Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A taste of one future

Via EU Referendum, I see that the Isle of Eigg has run into some problems.

So what?

Well, as The Telegraph explains...
It was hailed as Britain’s first “green” island and a glimpse of the what the future could hold for the rest of the country.

And it seems that Eigg has indeed given us "a glimpse of what the future could hold for the rest of the country"—and it's not pretty.
But when the inhabitants of the remote Scottish island of Eigg put their faith in the wind and rain to provide all their electricity they did not reckon for one thing – mild weather.

Now the 95 residents are being asked not to use kettles, toasters or other kitchen appliances after uncharacteristically mild weather caused a critical shortage of power.

Weeks of what passes for heatwave conditions in the Inner Hebrides have caused water levels on the island’s three main burns to drop uncharacteristically low, cutting off the island’s hydroelectricity supply.

The normally powerful Atlantic gusts in the tiny island south of Skye have also reduced to a pleasant breeze leaving the island’s wind turbines idle for hours on end.

As a result, the community owned power company has placed the island on “red alert” and issued notices effectively rationing electricity.

It has had to revert to using old-fashioned diesel power to run a backup generator to keep the lights on.

Eigg is a tiny island, with a population of 95 people.

Britain is a large island with a population of nearer 65 million people.

Unlike the last time that we had severe electricity shortages—during the Three Day Week—almost all businesses rely heavily on computers.

If the lights go off for any sustained amount of time, the economy will collapse. If there is no electricity—especially in winter—people will die: after all, even hospitals with back-up generators can only run them for so long.

Now, this is probably seen as a bonus by the idiots who subscribe to the utterly discredited prognostications of Malthus or Ehrlich but most of the rest of us would view it as a very bad thing.

Eigg is indeed "a glimpse of what the future could hold for the rest of the country" except that its population consists of many thousand of times fewer people than would die if these insane policies are allowed to pertain across Britain.


Katabasis said...

This bit in particular made me LOL:

"It has had to revert to using old-fashioned diesel power to run a backup generator to keep the lights on."

Ed P said...

As they still have the diesel generator, they obviously didn't trust the green lobby & put all their Eiggs in one basket.

Blue Eyes said...

I am not a particular fan of wind power, but the difference on a large island is that a lot of the time when it is quiet in one part it will be windy in another. But of course that means lots and lots of spare capacity.

Chris said...

To be fair on the island of Eigg before they setup the "green" technologies they had no mains electricity as it's not worth the cost of connecting them to the grid and a conventional power station just isn't economical. So before they had individual diesel generators which are expensive and noisy to run and usually get switched off at night. So for them it's actually a good solution.

However it is a good illustration of why we can't simply move to 100% renewable power and... See more figuring out what percentage of power can be provided by wind/wave/hydro is really tricky.

Ultimately we should be building Nuclear stations as the amount of waste produced is tiny and the actual impact is small.

Roger Thornhill said...

Eigg is probably now a form of Eco-pr0n.

Imagine, chat lines set up so lentilistas can call in

Ring 0900 123 666 for 'hear me complain of privation', 667 for 'my day without electricity', 668 'living in darkness'...668 'the telly goes out at any moment'...669 'hear me pump water by hand'

oooo, they'd love it. Sounds of pre-civilisation. They's set up cameras for a form of "Big Druid", but...well, just as it is getting interesting the cameras conk out...

Danny Law said...

I used to live near eigg

To be honest a lot of the population of eigg were never keen on all this green tosh in the first place.

They wanted to be connected to the mains but because of the cost they were bulldozed into all this green crap. The population were offered all kinds of promises as to how wonderful the green option would be and virtually threatened with being abandoned if they didn’t accept what they were being offered.

On top of this - two or three incomers to eigg who were eco nuts (the reason they probably went to the island in the first place) with big mouths and well connected to the media elite in London added into the pressure.

This is a perfect example of the bullying that goes on amongst the eco brigade. 'You will take our option or else'

Hence the present situation on eigg is the result.

and the British people are so apathetic towards all these green lobbying groups and pressure groups that it will take the lights to start going out before we wake up to what’s been going on for the last 10 years in the power industry.

Anonymous said...

Yes Kevin, that does raise a worrying problem, the eco fascists are becoming too powerful and appear to run the Country. It is past time for a stand to be made but we haven't got the politicians with the balls to do it. Mind you it could be that they have all got their hands in the cooky jar.


Kitchens said...

On the other hand an oil tanker crashing into rocks in the next big storm delivering their oil would no doubt cause problems with power too, far beyond a lack of power.

A similar scheme is being considered in the Galapagos islands, where such a situation would be a catastophe.

At least they have a backup generator, stoves to boil water and grills to burn toast on. Is going without a kettle for a few days (in the summer!) really such a big price to pay for cheaper, cleaner electricity?

Bill Sticker said...

Put not thy faith in windmills, methinks. (Stifled chortle)

JB said...

As a lad in rural UK 60 years ago, we had wood and coal for heating and cooking, kero lamps (wicks, and then Tilley lamps) for light, drinking water from a well, rainwater for washing, and a long drop privy. The arrival of Calor gas for cooking, and later electricity was wonderful.
Try living like that for a few years, especially if old, see how you like it. Long live technology.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"Is going without a kettle for a few days...such a big price to pay for cheaper...electricity?"


Only because the windmills are heavily subsidised by the taxpayer via direct payments and inflated electricity bills for the rest of us.

Cheaper it is not.

And even if it were cheaper, it certainly is too much of a price to pay if your entire economy depends on a reliable power supply.