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The social contract of electricity service

In an address to a group of British engineers in 1892, Hopkinson articulated many of what we would now identify as contemporary problems faced by electricity regulators. Hopkinson explored the issue of fixed versus variable tariffs, the problems of network cost...

Is PV capacity growth logistic?

The logistic growth function is a useful way to explore the growth rates of many natural phenomena. Many man-made developments can be described by a logistic function, including the diffusion of power technology, such as hydropower and nuclear. Logistic growth differs...

Understanding the divergence in EROI for solar PV

Some analyses calculate an EROI for solar PV of 60:1 or higher, while some calculate a much lower EROI, in one recent case, less than 1:1. The casual observer could be forgiven for wondering what’s going on. Since there is such a wide divergence, the default...

Renewables and reactive power

A transition to higher penetration renewables is going to require much more attention to electricity networks. Most of the generator ancillary services have been essentially built into systems by virtue of using large synchronous generators. An earlier post explored...

The EROI of global food production

Glaub and Hall have an interesting analysis of the EROI of hunter-gatherers. Despite humans being generally smaller, slower, and weaker than most large mammals, humans were successful hunters long before the invention of sophisticated weaponry. This was achieved by...