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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2022
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenpeak demand in the UK (5-7pm UTC) is after nightfall in most of the Sahara
    duh - I never thought of that
    A solar mega-project to supply the evening peak in UK and W Europe, would ideally be located at longitude 70-110⁰ W, so maybe in Florida, Texas, Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua or Peru. Certainly some geopolitics involved in setting that one up!

    On the tidal lagoons, the proposed Swansea lagoon would generate 14 hours a day, but it was envisaged as part of a chain of at least six lagoons in Somerset, S & N Wales and Cumbria to give a continuous power supply as the tide moved up the Irish sea, with options for Kent and Lincolnshire. The total power from all the lagoons would be 3-5 GW (averaged over the cycle) which would be handy, but not on the same scale as offshore wind.

    The Hendry review noted that lagoons can operate clever schemes with pumping between multiple compartments to give more continuous power, at the expense of less efficiency, so fewer MWh generated overall and less £ income. As the economics are very challenging anyway, the developers are not keen.

    Lagoons are built in bays, so the habitat effects could be less severe than with dams built across estuaries, but would still be difficult to predict.
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2022 edited
    Interesting new study published in Science https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abj4351 and PDF available at https://arxiv.org/abs/2105.06387 about methane emissions:

    "One Sentence Summary: Ultra-emitters from oil and gas production amount 8-12% of the global oil and gas methane emissions, offering actionable and cost-effective means to mitigate the contribution of methane to climate change."
    I'd been reading that too!
    The emissions were overwhelmingly from Turkmenistan (who knew?) and Russia.
    Followed by the US, Iran, Kazakhstan.

    Rather surprisingly, the cost of fixing those leaks was estimated to be cheaper than the value of the methane saved, so not just "cost effective" but even "profitable"!
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2022
    Let's hope it stirs somebody to do something to fix them. :devil:
    • CommentAuthorSimonD
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2022 edited
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenAs the economics are very challenging anyway, the developers are not keen.

    I think one of the biggest hindrances to these kinds of large scale infrastructure projects is the applied discount rate and term (i.e. delivery timescale). Often, this is calculated over just 25 years whereas we know these facilities generate review for much longer, as hydro projects have demonstrated and where this problem has historically been a factor. The need is to re-evaluate much of these to include longer and potentially multi-generational terms, which would dramatical help on the side of investment.
    Absolutely! The Hendry review found that the tidal lagoon programme could be cost effective from the second lagoon onwards, as the financing of the first Swansea lagoon would include a risk premium for 'first of a kind' unknowns.

    But they had assumed a 60-year fixed price CFD could be agreed for the power (versus the 15 years fix offered to wind farms), and that someone would lend money over that term.

    Realistically the only place you can sell electricity 60 years ahead is to a government. Likewise the govt are the only people who can borrow 60-year financing for a risky project. (Or govt owned companies such as EDF and CGN.)

    The UK govt used the Hendry data to compare the tidal lagoons project against wind and nuclear over a much shorter term, IE within the lifetime of the living electorate. They concluded it was too expensive and declined to fund it.

    TBF government finances are heavily dependent on borrowing/printing money to support the present generation of voters, to be paid off by the next generation. Spending that money on a project that will provide power to generations yet unborn, kind of defeats the logic!
    • CommentTimeFeb 5th 2022
    After a govt prints money rather than borrowing it/issuing bonds, why does it ever have to be 'paid off'?
    "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of ... "(...twenty billion pounds!)

    Printing banknotes and buying stuff from someone with them, is a disguised way of borrowing, you are promising to pay them in future for stuff you want today.

    That's the vast majority of government borrowing since 2008 has been from the BoE, who just printed the money (QE).

    The ideal is that the newly-printed money is spent in ways that cause the economy to grow faster (or at least not shrink), causing an upward spiral of economic growth enabling more printing/spending and more tax receipts to pay historic debt. Present generations are richer and future generations will have less debt to repay. But not too fast, boom-bust etc.

    But if the gov prints too much money and spends it in ways that don't cause the economy to grow quickly enough now, then the prices of assets rise faster than their value rises (inflation). Govt has to borrow more, to buy the same level of services, and interest rates have to go up, further increasing debt for future generations.

    The UK govt seems to think that printing money to buy nuclear power plants and tidal barrages that might provide power in future decades, will not cause commensurate economic growth today, so falls into the second category.

    Otherwise, we could just print enough £20bn notes to buy a big fleet of nuclear power plants and tidal barrages. Hopefully the French (and Chinese?) governments will be willing to do that for us!

    Edit: back on Simon's point: it seems that govt transport infrastructure projects are evaluated over 60 years, and may last for much longer. I heard that HS2 barely breaks even over 60 years, but looks much more attractive if they include revenue over 100 years, similar to the Victorian railways. It seems odd that hydro and tidal dams are not funded the same way. Crystal balls needed to put a price on energy and transport revenues a century from now.
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2022 edited
    Thanks Will - clarity is your thing.

    Posted By: WillInAberdeen"I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of ... "
    is really antique, from early medieval merchants' promisory notes which meant exactly that, and got reconciled pretty quickly, like end of the day, or on an annual date agreed by society, or at a once-a-generation Jubilee on which all debts were extinguished to re-set accumulated inequality of wealth and associated power.

    Then, as usury was taboo to Christians, to finance their wars the princes of Europe forced Jewish goldsmiths, despite their own taboo, to write them interest-bearing promisory notes against the stock of customers' gold deposited with them, soon for multiple times the gold's value, which made nonsense of "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of ... ". That's how Jews - farmers and craftsmen - were forced to learn to become Europe's bankers, as a royalty-enforced fraud and a religious outrage, needed, enriched, envied, resented, judged for violating their taboo and for the heartless avarice that usury creates, blamed, persecuted; accompanied by regular 'bank failures' when the promise couldn't be fufilled and/or by princes reneging on their debts.

    It wasn't till early 20C that the theory of why this kinda worked became fully formed
    enabling the fraud to be more glossed over than ever, but the usury taboo remains to this day, taken seriously only by Muslim banks which require convoluted rationalisations to function.

    So "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of ... " is a meaningless nostalgia today and only appears on banknotes, which make up only a few % of total money. Though it (debts must be honoured) holds good for individuals, corporations and banks, it need not apply when govts 'print money' (except as self-inflicted unnecessary free gift to the private sector), especially to govts that issue independent currencies, like dollar, euro, pound, yen, renmimbi (lesser govts' currencies are only rebranded dollars, euros (the EU member states) or soon renmimbi). It is very far from being the self-evident principle of Will's first two paras above.

    2nd para should read
    "Central banks creating money by computer keystrokes, helicoptering same into the community which buys stuff with it from same community, is a completed transaction, with no further obligations."
    No debt is (or need be) promised or implied to anyone. It may be true that an excess of spending over tax receipts may accumulate but so what - it's just a number which in a way is a measure of historic healthy vitality in an economy, that it can sustain injections of 'tokens of liquidity' (money creation) with less need for 'putting the brakes on' (taxing money back out of the economy).

    However, Will's central two paras, starting 'The ideal' and 'But if' are perfectly correct. Just as much skill and judgement as ever, pacing the money creation, targeting initial recipients of the created money without political favoritism, and ensuring the money stays liquid, not just siphoned into spiraling barely-liquid (tokens of power) stock market 'wealth', is needed, otherwise the classic danger of inflation will soon arise and wealth inequality will accelerate.
    • CommentTimeMar 8th 2022
    "Thomas acknowledged that concerns over possible damage to an internationally important marsh and mudflat habitat, harming wildlife had blighted previous schemes.
    But Thomas said: “The changing landscape of the climate emergency, energy insecurity, rising costs, and rapid technological improvements, indicate that many of these policy, cost and environmental barriers may no longer be as significant.”

    So this is of a piece with the (mainly Tory) gang who want CoP's green impetus watered down, in UK, first because of rising gas price, and now for energy independence from Russia etc. Estuarine ecological catastrophe? never mind.
    "More than £25bn and 10 years or more to come to fruition" is perverse, when the path of least resistance is actually to just let rip the extraordinary impetus and quick results of renewables.
    The politician you quoted supporting the scheme (Huw Thomas) is from the local Labour party, as are the two other local politicians giving enthusiastic quotes in the article.

    But otherwise, yes, that's right.
    • CommentTimeMar 8th 2022
    Yes, he's not coming from that Tory climate-denier pro-biz-as-usual fringe, but he's falling right into their reasonable-seeming honey-trap which is in fact incremental tactics towards an extreme-libertarian endpoint.

    Far better that their
    "Western Gateway “powerhouse”, a coalition of politicians, business and public sector leaders and academics covering an area stretching from Swansea to Swindon and straddling the Severn, designed to rival the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine"
    should wholeheartedly embrace environment, ecology, climate etc as both the end and the means to the prosperity they desire. How refreshing that would be! Instead of
    "At its inaugural conference, delegates were told a Severn estuary tidal project could provide up to 7% of the UK’s energy needs"
    - same old ...
    Tom, supporting tidal power has been a cornerstone of left-leaning politics in South Wales for as many decades as I can remember, I grew up there. I don't think Jeremy Corbyn saw his manifesto support for tidal power as an "extreme libertarian endpoint"! https://mobile.twitter.com/jeremycorbyn/status/1044890069658669056

    I doubt this commission will find a way round the environmental aspects of a Severn dam, but the tidal lagoons ideas do seem to have some legs, particularly the ones much further to the West off Swansea and Exmoor.
    • CommentTimeMar 9th 2022 edited
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenI don't think Jeremy Corbyn sees his support for tidal power as an "extreme libertarian endpoint"!
    Probably not! The old left, from Lenin on, loves its heroic socialist-infrastructure fix-its just as much as Boris loves his ego-boosting ditto. The 'extreme libertarians' have no particular love of infrastructure, except as part of general scope for unfettered, untaxed money-making for their paymasters the rich and powerful. They want no restraints to that such as environmental/ecological/climate considerations, and adopt any available pose, such as false concern for citizens' cost-of-living, to 'temporarily' postpone 'green' policies. I'm saying that the traditional left (as is well rooted in Wales) easily allies itself with that same tactic, for its own quite different reasons, in this case adopting the available pose of energy independence, and hang the estuary's ecology.
    Here's another proposal: a tidal barrage across Morecambe bay, from Lancashire to the Lake District - £10bn

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