This country had anoccurence which shocked us all and made the government departments scurry – there was a national outage of the power grid. The only time an interruption to our power occurs is when contractors working on a scheme nearby has a mishap. By and large, the power is very stable. So it came as a reminder or wake up call when examining the reasons for this disruption. It caused absolute mayhem to transport – trains were unable to run as they’re now electric. Signalling failed. On the major road networks, the overhead granty and signalling was out as were road traffice lights and folk were ignoring polite rules of the road. Also the airports were affected – masses of flights stacked up. Ferries too were held out of port. Now much of this problem was caused by tremendous winds and force 10 storms and gales. It did serve notice to the powers that be to look again at our reliance on wind power. Although we’ve had gusts this week, the previous 10 weeks or so have been much hotter and calmer – no wind, therefore less power stashed away at the National Grid. Nuclear lobby pointing this out still ringing in our ears!
Author: Mike Terry
We live in a very uncertain world – will there be enough energy supplies to last my generation, will we always be relying on a third party to supply our energy, what on earth happened to our own energy supplies ?? There are conflicts throughout major parts of the oil producing world too. so many things that cause upheaval leading to unscheduled expenditure. what we can do though is to be as careful as we can about our own domestic and industrial energy useage. Obviously the industrial side is critical because they are such big eater of every kind of energy source out there. More companies could probably source theirs with more vigour than they do. There must be a way of harnessing power from the elements when in a city or out of town development. It cannot be doen to just the farmers and eccentric ‘tree hugging’ families with their own very proudly purchase wind turbine!
The sight of the early spring sun does make us all pretty joyous about the imminent arrival of summer – lots of gorgeous hot days, no need to use the gas or electric heating for several weeks now until autumn. We can relax outside to get the benefit of the rays. Even been known to put washing outside on really good days! The money that is saved in not switching on heaters, druying units, tumble dryers etc., unbelievable.
This reminds me of a couple of trips to Cyprus to stay with pals. Their villa is in a tiny village well off the beaten track. It’s not the easiest place to get to and until only a few years ago, electricity was pretty patchy in supply. However, my chums were able to rig up solar panels to heat their hot water supply – all rudimentary but all the village houses had means of heating their water and had been doing so for years.
Now that winter has arrived, almost missing out autumn altogether, we turn our minds to the busy period of christmas and new year. For some companies, this heralds the year end accounting period and so from now until 31st December, it will be a tremendous rush to clear all invoics, get payments in and ensure our own payments are absolutely up to date. We use a more energy during these winter months – personal energy, rushing around getting everything finish for the holiday period and also in the home and office. It’s much colder, damper and generally more miserable. We use heaters, washing machines and clothes dryers so much more. With so many families enjoyin the modern machines – tumble dryers not only dry the products, they stop the dampness that clings to a room whilst clothes are drying on an airer. We need to use less and looking into DIY energy savings is a valuable way forward.
Oh how I remember as a nipper, the damp foggy evenings, trudging along the route of my paper round. I always associate this time of year with damp clingy weather that seemed to permeate every bone. There would have been far more coal fires in houses then – we didn’t have central heating until I was reaching my teens. I do remember the house being freezing cold once we went out of the kitchen – that was the only one we heated and with Mum cooking, the steam and condensation made it feel a tiny bit warmer! Not a thought was given to saving the planet then – just saving Mum’s fuel money every time we lit a fire or put the electric 3 bar fire on. Today we can generate our own power – sell some back to the national grid. We can do our own little bit to lighten the load . Hurrah!
I have recently been on a little travel experience to a very hot island in the Med. Although the major towns are extremely built up, latterly with holiday apartments and hotel blocks, there still are hundreds of simple houses up in the hills off the main drag. Being up in the hills and away from the hustle and bustle, and humidity, of the big town, means the air remains hot but less sultry, for most of the day. Lastely though they too have suffered massive storms and high winds. These are things they’re not at all used to. The home and domestic wind turbines have always been used for very limited power extraction until 1963 many of the villages didnt have electricity or running water. My friend who lives over there has her own solar panels and she does her utmost to save using the electricity supply – it is expensive. So energy saving is second nature there!
We rather take for granted all the power we have at our fingertips. I remember very well many a winter’s day or night when our power would flicker and go off. We would be ready, the emergency candle and matches box was always kept in the same easy to locate space under the stairs. That position chosen because there was a huge fanlight over the front door and daylight/moonlight used to shine down to around that spot. We used to have an electric stove then because the old range cooker used to take too much effort to get going – it was solid fuel and we needed a constant supply of wood and other combustables. Once my grandma became too frail to constantly keep the range fed, swept, filled, etc. my mother refused to take on the burden, so the shiny new electric stove was installed nearby. Didn’t have the character but cooked much quicker!
I was looking out at the fantastic view from the small ballroom of a stately home the other week. The view had been there forever, since time began. The ballroom a bit less, from the late 1800s. I could see from my vantage point, the very pretty lake that stretched across my view. It’s been used for heating the house for many years and there is now a modern heat transfer system that uses 60 coils of cable under the lake that absorbs and exchanges the energy into heat. In the old days, a previous owner of the house had become knowledgeable in all matters of saving energy – not necessarily from saving the planet point of view, but more along the lines of saving their bank balance. However, the innovations he introduced have been improved upon throughout the last 140 years. Modern slow burning and smokeless fuel used to come from the family colliery. Modern indeed!