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The insanity of greenery

This from a correspondent:

A German aristocrat of my acquaintance has figured out that the price he will be paid for the output of a solar panel is so high compared with the price he will pay for his input of normal electricity, that he is thinking of rigging up powerful arc lamps to shine on solar panels on his extensive roof.


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Reader Comments (76)

This sounds like the same idea as buying cheap electricity to drive a fan to turn a wind turbine to generate and sell high value electricity.

Mar 8, 2010 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

It's simple Gorenomics. Talking of the big flame-thrower, have you seen this:

Mar 8, 2010 at 8:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterPops

It's actually much cheaper to not bother with the solar panels. Efficiency is very low in the conversion of energy to light and vice-versa - so it's simply not economical.

What is much more interesting is an AC/DC converter running directly to a grid-connect DC/AC converter. Both have fairly high efficiencies - probably over 90%, so if your feed-in tariff is worth 5x your supply tariff, then you make 3x profit (sale of 4x units less cost of 1x unit). Plus on winter's days you can heat the house on the waste heat.

Obviously you need the solar panels in place and it is probably wise to only generate during times of incoming sunlight - however, you can probably fake it well enough that you are guaranteed to get a handsome payoff.

Mar 8, 2010 at 9:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterTilde Guillemet

Oops - wrong math above. You make a 4x profit based on sale of 1 unit at 5x and cost of 1 unit at 4x.

The ratio does change. In my location the feed-in tariff is about 4x the supply tariff so I only make 3x.

I also get the benefit of subsidised panels and system which - if you choose your supplier - can be close to zero cost. I also get an interest free loan for any net capital cost.

Ah! The joys of ill though out environmental/stimulus schemes

Mar 8, 2010 at 9:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterTilde Guillemet

Just to help you with your calculations on making money out of the distorted gren economics, the tariffs from Apr 1st (I kid not) in the UK will be:

1) you will be paid 34.5p per kWhr for wind energy
2) 41p for solar energy per kWHr

Meantime the average you pay for grid electricity is 14.27 per kWhr day-time, 5.51p per kWhr night tariff.

Connecting the AC/DC converters together would of course represent FRAUD, so I would counsel against it. Nevertheless, many people will attempt it, and without some kind of energy police, they will get away with it, mainly.

However, consider a wind turbine with a matching fan in a wind-tunnel, where the sizes, masses and aerodynamics are as close to identical and energy efficiency can be maximised.

Such a configuration, powered by 5.51p overnight, and delivering 34.5p revenue, will I believe, generate legitimate revenue.

Of course, if the legislators knew even a little science (or even simple arithmetic?) they might have clauses in the contract excluding such an arrangement.

I doubt it.

Mar 8, 2010 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterGerry B

Addendum to the above.

I've just realised that I stated that green energy fraud may spawn the need for energy police.

Oh no...what have I spawned???

Mar 8, 2010 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterGerry B

The arc lamp idea also means that you could mount the solar panels inside your attic, thus reducing maintenance costs - or, indeed, inside your basement. In fact, the latter would be a nice trick since it would also give you a pleasant bit of underfloor heating.

Mar 8, 2010 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

All pretty sick this. There was a piece on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning about hydropower schemes - the Government wants landowners to install hydro schemes on every stream in the country, 36000 of them, to produce 0.5% of the country's electricity. Never mind about the ecological effect, and the damage to fish etc - we have to harness every single possibility to increase renewables from 6% to 20% by 2020! Our land will be littered with hardware, disfiguring our land and and causing ecological harm, to meet government targets on something that is crass stupidity. Of course, the landowners will be able to get rich on the feed-in tarrifs, to produce negligible amounts of electricity, and all at taxpayers expense.

The potential for fraud in all this is mind blowing. You only have to look at the case in Spain where small scale wind and solar generators were used - it was a massive opportunity for small-scale and organized fraud, and it has created a massive drain on the state, and made the county's electricity costs go through the roof.

We are sleepwalking into the abyss if we don't flag this up. Even George Monbiot in the Guardian has blown the whistle on it! "Are we really going to let ourselves be duped into this solar panel rip-off?", March 1:

"Those who hate environmentalism have spent years looking for the definitive example of a great green rip-off. Finally it arrives, and nobody notices. The government is about to shift £8.6bn from the poor to the middle classes. It expects a loss on this scheme of £8.2bn, or 95%. Yet the media is silent. The opposition urges only that the scam should be can't be long before thousands of petty criminals discover the perfect carousel fraud, bypassing their solar panels by connecting the incoming wire to the outgoing wire. By buying electricity for 7p and selling it for 44p (if you sell power to the grid rather than using it yourself, you get an extra 3p), they'll make a 600% profit. Amazingly the government has decided not to measure how much electricity people are selling, but "to pay export tariffs on the basis of estimated (deemed) exports".

Mar 8, 2010 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

I take heart from the fact that George Monbiot is with us on this one, maybe he's had a Damascan moment and can realised the "GreenDream" is an unachievable goal for humanity pushed as an agenda by the most impractical, human hating people on the planet. Who knows.

OT, but I doubt his grace will complain, but get his book, it makes John Buchan's Hannay adventures look pedestrian!

Mar 8, 2010 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Gery B: "I've just realised that I stated that green energy fraud may spawn the need for energy police. Oh no...what have I spawned???"

Nothing that hasn't already occurred to others so there's no need to trouble your conscience.

I have long envisaged a situation a few years hence in which poorly-educated youth are taken from inner-city "sink" estates, given a crash course in "climate change" and sent out to "monitor" energy waste in domestic and small business premises. Oh, and a smart dark green shirt to go with the uniform.

Inevitably, their powers will increase over time with the need for, say, search warrants being eased under a "Climate Change, Special Provisions" regulatory order and so on.

Historically, it is not at all uncommon for the urban dispossessed to play a role of this type whereby those who were "nothing" become, in their eyes at least, "something". Striking cases in recent history include Iran's "Revolutionary Guards" and al-Sadr's militia in Iraq.

BTW, lunacy and corruption in the renewables subsidies system is far from new. See "Subsidies and Subterfuge" at:

Mar 8, 2010 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterDave B

Let him...the real money may be in the Bloom Box now. Solar panels and wind mills are out...Bloom Boxes are in. Bloom Boxes will be cheaper and produce more power than solar or wind and be clean energy. Let's hope they're for real.

Mar 8, 2010 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

If you want to stop this fraud, which any sensible subject of the UK would want to do out of civic duty (an old fashioned idea which still persists in some places), there is a simple way.

You commit the fraud on such a scale that it is obvious to all and sundry how stupid the system is - a financial version of the Prince's new clothes!

If everybody did it - just like people used to go on the white van tram to France for their booze and fags - eventually, there would be a wake up call making its way to westminster that they are being unusually stupid!

At the end of the day, the major crimes of the EU are always about fraud. The VAT carousel fraud, the duty free fags, the cap n trade fraud etc are all ways that the criminal classes of the EU are looked after properly - this is just the next fraud set up by the EUdiots!

Mar 8, 2010 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterf0ul

Watch out for the religious police out to catch heretics as well. Andrew Brown, clearly in favour of coercion and instilling religious fervour concerning climate change, wrote an article in the Guardian (November 6, 2009) entitled ‘We’re doomed without a green religion’.

“The justification for burning heretics was perfectly simple: dissent threatened the survival of society...not to coerce, itself becomes immoral...Compulsion will be needed but compulsion alone won’t do it. People aren’t made like that. They need to believe in what they are forced to do. They need to believe in what they are forced to do. They need idealism, and that will also mean its dark side: the pressure of conformism, the force of self-righteousness, huge moral weight attached to practically useless gestures like unplugging phone chargers. They need, in fact, something that does look a lot like religion...Should that happen, the denialists, who claim that it is all a religion, will for once be telling the truth, and when they do that, they’ll have lost.”

The expensive and 'practically useless' green religious symbols will be littering our landscape, and we'll all be paying through the nose to prop up this religion.

"They'll have lost" because religious belief is very difficult to shift, and, moreover, they'll be the heretics rounded up for discrimination and punishment.

Mar 8, 2010 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

@ Gerry B & Dave B - Re "Energy Police" - I posted the following article from a local paper in the Unthreaded section:

"People have the chance to become carbon change champions with the help of climate change experts. Specialist staff from the University of East Anglia's Low Carbon Innovation Centre (LCIC) will be delivering a training programme to develop Carbon Change Agents in organisations across Norfolk. The Carbon Change Agent Programme will train individuals to work with a local organisation to become carbon champions. This will involve a combination of teaching and hands-on tasks, with feedback and support as delegates build up their skills. An introductory session will run on Tuesday, March 23rd from 9.30am to 4.30pm at the the UEA Norwich. Follow up sessions have then been timetabled for April 22 and May 24."

"Carbon Change Agent" has rather worrying overtones.....

Mar 8, 2010 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

"he is thinking of rigging up powerful arc lamps to shine on solar panels on his extensive roof."

It would be easier, and more efficient, to remove the solar panels from the system and feed the mains back through the feed-in. Truly, money for nothing!

Mar 8, 2010 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterMad Scientist

On the subject of perpetual motion machines, have you heard the latest news?

The Chairman of the IPCC has announced the formation of a new body to be known as IPCC v. 2.0. This new body is to revise the current work being prepared for AR5 so that the guidance for Policy Makers will conclude that there is absolutely no doubt that the planet is cooling and that the burning of coal and gas in power stations and people driving SUVs is to blame. These dangerous activities should be made illegal as soon as possible. Further work will be put together to show that nuclear power stations must also be eliminated so that the purchase of gadgets such as tv sets and mobile phones is deterred.

The Chairman of the IPCC thanked the Sceptical Community for their noble efforts in bringing to his attention that the 2,500 Mannist-Jonesite followers in his employ had been misguided in concluding that the planet was warming. These former heroes are to be rehabilitated at a cost of 2 or 3 trillion dollars and we should all look forward to reading their new peer reviewed papers showing that the planet is cooling and that everybody except the Chairman of the IPCC v 2.0 is to be blamed.

The UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change appeared on BBC The Weakest Link to confirm that he accepts that the planet is cooling. He said that, all along, the 646 Honourable Members of Parliament really knew that the theory of global warming was a bit dodgy but, being unable to think for themselves, they had decided to go along with what they were told by people with beards and funny names that ended in “go”. However, he claimed that although they passed legislation to fight global warming, in fact the same laws can be used to fight the war against global cooling. In addition, because getting cold is worse than getting hot, i.e. there will be no vegetables and more people tend to die of hypothermia than of heat stroke, it will be necessary to introduce even more laws so that we can bring the start of the New Stone Age forward from the previous estimate of 01 April 2035 to 25 December 2023, this being the date when we expect the last of our big, dirty and/or dangerous power stations to retire from old age.

A Spokeswoman from the widely respected Met. Office announced on BBC Have I Got News For You that they also accepted that the planet is cooling and mentioned that it was fortunate that had decided to stop telling people what the weather would be the day after tomorrow so that they could now concentrate on making up a new historical temperature record that would prove that the MWP was hotter than we thought, and the Met Office will show that, at half hourly intervals, the planet has been continuously cooling since that time. In addition some rainfall records will be made up to support the new temperature graphs. The spokeswoman also said that she had now read the draft transcript of what she said last Monday, along with two blokes with beards, that it was incontrovertible that the planet was warming, this was clearly a case of the shorthand person being slightly deaf because she remembered quite clearly saying the opposite. She also said that the round-robin she sent out last December was full of typographical errors (clearly we meant to have written “cooling” not “warming”) and she said that she is disappointed that the 1,700 dupes, sorry scientists, had not spotted them before they signed-on to it. She promised to send out a new document for signature soon, and she now expected that at least 17,000,000 dopes will sign on.

Professors Acton and Jones appeared on BBC Question of Sport to admit that they had not released their sums because someone had told them that they would have their testimonials cut off they squealed the truth. However, they now accepted that the planet was cooling and they said that they were extremely relieved to have received a postcard from someone to say that a cheque for 2 or 3 trillion dollars is in the post because he has just realised that it does not matter whether it is getting hot or cold, so long as carbon dioxide is blamed. However, someone said that this time round they should make up data that shows that it used to be hotter than we thought and also, it is essential that the new models will show incontrovertibly that the temperature will get to absolute zero by Christmas Eve 2099. The two CRUcks said that this would be no problem.

Mar 8, 2010 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

This looks like a very grey area.

Pumped storage schemes, and massive batteries of accumulators are a pretty legitemate good idea for storing power from periods of low demand for use during the advert break in Corronation Street.

Large flywheels are a legitemate way of levelling out momentary spikes and dips in power, running a large synchronous motor is a legit way of correcting power factors in AC supplies.

Where to draw the line between these legitimate (and genuinely beneficial) set ups and the obviously fraudulent direct re-selling of mains power?

Hell, this looks like a good time to get a diploma in Law!

A few friends who farm have been talking about investing in windmills, my advice has been that the small ones will never genuinely pay for themselves, and the tits will be coming off all the subsidies soon enough, so unless you go for a megawatt size turbine, that can pay for itself, don't bother.

Mar 8, 2010 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith

I will not be surprised when we find out the equivalent of this is being done already.
AGW is all about fraud.

Mar 8, 2010 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I was at the Fulham v Tottenham game on Saturday.

Every couple of minutes, all the giant flashing screens round the edge of the pitch, reminded us to switch off on Earth Day (WWF advert).

Something strangely ironic about that.

Mar 8, 2010 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterCopner

Off topic, the latest edition of Physics World (magazine of the IOP) is just out. Three letters on climate change: two fairly sceptical and one supporting the consensus.

Mar 8, 2010 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

I wasn't doing nuffink wrong guv, honest. I was just recycling electrons.....

Mar 8, 2010 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

It's amusing to see the one thing you won't find associated with all the 'renewable energy' crap that is floating around, what is the cost you will pay for each kwh, or each BTU. The reason it's scary how high the cost of green really is ... And how that will effect you as it get's cold.

Mar 8, 2010 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterbill-tb

Or you could buy a stake in a carbon trading company....

Mar 8, 2010 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Can you imagine having to pay at least 41p pr Kw for electricity instead of 14.27p, because if the majority of Brits decided to feed back electricity to the grid, then such electricity would have to be very expensive.

Sounds like a pyramid selling scam to me.

Mar 8, 2010 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterPerry

What's the tariff for home-produced hydro? Couldn't you pump water uphill overnight at cheap rate, then generate at peak rates for selling back?

Similar to the real schemes in Wales that used to pump water uphill overnight. Are they still going?

Mar 8, 2010 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

@Keith Large flywheels are a devices designed to protect against continuous slight variations in input power by replacing them with unpredictable total losses of output power (a $200 IC will sacrifice itself to protect the 12¢ fuse). Mass batteries are still a bit pricey (at the Technion in 1991 we had a literal walk-in UPS). Using surplus power for hydro pumping seems to be the most scalable solution (especially, since hydro and nuclear are the renewables that seem to work).

Also, does anybody know how much equipment is shared in those solar/Natural Gas hybrids that show up? Are they using solar power to boil liquids and driving common turbines, or is the difference in output too much to make that viable? Normally these things are entirely tax-code driven, but within those frameworks, there's usually an attemp by the engineering staff to salvage some pride :-)

Also: UNC has a coal powered coalgen plant . Last month it was protested against by James Hansen himself. I didn't go to his talk or his protest rally because he brought Gore effect snow with him.

Worse: Dook university has invited Al Gore himself to speak on April 8th. Great. That means four more weeks of winter.

Mar 8, 2010 at 3:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Spero


Buy LOTS of power at 5p at night, and sell it back to the grid through the PV connection during the day, at 40p, plus whatever the PV generates.

And I guarantee that someone, somewhere, is doing this.

Mar 8, 2010 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

And when the wind didn't blow and the ship wouldn't go...

Mar 8, 2010 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Wright

"Connecting the AC/DC converters together would of course represent FRAUD, so I would counsel against it."
It's FRAUD and it's easy buck so you can be sure someone somewhere has been frauding. It's just a matter of time bureaucrats discover their wonderful scheme has plenty of holes (remember the carbon quotas "carousel" VAT fraud ?).

Mar 8, 2010 at 4:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJean Demesure

I forwarded to George Monbiot. He wants to know whether you have input/output costs.

[BH adds. I don't. I've passed the message on to my correspondent]

Mar 8, 2010 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterBB

Let's face it, this whole scheme is a government instigated fraud. The opportunities for lesser frauds are enormous. If it made any sense, it wouldn't need to be subsidised.

Going for the AC-DC-AC converter version, you'd be better off having a proper panel and a few dummies. The proper panel would enable you to time things so it was producing juice under the right times and conditions. You'd also need it to get certiified and established. You'd have to watch the electricity bills. If you could get the extra electricity from a neighbouring address, it would be a lot harder to catch you. Other possibilities include running a generator from central heating oil or mains gas.

Someone's going to do it. A lot of people if these schemes becomes popular.

Mar 8, 2010 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

I forwarded to George Monbiot. He wants to know whether you have input/output costs. March 8, 2010 | BB

Why go through that exercise to dismiss the idea as idiotic?

If you were an engineer, or had the slightest smattering of common sense, you would know that the input costs would greatly exceed the output benefits.

Foe example, he could use his "normal electricity" to run his fan, or he could use that electricity to run arc lamps, There would be a loss of power in that conversion. These would then beam on the solar panels, with a loss as some of this light would be radiated elsewhere. Then the panels would convert about 10 - 12% of this into electricity, which he would then use to run his fan, with about 2 - 3% of the electricity he started out with in the first place.

Mar 8, 2010 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

"rigging up powerful arc lamps to shine on solar panels"

...and you could grow pot at the same time!

Mar 8, 2010 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterFred

The arc lights scam certainly wouldn't work; the conversion efficiencies are far too low. Driving a wind turbine with a fan is not totally crazy, but it strikes me as rather marginal (driving the wind turbine directly with an electric motor would be simpler).

Mar 8, 2010 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan


The largest battery I ever saw was on a visit to Puerto Rico where they had a lead acid accumulator that was used to stabilise the grid. It could deliver 14MW for short periods if I remember correctly (and yes, that is MegaWatts). It was housed in a two storey building about the size of a football pitch, and was filled with rows and rows of small cells.

The key to many of the renewable techologies is storage. It's a pity more money is not spent on that rather than the trading scams and crazy tariffs.

Mar 8, 2010 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

steveta_uk: "Similar to the real schemes in Wales that used to pump water uphill overnight. Are they still going?"

Yes, Dinorwig pumped storage power station is still going. I suspect the situation is the same in Wales as it is in Scotland. Pumped storage used to be a very effective way of reducing fuel consumption in conventional power stations because it could come on- and go off-line very quickly (less fuel consumed = less emissions though the point evades many "greens").

Nowadays, however, it is being used increasingly to "load-balance" the vagaries of wind power. This makes it less efficient at cutting emissions but helps to keep the subsidies rolling in and the lights on.

The 1700 MW Dinorwig (Wales) and the 300 MW Foyers (Scotland) schemes have both recently been extended. Despite cutting CO2 emissions, Pumped Storage is not classified as a "renewable" source under the relevant legislation even though landfill gas is and is still, AFAIK, the UK's largest "renewable" technology by output. No, I'm not making this up - I'm not sure that I could.

(Brownedoff: excellent post.)

Mar 8, 2010 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave B

"The key to many of the renewable techologies is storage. It's a pity more money is not spent on that rather than the trading scams and crazy tariffs." - I read somewhere that in Germany somewhere they pump water into a high reservoir at night and during the day they use that water to drive a turbine.

"Driving a wind turbine with a fan is not totally crazy, but it strikes me as rather marginal (driving the wind turbine directly with an electric motor would be simpler)."

Both would be extremely stupid. The idea of a wind turbine is that it be driven by wind to generate electricity , the first suggestion would use electricity to create wind which might move the turbine to create a minuscule fraction of the electricity you started off with in the first place, the second suggestion would use electricity to create wind - to do what?.

Mar 8, 2010 at 6:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard

"The key to many of the renewable techologies is storage. It's a pity more money is not spent on that rather than the trading scams and crazy tariffs."

Yes indeed.

Rechargeable batteries are expensive and have a limited life. To get the best out of them they have to to be carefully charged and discharged, differently, depending on what sort they are. So they are fine for running cameras and car starters, but not really an option for running electric fires.

The big snag with alternative energy is that it's essentially unpredictable and we have no effective method of storing electrical energy on a large scale. Hence it requires spinning backup, which really defeats the point.

It's a fair question whether this scheme to have subsidised solar panels on roofs has any merits at all from any perspective, probably not even the bogus one of reduced carbon footprints.

Mar 8, 2010 at 7:14 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

The pumped storage at Cruachan is well worth a visit if you are in the area: being driven into a mountain is great fun.

Mar 8, 2010 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

Richard, recall that we're discussing scams here. They don't have to make energetic sense, just economic sense given the interesting set of incentives, and given the large markups available there is considerable room for inefficiency. The biggest mark ups available (assuming buying power at night) are about 6:1 for wind turbines and 8:1 for solar.

Scamming solar doesn't make sense as solar panels are only about 25% efficient, and the same is true of good light sources, so there is a 16:1 loss, obviously outweighing the 8:1 gain. Scamming wind turbines is more plausible, as the limiting efficiency of a wind turbine is about 60% (the Betz limit), with some real turbines approaching 50%. The limiting efficiency of a fan is, I suspect, the same, giving a 4:1 minimum loss if the wind turbine and the fan are well coupled. However this only leaves a 50% overhead, so is unlikely to work in practice.

My total scam, driving a wind turbine with an electric motor, just couples the motor to a generator through a fancy axle. Of course there is the problem that the wind turbine will act as a fan, costing energy, but this can be largely overcome by straightening the blades.

Obviously none of this beats directly feeding grid electricity into the inverter.

Mar 8, 2010 at 9:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

You've started me thinking now cosmic. I've checked my notes on that big battery in Puerto Rico, It was capable of 20MW delivery and a capacity of 14MWh, so could actually replace spinning reserve in that particular grid, as it would support the network for 15mins or so whilst a thermal station was brought up to speed. That was 15years ago, or so. There is an even larger unit working in Canada I think, again replacing spinning reserve. Now at that size, it becomes feasible to couple with the larger wind farms.

Of course, instead of thinking brave (and technically feasible) thoughts like, 'lets invest in the engineering of storage systems, our witless leaders are throwing money at whatever likely sounding scheme they come across. What in heaven's name their ' advisers' are whispering in their shell-like ears remains one of lifes more intractable mysteries.

I seem to remember that in China quite recently over two thirds of the ruling politbureau were qualified engineers or technically trained. I think we'd struggle to find more than a couple around the current, or likely future cabinet table, so we're doomed to watch our taxes poured into the pockets of snake oil salesmen.

Mar 8, 2010 at 10:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

To the tune of "I Believed in Father Christmas"

They said that the world was warming,
They said we were going to fry,
They gave us the direst warnings,
Repent for the end is nigh

And I believed in global warming
I fell for a big fat lie
But listen up folks
It’s only a hoax
A joke and a pig in a poke

They priced up our carbon footprints
They filled us with guilt and sin
Indulgences sold to order
To offset the mess we’re in

And I believed in global warming
I fell for a big fat lie
But listen up folks
It’s only a hoax
A joke and a pig in a poke

Aloft with their sacred powers
The priests read the runes of old
The kings from their iv’ry towers
Went off on a quest for gold

And I believed in global warming
I fell for a big fat lie
But listen up folks
It’s only a hoax
A joke and a pig in a poke

Mar 8, 2010 at 10:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

I've had a long debate with unsceptics over on the Deltoid site, and asked the following question: "May I please ask the assembled brethren: 'Have you personally taken any steps whatsoever to reduce your carbon footprint by a significant amount? If so, please give some indication in kWh per annum, litres of vehicle fuel per annum, and aircraft passenger-miles.' "

So far nobody has replied.

Mar 8, 2010 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

Giving some more thought to the scamming:

The regulation of agriculture shows that the bureaucracy is not afraid to employ armies of spotty feckwitts, each carrying a big chip, and in the trading satandards offices that i've heard of (I'm not in the habit of speaking to their brownshirts) the top priority on the whiteboard is:


catching fraudsters is probably going to be very difficult;
how do you inspect a fake rooftop solar panel, that has a little battery in the circuit so it even gives a voltage if you put a multi meter accross it? or even better, if you are under a big power line, have a coil hidden behind the thing, and a photo cell to turn it on and off, so you don't get caught by stealing power when it's dark.

once caught, how to prosecute?
Most of the population have very little understanding of engineering, so it should be easy to sow the seeds of reasonable doubt in a jury.

Have our illustrious mandrins thought of all of this already?
are we going to see both a "green Police" AND special courts with a lower burden of proof?

and all for what?
or, is the supposed problem just the pretext to build a better sheep pen to keep us in?

Mar 8, 2010 at 11:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith

Damn, the phrase "hypothetically speaking, of course", didn't come through into the finished comment.

Mar 8, 2010 at 11:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith

"If you were an engineer, or had the slightest smattering of common sense, you would know that the input costs would greatly exceed the output benefits."

Thanks Richard. I am an engineer - have been one for 35 years - not the point though I just wanted the German costs/payments - cause someone asked. Not UK costs.

Mar 8, 2010 at 11:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBB

Cumbrian Lad - thanks for the lead on the PR BESS. A bit of googling showed that it was a functional success but it failed on longevity. There has been a refurb done on it but in a quick look I haven't found performance write ups. At the power levels discussed it would be a very small player in UK grid terms. An Alaskan NiCd set up also came up as doing well for providing spinning reserve but again a very small contribution in UK grid terms.

FWIW I think local storage with local generation and high energy efficiency has a lot to offer and I'd reference the many existing off grid setups and competions such as "solar decathlon" as evidence.

Re: the value of technical know how - IMO it'd be good to see some of the money spent on CC research going into short, medium and long term RandD to develop wealth generating technology.

Some interesting (unverified I add!) and thought provoking figures on EROIE here:

and here:

Mar 9, 2010 at 12:34 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Reminds me of Mao Tse Tung's Backyard Steel Furnace policy, during the 1960s Great Leap Forward, and about as sensible.

Mar 9, 2010 at 5:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterRod

Is this supposed to be impressive? It is either (a) an urban myth (b) fraud.

It is like telling an anecdote about a shoplifter and claiming this means the defenders of property rights are stupid.

Mar 9, 2010 at 7:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrank O'Dwyer


May I please ask the assembled brethren: 'Have you personally taken any steps whatsoever to reduce your carbon footprint by a significant amount?

There are people who believe smoking is dangerous who smoke themselves.

Is that the behaviour of a hypocrite or an addict?

Mar 9, 2010 at 7:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrank O'Dwyer

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