Sunday, 30 July 2017

Paul on Politics

I had my first appearance on KMTV's Paul on Politics (Freeview channel 07 in Kent). We discussed the governments ban on petrol and diesel cars due in a mere 23 years time, brexit and its impact on nursing numbers, and passenger satisfaction of rail services.

I was on with Cllr Tristan Osborne, a Labour councillor from Medway, a very nice guy. Interestingly he called for the railways to be run as cooperatives rather than re-nationalised. Clearly a better option than the mix of corporations and foreign states who hold the franchises currently but I don't think it is any where near as good as being in public hands as long as there is strong political will to ensure the right level of investment.

The piece on electric cars was good. I have a Renault Zoe, it's very cheap to run and zero emission, especially as a charge it with 100% renewable energy from Ecotricity, but we can't replace every car with an electric one. I'm lucky that I have a driveway to park on and charge in the evenings. Without that I would spend an hour or two every other day sitting at a charging point. Most people live in homes without drives and we would need charging points at every place where it is possible to park, i.e. every 15 feet along the road. And the amount of electricity required would be enormous:

  • 26 million cars in the UK
  • Assume 10,000 miles per year per car
  • 5 miles per KwH (best case: driving very carefully in the summer, i.e. like a saint)
  • would need 52 million MwH for a year
  • or 6,000 Mw of constant generation (6 additional nuclear power stations)
  • add 50% for lorries, vans and buses: 9 nukes or 75 Twh
  • passenger miles are around 700 billion Km per year in the UK 
  • 5 miles per KwH (best case: driving very carefully in the summer, i.e. like a saint)
  • equating to 437 billion miles and 87.5 billion KwH or 87.5 million MwH (with lorries etc. around additional 15 nukes)
  • the UK produced 389,000,000 MwH in 2008
  • and 52 million MwH from nukes
  • i.e. a 25% increase in electricity generation if everyone drives like a saint
  • normal driving doubles energy use...

So if everyone drove like a saint the best case would be for a 20% increase in electricity generation (9 additional nuclear power stations) or likely case around 50% increase or 30 nukes.

The London Array (wind in the North Sea) with 175 turbines produced 2.5 TwH in 2015. We would need between 20 and 70 additional London Arrays to meet road electricity use.

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