Why The Electricity Grid Is Like A Football Team

And how energy managers may be picking the wrong squad.

football stadium

Photo by Thomas Serer on Unsplash

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to put together a championship-winning football (or soccer, as some wrongly call it) team?

If you’re a manager (coach) at the top level, the stakes are incredibly high; how you perform makes you either hero or villain with millions of fans and determines whether your team gets the next major sponsorship deal.

A football team is made up of a “starting eleven”, plus some players on the bench, upto three of whom can be substituted for players on the field during a match. The manager must pick a team that is simultaneously powerful in attack, resilient in defence and able to dominate in midfield.

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Nuclear Power Needs New Dreams

The nuclear industry is haunted by symbols of fear. Is it time to dream up some new ones?

Civilisation is a complex thing. There are 8 billion people out there, and almost everything we do involves others. We work in teams, we negotiate with clients, we move in crowds.

nuclear dreams

Symbols save time

Imagine if every time you wanted to collaborate with someone, you had to explain what you wanted them to do from first principles. Take driving: what if every time you came to a T-junction, someone had to be there to tell you to stop?

That would be ridiculous. Instead, we use symbols.

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A Green ‘Catch 22’: When Clean Energy and Rewilding Clash

As renewables projects grow ever bigger in scale, the desire for clean energy is rubbing up against the needs of wildlife.

Salt marshes Salt marsh - will Cleve Hill ever be restored to something like this? (Photo by Biel Morro on Unsplash)

There’s a lot of talk of a “Green Revolution” for the post COVID-19 world. What does this mean?

With the UK economy likely entering an historic recession, there’s a search for ideas to kickstart the country. A green recovery is one driven by investments in clean energy to tackle carbon emissions, lower air pollution and restore nature. A noble goal.

So then, it’s “all systems go”, solar panels in every field, a wind turbine on every hill, right?

It’s what renewables advocates have been telling us we should do for years. But this week something weird happened. There was a glitch in the matrix, you might say.

The Green Party, RPSB, Greenpeace and the Campaign to Protect Rural England came out in opposition to a proposed new solar farm in Kent. If that didn’t seem strange enough, Friends of the Earth then came out in support of it.

A schism in the green movement? What’s going on?

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Walt Disney and Nuclear Power: A Forgotten History

An optimist’s dreams of an atom-powered future.

Our friend the atom hand

If I were to say the words “Walt Disney”, what images spring to mind? 

The adventures of Mickey Mouse? Daring Peter Pan? Snow White, Cinderella and sparkling princesses? Maybe the times you cried when Mufassa died and when Andy left Woody to go to college?

There’s one thing I’m certain “Walt Disney” doesn’t make you think of: nuclear power. 

But maybe it should.

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Use this Powerful Tool and Avoid Talking Twaddle about Climate

The naked truth about the CO2 from our electricity

ElectricityMap for the EU Carbon intensity of the electricity sector in Europe on 26/10/2018. Green = low carbon, Red = carbon-intensive.

Any discussion around sustainable energy tends to have the effect of generating large volumes of hot air. Advocates of coal power, renewable energy, and pro-nuclear lobbies are all guilty of talking twaddle in the defense of their favoured energy source.

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