Dear UK Energy Minister,
I would like to make you aware of an interesting option that is about to expire. This option was discovered after almost five minutes of research and several discussions over coffee with David Stoughton, Nick Coutts, Graham Oakes and Tony Grout. If your expensive advisors have not made you aware of this option, you may want to consider replacing them with David, Nick and Graham.
The UK is engaged in building a new £18 bn power station at Hinkley Point. We need to produce enough energy to handle peak demand. If we look at the seasonal and daily variation in energy need, from Chart 2 we see that the difference between average and peak load is about 10% to 20%. According to Wikipedia, we have about 80 power stations in the UK. So if we could plan for average demand instead of peak demand, the UK could reduce its generation needs by 10% or several power stations. We can only do that if we find a way to store electricity to balance demand and supply over time rather than instantaneously. Storing electricity is notoriously difficult with solutions ranging from pumping water between two reservoirs and using trains on steep hills, both to store potential energy. And this is where the option exists, and its an option that is about to expire. The problem with storing electricity is that the generators are looking for big electricity stores. The human body doesn’t store energy in one place, it stores a little bit in each and every cell. And that is where the UK should store electricity too… In every household. We should install Tesla Powerwalls in every UK home. For the cost of one £18bn power station we could buy 5.5 million Powerwalls ( Assuming £10,000 retail and £3,333 wholesale price ). That is one fifth of all UK homes or 20% of demand. Furthermore it would be a much less risky investment than building a power station.
Battery technology is the future of energy. It will spawn a massive industry to research and supply the batteries. An industry consisting of valuable jobs for areas of Britain needing more than McJobs and Call Centers. Real Engineering jobs. Britain could be a leader in battery technology and production. And that’s before we even think about the jobs generated by making and installing solar panels that look like roof tiles.
So why is the option about to expire? Because the Germans, French and every other country in Europe are probably thinking the same thing. So you have a short period of time before one of them calls Elon Musk to buy a chunk of Tesla.
Call 001-555-Battery. Good luck. The UK is depending on you.
P.S. It will help you with your climate change PR as you can switch from Coal to Nuclear as we all know the problem with Nuclear is it takes a long time to change supply. Batteries also facilitate the use of local green energy production… Solar*, Wind and bio-digestors
* Thank you Richard Warner for reminding me of the obvious. Doh!
November 27th, 2016 at 3:22 pm
Having batteries for houses also creates further options. I would suspect that household batteries would open up the solar market even further.
The advantage of solar power is that it is produced at or near the point of consumption. Nuclear power does nothing to solve the problem of power distribution across the grid and keeps us stuck with our 20th Century power technology.
My ideal solution is storage + solar + peak power provided by ultra-clean landfill waste burners.