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Old Aug 25, 2008, 1:45 PM   #1
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A week after Will's & my expedition to Snowdonia, we went back, parked in the same place, and climbed some more big hills, with my wife as well. This time we went to the north end of the Glyder Range, with the Isle of Anglesey in the distance, and all the hills of Snowdonia laid out in a huge view. We could see the Isle of Man faintly in the Irish Sea many miles away...
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 2:13 PM   #2
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That's beautiful country. The land is similar to the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky and Tennessee. A great many of the people who settled there were Welsh coal miners, my wife's ancestors among them.
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Old Aug 25, 2008, 2:37 PM   #3
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...and here is the technical point of this posting. This is Marchlyn Mawr, the upper reservoir of the Dinorwic Pumped Hydro Scheme, which delicately balances the UK's electricity grid by generating huge amounts, from store, on demand (e.g., during the ad-breaks in popular TV), by pulling out the plug on the lake and letting the water out through through up to six 288MW turbogenerators which can start up in 30 seconds, in a huge cavern beneath the mountain, . (I've seen the sixteen-ton counterweights swing as the 3m ball valves open.) In the middle of the night, using coal and nuclear, they pump it back.

I spent my working life in a UK national electricity research centre. To save the world, we're all going to have get used to an all-electric future, generated from anything non-fossil we can find. Renewables & nuclear have a nasty habit of working either all the time, or atinconvenient times. The big missing thing is large scale electricity storage. Until we invent the ultimate battery, or develop the hydrogen economy,pumped hydro is the best we've got.

On a different intellectual plane, my son remarked that they'd failed to clean the bath after pulling the plug - you can see the tide-mark.
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Old Aug 26, 2008, 8:50 AM   #4
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Alan, what a beautiful area and, as always, thank you for the commentary. i never fail to learn something new.
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Old Aug 26, 2008, 8:02 PM   #5
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I think this is the one I was trying to comment on when I lost the forums last night.

Beautiful country, Alan. So much open space. Wonderful.

Patty
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