Friday, 28 January 2011

I shut up, listened and watched...

why not just try to do the same!

It is really worthwhile to lean back and follow Paul Nurse. And I recommend for once you do not switch off your brain until this is finished:

And still, you should not switch off that brain of yours!

Carpe diem!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

green wind for energy

Sustainable Energy from Druim Ba 

Some kind of future his catching up with our area; so far we only watched such future going up from very high and very far, thankful for it not coming any closer. That changed when plans arrived for a huge wind farm that would alter our landscape, hardly making it any nicer.

Will it help to make future any better?

From the DBSE brochure:

On a purely technical basis, the site could accommodate 37 turbines.

A Scoping Report was submitted to the Scottish Government in the spring of 2010, for a wind farm with 31 turbines with generating capacity of 3MW each and a maximum tip height of 155 metres.

As a result of consultation with various consultees, the scope of the project has been reduced to 28 turbines and a reduced tip height of 150 metres maximum.

Interested in all kinds of energy generation, owning a (small) wind generator and depending on an highly efficient CHP-off-grid supply I am always trying to look at such a project from an angle as neutral as possible; it is difficult but clear figures and numbers on a spreadsheet help to keep that angle.

In an earlier post titled new thinking I said:

To question the efficiency of a wind generator asking from what point during its life span the 300ft cast-iron pole based in >1,000 tons of concrete will net generate electricity is seen as an anti sanctum.

That was two years ago! This time it is 28 times 500ft and much more concrete and iron, still you won't find anything answering that pretty simple question. One would think it would be the most straight forward calculation the want-to-be-wind-farming-company would present to its critics. An overall and detailed foot-print calculation putting input and output into relation from birth to death, from first scratch to the final recycling and regenerating process 25 years later; such a calculation could then be presented and steal most of the campaigners' thunder - if it was in favour of the technology producing carbon free energy.

Kiltarlity residents rally to fight plan for wind farm, a legitimate process (update 09-02-11: see what they have to say); however, in the majority of all cases these activities look like lame yogurt-knitters fighting bloated capitalists and vice versa. Pretty much useless when reduced to birds or bats, to "don't want" or "don't like", only, and even less entertaining where one democratic voice wants to eliminate the other:

A meeting led by campaigners against the Druim Ba wind farm will be held at Kiltarlity Village Hall on Saturday from 11am. It is understood that Druim Ba representatives will not be allowed to speak at the meeting.

Seeing what it could look like should rather force them to speak and explain.

Not allow the representatives to speak matches the picture of the underdog having a sit-in and a yogurt while listening the green energy blues:

The invitation to discuss the project is found in the project's description and even its name: "Druim Ba Sustainable Energy"; so to take it by the word and investigate the project's true sustainability must be the prime aim prior to challenging the project's feasibility; the result could range anything from "Yes, it is!" to "No, it is not!" but any serious campaign could only be based on the above calculation which would then be put into proportionality e.g. with our society's or be it government's targets, the habitats, the environment, may be its costs, ROI, pay-back-time, its disruptiveness, influence or even beauty - or ugliness.

Anything else, a campaign for the campaigners' sake or a non-sustainable shareholder-value-first project are pure entertainment or sheer propaganda!


propaganda: the many words that you read and hear around those catchwords like green and sustainable, renewable or carbon-neutral while lacking numbers and thorough calculations often even proper thinking enhance the feeling of one party trying to pull a fast one on the other. It reminds me very much of the many bubble words that were made about the Highland Expo.

politics: some time ago the collective decision was made that energy generated from wind should become a major part of our grid supply; obviously the collective decision did not include to calculate the technology's footprint - why?

Carpe diem!

update 25-01-2011
P&J: Revised windfarm plans kept under wraps by developers
Next exhibition:
Abriachan Village Hall, Wednesday 9th February, 2011, 2 - 8 pm

Friday, 21 January 2011

China's economic lessons...

by far too complex for our leaders, no matter what couleur!

I came across Robert Reich's blogpost titled "The Real Economic Lesson China Could Teach Us". It is well worth reading; I am in agreement with what he writes and explains; alone, his conclusions are ending half way into yesterday, only.

China is eating our lunch. Why? It has a national economic strategy designed to create more and better jobs. We have global corporations designed to make money for shareholders.

In reality China is not eating America's lunch, breakfast and dinner, only; it is also having luxury five-course meals three times a day European style; no wonder it faces obesity problems.

For many years, already, it is obvious that China follows a national economic strategy; not much to do with obesity but with ensuring China's direct access to all kinds of resources with an emphasis on land and energy; I keep mentioning this, alone, nobody seems to really care and understand what the enormous amounts of green bonds, green as in greenback, that some see rotting and molding in Chinese bank deposit boxes are buying them; China's  global investment bonanza has already won the race against an ever more hollow Dollar (and EURO) and against the publicly discussed and most amusing fact that the US (and Europe) will never in a million years be re-paying its debts.

"He who laughs last laughs best" must be an old Chinese country lore!?

All this is backing up the Yuan, a currency that most of us still never saw or  touched but which will be the one and only key-currency owned by the one and only super power in the foreseeable future. Chinese national debt is said to be 14% of GDP - sensational in a world where every other country is in high two or far advanced into three digits debts.

Robert Reich sums it up:
Here’s the real story. China has a national economic strategy designed to make it, and its people, the economic powerhouse of the future. They’re intent on learning as much as they can from us and then going beyond us (as they already are in solar and electric-battery technologies). They’re pouring money into basic research and education at all levels. In the last 12 years they’ve built twenty universities, each designed to be the equivalent of MIT.

Their goal is to make China Number one in power and prestige, and in high-wage jobs.

Yes, and the rest is falling behind, far behind; share-holder value tin gods and global strategies for Mr. Neo and Mrs. Lib help(-ed) China long term and accelerate(-d) the sellouts of America and Europe. Distractions that will make the "Made in Germany" or "...US" or "...UK" an essential criteria for defining goods in the antique malls; in short: one producing wealth while the rest produces debts.

The dark ages have left China for the West and the East.

Politicians of the darkness, don't you worry; it needed independent intelligence both of which your profession doesn't allow for.

Carpe diem!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

new year: old news

All the best for another year of more of the same: unsolved but mixed problems! Take it easy!

On the Euro and the Yuan;
China and Grangemouth;
Affordables, efficiencies
and the Scottish Expo!

The Euro's main function now during its finale seems to be to assist the US $ in paving the path for the Chinese Yuan to become the world's sole key currency. Sounds odd?

Nothing odd about China's intelligent moves to install themselves as the one and only superpower while the decadent rest watches and applauds. And really, for all their investments they use that green paper covered in rot and mold while most of their investments into e.g. deprived harbours in Portugal, Greece or Scotland are covered by petty cash:

The operators of the Grangemouth oil refinery have struck a deal with China's largest oil and gas producer to safeguard the future of the facility.

At the weekend, it was announced that Scotland and China had sealed a major green energy deal, worth $10m (£6.4m).

Petty cash that opens a flood gate - for China:

It will see technology pioneered in Scotland used at a new renewable energy conversion plant in China.

Combined with technology transfer: clever deals, China! I would like to see that "technology pioneered in Scotland"; to me it rather seems like Grangemouth needs an urgent upgrade itself to possibly understand that 20 or 30 metre high flare flames from burning off flare gas 24/7 could be considered as an substantial waste of energy, not to mention an enormous carbon belcher - obviously it is not any financial problem: we, the stupid customers using stupid gas pumps or desperately in need of energy to fight the cold in our eco-houses will be paying the bill: anyway!

Oh: and two flames are heating up that frosty sky above those human ecotopes at least twice as efficient!

Those Low Energy Home Tenants sitting in eco-friendly homes representing all those stupid marketing credentials while facing sky high power bills would probably love to have their share in those Chinese flames of Grangemouth.

"Some of them are switching the heating off altogether because they cannot afford to keep it going. To build eco-houses that people cannot afford to live in is just not right."
The development, a mix of flats and two and three bedroom houses, was built by Tulloch Homes Express just over 12 months ago.

The properties are fitted with under-floor heating powered by an exhaust heat pump system which recycles hot air. In its 2010 annual report Cairn boasted that the homes would provide tenants with low heating and water bills.

By the way, I commented on the article; must have been lost for many days or could it actually be the case that the Inverness Courier does not want to lose an express client?

This is old news, again an unsolved but an ever increasing problem; the modern society's version of "biting the hand that feeds one..." called progress, growth, prosperity and a human life!? In Germany it is currently called "dioxin crisis", you could also name it "Haiti" or "banksters" or just "peak globe"!

click to enlarge

That last August, remember? I dared to write about our visit to the Scottish Housing Expo, a lot of criticism, some asked me why I would be so grumpy? No mention of me being unfair, wrong or untrue. Here is an update on its sales:

Sales of properties at the site of Scotland's Housing Expo have been mixed almost five months after the event finished in August last year.

Albyn Housing Society said it had sold 10 of its 11 homes at Balvonie Braes in Inverness.
The organisation added that there was interest from someone in its remaining property.

Highland Housing Alliance, one of the expo organisers, has still to sell all of its 27 homes.
The event, showcasing eco-friendly and energy efficient designs, was held during the whole of August.

Backed by Highland Council and the Scottish government, the expo attracted 30,000 visitors.

This "backed by ..." you can find here; a +two million package with mixed sales and modern cladding:

No, I am not a grumpy old man; not yet, just an old, slightly mixed sarcastic realist.

Carpe diem!