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A tale of two grids

Renewable electricity prices

Britain is currently a land where anything can exist as long as it remains solely in the minds of the increasingly deranged individuals who believe it.  No, for once I am not talking about our politicians’ inability to understand Brexit.  This time I am talking about two diametrically opposite views …

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Solve this or you solve nothing (1)

Limits of technology

A few miles from where I live there is a cycle track that is – apparently – spoiled by a series of stone slabs placed about a metre apart over a couple of miles.  They are, in fact, what remains of the world’s first steam railway sleepers across which in …

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Turning low-EROI oil into no-EROI oil

US oil invasion

There is a story – possibly apocryphal – about a conversation between former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson and then President George W. Bush at a swanky Washington dinner party in 2003, in which Tillerson is reputed to have remarked: “FFS George why do you want to invade Iraq?  Why not …

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An unknown unknown

Fracking damage

In order to secure licenses to carry out fracking in the UK, the oil and gas companies involved signed up to a tight regulatory framework.  In part, this was done to sell fracking to a highly sceptical population.  Given Britain’s long history of extractive industries poisoning land and water courses …

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For Britain’s energy future look at its railways

Train overcrowding

If there is one thing that Britons like to complain about more than the weather it is the state of the trains.  An overwhelming majority of us in poll after poll believe that things were better back in the days before the unnecessarily complex Tory privatisation in 1996.  The current …

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Fracking done… for now

Fracking on hold

It would be an understatement to suggest that the UK government is in crisis.  Brexit has become a kind of political black hole that is fast consuming the political energy of government and opposition alike.  It seems increasingly likely that the Tories will reap the disapprobation of the electorate – …

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The real threat from AI

Killer AI

Killer robots really are coming for your children… expect to be plunged into a new Dark Age! Am I thinking of some kind of dystopian sci-fi future in which an army of Terminator-type robots arrives to exterminate humanity?  Or maybe I am imagining a near future in which Jeff Bezos, …

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Fracking accounting discrepancy

Fracking accounts

There is a mismatch between the fracking companies’ investment brochures and the cash flow recorded in their accounts.  In the years after the financial crash, this did not seem to matter too much.  In the face of near zero percent interest rates elsewhere, the fast-growing US fracking industry offered one …

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No supply side route out of climate chaos

China traffic

Among the many disagreements between environmental campaigners, government ministers and business leaders, there is one central point of agreement – renewable energy harnessing technologies are the solution.  While campaigners may rail against the lack of commitment to deploy these technologies, only a minority among them is prepared to contemplate an …

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Heavy oil shock

Oil refinery

For all the talk about electric cars and renewable electricity, global oil production rose above 100 million barrels a day last month.  For all the policy pronouncements to the contrary, the stark reality remains that our insatiable demand for oil, the products of oil, and all of the stuff that …

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