UK hospitals to go off-grid to save planet from warming; Will use diesel generators instead

Tim Worstall reports in Forbes:

Just when you think that the world has had enough nonsense about climate change up comes an idea even more absurd. People and companies in the UK are now being urged to start using diesel generators, a horribly inefficient method of electricity generation, in order to beat climate change. Seriously, where do they get the people who come up with these ideas?

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11 thoughts on “UK hospitals to go off-grid to save planet from warming; Will use diesel generators instead”

  1. Don’t pull a Worstall on us.

    The hospitals may only need to run their generators a few hours to significantly cut their peak demand.

    I worked with power engineers on this situation for many years. I was a computer jock running power cost management systems for a major corporation. Engineers told the plant managers that they could save a million dollars a year by simply shutting down if the outside temperature got above [x] degrees. [It’s been too many years ago for me to remember the exact number. It was something like 95 degrees.] My plants paid MILLIONS of dollars a MONTH in demand charges. They could have radically cut that by reducing their peak. Manufacturing people didn’t want to be bothered with it. It wasn’t coming out of their wallet. Their goals weren’t aligned with energy cost.

  2. The diesel generators will burn high-priced petroleum based fuels. They will require some ammonia source (real ammonia or urea) for NOx reduction and probably some oxidative catalyst for PM and CO reduction. Whatever is required in automotive diesels in the UK will likely be required for stationary sources. Assuming ~9500 Btu/kWh heat rate, the current US cost of diesel-generated electricity is >$250/MWh. We just mothballed 2 peaking plants because the PJM price doesn’t get to the point that it is profitable to generate and we can’t afford the environmental controls to get the capacity payments. In the UK, the cost will be higher and even less attractive. What a stupid idea and, yet, people will buy into it.

  3. They don’t need to be connected to the grid. The hospitals, by using their generators to supply their own electricity, reduce the load on the grid. By taking themselves off.

  4. That’s a great idea. Where diesel generators are used in a simple failover mode, they must be test-run regularly, to prevent their shafts from seizing and to maintain gasket health. Connecting them to the grid will make that exercise more meaningful.

  5. Worstall is an economist. His blog is excellent.

    Rated R. He gets rather raunchy with his language.

    But he’s not shy about going off on things he doesn’t know about.

    Hospitals have diesel generators. For backup power. As Gene said, “It’s not a plus, it is a safety requirement, and it has been forever.” Worstall seems to think they are being installed to get off the grid.

    Electrical utilities are required to have capacity to meet peak demand. It cost a lot of money in fixed cost to have capacity on standby. Getting hospitals to run their generators at peak demand times, taking some of the load off the utility, is a wonderful thing to do. It will save everyone money. In the U.S., where big users pay demand charges to cover the fixed cost of standby capacity, it would save the hospitals big money by reducing their peaks.

    Worstall declaring diesel generators “a horribly inefficient method of electricity generation” is horribly ignorant of the situation. It’s about reducing the load on the utility during peaks.

  6. I hate to say this, but the PUC of my beloved Texas has talked about this as a solution for Houston.

  7. An architect-city planner advocated the destruction of the unique Finnsih Archipelago with 130 meters high wind power towers all over the place. Otherwise, she yelled, the Baltic Sea, like the rest of any sea on Earth, would rise 7 meters and cover us all in salt water. And these morons are paid salary from our tax money!

  8. It’s not a plus, it is a safety requirement, and it has been forever. But all life in this country, all communications between humans, business transactions and such, are contaminated with “climate change” and “carbon pollution”. So whenever somebody needs to spend public funds to buy a generator, the justification for it will hardly mention health or safety, but it will certainly include several pages about climate change and energy efficiency. Same if it is about a new traffic light, or roof repair at a public library, or anything at all.

    I just saw a presentation by an architect who opened his talk by stating that the purpose of his new design was to combat climate change. If you take climate change away from these people, they won’t know what to talk about.

  9. How in heck is a diesel generator — for a hospital, a lot of diesel generators — an environmental plus? Unless it’s because these “advocates” know that the grid is becoming seriously weakened and the blackouts are now foreseeable.

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