Solar panels

There is a fuss going on in Belgium at the moment.  Our energy depends for a great part on nuclear power plants and those are getting old.  For many years now the politicians are debating whether we step out of the cheap and CO2 positive nuclear power for other ecological reasons or not. And the decisions made are back put into doubt etc...

I don't know if the uncertainty of the future of nuclear power is the reason or mal management but in the last years our nuclear power plans suffer from regular outages.   And in November there will be 6 out of 7, so now there's a plan with a small probability all winter that in case of power shortage, a whole set of towns will be disconnected from the power grid for 3 hours in the evening in order to avoid a total black-out.

Insane. We are 2018 and the risk for outages has been identified (as well as this disconnect plan) in 2014. And yet there's no better solution yet. Incompetence of both politics as energy infrastructure firms. Ugh.

This reinforces my idea that we need to become more green and self-reliant in our energy provision (as we also need to become more green and self-reliant in food provisioning etc). Since this summer we have invested in solar panels on our roof.  Murphy's law of course ensured we only got them installed after the heat wave despite our command being confirmed early May!  But now we have solar panels and that feels like a good investment.

I know I know, before you object: solar panels only provide us with energy during sunshine so it still requires energy providers to have different sources of energy ready (especially on those moments we use most energy).   And they  need to have sources that are easily boosted and reduced again which is often less efficient, less ecological and more costly.

And I also know that having solar panels is useless to the planned disconnections.  Leuven is fortunately not part of the disconnection plan which fills me with relief. I'd rather not be in a cold dark house with the children and needing to finish the evening rush in a black-out. But if we were in the disconnection and if the sun would be still shining late in the evening, we'd still not be able to use the generated power as that needs to be put on the grid...with a device that uses electricity. Woohaaa.

The only future for energy is to continu to invest in green energy sources such as wind, water and sun but to combine it with battery capacities that are filled. Solar panels would fill the battery during day time and the house would use in the evening the charged batteries first before using the general network.   And even more optimal, batteries hopefully get produced (and recycled) in an ever better ecological way.

Even though the total picture is still suboptimal, we can only boost investments and R&D by investing in the intermediate solutions. So I still feel good about our solar panels. And at least I use already a bit less energy from less green sources.


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