Reality Checkpoint 2012

An interesting post appeared on one of the 'telegraph' blogs recently, by a person I'll call 'k'.

..........Regarding windfarms, global warming, record rainfall etc., which are all tied in together by the various politicians and "scientists" who rabbit on about such things, I have been keeping accurate records of temperature and rainfall for the last 16 years where I live in the south east. For those interested here are the average annual temperatures from 1997 to 2012. First figure average annual temperature in centigrade; second figure actual rainfall for that year in mm.

1997 - 12.75°C & 647mm,
1998 - 12.85°C & 849mm,
1999 - 13.16°C & 843mm,
2000 - 12.80°C & 1149mm,
2001 - 12.65°C & 1048mm,
2002 - 13.33°C & 801mm,
2003 - 12.84°C & 664mm,
2004 - 12.58°C & 751mm,
2005 - 13.06°C & 595mm,
2006 - 13.03°C & 747mm,
2007 - 12.27°C & 879mm,
2008 - 12.03°C & 852mm,
2009 - 12.51°C & 713mjm,
2010 - 11.37°C & 713mm,
2011 - 13.17°C & 594mm,
2012 - 12.97°C & 998mm.

I'm not a weatherman or a scientist, but I see no real pattern here, no upwards trend in temperature nor any pattern at all in the rainfall. The only possible thing you can read into these accurate statistics is that when you get a year with lots of rain, the average temperature tends to be a bit lower, but not always. OK these figures are not over a very long period but they show none of the increases or records that the BBC and others would have us believe.

4 Jan 13

Russia has withdrawn from the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol, which started on January 1st 2013. Russia decided to withdraw because the United States, China and India are not participating.

The Kyoto Protocol’s first stage ended on 01-01-12, leaving the world with 58 per cent more carbon dioxide emissions than in 1990, as opposed to the five per cent reduction which its signatories sought. This is largely due to the rise of industry in China, India and Eastern Europe.

3 Jan 13

Canada has officially withdrawn from the Kyoto climate agreement. The Stephen Harper government has rejected the terms which were negotiated by the Jean Chretien government in 1997.

The Protocol now applies mainly to the EU. It does not cover the main carbon dioxide producers: China, the USA, India, Russia, Canada, etc. Thus for its stated role - combating alleged man-made global warming - the Kyoto Protocol has no effect. It remains an economic burden to the industries of those countries which have signed up to it.

24 Dec 12

The BBC is accused of dishonesty over its climate change coverage by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. The GWPF is urging the new BBC director general Lord Hall to review the Corporation’s coverage of climate change. In recent years the BBC has not covered the topic objectively or in a balanced way, and it is still not doing so.

19 Dec 12

The Renewable Energy Foundation has published a new study by Professor Gordon Hughes,showing that the economic life of onshore wind turbines is between 10 and 15 years. The study is called 'The Performance of Wind Farms in the United Kingdom and Denmark'. The average load factor (the power generated) declines substantially as they age; by 10 years of age the contribution has declined by a third. This means that it is not economic to operate wind farms for more than 12 to 15 years. After this period they must be replaced with new ones.

19 Dec 12

from former Greenpeace Director Patrick Moore:
"....I find Greenpeace’s latest attempt to seek charitable status in New Zealand via the Charities Registration Board to be ironic ........ my view is that the organization I helped found and lead during the 70s and 80s is anything but charitable today.

Since I left Greenpeace, its members, and the majority of the movement, have adopted policy after policy that reflects their anti-human bias, illustrates their rejection of science and technology, and actually increases the risk of harm to people and the environment.

There’s no reason to reward Greenpeace’s misinformation campaigns with a subsidy from New Zealand taxpayer."

It has become increasingly obvious in recent times that Greenpeace, WWF and others have been taken over by activists with no more interest in saving the environment than those who build wind farms.

The fault is not with the lunatic fringe but with the politicians who give them the attention they do not deserve. - Ed.

18 Dec 12

.....I remember driving up towards Aberedw for our favourite walk and being struck by how many ‘For Sale’ signs there were. At the time I put it down to the pressure of the recession — straitened families selling their second homes. But it wasn’t that at all, I now realise. They’d twigged which way the wind was blowing — and were now trying to get out while they still could.

As any rural estate agent will privately tell you, nothing devastates property values quite like a wind farm. Though the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors still denies it, the evidence suggests that a nearby turbine will render your home almost impossible to sell, except at a large discount. (summarised from JD, The Spectator ).

It does not take a genius to work out what will happen to tourism.

13 Dec 12

The Guardian recently ran another poll, after the Doha conference, on the question:

"Should rich countries compensate developing nations for the damage done by climate change?"

61% rejected the idea.

12 Dec 12

Cold day; Grid demand 54 GB. Wind supplying 0.15 GB; well under 1%. Wind surcharge on electricity bills: 14%.

This does not represent value for money.

The Climate Act, upon which our Energy Policy is based, should be repealed forthwith.

11 Dec 12

There is an increasing sense of frustration amongst engineers and scientists that the BBC and politicians are closing their minds to the global warming debate. The opportunities for cheap gas offered by fracking are being ignored. We still have no nuclear power stations under construction. We are still about to close down perfectly good coal-fired power stations for reasons devised by the EU. At the same time, electricity bills are spiralling upwards, and wind turbines continue to be erected at enormous cost.

A significant influence in devising these policies has been the advice of NGOs like Greenpeace and WWF; organizations which are, surprisingly, still recognized as charities when they are more accurately described as unelected politicial pressure groups.

Some politicians know what is happening. Peter Lilley, George Osborne, John Hayes and Owen Paterson are aware. They recognize that wind power is an over-subsidized liability on our energy-intensive industries and a vote loser in the next election.

In the background we have Mr. Obama in the USA, who is apparently able to control the climate, deciding that we should limit global warming to 2 degrees. Scientists are wondering how he will do it.

At least King Canute knew he was going to get his feet wet.

9 Dec 12

British politicians, in the midst of the UK recession, have promised to give £2 billion to foreign 'green' projects including wind turbines in Africa and cattle farming in Colombia. This works out at £70 per household.

Nigel Lawson, a former Chancellor, described this as an appalling waste of money; a view not shared by Nick Clegg, who described it as 'fantastic news'.

Those struggling to pay their energy bills are unlikely to agree with Mr. Clegg's assessment.

7 Dec 12

As diplomats gathered for the climate conference president's assessment of how close countries are to agreement, Christopher Monckton took the opportunity to slip into the seat reserved for the Burmese delegation. He suddenly noticed a microphone in front of him, connected up and ready to go.....so he clicked the button and began to speak.

"In the 16 years we have been coming to these conferences, there has been no global warming," Monckton said. He then proceeded to spell out a few home truths.

It was some little time before the organizers managed to silence him. He was escorted from the building by security officers who, with difficulty, kept their faces straight.

6 Dec 12


wind turbines signal decline of Scottish tourism

Tourism is beginning to show signs of decline in America and Canada in areas dominated by wind farms.

The picture above is from Scotland.

The headline and picture below are taken from an American newspaper, which says "American holidaymakers are threatening to boycott Scotland because of the country's growing number of windfarms".

28 Nov 12

Mr. Obama has signed a law excluding US airlines from the European Union's carbon trading scheme. He disagrees with subjecting US and other foreign airlines to the EU emissions trading scheme.

28 Nov 12

An engineer reports.......

A 10kW wind turbine operating at 25% load factor for one year costs consumers £6,132 in subsidies. For this price it produces £1,100 worth of electricity.

A 500kW turbine costs operating at the same load factor costs consumers £225,000 for one year. For this price it produces £55,000 worth of electricity.

These subsidies operate for a period of twenty-five years.

27 Nov 12

Tata Steel, one of Britain’s largest electricity users, is making people redundant because of UK green policies, which are making it lose out to its rivals in Europe. UK low-carbon rules caused it to shed another 900 jobs yesterday.

The BBC has mentioned the redundancies (but not the reason) in its news coverage.

Most of the job losses will be in south Wales, including 500 at the Port Talbot plant. The total job losses: 580 in Wales, 155 in Yorkshire, 120 in the West Midlands and 30 on Teesside.

One good sign is that the UK's 'decarbonization' targets have been scrapped; George Osborne has abandoned demands for Britain to get all its power from green sources by 2030. This at least is a step in the right direction.

23 Nov 12

The economics of wind energy can be worked out fairly simply.

If 14% of my electricity bill is a wind surcharge, and wind supplies 1% of my electricity, wind must be 14 times as expensive as the other energy sources.

There's no need to make it any more complicated than that.

20 Nov 12

Developers of two windfarms near Cupar Fife (Devon Wood by West Coast Energy and Clatto by Green Cat Renewables) have had their appeals rejected by the Scottish Government. This may have affected the probability of Lingo (another windfarm along the same ridge proposed by WCE) and Kenly (the University of St Andrews windfarm further along the same ridge) being accepted.

Politicians have tried to blame the big six utilities for recent price rises whhich have increased the average annual household bill to £1,330; double what it was five years ago. The companies say, rightly, that a major factor in rising prices is the subsidising of so-called low-carbon energy.

British Gas say that green charges account for £150 per year. This doesn't include any payment (yet) for extending the Grid: upgrades for Beauly-Denny, Beauly-Mossford, Beauly-Dounreay, the new Western Isles HVDC Interconnector (including £700m to cross the Minch), Hunterston Ryll, Eastern Coast undersea cable, or North Wales. I guess these price rises are already in the pipeline, which will give us all some unpleasant surprises over the next year or so.

A company wanting to put wind turbines close to a Northumberland hamlet has been criticized for failing to attend a public meeting. EnergieKontor UK has applied to erect five engines 126m high on farmland close to Fenrother, North of Morpeth.

1,000 letters of objection have been submitted to the local authority.

A public meeting was held in Morpeth to give local people the chance to air their concerns, organised by the council. 200 people attended, including councillors and planning officers from the authority. No-one from EnergieKontor was present.

18 Nov 12

Wind energy receives enormous subsidies which we all pay on our increasing energy bills. 14% of the typical 'dual fuel' bill is an environmental surcharge - wind energy.

Energy demand as I write is 46.45GW and wind farms are producing 0.71GW.

So 14% of my bill pays for 1.5% of the energy.

How can the government justify this?

18 Nov 2012

The scientists behind the carbon calculator used by the Scottish Government to help judge wind farm applications have written to the journal Nature (489, 33, 06 September 2012) to call for an end to such developments on peat lands.

Jo Smith, Dali Rani Nayak and Pete Smith express grave doubts that wind farms in such areas will reduce emissions. This clearly has profound implications for where turbines should be situated in Scotland and elsewhere if they are to bring genuine environmental benefits.

16 Nov 2012

More here ...

Summarised from the Copenhagen Post:

Corruption is defined as moral decay, and that is what we are witnessing here. The fear that Denmark could lose jobs and the near religious obsession with wind power has made politicians deaf and blind to objections to wind as a source of energy.

The law approving construction of a test centre of large land-based wind turbines near the Jutland town of Østerild was forced through Parliament despite warnings about the effects it would have on the natural environment in the area and its impact on residents.

More here ...

16 Nov 2012

Summarised from James Delingpole's Daily Telegraph article of 16 Nov 2012:

Here, roughly, is how the subsidies will be divided at Ovenden Moor Wind Farm.

The landowner will be paid £401,000 each year, index-linked, for the next 25 years. The developer will get an income of around £2,679,300 per year, index-linked, over the same period. The vast bulk of this will come from the taxpayer in the form of compulsory subsidies, payable even if the turbines produce no power.

16 Nov 2012

Because of its political activity, Greenpeace no longer has charitable status in New Zealand.


    BBC Statement:
    2007 - The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus [on anthropogenic climate change]. --John Bridcut, BBC Trust report on impartiality, May 2007.

    2012 - Maurizio Morabito has revealed the identity of those experts. Greenpeace activists, climate campaigners, wind farm supporters, and just 3 current scientists.

    More here.
13 Nov 2012

New Zealand will not be signing up to the Kyoto Protocol when it is renewed.

12 Nov 2012

The EU has backed down over its proposal that foreign aeroplanes must pay a carbon tax when flying over EU air space. America had declared the tax illegal, and China earlier this year threatened retaliation, including the impounding of European aircraft.

11 Nov 2012

The Prime Minister has recently stated that we should be continuing with our wind farm policy and expand the use of electric cars.

Unfortunately nearly all the power used to charge electric vehicles comes from coal-, gas- and nuclear-powered power stations, not from wind.

Retired engineer JG reports ....Northern constabulary have bought an electric police car for Inverness. It is the laughing stock of the constabulary because it runs out of power after about sixteen miles in the Highlands of Scotland. Turn on the little blue light and it stops in 12 miles. If you need to change a tyre it needs a lorry jack because the batteries are extremely heavy.

Cost (about £30K), weight, long charging times and lack of range restrict the practicality of electricity for cars. Toyota agrees, and is now pulling out of battery cars.

8 Nov 2012

Engineer Hamish Cumming is continuing his campaign for more transparency in figures quoted by energy companies for government subsidies. He points out that wind farms are not an effective way of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and that reports from Ireland and the Netherlands show exaggerated claims from wind farms. He is still seeking an answer from the Clean Energy Regulator to his question: are wind developments actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions? Regular visitors to this site already know the answer to that question.

8 Nov 2012

The Scottish Government’s plans for renewable energy received a setback yesterday. The cost of the undersea cables to bring power from the Western Isles has increased to £700million; 75% higher than expected. This will decrease the probability of wind farms being viable in that location.

The unexpected rise leaves a question mark over the giant Lewis wind farm, given consent only a few weeks ago. The Western Isles Islands Council leader, Angus Campbell, has called for an inquiry.

Scottish Hydro said the cable installation and infrastructure needed on Lewis in 2015 could be delayed but made no mention of cancelling the project.

6 Nov 2012

The renewables industry trade body, RenewableUK, formerly known as the Britsh Wind Energy Authority, has had to withdraw a leaflet saying that wind turbines do not affect house prices. This was in response to a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority by Mrs. Hobbs of the Penucuik Environment Protection Association.

Wind turbines do affect house prices, and this has been acknowledged by the Valuation Office Agency, which has moved a number of affected homes into lower Council Tax brackets.

1 Nov 2012

There is a proposal by government to build an enormous offshore wind farm in the Bristol Channel.

The Bristol Channel Array (also known as the Atlantic Array), if built, will involve the building of hundreds of turbines, seven hundred feet high, in the middle of a region of great natural beauty: the middle of North Devon's prime fishing grounds.

Inhabitants of Gower, Lundy, Croyd, Woolacombe, Baggy Point, Barnstable and other nearby places will shortly witness the building of an enormous industrial site on their doorsteps, if the plans get the go-ahead.

It is difficult to think of a more effective way of discouraging tourism in North West Devon, Lundy and South Wales.

At the same time, the government is implementing the EU's Large Combustion Plant Directive and is closing down serviceable coal-fired power stations.

Ben Pile's new video is essential viewing for all those who are concerned about the unnecessary destruction of our environment and our tourist industry. Please visit www.losthorizons.org to see it.

30 Oct 2012

WKN Energie AG, a German energy company, has said it will fund five trainees for Renewable energy at the University of the Highlands and Islands. The condition is that it gets permission to build the Sallachy Wind Farm.

14 Oct 2012

The pro-wind movement is well-known for the spurious linking of carbon dioxide levels to climate change. If we're keen on spurious links, let's have a look at another one: here are two graphs showing (A) the increase in the number of wind farms over the last few years; (B) the increase in the average domestic fuel bill over the same period.

Incidentally British Gas has just announced an 8% rise in energy bills, following a large rise last year, even though the price of power has fallen over the past year. Presumably the rise is due to green taxes; mainly the building of wind farms.

12 Oct 2012

It is reported that Germany has major connection problems because of resistance to grid extensions. They need 4,000 km of grid but have only obtained approval for about 400 km. Because of this there are offshore wind factories still unconnected to the grid, and now banks are reluctant to fund more developments.

12 Oct 2012

The Energy Regulator Ofgem says that there is an increased risk of electricity shortages over the next few years, largely caused by the closure of coal-fired power stations as a result of EU emissions regulations. It predicts that spare generating capacity will fall sharply by 2016.

5 Oct 2012

Alan Titchmarsh the well-known gardening presenter interviewed Piers Corbyn, weather forecaster, on his chat show yesterday.

Piers described how his technique for predicting the weather, based on solar activity, was more accurate than that of the Met Office. He has explained on many occasions that carbon dioxide has little to do with climate or so-called 'man made global warming'..

Piers is a first-class Physicist who has made a living for years from his weather forecasting expertise.

The link is here:


and another link is here:


It is interesting that Piers has not appeared in recent years on the BBC. It seems that the Corporation's policy is to deny airtime to those who challenge global warming propaganda and its supporting infrastructure of misinformation and subsidy.

One aspect of his forecasts is that indications point towards severe global cooling in the near future.

It was an interesting change to hear Alan Titchmarsh, a mainstream presenter, describing 'man-made global warming' accurately on prime time TV as a scam.

5 Oct 2012

October 4, 2012, Canada. More evidence is emerging that houses in the vicinity of wind turbines become devalued. London Free Press has reported that a study from Ben Lansink of Lansink Appraisals and Consulting states that homes within wind turbine zones are selling for less than market-value. Lisa Thompson, MPP has written to the Minister of Finance Dwight Duncan and asked him to instigate a study.

Lansink analyzed properties in the Shelburne area, home to the 133-turbine Melancthon Wind Farm. He found five homes which had been bought by the wind farm developer, Canadian Hydro Developments, a subsidiary of Calgary-based TransAlta, at fair market value. Canadian Hydro later put those houses back on the market and they sold on average loss for 38% less. One was down by 58%.

This is a serious matter. Many ordinary people use the capital value of their homes to help fund their later years. There is no reason to think that the situation in the UK will be any different.

4 Oct 2012

Wind farm operators were paid £34 million during 2012 to switch their turbines off during windy weather.

The arrangement compensates wind farms for the National Grid’s inability to cope with the extra energy produced at certain times.

Domestic users pay for this in the form of higher electricity bills.

It has been known for some time that the National Grid made ‘constraint payments’ – cash given to operators to shut down their turbines temporarily at times when it cannot be used.

It has now emerged that ‘forward trades’ are also paid, where the National Grid agrees a pay-out when the weather is expected to be stormy.

Information about this is on a little-read section of the National Grid website.

The National Grid has said that £15.5 million was paid out to energy operators in the form of conventional constraint payments in 2011-12 in England and Scotland. Forward trades added another £18.6 million, making a total of £34.1 million for the year.

1 Oct 2012

Ed Miliband is now saying that he will now be the people’s energy champion.

However, many of us remember how, as Energy Secretary, he supported green activism by signing up to the building of thousands of ludicrously expensive and ineffective wind farms for which we are now paying the price on our electricity bills.

It was also he who agreed to force the premature closure of much of our existing coal-fired power plant, funked the decision on new nuclear capacity and did then everything possible to ensure that our future energy supply would be unreliable and expensive.

He would achieve more for ordinary people by calling for the repeal of the Climate Change Act.

29 Sep 2012

CPRE’s policy guidance note on climate change and onshore wind has recently changed.

It now wants full assessments of the cumulative impacts of wind turbine developments included in the decision-making process.

It also wants the wind industry to be required to take legal and financial responsibility for the removal of wind turbines and associated infrastructure once they come to the end of their useful life (15-20 years).

28 Sep 2012

The Energy Saving Trust has tested 38 building-mounted turbines and found that no urban or suburban building mounted turbine generated more than 200kWh of electricity (£26 of electricity) per year.

27 Sep 2012

It is curious that the BBC's environment department has remained silent about the Gordon Hughes study which shows that wind turbines do not generally result in carbon savings. Under some circumstances, carbon dioxide emissions actually increase when wind turbines are added to the energy mix.

Roger Helmer MEP investigated the BBC's silence by emailing their environment correspondent for his views. The exchange is reported on the Roger Helmer website. If you have thoughts about BBC bias, it's worth a look.

In Roger Helmer's words:

    "The BBC’s leading Environment Correspondent knows that there is credible, well-researched evidence from a respected academic suggesting that the fundamental basis of the EU’s (and the UK’s) renewables policy is indefensible, but he feels no obligation to mention it. It appears that the BBC is simply not prepared to report or countenance any serious work which challenges their Warmist preconceptions."

26 Sep 2012

The Senate has unanimously passed a bill which will shield U.S. airlines from paying for their carbon emissions on European flights.

Republican Senator John Thune said it sent a strong message to the EU that it cannot impose taxes on the United States. He said that the Senate's action would help ensure that U.S. air carriers and passengers would not be paying money to the EU through an illegal tax. Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill agreed.

The House of Representatives has passed a similar measure.

China earlier this year threatened retaliation, including the impounding of European aircraft, if the EU fined Chinese airlines for not complying with its emissions trading scheme.

25 Sep 2012

Sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, National Museum of Scotland.

The Motion: Scotland's Energy Policy is Just Hot Air.

Struan Stevenson, MEP, reports: They took a vote from each member of the audience as they arrived at the venue this evening. Andrew Neil announced that it was 66 for the Proposition, 36 against and 74 Don't knows.

They took a vote again at the end of the debate and I won; 126 for, 50 against and 0 don't knows.

Niall Stuart spent most of his speech on personal attacks on me, based on stuff he'd read on my web site. It backfired horribly. By the end of the debate, the audience were becoming increasingly hostile to Niall Stuart and Prof. Stuart Haszeldine, ScottishPower Professor of Carbon Capture & Storage at Edinburgh University.

20 Sep 2012


DECC has published more statistics justifying unaffordable energy policies.

It says 77% of people support the use of renewable energy to provide electricity, and only 4% oppose renewables. 73% want offshore wind and 66% support onshore wind.

A little later is the assertion:

"The proof is consistent and overwhelming - wind, wave and tidal power is being seen by the vast majority of the public as the way we will generate increasing amounts of clean energy from secure home grown sources."

"We welcome the fact that the Department of Energy and Climate Change has decided to quantify this level of support on an ongoing basis, as it provides strong justification for the all members of the Government to support the greater deployment of renewables.”

One wonders who was asked, and what the questions were.

DECC pronouncements are looking increasingly like press releases from Orwell's 'Ministry of Truth'. They are pure propaganda. Should a government department be doing this?

19 Sep 2012

Hallam Land Management has obtained permission to build a 5-turbine wind farm at Cleek Hall, near Selby. The plans were approved by the government inspector after being turned down by Selby District Council last year. Local opinions were overruled.

Carbon Capture and Storage projects are also planned for Selby District. The reasons why Carbon Capture has never been used on a commercial power station, and why the Longannet Carbon Capture scheme was abandoned by the government about a year ago, are described here.

18 Sep 2012

China’s top wind turbine manufacturers, Goldwind and Sinovel, saw their earnings decrease by 83% and 96% respectively in the first half of 2012, year-on-year. Domestic wind farm operators Huaneng and Datang saw profits decrease by 63% and 76% respectively, due to low capacity utilization. China’s national electricity regulator, SERC, reports that 53% of the wind power generated in Inner Mongolia province in the first half of this year was wasted.

17 Sep 2012

Things look set to change at Defra. Owen Paterson has been appointed as its head. It looks like the long run of money-wasting on technology which cannot supply the energy we need could be coming to an end.

Mr. Paterson has been critical of the performance of wind farms and is not in favour of renewable energy subsidies. He has also spoken in support of shale gas, which is likely to become an important UK energy source.

Mr Paterson is known for being a realist. He bases his opinions on evidence, which will make a welcome change.

His scrutiny of evidence has led him to be sceptical about some EU policies. For years Defra has complied with EU measures which make no practical sense, including damage to British agriculture and an obsession with renewable energy regardless of cost.

9 Sep 12

Charles Hendry, an energy minister who seemed to know very little about the realities of energy generation, has been replaced.

The new minister is John Hayes, who recognises wind energy for what it is; an over-subsidised liability. He recognises that wind power is not a sensible option for the Grid, either economically or environmentally.

The switch is the latest sign that Conservatives are unhappy with the unrealistic and overpriced energy policies of the energy department. The department's head, Ed Davey, has plenty to say about green energy and carbon emissions, but fewer ideas about keeping the lights on. He has also presided over enormous rises in energy bills without admitting that one of the main causes is the UK's unsuccessful wind energy programme.

An 'energy mix' is not improved by adding a component which is intermittent and several times the price of fossil fuel or nuclear.

7 Sep 12

Regarding Eurowind's Nathro Hill windfarm proposal, the Esk Board and Esk Rivers and Fisheries Trust have responded by saying that they oppose the plan because it may damage salmon and sea trout stocks.

They are concerned that the development will impact on important spawning and nursery burns in the North Esk catchment.

During their construction, operation and decommissioning, windfarms can have an adverse effect on water courses through the mobilisation of silt arising from drainage, road construction and traffic.

All these factors can lead to decreased peat stability.

In view of the lack of detail concerning methods and a plan to prevent damage to salmon stocks in the current environmental impact assessment, the Board, supported by the Trust, have objected to the development.

(Tom Sampson, Chairman, Esks Rivers and Fisheries Trust, Mains of Balgavies, Forfar, summarized by ND)

3 Sep 12

.........I had a conversation with an engineer from India recently. He said 'With the wind power industry, it is common for governments to subsidise indigenous companies and help them to export goods and services. But here, you are subsidising foreign companies to bring goods to the detriment of your own economy and then handing them huge profits for the next 25 years, which they will take home.'

If this is obvious to a visitor, why are our politicians encouraging it?
(paraphrased from a letter to the P and J)

1 Sep 12

The Sunday Post reports that only two hundred training scheme posts were created in turbine operations last year. Government said that the technology would create thousands of jobs. The figure represents about 0.1% of the 26,427 modern apprenticeships delivered.

Consultant Stuart Young, of Communities Against Turbines Scotland said that the apprenticeship figures show how few jobs wind farms create. People are told wind farms keep thousands of people in work but this is untrue. Manufacture and construction of turbines is largely carried out by foreign firms, and their maintenance requires only a handful of people. The Scottish Government talks about 11,000 people working in renewables but nobody seems to know who or where they are.

26 Aug 12

The new Dutch government has announced changes to energy policy. It is making large cuts to subsidies for most forms of renewable energy, and is putting an end to all subsidies for offshore wind, solar power and largescale biomass. It has also welcomed the possibility of new nuclear power stations – the first time a Dutch government has done so since 1986.

24 Aug 12

New advice issued by the Scottish Government states that councils should include green energy in the school curriculum or after-school activities. This is, apparently, to provide a foundation for balanced decision-making in later life.

It also recommended that renewable power companies embark on public relations campaigns so that the intermittent power and visual impact of turbines are not portrayed in a negative way.

Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Energy Minister, said the guidance would ensure wind farm planning applications go more smoothly.

The view of this website is that children are very impressionable, and that filling their lessons with political propaganda on wind farms is not acceptable.

23 Aug 2012

Regarding wind turbines: the bottom line in all these debates, blogs, etc., is that the general public is waking up to is the understanding that we have gone past the point where further deployment of wind-turbines in the UK can offer any carbon emission savings.

Above this break even threshold, every 1MW generated by a wind turbine now de-loads a conventional power plant or gas turbine by 1MW. Because conventional generators are already de-loaded for a significant proportion of time, through each day and each year, their efficiency is lowered further and causes more CO2 to be generated than saved.

If all factors including the carbon footprint of double capacity requirements are accurately evaluated and transmission losses are added then more carbon dioxide emissions will be generated than saved.

This is staggering in itself, but what is more surprising is that the government is committed to more and more wind-turbines being put onto the system, turning a blind eye to the fact that it is making carbon emissions worse.

What is being perpetuated is absolutely futile.

It is costing the country a fortune in wasted money, taxing the poor, and giving to those who already have enough.

How can this be allowed to continue?

George Wood, ex-Grid Controller

23 Aug 12

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government says that RWE's new power plant, capable of supplying 3.4 million homes with electricity, aids her plan to abandon nuclear energy and switch to forms of generation which she considers cleaner. It’s a 2200MW station fired with coal.

Coal consumption has risen 4.9 percent since she announced the shutdown of the country's cleanest power stations: nuclear.

22 Aug 12

www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ has shown average wind energy for the past month of about 500MW and an average of around 1200MW for the past year with nearly 6000MW installed. This is less than 10% efficient for the past month and around 20% for the last 12 months. I haven't seen any mention of this data on the BBC or in the papers.

An announcement from David Cameron that he will give a green light and funding to the Severn Barrage would help improve the name of 'renewables' whilst doing something positive to reduce carbon emissions.

21 Aug 2012

Fluctuations in Germany's national grid are affecting some manufacturing companies. A number have installed their own backup systems. Hydro Aluminium in Hamburg has spent €150,000 on backup batteries, to prevent a repetition of recent damage caused during a production run, when a rolling mill suddenly shut itself off in response to power cut of a fraction of a second. It was several hours before the process could be started up again.

Other companies are considering freeing themselves from the grid as the supply becomes less stable as a result of the transition to renewable energy. For high-performance computers, outages of very short duration can trigger systems failures.

Aurubis, a big copper producer and recycler in Hamburg, has spent about €2 million to protect against unwanted power emergencies. The company says that if grid stability doesn't show a big improvement, it will have to rely on emergency power supplies during the winter.

Hydro Aluminum is asking the Federal Network Agency, whose responsibilities include regulating the electricity market, to set up a clearing house to mediate conflicts between companies and grid operators.

19 Aug 12

Tim Yeo MP is chairman of the Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change. He earns approximately £140,000 a year working for green energy firms in addition to his MP salary. He is chairman of Eco City Vehicles, a company selling taxi-cabs which meet the new vehicle emissions limits for Greater London.

John Selwyn Gummer (aka Lord Deben) has been nominated by David Cameron to be the new chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, which was set up under the Climate Change Act to advise on climate and energy policy. Mr. Gummer is chairman of Forewind, an international consortium planning to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm in the North Sea.

19 Aug 12

BBC blurb: "In Business-Coal Comfort" - a BBC Radio 4 programme, 16 Aug 2012; Peter Day examines the effort to minimise the impact of coal burning on climate change as he visits a fuel plant in North Dakota and learns about a pilot project to capture carbon dioxide.

The programme clearly indicated the position of the BBC in the 'global warming' debate; man-made carbon dioxide is warming the planet, the science is settled, and carbon capture is the technology to be used, regardless of expense, in keeping the globe habitable.

The BBC is not keeping up-to-date with the science. There has been no global warming for fifteen years, there is no evidence linking man-made carbon dioxide to temperature rise, and carbon capture is not taken seriously, apart from the subsidies it attracts, by any of the engineers I know.

The programme ended with Jonathan Porritt asserting that if the use of fossil fuel was suppressed by regulation of carbon dioxide, renewables would be able to compete. No mention of the enormous subsidies which renewables already receive.

My dictionary describes 'propaganda' as 'an organized scheme for propagation of a doctrine or practice', which sums up the programme quite neatly.

16 Aug 12

Wind turbine output 2012 to date is averaging under 1GW, with an installed capacity of approximately 5GW, so is less than 20% from all sources. Some of the better wind farms work at about 30%, implying a much lower figure for Midlands developments; probably less than 15%, could be around 10%. I notice this is not getting into the papers or BBC news reports.

11 Aug 12

When a huge offshore wind farm (consisting of a hundred turbines) was built near the North Kent coast, the operator, Vattenfall, said that its capacity was 300 megawatts.

Its measured output has been an average of 80 megawatts.

This is one tenth of that of a typical gas-fired power station.

The turbines cost £780 million to build. They will receive subsidies of £60 million per year (for the next 20 years) and will receive £30-40 million for the electricity they produce.

For that amount of money, you could build a new gas fired power station which would give 1000 megawatts of power, continuously, 24 hours a day.

The wind power is therefore 1000/80 times more expensive - about 12 times the price.

The Government constantly talks about “green jobs” created through wind power but this is somewhat disingenuous.

We have no UK turbine manufacturers.

The picture below, for example, shows some wind turbine infrastructure being delivered to a location in Scotland last month:

At the huge London Array wind farm in the Thames, to be opened next year, 90% of the contracts in the £2billion project have been given to overseas firms.

9 Aug 12

UK wind energy on Grid currently 0%. ( 0.02GW out of total 38.52 GW)

This on the day after a press release about the Galawhistle project, saying that its 22 turbines, rated output 55MW could power 30,000 homes.

Remember that the 'rated output' is fictional; it just gives an idea of the turbine size. Based on 'rated output', typical efficiencies on the days when the turbines are working are 10%-15% for turbines sited in England, where the windspeeds are relatively low. In some places it is lower than that.

Assuming that the press release contains un-botched calculations, this means that the number of homes served by the Galawhistle wind farm would be about 3000, not 30,000, on those days when the wind was blowing at the correct speed.

9 Aug 12

Three years ago, members of the Climate Conversation Group in New Zealand published their sceptical review ‘Are we feeling warmer yet?’

They alleged that NIWA, a pro-government green agency, had altered temperature data in a series of adjustments, creating a fictitious warming trend of 1°C. They said this was done by lowering temperaures pre-WW2. The allegedly altered data were subsequently used as a basis for recommending various 'low-carbon' policies.

When CCG asked NIWA to release the original data, they refused.

NZ climate scientists have now refused to allow a report of the temperature adjustments to be shown in court.

For further details, see full report . There's also a mention further down this page; see entry for 8 July.

2 Aug 12

RES has obtained permission to build an 11-turbine wind farm between New Luce, Kirkcowan and Glenluce. The plans were approved by the Scottish government after being turned down by Dumfries and Galloway Council last year. Local opinions were overruled.

1 Aug 2012

A new paper by Anthony Watts and others shows that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – the US government body in charge of America's temperature record, has systematically exaggerated the extent of late 20th century global warming, by using data from inappropriately sited weather stations and by making temperature adjustments.

Watts has conclusively demonstrated that most of the weather stations in the US are so poorly sited that their temperature readings are unsound.

This has led to official 'global warming' figures claimed by government and others being much bigger than those which have actually occurred.

Nevertheless the official figures have been used by policy formers to devise extremely expensive 'low carbon' strategies which make no economic sense.

One blogger put it succinctly:

"The adjustments they are making are greater than the claimed trend. US warming is occurring solely inside ORNL and GISS computers."

The full paper is at: http://wattsupwiththat.com

25 Jul 12

Everyone living very close to a wind farm knows that this has a negative effect on house prices. This is no joke if one's life savings have been sunk into the property. Up to now, however, there has been no official admission that property prices are affected in any way.

This has now changed.

The decision by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to move certain houses close to wind farms into lower council tax bands is the first official recognition that wind turbines lower the value of homes nearby.

In a recent case a couple saw the value of their home fall from £400,000 to £300,000. Their house is 650 yards from the Fullabrook wind farm near Braunton, Devon. The pricing was done by a local estate agent, based on local knowledge and the sale of similar properties nearby.

The couple pointed out that the persistent whooshing noise caused by the turbines and the visual intrusion – including a strobing effect when the sun is directly behind the blades – made their property less valuable.

The VOA accepted their argument and agreed to move the property from council tax band F to band E. This gives a small saving in council tax, but obviously it doesn't compensate for the £100K loss.

25 Jul 12

I noticed an interesting summary on a blog recently, which is reproduced below, edited for clarity and anonymity....

Right now, coal is the cheapest way to generate electricity, if you take out large power station directives and carbon capture.

If CO2 is a problem, the cheapest best way to make electricity is nuclear. If CO2 isn't a problem, the best way is coal.

In both cases you need a little gas as well for peak demand. A bit more hydro would be handy if we can find somewhere to build it without destroying the environment. In addition to that, judging by the stats, we could handle about 2GW more from links to the continent.

In no case does solar PV or wind power make any sense, either on a cost basis or a CO2 reduction basis. It should be stopped now, the same way Germany halted nuclear power.

25 Jul 12

George Osborne has said in a leaked letter that renewables are too expensive and suggests expanding plans for gas-fired generation.

The government's advisers, the Climate Change Committee, disagrees, and says that renewables are perfectly OK. It also says that expanding gas will cause the UK to miss its 2030 climate targets.

This is a nice illustration of the way in which UK energy policy has become detached from reality. For many years, parliament has been more interested in meeting targets than in keeping energy prices at a realistic level. The Chancellor's unwillingness to go along with this, at last, is a welcome sign.

The Climate Change Committee gave its standard remarks about a low-carbon economy being desirable. This may be of interest in the future to serious students of fiction, but from the point of view of consumers, any low-carbon strategy which avoids nuclear and/or a big expansion of gas is complete nonsense, as is the Committee's stated aim of cutting CO2 emissions by 80% by 2030. One could not think of a better way of de-industrialising the country.

In the letter the Chancellor tells the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary to forget the target and to state explicity that gas will play a core part in generation by 2030. Another demand is that feed-in-tariffs, another costly subsidy, cease.

The Chancellor's move was welcomed by Angela Kelly, chairman of the anti-wind group Country Guardian.

24 Jul 12

    On a good day wind turbines produce about 3% of our electricity; on a bad day 0%; average somewhere about 1.5% .... but their subsidy is increasing the cost by 20%. Does that sound like a worthwhile investment?

Broadview Energy has obtained permission to build a wind farm at Helmdon, near Sulgrave Manor. The plans were approved by the government after being turned down by South Northamptonshire Council last year. Local opinions were overruled.

14 Jul 12

EOn has obtained permission, on appeal, to build a wind farm at Winwick, near Daventy. The plans were approved by the government after being turned down by South Northamptonshire Council. Local opinions were overruled.

13 Jul 12

Hemex has obtained permission to build a wind farm at Lilbourne, near Daventry. The plans were approved by the government after being turned down by Daventry District Council. Local opinions were overruled.

Northamptonshire is one of the country's least windy counties. The three permissions above cannot be justified in terms of wind turbine efficiency (about 15%) or carbon emissions savings (none). This is a good example of policy being driven by subsidy. (see Renewables Obligation )

In the words of Bill Driver, of CPRE: The real problem here is the lack of wind. This wind farm, and others proposed for Northamptonshire, is not economically viable because there isn't enough wind to generate much electricity. What is making it viable is the very high level of subsidy given to onshore wind.

The sceptics appear to have won the scientific argument, but the political argument (and wind turbine construction, using public money) continues.

12 Jul 12

Wind turbines should not be regarded as renewable energy because they emit more CO2 emissions though their carbon own footprint and that of their back-up and regulating reserves because of their inefficiency and intermittency when compared to running highly efficient gas-fired power stations at one-third of the cost. Details here from a retired Grid Control engineer.

12 Jul 12

The solar company Centrotherm has made an application for insolvency. The share price is now at 0.42 Euros, compared with 67 Euros in 2007.

In 2007 the large German solar companies - SolarWorld, SMA Solar, Q-Cells, Conergy, Solon, Solar Millennium, Centrotherm and Phoenix Solar had a total market capitalization of about 25 billion Euros, according to Handelsblatt online. Today the figure is 1.12 billion Euros, a decline of 95%.

German solar industry group BSW says that since the end of 2011, roughly 5,000 companies involved in solar energy have disappeared, with the loss of about 20,000 jobs.

The fall can be attributed mainly to the expansion of Chinese companies like Yingli, Trina Solar and Suntech, which now supply a large fraction of the world's solar technology.

12 Jul 12

The National Air Traffic Service has objected to the proposed 277 turbines in the Moray Firth Beatrice field, nine miles off Caithness. This is where two Tornados were lost recently. Ithaca Energy, which runs the Beatrice and Jacky Oil fields, has concerns with air and sea access. Safety on the rigs is a serious issue, without the problems of accessing them through a massive wind farm.

10 Jul 12

For every kg of coal burned in Europe, China and India burn about 14 kg.
For every kg of coal burned in the UK, the world burns 100 kg.

Europe's carbon dioxide emissions compared to the rest of the world are trivial, and yet Europe is imposing upon itself punitive taxes which are destroying its own industries.

Trillions of euros will disappear over the next 25 years on 'climate taxes' and 'carbon mitigation'. This will have absolutely no effect on global temperature.

Make your views known to your elected representative, and your friends.

9 Jul 12

In New Zealand there is an ongoing legal action against the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd [NIWA], who produce the New Zealand temperature record.

Researchers found that their temperature record had a warming bias showing a warming trend of 1ºC per century when the raw data showed no increase at all.

After an inadequate response from NIWA the researchers took legal action seeking a Judicial Review of the temperature record.

NIWA countered this by claiming there was no official New Zealand temperature record.

The case continues. Original article here .

8 Jul 12

Local councillors have turned down plans for wind turbines at Tydd St. Giles, on the Fens. Several councillors at Fenland Hall, March spoke out against the turbine proposal during the public meeting. A letter from MP Steve Barclay also opposed the plan. Michael Coleman, treasurer for the organized residents' opposition to the scheme, said that it is time wind turbine companies stopped ruining the landscape and causing hardship to local people.

7 Jul 12

Wiltshire has joined Lincolnshire in passing new restrictions which will make planning permission more difficult for wind farm projects. Wiltshire County Council has passed new proposals which are likely to be used to ban new wind farms from the county. Turbines more than 25m high will have to be built more than 1km away from residential property, and larger turbines with a height of 150m would have to be located 3km away from any home.

6 Jul 12

A couple driven from their family farm by the hum of turbines have mounted a £2.5m compensation claim in London's High Court. Jane and Julian Davis moved out of Grays Farm, Deeping St Nicholas, near Spalding, Lincolnshire, four years ago because of the noise from wind turbines. The couple are suing local landowners RC Tinsley and Nicholas Watts, on whose land some of the turbines have been sited, as well as Fenland Windfarms and Fenland Green Power Cooperative, which own and operate the 2MW REpower turbines. Mrs Davis, whose husband's family cultivated Grays Farm for 20 years before they moved out, said it had been a nightmare living there, and they had no option but to leave.
    ..........The house, which the Davises own, on their tenanted arable farm, is 930m from a wind farm, and is downwind of the prevailing wind. The wind farm, which comprises 8 wind turbines, each 100m high at blade tip with 2 MW capacity, became operational in the summer of 2006. Immediately the Davises started having problems with the noise and hum coming from the wind turbines. By May 2007 they were forced to abandon their home as a place in which to sleep and live; they currently rent a property 5 miles away so that their family can live as near a normal life as possible. Their farmhouse house is now likely to have a value of just the land - £35K-£50K and is no longer marketable as a home for people to live in.
5 Jul 12

The world's largest turbine manufacturing company, Vestas, has said that it cannot continue with its Sheerness project. This was to have been a factory employing 2,000 people to make wind turbines. Two reasons were given: a)not enough orders, b)not enough political support in Britain. This is the same company which closed its manufacturing facility on the Isle of Wight in 2009.

23 Jun 12

Fritz Varenholt is a well-known environmentalist. In 2001 he founded the wind energy company REpower and is now director of RWE's renewable energy division In August, he will become the new executive director of the German Wildlife Foundation.

In a recent interview he recounted his experiences of the IPCC:

"For many years, I was an active supporter of the IPCC and its CO2 theory. Recent experience with the UN's climate panel, however, forced me to reassess my position. In February 2010, I was invited as a reviewer for the IPCC report on renewable energy. I realised that the drafting of the report was done in anything but a scientific manner. The report was littered with errors and a member of Greenpeace edited the final version."

20 Jun 12

Climate researchers working for the United Nations have issued a plea for immunity from prosecution. Government-funded personnel sought the ruling on the eve of the latest round of climate talks in Rio de Janeiro, June 20, 2012.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change issued its request to protect researchers who had supplied information to support the the theory of man-made global warming.

19 Jun 12

Air fares may go up as a result of the EU emissions tax. 30 countries have said they will retaliate if Brussels tries to enforce it. On the EU side, European carriers may be told that they cannot fly over countries which object to the scheme. Forcing planes to divert - for example avoiding India - would add to the cost of flying to popular holiday destinations such as Thailand.

The package of retaliatory measures was drawn up earlier this year by the "Coalition of the Unwilling"; these countries signed the Moscow Joint Declaration, banning their carriers from agreeing to the EU airline emissions tax. China has threatened to impound European planes if its own aircraft are seized and Chinese airlines have refused to give carbon emissions data to the EU.

13 Jun 12

From the Daily Telegraph 8 Jun 12, summarized by ND
....The Policy Exchange has published a report saying that the government should abandon 4GW of its planned 13GW target (rated capacity) for offshore wind farms. By building gas-fired power stations instead it would save between £700 million and £900 million. These costs would otherwise have to be paid by consumers. The savings could be used to insulate hundreds of thousands of homes and to extend energy research. The government would still have enough money left to buy enough carbon permits to reduce emissions by six times as much as the 4GW of offshore wind.

The policy officer from the WWF responded by saying that the carbon-cuts part of the report was wrong.

One wonders, however, why a national newspaper finds it necessary to ask a wildlife charity about energy policy - Ed.

11 Jun 12

Nice quote from the Daily Bayonet....Your web searches are increasingly powered by wind turbines. Which gives concerned parents a new angle on an old problem. Kids, every time you search for young ladies who can’t afford clothes, an eagle dies.

9 Jun 12

The global warming activist James Hansen has been prominent in saying recently that man's carbon dioxide emissions are causing dangerous warming of the planet. Regular readers of this website will remember his predictions of boiling oceans which I posted last month.

It is interesting, therefore, to look at part of a paper which he published in the year 2000.

Authors: James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Reto Ruedy, Andrew Lacis, and Valdar Oinas


A common view is that the current global warming rate will continue or accelerate. But we argue that rapid warming in recent decades has been driven mainly by non-CO2 greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as chlorofluorocarbons, CH4, and N2O, not by the products of fossil fuel burning..........

Later on in the paper itself he says....

Our estimates of global climate forcings indicate that it is the non-CO2 GHGs that have caused most observed global warming.

One wonders why he is now promoting the opposite.

Source: Anthony Watts' website

5 Jun 12

The day-to-day reporting of environmental issues by the mainstream media is still not good. A typical piece is riddled with errors, misconceptions, and unchecked statistics.

It happens day after day, week after week, month after month. It never stops.

Unfortunately, the end result of journalism like this is that eventually no-one believes any of it.

The BBC is especially guilty of aiming its science reports at a juvenile or uninformed audience. I guess it doesn't employ enough scientists at grassroots level to do anything else.

In case anyone at the BBC reads this: Science and Environment reporting should be objective, evaluative and impartial, and done by someone who has a good grounding in basic Science and Maths. Not an Arts graduate.

ND, habitat21

....The integrity of Western media depends on whether they encourage critique and fault-finding analysis - or whether they will drift more and more towards gullible campaign journalism. ............Benny Peiser, Director, GWPF.

3 Jun 12

India has said that it may place a ban on European aeroplanes if Europe does not drop its emissions tax on Indian planes flying into Europe.

27 May 12

The International Energy Agency said this week that global carbon dioxide emissions have reached their highest ever level. However there has been no increase in mean global temperature for about fifteen years.

26 May 12

Varied estimates have been flying around regarding the UK's shale gas reserves. DECC is working with the British Geological Survey to ascertain what is available.

The biggest deposits appear to be around Blackpool. Cuadrilla estimates these reserves to be in the region of 200 trillion cubic feet; about 5.7 trillion cibic metres. This is enough to meet Britain's gas needs for 80 years. Stephen Smith, speaking for the company, said that between 5 and 15% was likely to be extractable.

Tony Grayling, Head of Climate Change and Communities at The Environment Agency, said that there was debate about the size of shale gas reserves, and that from his conversations with the British Geological Survey, the figure was probably around 6 trillion cubic metres.

Using US figures, recovery would range from 10 to 30%, so at a mid range of 20% that makes it 1.12 trillion cubic metres. With a 40 year field life that would mean £3Billion a year to the Treasury and 15% off the balance of payments from ceasing imports.

It would be good to see some balanced discussions about fracking in the mainstream media. Ed Davey seems to have decided already that fracking is unsuitable, citing Centrica and Shell (hardly unbiased observers) who say that shale gas could supply perhaps 5 to 10 percent of our energy needs. This equates to recoverable reserves of 0.15 trillion cubic metres; far lower than the BGS estimate.

24 May 12

A new Centre for carbon dioxide-enhanced Oil Recovery is to be set up at Edinburgh University and will be aimed at developing carbon capture and storage in oil fields in the North Sea. A spokeswoman for the University said the technology could be used to store 75 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from power plants, and increase the amount of oil recovered from subsea reservoirs by between 5 and 25 per cent. Carbon dioxide would be injected into oil fields deep beneath the sea bed, forcing out additional hydrocarbons. The centre is to be developed in collaboration with Heriot-Watt University and the British Geological Survey.

ND comment - British carbon dioxide output from coal is about 192M tonnes per year, so if the technology can be made to work, it would store about four month's - worth. US and Canadian studies suggest, however that the technology is unworkable. See Carbon Capture page.

25 May 12

Opposition to fracking in Europe, principally by those with an interest in renewables, has slowed the development of natural gas in Europe, creating export opportunities for U.S. producers. Wood MacKenzie estimates that by 2020, Europe will be using more American shale gas than that produced from domestic fracking.

24 May 12

Germany’s third largest aluminium producer, Voerde Aluminium, has filed for bankruptcy. Trade groups are calling for affordable power equivalent to the nuclear capacity which was taken off- grid in response to the Fukushima accident.

Production of metals, particularly aluminum, is at risk in Germany due to high electricity prices which are not internationally competitive, according to Ulrich Grillo, President of Germany's trade body for the metal industry.

German users of over 20 GWh per year pay 11.95 euro cents per kWh, compared to 6.9 cents in France, according to energy.eu data for November 2011. Among the 27 EU countries only Cyprus, Italy, Malta and Slovakia have higher prices for heavy users of electricity.

This situation is the result of green agendas being allowed to dominate energy policy.

If green extremism is not stopped, European industry will continue to decline.

21 May 12

Economic problems in Europe are causing some re-thinks on energy. No growth means lower electricity usage, which means less demand for 'carbon allowances' and emissions trading. With gas prices high in Europe and nuclear power being switched off in Germany, coal has become attractive again. Not 'clean coal' with the scientifically illiterate 'carbon capture', but ordinary coal-fired power stations which produce electricity at the right price.

Given the scope of Europe's economic problems, politicians would be be better off dropping the obsession with carbon dioxide and repealing all climate-change legislation. In ten years' time, after we have spent countless billions on 'carbon mitigation', the mainstream media will finally discover that carbon dioxide had no effect on global temperatures anyway.

Plenty of people out there who have examined the evidence know this already.

19 May 12

I thought that the World Wildlife Fund was a charity organization designed to protect ecosystems and wildlife in general. I was surprised today to read that it has produced a document, The Living Planet Report for 2012, which can only be described as anti-Western society.

The document says that economic growth should be abandoned, that citizens of the world's wealthy nations should prepare for poverty and that all the human race's energy should be produced from renewable sources by 2050. This, apparently, will help prevent climate change and will help poorer nations.

This is lunatic fringe stuff. It is advocating lower standards of living and mass unemployment. Is this really the WWF?

They will not be getting a donation from me.

18 May 12

Downing Street is to review its Green Deal scheme. The deal, to insulate Britain's older houses, is intended to reduce energy bills and the number of households in fuel poverty; currently about 5million.

However there is a dispute over the priorities of the scheme. The government says most lofts and cavities are already insulated so it wants to offer grants on solid wall insulation, which costs a lot more.

Critics say it makes no sense to insulate solid walls at £7,500 a home when there are still plenty of lofts to insulate at £500 a home.

17 May 12

Jean-Pierre Clamadieu the new chief executive of Franco-Belgian Solvay, in an interview with the Financial Times, said that Germany, France and Belgium were acting in isolation on nuclear and gas policy and failing to come up with a strategy to keep Europe’s companies competitive. Natural gas in America is one third of the price of European gas as a result of new ‘fracking’ technology. This is not helpful to European industry.

He said that the cost of energy, along with the eurozone crisis, is the most urgent problem confronting industry today. This is because Europe’s political leaders ignore competitiveness when they design energy policy.

Germany has recently withdrawn from nuclear power, increasing its energy costs, and causing problems with its national grid, even though the probability of a tsunami affecting its nuclear plants (which is what happened in Japan) is zero. Belgium may also phase out nuclear plants sooner than expected. The new French president has said he will cut nuclear energy from 75% of electricity production to 50%.

Mr. Clamadieu commented that it is difficult to understand why nuclear electricity costing 4p per kWh should be replaced by offshore wind energy costing 20p - five times the price.

summarised by ND from an article by James Boxell, FT 14 May 12.

15 May 12

The European Parliament will not be sending a delegation to the UN's Rio+20 summit on sustainable development in June. It says the costs are too high at a time when many Europeans are faced with economic hardship.

The Queen's Speech revealed a new Energy Bill which will increase electricity bills, this time by around £200 a year. Wind and nuclear feature in the plans. Businesses are very concerned about rising electricity bills. High costs mean lost jobs.

The future of nuclear will be highly dependent on what happens to the price of gas. Fracking may make an enormous difference; if it lowers the price of gas to the extent it has in the USA, nuclear may no longer be competitive.

On present evidence, wind power will be pursued irrespective of cost or effectiveness until someone in government ends the subsidies.

9 May 12

Data comparing the actual output of wind turbines supplied to the Grid with their rated output:

Hydro Quebec, Gaspe site. First three years, capacity factor 18%.
Ontario, IPSO data: approx capacity factor 20%.
EOn, 9 GW installed capacity; av output 1.35GW; capacity factor 15%.

8 May 12

The demand for solar panels has declined since government halved the feed-in tariff for households which supply solar electricity to the national grid.

The average price of a set of solar panels is £12,000. The electricity which they produce (roughly 42p per unit, or 21p per unit, depending on when the panels were installed) is paid for by everyone else, through their electricity bills.

DECC is now consulting on a further cut to feed-in tariffs, probably to be implemented in July.

ND comment .... there is a misconception that PV panels reduce carbon dioxide emissions. In their lifetimes, polycrystalline and single crystal PV panels produce less energy than it took to make them in the first place (amorphous silicon possibly scrapes under the wire). It follows that they do not reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

7 May 12

Politicians say they want to reduce energy prices, but they ignore the easiest way of doing it - repealing their renewables policies.

Twenty-nine states have rules which force utility companies to buy between 20% and 33% of their electricity from renewable sources. The effect is to make the utilities pay too much for their power.

The renewables surcharge presently works out at 12%. By 2025 it is projected to be 25%.

The Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA), which represents about 50 small utilities serving 650,000 rural residents, reports that its members lost $70 million in 2011 because of the high cost of wind power. They are paying for wind power they do not need, cannot use and cannot sell.

Mark Glaess, director of the MREA, estimates that the renewables policy has raised the annual residential utility bill by $50-100.

Paraphrased from wsj.com , 5.5.12

Tim Yeo has said that urgent action is needed over energy policy or the lights will soon be going out. Further delays would also result in Britain failing to attract investment.

Tim Yeo is right. Unfortunately the signs are still not very positive. Only last week his boss, Mr. Cameron, was talking about wind turbines as a solution to energy shortages.

Only governments can waste money in such a monumental fashion.

When it's very cold and frosty it is usually calm, so wind farms don't generate any power. When it's cold and stormy, as it was last month, they have to be shut down to avoid damage.

3 May 12

The government proposed last week to impose a green tax on all householders building conservatories, buying new windows or putting in new boilers. The scheme was to tax anyone installing cavity wall insulation or loft insulation. The proposal has now been abandoned. Now perhaps we can get on with getting a new generation of nuclear power stations built and working, and abandon the EU emissions tax before it threatens more jobs in the aircraft-building industry.

15 Apr 12

Ministers are preparing to veto major new wind farms in the British countryside and cut back their subsidies, according to senior Whitehall sources. This follows 100 backbench Conservative MPs objecting to the blighting of rural areas by wind turbines. Matt Ridley argued last month (in the Spectator) that wind policy would eventually collapse; the only question was how long it would take for ministers to realise that it made no economic sense. Greg Barker said on Sunday that his department has adopted an ‘unbalanced’ approach to wind farms and will now look at other options.

This is a step in the right direction.

14 Apr 12

The Environment Protection Agency has proposed a new “Carbon Pollution Standard” which requires new fossil-fuel power stations to emit no more than 1,000 lbs of carbon dioxide (CO2) per megawatt hour. About 95% of all natural gas fired power plants already meet the standard. No existing coal power plants come close. The most efficient, on average, emit 1,800 lbs CO2/MWh.

A coal power plant equipped with carbon capture and storage technology, if it worked, could meet the standard, but the levelized cost of new coal plants already exceeds that of new natural gas plants.

The EPA has, therefore, proposed a standard that no commercially-viable coal plant can meet.

7 Apr 12

The French Prime Minister has advised the European Union to retreat over its emissions tax. The EU is not united over the proposed tax; several countries are unhappy. India, China and the USA have also described it as illegal.

France is worried that more Airbus orders will be lost from China, which is presently refusing to sign contracts for 35 long-haul A330s and 10 A380 superjumbo planes. 2000 French jobs are at stake.

The tax is believed to be worth about €10.4 billion over eight years.

6 Apr 12

Solar Trust of America LLC has filed for bankruptcy. Q-Cells of Germany, once the world's biggest maker of solar panels, is also filing for bankruptcy.

3 Apr 12

China has cancelled orders for 35 European Airbus A330 jets, and is threatening more cancellations, because of the EU Airline Tax (see entry for 6 Jan, below).

India has banned its airlines from submitting carbon dioxide emissions data. In February, India, China, the USA and 20 other countries, signed the Moscow Declaration with the aim of killing off the EU Airline Tax.

It also seems that the UK government is becoming aware of the economics of 'decarbonization'. If it acts now it may be able to prevent more of our industrial base from going abroad where energy costs are lower.

2 Apr 12

The Climate Change Act escaped unscathed from George Osborne's budget this week. Expect, therefore, further energy prices rises over the coming year. The only way out, short-term, seems to be shale gas, currently under investigation in various parts of the UK, which may provide a relatively trouble-free and reasonably priced source of methane.

22 Mar 12

Summarised from an article by P. Clarke, FT, 16 Mar 12.

The National Audit Office has found that a series of failures in Whitehall led to last year’s collapse of a £1bn project that was supposed to make Britain a world leader in capturing carbon dioxide emissions.

After spending four years and £64m on a competition to find a group to build the UK’s first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage demonstration project, ministers cancelled it in October when they failed to agree funding terms with the only consortium left in the race. The consortium, led by ScottishPower, had planned to capture carbon emissions from the Longannet coal-fired power plant in Scotland and pipe them to be stored in depleted gas fields deep under the North Sea.

ND comment: Whitehall had nothing to do with the failure. The energy industry has known for years that Carbon Capture technology is unworkable. What is more surprising is that we are still pretending to pursue it.

21 Mar 12

A recent study by this company, based on emissions data from power generation companies, found the following (summarized by ND):

The wind energy business is the electricity sector's equivalent of the corn-ethanol scam. It is an industry which depends wholly on subsidy to remain solvent. It provides an inferior product to customers - overpriced intermittent electricity, and it does not reduce our need for hydrocarbons. Nor does it cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/2011/07/19/wind-energy-carbon.html

18 Mar 12

A new 'Marine Energy Park' has been announced for the UK: it will stretch from Bristol to Cornwall. The scheme involves local enterprise partnerships, Plymouth and Exeter Universities and industry.

17 Mar 2012

A shale-gas expansion in the USA has greatly increased the amount of natural gas available, giving power companies an alternative to nuclear.

Several years ago, fifteen power companies were proposing 29 new reactors. Today, only two projects remain.

Across the country, utilities are turning to natural gas to generate electricity, with 258 plants expected to be built from 2011 through 2015. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says it costs about $978 per kilowatt of capacity to build and fuel a big gas-fired power plant, compared with $5,339 per kilowatt for a nuclear plant.

Countries which do not have access to cheap natural gas are planning plans to build new reactors, according to the World Nuclear Association. Once built, nuclear plants produce electricity very cheaply.

Enormous quantities of natural gas have been discovered in the U.S., especially in shale. In 2010, there were 487,000 wells producing natural gas in 30 states, led by Texas with 95,000 wells. Shale-gas production now accounts for about one-third of U.S. gas supplies.

The new supplies have helped reduce prices to one-third of their level in 2005.

16 Mar 2012

Last week, the real costs of wind power were exposed in a report by Gordon Hughes, Professor of Economics at Edinburgh University. He has calculated that the bill for wind energy by 2020 will cost consumers £120 billion. Generating the same amount of electricity from efficient gas-powered stations costs £13bn. (summarised from Scotland on Sunday, 11 Mar 12)

Government figures only admit to wind energy being double the price of other sources.

As I understand it, this is because they ignore feed-in tariffs, the Renewables Obligation, constraint payments, the cost of entending the Grid, and the money it takes to maintain the spinning reserve.

12 Mar 2012

The UK government wants nuclear power to be given parity with renewables in Europe, in a move that would boost atomic energy in Britain but downgrade investment in renewable generation, according to a leaked document seen by the Guardian. The EU-wide target of 20% electricity from renewables will probably be scrapped when it runs out in 2020. "The UK envisages multiple low-carbon technologies: renewables, nuclear and carbon capture and storage, all competing freely against each other in the years to come. For this reason, we cannot support a 2030 renewables target," it reads. --Fiona Harvey and Juliette Jowit, The Guardian, 12 March 2012.

Climate change is disappearing from the political agenda in some parts of Europe.

Polish environment minister Marcin Korolec is to veto an EU proposal for CO2 cuts at a meeting in Brussels on Friday 9 Mar . Warsaw also objects to other details of the low-carbon plan under consideration. An EU diplomat noted that the Czech Republic and Romania are hiding behind Poland on the issue.
    Update 11 Mar....the veto has been actioned. Poland depends on coal energy, and is not prepared to depress local living standards for the sake of global warming alarmism.
Vince Cable is asking Chancellor George Osborne to scrap a £740m environmental burden on British business in this month's budget. Business department officials have asked the Treasury to remove the carbon reduction commitment (CRC), which would force 20,000 businesses with electricity bills of around £500,000, such as supermarket and hotel chains, to pay a carbon tax. This is a tax which businesses should not have to pay.

8 Mar 2012

According to an independent report written by AF Consult, Britain could meet its carbon reduction targets in 2020 for £45 billion less if it abandoned wind power in favour of cheaper gas-fired power plants and nuclear reactors.

The saving would rise to £150 billion by 2050 because of the costs associated with building and running the proposed 32,000 wind turbines.

The study was supposed to be published last year but was withdrawn by its sponsor, KPMG, a government adviser on energy policy, after some of the findings leaked and provoked an outcry from certain groups.

AF Consult will publish its analysis tomorrow, 5 Mar, in the interests of presenting an independent perspective.

More here .

4 Mar 2012

from a letter to The Daily Telegraph, edited for anonymity.

Sir - George Osborne, the Chancellor, says that the country has no money to spare and that the future depends on the private sector (report, 27 Feb).

I am arranging a contract for a company in a high-tech area which will be paying £500,000 for its electricity over the next year. Of that money, £50,000 will go to subsidise inefficient green energy such as wind turbines and solar energy via the Renewables Obligation.

CL, Cheshire.

    Extract from Prime Minister's Questions, w/e 3 Mar 2012:

    ...We're cutting the subsidy to onshore wind because I think it has been over-subsidised and wasteful of public money.

    The second thing we're doing is the Localism Act, which will give local communities a greater say over issues like wind turbines."

    Mr. Cameron also said that he favoured wind power, regardless of EU emissions targets, and that there were good reasons for building more onshore wind farms.

    I do not disagree with him if the location is suitable, the subsidies stop, and the energy generated is of a similar price to that of coal, gas and nuclear for that location.

    1 Mar 2012

In a report in some of the national papers, Tom Greatrex has commented on the cost of renewables, in a statement about Scottish independence.

He stated that in a separate Scotland, the burden of paying for renewables would fall on Scottish consumers alone, and this would send energy bills "through the roof", as pointed out in a report by Citigroup last year.

His use of the word 'burden' is an accurate description of our current renewables policy. Principally offshore wind, it is unbelievably expensive. The Royal Academy of Engineering estimates the current cost of electricity production (pence per kilowatt hour) as 2.2p for gas, 15-21p for offshore wind.

The enthusiasm of the BBC for wind power is well known; a typical BBC report will assert that a small wind turbine provides the power for tens of thousands of homes. Unfortunately few people know enough science to do the sums, and the assertion goes unchallenged.

Apart from a few lone voices (Nigel Lawson and Christopher Booker being notable exceptions) there has been no intelligent discussion of the economics of wind power in the mainstream media.

25 Feb 2012

There are hundreds of salesmen currently persuading householders to sign up for 'free' smart meters to measure electricity consumption. Data will be fed more or less continuously to the energy company concerned.

There are several aspects to the installation programme which I do not like.

  • The meters are not free. If you divide the smart meter national budget by the number of households, the cost per household is about £400, and ultimately there is only one way they can be paid for - by us.

  • So far, there is no 'standard meter'. It is possible that a smart meter installed by one company will stop working if you switch to another supplier.

  • Anyone having access to the data will know when the house is empty.

  • It will be much easier to turn off power supplies. Margaret Hodge has said that smart meters will allow energy companies to disconnect customers without entering the property. She also says that safeguards will be needed to protect the vulnerable, elderly and those on low incomes. (see hypothermia data below, 16 Feb)

    22 Feb 2012

    ".....Stated briefly, I will simply try to clarify what the debate over climate change is really about. It most certainly is not about whether climate is changing: it always is. It is not about whether CO2 is increasing: it clearly is. It is not about whether the increase in CO2, by itself, will lead to some warming: it should. The debate is simply over the matter of how much warming the increase in CO2 can lead to, and the connection of such warming to the innumerable claimed catastrophes. The evidence is that the increase in CO2 will lead to very little warming, and that the connection of this minimal warming (or even significant warming) to the purported catastrophes is also minimal. The arguments on which the catastrophic claims are made are extremely weak – and commonly acknowledged as such. They are sometimes overtly dishonest.

    Perhaps we should stop accepting the term, ‘skeptic.’ Skepticism implies doubts about a plausible proposition. Current global warming alarm hardly represents a plausible proposition. Twenty years of repetition and escalation of claims does not make it more plausible. Quite the contrary, the failure to improve the case over 20 years makes the case even less plausible as does the evidence from climategate and other instances of overt cheating."

    Richard Lindzen

    22 Feb 2012

    The EU has been imposing 'climate change' charges since 1 Jan on airlines whose planes fly over Europe.

    There is no evidence that man-made carbon dioxide affects global temperatures. One wonders whether the EU is aware of this, or whether they would impose the tax anyway.

    Representatives of 26 countries are meeting in Moscow this week to work out what form their retaliation against the EU should take. Countries affected include China, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Brazil and the United States.

    22 Feb 2012

    The authors of the Jan. 27 Wall Street Journal article (see below) have responded to their critics as follows:

    ......In summary, science progresses by testing predictions against real world data obtained from direct observations and rigorous experiments. The stakes in the global-warming debate are much too high to ignore this observational evidence and declare the science settled. Though there are many more scientists who are extremely well qualified and have reached the same conclusions we have, we stress again that science is not a democratic exercise and conclusions must be based on observational evidence.

    The computer-model predictions of alarming global warming have seriously exaggerated the warming by CO2 and have underestimated other causes. Since CO2 is not a pollutant but a substantial benefit to agriculture, and since its warming potential has been greatly exaggerated, it is time for the world to rethink its frenzied pursuit of decarbonization at any cost.

    21 Feb 2012

    The scientist and chemical engineer Arthur Rörsch has distributed a working paper to Dutch officials in his country asking for a comprehensive review of the results and recommendations of the IPCC, especially its upcoming 5th assessment report.

    He says that the draft report exemplifies the worst features of science.

    In his paper, Rörsch says that the IPCC has deviated from the traditional scientific principles. On man-made warming from CO2, he writes “no indisputable scientific proof, or even strong empirical evidence, has been provided for such an effect, which therefore remains a matter of speculation.”

    21 Feb 2012

    Good news for those who believe that the UK has been wasting money on solar PV in paying 43p per unit: in April the subsidy will drop to 21p, in Oct. 2012 it will be about 13p, and by April 2015 it will be around 8p. These prices are more realistic.

    For comparison..... the retail price which I pay for electricity is about 24p per unit.

    20 Feb 2012

    The official figures for hypothermia cases have been released, a few days after extremely cold conditions in the UK. 950 patients were treated in hospital for hypothermia in 2006-7, increasing to 1,876 in 2010-11.

    Deaths within 30 days increased from 135 to 260 over the same period.

    Correlation is not causation, but energy costs have increased by about 40% over the same period.

    16 Feb 2012

    This short extract is paraphrased from the Catholic Herald; the full article by William Oddie is here . See also the similar piece by Howard Curnow in the Methodist Recorder, Dec 2011. .

    ....The idea of an incontrovertible scientific consensus behind current ideas of anthropogenic global warming is itself coming under increasingly sceptical scrutiny from another “growing number of experts”, as you will see from a very interesting article which appeared a week or so ago in the Wall Street Journal.

    The article is signed by a large number of scientists.

    The fact is, as the WSJ article says, that large numbers of scientists don’t accept this supposed consensus, and more and more of them are putting their heads above the parapet to say so. The reason is simple: that more and more “incontrovertible” facts are suggesting that the “consensus” has more to do with ideology than science: the most inconvenient truth, perhaps, is the fact that for more than a decade there has been no global warming to speak of, despite the fact that man-made CO2 continues to grow apace.

    6 Feb 2012

    Another cold day in England; 41F at noon. Coal fired power is providing most of our energy. Today's figures for UK power being supplied to the Grid just before midday were:

    45.4% coal (23800MW)
    36.8% gas (19300MW)
    15.2% nuclear (7900MW)
    1.1% hydro (570MW)
    0.1% wind (45MW)

    The figures are worth studying. You can see that wind was contributing about 0.1%.

    45MW of wind power is close to zero. The price: £400m per annum, plus the money used to instal the turbines.

    A hundred MPs have recently realised that our wind programme is doing serious damage to our economy.

    It will be interesting to see what happens next.

    6 Feb 2012

    Interest in shale gas is increasing in the UK. A number of sites have been chosen (e.g. in Sussex and Lancashire) for test drilling.

    There will be difficult decisions ahead. The UK needs a stable and affordable energy supply, to keep our homes warm and to supply industry. Shale may provide part of the answer, as it is doing in the USA.

    If shale gas becomes important in the UK, it will be more difficult to justify investment in other forms of energy, especially renewables.

    Expect fierce arguments from both sides explaining why the other side is wrong.

    5 Feb 2012

    Chris Huhne is no longer in charge of Energy. He has been replaced by Ed Davey, another Liberal Democrat.

    4 Feb 2012

    From this week's "Spectator Notes" by Charles Moore:-

    In the course of typing this column, I have experienced two power cuts. This winter (in which the weather has been exceptionally easy), we have had roughly one power cut a fortnight in our village. I wonder if Chris Huhne may succeed where Arthur Scargill failed, plunging the nation into darkness to fulfil his idealogical vision - in Scargill's case a red one, in Huhne's green....

    30 Jan 2012

    On January 27th, an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal, signed by sixteen scientists. The following extract summarises its content:

    "Speaking for many scientists and engineers who have looked carefully and independently at the science of climate, we have a message to any candidate for public office: There is no compelling scientific argument for drastic action to "decarbonize" the world's economy. Even if one accepts the inflated climate forecasts of the IPCC, aggressive greenhouse-gas control policies are not justified economically."

    Entering the phrase "sixteen concerned scientists" into any search engine will take you to the article.

    28 Jan 2012

    Researchers at the Policy Exchange Think Tank say that the Government is misleading the public over the true cost of renewables subsidies. The Coalition's expensive and largely unnecessary green policies will cost each household an additional £400 per year by 2020.

    Government officials say that energy bills will reduce when more energy is produced from renewables. However there is no evidence that replacing fossil fuels with more expensive alternatives will ever result in lower energy costs.

    The Government's calcuations also ignore the effect on consumers of businesses paying higher energy bills.

    None of this is news to readers of 'habitat21', but it's good to see the mainstream media slowly becoming aware.

    19 Jan 2012

    The Daily Telegraph reports that wind farm operators were paid approximately £10 million during 2011 for turning off their turbines. These payments are called 'constraint payments'. This has triggered a review of the rules. The payments are made when the network is unable to absorb any excess power generated. The charges end up on household electricity bills and are paid for by consumers.

    Constraint payments in 2010 were £0.17 million, but changes in the way the National Grid supplies energy to retail companies, balancing the network, have caused a sudden increase in their use.

    The fees paid are being reviewed.

    11 Jan 2012
      UPDATE/CORRECTION........The Times reports that constraint payments reached £25 million during 2011 for 149,983MWh of energy-not-delivered.

      Dividing the energy by the price gives 17p for each unit of electricity not delivered to the Grid. This is the first time that the Grid has released these figures. Apparently it is sometimes cheaper in remote areas to pay off the wind turbine owners than it is to upgrade the network so that the energy can actually be used.

      Meanwhile David Attenborough, at the launch of the new wind turbine at Glyndebourne, said that even if we only generate a fraction of energy by wind, we must.

      This is presumably his personal belief rather than a serious comment on energy policy.

      21 Jan 2012

    The National Trust has cancelled most of its plans to install solar photovoltaic panels at its properties. The high prices paid per unit by Government for electricity generated up to Dec 2011 (around 40P a unit) have been halved for those signing up now.

    It's a shame for the National Trust, but 40P was far too high. The scheme was (and for early signees, still is) being funded through increased energy bills for everyone else.

    10 Jan 2012

    Chinese airlines have refused to pay carbon emissions charges imposed by the European Union from January 1.

    A large order for Eurobus aircraft has been lost by the EU in response to the carbon-charge scheme. The order was from Hong Kong Airlines and has been blocked by China.

    The US are paying the carbon charge for the time being but are taking legal advice.

    6 Jan 2012

    A network of charging points for electric cars is being set up. It began in mid-December and it has charging points in London, Bristol, Exeter, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and the Lake District. Next year other areas will be added. Additional charging points will be placed at service stations on the M1 near Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds. There will be some at the Eurotunnel passenger terminal and at Fleet Services on the M3 in Hampshire. The charging points are being placed at Welcome break service stations by Ecotricity.

    It will be interesting to see how well the system works, because I'd always thought that electric cars, with a range of about 100 miles, took all night to charge up. The blurb says that a full charge takes two hours, and a top-up twenty minutes, which takes some believing....if anyone has first hand experience please get in touch.

    1 Jan 2012


    Please click the picture... Happy New Year to all our readers....!

    31 Dec 2011

    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 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

    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.

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