Thursday, 30 October 2014

A post about the UK’s electrical supply

Before we start, let me apologize for the weird formatting of this post, but embedding the House of Lords video has been a nightmare and has screwed up paragraphs, video placement and line-breaks.

*sigh* Onwards!


These two videos are enlightening

The first video is blunt and to the point. Professor Dieter Helm’s appearance before the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on Tuesday was pretty special. From his opening remarks he lays it on the line with the committee, saying that it’s an amazing state of affairs that Britain is even discussing the possibility of power cuts, and that we are failing on each issue of security, price and decarbonisation.

It is deeply disturbing that as one of the top industrialised countries in the world we find ourselves in this appalling state of affairs. Professor Helm’s evidence to the committee starts at 11:39am, so slide the button along to that time.


The second video is an interview on Andrew Neil’s Sunday Politics show this past weekend. His guest, Elizabeth Truss, was appointed Secretary of State of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on 15th July of this year. It is, frankly, quite terrifying that she has absolutely no grasp whatsoever on what the UK has signed up to – a legally binding agreement to cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 80% of our 1990 levels by 2050, and the massive associated ramifications. Andrew Neil, quite properly, shows no mercy. 

It is scary to think that people like Elizabeth Truss have our collective future in their hands. It is even scarier to consider that a Prime Minister would want them in his cabinet.
Just to cheer you up, I’ll let you on your way with a cutting from today’s Press & Journal; More raptor deaths are caused by wind farms than from by shooting industry. Click on it to enlarge it slightly.
Press & Journal Raptor DeathsThe wind energy industry: Don’t ya just love it?


  1. Wow. What a very interesting hours listening. Thanks Alan for going to all the trouble to let us readers/ listeners gain such valuable knowledge. Impressive debate from the Prof. and oh my God is she really in the government. Dear oh dear.

    1. Thanks Al for taking the time to watch these. It's not going to be a popular post in terms of readers who stick with it, but every now and then I have to try. Professor Helm's points have been well known in the ant-wind farm and energy spheres for years and years, and yet the politicians are completely unaware (apart from one or two notable exceptions).
      Andrew Neil's piece rams this home magnificently.

      It's all utterly depressing that through this ignorance wind farms have proliferated, screwed up our uplands and on occasion, ruined families' lives.

      In ten years' time we are going to look back on this period and wonder why we let the lunatics run the asylum. But, of course, by that time the countryside will be screwed, energy prices will have sky-rocketed and energy intensive businesses shut down or moved abroad where this so called "green" madness doesn't prevail.

  2. I particularly enjoyed Helms presentation, and thought his opening remarks were spot on! this should have made the headlines of the broadsheets, but alas, it stays within the 'closed club' of the House of Lords and I fear will go no further.
    It also demonstrates a particular bug bear of mine of the lack of investment in any infrastructure across Britain be it road, rail or power and even IT.
    Too many 'quick buck' boys have been on the front line ready to take out money after a short term with no long term investment, the manufacturing industry was a good example of this, no one wanted to invest in a 'factory' buying equipment it was easier to sell of the land the factory was on and build houses for a quick return, or sell off to a foreign country e.g. landrover jaguar, steel industry same with agriculture, barn conversions, land for solar panels, land to build on rather than growing food!!!
    he makes some excellent points - the feed in tariff is another example of feeding their 'rich cronies' rather than getting long term investment in looking at different methods. Helms makes it absolutely clear that Wind farms will have no impact on our energy supply of meet carbon emission targets, BUT! who will listen and who will act??
    Truss as you say showed a complete lack of understanding, enough said, BUT! she is in government, to quote you SCARY !
    I now climb down from my soap box and whilst the sun is shining here in Somerset, have a cycle out to the levels to see how the dredging is going [no sniggering in the back ground!] costing millions and having little or no effect on properties built on flood plains - but! that's another story, slightly related to the above discussions.
    Thanks Alan very good post.
    Ian B

    1. You can't put a fag paper between our views on this, Ian.
      And yes - dredging the Levels - They'll just be digging a very slightly larger capacity reservoir - the falls to the sea are so slight it will make sod-all difference. But again - Politicians must be seen to be 'doing something' and if ignorant folk demand dredging and think that that's the solution, they are quite happy yo waste tax-payers' money and do it, even though their own engineers in the Environment Agency tell them it won't work.

      I hope you have a nice day. It's glorious here.

  3. "There are also options like carbon capture and storage". Yes, Elizabeth, indeed there are: peat is particularly effective; even more so when left intact and unexcavated.

    I'm not a violent man, but...

  4. You know my thoughts on modern day politicians Alan - and the above makes my sentiments feel vindicated. In fact the whole damn debate on green tech and energy does.

    Putting such emotions aside, it is indeed truly astonishing that progressive governments in this day and age fail to see or be enlightened to the bigger picture. Much of what we're all rushing about doing now (and I mean politicians) is too little, too late and ill-thought through.

    I remember you posting a pic about some kind of hi-tech energy storage facility - essentially a large battery to store energy and release it into the national grid as and when needed (a la standby power stations) designed for use with green tech. What came of that? Do you know?

    It's tech and science like that we should be investing tax payers money in. Science and research. But in recent years, funding keeps being either cut or moved about and focused on technology with a short-term gain (ie money to be made). I'd put windfarms in that. Aye the tech is proven, but their actual real-life performance is far from ideal. And that's before we talk about the aesthetics of such machines amongst our lands.

    All said and done, climate change is happening. Always has! Ha. Some may well debate whether it's our species' influence or not causing it right now - but from my point of view, as a society we'll inevitably have to "go green" in many respects. It's just common sense to recycle, be more efficient with our energy use and so on.

    I liken it to medieval society. Where communities grew crops, and lived within their means by nature. They adapted to nature. Sound's hippy-ish I know. But it's the metaphor I'm trying to get across ;)

    1. Hello Terrence, old thing!
      Yes Sir - I think I'm with you on most of this. If we spent a little more money on adaptation to possible warming and less on turbines that screw up our lanscapes and economy we would all be a lot better off.

  5. Economists get a bad name. Hopefully, Professor Helm redresses some of that balance. What people forget is that economics essentially examines the problems of scarcity, resource allocation and managing uncertainty. Too many plonkers assume that because it's difficult to forecast precisely GDP growth or economic crises, economics is a load of rubbish.

    By their nature, complex systems are difficult, if not impossible to forecast accurately. The occurrence of unpredictable hurricanes or earthquakes doesn't invalidate the study meteorology or geology.

    Our left wing friends seem to think that economic crises indicate that economics is not working, when it actually indicates that economic systems are dynamic and complex, just like the weather. To think that you can somehow get rid of the volatility by government control and mandate is fantasy. Professor Helm has done an excellent job in showing how an unpredictable future should be approached in managing an economic system by embracing a more humble approach.

    Humility is not a word that we associate with politicians like Chris Huhne , which goes some way to explain why we have found ourselves in our current fix. Indeed, politicians have an unerring talent for picking precisely the wrong problem and the wrong option to solve that problem. In wind power, we seem to have the perfect example. Wind power has absolutely no chance of achieving a reduction in our carbon footprint and yet billions are being thrown down the drain by building useless wind farms.

    I wonder how many MPs will actually look at this recording. Indeed will Ed Davey? I guess because it’s Westminster and the House of Lords, it will automatically be ignored by the SNP. Quite frankly, you wonder whether these jokers (of all parties) could run a whelk stall.

    1. Blimey. I'm dishing out "comment of the month" a lot recently - but the comments on this thread are first rate. You are spot on, Robin.
      It always amazes me that people bleat about economists but forget that it's the politicians who have the final say.
      Sadly, Prof Helm's fine analysis will be destined to be put on a shelf to gather dust, as the present political climate is dominated by the feckless NGOs and the dreadful leftard agendas.

  6. Thanks for all of this, Alan, most enlightening.

    What is interesting is that the report mentioned in the Press & Journal article was published by the Scottish Government. And yet the BBC Scotland website, which ran story after story after story re the poisoning incidents earlier this year (incidents that turned out to be accidental, whatever that means) has, as far as I can tell, failed to report on this disturbing set of figures. Not the slightest mention at all.
    Perhaps someone could ask one's MP/MSP to look into why the Beeb are (and I take it the Guardian too) so silent when it comes to the downsides of wind energy (there was the usual gushing c*&t being regurgitated by Polly Toynbee in the Guardian last week).

    Also, Holyrood have just approved four huge off-shore wind farms in the Forth and Tay estuaries, that will blight the views from Edinburgh, St Andrews and Angus. The RSPB are very unhappy about it because those turbines will stand bang in the middle of the migratory routes of countless species of birds. Again, some local papers were reporting on the RSPB's discontent. Not the BBC. Is it true that their pension fund has invested heavily in wind?
    And of course another thing that ought to be mentioned is that thanks to wind farms there are now many more power lines than ever before. So, power line bird strike are also to be classed as wind farm strikes.

    Sad doesn't even begin to describe how one feels about this. Scotland should have become the best country in the world for land management. We'll soon have the privilege of being the country that kills more eagles than anywhere else in Europe.

    1. Unbelievable; yet again unbelievable. You would think, considering the significance of the Bass Rock alone, that the Forth estuary would be virtually one big exclusion zone for turbines; an offshore national park of sorts.

      As well as being home to a massive gannet colony, it also provides habitat for Razorbill, and Puffins, among others. And, as you rightly say, the east coast of Scotland is one of the world's busiest migratory routes.

    2. Hi Andy
      Come on. Are you at all surprised that the 28GateBBC hasn't mentioned this report?
      The are a bunch of Ecotards of the First Order.
      There's only one man you can trust at the Beeb - Andrew Neil. He says it like it is because he doesn't give a toss what the BBC do - Sack him and he would tear them to shreds.
      Don't get me started on the Guardian. Not a science 'A' level between their ears.

    3. Dave. The SG knows that the public hasn't a clue about migration routes for birds. They *do* know that offshore wind is more popular amongst the ignorant. They also know full well that it's three times of the price (Plus ancillary costs like grid costs,extra NATS costs, extra subsidies to gas plants because of wind etc etc). I bet what the politicos don't realise is that none of these Scottish off-shore w/farms will be built because Westminster has capped what renewables can provide.

  7. Thank you for your information and making us all aware of what is happening. Keep up the good work Alan. We are the ones that can make a difference, the people these idiots supposedly work FOR. Thank you!


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