Reality Checkpoint

Frequently one has the impression that energy policy is determined by people who have no understanding of our energy needs or reserves.

The purpose of this page is to give a truthful perspective on some of the energy news events which get into the headlines.

Ordinary people need affordable energy produced in a way which does not squander the earth's resources. They also need long-term policies which enable industry to thrive.


Government has said this week that three of Britain's coal fired power stations will have to be switched off soon. Six stations are due to be closed, but three will be affected "earlier than expected" because no exemption has been negotiated from the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive. The three stations will exceed their 20,000 hours of generating time (since 2008) if they continue to run. Note that the stations are not worn out. The shutdowns are due to EU regulations on NOx and sulphur dioxide emissions, and UK taxpayers will have to pick up the bill in increased energy costs.

It is difficult to see why the shutdowns are being described as "earlier than expected" because EU rules and 20,000hr-quotas have been known by most people in the industry since 2008. I was writing about it two years ago, and on several occasions since then (see, for example, a mention in Moonbeams from the Larger Lunacy ), in the section 'Electric Cars'.

The affected stations are Cockenzie (closedown April 2012), Kingsnorth (May 2013) and Tilbury (July 2013). Tilbury is being converted to biomass burning but this will probably have no effect on the shutdown date since biomass is subject to even more EU regulation.

29 Dec 2011

China has warned the European Union to abandon its carbon tax on airlines or risk provoking a trade war. An industry insider told the Financial Times that the Chinese government was considering measures to hit back at the EU if it insists on charging international airlines carbon emissions. (FT, 22 Dec 11)

The US has threatened to take retaliatory action if the EU starts charging airlines flying into the bloc for carbon dioxide emissions. Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State, has written to her European Commission counterpart, Catherine Ashton, and other top commissioners, to persuade the EU to drop the emissions tax. (FT, 20 Dec 11)

The Indian government has asked its airlines not to submit carbon emissions data to the EU for the carbon tax which will be enforced from 1 Jan 2012. (18 Dec)

The Office for Nuclear Regulation has just given interim approval for the design of the first two nuclear reactors due to be built in Britain since the original nuclear programme finished two decades ago. The reactors are designed by Areva, the state-owned French company. They will be PWRs: pressurized water reactors, and they will be built jointly with EDF at Hinckley Point, Somerset. However the start date has receded.

This is not surprising. As I said a while back, the few companies which build nuclear stations have full order books, and they are under no compulsion to act rapidly; we are now having to buy-in foreign expertise.

The Finnish reactor being built at Olkiluoto is more or less the same design, and it's running several years late. I have no current information on this and will attempt to follow up; I suspect design modifications in response to alterations in health / safety regulations.

Something fairly obvious: it's not advisable to demand late alterations of any kind when a station is under construction. Some companies refuse absolutely refuse to talk about the design once the contract is signed.

An alteration, no matter how small or well-meaning, can cause enormous increases in cost. It can affect the safety of the station since it's no longer a standard design. It can also slow down the programme by a factor of two or three, as we saw a generation ago with Sizewell B.

It's difficult to believe, but it took longer to do the paperwork there than it did for some countries to build a new station.

19 Dec 2011

Canada is the first country to renounce the Kyoto protocol. Having committed to reducing 1990-level carbon emissions by 6 percent, Canada somehow managed to go in the other direction by about a third. Announcing the pullout, Canada's environment minister Peter Kent said that Kyoto doesn't represent the way forward for Canada or the world. The protocol did not cover the world's largest two emitters, the US and China, and therefore could not work. Kent said that Kyoto is not the path forward to a global solution to climate change; if anything it's an impediment.

The decision to withdraw from Kyoto will save Canada $ 14 billion in penalties for not achieving its Kyoto targets. To meet the targets for 2012 it would have to either remove every car, truck, ATV, tractor, ambulance, police car and vehicle from the roads, or close down the entire farming and agriculture sector and cut heat to each home, office, hospital, factory and building.

It will not be long before other countries follow suit.

18 Dec 2011

    Open letter sent by Weatheraction group to the Canadian Prime Minister:

    23-12-11 Open Letter to Canadian PM: WELL DONE CANADA for abandoning the Kyoto Protocol

Congress has voted to overturn the ban on selling incandescent light bulbs which goes into effect next year. The vote was 233 - 193 with 4 abstentions.

The ban itself hasn't been overturned, but the funding for imposing it has been withdrawn.

This was the only sensible thing to do. The last major US manufacturer shut down a year ago, so there would have been no point in using money to ban a product no longer available.

17 Dec 2011

A new report from the Adam Smith Institute & the Scientific Alliance says that wind farms cannot supply the energy we need, which will lead to an energy crisis by the middle of the decade.

To habitat21 readers this is not news, but it is good to see some of the mainstream media slowly becoming aware.

The BBC remains pro-wind energy, irrespective of its effectiveness or price. Its biased reporting, targeted at a juvenile or uninformed audience, continues to mislead.

The report estimates that five turbines would need to be erected every day between now and then to generate the government's wind energy targets.

The targets are obviously absurd.

It is difficult to believe that the Energy Minister is unaware.

The authors also point out, accurately, that the market is rigged to make fossil fuels more expensive - by taxing carbon dioxide emissions.

11 Dec 2011

Five million households in England are living in fuel poverty (10% or more of income spent on energy) as incomes stay the same and energy bills continue to rise.

Ministers are now coming under pressure to abandon their arbitrary green energy targets.

William Baker, of the statutory consumer body, commented that it was difficult to see how the Government was going to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016, as required by the Warm Homes and Conservation Act 2000.

He suggested that the Government should use the proceeds from new carbon taxes to support a national energy efficiency programme.

Wholesale energy prices are now at a 12-month low. If your fuel bill is bigger than last year, the reason lies with green levies, not energy prices.

2 Dec 2011

Rio Tinto Alcan is closing its Northumberland aluminium smelting plant in north-east England because of EU climate legislation. The closure of the decades old smelting plant is devastating for an area with already high unemployment; 500 jobs will be lost.

The company remains profitable, in spite of increasing energy costs. But in 2013 the plant faces a rise of around £56 million to enable it to comply with new European and UK carbon legislation.

Rio Tinto’s CEO Jacynthe Côté told the London Financial Times, “It is clear that the smelter is no longer a sustainable business because its energy costs are increasing significantly, due largely to emerging legislation.”

It seems that their thermal (shale) power plant does not meet the Large Combustion Plant Directive - Ed. .

28 Nov 2011

Labour MP Graham Stringer last night said he would be writing this week to BBC director-general Mark Thompson to demand an investigation into the Corporation’s relationship with UEA. ‘The new leaked emails [dubbed 'Climategate 2' by some journalists] show that the UEA scientists at the Tyndall Centre and the CRU acted more like campaigners than academics, and that they succeeded in an attempt to influence the output of the BBC,’ Mr Stringer said. (reported in 'Mail on Sunday', 27 November 2011)

This is of more than academic interest. The climate information produced by CRU feeds into government. It affects every one of us because it affects energy policy and the price we pay for gas and electricity.

The BBC is still reporting Climategate as just another computer crime. This is like reporting Watergate as just another burglary - Ed.

27 Nov 2011


25 November 2011

Dear Secretary of State

We are pleased that you have decided that a public response to growing criticism of your climate policies is now required. We regret, however, that you do not address our main arguments and key concerns. Neither are we impressed by evidently ill-advised assertions.

For a start, you make the mistake of connecting the reality of 20th century global warming, which no one doubts, with the various causes for it. You claim that the evidence for man's influence is getting stronger every year, yet you fail to provide any empirical evidence for this statement.

In reality, over the past few years there has been a growing realisation among scientists that other influences (such as solar, stratospheric water vapour, oceanic cycles, to name but the most dominant) are likely to be more significant than previously thought. These factors have seriously impinged on estimates of the magnitude of mankind's influence.

(....this originally continued on the GWPF website but has since been removed. Clicking the link goes to my archived copy - Ed ....)

26 Nov 2011

The M.D. of British Gas, Phil Bentley, has said that household energy bills will continue to rise because of factors outside his control. He said that future British Gas bills will include a breakdown of costs.

Mr. Bentley gives three reasons for increasing costs:

  • Green levies
  • Increasing commodity costs
  • Increased distribution costs

    On Wednesday Mr. Huhne said that green taxes, which all households will have to pay, will add £280 to annual bills by 2020.
      Mr. Huhne also said that our energy will be cheaper if we promote competition, insulate our homes and steer away from fossil fuels and towards green energy.

      Energy expert Joe Malinowski, of TheEnergyShop.com, said that he was deeply sceptical of this claim.

      Benny Peiser points out that all analysis by City banks and others say that current policy will lead increases in energy bills. Government policy is based on the assumption that gas prices will keep going up, which is unlikely, given the recent discoveries of shale gas.
    25 Nov 2011

    Next week, representatives from 1990 countries will gather in Durban for yet more climate talks.
    The Kyoto Protocol for cutting carbon dioxide emissions expires at the end of 2012.

    The talks are unlikely to produce very much in the way of new legislation, because little agreement can be expected between emerging economies and those of the West.

    The American president has said that his country will cut carbon dioxide production by 17% over the next 15 years, but not unilaterally. It will only happen if all major economies agree to act together.

    Acting unilaterally to meet green 'targets' will not help a country's industry in the current economic climate.

    Nevertheless British ministers said on 22 November that they would push ahead regardless with plans to cut emissions.

    23 Nov 2011

    The 'climate change' episode of the BBC's Frozen Planet documentary series by Sir David Attenborough will not be shown in the USA. Half the public in America says that fossil-fuel carbon dioxide is not affecting the climate.

    One newspaper (the UK's Daily Telegraph) put it like this:

    "The BBC has dropped a climate change episode from its wildlife series Frozen Planet to help the show sell better abroad."

    18 Nov 2011

    Holland is reducing its targets for renewable energy and reducing the subsidies for wind and solar power. It has also given approval for some new nuclear power plants; the first for many years. The reason is that wind and solar subsidies are too expensive.

    Holland is the first country to abandon the EU-wide target of producing 20 per cent of its domestic power from renewables. This is from a state which took the Kyoto Agreement seriously and encouraged other EU members into adopting renewable energy strategies. The FT reports that the subsidy will be cut from €4bn per year to €1.5bn.

    17 Nov 2011

    Scrapping wind farms in favour of nuclear and gas would save each person in the UK £550, according to accountants KPMG.

    They say that government plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions by a third by 2020 rely heavily on wind power and will cost £108billion.

    Spiralling gas and electricity bills have left many people worrying about how they will keep warm this winter.

    The average annual dual fuel bill stands at £1,345, approximately double the £740 of five years ago.

    Bills are predicted to rise another 25 per cent over the next four years.

    12 Nov 2011

    The NZ government has announced that parts of the emissions trading scheme (mainly carbon dioxide) will be delayed because they are too expensive and the benefits are not clear.

    11 Nov 2011

    After switching off its nuclear power stations, Germany is now having to buy nuclear electricity from France.

    The reasons for the switch-off were political. Tsunamis (like the one which caused the nuclear accident in Japan) have never been observed in Germany.

    EDF said there were 4.4 terawatt hours of net exports between April and September 2011 compared to 0.6 TWh over the same period in 2010.

    10 Nov 2011

    Air China and three other Chinese carriers are planning to jointly sue the European Union for its plan to charge airlines for carbon dioxide emissions.

    Under the EU's proposals, airlines will have to buy permits when carbon dioxide is emitted from their own jet aircraft.

    9 Nov 2011

    The government has said today (26 Oct 11) that each household in Britain has paid £320 in the past year in hidden taxes to subsidise wind farms, solar panels and home insulation.

    My own electricity bill (I buy from British Gas) refers to these green taxes in the small print:

    "The cost of your electricity isn't just the price of fuel.......... there's a 12% government obligation to help the environment."

    So ... spending money on technologies which cannot deliver the energy we need is 'helping the environment'.

    Regular readers of these pages will not be surprised, but it's the first time I've seen the admission on an energy bill.

    Mr. Huhne has said that he wants to get us off the oil and gas 'hook'.

    If electricity from wind cost a similar amount to that from a coal-fired station I'd agree, but it's several times the price. Some authorities say it's triple or quadruple; even the Energy Research centre (a government think tank) says it's nearly double the price of coal or gas.

    Better news is the acknowledgement that renewables subsidies are too high; solar panel and wind farm payments are soon to be cut by a third. George Osborne has also said that the UK will cut carbon dioxide emissions (ie fossil fuel use) at the same speed as other countries, pointing out that we cannot save the planet by putting our companies out of business.

    So - not yet a rational energy policy, but a small step in the right direction.

    28 Oct 2011

    The carbon tax bill in Australia has been passed by Julia Gillard's government, a year after she promised not to introduce it. The voting was 74 votes to 72.

    We await developments.

    25 Oct 2011

    edited extract from a letter in the 'Daily Telegraph', 23 Sep 11:

    Your leading article, 21 Sep, said that tidal energy is utterly dependable.

    It's true that tidal energy is predictable, but it does not always provide power at the right time.

    Neap tides provide less power than spring tides, and peak demand sometimes coincides with slack water. This is a major disadvantage of tidal power.

    M.K, Dorset

      ........and another letter, short and to the point......

      I would be more impressed by Chris Huhne's attack on energy bills if the Coalition was not inflating energy prices by making consumers pay for renewable energy.

      DW, Edinburgh

    The German company RWE is considering reducing or abandoning its investment in British nuclear power stations.

    It was planning to build two stations; one at Wylfa and one at Oldbury.

    The proposed plants, if they go ahead, will be a joint venture between RWE and Eon.

    RWE is involved with the German nuclear power programme, which is being cut back after the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

    Mr. Huhne says we can reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 without new nuclear, by using carbon capture and storage along with renewables.

    Anyone who has researched the cost of large-scale carbon capture knows that this is untrue.

    9 Oct 2011

    The Energy Secretary has been blaming consumers for their high energy bills. He says that if they were more willing to switch providers, they would reduce their bills significantly.

    This is disingenuous. One of the reasons for the steep increase in energy prices is the government's fixation with renewable power generation. We are investing more in offshore windfarms than any other country, and the costs are crippling.

    The Royal Academy of Engineering estimates the current cost of off-shore wind energy as 15 to 25p per kilowatt hour, compared to 2.2p for gas and 2.5 - 3.2p for coal. An order of magnitude higher.

    The UK Energy Research Centre, a government think tank, puts the price per kilowatt hour as 14.9p, compared to 8p for coal and gas.

    This is an enormous premium to pay for an energy source which is unreliable. For example, for the last three years, wind turbines have generated no power over the New Year period because frosty, high-pressure weather systems mean that there is no wind.

    Meanwhile conventional power plants running synchronously with the grid and delivering no power have to provide back up for all occasions when wind turbines are operating - the so called 'spinning reserve', which is the most inefficient way of running a turbine.

    Switching providers does not provide a long term solution to high energy prices if the underlying energy strategy is wrong.

    21 Sep 2011

    Slightly off-topic..... Perhaps unwisely, I signed an unsolicited email petition recently for what I thought was a worthwhile cause, sent by an organisation calling itself 'Avaaz'.

    I am now receiving a steady stream of petitions to sign, accompanied by press releases of varying quality.

    Some of the issues they've asked me to vote on are worthwhile. Others (e.g. to support the introduction of a carbon tax in Australia) are based on propaganda.

    One wonders who is behind this organisation.

    When I disagree with them on an issue, and write to them about it, they do not reply.

    I will not be voting for any of their causes in the future.

    1 Sep 2011

    UK energy companies are shedding jobs and writing down the value of their coal fired power stations as a result of EU emissions rules. RWE npower is about to cut about 440 jobs as a result of closing plants.

    EDF has written down its Cottam and West Burton power stations by £340 million.

    This is a result of new nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide emissions limits imposed by the EU; as a result, nine stations have to be shut down before 2015.

    In addition to this problem faced by the energy companies, all new coal fired power stations have to incorporate 'carbon capture', also known as 'clean coal', a political term to describe a technology which has never been used on a commercial-sized power station anywhere in the world.

    This effectively means that no new coal-fired stations can be built in the UK.

    E.ON has decided not to develop its Kingsnorth station any further, presumably having decided that 'carbon capture' is unworkable.

    22 Aug 2011

    The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) will shortly be forcing the shutdown of about 20 percent of coal-generated electric capacity in the United States.

    Coal generates about half the electricity demanded in the US. The country will have to use other more expensive ways of generating electricity to make up the 10% shortfall.

    20 Aug 2011

    Between four and five thousand people, according to BBC R4 News(1), gathered in Canberra to protest about the carbon tax proposed by P.M. Julia Gillard. Five years ago, 68% of Australians thought that man-made climate change was a significant problem. That figure has now dropped to 41%.

    There is widespread opposition to a carbon tax in Australia for two reasons: firstly, Julia Gillard promised a year ago not to introduce one; secondly, a carbon tax threatens to destroy much of Australia's economy.

    There were unconvincing attempts by the P.M. to label the protesters as 'lunatic fringe'.

    However, those who know that man-made carbon dioxide is a not a cause of climate change are, in the main, ordinary people. If there is an election, they will not be inclined to vote for a person describing them as deniers or extremists. It will be interesting to see how the situation develops.

    17 Aug 2011

    (1) ABC, a strong supporter of the AGW hypothesis, said that the figure was 3,000.

    A spokesman for Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, told the Associated Press on 11th August that he is running for President.

    If he is sucessful, we will need to know more about him. I'm summarising his views on energy policy below.
      Perry does not believe there is valid scientific proof for man-made global warming. He has said several times that there is no scientific consensus on the issue. In a September 7, 2007, speech to California Republicans during September 2007, he said "Virtually every day another scientist leaves the global warming bandwagon. ... But you won't read about that in the press because they have already invested in one side of the story."

      Texas-based TXU had been planning a $10 billion investment in 11 new coal-fired power plants over the next few years, but reduced those plans in 2007 under the terms of a buyout by a consortium of private equity firms. The Governor's Clean Coal Technology Council is exploring ways to generate clean energy with coal.

      Perry opposes regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. He points out that there would be devastating implications for the Texas economy and the energy industry. He has stated that he supports an energy policy including oil, coal, nuclear, biofuels, hydroelectric, solar, and wind energy.
    13 Aug 2011

    A new study by two research scientists implies that the climate modelling community needs to open up its research agenda. As yet it has not demonstrated that it can produce better forecasts than simpler statistical methods.

    A consequence of this, explored by Robert Fildes and Nikolaous Kourentzes at the Lancaster Centre for Forecasting, is that excessive focus on limiting green house gases may be misguided. The hydrologist Keith Beven’s work on modelling carried out in the Lancaster Environment Centre leads to the same conclusion. More about this on the Lancaster University website.

    12 Aug 2011

    The Intercontinental Exchange said it will shut down its U.S. emissions derivatives platform. The reason is sparse trading. The chances of a federal carbon-reduction plan being implemented are very slim.

    11 Aug 2011

    The expense of trying to change the climate by reducing carbon dioxide emissions is starting to put people out of work. The manufacturers' association EEF said that the Government had underestimated the cost of its environmental measures. Readers will be aware of job losses in manufacturing caused by increased energy prices; they have been highlighted in the media.

    Water vapour, not carbon dioxide, is responsible for about 90% of the 'greenhouse effect', so there is no scientific justification for these measures..

    From next year, firms will have to pay green taxes to meet EU emissions limits. All firms over a certain size will be required to measure their carbon dioxide emissions and buy permits from the Government.

    The money will go to the Treasury.

    There is increasing dissatisfaction over this form of taxation. Last year, £40billion was raised; £27 billion of it by motorists.

    Ofgem says that the average householder's electricity and gas bills are inflated by about £100 a year as a result of green taxation and 'decarbonisation' measures.

    5 Aug 2011

    America's Environmental Protection Agency is continuing to insist that carbon dioxide, a gas vital to all life on Earth, has to be regulated and paid for.

    Even after the government's failed effort to get Cap-and-Trade legislation passed, the EPA still pursues this policy. It is in the process of completing and finalizing a large number of rules and regulations which will cost industry hundreds of billions of dollars. Only Congress can stop this becoming law.

    The claim is that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing global warming, therefore it must be reduced, regardless of expense.

    It is curious that during a recession, when the balance sheets of every company are being scrutinised so closely, the same rules are not being applied to the EPA.

    Humans exhale about six pounds of carbon dioxide each day. Energy for manufacturing, for transportation, and for the production of electricity, all generate carbon dioxide.

    The most effective way of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide we produce is to de-industrialise, and to adopt the lifestyle of our ancestors.

    One wonders if this is the hidden agenda behind some of the EPA's policies.

    3 Aug 2011

    For years, advocates of renewables have said that increased use of wind energy can provide a cost-effective method of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The reality is that wind energy's carbon dioxide-cutting benefits are greatly exaggerated. If wind energy does help reduce carbon emissions, which is highly debatable, those reductions are too expensive to be used on any kind of scale.

    Those are the findings of a new study, released by Bentek Energy, a Colorado-based energy analytics firm. The authors analysed emissions data from power stations serving about 110 million customers, or about one-third of the U.S. population.

    Their conclusion: the wind energy business is an over-subsidized industry which depends on taxpayer dollars to remain solvent. It does little or nothing to reduce our consumption of hydrocarbons or our carbon dioxide emissions.


    31 Jul 2011

    "In the current circumstances it is clear that the UK cannot afford, above all unilaterally, to move to a low carbon, let alone a zero carbon, economy.

    A low carbon economy means a high energy cost economy.

    At the very least, the Government should phase out all energy subsidies of all kinds, and suspend unilateral targets until such time as all other major nations have signed up to the same course.

    For the UK to go it alone is not merely suicidal but pointless.

    Decarbonisation requires growing subsidies from the taxpayer and sharply increased energy bills for business, industry, and households. At a time when painful cuts are unavoidable, it makes no sense to make British industry – and manufacturing in particular - uncompetitive, or to drive it overseas, and thus greatly weaken our economy, by gratuitously driving up energy costs."

    Benny Peiser, Global Warming Policy Forum.

    26 Jul 2011

    Australia's carbon tax is being sold to the public with government-funded advertisements in which representatives from renewable energy companies make the case for the government policy.

    Their arguments range from, "it's got to be better to put wind turbines up", to "other countries around the world are doing it".

    The ads give the impression that solar and wind are ready to take over from fossil fuels.

    This is untrue.

    They also suggest that carbon pricing will lead to new green jobs.

    Research into these jobs reveals that other people are put out of work because of increased energy costs.

    21 Jul 2011

    A warning from the German Federal Network Agency, the body responsible for electricity: Germany will have power cuts this winter unless it restarts a mothballed nuclear power plant.

    Germany's power industry is in trouble after its government's illogical decision to switch off its nuclear power stations.

    After the Fukushima affair, Germany shut down seven older reactors which were still perfectly serviceable, and politicians said that its 17 other nuclear reactors would disappear by 2022.

    Going nuclear-free will increase German dependence on fossil fuels, which won't endear the government to the green lobby, with its ubiquitous 'targets' on carbon dioxide emissions. It will be interesting to see what happens when these two groups clash. Meanwhile the public face huge rises in energy bills, another factor being Germany's disastrous wind programme, which is delivering about a twentieth of its rated capacity.

    The chief executive of Daimler, Dieter Zetsche, said that Germany was deliberately turning away from cheap energy, and he pointed out that higher energy prices would cause large companies to leave the country and set up in countries with more sensible energy policies.

    14 Jul 2011

    Interesting youtube video; see

    Increase in plant growth caused by more carbon dioxide

    Chris Huhne has written a piece for the Daily Telegraph in which he says that no new coal fired power station can be built without carbon capture. Gas fired power stations will, for the time being, not be compelled to use carbon capture.

    This effectively prices coal power out of the market, so we will probably veer towards a greater dependence on imported gas, unless exemptions from carbon capture can be negotiated.

    ND comment: I have written numerous pieces about carbon capture already. The technology does not exist on a commercial scale power station anywhere in the world.

    To commit to an unknown technology (and a consequent unknown price for the energy produced) is extremely irresponsible.

    He said on Monday that a shift away from fossil fuels was the only way to bring stability to household energy bills.

    This is untrue.

    12 Jul 2011

    Charles Hendry, the energy minister, has said again that eight new nuclear power stations will be built soon in the UK. It is expected that about 5,000 jobs will be created at each of the eight sites.

    ND comment: The very few companies building nuclear stations have plenty of orders. We may have to wait a while.

    12 Jul 2011

    James Salinger, one of the scientists suspected of criminal misconduct in the Climategate scandal, has been elected to the role of President of the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

    Salinger remains a suspected accomplice in the tight knit international clique of climatologists involved in the data corruption scandal at the University of East Anglia (UEA), England. Commenting on that ongoing criminal probe, Senior Investigating Officer (SIO), Detective Superintendent Julian Gregory said:

    “This has been a complex investigation, undertaken in a global context and requiring detailed and time consuming lines of enquiry. Due to the sensitivity of the investigation it has not been possible to share details of enquiries with the media and the public and it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this time.”

    5 Jul 2011

    Centrica and other energy companies last week told DECC that, if Britain is to spend £100 billion on building thousands of wind turbines, it will require the building of 17 new gas-fired power stations to provide back-up for those times when the wind drops and the windmills produce less or no power.

    An additional £10 billion will be spent on those 17 dedicated power stations, which will be kept running on "spinning reserve", 24 hours a day, generating no power. This is the most inefficient way of running a turbine. ( longer article about this on main wind turbines page, from a couple of years back).

    3 Jul 2011

    The Scottish government has shifted away from its hardline opposition to nuclear power after the energy minister said there was a "rational case" for extending the life of Scotland's two nuclear plants.

    Fergus Ewing, the energy minister, told MSPs on Thursday that the Scottish National party (SNP) government was perfectly open to the continued use of Hunterston and Torness power stations, to ensure security of supply.

    2 Jul 2011

    The Heartland Institute will host its Sixth International Conference on Climate Change in Washington, DC on June 30 – July 1, 2011 at the Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Road NW.

    Dozens of think tank cosponsors and hundreds of scientists will gather in an effort to “restore the scientific method” to its rightful place in the debate over the causes, consequences, and policy implications of climate change.

    The theme of the conference, “Restoring the Scientific Method,” acknowledges the fact that claims of scientific certainty and predictions of climate catastrophes are based on “post-normal science,” which substitutes claims of consensus for the scientific method. This choice has had terrible consequences for science and society. Abandoning the scientific method led to the “Climategate” scandal and the errors and abuses of peer review by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    The scientists speaking at this conference, and the hundreds more who are expected to attend, are committed to restoring the scientific method.

    This means abandoning the hypothesis of man-made climate change, and using real science and sound economics to improve understanding of the planet’s climate.

    You might also be interested in this ...

    Video: Kilez More and his view of Klimaschwindel: Climate Fraud: 35,000 hits and rising. UPDATE, 21 July - 43,000 hits and going viral....good to see a young person who does not accept man-made global warming propaganda; 30 Jul 49,000; 25 Nov 60,000....

    25 Jun 2011

    Lawson dismisses as economic illiteracy claims of a green jobs boom powered by renewables that will mop up unemployment from the structural adjustment to a low-carbon economy, recruiting one of the great classical liberals to back his case.

    "The French 19th-century economist Frederic Bastiat said you might as well go round breaking windows saying you're creating jobs for glaziers. The fact is you can't look at just one sector. The government can create jobs by employing large numbers of people to build statues of prominent politicians. You can always create jobs in a particular area".

    "What you've got to be concerned about are jobs in the economy as a whole and you don't create jobs in the economy as a whole by promoting something which is wholly uneconomic and has to be subsidised."

    20 Jun 2011

    The government adviser in charge of overhauling the school syllabus in England has said that climate change should not be included in the national curriculum.

    Tim Oates, who is reviewing the curriculum for five- to 16-year-olds, said that it should be up to schools to decide whether to include it.

    Mr. Oates called for the national curriculum "to get back to the science in science.......... the curriculum has become narrowly instrumentalist."

    Climate change has featured in the national curriculum since 1995.

    Summarised from The Guardian, 11 Jun 2011

    Russia, Japan and Canada told the G8 they will not join a second round of carbon cuts under the Kyoto Protocol at United Nations talks this year and the US reiterated it would remain outside the treaty, European diplomats have said.

    The future of the Kyoto Protocol has become central to efforts to negotiate reductions of carbon emissions under the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change, whose annual meeting will take place in Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9.

    Developed countries signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. They agreed to legally binding commitments on curbing carbon dioxide emissions blamed for global warming.

    The pledges expire at the end of next year.

    The leaders of Russian, Japan and Canada confirmed they would not join a new Kyoto agreement, because developing countries would not be required to make similar cuts.

    The US President, Barack Obama, confirmed that Washington will not join an updated Kyoto Protocol.

    There is no proven link between carbon dioxide emissions and global temperature. 'Carbon emissions' is a phrase used used by governments and pressure groups, not by ordinary people.

    For 'carbon emissions' read 'propaganda'. - Ed.

    30 May 2011

    Recent technological advances are making Shale Gas more attractive. There are vast reserves. See Shale Gas - introduction.

    28 May 2011

    The Scottish National Party (SNP) has set the target for the country to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable courses in the next nine years (wind, tidal and solar).

    Peter Hughes, chief executive of Scottish Engineering, said that the figure, which appeared in the SNP's manifesto for the 5 May election, was a nonsense, and would never be met.

    paraphrased from "Professional Engineering", May 2011

    The Government's climate advisers, the Committe on Climate Change, said on 8 May that nuclear power should be favoured over plans to build thousands of offshore wind turbines because it is cheaper. It is the most cost-effective way of building low-carbon electricity into the 2020s. The committee also said that plans to build offshore turbines should be slowed down because of their expense.

    The Government has plans to build 3600 wind turbines in the sea, with a rated capacity of 13 gigawatts and a likely output of about 1 gigawatt, judging by the German experience.

    Unfortunately wind patterns do not match the pattern of consumer demand - see below - Ed .

    10 May 2011

    Wind farm operators were paid £900,000 by the National Grid on one night during April to disconnect their turbines because the electricity could not be used. This is 20 times the value of the power they might have produced.

    The payments were discovered by the Renewable Energy Foundation.

    Nearly a million pounds for producing no energy at all.

    Not using wind energy at night is unsurprising; the problem was highlighted several years ago in my article Grid Control .

    It is becoming clear that the UK's unsuccessful wind programme is increasing our electricity bills significantly.

    3 May 2011

    A two-year study by Stuart Young Consulting has found that wind turbines produce far less power than is routinely claimed. The report found that for extended periods, Britain's wind turbines, with a capacity of 2500 MW, produced 20MW.

    According to the Renewable Energy Industry and the Scottish Executive, wind turbines generate about 30% of their rated capacity over the course of a year. The report found that for one third of the period covered by the report, Nov 2008 - Dec 2010, the figure was approximately 10%, and that the average figure was 24%.

    The report also drew attention to the problems caused by the intermittent nature of wind power. Frequently low wind coincides with high demand, or high wind coincides with low demand (for example, at night). It was a surprise to find how disappointingly wind turbines performed in Scotland, a relatively windy country.

    The study analysed electricity generation from all Britain's wind farms metered by the National Grid. All were in Scotland until three in England were added to the study in July 2010.

    7 Apr 2011

    Politicians in Germany have said that they will soon be closing down their nuclear reactors permanently. No doubt we'll be seeing forecasts of power shortages before very long; 23% of electricity in Germany is nuclear. Watch this space.

    4 Apr 2011

    "The public are sick of the climate change debate, and resentful at being constantly blamed every time they drive a car or fly to Majorca. We don’t believe it, we won’t vote for it, we won’t pay for it. And the sooner the government catches up with the public mood, the better."  

    Roger Helmer, Member European Parliament, Brussels.

    31 March 2011

    Australian Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has criticised the government's chief climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, rejecting calls for more regulation of electricity markets. He stated that mandatory renewable energy targets are pushing up electricity prices.

    Mr Ferguson predicted a 30% price rise in the next three years.

    31 Mar 2011

    Switzerland has put on hold plans to build and replace nuclear plants, and Austria's environment minister called for atomic stress tests to make sure Europe's nuclear facilities are "earthquake-proof".

    This is a very odd response. The damage at Fukushima was not caused by the earthquake, but by the subsequent tsunami which caused a reactor cooling system to fail.

    Switzerland and Austria lack the principal ingredient for a tsunami - a coastline.

    20 Mar 2011

    Japan will soon compensate for the shutdown of its 10 nuclear reactors by relying more heavily on traditional fossil fuels.

    It can choose from a variety of sources. The majority of Japan's energy is produced by power plants fired by coal, most of it from Australia. It burned 37,500 tons of coal in 2009. Japan also consumed 3.3 trillion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas that year, imported mainly from Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia.

    Japan also operates natural gas-burning generators and a number of ageing, oil-fired plants which can be switched on at times of peak demand.

    19 Mar 2011

    The expansion of Britain's unsuccessful wind energy programme continues.

    A large offshore wind farm is planned for the Jurassic Coast, Dorset: 250 turbines, 450ft tall, across 76 square miles, about 10 miles from Bournemouth.

    A survey by REF (Renewable Energy Foundation) about three years ago showed that turbines south of Hadrian's Wall do not receive enough wind to provide useful amounts of energy.

    Nevertheless the press release asserted that 820,000 homes would be powered from these turbines.

    19 Feb 2011
      Media soundbites always use the 'rated capacity' of wind turbines when describing the number of homes which will be supplied with power. These soundbites are generally over-optimistic by a factor of between 10 and 20. They usually forget to mention that when the wind stops, or during strong winds, no power is generated at all. They always forget to mention that wind power generated at night is of no use to the Grid - Ed.

    Holland is reducung its commitment to renewables by cutting subsidies for wind and solar power. It's also given approval for the country's first new nuclear power plants for 40 years.

    The Financial Times Deutschland reports that wind and solar subsidies are too expensive.

    Holland is the first country to abandon the EU-wide target of producing 20 per cent of its domestic power from renewables.

    The FT reports that the annual €4bn subsidy is being reduced to €1.5bn.

    Critics of wind turbine expansion have found it difficult to get figures to judge whether the turbines are value for money. In January 2011, Ofgem refused to disclose the output of each Feed-In Tariff (FiT) location.

    UK policy is still to instal 10,000 new wind turbines. The economic reasons for this are unclear.

    The electricity produced is several times the price of that produced by gas, coal or nuclear.

    (Figures shown below; news item 1 Jan 2011).

    11 Feb 2011

    The UK Government plans to spend one thousand million pounds on carbon capture and burial schemes and untold billions on wind power subsidies, but wind provided almost zero power when needed in the recent freeze. In places, the wind towers actually consumed electricity to protect them from frost damage. UK residents would have been better off had that money been spent on reliable power sources and snow-proof infrastructure.

    It is time for western politicians to recognise climate reality. Changing climate and weather extremes are enduring features of earth's history. This reality exists even if not one elected member recognises it.

    (Viv Forbes, Carbon-Sense Coalition, Australia, 11.1.11)

    The Royal Academy of Engineering estimates the current cost of energy production (pence per Kilowatt hour) as

    Gas Fired 2.2
    Nuclear 2.3 (including decommissioning)
    Coal 2.5 to 3.2
    On-shore Wind 5 to 7
    Off-shore wind 15 to 21

    1 Jan 11

    Unexpected news - I heard on 'Any Answers', 1 Jan 2011, along with millions of others, Radio 4, 2.20pm, a sensible comment on 'carbon capture' technology. "Carbon capture is uneconomic, and a total waste of money and resources". This is a point which regular readers of these pages will already know.

    So -in spite of political obfuscation, the truth about carbon capture is gradually getting out.

    Let us hope that it finds its way into the minds of those who set policy.

    Meanwhile, for the third New Year in succession, there has been a very calm period, and zero input to the National Grid from wind turbines south of Hadrian's Wall. Is this value for money? Comments on a postcard, please, to the Energy Minister.

    We have been kept warm by burning enormous amounts of fossil fuel, just as we were in 2009 and 2008.

    1 Jan 11

    A little-known piece of British politics – although it is on a Government website – is the cost of what is the most expensive piece of legislation ever to be put through Parliament. Every year between now and 2050, according to Ed Miliband's Department for Energy and Climate Change (the previous Government) the Climate Change Act is to cost up to £18.3 billion– £760 for every household in the country – as we reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 80 per cent.

    There is no evidence that carbon dioxide emissions are harmful.

    Yet Parliament is committed to spend £18.3 billion of our money each year for 40 years ....... £732 billion in total.

    8% of your electricity price is "CO2 abatement";
    4% of your gas price is "CO2 abatement".

    This is only the beginning. We presently have about 3,000 on-shore wind turbines. The plans are for 10,000.

    None of them will produce meaningful amounts of energy.

    For the price of them, we could have a new nuclear fleet which would supply most of our energy needs.

    1 Jan 11

    The British deep freeze of recent weeks (which has also immobilized much of continental Europe) is profoundly embarrassing for the official forecaster. Just two months ago it projected a milder than usual winter.

    This debacle is more than merely embarrassing. The Met Office is prominent in pursuing the British government’s commitment to fight what it calls "catastrophic man-made global warming" with more and bigger bureaucracy.

    Its conspicuous errors on 'weather' undermine its credibility on 'climate'.

        Here is what the Met Office said in October…

        "The latest data comes in the form of a December to February temperature map on the Met Office’s website.

        The eastern half of England, Cornwall, Scotland and Northern Ireland is in for temperatures above the 3.7C (38.6F) average, more than 2C warmer than last winter.

        The map also shows a 40 per cent to 60 per cent probability that western England and Wales will be warmer than 3.7C (38.6F), with a much smaller chance of average or below-average temperatures."

    23 Dec 10

    Back to top

  • Energy Policy
    Nuclear Power
    Wind -
    big turbines
    Wind -
    small turbines
    Low Energy Bulbs
    Diversity Website