Monday, December 10, 2007

Solving The Energy Crisis (Maybe)

Since I am poorly today, and off work *cough, cough*, I've had time to peruse the papers, and one story that's caught my attention is about Wind Turbines. I am specifically referring to the "Minsters Plan Massive Building of Turbines Out at Sea to Power Britain", that's in the Scotsman today.

In it, it talks of plans where up to "7,000 turbines could be installed off the UK's coastline in a bid to boost the production of wind energy 30-fold by 2020."

Admittedly, I don't know too much about turbines, wind farms and the ilk, but I have been reading about something, that to me, seems much more simple and efficient - Geothermal Heat Pumps. Every home should have one!

Basically what happens, is you dig a big hole by your house, sink a series of pipes, commonly called a "loop," down in said hole, and then it circulates a fluid (water, or a mixture of water and antifreeze) that absorbs heat from, or relinquishes heat to, the surrounding soil, which then acts as a heat source in winter and a heat sink in summer. (You may notice, I am well versed in the art of copy/paste). Here's a visual for all you men visual types..

Seems simple enough doesn't it? They seem to have been around awhile, and even factoring in the average cost of $7,500 (£3,665) per installation, I am unable to determine why they are not more popular, or prolific. If more homes had them, it would surely help relieve, if not alleviate, our huge dependency on oil - good for the country - plus it would be great for the homeowner, as it translates to hundreds of $$'s saved in heating/cooling costs over the long term.

So, my question is, why isn't this more popular? (I am specifically referring to regions where it would be feasible of course).

If you're interested, or if you know, please let me know, as I am stumped. I did look at this pdf, but frankly, it was far too boring technical to complete.

Besides, I am far more interested in your thoughts than my own most of the time:-)

28 comments:

The Hitch said...

Not everybody has a garden (+:
although they can be sunk verticaly.In london that can cause problems due to plague pits.
On top of that we have huge amounts of coal and should be burning it then building some nuclear power stations, not ruining our coast .
I have no time for these "green" types , they tend to be either stupid(useful idiots) or wicked with a hidden agenda.

Lady Jane said...

Hi Hitch.. no, I wasn't thinking of London.. its an idea more for the countryside, and I agree about the spoiling of the coast. Basically, what I am wondering, is if we have this technology that can decrease dependence on foreign oil, why are we not using it? Why come up with wind farms etc (which besides being an eyesore, are a proven menace to birds - and maybe more). They (Govt) should be pushing for more effective, and cost efficient methods I think.. solar, Geo etc.

The green debate is v. controversial.. there is a lot of crap spouted that no one bothers to verify (like the time I bought Florescent bulbs, thinking I was doing good for the planet, only to find out it takes MUCH more energy to produce them, and they are an environmental hazard if you break one or put it in the bin - BESIDES not working as long as they say they do).

Lady Jane said...
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killemallletgodsortemout said...

The french have the "Barrage de la Rance".

The tidal river Rance spins turbines as it comes in, then again on the way out. Simple.

We have the Thames, the Severn, the Ouse, to name but a few. Excuse my simple mind, but why can't they be used to generate electricty, just like the Rance? No harm to wildlife thanks to the meshes which are incorporated into the construction, no ruination of coastlines.

I'm not sure about greens. They seem to be part of the great unwashed around here, tree-hugging lunatics, mostly. I haven't yet met one that I can take seriously.

Now, if Daisy were a green.........

Lady Jane said...

She's not, I assure you;-)

Lady Jane said...

Killem.. I think there has been some debate on a barrage for the Severn recently.
I am not entirely convinced of the effectiveness of the barrage, as there seems to be confusion on the data (how after 40 years, I DO NOT know). Maybe a bit more research on my part is needed.

I would be concerned about the impact on the breeding grounds of birds etc., but don't be calling me a greenie or anything;-)

45govt said...

We went to the Rance once Killem, to look at a house, when we were thinking of moving to France; it was overpriced crap, but the trip was good as always in la belle France.

The Hitch said...

killem
trust me
Daisy would club a seal just for fun
she isnt a green

killemallletgodsortemout said...

A baby seal, I hope?

Lady Jane said...

Hitch - wrong Daisy. Killem is referring to the Daisy a few posts down.

Killem, okay, okay, you can call me a greenie, but leave the baby seals alone;-) *sniff, sniff*

Lady Jane said...

Umm, I meant :-(

electro-kevin said...

Nuclear power is the only sensible way at the moment.

I despair. Dithering in the UK as usual on everything except the dismantling of our 'constitution'.

What were the hand signs you mentioned on my blog, LJ ?

Lady Jane said...

The "coercion" signals, used by American soldiers when Hilary Clinton or Harry Reid and ilk, force them into photo ops.

Hercules said...

Great new look Lady J!

I miss my Daisy...

Hercules said...
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Hercules said...
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Lady Jane said...

Hiya Herc.. you like? I admit, I adore the header (I took the pix you know) and the designer is a bloody genius! Big head though, so maybe shouldn't say that;-)

Lady Jane said...

P.S. (senility creeps),

Daisy said to give you her regards - you and Killem - her biggest fans:-)

The Hitch said...

lj
You talk to herc about big heads?
thats how he really looks, its not a costume (+:

Lady Jane said...

The same could be said of you my dear H;-) The bigger the head.. the bigger the...


















Brain.

Hercules said...

Hitch, I’m rather sensitive about my big head, thank you very much! It took me years to buy my way out of the circus, only to be given a job as a football mascot! It paid well, but now I’m trying to break the American mascot market… I’ve only got to the high school level.

LJ it really does look good I’m impressed.

electro-kevin said...

Photo for you on my blog.

Scroblene said...

LJ; I'm all for these pumps. We are considering piling one of our buildings (putting concrete piles into the earth and using their hollow structure to bring heat to the surface for use in the building).

Don't knock the fact that this is possibly 'too green', and that you don't understand - I reckon you've done more than most people do in trying to see how we can make these systems work. I rate that! You're much, much better than most politicians here!

I always wanted to see the Severn Barrier! There's so much energy waiting to be taken up, that it is inconceivable that they keep wandering about, paying consultants and not deciding. That's what politicians do. They are a cowardly bunch. Can you imagine Ed Balls ever doing anything which didn't keep him and his costly wife in expenses?

Rant over...this is a good subject which I have been challenging for some time recently.

If you want to build a new building in UK, you have to satisfy a BREEAM test. This means that there are many things one has to do to make the building efficient, take less power, cause less traffic etc etc.

The total bill fo enabling a BREEAM specification means that it costs around £250,000 on a project worth £10m. That's a lot of money, and is one of the reasons why there are a) so many politicians eager to climb aboard the bandwagon and score points, and b) loads of fees to be made by government/inspectors, to make sure everyone is a good citizen.

I don't actually mind the savings advantage on my developments, as I should gain in the long run, but as is usual with this profligate bunch we have in power, somehow, we are taxed to the extreme, and also suffer financial losses while they crow about their successes in cleaning up the environment. They don't seem to take resposibility for their actions - except when they claim for all their expenses...

Hitch is right, London can't always use these systems, but there will be hundreds - thousands of new developments being planned (not thinking about the Olympics - just wait until some weak-kneed politician mentions that the cost has increased for the reasons above...) which will hit the buffers, because of these issues.

You can let this thread run and run, but beware, the people you pay in your taxes are the worst people to administer this extaordinary burden.

And it will get worse!

Lady Jane said...

Wow Scrobs.. you are certainly passionate about it - as well as well informed. I am delighted you visited:-)

Lady Jane said...
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Lady Jane said...

Scroblene.. I am sorry I could not answer properly earlier.. me being at work and all, but I am truly delighted that you have joined in the discussion, and I am grateful to see so many sensible (for obvious reasons the Hitch is excluded;-) comments. I applaud your efforts – the piling idea sounds excellent & I hope that works out. Bureaucracy and red-tape are an unfortunate evil, as is Government intervention on the whole, but is important for developers to pursue these ideas, and I do believe the payback over the long term, will offset any immediate costs. Thanks, and pls come back again;-)

Minicapt said...

1. http://www.bchydro.com/powersmart/elibrary/elibrary685.html
2. http://www.waterfurnace.ca/Howitworks/howitworks.htm

The basic problem is the size of the earth loops. For thermal reasons, each loop need to be 150yds in length, horizontal or vertical. You thus need a large property, or pay the bucks to drill several wells. Followed by the maintenance costs of an uncommon heating/cooling system.

On the other hand, President Bush has one installed at home in Crawford.

Cheers
JMH

Lady Jane said...

Welcome back JMH.. and thank you for the links;-)

You seem to be a 'many pie' man?!
How do you keep your hands clean I wonder..xx