Friday, March 25, 2011

Power cuts cut (for now)

Well, the power cuts have turned out to be rather less frequent than threatened. It seems that people have no problem turning off a few lights (including the wholly unnecessary ones on millions of automatic vending machines) when asked politely. All the weekend/holiday slots seem to be quite reliably cancelled, as have been the ones that are marked as "possible" (starred) on the calendar. We had a brief cut last night, but it was only a bit over an hour, not the expected 3h. It's like a sort of comfortable version of staying in a mountain hut for a few hours, and since we do that by choice regularly enough, we find little to complain about.

On the other hand, it is spring now, still a bit chilly but close to the biannual trough in power consumption. Summer promises to be grim, and even next summer might be difficult, according to this article. Even if the Earth Simulator comes on for a month or two soon, I wouldn't be surprised if it had to go off again over the summer. We've previously come close to power cuts in the summers anyway, just due to the limited capacity. I'm not so bothered about the computers but I find 28C+ very uncomfortable for working so further A/C restriction may get pretty unbearable. I'll be keeping my eyes open for travelling opportunities! It's not all bad news though, the Govt might actually consider changing the clocks and giving us more holiday.

I should also put in writing, jules' immediate suggestion was that all new builds should be required to include solar panelling on the roof. Solar power is a particularly well suited to Japan, with the peak electrical demand coinciding with the sunniest summer afternoons. Including solar panels at the outset, rather than as a secondary bolt-on kit, should also reduce costs and provide a helpful boost to the industry. Given the extraordinary Japanese rate of house-(re)building, this could make a significant contribution in the near term.


Magnus said...

Meanwhile in a galaxy far far away

Anonymous said...

Magnus, interestingly the Institute that produced the poll have an entirely different spin:

"Few Americans see earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters a sign from God...The new survey also finds that Americans are more likely to attribute the increased severity of natural disasters to global climate change than to signs of apocalyptic biblical prophecy."

Chris S.

James Annan said...

Well, about 50% voted for Bush again even after they'd already had 4 years to see what he was like, which is arguably even more stupid :-)