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But what happens when you want to run the trains at night?

Summary:
We’re told that solar power is now price competitive to run the train system. Which is great, obviously. A few panels is indeed a better solution that burning dead dinosaurs:Rail line in Hampshire is world's first to be powered by solar farm Pilot scheme on Network Rail’s Wessex route could pave way for direct powering of trainsCurrently (sorry) this is to provide power to the signals and perhaps the onboard electricity requirements of the trains, not to power the transport itself. But we’re told that:The falling cost of solar power technologies means these subsidy-free solar farms could supply electricity at a lower cost than the electricity supplied via the grid.At which point a necessary observation. Which is that if this is true then we’ve rather licked climate change, haven’t we?

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We’re told that solar power is now price competitive to run the train system. Which is great, obviously. A few panels is indeed a better solution that burning dead dinosaurs:

Rail line in Hampshire is world's first to be powered by solar farm

Pilot scheme on Network Rail’s Wessex route could pave way for direct powering of trains

Currently (sorry) this is to provide power to the signals and perhaps the onboard electricity requirements of the trains, not to power the transport itself. But we’re told that:

The falling cost of solar power technologies means these subsidy-free solar farms could supply electricity at a lower cost than the electricity supplied via the grid.

At which point a necessary observation. Which is that if this is true then we’ve rather licked climate change, haven’t we? Solar power is now cheaper than whatever it is we suck out of the grid. And thus we’ll all be using solar power because it’s cheaper and we’ll not be using those fossil powered stations that push the electrons into the gird.

That is, the radical transformation of society isn’t necessary as we’ve already solved the problem.

The only way it is possible to still insist that we must do more is if solar isn’t in fact cheaper than grid. Say, we’d like to be able to run the trains at night. Or there’s a cost to having the back up power when the Sun goes down - or given England, isn’t shining - that still has to be paid. Or that grid connection to provide it costs something.

That is, either solar is cheaper in which case we’re done or it isn’t cheaper in which case why are we being told it is?

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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