The Problem With Renewable Energy The Bizarre Plan to Drain the Mediterranean: 5 months ago   04:06

Tom Scott
( This isn't a sponsored video, but I am massively grateful to all the team at SSE! Go look: , and pull down the description for more. )
As the world switches to renewable energy - and we are switching - there's a problem you might not expect: balancing the grid. Rotational mass and system inertia are the things that keep your lights from flickering: and they only appear in big, old, traditional power stations. Here's why that's a problem, and how we're likely going to fix it.

Thanks to all the team at SSE! FULL DISCLOSURE: This is not a sponsored video, no money has changed hands, and SSE did not have editorial control. But they did go out of their way to arrange access and support for me and my team, including giving us safety training for working at heights. I am incredibly grateful to all the team: Paul and Ed for arranging it all; Bob and Scott who helped us at the turbine; and Calum, Head of Operations, who was keeping an eye on safety throughout.


The drone footage is from Cyberhawk, they normally do turbine inspections and land surveying, so I'd like to thank them for getting some artistic shots for us too!

And finally, my camera operator was Paul Curry, @cr3, who's written a more experiential post with photos for Buzzfeed:

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Comments 1806 Comments

leo hess
Still the USA puppet
Why can't we just build a massive flywheel that is powered by electricity to provide the needed system inertia?
Ginger Ninja
0:09 - One shouldn’t say “zero coal” because zero is a number. Just as one wouldn’t say “Britain was burning twenty-three coal” which makes no sense either. It’s either _no coal_ or _some coal._
Piere Bekers
are you an actual moron?
In an ideal world you would charge your electric car during the night when power from wind energy is in excess and cheap and then use some of it in the morning for your morning routine (like kitchen appliances etc.) then have enough battery for your full daily commute and then maybe some for the energy you need to consume during the evening before you go to sleep and charge your car again.
Brendan McCabe
They should make hundreds of batteries in the shape of the monolith from 2001 and leave them in a field
┓┏ 凵 =╱⊿┌┬┐
Throw another nuclear rod on the barbie. Hes so intelligent and yet so classically British at the same time 😂
Name Surname
not only do I love all the amazing and interesting information you provide for us, and the exciting measures you go to to deliver it, but I love listening to your voice too, you have a good voice.
"Hi MTV, I'm Tom Scott and this is my Crib"
Russ Gallagher
"Your car could sell power back to the grid..." Conveniently ignores the fact that batteries deteriorate with every discharge and charge cycle; probably not the most economical use of a battery that costs thousands of dollars or pounds!
Russ Gallagher
2:23 Title of vid says "Problem w/ Renewable Energy [and how we're fixing it]..." Overhead shots show wind farm crankin' out a whopping ZERO watts on a windless day!
Buy cheap overflow electricity to your own cars & sell it back later automatically at higher demands. Interesting idea.
Neurotic Sos
Throw another nuclear rod on the barbie
yea but like if one wind turbine fails then the others are still spinning so liek
edit: w a i t t h e m a i n l i n e c o u l d
f a i l
pretend i didn’t say anything
ProfWildcard “Hundreds of tons of steel rotating THOUSANDS of times a SECOND” try again
Runklestiltskin _
Domiciliary grid aren't even capable of that. That would require an entire redesign of the electric system of cities and homes.
I love this sort of stuff.
Toopy Anne Binoo
No no no ... The grid stays at frequency ... The grid is billions of hp ... one wee 20 Mw generator decides to buck the system .... Lmfao ... Ain't gonna happen ... That generator just became a motor ... let's hope it stays together while the frequency relay does its job ya ? And no Nuclear won't pick up .... You got one thing correct ..... Hydro .....
I really wish the United States would go more Renewable
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The Bizarre Plan to Drain the Mediterranean: The Problem With Renewable Energy 5 months ago   03:29

Herman Sörgel wanted to create the largest civil engineering project the world has ever seen: a colossal dam across the Strait of Gibraltar, lowering the Mediterranean sea. There were, of course, a few problems with this.

VFX by David 'Hoolopee' Post (
Camera by Paul Curry (@cr3)

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