21.01.2011 lecture diary

As the lecture began, the lecturer compared 1930s Finland, and the current developing countries. According to the lecturer, the main difference was that the current technology didn’t exist back then. I think that even larger issue in today’s developing countries is that not only the technology is there but also that at least some of the local people know that the technology is out there. They know that there are machines and services that could make their life easier, but they’re either not yet available to them or they can’t yet afford them. I’d suspect this could be one of the major drivers why the developing countries make relatively big technological advances given that they can attain the geopolitical stability.

We then moved to details about how much power can a human produce, and how having a huge population can end lead to over- or underemployment, thus causing a widespread availability of cheap labour. Here I’d like to add that whilst in developing countries the big population is often regarded as just a problem, it can increase overall satisfaction of the population if managed properly. For example in Finland, where we have so few people, it’s not really worth having too many people cleaning up the litter even on the train stations, since the gain of satisfaction would be quite low per person. On other hand, in Tokyo, Japan, the ratio could stay the same as in Finland or be even smaller, but the stations can be cleaned more thoroughly due to the extra human resources available. This ends up in higher total employment rate, and higher overall satisfaction for all the inhabitants.

The lecturer mentioned that one of the most common methods to estimate the future load when designing a new power system is to ask the locals what they plan to acquire after the power will be connected. Are the different villages, towns and nations so different from each other that we couldn’t just use historical data from neighbouring systems?

I enjoyed the introduction of the tutorial questions in this lecture. Whilst they weren’t particularly hard, they gave me a nice insight to what kind of questions there might be in the exam, thus helping me to perpare myself. Also, the interaction between the lecturer and the students is always a positive aspect during a lesson.

As we started to discuss the definition of RAPS, I couldn’t help but wonder how simple can inveters be. The principles of inverters are mostly taught in universities in the western countries, so can the repair methods be easily adapted by the locals?

In the battery systems it was underlined that the batteries have to be balanced in order that the newer batteries don’t end up trying to recharge the older ones. How can this be achieved? The need of replacing the batteries periodically is there, but if we need to know the relative charge levels at all times, then how do we monitor it? The second to last slide (which was skipped during the lecture) provides partial answer by stating that the banks are equalized every now and then, but won’t the older batteries still lose their charge faster than the new batteries? Or is this phenomena of only marginal importance?