Overtom's weblog

AN EXPERT ON ENERGY 2  (6 november 2004)

In my weblog of 27 October I commented on an article by a certain Thijs Zoet. which I had read in the Dutch VARA tv magazine.

In the article, Mr Zoet tried to arouse interest for a tv program, which was to show that the way in which 'green energy' is generated in the Netherlands is mainly a waste of taxpayers' money.

In response to this weblog, I received an e-mail from Anton K. He had both read my weblog and watched the program on television. He wrote that an important argument in the program was the fact that electrical energy cannot be stored. He mentioned the fact that as early as 1981, Dutch engineer Lievense came up with a plan to  store energy by having a polder filled with water. 

The plan was actually rejected, but I would not be surprised if this rejection had much to do with the fact that in 1981, environment-friendly generation of power was not really such an issue as it is now.

I once read about the possibility to store power by pumping air into the ground. Whether this is a serious possibility or not, since we are discovering more and more that fossile fuels are far from ideal, there is every reason to research all possibilities of finding new ways to generate clean power.

In the same email, Anton K also wrote me that the tv program had showed a windmill project in Denmark. There, only 5 percent of the windmills were actually working. I'm afraid I don't quite understand the argument: there are also windmill projects in the Netherlands. And the percentage of windmills working here is considerably higher. So why point to a project that is obviously badly managed?

But the tv program laid the finger on a few things that were very much wrong, for instance this: green energy is heavily subsidized. There is nothing wrong with that. But it turned out that Dutch electricity companies are buying cheap power in Scandinavia and putting the subsidies in their own pockets. I agree that's abuse of subsidies.

But I was very grateful that someone took the trouble to respond intelligently to my weblogs.

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