Our Electric Future?

On the day that the Scottish Government increases the ROCs for Floating off shore turbines, and yes I know that floating turbines rates alongside rocking horse manure and fairy dust in availability stakes, perhaps we need to actually look at our electric future. While the Greenies eat muesli, and Greek Yoghurt(Ed Davies favourite breakfast) and cycle to work(Ed Davies has a Ministerial Limmo), the would be (if we could afford the time) Greens drive Prius cars and the lapel badge greens talk longingly about highly subsidised fully electric cheap(?) transport, the truth is that, if electricity is our “fuel” of choice, the amount of energy we will need to create is simply beyond belief. Never mind the CO2 or Climate Change, in energy terms to

The electric dream

The electric dream

transpose the energy use in transport from cars, to lorries, to trains, to ships would treble our electricity demand. What do you power aircraft with? Bio-ethanol? How many hectaires would you need to take out of agriculture and how many rainforests would go to provide that? The only way to attain that level of electricity production would be dozens of nuclear power stations. I hear some say we have electric trains already. Yes, and the electric is mostly generated by coal, gas or nuclear. Imagine the riot if the 7.40 from Staines stopped in it’s tracks because it was a still day! And we haven’t even considered the amount of energy from gas, coal and oil used in heating our houses, offices and factories (49%). What about Hydrogen then? Great idea. Hydrogen from seawater. Problem is it requires large amounts of, you’ve guessed it, electricity to make hydrogen from seawater. Well we could use those off-shore “floating” turbines. At 3.5 ROCs per mw using the most expensive generation medium(>£3m per mw) available we wouldn’t be able to afford the hydrogen never mind the almost insurmountable problems of storing and transporting a highly explosive gas. Another factor is the efficiency loss every time you use one energy form to produce another.

So this is the quandary. The Experts(?) at the DECC want us to convert to an electric energy economy but the amount of energy required using renewable energy is not deliverable.  Even using present day nuclear we are pushing the boundaries. Battery technology is actually years away, too costly, too heavy, too restricted for all but limited road transport. If a miracle happened and suddenly a self contained electric motor appeared that could drive a family of four the seven hundred miles from London to Inverness powered by solar cells that would still operate at night in a snow storm whilst still powering the heater and the videos in the back seat we would still take up to twenty years to afford to buy new cars, never forgetting of course that our fossil fuelled trade ins would only have scrap value. So, smart meters or no smart meters, at this time anyone who believes that the future is electric should take a long hard look at themselves and book themselves into the funny farm!

Energy Distribution:by usage type

Heat 49%

Transport 30%

Electricity 21%


About Dougal Quixote

Slightly mad. Always believes a cup is half full so continues to tilt at Wind Turbines and the politicians that seem to believe it is their god given right to ruin Scotland for a pot of fool's gold.
This entry was posted in Wind farms. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Our Electric Future?

  1. jack bryson says:

    Stone age technology could be the answer to our energy problems.
    My two bedroom flat is heated by storage heaters, very successfully.
    This uses off peak electricity at night to heat up blocks off stone which release
    their stored up heat during the day..
    Instead of paying vast sums of money to fund inefficient windfarms why not give every home
    at least one storage heater free of charge to use up the excess energy that is available
    during the night. Why do we pay energy companies millions of pounds to close down
    turbines at night when we could be storing the energy in our homes at cheap rates.
    I ask you?.Regards Jack Bryson.

    • Heartily agree with you. I looked at Solar thermal the other day, out of interest, and noted that an expenditure of over 6k would produce a yearly saving of around 55. That means it will repay it’s capital cost at todays prices in 109 years. Of course it doesn’t have a life of 109 years and neither do I so it is pretty academic really! The other stone age technology is have the heat lower and wear a woolly! My Scottish Hydro gizmo that tells me how much electricity I am using alarms at temperatures below 20 degrees and tells me to put the heating up. Saving me money(?) or making more profit for SSE?


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