stop playing stupid games about Brexit and get on with the job of improving the lives of all of the residents of the UK.

 

 

October 7, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | 5 Comments

Perhaps We Should Ask The Japanese To Sort Out The Problem Of The Irish Backstop?

September 28, 2019 Posted by | Sport, World | , , , , | 3 Comments

Boris Gets Screwed, Glued And Tattooed

I voted Remain, but just wish that this Brexit rubbish can be sorted one way or another!

With my circumstances as a non-driving, single pensioner living alone in a comfortable house with a more than adequate pension, Remain or Leave will probably make no or little difference to the rest of my life.

But other things could!

  • Increasing air pollution in London and other cities.
  • Global warming.
  • A government that raided my pension fund or pursued policies that would reduce its value.
  • The closure of more restaurants that are good at gluten-free food!
  • A government that didn’t back public transport.
  • Increasing violence on the streets.
  • A government that didn’t back serious research in Universities.

I have listed them in a rough order.

Should We Leave Now?

I actually feel now, that we should leave the EU, as to disobey the referendum would set a bad and dangerous precedent.

Especially, if we have a second referendum, in the hope of getting a result more acceptable to government and/or parliament and it proves just as close.

Imagine a controversial referendum in the future, such as bringing back the death penalty or imposing high carbon taxes.

If the government and/or parliament does’t get an acceptable result, will they go for further referendums until they do?

Where Now?

Boris is in a corner of his own making!

In the days of Rab Butler, Joe Grimond and Harold Wilson, the solution would have been to call in The Queen, who would give the nod to the next Prime Minister chosen by the Great and Good of the strongest party in the House of Commons.

Now with more democratically elected party leaders and the Fixed Term Parliament Act, such old-fashioned methods are now considered undemocratic.

But will the current crop of comedians in the House break the deadlock?

Conclusion

House Of Cards has nothing on this!

 

 

September 24, 2019 Posted by | World | , , | 4 Comments

Climate change: Offshore Wind Expands At Record Low Price

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on BBC News.

These are the first paragraphs.

A record amount of new offshore wind power has been announced in the UK – at record low prices.

The new projects will power more than seven million homes for as little as £39.65 per megawatt hour.

Compare this price with the £92.50 per MWh for the nuclear Hinckley Point C.

Note that all prices are in 2012 prices.

I have no argument with the engineering of nuclear power stations, but they do have issues that must be addressed.

  • They shouldn’t be built in possible earthquake zones.
  • They have a very high cost.
  • They can be an eyesore in parts of the UK.

But they do provide a good power zero-carbon baseload, once they are constructed.

Dogger Bank Wind Farm

The Dogger Bank Wind Farm would appear to be the centrepiece of the energy developments South of the Scottish Border.

It will be three separate 1.2 gigawatt wind farms developed on the relatively shallow seas around the Dogger Bank.

  • Creyke Beck A
  • Creyke Beck B
  • Teesside A

Wikipedia says this about the first two wind farms.

They would connect to the existing Creyke Beck substation near Cottingham, in the East Riding of Yorkshire.[6] The two sites lie 131 kilometres (81 mi) from the East Yorkshire coast.

Both have an area of around two hundred square miles.

Teeside A is further North and would be connected to a substation near Redcar.

North Sea Wind Power Hub

The three fields I’ve listed are all in UK waters and according to Wikipedia will or could be joined by more wind farms in the same area.

But just across the maritime border between the United Kingdom and the European Union, Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands have plans to develop the North Sea Wind Power Hub.

Wikipedia introduces the project like this.

North Sea Wind Power Hub is a proposed energy island complex to be built in the middle of the North Sea as part of a European system for sustainable electricity. One or more “Power Link” artificial islands will be created at the northeast end of the Dogger Bank, a relatively shallow area in the North Sea, just outside the continental shelf of the United Kingdom and near the point where the borders between the territorial waters of Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark come together. Dutch, German, and Danish electrical grid operators are cooperating in this project to help develop a cluster of offshore wind parks with a capacity of several gigawatts, with interconnections to the North Sea countries. Undersea cables will make international trade in electricity possible.

These points are also made.

  • Six square mile islands will be built surrounded by thousands of wind turbines.
  • The Dutch have estimated that 110 gigawatts of wind power could be produced at the Dogger Bank location.
  • We are not a member of the consortium, but it is hoped that Norway, Belgium and the UK will join.
  • The Dutch have suggested converting some of the electricity produced to hydrogen.
  • Completion date is set for 2050.

I am excited by this project.

We may not be part of the North Sea Wind Power Hub consortium and in a month or so, we may or may not be part of the European Union, but today’s announcement of new wind power projects in our section of the Dogger Bank  is effectively a substantial marker, that compliments the European plan.

Consider.

  • We are putting 3.6 GW of wind turbines on the Dogger Bank.
  • We are connecting it to the UK electricity grid. at Creyke Beck.
  • It would be easy to create another bi-directional electricity interconnector between the UK’s planned and the EU’s possible wind farms.

This is the sort of project that works, whether Brexit happens or doesn’t!

Six Scottish Wind Farms

.There is also a second article on the BBC, which is entitled Six Scottish Wind Farms Awarded Contracts.

These are the first paragraphs.

Six Scottish wind farm projects are set to go ahead after being awarded UK government contracts to sell the electricity they would produce.

The schemes include Forthwind and SSE Renewables’ Seagreen Phase 1, which are both proposed for the Firth of Forth.

Four onshore wind farms – Muaitheabhal and Druim Leathann in Lewis and Hesta Head and Costa Head in Orkney – have also secured contracts.

All farms are expected to be built by 2025 and provide enough energy for 265,000 homes.

Price Summary For Offshore Wind

This page on Offshore Wind gives the strike prices for the six offshore wind farms.

Creyke Bank A – £39.65 per MWh – 1200 MW

Creyke Bank B – £41.61 per MWh – 1200 MW

Teeside A – £41.61 per MWh – 1200 MW

Teeside B (Sophia) – £41.65 per MWh – 1400 MW

Forthwind – £39.65 per MWh – 12 MW

Seagreen Phase 1 – £41.61 per MWh – 454 MW

The size of each farm is also given.

Conclusion

The lights will stay on and we will need to develop more energy storage.

September 20, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

Bollocks To Brexit

This snippet is in the bottom-right corner of Page 29 in today’s Sunday Times

Is there no escape from politics? The top and bottom rows of the cryptic crossword in Thursday’s Guardian spelt out “Bollocks to Brexit”. Very amusing, but not a message that isn’t available elsewhere in the paper. How much more impressive to have smuggled it into The Daily Telegraph.

There’s certainly no escape from Hearing views about Brexit.

September 15, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , , , | Leave a comment