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One way to keep warm this winter

24 Jan 2024 | OP ED Watch

On January 12 the Daily Mail wrote an “EXCLUSIVE” that: “Electric double-decker buses will NOT be withdrawn from service after one ‘exploded’ on the school run, TfL [Transport for London] confirms – as hybrid bus catches fire in east London just a day later”. See in our perfect imagined world EV fires don’t happen, but if they do maybe people can at least gather around and warm their hands. But in grubby reality, alas, things are different. After a second bus erupted in flames in North Woolwich (east London) that took an hour to extinguish, emitted ghastly fumes and burned it nearly to the axles, the fleet was withdrawn from service as a “precaution” although naturally some bureaucrat, specifically TfL’s “head of bus business development” said the bus system was “safe to use”.

Never mind. It’s all fine in green make-believe world. Indeed, as severe cold overstrained energy systems as far south as Texas (so much for the end of winter as we know it), Heatmap Daily editor Matthew Zeitlin seemed positively giddy:

“What if all you had to do was ask? That may be the lesson the managers of the nation’s electricity markets and grids are learning after a cold front brought temperatures in much of the South and Midwest well below freezing. This meant that grids would face a heavy test from households cranking up their (electric) heat. So, in Texas and the Tennessee Valley, customers were asked to use a little less electricity on a few especially cold mornings. Now, it’s true that ‘just asking’ is hardly the type of things [sic] you’d expect from the grid of the future – unlike some complex demand response payment scheme or reserve power source spinning up to meet high demand, which would flatter our ideas of technological progress. But still, it does seem to work.”

So hey, it doesn’t even matter if wind and solar don’t deliver. And in fact it doesn’t, in the short run, as normal people dig deep and pull together to get through a crisis. (Just as Britons stayed calm and carried on during the Blitz, but it didn’t mean a policy of bombing one’s own cities regularly would therefore be economically and morally reasonable.) But if you tell them that you’re going to make that crisis the new normal because you won’t stop believing in things that don’t actually work, you can expect a very different response because actually this stuff kills people.

One news story, sticking to the snap script, said “Edmonton's Royal Alexandra Hospital ER loses heat during winter cold snap”. The immediate cause was an engineering problem, but one related to cold because very little works well at low temperatures. And if you toss away reliable energy infrastructure because you dream dreams of a brave new economy, and such things happen with any regularity, many people will die for your illusions.

Here's the sort of thing that doesn’t intrude on green dreams. The publication Pipeline Online warned earlier this month that:

“One of the first lessons any new engineering student learns in their materials class is “cold brittle behaviour” of materials. When it gets really cold, like -30 C or colder, many materials lose much of their strength and are prone to shattering. This applies to wind turbines as much as it applies to car bumpers. And as a result, most wind turbines are shut down when the ambient temperatures reaches around -30 C, lest their continued operation cause them to shatter. And such shutdowns were plainly evident the evening of Jan. 11, on both the Alberta Electric System Operator website and on Dispatcho.app. That’s a website that logs the minute-by-minute data published by the AESO regarding the Alberta electrical grid.”

Wind power cannot get you through the prolonged “cold snap” known as winter in Canada. Nor can solar, including if snow gets on the panels, not to mention hail. And if you try, you kill people.

7 comments on “One way to keep warm this winter”

  1. The problem (global warming) is 100% BS and the solutions to the BS problem are also BS, is that like "play stupid games, win stupid prizes"?

  2. It will continue to be an uphill battle against the psychopaths in charge. They are well and truly in charge in just about every aspect of our lives at this time. There is one glimmer of hope as more and more people wake up to what is going on. I say, turn off all idiot boxes and get down to some serious reading on sites such as this and share, share, share to all you know.

    P Fedora

  3. We shouldn't have to live through their implementation to know they are useless. Wind power has an average capacity factor of 26 to 30% meaning that's the per cent of nameplate capacity that they can actually deliver on a random schedule. The grid operators have to maintain spinning backup baseload that can supply up to all of the wind nameplate capacity on occasion or have an agreement with a neighboring grid that can reliably do so. Thanks to their experience with an NDP government and a foolish successor regime, Alberta, in its haste to shutdown coal fired baseload and play monkey see monkey do with wind and solar, they now have a dangerously unstable grid.

  4. And during the cold snap, the mentally retarded Guilbeault Twitter attacked Danielle Smith that if she hadn’t paused renewables approvals there wouldn’t be a problem, thus despite all went to zero due to the deep cold. So even if we had 10 or 100 times as many virtue propellers we’d still have zero. Someone needs to go explain grade 2 math to Guilbeault that any number multiplied by zero is still zero.

  5. Pat,
    Being on loan from Greenpeace, Guilbeault is not interested in human comfort, prosperity, or even existence above their magic desired planetary carrying capacity of a half billion or so. His zealotry sells in Quebec where "doing it" to the ROC is good politics along with the normal watermelon marketing.

  6. Alberta didn't have any deaths during their recent cold snap,but could have due to having too many unreliable renewables.But Texas wasn't so lucky
    three years ago,with more renewables.Ontario thankfully has surplus energy thanks to 50%+ of our electricity coming from nukes.But we have the
    Ontario Energy Board here trying to shut down reliable natural gas power plants in favor of stupid windmils and solar.Thankfully they were
    overruled by the provincial government.

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