Monthly Archives: December 2013

Fracking Song Collection – Andy’s Top 20

Fracking has inspired opposition across the socio-economic spectrum and amongst musicians in particular.

Here is my current Top 20 of inspired and inspirational music:

1. “No Fracking Way” Leo Sayer with Aussies Against Fracking
A very recent rocking effort by a seasoned pro!

2. Fracking is Coming to Town by John Harrison
Slaughters the Springsteen classic, but gets a high position in this chart as it is only a week ’til Christmas!

3. “My Water’s On Fire Tonight” is a product of Studio 20 NYU
Fracking hip-hop style! An established classic , being two and a half years old now

4.Fracking Song – Emily Blyth
Emily is well know to us in the Green Party, and soon to become Mrs Derek Wall! Fracking folk-style!

5. Don’t Frack My Mother – Artists Against Fracking
Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono et al with a song in the style of the protest song maestro, BVob Dylan

6. Cuadrilla Killer – HUTC
From the Balcombe protection camp – inspired by a Talking Heads classic

7. Frack Off! by GRASS
Folk rock from the Fylde Coast

8. Raise A Ruckus In Aromas
Classic country-style song from the Southern States

9. The Fracking Song – Little war Twins
Reminiscent of Joni Mitchell (perhaps)

10. This Land Is All – Canton Community Choir and Cor Cochion Caerdydd
The Welsh choral tradition being upheld (just about!)

11. This Fracking Song – ‘Deadly’ Dave Welsh
Quality Aussie singer-songwriter, recorded in a beer garden

12. CFFT Fracking Song – Susan Shann
Military style ‘call and response’ from Tennessee

13. Frackin Devil – Frank Molloy
Great song, great video, with lyrics, from the Irish fractivist

14. Hydro Fracking Song – LRevolution
Linkin Park style anthem from June 2010

15. Pete Seeger Sings Out Against Fracking
The old-stager can still churn it out!

16. Freakin Frackin by Op-Critical
Heavier sound, conveys the sinister vibe very well

17. Lock the Gate – Laura Doe & The Chaps
Great track from a Aussie campaign album called “Whole Lotta Frackin’ Going On”

18. Fracking Gasholes – Stele Ely
Dodgy title, but a great song and a excellent video (with lyrics)

19. Don’t Frack Me Around – Oxygen Brothers Band
Canadian folksters getting straight to the point

20. Fracking Anthem (after Blake’s Jerusalem) – words by Simon Welsh
I had to end with one in which I make a contribution – the mass choirs of Balcombe!

And there is a hell of a lot more out there, I promise you!

Andy’s Solar Panels – performance to date

A few months ago, I was asked what I knew about the Free Solar Panels scheme from a company called a A Shade Greener.

As a result of my enquiries, I decided to pursue it myself and I am very pleased with the outcomes to date.

The scheme is explained well on their website

and this video:

I am pleased to report that they have been as good as their word at every stage and it has all been remarkably hassle free. The only inconvenience has been having to have someone at home on the installation date.

The only small gripe I have is that they do not provide a metering system that allows you to readily check what is being generated and what the house is using. You can log-in to their website and get access to their data on what the panels have generated, but if you want to be able to optimise your own use of the free electricity you really do need a suitable meter. There are quite a few of these available on the market and I ended up buying this one:

It is pretty easy to instal and set up (get it in advance of installation date and the electrician will fit it in about 2 mins if you ask them nicely!).
It has a very easy to understand ‘traffic light’ system that tells you when you are generating a surplus (green), when you are using more than you generating (red) and when the two are in rough parity (amber). Amber can be regarded as the optimum in terms of getting best value out of the system.

The meter also logs data on a memory card that can be downloaded to a computer, and with the supplied software it is a doddle to produce useful analysis figures and graphs. These are from my first download:

Date Used Kw Gen Kw gen/used %
27/11/2013 15.445 0.704 4.6
28/11/2013 17.784 1.191 6.7
29/11/2013 9.605 1.253 13.0
30/11/2013 13.348 10.579 79.3
01/12/2013 19.072 0.829 4.3
02/12/2013 16.216 1.755 10.8
03/12/2013 13.571 0.901 6.6
04/12/2013 14.889 3.544 23.8
05/12/2013 13.913 1.598 11.5
06/12/2013 12.316 3.8 30.9
07/12/2013 12.056 4.329 35.9
Total 158.215 30.483 19.3


It is, of course, the worst possible time of year for solar generation, given the short daylight hours and often heavy cloud cover. But even so, as you can see from the table, over this 11 day period, we have averaged generation of 19.3% of the energy we used. The range is quite dramatic. We didn’t quite mange 5% on a couple of days (although one of these was the heaviest use day), but we also managed approximately 80% on 30th November – when my wife and I were away and our sons had the house to themselves!

Given these figures, it is easy to see how we can achieve consistently high savings much of the year and can clearly look forward to annual savings of at least the average of 37% A Shade Greener quote. Given the cost of electricity at the moment, that is a lot of money saved, alongside a big reduction in our carbon footprint.

We are learning as go along, and the smart meter functionality of out PV meter is teaching all of us a lot about where we are using (and wasting) the most electricity. The electric shower is horrendous! I also get a buzz every time the meter lights are flashing orange and I realise that, at that moment at least, we are not paying anything for our electricity. I am also enjoying the challenge of whittling down the base consumption of our house , by tracking down devices left on standby etc. I had it down to just 62 watts/hr at one point.

Potential savings are clearly a function of how savvy you get in optimising your patterns of use. I have things on timers, phased throughout the middle of the day, to take advantage. But potential savings also depend on certain fixed factors, such as the size and pitch of your roof, and of course, its aspect. The closer to due south facing you are, and the closer you are to having room for a full 4Kw/h system (the maximum allowed for domestic systems), the better the generation figures you will see.

I have a 4Kw/h system, but face 16 degrees off due south – still pretty good though as they will fit systems up to 55 degrees off due south.

All-in-all, given that I was unlikely to spend the £6k to £8k on a system myself, and that if I did, the payback time would be many years, this seems a no-brainer to me. Ok, some private company is taking the FIT (Feed In Tariff), which I would get if I paid for the installation, but 30-40% off my electric bills for the next 20 or so years, for absolutely no investment from my pocket – alongside the immediate reductions in our family carbon footprint – mean that I can see no significant reason why the vast majority of peolpe with suitable roofs should not do it.

Just remember to say to were referred by a friend and give them my details (contact me if you don’t already know them) and we will also BOTH be £50 richer too – if it is result of this blog article, mine will be going into Bridgend Green Party funds.

Thank you in advance!!