Science lesson

THERE are an increasing number of articles in the paper concerning electrical power generation, and in common with various nationals, the articles often contain errors resulting from the loose application of terminology concerning power and energy.

Recently errors were contained in the reporting of the Northumberland Estates’ wood power generation and the Belford solar panel schemes.

Usually, the errors arise from the reporting but sometimes from the source material.

On occasions, the errors are marginally technical but at other times, they spoil the story or turn it into nonsense.

Usually, the errors concern megawatts or kilowatts being termed energy when in fact they are the rate at which energy is produced, that is power.

Energy in these cases is measured in megawatt or kilowatt hours.

Perhaps you should encourage your reporting and editorial staff to take a short lesson in simple physics to re-learn what they were taught in school.

A watt is a unit of electrical power. A watt hour, watts multiplied by time, is a unit of energy.

The speed of a car is determined by its power. The distance the car travels is the average speed multiplied by time and that determines the energy needed and the petrol consumed.

The effort needed for a person to climb up a hill is power, the energy consumed is the effort multiplied by the height gained.

It is all simple and we all basically understand the difference between energy and power but when the media fail to use the correct terms the result is at best confusing and at the worst prevents the full understanding of the information that is intended to be conveyed.

John Lilley,