Sunday, 30 August 2015

Solar Power in England

I notice solar panels appearing on rooftops, and read of plans for whole farms of them in this part of Leicestershire. I welcome the saving of other fuels, but have two reservations.

First about solar power in England. Electricity consumption in England is highest in the Winter when sunshine is at its feeblest, and the peak demand is in the early evening, when it will be dark in Winter so that solar panels will yield nothing at all. Therefore, while solar panels will save fuel, they will not make it possible to close other power stations, We'll need just as many non-solar power generators as we should need if there were no solar power; we'll just use those other stations less frequently and so less economically.

Second I doubt whether large arrays of photoelectric panels are the best way to gather solar power. An alternative is to use mirrors to direct sunlight to a heat engine. Such a device can absorb all the energy in solar radiation, whereas a photovoltaic cell which uses a quantum effect can only use a fraction of the energy it receives. Also a heat engine can store enough heat to keep it working for a hour or two after dusk.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Lucrative Procrastination

Reports on the delays in the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war inspired me to investigate the costs.
I found that the Chairman is paid £790 per day and  Committee members get £565 per day.

Might the report appear faster if further payments were delayed until its publication ?

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Don't Forget Ramsay MacDonald

The BBC website is displaying what it calls 'A Montage of Labour Leaders in 2 minutes' but one is missing, Ramsay MacDonald, the very first Labour Prime Minister?

As MacDonald eventually formed a coalition with the Conservatives, it is understandable that many members of the Labour Party would like to forget him, but he nevertheless headed the first two Labour governments.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The Joys of odd Numbers.

I've just discovered another advantage of my recent house move. I moved from an odd  numbered house to an even numbered one.

Today I learned that the Leicestershire Police force only investigates attempted break-ins if the house concerned is even numbered.

I was about to say what odd folk police are, but perhaps they'd rather I called them even !