Overheard on the BBC News Channel’s “Beyond 100 Days” programme yesterday (h/t Pablo at Paul Homewood’s blog):
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Christian Fraser: You know, yesterday I was on the south coast in Brighton, Katty, and I was looking out to sea at the wind turbines which were turning at quite a rate of knots yesterday in the wind. And I was wondering how much impact those sort of new technologies have – and today I came in to quite an interesting statistic. So the UK, right now, is in its fifth consecutive day of powering the National Grid without any coal. So since Wednesday night, there’s been no coal-fired power in the UK – it’s mostly gas and renewable energy. And that’s the longest time the UK has gone being powered without coal since the Industrial Revolution. So this is – you know, this is a stat that shows wind power is not something we aspire to, it’s not something that might be useful one day, it is making a difference now, and it shows that if we do change, we can make quite a sizeable difference.
Katty Kay: Yeah, and actually market forces are driving a similar change here in the US. And I imagine that most people would assume that under President Trump and the deregulation that he has implemented in the coal and fossil fuel industries, then consumption of coal and fossil fuels would have risen. Actually it has declined under President Trump, it’s lower today, consumption of coal in the United States than it was under President Obama, it’s gone down from 731 million tonnes in 2016 to 691 – the highest, the peak was back in 2007, and we’re at a 40% low compared to that. So although there has been an attempt by this President to implement rules that are friendly to the coal industry, in fact market forces are inevitably driving people away from fossil fuels, it is happening, just because production of other alternative sources of energy is cheaper now – fracking and natural gas is cheaper than fossil fuels. And also because people are more conscious about trying to use alternative sources of energy as well. It’s happening here, too.
Christian Fraser: But it does need the big countries, because as we said last week – and these reports are coming thick and fast, at the moment – those coal-fired power stations which are coming online right now in China equate to three times the electricity output of the UK. I mean, that is a – that is a massive element of the story, which of course big governments are going to have to address.
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Where to start… Maybe at the Gridwatch website, which was indeed – a few minutes ago, anyway – showing coal at 0% but also nuclear at 19.63%, CCGT at 59.65% and wind at 7.42%. So a more accurate summary might be “mostly gas and nuclear energy”.
As for “natural gas is cheaper than fossil fuels”… Ever get the feeling that we’re not served well by our mainstream media?