Earth Notes: Diarycast - June to November Roundup (2021-11-14)Updated 2022-10-17.
Hi, I'm Damon Hart-Davis, and welcome to Earth Notes' podcast on all things eco and green and efficient @Home!
14th November 2021.A brief scoot through the last five months at EOU Towers, since census mid-June, from Covid to low wind to storage upgrades!
Coronavirus persists in the background with my daughter isolating at home in June (during exam week, annoyingly), through both children getting a single Pfizer vaccination dose in October, to another free flu jab for me. The abnormally high electricity usage of lockdown is clearly visible in my graphs too.
More positively, COP26 concluded with some useful (though insufficient) progress.
2021-07-07: yes,demand pickupsare still a thing on the GB grid...
Substantial demand pickups were reported by the (GB) National Grid ESO:#ENGDEN saw our control room register steep half and full-time pick-ups of 1400MW and 1300MW (the ad breaks meant fewer people staying put during half-time). We also saw a third pick-up at extra time.
2021-07-16: the first 'summer' day this year IMHO; sunny all day, I sat out in a pub garden in the evening sun in a t-shirt without shivering, and slept under a sheet rather than a duvet! Also, my hair is now long enough to form a short ponytail, a mere ten-ish months in!
2021-08-15: I put the bat detector at my study window this evening for the first time in a long long time, and heard a couple of passes. I haven't spent enough time with bats this year!
2021-09-01: I recorded some ambient brewery noise today. I took a relatively uninterrupted stretch, excluding for example the parts when people were asking if they had to mind their language because of the recording! [ ... ]
A lot of storage upgrades happened in September and October, off-grid and grid-connected.
2021-09-03: I replaced the off-grid battery storage 12V battery bank as the old one had done about ten years and was flagging. The new 'bank' is a single 220Ah 12V unit, which I think will be a better match than the old one for the energy available and the load.
2021-09-15: the Enphase grid-coupled storage was doubled to what I thought would be a sensible maximum for 16WW, after lots of analysis and beard-stroking.2021-10-28: the Enphase storage was doubled again today to about 5kWh (capacity) / 1kW (peak power) after an offer of some second-hand units. Though connected physically on the day, it came online fully on the afternoon of 2021-11-01.
Expect analysis and even sonification in due course!
The GB grid suffered in August/September from something like a 70-year low in wind, and the resulting drop in wind generation combined with very high natural gas prices, and a fire in the IFA1 French interconnector, caused a certain amount of excitement in the electricity system. Our electricity unit price rose from ~25p to ~35p.
2021-11-06: 16WW central heating went on today noon-ish, so better than our default 1st-November target, but not up to last year's 1st-December record!
2021-11-07: some Twitter-based peer review resulted in significant improvements in the (
reutilsproject) GB carbon-intensity tweets! The static image has been removed from the tweet, and the tweet text now starts with the computed intensity.
There are lots of links in the episode page at Earth Notes, and more diary entries and images in the Show Notes too.
There's more on my "Earth Notes" Web site at
Full diary notes:
- 2021-11-13: started another UK central heating straw poll.
- 2021-11-11: free flu jab for me today.
- 2021-11-10: huge clear-out of stuff for recycling from the loft today, hurrah! Some taken by the recyclers today, the rest next week.
- 2021-11-09: signed 16WW up to Project Cosy that
aims to measure the environmental cost of heating your home so that we can improve energy efficiency in the new properties when the Estate is rebuilton condition I get a copy of all data (including gas consumption) that they collect from 16WW; also pointed the project organisers at my public dataset for 16WW.
- 2021-11-07: Twitter-based peer review resulted in significant improvements in (
reutils) GB carbon-intensity tweets today!
- 2021-11-05: heating will go on tomorrow (after a fix to 1g) given that mean external temperature over the last few days has been somewhere around 7°C, though internal temperatures have so far held up at ~18°C.
- 2021-11-04: putting heating on for an hour ~7pm as a test and to warm my daughter's room which is NE-facing, sub-16°C, and the only one calling for heat.
- 2021-11-03: I learned that a typical primary school near me currently has a 100Mbps Internet connection, and a typical secondary 1Gbps.
- 2021-10-31: Total PV generation at 16WW since 2008 reported as 49512kWh by the official generation meters (as at ~10pm).
- 2021-10-28: Enphase storage being doubled again today. (Actually came online afternoon of 2021-11-01.)
- 2021-10-25: with outside temperatures ~12°C (my 16WW HDD baseline) and just me at home, internal temperatures have stayed roughly 17°C with MHRV and no heating. I put thermals on yesterday, but not because I was uncomfortable. MHRV off again 2021-10-28.
- 2021-10-24: off-grid system hit 30 days since last FULL, so in grid peak/red priority-only dumping mode now. Hit FULL again 2021-10-31.
- 2021-10-22: MHRV in bathroom on and all windows closed in afternoon, given external (porch) mean temperatures ~10°C, internal ~17°C, over the last 24h or so.
- 2021-10-17: our washing line snapped this morning, ie one of our best machines for using solar power! Reinstated from the free end of the other (newer) line, and put broken line in recycling hoping that the wire core is useful. Discovered two bonus squashes during the process.
- 2021-10-11: sub-10°C outside this morning and starting to feel distinctly chilly inside though still ~18°C or higher; heating still off.
- 2021-10-05: I know it's really Autumn because... I started taking D3 daily at the start of the month, and today I put on a second pair of socks because my feet were getting cold!
- 2021-10-01: INTNSL (724km GB to Norway) is officially live today (~300MW import to GB as of 07:30Z).
- 2021-09-23: 12GW of wind on the GB grid early morning (and INTNSL@599MW), grid carbon intensity ~82gCO2/kWh in the wee hours.
- 2021-09-22: Looks like the low wind period lasted 35 consecutive days in the end. Energy system models may need a tweak. I know some consider only 5 days. It was 19 days in April when it was the extended heating season which along with nukes of line, IFA1 down due to fire, and very high wholesale gas prices: Energy firms' collapse hits 1.5 million customers. Also, our kids's school is in amber, and New Scientist reports Record cases in school children in England (see coronalog).
- 2021-09-15: doubled grid-coupled storage.
- 2021-09-13: I'm generally in favour of utility metering, but I have been discouraging our retailers from going full smart meter on us even though I'd like the data, as our house is due to be torn down soon and we're low/careful users. Thames Water is out fitting new water meters in the street at the moment, which seems to me a waste of resources. But in any case apparently we have fallen off the end of their list as at the very awkward end of the wet piece of string...
- 2021-09-03: replaced off-grid battery storage as the old one was very old and flagging; new one is 220Ah (12V).
- 2021-09-01: recorded some ambient brewery noise this morning.
- 2021-09-01: Being Joe Jobbed with hundreds of forged phishing emails bouncing to me relating to an old email address that must have been scraped from somewhere...
- 2021-08-31: sale of Ixaris, my previous start-up, finally went through.
- 2021-08-30: enough of a chill in the air for me to put a nightshirt on for the first time since spring; I'm hoping that our heating will be off for at least another two months.
- 2021-08-15: I put the bat detector at my study window this evening for the first time in a long long time, and heard a couple of passes. Pettersson detector this time.
- 2021-08-10: cold enough (and possibly clear enough) overnight for condensation on the outside of the triple glazing this morning.
- 2021-08-03: article on the RBK (Kingston local authority) Green Economy Transition: taskforce that I have been helping.
- 2021-07-24: Herne Bay holiday.
- 2021-07-16: the first 'summer' day this year IMHO; sunny all day, I sat out in a pub garden in the evening sun in a t-shirt without shivering, and slept under a sheet rather than a duvet! Also, hair actually long enough to form a short ponytail, a mere ten-ish months in.
- 2021-07-12: thunder and lightning and heavy rain here, from the same system that caused flooding in west London but nothing in Maidenhead, and that went on to cause extensive flooding and loss of life in NL/DE/BE a few days later.
- 2021-07-09: whoops! I just noticed that the monthly gas and electricity use graphs had not yet been updated to show any of 2021 — now fixed! The abnormally high electricity usage of lockdown is clearly visible.
- 2021-07-07: substantial demand pickups reported by the (GB) National Grid ESO:
#ENGDEN saw our control room register steep half and full-time pick-ups of 1400MW and 1300MW (the ad breaks meant fewer people staying put during half-time). We also saw a third pick-up at extra time.
- 2021-06-27: very dull and overcast day today, and last couple of weeks have been in a similar vein, as visible in generation data (one day getting a nominal '0' off-grid, for example).