Cloud Cuckoo Land is a phrase that dates back to Aristophanes’ play, “The Birds”. Various literary references to it have followed, and nowadays, as Wikipedia tells us with an explanation which is perfect for present purposes:

Cloud cuckoo land is a state of absurdly, over-optimistic fantasy or an unrealistically idealistic state of mind where everything appears to be perfect. Someone who is said to “live in cloud cuckoo land” is a person who thinks that things that are completely impossible might happen, rather than understanding how things really are. It also hints that the person referred to is naive, unaware of realities or deranged in holding such an optimistic belief.

Which brings us to the news this morning of the Labour Party’s latest “green” policy initiative, reported on the BBC website as “Labour conference: Sir Keir Starmer backs net zero electricity to boost growth” and on the Observer website (which claims details of the plan were announced exclusively to it) as “Keir Starmer unveils green growth plan to counter Liz Truss’s tax cuts: Labour pledges a revolution in green energy to ‘boost jobs and slash emissions’”.

It would have been nice to go straight to the horse’s mouth, so to speak, and find the detail behind this announcement at, oh I don’t know, how about the Labour Party website? Unfortunately, when I found my way to the Policy Development Section I was met with the following message:

The Labour Policy Forum website is currently undergoing essential maintenance and will have limited functionality for a while. You will still be able to read NPF documents and others’ submissions, and see updates in our news feed. However, unfortunately while the maintenance is underway it will not be possible to log in, make submissions or comment on others’ submissions. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will aim to have full functionality restored as soon as we can.

Those last few words (“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will aim to have full functionality restored as soon as we can“) are a rather nice description of how Labour’s plans will leave the UK’s national energy system by the time they’re finished with it.

Unable to read the detail of this bold new vote-losing policy-initiative on the Labour Party website, I’m left cobbling it together from the BBC and Observer reports.

The first and most obvious point is that Labour claims that these new policy initiatives will be in place by 2030. Given that the last general election took place on 12th December 2019, then there is the distinct possibility that the next one will occur only in December 2024. If so, that would leave a Labour Government with just the five years that it might expect to enjoy in Government (once the British electorate enjoys the fruits of its policy – blackouts and expensive energy among them) in which to implement these policies by the beginning of 2030. And I mean by the beginning of 2030, since this is how the Observer reports it:

Keir Starmer will pledge to deliver a new era of economic growth and permanently lower energy bills by turning the UK into an independent green “superpower” before 2030, through a massive expansion of wind and solar energy. [My emphasis].

This is to be done by:

Doubling the amount of onshore wind;

Tripling solar power; and

Quadrupling offshore wind power.

The BBC also tells us that Labour will push for more “nuclear, hydrogen, and tidal power”.

Apparently all this will “re-industrialise” “the country to create a zero carbon, self-sufficient electricity system, by the end of this decade.

There we go again – by the end of this decade. Five years from the next general election. Doubling the amount of onshore wind will certainly industrialise what is left of our wild places. Only this morning the Sunday Post reported that Nature Scot is ceasing to object to new wind turbine applications in some areas because they can no longer be described as “wild” due to the proliferation of wind farms that are already in existence.


According to Sir Keir, the plan is “far more ambitious than any green policy advanced by the Tories and the most far-reaching of his leadership so far”. And it would:

release the British people from the mercy of “dictators” such as Russian president Vladimir Putin over energy bills.

It would also, he says, cut hundreds of pounds off annual household energy bills “for good”, create up to half a million UK jobs, and make this country the first to have a zero-emission power system.

Well, if you’re an inhabitant of Cloud Cuckoo Land I dare say that it all sounds rather marvellous. There’s just one problem:

Cloud cuckoo land is a state of absurdly, over-optimistic fantasy or an unrealistically idealistic state of mind…

The Observer goes on to tell us, as an illustration of this very point, that:

The idea at its core is to build a self-sufficient power system run entirely by cheap, homegrown renewables and nuclear, by the end of the decade. This, they argue, would also allow the country to become a major energy exporter.

Of course, even if several new nuclear power stations were commissioned on day one of a new Labour Government, they won’t be up and running “before the end of the decade”. And, if the National Grid is to operate without the input of fossil fuels, then we will need nuclear power to provide the despatchable power back-up necessary to ride to the rescue when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. We aren’t told what we will do in the dead of winter when the sun barely appears over the horizon (in which case tripling solar power is an exercise in futility) and an anticyclone is settled over western Europe and the UK. The only obvious answer (not that it’s even mentioned) would be giga-battery storage systems. There’s just one problem – the technology doesn’t exist at the necessary scale yet, and there is absolutely no guarantee that it will exist at a reasonable price or at all, and be capable of being installed, by 2030. Even then, batteries saving us from blackouts assume that all this new renewable energy will actually provide us with sufficient surplus energy when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing to be stored and kept in reserve for those times when neither of those things are happening.

Cloud cuckoo land is a state of absurdly, over-optimistic fantasy or an unrealistically idealistic state of mind…

There are so many problems with this fantasy, that it’s difficult to know where to begin. Suffice it to say that quadrupling offshore wind is an absurdly optimistic plan, albeit one that is almost shared by the other occupants of Cloud Cuckoo Land who are currently in power:

As of 2020:

Offshore wind is a success story for the UK. Long term government support has underpinned innovation and investment in the sector, helping to drive down costs while contributing to decarbonisation of the economy. We now have the largest installed offshore wind capacity in the world, with 9.8 gigawatts (GW) installed which will rise to 19.5 GW by mid 2020s.


A pathway to up to 30GW by 2030 provides a level of certainty unmatched by any other European government and means the UK will remain the anchor market for offshore wind.

Given that Sir Keir has (not unreasonably, in my view) criticised the recent “mini-budget” for its own Cloud Cuckoo Land aspects (not that he used those words) it’s interesting that the Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves had already (before this latest policy announcement) committed to “spend an extra £28bn a year on making the UK economy more “green” if it wins power”. That’s £140 billion, before we even begin to look at the costs of the latest fantasy.

The fantasy continues:

“Our plan for clean power by 2030 will save the British people £93bn off their energy bills and break the UK’s vulnerability to Putin and his cronies,” said Sir Keir.

“It will also support our drive for higher growth and rising living standards.”

I would love to believe him, but I don’t. Assumptions about saving money for energy consumers must be based on the assumption that gas prices will never come down again, that coal isn’t cheap, and that renewables energy providers will rush in droves to sign up to real and meaningful CfD contracts (or some variant thereof), as opposed to the one-way options that they currently are, at prices around the recent round at £48 per MwH. Of course, they won’t, and if they do, they will presumably simply not trigger them, choosing (as they do now) to supply at market prices instead. Either Sir Keir doesn’t understand how CfDs work (and as a top lawyer, I would hope that he does) or he intends to ensure that in future they are drafted in a watertight manner, so that once signed up to them, renewable energy companies have no choice other than to deliver at agreed low prices.

Cloud cuckoo land is a state of absurdly, over-optimistic fantasy or an unrealistically idealistic state of mind…

The problem is that all this simply represents a game of top trumps. The sad reality is that all parties who hope to be in power, or perhaps to hold the balance of power, after the next general election, are committed to this nonsense to a greater or lesser degree.

Finally (from the Observer report):

Commenting on Labour’s energy plan, Greenpeace UK’s head of politics Rebecca Newsom said: “The only way out of this mess is a moonshot mission to roll out a renewables based energy system that can lower bills, cut emissions, create jobs and break our dependence on gas markets and fossil fuel autocrats.

Labour seems to have understood that, the Conservatives don’t.”

As I said:

Cloud cuckoo land is a state of absurdly, over-optimistic fantasy or an unrealistically idealistic state of mind…


  1. I recommend reading Ed’s piece about the 2021 wind drought. Politicians would do well to read it too.


  2. Partial transcript of Laura Kuenssberg’s interview with Keir Starmer this morning:

    KUENSSBERG: Now, if renewables aren’t reliable enough to provide 100% of electricity – I mean nobody [?would think that at this stage of the game?] – what do you fall back on, how do you keep the lights on?

    STARMER: Well you would always have a transition with oil and gas, of course you would, but we’ve got to have the ambition to get off fossil fuels when it comes to our power. This is a plan that can be delivered, it’s a plan that will drive down our prices, and it’s a plan that if the government had set off on this road, you know, 5 or 6 years ago, we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in.

    KUENSSBERG: But in terms of what you’re saying though, are you absolutely adamant that there will be no reliance on fossil fuels by 2030 or is it still there as a fall back? …

    STARMER: It might be there as a fall back. The plan is 2030, for all of our power, clean power. We think you can double onshore wind power, triple solar, and quadruple offshore wind power. It can be done. We need a government that is prepared to partner with business on an ambition that can be turned into a result in 2030.

    From about 13.00 if you are able to watch.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Not sure I can bear to watch it, but thanks for the transcript. It seems that there are caveats already, none of which are mentioned in the online BBC and Observer reports.

    Plainly there must be caveats, for the stated ambition is unachievable, certainly within the suggested timescale, and probably ever.

    So what does that make Sir Keir? Does he believe that the policy can be achieved, whilst being a bit nervous about it? Or does he know full well that it’s Cloud Cuckoo Land stuff, but he thinks he has to say it to keep the pro- net zero media on board? If the latter, will he find convenient reasons to be blown off course once the reality and responsibilities of power take hold?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mark, I don’t think Starmer is going to win the election. His new policy will appeal to those in the party’s social media bubble, and the wider media and the clueless commentariat. If you did watch Laura Kuenssberg’s show back, you will have heard Frances O’Grady saying the most absurd things about energy.

    Unfortunately it looks as if the new Tory leadership has refused to grasp the nettle, and are trying to keep their green back benches on board with more absurd policies.

    It’s looking like it will require something very serious to occur before we adopt a rational approach to energy in the UK. Even then, I begin to worry that the spin machine is so powerful that a collapse in the grid caused by renewables will be diagnosed as an over-reliance on “volatile” fossil fuels.

    I’m going to put my tinfoil hat on and look into the cost of camping stoves. 😒

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jit,

    I can’t see the Tories winning the next election, since they seem determined to trash everything now. How can any Chancellor of the Exchequer expect to be taken seriously when berating the Governor of the BoE for not doing enough to control inflation, when he then goes and embarks on a fiscally reckless inflationary policy?

    On the other hand, I think Labour may form the largest party after the next election, and I fear we’ll be saddled with a net zero coalition of chaos, with Starmer as PM, and Labour in coalition with maybe Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid Cymru (and the Greens if they ever return more than one MP).

    That said, listening this morning to the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 as I drove to Swaledale to climb Great Shunner Fell, I marvelled at the way in which Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, repeatedly sidestepped, without answering, extremely basic and simple questions from the interviewer. I think the electorate will be faced with the most appalling dilemma next time round, namely which clueless incompetent shower to vote for. I’m at the spoiling my ballot stage, unless something improves dramatically regarding one of the parties between now and the next election.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Will Labour’s energy plans work?
    Simon Evans
    While there are questions about the pace of Labour’s proposals, criticism in rightwing newspapers is bizarrely wide of the mark”

    Up and running in the headline – stigmatise the critics (aka realists) in the eyes of Guardian readers, by labelling them right-wing.

    Labour’s ambitious plan for zero-carbon power by 2030 raises legitimate questions – which we’ll come to shortly – but the commentary in rightwing newspapers is bizarrely wide of the mark….

    There’s your first error. Labour’s half-baked plans are for zero-carbon electric by 2030, not for zero-carbon power. You are out by a factor of somewhere between 5 and 6.

    …Perhaps the strangest was a Daily Telegraph editorial that claimed Labour’s plan “would make the country more dependent on imported gas, not less”. As should be obvious, the opposite is true.

    The UK used 254 terawatt hours (TWh) of gas last year to generate 123TWh of electricity, 40% of the national total. Under Labour’s plan, gas demand for electricity would be 97% lower by 2030.

    (Why does it take 254TWh of gas to make 123TWh of electricity? Simply because burning fossil fuels is inefficient and half of the energy in the gas is wasted at the power station.)…

    As opposed to renewables, which are really, really efficient?

    Read on for more Cloud Cuckoo Land thinking. There is at least a modest caveat:

    …Reaching Labour’s ambition for 99% by 2030 would mean increasing the rate of growth from 2.9 percentage points a year up to 4.9, starting this year. If this sprint only begins after the next election in 2024, the pace would need to be faster, at more than 7 percentage points a year.

    These are not only mathematical challenges – and it is not only a matter of doubling onshore wind, tripling solar and quadrupling offshore wind, as Starmer has pledged. (Meeting these renewable targets is likely to require planning reform to speed up the process of approvals.)

    If Labour’s goal is to be met, the UK must also build new nuclear plants, gas plants with carbon capture and storage, hydrogen turbines with clean hydrogen to fuel them, along with huge increases in electricity network capacity, energy storage and “demand-side response”….


  7. The Guardian claims this an an exclusive, but I don’t think it is – I seem to remember reading (and posting here) about this several months ago:

    “Government tests energy blackout emergency plans as supply fears grow
    Exclusive: Whitehall officials have ‘war gamed’ Programme Yarrow, a blueprint for coping with outages for up to a week”

    Meanwhile, Ed carries on with his back-to-front thinking, ignoring the reality:

    Ed Miliband, the shadow climate secretary, said: “All governments do contingency planning for worst-case scenarios but the truth is that we are vulnerable as a country as a direct consequence of a decade of failed Conservative energy policy.

    “Banning onshore wind, slashing investment in energy efficiency, stalling nuclear and closing gas storage have led to higher bills and reliance on gas imports, leaving us more exposed to the impact of Putin’s use of energy as a geopolitical weapon.”


  8. “MPs criticise Whitehall free-for-all on reporting emissions
    Committee says vague guidance and lack of follow-up make it hard for public to hold government to account”

    The UK government is failing to lead by example on taking action to cut greenhouse gas emissions and meet a legally binding target of reaching net zero by 2050, a watchdog has said.

    Across Whitehall departments the rules for reporting, gathering data and taking action are vague, there is a free-for-all on reporting emissions reductions or the lack of them, and oversight is fragmented and ineffective, the public accounts committee said on Wednesday.

    The committee chair, Meg Hillier, said: “The targets set to maintain our world in a livable state are not ‘nice to have’. Government made a legally binding commitment to deliver net zero by 2050. Government promised to lead the way to national decarbonisation, but isn’t even putting its own house in order.

    “Vague guidance and lack of follow-up make it hard for the public to hold the government to account. A free-for-all on reporting veils progress or lack of it. Government needs to be clearer and must publish consistent standards for measuring and reporting emissions across the public sector so that it can be properly held to account.”

    The Cloud Cuckoo Land statement in there is this:

    The targets set to maintain our world in a livable state are not ‘nice to have’

    First of all, climate change is not going to create a world that can’t be lived in. Secondly, nothing we in the UK do will make any difference.


  9. The manner of the latest deferral of the Cumbrian coal mine decision seems to be even worse than I thought:

    “UK climate czar warns Sunak against opening new coal mine
    It’s time for Britain to live up to its climate promises, Alok Sharma tells POLITICO.”

    COP26 President Alok Sharma has told the British government to think again about plans to open the United Kingdom’s first new coal mine in a generation, warning that going ahead would be bad for jobs and the climate.

    On Tuesday night, the government delayed a decision on whether to give planning permission to the mine in Cumbria, northwest England. A decision had been due by November 8 — two days into the COP27 United Nations climate talks — but the deadline was postponed to December 8, according to a letter sent to campaign group Friends of the Earth….

    So Friends of the Earth are the first to hear about it?

    West Cumbria Mining, the company applying to build the Woodhouse Colliery, says the project will create up to 2,000 direct and indirect jobs.

    Sharma pointed to research from the Local Government Association, which found that up to 6,000 jobs could be created in Cumbria by 2030 if the county focused on green industries.

    The 6,000 so-called green jobs never seem to materialise. But even if the claim is true, it’s not true that you can’t have one set of jobs (associated with the coal mine) if you have the other (“green” jobs), and vice versa. Whatever happened to logic in politics?


  10. “Labour vows to lift ban on onshore wind”

    A Labour government would lift a planning ban on new onshore wind farms, Sir Keir Starmer has vowed.

    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s refusal to back onshore wind “is about putting his party first, and the country second”, the Labour leader said.

    Mr Sunak scrapped a move by predecessor Liz Truss to relax planning rules to allow more onshore wind turbines.

    But Sir Keir said not backing onshore wind was a “national act of self-harm, choking off our economic potential”.

    Onshore wind is one of the cheapest forms of new power in the UK, and Sir Kier said that removing planning barriers would “slash energy bills”.

    Labour has already pledged to double onshore wind and quadruple offshore wind in its plan for clean power by 2030.

    During a visit to a wind farm in Grimsby, North Lincolnshire, on Thursday, Sir Keir said the plan would involve “persuading some communities to get on board”.

    He said he would not hesitate to ditch the planning ban on onshore wind so that “we can create tens of thousands of good quality skilled jobs”, even if it “means some communities adapting to a new landscape”.

    How many untruths and euphemisms can be sneaked into a single article?

    There is no ban on onshore windfarms in the UK; rather the English planning system is much more robust and fair than the system in Scotland (which is why Scotland Against Spin has petitioned the Scottish government seeking to make the Scottish planning system more like the English one).

    Secondly, wind turbines are neither so cheap as claimed, nor so beneficial as claimed to the UK economy, given their unreliable and intermittent energy production, disrupting the National Grid and requiring reliable fossil fuel back-up.

    Thirdly, persuading communities to get on board and adapting to a new landscape can reasonably be translated as “we’re going to trash your locality for what we arrogantly claim to be the greater good of the nation, so suck it up NIMBYs”.

    Why do UK politicians hate the British people (and its precious landscapes) so much?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “Labour would create ‘anti-Opec’ alliance for renewable energy, says Miliband
    Shadow climate change secretary says group would cooperate to cut energy prices and promote clean technology”

    The UK under a Labour government would form an “anti-Opec” alliance of countries dedicated to renewable energy, to bring down energy prices and promote clean technology, the shadow climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, has said.

    A clean power alliance would enable countries to cooperate to source components more cheaply, boost the expansion of wind, solar and other forms of low-carbon power, and potentially to share or export electricity across connected grids.

    Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Costa Rica and Kenya are potential partners, and Miliband will be drumming up further support at the Cop27 UN climate summit, which he is visiting for several days. Labour is committed to 100% low-carbon electricity by 2030.

    “This potential clean power alliance is like an anti-Opec,” said Miliband, referring to the group of oil-producing countries. “I say anti-Opec because Opec is a cartel, a group of countries that works together to keep prices high. This would be a way in which countries join together to be the vanguard and say, ‘We’re going to deliver on clean power and it will help to cut prices, not just for us but for others’.”..

    …Labour’s plan for clean power by 2030 would cut bills by £93bn, according to the party’s analysis, through measures including energy efficiency and home insulation programmes, boosting renewable power include more onshore windfarms, and a windfall tax on the excess profits of oil and gas producers.

    Miliband said pushing for clean energy would also improve people’s health and quality of life. “We’re a country that is racked by terrible fuel poverty, and by the killer of air pollution, and by a deep desire for big economic change,” he said. “As [US president Joe] Biden has shown, being a leader on climate is an answer to all those things.”

    Deluded. Utterly deluded.


  12. Speaking of delusions:

    “Increasing demand for oil and fuel threatens African nations’ economies, analysis finds
    Carbon Tracker thinktank says investors in fossil fuels on the continent would be left with stranded assets”–economies

    Expanding oil and gas exports would threaten the economic stability of many African countries, new analysis has found, despite soaring fossil fuel prices.

    Demand for fossil fuels is likely to fall sharply in the medium term, according to a report published on Monday by the Carbon Tracker thinktank. That makes relying on gas exports to fuel economic growth a short-term, risky strategy, while boosting solar power would prove a better long-term bet, the analysis found.

    Although gas prices are high now, and the top five oil and gas companies alone have made profits of more than $170bn so far this year, gas revenues would fall by half by 2040, and the gas market would see record low prices owing to shrinking demand, the report forecast.

    That would leave Africa with huge investments in gas infrastructure, but no export market, if countries pursued a “dash for gas” now, the analysis found.

    Kofi Mbuk, senior clean tech analyst at Carbon Tracker and lead author of the report, warned that companies investing in fossil fuels in Africa would be left with stranded assets. “The energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables is inevitable and irreversible,” he said. “The growth in energy demand globally and regionally is now being met by renewables and squeezing out fossil fuel demands. In Africa, and across emerging economies, solar and wind offer the best route for economic development.”

    Yeah, right. Funnily enough, the leaders of African countries don’t agree.

    If you want to read it, to see the delusions laid bare, the summary of the report can be found here:

    Unfortunately you have to log in to download the full report.


  13. As should be apparent by alert visitors to this site, I am no Tory, and am no fan of this government (in any of its incarnations). However, on energy policy, bad though the Government is, the fear I have is that a Labour government would be even worse. Today, Rachel Reeves’ response to the autumn statement (even allowing for the fact that some parts of her response may have to be made on the hoof and be unscripted) demonstrates a worrying lack of understanding on the part of senior team members within the Government-in-waiting:

    And the Tories’ failure on energy goes back further. They closed down gas storage, blocked onshore wind and solar and slashed support for home insulation.

    The Tories didn’t close down gas storage (though they could be criticised for permitting it. However, permitting something is not the same as causing or doing it):

    The CMA has confirmed its decision to remove undertakings from Rough gas storage.

    Removing these will facilitate the closure of the North Sea gas storage facility, which has been deemed unsafe by its operator.

    In June this year the facility’s operator, Centrica Storage Limited (CSL), announced that it intended to close the plant due to its age, physical deterioration and the associated safety risks, plus the high cost of refurbishing the facility to make it workable.

    The facility’s owners, Centrica plc (Centrica) and Centrica Storage Limited (CSL), requested that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) remove historic undertakings – designed to ensure competition in the sector – as part of the closure process.

    Following a review the CMA has decided to release CSL and Centrica from the undertakings. Agreement to the closure by the Oil and Gas Authority is still required.

    So two QUANGOs/regulators facilitated the closure. The government didn’t close it (albeit a Government less fixated on net zero and more alert to the need for reliable energy supplies and energy security might have intervened to keep it open; such a government doesn’t sound like a Labour government either, given its current energy plans).

    Next – the government hasn’t blocked onshore wind and solar. It reduced subsidies, which makes such investments less attractive to foreign energy companies; and it maintains a reasonably level playing field in terms of planning laws, unlike north of the border, where the Scottish government regularly gives such developments the green light even in the face of significant local opposition. Reducing subsidies, and not allowing the planning system to be manipulated is not the same as “blocking” such developments. They simply ceased actively to facilitate them.

    Finally, I wonder if Rachel Reeves is aware of the expert pronouncement on the PM Radio programme today to the effect that meaningful insulation of UK housing stock would cost £270 billion?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “Onshore wind rules to be relaxed after Tory revolt”

    The government has pledged to relax restrictions on building onshore wind farms in England after a threatened rebellion from Conservative MPs.

    A rule requiring new turbines to be built on pre-designated land will be rewritten, the levelling up department said.

    Around 30 backbenchers had threatened to make the change through a planning bill going through Parliament.

    New wind farms would still be subject to local approval.

    The precise method of measuring local opinion will be part of a wider consultation which will conclude by next April.

    I can’t say I have much confidence in the way in which local opinion is to be measured. North of the border it tends to be ignored when it comes to wind farms, and our Lords and Masters at Westminster seem to be determined to replicate the Scottish “system”.

    When it comes to assessing local opinion regarding the proposed Cumbrian underground waste facility (aka the nuclear dump by Cumbrians) the body set up to canvas opinion doesn’t even respond to emails. And this second attempt to impose the “facility” on us comes after the first attempt was rejected by Cumbria County Council, the government having assured Cumbrians that if any of the three local authorities involved in the process rejected the plan, that would be the end of the matter. So, forgive me for not trusting one little bit those weasel words “subject to local approval”.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Like

  16. “Siemens Power CEO Confirms the Iron Law of Power Density”

    Last month, the CEO of Siemens Energy, Christian Bruch, appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” to talk about the myriad problems facing the wind industry. And during his appearance, he confirmed the Iron Law of Power Density.

    Bruch said his firm was “in the heart of the energy transition” but there were “challenges” in wind energy, particularly with regard to supply chains. And this is where his comments revealed what I call the Iron Law of Power Density, which says the lower the power density of a given source, the higher the resource intensity. Bruch said: “Never forget, renewables like wind roughly, roughly, need 10 times the material [compared to] … what conventional technologies need…So if you have problems on the supply chain, it hits … wind extremely hard, and this is what we see.”

    Siemens and other companies that produce wind turbines are being hammered by huge losses. Siemens just posted a net loss of 647 million euros, which was up from a 560 million euro loss in the previous year. In October, GE announced that its renewable energy business will lose a staggering $2 billion this year. Those losses are being driven in large part, by the surging cost of metals like zinc, nickel, neodymium, and copper.

    If your power plant requires 10 times more of those commodities than other forms of power generation, it’s readily apparent why the Siemens boss is saying his company is having “problems on the supply chain.” And those problems are a direct result of wind energy’s low power density.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. From Net Zero Watch today:

    “Rishi Sunak’s incoherent energy policy will poison Britain’s future”

    With one hand the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, is banning exploration for natural gas onshore in the UK, and with the other he is encouraging further development of physically inferior energy sources such as wind and solar. It seems that the government does not understand the importance of thermodynamic quality in energy supply, and has misdiagnosed the causes of the present energy supply and cost crisis.

    Britain’s energy crisis is the result of decades of failing renewables-centric energy policy, policy which has eroded energy security and left the country vulnerable to events such as Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.

    The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, is reportedly considering reintroducing policy support for onshore wind. Many media sources are misreporting this as the lifting of a “ban” on this technology, though in point of fact there is no such ban preventing the building of wind farms. The then Prime Minister, David Cameron, removed subsidies for onshore wind, and thus reduced development interest, since the technology, like nearly all renewables, remains fundamentally uneconomic due to its inferior physical properties.

    Whether Mr Sunak will reintroduce direct income support subsidies or provide non-market support through other routes such as tax breaks and favourable Power Purchase Agreements with government bodies, or “must buy” status with the increasingly nationalised retail markets, remains unclear. But such measures will be necessary since wind cannot compete as a pure merchant generator due to the penalties that it would face for non-delivery caused by unpredictable intermittency.

    Inevitably, such policy support for onshore wind must be paid for by burdening the consumer with additional costs at some point in the electricity supply system.

    In parallel with this blunder, and compounding it, Mr Sunak’s government is dragging its feet in preventing developers of solar photovoltaic installations from covering quite literally hundreds of thousands of acres of British farmland with PV generation, thus swapping food production for low grade electricity.

    Weak planning guidance has permitted and even encouraged development on Agricultural Land Class 3b, which is by no means bad land, and thus incentivised the misrepresentation of higher classes of land. It should be emphasised that all farmland is a national asset that should not be wasted by development as malinvestment in solar, or indeed as wind “farms”.

    The situation suggests that Mr Sunak’s government is poorly informed and acting irresponsibly. Neither wind nor solar is thermodynamically competent, the fuels being of high entropy and of little intrinsic value. No capable government would encourage them. And no capable government would discourage exploration for high quality fuels such as natural gas, but this is precisely what Mr Sunak’s government is now doing with the ban on hydraulic fracturing.

    Dr John Constable, NZW’s energy director, said:

    “To continue intellectually bankrupt and counterproductive policies in the middle of an energy crisis of unprecedented magnitude suggests that the machinery of government in Westminster has ceased to work, and that rational analysis can no longer effect a change of course. The outlook for the consumer and the country as whole is very bleak.”


  18. British fracked gas bad, American fracked gas good:

    “UK aims to double US gas imports under new deal”

    The UK has agreed to double imports of US gas over the next year as it tries to stabilise soaring energy prices.

    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the plan would “bring down prices for British consumers and help end Europe’s dependence on Russian energy”.

    Funny, that. Proponents of UK fracking for shale gas are regularly told that it’s a global market and extracting UK gas won’t make any difference to prices.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The Guardian keeps stating that the Cumbria mine will produce emissions: “The mine will also produce an estimated 400,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year, increasing the UK’s emissions by the equivalent of putting 200,000 cars on the road.”

    In fact the emissions produced by the mine itself will be small especially as the workers will have EV charging points! Producing steel requires this type of metallurgical coal. You can’t use wind power to make steel. Rather the other way round as you need steel to make wind turbines.

    I was amused by this though: “The government said the mine was possible within the UK’s climate legislation, which requires the UK to reach net zero emissions by 2050, as operations will shut down by 2049.”

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Energy policy is going well if the UK is reduced to this:

    “CBI urges UK government to decide which industries get energy support
    Companies brace for bills to double but no sector knows yet which will qualify for help”

    Britain’s biggest business group has urged ministers to quickly decide which industries will receive energy support from next spring as hundreds of companies brace for their bills to more than double.

    The Confederation of British Industry called on the government to urgently set out details of how it plans to extend the energy bill relief scheme for firms with large bills beyond March 2023. The scheme, which discounts the wholesale cost of energy for all companies, charities and public sector organisations, was introduced in October to replicate the support offered to households in cushioning the shock from rapidly rising energy bills.

    The government has said further support will be provided beyond that date for firms in certain industries but has not yet said which. Businesses had been expecting clarity before Christmas as they draft financial plans for 2023.

    Energy intensive industries such as steel, chemicals, fertiliser and glass manufacturers are widely expected to be included. However, the CBI called on the government to go further, including businesses such as food and drink manufacturers and carmakers.


  21. Labour has abandoned all pretence of representing the working classes and the unemployed:

    “Labour says it would stop Cumbria coalmine from opening
    Ed Miliband vows party will seek to prevent ‘climate-destroying’ plan and if elected would deliver green jobs”

    Labour would stop the new coalmine in Cumbria from going ahead if elected, and will seek to prevent it progressing before then, the party has said.

    Ed Miliband, the shadow climate change secretary, said: “A Labour government will leave no stone unturned in seeking to prevent the opening of this climate-destroying coalmine, and instead ensure we deliver the green jobs that people in Cumbria deserve.”

    Labour expects the mine to run into serious legal challenges long before the general election. Activists are already planning to seek a judicial review of the government’s decision to grant permission for the mine.

    The Woodhouse Colliery, near Whitehaven in Cumbria, is the first new coalmine to be given a green light in 30 years. The £165m project, which would create about 500 jobs and produce 2.8m tonnes of coking coal a year for steelmaking, was first proposed in 2014.

    As for those “green” jobs, local mayor Mike Starkie (when challenged on Radio 4 News at 10pm the other evening by an aggressive interviewer who insisted that “green” jobs made more sense than coal mining jobs) pointed out that west Cumbria has been promised “green” jobs since the coal mine was first talked about, but there’s no sign of them being delivered yet.


  22. Liked by 1 person

  23. Click to access Open%20letter%20on%20trends%20in%20balancing%20costs%20in%202021.pdf

    All Balancing Mechanism Participants”

    Recent months have seen a very sharp rise in balancing costs. This follows what were already very high costs as a result of the challenges faced by the Electricity System Operator (‘ESO’) in 2020 due to the pandemic situation. Over £1bn has been spent on balancing the transmission system between September and November 2021, double the cost incurred in the same period in the previous year, and daily Balancing Mechanism (‘BM’) costs reached an all time record of more than £60m on 24 November 2021.


  24. Liked by 1 person

  25. Behind a paywall, unfortunately:

    “Outgoing boss of oil and gas trade body warns against ‘environmental populism’ amid North Sea debate
    The boss of the oil and gas industry body has warned against “environmental populism” as she prepares to leave the role after almost eight years at the helm.”


  26. “Another “cheap” windfarm turning out expensive”

    Even though we now know that offshore windfarms are refusing to activate the agreements they have made to sell power to the grid at very low prices, preferring to sell power at the sky-high prices available in the free market, and even though windfarm financial accounts make it patently obvious that they can never be profitable at the agreed prices, most commentators still insist that offshore wind is cheap and that low-priced electricity is just around the corner. Their refusal to admit that offshore windfarms costs are not coming down is depressing, and a fairly obvious indication that their motivations are religious rather than rational. Still, those of us who do care about facts soldier on. What else can we do?

    This post outlines new evidence that windfarms coming on stream in 2025 are going to be just as costly as recent ones. The evidence comes in the shape of the latest financial accounts (to March 2022) of Dogger Bank A. This is a 1.2-GW giant, situated almost 100 miles out in the North Sea, although in comparatively shallow waters. The cost of the project, announced by the developers is £3bn, or £2.8m/MW, which is a bit cheaper than recent offshore units, but not much. However, most windfarms run well over budget, on average by 17%, so there is no cause for excitement.

    The 2022 accounts give us an opportunity to assess the project spend to date. We can develop a very rough expectation of the state of completion of the project from information published on the windfarm’s website….

    …the actual spend to date, according to the published accounts, is £1.4bn. In other words, they have spent nearly half of the announced cost before starting offshore works! We can therefore safely say that this is not a £3billion windfarm. It will cost at least £4 billion, and probably more.

    Of course, 100 miles out in the North Sea, there is rather more wind than there is closer to shore, so it’s possible that the load factor would be rather good. BEIS seems to think that Dogger Bank will achieve a remarkable 58%. If that was the case, then the overall cost of the project might be around the £120/MWh mark, which is a bit lower than the £140/MWh that is the norm. However, if you look at the trend of load factors of UK offshore windfarms, such a value appears implausible. The yellow trend in the figure below (taken from my report on offshore wind costs) shows how load factors have increased as turbine size has gone up (although some of the effect is due to moving further offshore). Note, however, that these are the figures for the early years of a windfarm’s existence; they decline with age.

    With all this in mind, we might expect Dogger Bank A (with 13-MW turbines) to start out at a load factor of around 50% and decline from there. That being the case, the overall costs will be around the £140/MWh mark. Just where offshore costs have been for the last ten years.


  27. I’ve edited this post as the Twitter link didn’t seem to work. The comment on Twitter I wanted to highlight is this:

    Better news from UK Wind Power this morning means we are using very little gas for electricity.
    The awkward bit is that the price is £298 per MWH as we keep being told how cheap wind power is.

    What is truly depressing is the extent to which propaganda by the likes of Carbon Brief (and the BBC, and its endless repetition by politicians who should no better) has resulted in people believing that CfDs are in place at less than £50 per Mwh. They are not. They are one-way options, and renewable energy companies have chosen not to exercise those options, because it would be economically crazy for them to do so. Nobody is supplying power at £50 per Mwh. The government is not coining it in under CfDs. Yet we still see comments on that twitter exchange like this:

    You’ve been told why this is so but I will try again. Market marginal pricing is coupled to highest generator price (gas today). For example if market separated wind could be sold at much less, many wind contracts are sub 50 MWh at moment so government taking that difference

    It’s going to be very heard to reverse years of misleading propaganda. Where are the BBC Climate Disinformation specialists when we need them?


  28. Just my opinion, but this interview feels like top-grade cloud cuckoo land musing:

    “Net zero possible in 2040s, says outgoing UK climate business expert
    Countries that fear losing competitive edge could benefit from bolder climate policies, says Nigel Topping”

    The world could reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the early 2040s, substantially ahead of the mid-century climate target, if governments set more stretching goals and make bold policy decisions, the UK’s outgoing climate business expert has said.

    Nigel Topping served for two years as the high-level champion for the UK’s presidency of the UN Cop26 climate summit, passing on the role to Egypt’s Mahmoud Mohieldin late last year at the Cop27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh.

    In his role, he forged alliances among businesses to lead a “race to zero”, by which companies set targets to reach net zero emissions and laid out the measures they would take to achieve them. More than 8,300 businesses around the world are now members of the UN’s Race to Zero initiative, alongside more than 3,000 other organisations including cities and local governments.

    Topping said his experiences with businesses had shown him that governments could move much faster, without harming their countries’ competitiveness or alarming the business community.

    “Governments could be way bolder in setting targets, and back their scientists, engineers, businesses, banks, cities to come up with solutions,” he said. “The moonshot analogy is not inappropriate.”

    In the UK, the Climate Change Committee produced a plausible scenario by which the UK could reach net zero by 2042, he said. “Given that we’ve now got California and Germany saying 2045 is their target, I think you can argue quite strongly that the whole world could get to net zero in the early 2040s, and in many sectors in the late 2030s,” he said…

    That, however, is just setting the scene. It gets really weird later in the interview:

    …However, he said some sectors were continuing to stand in the way of progress. Oil, gas and coal companies made bumper profits in the past year on the back of record fossil fuel prices which were sent soaring by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    This bonanza was built on false assumptions, however, said Topping. “The US oil companies are living in a fantasy land,” he said. “There’s still some quite big heads in the sand. But they will die. They cannot survive. Their Kodak moment is nigh.”…

    …“China is quite happy for the west to label it as a coal problem while it develops a global competitive leadership in [clean] sector after sector. And India is on the same track now. But you show me how many times western commentators point at India or China as competitors rather than polluters,” he said. “I think it’s a huge strategic mistake to underestimate how clearly [countries such as China and India] see this as the future.”

    That must be why they’re using ever more coal, then?

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

    Melbourne, Viktoriastan,
    Once part of a great southern land,
    But now a zone of witches’ hats,
    ‘Don’t Enter’ signs and ‘Thou Shalt Nots’, ‘
    Zone of high – rise – carton – living,
    War on carbon, cars and travelling,
    (Other than by globalist cliques,
    Flying in private jets to Davos trysts. )

    Liked by 1 person

  30. “George Eustice proposes tax cuts on vegetable oil to heat homes”

    People should be given tax incentives to heat their homes with vegetable oil to help the environment, a former minister has said.

    MPs voiced their support for George Eustice’s plan to cut levies on hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO), which can produce 90% less carbon dioxide.

    The biofuel, derived from waste, is taxed at the same rate as diesel.

    The ex-environment secretary’s proposal is unlikely to become law without government backing.

    But his Ten Minute Rule Bill was backed by senior Tory and Democratic Unionist MPs.

    Mr Eustice argued that the move will help decarbonise an estimated 1.7m “off-grid” household using kerosene boilers in the UK,

    Under government plans, from 2026 homes heating their home from kerosene tanks will be banned from buying replacement boilers. Instead, homes will be expected to install heat pump systems.

    But Mr Eustice, the Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth, argued the costs involved in installing heat pumps in older rural properties is a “huge barrier”.

    Kerosene oil boilers can run on HVO with at a “modest cost” instead, Mr Eustice said. This would reduce emissions and “establish a better path towards decarbonising our energy in these off-grid homes,” he added.

    By reducing tax on HVO to make it the same price as kerosene will lead to a “very rapid adoption” of the biofuel and an “88% reduction in carbon emissions” in the next four years, Mr Eustice said.

    I’ve a better idea – scrap the ban.


  31. “New planning rules to help hit Scottish emissions targets”

    MSPs have signed off new planning rules for Scotland which aim to help hit climate change targets while cutting the use of private cars.

    The new framework will give priority to planning applications for renewable energy schemes including wind farms.

    And it will seek to cut car trips and boost city centres by opposing out-of-town retail parks and drive-throughs.

    The aim is to create “20-minute neighbourhoods” where all services are within walking or cycling distance…

    …Planning applications are mostly handled by local authorities, but councillors must work inside a framework drawn up by the Scottish government.

    The latest version of that framework states that planners must give “significant weight to the global climate and nature crises” when considering new developments.

    It also says that all proposals for renewable energy projects will be supported, including onshore wind farms everywhere other than in national parks and national scenic areas.

    Other green energy systems like solar arrays, hydrogen power projects and carbon capture schemes will also be backed, while it is “highly unlikely” that new waste incinerators will get permission…

    …Mr Arthur said the new framework was “one of the most important changes since the modern planning system was introduced in 1948”.

    He said: “It prioritises tackling the climate crisis and reaching net zero by supporting development, growth of communities and of the economy in ways that are both sustainable and fair.

    “While we won’t compromise on addressing climate change, the system will allow planning authorities to bring forward locally tailored policies and proposals that meet their communities’ needs and circumstances.”…

    Please, make it stop. And please, please, please, stop conflating an imaginary climate crisis with a nature crisis which is being exacerbated by policies adopted to deal with the imaginary climate crisis.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Meanwhile, here’s some analysis of that planning policy, by the ever-sensible and realistic Douglas Fraser:

    “Energy transition – a complex challenge for Holyrood”

    …SNP ministers… previously told us Scotland could be the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy, with 25% of Europe’s wind power potential. They trumpeted 130,000 low-carbon energy jobs.

    They are not saying that now. The 25% claim has been dismantled by critics. It never looked plausible anyway.

    Manufacturing of wind turbines has come to nothing much. Kit is imported from lower cost fabrication yards from Spain to China, and installed by Norwegian and Belgian firms.

    Unlike Saudi Arabia, the huge investment in offshore wind is being financed mainly by foreign investors, who will take the profits when they are made. Scottish Labour would like to see some stake for the state, to share the spoils…

    …While Mr Matheson has advice for Whitehall, there are some stern warnings being directed towards ministers by their own advisers. The Just Transition Commission was set up by ministers to advise them and to hold them accountable.

    It is doing just that, and in unwelcome terms. Alongside the energy strategy on Wednesday, the Scottish government published two letters from its chair, Prof Jim Skea.

    One, dated early November, reminded ministers of its recommendations that there should be a ‘road map’ in the transition, with targets to be met in each year to 2045. There’s no sign of that in the strategy.

    He followed up with a letter in mid-December, with a stiff reprimand to ministers for their failure to consult fully with the commission ahead of the energy strategy consultation.

    Prof Skea pointed out that much is being made internationally of Scotland’s leading role on combating climate change – not just its ambitious targets, but in inviting independent advice and scrutiny from the commission.

    It exists to build consensus, says the letter. But if it gets ignored, there’s a clear threat that the commission’s members will desert it in favour of the campaign, community and business groups, the trade unions and universities they were drawn from. And that would be embarrassing on the international stage.

    The commission letter says there was a “high-level briefing” that was not a consultation, and it left members “deeply concerned about the lack of evidence of adequate policy actions to deliver a just transition for the energy sector, particularly given the urgent need to shift gear in the rest of the 2020s”.

    It is even more scathing in its support of comments from the UK Committee on Climate Change, which questioned the credibility of the Scottish government’s policy.

    “Plans and targets must be deliverable and supported by adequate funding,” wrote Prof Skea. “As pointed out by the UK’s Committee on Climate Change, over-ambitious targets, or plans that dodge tough questions rather than confronting them, risk a disorderly, and hence unjust, transition.”…


  33. “Climate change: Invest in technology that removes CO2 – report”

    Technology to remove the planet-warming greenhouse gas CO2 from our atmosphere must be urgently ramped up, leading climate experts say in a new report.

    Scientists say big cuts in CO2 emissions won’t be enough to limit global warming.

    And nature alone will not remove enough of it from the air….

    The kicker is at the end, and you have to persevere, ploughing through the usual dose of propaganda, before you get to it:

    …The use of CO2 removal technologies is not without its critics. Some campaigners doubt that they can be cost effective and fear that they can be an excuse to defer and delay the transition away from fossil fuel use.

    This report stresses that removing CO2 should not be seen as a “silver bullet” to tackle climate change but that meeting the UN’s climate goals will require technology as well as nature to reduce greenhouse gas levels.

    That all assumes that global CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels will, as pledged at numerous climate summits, fall rapidly. So far yearly emissions have yet to start a downward trend.

    By the way, in the unlikely event that CCS at scale could be achieved economically, then what would be the problem with carrying on using cheap and reliable fossil fuels? Admittedly there are issues with real pollutants (as opposed to misnamed pollutants such as CO2), but scrubbers and filters could go a long way to mitigating these problems (certainly that’s what India claims in its IDC promising to increase coal use, and campaigners don’t seem too upset with India), and that way we wouldn’t need to trash economies and wildlife with unreliable and expensive environmentally-damaging renewable energy. The fact that some campaigners want to stop use of fossil fuels even if CO2 emissions were countered by CCS demonstrates that it isn’t simply about global warming, but rather some of these people are just viscerally opposed, in a knee-jerk way, to fossil fuels without more. That, I think, is amply evidenced by the hysterical opposition to one small proposed coal mine in Cumbria.


  34. “This is an era of plentiful, cheap, renewable energy, but the fossil fuel dinosaurs can’t admit it
    Zoe Williams
    For a couple of days this month, wind power supplied over half the UK’s electricity. You wouldn’t know it from our bills – or our politicians”

    Let’s get this right – for 2 days in the middle of winter, wind power supplied more than half of the UK’s electricity needs, or maybe 7 or 8% of our energy needs. And we are supposed to electrify the economy (thus dispensing with fossil fuels for the other 92 or 93% of our energy needs) and rely on unreliable renewables to make up the shortfall. Zoe, as do so many commentators, confuses electricity and energy:

    For five months last year, low-carbon electricity sources (solar, wind, hydrogen and nuclear) constituted more than 50% of the country’s energy use.

    Not true!

    Renewables are unreliable. I notice Zoe doesn’t mention the wind drought of 2021 or the period of 10 days or so in December when it was bitterly cold in the UK and wind turbines produced virtually no electricity at all.

    In Zoe’s world:

    There is a real prospect of limitless cheap energy, some of the time, with windless days covered by, ideally, nuclear as an alternative.

    She does admit this:

    The only brake on this bright future is in storage, grid capacity and interconnectivity.

    It’s a fundamental problem, not some little technical difficulty that can be overcome by “research and investment”, as she seems to think.

    I’ve read a lot of rubbish in the Guardian over recent years, but for delusional thinking and putting political prejudice ahead of reality, this one comes close to taking the biscuit.


  35. “How you can help Britain meet its net zero climate goal
    From eating less red meat to cutting flying hours, experts say reducing our carbon footprint by 6% can determine our future”

    One of the greatest problems of tackling climate change is that the individuals feel powerless because the task seems so great. Many simply carry on as they are because they do not know what to do, but as extreme weather gets worse, people get more anxious about the need to do something.

    A group of Cambridge academics from the department of engineering has launched six short films that simplify the problem by explaining that if every person in Britain reduced their carbon footprint by 6% a year the country would reach its 2050 target of net zero.

    So if each of us cuts 6% of the average of 10 hours flying a year, or the 660 litres of fuel we put in our cars, and the 19kg of beef and lamb most of us consume, the 2023 target would be in sight and we could feel comfortable that we were doing our bit.

    The “tickzero” website deals in big numbers too, estimating that 1 billion people in the tropics could soon starve or migrate if we do not halt climate change. It says we can stop this threat with existing technologies and scorns some of the government’s unproven “fantasy solutions”, which it describes as unnecessary and a diversion. A useful guide.

    You can find the Tickzero website here:


  36. “UK poised to give £300m in rescue funding to British Steel”

    Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is poised to grant a £300m funding package for struggling British Steel, the BBC has been told.

    The move follows requests from Business Secretary Grant Shapps and Levelling-up Secretary Michael Gove.

    It would depend on British Steel’s Chinese owner Jingye committing to securing jobs at the company and making additional substantial investments.

    Treasury sources said the money would have to be put towards decarbonisation…The support package, which was first reported by Sky, would help British Steel replace blast furnaces in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire with electric alternatives.

    These electric arc furnaces can run on renewable power, and are best used with recycled steel.

    Three years ago British Steel was bought out of insolvency by Jingye, which became its third owner in four years.

    But the Chinese steel-making giant has recently been pushing for UK taxpayer funding, which it says it needs to keep the firm running.

    Desperate stuff.


  37. “Cold weather triggers money-off energy scheme”

    Up to a million households in England, Scotland and Wales will be paid to use less electricity on Monday evening as part of a scheme to avoid blackouts.

    National Grid said the scheme, which has only been used in tests so far, would run between 17:00 and 18:00 GMT.

    Those who have signed up will get discounts on their bills if they do things like delay using their oven or washing machine.

    The cold snap has seen energy use rise as more people turn on the heating.

    National Grid has also asked for three coal-fired generators to put on standby in case suppliers run low. However, it said the measures were “precautionary” and it did not mean electricity supplies were at risk.

    “These are precautionary measures to maintain the buffer of spare capacity we need,” it said. “People should not be worried”.

    To try to reduce demand, National Grid has activated its “demand flexibility service”, which allows some households to receive discounts if they cut their use of electricity, by, for example, delaying the use of a tumble-dryer or washing machine.

    The scheme is available to homes with smart meters and whose energy supplier is signed up to it….

    Surely even the most dim-witted can see that an energy system that pays suppliers to switch off (via constraints payments) and pays customers to switch off, is a system that is broken and not fit-for-purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. “Payments for using less electricity to be repeated on Tuesday”

    Discounts for households to use less electricity at peak times will be offered again on Tuesday as part of a scheme to avoid blackouts.

    National Grid’s Demand Flexibility Service will be offered to eligible households between 16:30 and 18:00 GMT.

    Those who have signed up will get discounts on their bills if they do things like delay using their oven…

    …This week’s cold snap is expected to lead to high power demand, while wind power is forecast to be lower than usual.

    It is also uncertain whether the UK will be able to import the power it needs via undersea cables from Europe.

    And yet those in charge want us to carry on ever faster down the road that led to this sorry state of affairs.


  39. Meanwhile, despite the evidence offered by reality:

    “No miracles needed’: Prof Mark Jacobson on how wind, sun and water can power the world
    Damian Carrington Environment editor”

    …A big concern about a world overwhelmingly reliant on electricity is maintaining the stability of grids powered by renewables. Where there are large amounts of hydropower from dams this is relatively easy – at least 10 countries already have 100% renewable grids. But in other places reliance on intermittent wind and solar is more challenging. The answer, says Jacobson, is energy storage, managing the demand, and connecting up renewables over wider areas to enable greater continuity of supply.

    Storage can be batteries, pumped hydro, flywheels, compressed air and lowering and raising heavy weights. Jacobson thinks batteries will win, but says others could contribute if they can compete on cost. New research indicates that electric vehicle batteries alone could provide the short-term storage needed by global grids as early as 2030.

    Jacobson also advocates heat storage for some buildings: “Storing heat in boreholes, aquifers or water pits is dirt cheap, excuse the pun. It’s less than $1 a kilowatt hour of storage.” Managing demand, by varying electricity prices with demand, is already growing fast, he says. When the renewables supply exceeds the demand, the electricity should be used to produce green hydrogen, he says, to power the fuel cells needed by energy-intensive users.

    “Managing the grid is just an optimisation problem, not a rocket science problem,” he says. “I don’t want to say there’s zero problems, but usually these challenges are ironed out over time just by experience.”

    Another criticism of a major renewables rollout is the mining required for the metals used. But Jacobson says such a rollout would in fact hugely reduce extraction from the earth by ending fossil fuel exploitation: “The total amount of mining that’s going to be needed for wind, water, solar, compared to [the] fossil fuel system, is much less than 1% in terms of the mass of materials.”..


  40. Mark
    “Discounts for households to use less electricity at peak times will be offered again on Tuesday as part of a scheme to avoid blackouts.”

    bet KFC & McDonalds etc will be firing up the ovens for more users.


  41. This really isn’t supposed to be how it works. Is it?

    “National Grid plan: ‘We should earn £10 by turning everything off'”

    “We made sure we were all in one place, so there was only one LED light on,” says Lisa, who lives in Bedfordshire with her family.

    “We turned everything off at the plugs.”

    Lisa was one of the hundreds of thousands of people who took part in Monday’s scheme to reduce pressure on electricity supplies.

    She will be paid a bonus of around £10 by her electricity provider as a reward and will join in again on Tuesday.

    The National Grid is paying people to cut back on their electricity use at peak times to try to reduce demand.

    Cold, still weather means less electricity is generated by wind power, and when people come home from work and children come home from school, the heating, the oven and kettle go on, and demand for electricity soars.

    So National Grid, via electricity suppliers, is rewarding people like Lisa who manage to trim back their usage on days when the pressure on the system is highest. On Monday it ran the scheme for the first time properly, following a series of test days. The scheme is running again on Tuesday between 16:30 and 18:00.

    National Grid said at the launch of the scheme that households could save up to £100 in total if the scheme ran on 12 days over the winter. But many people will not be able to achieve the scale of savings to earn that much…

    Read on. Does this give the real game away?

    …For Alex Alliston in Gloucestershire, however, the money isn’t the point.

    The semi-retired renewables engineer says the scheme is all about proving that people are willing to change their behaviour.

    “If we can get consumers to turn down their consumption [at peak times] we’ll burn less of the expensive gas. It’s not as dirty as coal, but we’re supposed to be greening our system,” he says.

    On Monday he cooked a fish pie and turned the oven off at 5pm. Then he switched off from the electricity grid entirely. He has a battery that can run lights and other low-power appliances in his home.

    He expects there will be a lot more demand management in future and believes that will benefit everyone…

    Is “benefit” now some sort of euphemism? In what sort of upside-down world do consumers “benefit” from there not being enough electricity when it’s most needed, with the result that we have to switch things off?


  42. “Electricity to be 100% renewable by 2035, say Welsh ministers”

    Articles like this are worth scrutinising carefully, since whatever the spin, the BBC does usually feel obliged to include the truth, even if often highly camouflaged. For instance this:

    Streamlining planning

    Planning procedures must be improved, according to industry representatives…

    …”We need to unlock some key barriers, mainly consenting and licensing, and also working closely with the UK government to ensure we have investment in our ports and infrastructure,” she said.

    “We really need anticipatory investment to make sure the grid is fit for purpose to take advantage of the opportunities.”…

    Two points are hidden in there, behind the positive language:

    1. “Improved” planning procedures translates, I reckon, to speedier planning overriding opposition from local objectors (a bit like the call by the SSE Chief Executive in his puff piece which I critiqued here):

    Huffing and Puffing

    2. Anticipatory investment to make sure the grid is fit for purpose, translates as this is going to cause all sorts of problems for the grid, and we need to spend loads of money in advance to try to ensure that it won’t fall over under the pressure of unpredictable and unreliable renewables sending in electricity, spasmodically, from lots of remote locations.


  43. The system is broken:

    “Wind farms paid to switch off as households cut back on energy use
    Turbine operators receive £65,000 to stop powering homes on Tuesday amid concerns over Britain’s strained energy supply”

    Wind farms were paid to switch off on Tuesday evening at the same time households were asked to turn their lights off to save energy.

    Between 4.30pm and 6pm on Tuesday, wind farms were paid about £65,000 to stop producing enough electricity to power 50,000 homes for a day, according to data from the UK Wind Curtailment Monitor.
    At the same time, households were being asked to switch off their devices to help save electricity, amid concerns from National Grid ESO, the legally separate part of the National Grid which balances supply and demand, that it would not have sufficient energy supply.

    In the end, these concerns were not realised. However, the grid operator said that payments to wind farms to switch off were likely to occur in the future, even as the country was forced to turn off devices to stop blackouts.


  44. It isn’t just Labour then…

    “Sunak reshuffle: Shapps named energy secretary in department shake-up”

    We have a new oxymoronic government department:

    …The government said the new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero will be “tasked with securing our long-term energy supply, bringing down bills and halving inflation”.

    The soaring cost of energy bills – partly driven by the war in Ukraine – is one of the key factors hampering the UK economy, which Mr Sunak has pledged to grow.

    Mr Sunak promised last summer, when he was campaigning to be Conservative leader, to re-establish a standalone department for energy.

    On the creation of the new department, Mr Sunak said he wanted “the country to have greater energy security and independence because we can’t be held to ransom by hostile foreign countries”….

    And, if it weren’t so serious, the deluded world of Westminster would be funny:

    …Labour’s shadow climate and net zero secretary, Ed Miliband, said “rearranging of deckchairs on the sinking Titanic of failed Conservative energy policy will not rescue the country”….

    Liked by 1 person

  45. GAS GAFFE Ed Miliband U-turns on his demand for Britain to ditch fossil fuels – admitting we’ll need them for years –

    sorry about the source, 1st I found – partial quote

    “But he admitted under a Labour government they would carry on using the energy in the North Sea for “a long time to come”.
    Critics say banning new licences would only mean having to import more oil and gas from abroad instead.
    Former Labour boss, Mr Miliband said: “We’re going to carry on using the North Sea, including under a Labour Government, for a long time to come, you’re right about that.””

    Liked by 2 people

  46. Reminds me of Louis Carrol, believing in two contrary things at the same time.. How can two Labour brothers be so very, very different: last night David speaking sensibly and movingingldy about the Turkey-Syria earthquake and Ed about abandoning fossil fuels in the North Sea


  47. Alan, politicians remind me of Lewis Carroll on a daily basis:

    “Why net zero is still the top priority for MPs and peers
    A cross-party group of parliamentarians reaffirm their commitment to reaching the emissions target, as well as achieving energy security and lower bills for constituents”

    A year ago, cross-party parliamentarians wrote to reassure your readers and the public that MPs and peers overwhelmingly back the UK’s net zero commitment (Letters, 11 February 2022). Today, on the eve of a parliamentary debate on the independent review of net zero, we reaffirm the widespread support for this goal.

    Over the past year, support for green policies in parliament has strengthened, not weakened, as the link between net zero and energy security has become ever clearer. Net zero means energy security. Net zero means clean energy. And net zero means lower bills.

    At the same time as reducing our reliance on volatile oil and gas, we can cut the cost of living and meet our climate targets. The environment remains a top concern of the British public, and we will continue to promote ambitious environmental leadership in parliament, so that our constituents are better off tomorrow than today.

    Chris Skidmore MP Chair, environment all-party parliamentary group (APPG), Caroline Lucas MP Chair, climate change APPG, Philip Dunne MP Chair, climate and security APPG, Bim Afolami MP Chair, renewable and sustainable energy APPG, Ben Lake MP Chair, fuel poverty and energy efficiency APPG, Barry Gardiner MP Chair, nature APPG, Alexander Stafford MP Chair, environmental, social and governance APPG, Darren Jones MP Chair, business, energy and industrial strategy committee, Helene Hayman Co-chair, Peers for the Planet, Kate Parminter Chair, Lords environment and climate change committee

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Desperate and scary stuff:

    And, by the way, if (as the recent NAO report suggests might be the case) the present government’s decarbonisation of electricity by 2035 intention is unachievable what hope is there for an incoming Labour government’s 2030 plan? Especially if the Shadow Health Secretary’s “grasp” of the issue, as shown in that Andrew Neil interview, is representative of the understanding of his colleagues.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. “UK ‘must act now on renewable energy or risk being left behind’
    Government needs to introduce new ambitious energy policies before next general election, advisers say”

    …The government’s target of decarbonising the UK’s electricity generation fully by 2035, necessary to meet the long-term goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, was achievable, but not without massive changes, the CCC warned.

    Current policies, and the current planning regime, would not achieve the target, the CCC made clear in a report published on Thursday.

    “We know how to do this, but the problem is that government is not putting in place the policies needed for it to happen at the pace it needs to,” said Stark. “The system is not ready to deliver change at the scale and pace necessary.”

    A small amount of gas-fired power – equivalent to 2% of national electricity generation – would still be needed after 2035, the committee found. This is to ensure security of supply in periods of “wind drought”, when windfarms are not producing sufficient electricity.

    As the UK moves to cleaner electric vehicles and heat pumps, demand for electricity is set to rise, by as much as 50% by 2035. Alongside new windfarms, solar power generation and nuclear plants, the UK will need far more capacity to store electricity. That could take the form of large batteries and hydrogen, which can be generated from electricity and stored until needed….

    Barking mad. If anyone can bear to read it, here’s the report referred to in the Guardian article:


  50. They talk as if being left behind in this particular race is a bad thing. As you note, barking mad. There’s no grey area here: it’s nonsense. The worrying thing is that it’s so obviously nonsense that you wonder what sort of person would be incapable of recognising it as nonsense.

    No to Net Zero.
    No to national suicide.


  51. And if we thought Labour lives in Cloud Cuckoo Land, it appears that for some people it’s not sufficiently Cloud Cuckoo Land-esque:

    “Climate activists warn Labour it risks losing support of young voters
    Youth campaign group is calling on Keir Starmer’s party to commit to ‘decade of green new deal action’”

    Read the article and weep.


  52. “Labour planning £8bn green revolution for UK industry in deprived regions
    National wealth fund is intended to pull in private investment and create thousands of new jobs in areas beyond the south-east”

    No doubt it sounds great to the climate-alarmed faithful. It isn’t:

    She says Labour’s new national wealth fund, to be endowed with an initial £8bn of funding from the state but which it is hoped will then pull in private investment, will be given a specific remit to focus on green industrial revival in deprived areas with regional targets to create hundreds of thousands of jobs outside London and the south-east.

    Note that word “hoped”. It’s a bit like Labour’s plan to decarbonise the electricity grid by 2030. They don’t have a clue how to do it (as exemplified by Andrew Neil’s interview with Wes Streeting) but like Mr Micawber, they hope that something will turn up. It gets worse:

    Many UK companies, Reeves said, were desperate to invest in areas such as offshore wind, tidal energy, green hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, but feared that without government backing – on a partnership model like that pioneered by Biden in his Inflation Reduction Act – they “would not get off the ground”.

    The massive subsidies we have all paid to date to renewables aren’t enough. We have to continue to subsidise the rest of the net zero shebang too. That’s the only way in which private investors can be persuaded to get on board, apparently. As illustrated by this:

    Several key UK-based companies are now examining where best to operate. Jaguar Land Rover’s owner, Tata Motors, has reportedly asked the UK government for more than £500m in state subsidies to build a battery factory in Somerset, a move seen as crucial to the future of the entire British car industry.

    What will it cost?

    Labour has already committed to investing £28bn a year – or £224bn over its first eight years in government – on climate measures. Reeves says it will aim to create 450,000 new jobs over a decade from green industrial projects

    Ignoring the new £8Bn referred to in the headline, that’s 280 Bn over 10 years, to create 450,000 new jobs. Even assuming (an heroic assumption) that the jobs are created and don’t come to a premature end, That’s more than £620,000 per job. Doesn’t sound like a good investment to me, not least given that the plan is to wreck our energy supply system in the process. All to “save the planet”, with the slight snag that it won’t do any such thing. China, India et al, anyone?


  53. “The green elites are living in dreamland
    Their ‘green industrial revolution’ is simply never going to happen.”

    It concludes:

    …Time and again, the reality of these green industries is distinctly underwhelming. Yet this has done nothing to dampen the wild green rhetoric of our political class. Labour, for instance, has blithely set a target for Britain to dispense with gas by 2030, part of a manifesto pledge to ‘create jobs, cut bills and boost energy security’. According to the Institute for Government’s analysis, meeting that target ‘would be very tough – not least given the huge task of upgrading the UK’s outdated grid’. In other words, this is a terrible idea. Nevertheless, according to this technocratic think-tank, the pledge ‘makes sense as a strong signal’ of Labour’s green ‘ambition’.

    This is our green establishment in a nutshell. To meet the mad requirements of Net Zero, policymakers end up spouting delusional claims about renewable energy somehow providing us with cheap and abundant energy, or about a green-jobs boom that can reverse decades of deindustrialisation. Everyone knows these policies won’t work and will prove ruinous to Britain’s economy. But for our green-obsessed elites, at least they are sending out the right virtue-signal.

    Liked by 1 person

  54. Interesting Mark. And James Woudhuysen points to this article in Windpower Monthly – a publication I have to admit hasn’t been on my daily reading list:

    Wind industry and renewables representatives said today (15 March) that UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s spring budget has failed to create the conditions to turn the UK into a clean energy superpower.

    Unlike nuclear and carbon capture, wind and solar energy received no explicit additional support in the Chancellor’s spring budget, prompting a backlash from renewable energy body RenewableUK.

    “Today’s budget does not create the framework needed to mobilise investment and turn the UK into a clean energy superpower,” said Ana Musat, executive director of policy and engagement at RenewableUK. “It will not enable the renewable energy industry to build vital new projects much faster or grow supply chains… we need a much bigger response to match the incentives being offered to renewable energy developers by the US and the EU – this wasn’t forthcoming today,” she added.

    In his budget, Hunt unveiled boosts to nuclear energy, which he said would benefit from the same subsidies as renewables and be supported by the newly created Great British Nuclear, a state-run organisation he claimed would promote nuclear power projects in the UK.

    Up to £20 billion (€22 billion) would also be made available for carbon capture and storage, Hunt said.

    Ørsted – which had recently warned that offshore wind developers may return power deals secured in the UK’s most recent contract for difference (CfD) round – told Windpower Monthly that it was “disappointed” with the budget.

    No help for wind: Renewables industry reacts to UK budget

    The first thought that comes to mind is ‘Diddums’. The second is that the impression that both Robin and I had about Hunt’s budget speech may reflect a deeper tide turning. Ever so slowly.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. Renewables running at 60% yesterday but (Mark) the Braes of Doune site you see from Stirling had 1 turbine turning . On a good windy day like yesterday we should get a list of the sites not turning to get a real value of how many turbines we really need.

    Liked by 1 person

  56. “Labour urges ministers to show ‘ambition’ as it recasts green growth plan
    The shadow net zero secretary Ed Miliband to set out how plan will create jobs in clean energy”

    At an event hosted by the Green Alliance, Miliband will warn that the UK, with all of its natural assets, cannot fall behind the US and the EU.

    “What we have seen from the UK government is the actions of a group of people caught in the headlights,” he will say.

    “[The trade secretary] Kemi Badenoch dismisses the Inflation Reduction Act as ‘protectionist’. Our current energy secretary Grant Shapps calls it ‘dangerous’. The chancellor dismisses it too.

    “I profoundly disagree with this approach. As the US and Europe speed off into the distance in the global race for green industry, we are sitting back in the changing rooms moaning about the rules. Sore loser syndrome won’t win any jobs for Britain.”…

    …Labour’s own plans include a “net zero mandate” for every key regulator, as well as a new national wealth fund to invest in partnership with the private sector….


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