Reality Checkpoint 2022
News from previous year

Amnesty International says China has created a ‘dystopian hellscape’ in Xinjiang.

Nearly half of the world’s polysilicon, the key ingredient in solar panels, has been coming from Xinjiang province, where the Chinese government has launched a program of systematic repression and forced labor. In June, the US government announced it would restrict imports from the province. Al Jazeera reported that the restrictions were focused on five Chinese companies that it said were implicated in Chinese human rights violations, including large producers of polysilicon for the solar panel industry.

US legislators are considering bans on imports of solar panels and other products made in this way.

26 Jan 22

"I have new technology installed in my home, an air source heat pump, fitted October 2020; my electricity bill has increased fourfold to £375 per month for 8 months of the year; £100 in the 4 months of summer. I was paying an oil bill of £600 per annum but now I am paying 3.5 times the amount in energy bills since having this alternative heating. "

Another message from a user:
"We had an air source heat pump installed some years ago. The performance figures you will be offered are unrealistic. Even using cheap rate electricity, it has costs about double those of our previous oil fired boiler."

A message from a retired heating engineer:
"Towards the end of my professional career I installed two air source heat pumps, and both were unfit for purpose; neither attained the temperature they were supposed to and both required expensive use of immersion heaters, and were expensive to run anyway. The UK climate is unsuitable for these expensive white elephants."

12 Jan 22

Summary of a letter in the Daily Telegraph:

I recently received a letter from my electricity supplier offering to place me on a priority services register. Benefits included advice on power cuts, plus support with accommodation and hot meals when they occurred. This is the first such message I've had in about 50 years.

Is this a warning that we are expecting blackouts? The Government is behaving foolishly in ignoring public concern about the premature phasing out of our traditional energy generating capacity.

Energy independence, not climate change, should be the priority.

7 Jan 22

We all know that cars break down. Traditional cars are almost always still able to roll; the bare, absolute minimum you can expect from a car, and as such can be pushed out of harm’s way. This isn’t the case with electric cars, though, and this is a problem. There was a recent scary incident with a Tesla on the motorway.

The Tesla owner was driving his Model S P85D, when the car began to beep and warn that he needed to pull over immediately because of a power problem. Immediately after the warning, all controls locked up, and the car came to a halt in the middle of a multi-lane motorway, leaving him no time to steer the car onto the hard shoulder. The car would not budge from this point; it wouldn't go into neutral, the parking brake wouldn’t release. It was no longer a vehicle; just an immobile bit of sculpture blinking its hazard lights in the middle of the road.

The driver managed to escape off the road, and some local Caltrans workers got the car coned off to help direct traffic around it, which was lucky. About 45 minutes later, a tow truck finally arrived. Teslas (and nearly all other EVs) require a flat bed-type tow truck; any old tow truck will not do. The tow driver didn’t get the car rolling; he just pulled it up, with the rear wheels still locked, onto the bed.

It should be a priority for the designers of electric cars to ensure that in the event of a breakdown, the vehicle can be pushed away easily from the danger zone.

28 Dec 21

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