Talking Topics is a list of issues that come up on the web or in books, the latest of which we will discuss at our meeting on the date given.
Solar power has grown rapidly in the last seven years, going from almost nothing to 11GW of capacity, meaning it now regularly provides more power than Britain’s last coal plants. There is also 15GW of wind power, a figure that will climb this year as major offshore windfarms come online.
But still a long way to go.
Ingenious new technologies –
That is, a small change in global average temperature does not mean only small changes in climate or weather patterns.
In Kidlington the cost of storm damage could be a third higher if temperatures go up by 1.5 C over pre-industrial levels.
Tim Buckley, a director at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said the most important factor driving a rush of international investment in Indian renewables was the “transparency, longevity and certainty” of the country’s energy policy.
“That is absolutely critical because when you invest for 25 to 35 years, you need certainty and clarity of policy,” he said.
Can the UK catch up with its former colony?
Instead of storing electricity in a way that can be reversed to generate electricty again later, create a freezer to use for cooling at another time. This is another way of using the ‘excess’ solar PV electricity production. Of course you could use this ‘cold’ to run an engine to generate electricity again, but using the ‘cold’ directly is the best use.
Ice Energy essentially stores electricity by drawing power from the grid at non-peak times to freeze water in a special container. Then at peak times, when the cost of electricity is high and grid operators are struggling to keep up with demand, Ice Energy’s systems kick in and use that block of ice to cool the space that the air conditioning unit normally serves.
Before and after on the US Environmental Protection Agency website.
This is a chance discovery that illustrates the importance for us of other creatures sharing our planet that we view as nothing of consequence.
The grubs appear to breakdown polyethylene with the same enzymes they use for eating beeswax.
Since this story was first published, that message has been updated to read: “The data on this Web site will continue to be available on April 28, 2017”. The EPA also tweeted to say that the website wasn’t going anywhere and that it is “open, working and not going anywhere”, though it seemed to be experiencing occasional outages.
Let’s hope the information stays available.
A Himalayan problem –
Each winter, titanic shelves of ice form at high altitudes and melt throughout the spring, flowing downwards into the streams that are the veins of civilisation on the mountain. Lately, that cycle has faltered.
Solved by a true wealth creator with Himalayan imagination –
The conical shape hit a sweet spot, maximising the volume of ice that can be “grown”, while minimising the surface area exposed to direct sunlight. That means it keeps melting well into the spring, releasing up to 5,000 litres of water each day by “storing it in the sky”, Wangchuk says.
It also has the benefit of resembling the Buddhist stupas – religious sites used for meditation and worship – that dot the landscape, a crucial point for 50-year-old. “Because it resembles something we have in our tradition, it is made more close to the population, to their hearts,” he says.
The idea of tipping points becomes graphically real.
This discovery is especially worrisome for three reasons. First, methane traps 86 times as much heat as CO2 over a 20-year period. Thawing permafrost creates both CO2 and methane (CH4), but most models of thawing permafrost assume only CO2 is created. If, as it appears, a lot of methane is being generated, then we’ll see even more extra warming than scientists have projected.
Second, a recent study found global warming will defrost much more permafrost than we thought.
If you want to feel queasy: Underground methane bubbles