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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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Old 21st October 2013
Dewi9 Dewi9 is offline
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Electricity prices

I see in the daily newspapers that a deal is nearing completion (well, within a year or two anyway) for the UK to get a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.

Also touted was that a guaranteed price for electricity to the company running / owning it would be 'in the region of 90 to 97 per MWh. By my calculations that would be around 9 ~ 10p per KWh (as appears on our bills).

The proposed price per KWh was also quoted to be around twice the current rate, that is, around 5p per KWh at source.

Looking on the great WWW suggests an average price per KWh to us, the consumer, of around 17.5p per KWh. Seems to be quite a difference here.

This research was prompted by a Government statement on the new power station as ' this gives Britain a good deal, ensuring guaranteed electricity supplies and lower prices in the future'.

What !!? Forgive me for not understanding the statement, but how exactly does a doubling of the basic generating cost give us lower bills in the future ?

How about looking at some alternatives instead ?

As an (ex) electronics chappie, perhaps I could make a few suggestions for consideration -

1. Ban all PC desktops and screens in the home - give everyone a top spec laptop in exchange and send all the old systems overseas as aid. Savings - laptops use less than half the electricity.

2. Encourage the takeup of energy efficient lighting through large subsidies funded by the power companies. Yes, I know it has been done, but how about pushing LED lighting instead ? With ALL council / HSA houses having compulsory changeover.

3. Local generation at your home - like solar panels and wind turbines plus battery backup (with 240v invertors, subsidised purchase) so more homes could be independent of 'the grid'. Maybe we could have a 24v dc 'ring main' for lighting in the home ?

Well ? Discuss.
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Old 21st October 2013
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Re: Electricity prices

The pricing of electricity in this deal is based on the lifetime (35 years) of the plant. It is highly likely that the price of electricity will be more than double that it is today well before 35 years. The deal also includes de-commissioning and nuclear waste management, which currently is paid for out of taxpayers' money.

The country is not going 100% nuclear, there is a mix of power sources and much of that is from renewables.

I'm all in favour of LED lighting but this technology (for home lighting) is still in its infancy and replacement 'bulbs' remain very expensive and the quality of the light is not that great. It was like that with fluorescent bulb-replacement energy saving lamps 20 years ago.

Ian
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Old 21st October 2013
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Re: Electricity prices

As a current electronics chappie I suggest energy recovery technology.

Fit a heat pump in the sofa to recover energy from indolent teenagers lounging there fiddling with their iPhones.

yes?
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Old 21st October 2013
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Re: Electricity prices

Hi do you think that solar panels would benifit the consumer, the cost over the return would mean you would have to wait 20 years to get your investment back. Know wind turbines would be an answer but not every one could have a wind turbine in their back yard, and if you could then you would have to battle with local planning authorities.

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Old 21st October 2013
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Re: Electricity prices

Total carbon cost is where I'm at at the moment. There is no point in installign solar panels for me because
* Cant see us living in the house long enough to get the payback
* The carbon required to produces a PV cell is far far greater than not using it - in real terms the cost to the world is substantially greater than is perceived

That said, all new build housing should be having them installed and commercial premises should also be having them installed. The government needs to push it though and ensure the technology is subsidised or adequately reduced etc etc.
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Old 21st October 2013
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Re: Electricity prices

Until such time as a credible and cost-effective means of storing electricity is developed, wind and solar power will never replace nuclear and fossil-fuel power stations. I dread to think of the carbon footprint of making sufficient battery capacity to power a house, not to mention the hazardous materials required to make them! I've heard it said that the extra technology and equipment required to make the Toyota Prius together with the extra recycling required at the end of its life means that overall it's less energy-efficient than a conventional car.

The warmth coming from the desktop PC on which I'm writing this is sufficient that I don't need any other form of heating in the office at the moment.

As for energy recovery from indolent teenagers, the heat pump would cool the sofa prompting said teenagers to turn up the heating .

None of this stuff is easy, everything is inter-related and any measures have unexpected consequences!
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Old 21st October 2013
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Re: Electricity prices

For me the question is not whether the cost is right or wrong, but how are we going to afford it?
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Old 21st October 2013
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Re: Electricity prices

Just got an email telling me my electricity will go from 15.87 pence a unit to 16.53 a unit can some of you clever people tell me the percentage rise?
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Old 21st October 2013
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Re: Electricity prices

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Originally Posted by Wee man View Post
Just got an email telling me my electricity will go from 15.87 pence a unit to 16.53 a unit can some of you clever people tell me the percentage rise?
Take the difference, 0.66, divide by 15.87, multiply by 100 = 4.2% (rounded up).
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Old 21st October 2013
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Re: Electricity prices

Well, thanks for all the input so far.

I did not realise that the manufacture of PV cells (energy from sunlight) was bad for CO2 production, but being a semiconductor that is probably correct.

My main thoughts are the reduction in consumption, thus lowering bills for the future. Any thoughts on that side of things ?

The main 'power hogs' that I can think of are -
1. The washing machine - why does it take so long (like 90 minutes) running a 1200W motor ? Could the motor size be reduced - maybe faster/less power but geared down ?
2. Cooking - often KW for an hour or more, Again, could the power be reduced by using alternatives, eg. microwave with IR light to brown stuff ?

Lighting and the TV gave already been tackled - the 60W bulb has been replaced by the 11W fluo and now the 3W LED, so not much more to save there. Similarly the TV has gone from a 120W CRT monster to a 40W LED/LCD flat panel.

The only other one I could think of was the PC - moving from a 300W ~ 400W desktop PC + Screen combo to a 60W laptop or even less for an iPad or tablet.

An interesting letter in the Engineer asked the question - exactly what electrical items were essential ? Do we really need our PC's on 24/7 just in case we miss a post from someone, or an email ?

David
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Old 21st October 2013
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Re: Electricity prices

Do we really need so much street lighting?

Why do shops have their lights on even when closed?

Do we really need a heat curtain above shop doorways, heating the shop and half the high street simultneously? Same with air conditioning in summer.

With a well insulated hot water tank, is it more economic to have the temperature constantly maintained by the boiler or heat only on demand by timer? I admit I don't know and I should.

As I write this I notice that (yet again) our stairs and landing lights have been left on - excuse me while I turn them off...........

......... now, where was I? Oh yes, why don't we have push button switches for these areas, timed to switch off after 5 minutes?

Why isn't practical energy efficiency taught in schools to ensure that future generations understand the importance? My 14 year old daughter won't take notice of me when I explain why she should turn her bedroom light off when she isn't in there.

Why isn't public transport subsidised to encourage people to use their cars less? I know the country is short of money but surely this is exactly what green taxes should be used to fund?

Businesses should be encouraged to limit the travelling distance of their employees. The bank I used to work for had a habit of moving staff to branches far from where they lived. At one stage I was travelling 25 miles each way, passing colleagues travelling similar distances in the opposite direction. I know about business needs and right person for the job, etc., but this practice should be discouraged and kept to the bare minimum.
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Old 21st October 2013
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Re: Electricity prices

Oh, I forgot about recycling. Glass production consumes a huge amount of power, yet our idea of "recycling" is to smash up perfectly reusable bottles and jars to be smelted again to make new ones. Crazy!
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Old 21st October 2013
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Re: Electricity prices

Street lighting was originally free to local authorities etc because the need to balance the output of coal power stations between day and night. You cannot switch off a power station at night because businesses closed and people switched lights off when they were asleep so street lighting was the main loading on the network.
The major factor in building Hinkley Point C is by 2015 all coal powered stations that have not converted to biomass will have to close which takes out about 25% of our generating capacity. All Nuclear stations with the possible exception of Sizewell B will be life expired by 2023 when Hinkley Point B should come on line.
Going into this winter we have about 9% spare generating capacity as some large power stations like Tilbury and Didcot have already closed.
Hinkley Point C will generate the same amount of power as 6000 wind turbines working at maximum capacity and provide 7% of the UK's needs.
Until the next generation of nuclear stations come on line we will have to survive on 5 or 6 coal fired station burning biomass fuel, wind power and the majority of power coming from expensive gas stations. Unfortunately we are currently importing a lot of gas and building new ports and gas terminals at places such as the Isle of Grain.
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Old 21st October 2013
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Re: Electricity prices

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Originally Posted by Otto View Post
I've heard it said that the extra technology and equipment required to make the Toyota Prius together with the extra recycling required at the end of its life means that overall it's less energy-efficient than a conventional car.
Absolutely. The same for energy efficient light bulbs. And those that drive their glass to the recycling points.
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Old 22nd October 2013
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Re: Electricity prices

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post
The warmth coming from the desktop PC on which I'm writing this is sufficient that I don't need any other form of heating in the office at the moment.
That (and the fact it was on its last legs!) was a major factor in my decision to replace mine with a more energy efficient laptop that goes to sleep if I leave it for 5 minutes.
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