Autumn 2022
In Which Karl Solves Wind Turbines
Fiery Turbine

I solved wind turbines.
You're welcome!

The problem with the electricity from wind turbines, and solar panels of course, is that it's useless. It's unreliable. It's available only when the weather permits it. Imagine that you're a householder or an industrialist and someone offers to sell you electricity. Cheap electricity. "Great!" you say - I'll need 2KW available 9-5 and I guess I can manage with 1KW the rest of the day. "No." says the salesgit, "You don't understand." says the salesgit, "You can only use our electricity when we randomly produce it. Not whenever you want it." "Oh!" says you. "No thanks" says you. "That's useless to me." says you. Because it's useless to you. It's useless to anyone. Unless they happen to be in the electricity storage business. Which is why wind electricity - unreliable electricity - is worthless. Which is why no-one will buy it.

But the Government wants to sell it. They're desperate to sell it. They need to sell it so that they can save the world from climate, and make all their land-owning friends rich in the process. So the Government forces the national electricity grid to buy it anyway. Simple. Problem solved. Right?

Here's what happens now.
That useless, worthless electricity that the national grid now has to buy displaces valuable, reliable, dispatchable electricity from power stations. So the power stations sell less of their electricity, so they have to put up their prices to cover their costs. So your electricity prices go up. Because you now have to pay for the reliable useful electricity that you still need as well as all that worthless unreliable electricity that the grid is paying full price for. So you use less. The industrialists use less - they shutter their factories or move them abroad. So the power stations sell less, so they start to cut back on their electricity production. They cut down on maintenance, on fuel stocks, on future investments. They close down perfectly good power stations that have now become uneconomic. Or immoral. Or racist.
So now, your electricity is more expensive and it's less reliable. There are brownouts. Blackouts.
The more useless, worthless, unreliable electricity the Government forces the grid to buy the more expensive and less reliable your electricity inevitably becomes. It's happening in Germany. It's happening in the UK. It's happening in California. It's happening in Australia. It's happening in Texas, of all places.
And there's no way of avoiding it. It's inescapable.
Because without storage, unreliable electricity is useless and worthless. And battery storage is far, far too expensive. And hydrogen storage is too stupid and dangerous. And pumped hydro is too difficult and long-term an investment for Governments which have hungry land-owning friends who want their subsidies NOW.

There is a simple solution. Because there's a perfectly good purchaser of unreliable electricity with plenty of storage right there. Already built into the system: The power stations!
They have storage in the form of fossil fuels. And they would happily buy unreliable electricity, stabilise it through their power stations, and sell it to their existing customers if that meant they could save money on their fossil fuel usage and increase their profits. If the wind farms can produce electricity cheaper than power stations. And if the wind farms will sell their unreliable, cheap, electricity to power stations for less than the power stations would spend on the fuels needed to produce that same electricity then the power stations will buy it. They will buy it of their own free will. Because it will make them more money. And save their fossil fuels. And save consumers money. And save the planet from the climate. Everyone wins!

But of course, it won't happen.
Because Governments are stupid and feckless and their land-owning friends are clever and greedy. The wind farms don't have to sell their electricity to power stations for less than the cost of reliable electricity, because the Government has guaranteed them the price of reliable electricity. And so they won't. They'll keep on selling it to you for full price.
So better get used to unaffordable electricity and rolling blackouts. It's the new normal.

Have an egg.

Chaud-Froid d'oeuf
Arpège Eggs
starter snack veg
About 35 years ago in 1986 a superstar chef called Alain Passard working at his Michelin-starred Paris Restaurant L'Arpège managed the impossible: he invented a new way to boil an egg!
Variously known as the Arpège Egg, Chaud-Froid d’Oeuf (Hot-Cold Egg), or Coquetier Maison de Cuisine (House Egg) at the Arpège itself.
The concept is a fusion of oppositions - the warm yolk and the cold cream, the sulfurous chives and the sugary syrup.

Of course Passard is also responsible for a Frankenstein monstrosity called Corps à Corps (Body-to-Body), consisting of half a chicken inelegantly stitched to half a duck. So he's not really all that.
Perhaps unsurpisingly, he is also now mostly a vegetarian.

Anyway, here is that egg.
Work fast to serve it immediately after assembly lest its essences miscegenate like an uncomfortable chiducken.

Serves 4

Cut open the eggs with an egg topper, and discard the whites, restraining the unbroken yolk with your fingers, or a spoon, or whatever. Keep the eggs in their carton while you work on them.
An egg topper, sure.
Well, I remembered from my childhood a Ladybird-type science book that described a trick for cutting sheets of glass with an ordinary pair of scissors by holding the glass underwater. So I had a go at neatly sawing off the top of the eggs with a fine hacksaw blade by holding them underwater.
It works pretty well - draw your guide mark around the egg about ½" below the tip. After which you can cut through the remaining membrane with a scalpel and empty out the contents.
Don't use marker pen as it will stain the shell and you'll have to use vinegar to remove it which also bleaches the shell resulting in an oddly mottled appearance.
You could try pencil?
Word on the street is that the eggs will float better for simmering if you cut off their fat end. Take that Lilliputians!
Season each yolk with a pinch of black pepper and sea salt, and three scoops of chives applied with a small melon baller.

Lower the eggs to float in simmering water, switch off the heat, and allow to cook for 3 mins.
The yolks should be warmed but not set.
Meanwhile season the cream with four pinches each of sea salt, pinches of nutmeg, ginger, white pepper and cloves. Opinions vary on the precise seasonings. If any. These four constitute the traditional French quatre epices.
Add a few dashes of sherry vinegar to taste, and whip the cream to very soft peaks. You can chill the bowl you're using if you want to keep the temperature low.
Fill a piping bag with the mixture if you intend to pipe the cream.

Take the eggs from the water and carefully spoon or pipe the whipped cream on top to almost fill the egg shells.
Drizzle with maple syrup, sprinkle with chopped chives, and serve immediately in egg cups.
Interesting. Not earth-shattering. But still, they are just boiled eggs. I was quite proud of my neat topping process though.
You could experiment with other flavours, Passard has suggested substituting chervil or tarragon for the chives, and Californian David Kinch uses coriander honey and a coriander flower as a finish over lemon cream.

Comments (2)

Newest first Oldest first

  1. Thank you kind visitor.

    Though I suspect you just want the egg cup :)

    #2 – 24 May, 2023 at 11:24 am

  2. Flora McPhail's avatar Flora McPhail

    The egg looks beautiful I await you making it for me for breakfast with a glass of chateau obvs.

    #1 – 8 May, 2023 at 11:12 pm

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