|1) UK ‘Will Take 700 Years’ To Reach Low-Carbon Heating Under Current Plans
The Guardian, 8 October 2020
2) Wind Energy To Power Every Home By 2020, UK Government Promised … 13 Years Ago
The Guardian, 10 December 2007
1) Britain ‘Will Take 700 Years’ To Reach Low-Carbon Heating Under Current Govt Plans
The Guardian, 8 October 2020
Energy experts say record rise in new gas boilers installed shows UK going in wrong direction
Ministers must come forward with stringent new plans for low-carbon heating, as targets to insulate homes and generate more power from offshore wind are inadequate and sales of gas boilers showed a record rise last year, energy experts warned.
At current rates, it will take 700 years for the UK to move to low-carbon heating, and at least 19,000 homes a week must be upgraded between now and 2050. There was a record rise last year of 1.8% in the number of new gas boilers installed, showing that the UK is going in the wrong direction.
Government plans will see only about 12,500 homes in total installed with low-carbon heat pumps, according to a report from the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC).
“We must move away from this situation where the government is sitting on its hands,” said Robert Gross, director of UKERC and co-author of the report.
No new homes should be built with gas boilers, the experts said. The government’s pledge to build millions of new homes does not specify that they must be built with low-carbon heating.
2) Wind Energy To Power Every Home By 2020, UK Government Promised … 13 Years Ago
The Guardian, 10 December 2007
Thousands of new offshore wind turbines could power every home in Britain by 2020, the government announced today, as it set out new wind-energy plans.
John Hutton, the business secretary, proposed the creation of up to 33 gigawatts of offshore wind energy at a European energy industry conference in Berlin.
He called for companies to invest in large-scale farm development to generate enough power for up to 25m homes in the next 12 years.
That would require around 7,000 turbines, or one every half-mile, Hutton told the BBC’s Politics Show yesterday.
He admitted that “tough choices” would have to be made if the UK wanted to respond to climate change and become more self-sufficient.
3) Weather Change: After Nearly Running Out Of Water In 2018, Cape Town Dams Are Now Overflowing
CNN, 5 October 2020Cape Town’s reservoirs have topped 100% for the first time in six years, a magnificent change in the “Mother City” compared to its dire situation just two years ago.
In 2018 Cape Town was on the precipice of becoming the world’s first major metropolitan area to run out of water, prompting what officials referred to as “Day Zero.” A combination of strict water rationing, infrastructure changes and above-average rainfall this year in the South African city has made those memories a thing of the past.A t least for now.
The waterskloof Dam went from a lake level of 11.0% on March 9, 2018, to 98.1% on September 22, 2020.
“Having flown over Cape Town’s six major supply dams during and after the drought, it is almost impossible to believe the changes in the visuals of the dams,” says Jean Tresfon, a marine conservation photographer, who has been documenting Cape Town dam levels since before the drought began.
Berg River Dam went from a lake level of 49.8% on March 9, 2018, to 100.2% on September 22, 2020.
“From nearly empty (total storage capacity of 19%) to overflowing (total storage capacity 100.8%), the change is amazing, with lush greenery covering the surrounding countryside instead of dry, parched, semiarid conditions,” Tresfon says.
4) Comprehensive Review Of Studies Confirms No Increase In Global Disaster Losses Since 1998
Environmental Hazards, August 2020
Economic ‘normalisation’ of disaster losses 1998–2020: a literature review and assessment
Roger Pielke Jr.
Nowadays, following every weather disaster quickly follow estimates of economic loss. Quick blame for those losses, or some part, often is placed on claims of more frequent or intense weather events. However, understanding what role changes in climate may have played in increasing weather-related disaster losses is challenging because, in addition to changes in climate, society also undergoes dramatic change. Increasing development and wealth influence exposure and vulnerability to loss – typically increasing exposure while reducing vulnerability. In recent decades a scientific literature has emerged that seeks to adjust historical economic damage from extreme weather to remove the influences of societal change from economic loss time series to estimate what losses past extreme events would cause under present-day societal conditions. In regions with broad exposure to loss, an unbiased economic normalisation will exhibit trends consistent with corresponding climatological trends in related extreme events, providing an independent check on normalisation results. This paper reviews 54 normalisation studies published 1998–2020 and finds little evidence to support claims that any part of the overall increase in global economic losses documented on climate time scales is attributable to human-caused changes in climate, reinforcing conclusions of recent assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Full paper ($)
5) Rod Liddle: £50billion On Wind Farms? You Might As Well Spend It On Unicorn Tears, Boris
The Sun, 8 October 2020Apparently BoJo has got his mojo back. Quick, someone take it off him before he does any more harm.
I think I preferred him when his mojo was lost down the back of the sofa — and he looked knackered and woebegone.
But all that has suddenly changed. Speaking to the virtual Conservative Party conference, the Prime Minister was, for once, full of that old bluster and self-confidence, as he announced his new energy plan for the UK.
The answer to our electricity needs? Off-shore wind farms. Loads of them. Everywhere up and down our coast. He would make Britain the “Saudi Arabia of green energy”, he told a bemused public.
This from a man who once said wind turbines couldn’t blow the skin off a rice pudding.
He was pretty much right then. I wonder what changed his mind?
It’s another flip-flop on policy, this time nothing to do with Covid.
Last year the talk was all about nuclear power.
That was a genuinely exciting plan to reduce our carbon emissions through stable, almost renewable energy.
It would have worked, even if nuclear power stations do cost a few quid to build.
But now it’s those bloody turbines. You may remember David Cameron had one on the side of his house in Notting Hill when he was Prime Minister.
That was five years ago. It’s probably generated enough energy to boil a cup of tea by now.
Wind turbines are for virtue-signalling politicians.
They’re not the real answer to our energy problems.
There’s nothing wrong with them being part — a small part — of our cleaner energy policy.
Even if they do scar the landscape from Northumberland to Cornwall and have a seriously bad effect on local wildlife.
The real problem, though, is that they won’t do what Boris expects them to do. It won’t work. Don’t take my word for it.
Here’s what the environmental campaigner Zion Lights had to say (yes, I know, it’s British law that all environmental campaigners must have weird names — like Pixie Hempmuncher or Peregrine Hummus).
She says: “Even if we cranked up wind-power provision to the level the Prime Minister proposes (40 gigawatts), this amount would power only about half the homes in Britain — or seven per cent of the total national energy demand.
“And that is only when the turbines are turning — a key point.”
No kidding, Zion.
One of the problems with wind is that it doesn’t always blow — and batteries to store the electricity generated are nowhere near advanced enough to overcome this little difficulty.
Wind turbines, especially off-shore turbines, are also expensive to build, expensive to maintain, polluting to construct and they need replacing very often indeed.
So we will be investing a massive amount of money — some experts reckon more than £50billion — in an energy source that will satisfy less than ten per cent of our need.
Frankly, you might as well spend £50billion harvesting unicorn tears. They would be about as much use.
It’s yet another policy reversal — and one that yet again seems to have been made on an impulse, on the hoof.
Nuclear power — by far and away the safest means of generating electricity and one of the cleanest — is the way forward.
As that campaigner Zion Lights admitted.
Come on, Boris, think again. Or come election time, the voters may take your mojo and shove it somewhere the wind occasionally blows but the sun don’t shine.
6) Andrew Montford: Boris’s Wind Power Pledge Won’t Be Cheap
The Spectator, 6 October 2020
Boris Johnson likes a big announcement. Back in his days as London mayor, he told us he was going to build a new airport on an island in the Thames estuary and a tree-lined ‘garden bridge’ further upstream. Although not as hare-brained as his more recent plan to build a bridge to Ireland, neither of these schemes ever came to anything.
Much of the government’s announcement today of a major green spending spree gives the impression of having been conjured up with the same lack of any serious intent, ‘smart cities’ being an obvious example. However, some of it looks positively alarming.
Take home insulation, for example. It sounds so simple and so easy, but as study after study has shown, the cost of retrofitting the existing housing stock is wildly expensive – the cost would run to trillions – and it might even be cheaper to knock down the whole of the UK’s housing stock and start again.
Hydrogen is frequently touted as the answer to all our problems, but this is mostly a case of pulling the wool over the eyes of the unwary. Hydrogen is a way of moving energy about; it is not a source of energy itself. In other words, to make the stuff, you need a real source of energy, which currently means natural gas. But if you are going to burn gas to make hydrogen, you are going to get carbon dioxide given off in vast quantities, and so you need operational carbon capture equipment.
Unfortunately, carbon capture and storage has only ever worked for coal-fired power stations, and even then it’s still commercially unviable. Getting the technology to work on plant burning natural gas remains a pipe-dream.
But, say the renewables enthusiasts, we can also make hydrogen through electrolysis of water, with all the electricity coming from our rapidly growing fleet of offshore windfarms. There are two problems with this idea. Firstly, converting electricity to hydrogen and back to electricity is grossly inefficient, and so even with rather cheap power inputs, you still will not get cheap electricity out at the end of the process.
But secondly (and disturbingly), we now know for certain that the UK’s offshore wind fleet is not going to deliver cheap power any time soon. Two separate reviews of the accounts of the UK offshore wind fleet have shown that costs have been rising for the last ten years and that there is no sign of any reduction. And while renewables enthusiasts say that’s all going to change in the next few years, as the latest generation of windfarms come on stream, this has now been show unequivocally to be wrong.
There are two main strands of evidence. Firstly, when windfarm developers have put together a consortium of banks to fund the project, they announce how much they are going to borrow. This figure gives us a lower bound on the capital cost – the typical offshore windfarm overspends by around 17 per cent. Reviewing these so-called ‘financial close’ figures indicates that windfarms coming on stream in the next few years are just as expensive as those built in the last five.
But what about the possibility that they will not spend all of their loans? This idea is killed off by the other strand of evidence: the financial accounts of those next-generation windfarms, currently under construction off the east coast. These contain no indication of any change in the costs.
In other words, we are going to take very expensive electricity from offshore windfarms, use it to make hydrogen, which we will burn to make electricity again. With such a plan in place, it is hard to imagine just how expensive electricity is going to become in future. Prices have doubled since the Renewables Obligation came into force back in 2002, and this was undoubtedly a significant factor in the loss of much of our manufacturing base. A further drive for wind turbines, which produce power at two to three times the cost of a gas turbine, would drive costs up hard. Add in the cost of dealing with their intermittent supply of power and we could easily see prices more than double again.
The implications for businesses and households in the UK are horrifying. Who would want to live in a a country that was set on such a destructive path? Who would want to invest in it? And when the Prime Minister claims that he’s going to create 60,000 jobs with his green spending spree, you have to wonder how many will jobs he will destroy along the way. We can only hope and pray that he is playing to the crowd again.
Andrew Montford is deputy director of the Global Warming Policy Forum
7) Matthew Lesh: Old Boris Was Right: Wind Power Is Expensive, Unreliable And Risks Blackouts
The Daily Telegraph, 6 October 2020Back in 2013, a London mayor by the name of Boris Johnson declared wind farms could not “pull the skin off a rice pudding”.
Today, a Prime Minister by the name of Boris Johnson used his Conservative Party conference speech to claim that “offshore wind will be powering every home in the country” by the end of the decade. Johnson assured us this would be “cheaper than coal, cheaper than gas”.
Sadly, however, Old Boris was right. The capital and operating costs of wind remain extremely high. Wind cannot provide reliable energy, causes substantial broader grid costs and risks blackouts.
We are now continuously told by green activists that renewable energy no longer needs to be subsidised. Followed shortly by demands for subsidies for construction and prices. Just today, Johnson committed £160 million to upgrade ports and factories to build turbines. In March, the Government removed restrictions, imposed by David Cameron, on onshore wind farms accessing subsidies. The total subsidies for renewable energy are over £10 billion annually, and growing year-on-year.
The biggest flaw in wind and solar – and the reason why they cannot provide energy for every home as Boris has promised – is that they only provide intermittent electricity. This creates substantial and complicated grid balancing costs, to ensure supply precisely meets demand.
When the sun stops shining and the wind stops blowing, we need backup coal, gas or nuclear. This means funding the cost of maintaining equivalent backup capacity. (Despite improvements, batteries remain far too low capacity and expensive to make up for the intermittency of solar and wind.)
On the other hand, when the wind is blowing too strong and the sun shines too bright, or there isn’t much energy demand, we have to pay tens of millions of “constraint payments” to wind and solar operators for them to stop producing to prevent overloading the network. There are also substantial network costs for connecting renewables. Together, this makes the electricity grid fragile and more expensive to operate.
It is true that guaranteed strike prices for new renewable energy projects have declined. For example, new offshore wind has decreased from around £114/MWh in 2014 to £40/MWh in 2019. But, importantly, as found by John Constable and Professor Gordon Hughes: the actual capital and operating costs of wind have both increased over recent decades. There is a risk that operating costs will grow at existing wind farms because of rising maintenance costs. The more remote and experimental, like taller turbines or the floating wind farms proposed by the Prime Minister, the higher the operating cost.
The divergence between the actual costs of wind and the current prices is creating a trap. The new wind projects are providing a mirage of cost effectiveness. But once locked into energy sector planning, the struggling companies are likely to come back later demanding bailouts – either in the form of three to four times higher power prices or direct taxpayer subsidies. One way or another, we will all be paying for excessive faith in renewable energy.
It is a similar story for the hydrogen hype promoted by the Prime Minister. David Cebon, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Cambridge, has warned that hydrogen would be “detrimental to the UK’s economy, its energy security and its decarbonisation commitments”. That’s because it takes more energy, and therefore more carbon emissions, to produce than is created. Hydrogen would either require dramatic amounts of carbon emissions from converted natural gas (“blue hydrogen”) or consume six times as much energy than it produces (“green hydrogen”). In either case, it’s all very expensive and not great for the environment.
If Boris is serious about cutting carbon emissions, he should stop throwing away taxpayer money on renewable energy fantasies and instead take a more market-centric approach. The constant “picking” of certain technologies, like wind and hydrogen, is inevitably taken advantage of by big companies who can afford the most persuasive and best-connected lobbyists.
8) China’s Net Zero ‘Aims’: Graham Stringer MP & Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab
House of Commons, Foreign Affairs Committee, 6 October 2020
Labour MP and GWPF Trustee Graham Stringer challenges Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab about China’s 2060 Net Zero policy. Is it credible, and what should the UK make of it?
Watch the exchange here
9) And Finally: David Attenborough & Watermelon Truth About The Green Religion
BBC News, 8 October 2020Sir David Attenborough says the excesses of western countries should “be curbed” to restore the natural world and we’ll all be happier for it.
The veteran broadcaster said that the standard of living in wealthy nations is going to have to take a pause.
Nature would flourish once again he believes when “those that have a great deal, perhaps, have a little less”.
Sir David was speaking to Liz Bonnin for BBC Radio 5 Live’s new podcast ‘What Planet Are We On?’.
Speaking personally and frankly, Sir David explained, “We are going to have to live more economically than we do. And we can do that and, I believe we will do it more happily, not less happily. And that the excesses the capitalist system has brought us, have got to be curbed somehow.”
“That doesn’t mean to say that capitalism is dead and I’m not an economist and I don’t know. But I believe the nations of the world, ordinary people worldwide, are beginning to realise that greed does not actually lead to joy.”