Pay Up! Public Electric Outlets May Cost Money
Geeze, as if the world wasn’t a cruel, expensive, cash-hungry dump already—news just broke that Sony just came out with a new technology to monetize electricity use at public places. The new electrical outlets, so smugly called, “smart” outlets, will track a user’s energy use, ultimately charging them for energy they consume publicly while charging their devices.
Apparently, coffee shops are the envious lords in the push towards pay-per-use electrical outlets. Companies like Starbucks are sick and tired of funding the electrical use of laptop-loiterers who spend the entire day leeching the company’s electricity, while only paying for a $3 dollar coffee. These coffee shop outlet-hogs do limit available seating for new influxes of customers, but more so they are downright annoying, like a couch-surfing house guest who never leaves.
However, these new devices have a very passive-aggressive way of cutting off a customer’s energy supply. After a determined length of time the device shuts off the user’s supply of power, until their battery drains. Then users are prompted to log-in and pay for their electricity, or forego their energy use altogether.
VIDEO: SONY SMART-ENERGY SOLUTION
While we all need to be more eco-conscious and aware of our energy use, I am not entirely convinced that we should foot our share of the energy bill at public places. It is not as if customers are charging their electric RV campers at Coffee Bean, what they are charging must cost pennies to the companies whose mark-ups ultimately make them five-fold profits.
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Ultimately, coffee is easily made at home. Nobody goes to Starbucks for their coffee. The reason why the majority of people go to coffee shops is to use their laptops in a public setting. Coffee shops are a procrastinator’s last resort, a caffeinated oasis pushing lingerers to finally get work done under the scrutiny of the judging public’s glare.
Coffee shops have to submit to their buying demographic before fair-weathered customers move their business to donut shops who don't charge them for electricity, and charge less for the same disappointing coffee.
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?
Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly