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« Breaking the ice | Main | Farmers »
Thursday
Sep012011

Stripping the land bare

As if one needed any more evidence of the insanity that appears to have gripped the governing classes, this latest news report should be enough to have several ministers and a few civil servants sectioned.

The UK currently burns or co-fires around one million tonnes of wood, but the government has highlighted the importance of biomass in 2009's Renewable Energy Strategy and this year's Renewables Roadmap.

Planning permission has been granted to more than 7GW of biomass power plants, which the IIED said is likely to increase demand to 60 million tonnes a year, five or six times the nation's currently available resources.

The British landscape is going to get a new, pared-back look it seems.

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Reader Comments (44)

You missed their point, Bishop. By clearing at that rate they will create deserts. Deserts are hot. The heat from the desert will reduce the cold of your winters. Demand for electricity will fall.

Never underestimate the intelligence of the generations who developed in the "Goon Show" age.

p.s. I developed in the "Much Binding in the Marsh" and "Take it from Here" age, with a touch of Hancock's Half Hour.

Sep 1, 2011 at 8:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Carr

That picture should be a forest of wind turbines

Sep 1, 2011 at 8:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterJason F

Biomass doesn't always mean trees - it often means miscanthus, a grass which grows quite quickly, the effect on the British landscape may not be as severe as you imply (it doesn't necessarily mean less woodland directly).

However, using land to grow fuel does clearly create conflicts with food production (as indeed does using productive farmland for very large solar installations - relevant to yesterday's thread).

Here we have potential conflicts between climate change mitigation and adaptation - if some food-producing areas do less well under climate change, the other areas would become even more important (unless we are going to expand agricultural land still further, hence impacting on forests - an indirect consequence of using land for energy production).

Sep 1, 2011 at 8:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Betts

Presumably that would mean an increase in forestation?

Forward looking farmers should be putting pasture to timber. With that type of excess demand on current levels of supply, it shoul prove a price bonanza.

Sep 1, 2011 at 8:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Yes we don't have Harvest Festivals anymore in Hampshire. Rather we celebrate set-aside festivals where large baskets of cheques are brought into church...

Sep 1, 2011 at 8:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

Wait a minute! Burning wood, biomass, combustion of anything - just produces more of the dreaded CO2. What are we thinking of ?!!

Sep 1, 2011 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

A bit off topic (but there are clouds).

Following the CERN ... how do I put this .... 10 year delay to repress Svensmark's work might be a good start. Anyway, I've been delving into this subject. I used to be a sceptic on cosmic rays. After all it just sounds so bizarre: you can almost envisage mann with his ray gun.

But then you start looking. First what some are saying about CERN not proving Svensmark, it's a complete red herring. Indeed there is evidence they intentionally set out not to prove his work because they always seemed to stop the experiment just as the nuclei were getting big enough. And how they intended to prove anything in a totally alien atmosphere devoid of the normal cocktail of things and how that proves the real atmosphere can't produce nucleir when it does (JUST LOOK AT A CLOUD CHAMBER).

But I was flumuxed for a while when someone said: "but it's the same amount of water vapour, and whether its a few nuclei and big raindrops or lots of nuclei from cosmic rays and smaller rain drops, it's the same number of raindrops".

But then I did some simple maths: if you have raindrops twice the size, they have 8x the volume so for every 8 smaller raindrops there is one bigger. But the bigger one only has 4x the cross section. So the chance of any light hitting a raindrop (and as each has the same geometry they get reflected in the same way), the chance is 8x as many raindrops with 1/4 the cross-section or 2x the chance.

OK, I suspect cosmic rays may not get almost an order of magnitude change in cloud "whiteness" but it only took a bit of time thinking about it in bed this morning to work this out. It's not exactly PhD material.

Then I watched the video by Prof. Dr. Nir Shaviv (http://youtu.be/L1n2oq-XIxI) and I've never been so impressed by the evidence in anything I've seen on the climate. Indeed, curve after curve after curve from multiple physical data with multiple cycles with very close correlation. Compare that to the "CO2 went up and ... something similar happened to temperature (after it was adjusted)".

To be frank, we should just make as many people as possible aware of Svensmark work, we should get really angry that it has been repressed by CERN, by the IPCC, by the Met Office, by the BBC.

I used to think global warming was a lot of people who were mistaken ... who backed CO2 in the absence of anything better. Now I find that is a complete lie. There is a much better explaination. This is not cock up, it is a conspiracy to defraud the public of the knowledge of the true driver of most of the climate.

And just two last thoughts: Maunder Minimum - coldest summer in 14 years.

Sep 1, 2011 at 9:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Haseler

Lack of proper Government research and joined-up thinking leads to unintended consequences. For none of the renewable options touted by Government subsidies has there been any attempt to calculate whether any CO2 emissions reductions will occur (or will actually cause an increase in emissions as we see with wind farms). Planting, growing, harvesting, drying and transporting biomass are very energy-intensive activities.

Sep 1, 2011 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

It will also lead to higher chipboard prices due to a shortage of timber - about 400m cu m by 2020

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-11649996
............. "If we pay £30 for a tonne of timber, the electricity generator will get a subsidy of about £70 for burning that timber to generate electricity. ............... more

The Kronospan protest and some more detail

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business-in-wales/business-news/2010/10/29/welsh-plant-plans-protest-shut-down-91466-27562765/

A WELSH chipboard factory is to cease production for two hours as part of a Europe-wide protest against subsidies for biomass power stations.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, more

Sep 1, 2011 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered Commenterschober

And I forgot to mention all the nasty pollutants that may end up going up the chimney when biomass is burnt.

Sep 1, 2011 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Interesting comment from Mr Haseler!

FYI in general, as a Chartered Structural Engineer with extensive timber engineering knowledge, we in the UK alone have to remove some estimated 7 million tons (or tonnes if you insist) of timber from our woodlands & forests every year just to keep them healthy!

What happens to poor sods like me who only have woodburners for heating?

Sep 1, 2011 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

I'd be grateful if a BH reader who already has the data at their fingertips would point me to a source of information that gives an estimate of the energy needed to manufacture a wind turbine of say 2MW capacity (ie to make and form the steel, concrete and whatever else it is made of).

Sep 1, 2011 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

As I wrote in 2009 in a blog post:

"Championing this ruinous course will be bad for both humans and the planet. The consequences for Europeans revealed in the Mackinder Programme study show that the policies championed by the eco-fascists are almost in every way destructive, and thus such wonderful weapons in the hands of the eco-fascists, who seek the destruction of mankind.

'…setting huge targets for renewable energy in a short time frame (from 8.5% to 20% by 2020) may unintentionally drive the whole of Europe into large-scale wood burning…There will be a huge demand-supply gap. There will be different sorts of hazard also. Decentralized wood burning may increase the already considerable number of deaths caused by fine-particle emissions in Europe. Furthermore, it will increase the atmospheric black carbon load, which is thought to have powerful climate forcing effect: the opposite result of what policy intends.

Likewise, the decision to increase the proportion of bio-fuels in transportation by 5.7% by 2010 and 10% by 2020 is a decision with undesired environmental consequences. Europe intends to fulfil this particular directive by the increased use of 1st generation bio-fuels, the production of which will, according to many academic studies, increase deforestation, world market prices of many basic foods, water consumption, erosion and land degradation, the use of fertilizers (e.g. highly emitting N2O) and pesticides, as well as decrease biodiversity. Recent analysis calculates that it would take 400 years to pay off the global ‘carbon debt’ caused by changes in land use induced by bio-fuel energy production.'

The paper referenced for this analysis shows that introducing crop–based biofuels creates up to 420 times more CO2 than they can reduce per year by displacing fossil fuels. Any policy with a ‘payback period’ of 400 years, which will wreak havoc in the short term, is insane."

Sep 1, 2011 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterScientistForTruth

Nature has already given us a supply of biofuel: processed, concentrated and stored underground so that the surface can be used for repeated growing of foodstuffs.

Sep 1, 2011 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterBob Layson

Seems like more great news for wealthy landowners, having their lifestyles subsidised by the masses.

Sep 1, 2011 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Mike Haseler

My own thoughts were that the paper released from CERN empirically validates part of Svensmark's work with the intention of releasing more data as it is confirmed over a period of time.

I think this is happening gradually for a number of reasons. Mainly the indications are that Svensmark is correct which is going to step on the toes of a lot of influential people that need to come around to the idea.

Sep 1, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Richard Betts - "climate change mitigation".

What evidence is there that we need to do this and/or we could have an impact? Just asking really.

Seems bonkers to 'save the planet' by burning grass or trees just so we dont use oil or gas.

Sep 1, 2011 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJosh

As if things were not going bad fast enough:

http://iceagenow.info/2011/09/magnetic-reversal-trigger-ice-age/

And what about the fuel needed to harvest all this material to be burnt ?

Sep 1, 2011 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohnM

I have already posted this comment on the "Farmers" thread. Just in case anyone might like to read it again, or have missed it...

RB said last night:

This blog is fast moving down my reading list.

Many items now consist of the original post, then only a couple of comments before intervention by ZDB and then almost the rest of the entire comments are people replying to her and her posting yet more comments about how crap everyone here is and how no-one here knows what evidence is, etc. etc., blah blah.

It is getting tedious.
Aug 31, 2011 at 10:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterRB


I have to agree with this comment. Mind you, similar remarks have been made before about either not feeding the troll or just ignoring it completely. It takes just one of we non trolls to respond to Zebedee and then we are all at it. The original posting by the Bishop is forgotten as there is no debate about it

And the winner is....the troll.

This type of behavious was evidenced in JoNova's posting a few weeks back on the ultra long (more than 1000 comments) Convoy of no Confidence. Two or three trolls, Maxine and Dragone, must have added hundreds of troll comments between them and they were just 2 trolls of many. The ordinary commenter then got snagged into retorting to the trolls and so it went.

So, what do we do, collectively? How can we get back to "business" and just discuss the headline item?

Well, we could promise yet again not to respond to ZDB, but how long would it before one of us submitted to temptation? I know that I am likely to "react" to this idiot's annoying comments here. But if I tried very very hard, and with the help of you all, I could find the will power to resist the urge.

Ask yourselves this question.

What has ZDB ever contributed here?

The answer is; ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

Yet we all continue to react and feel the need to respond to it while it continues to laugh at us from it's troll hole, probably in Truro.

Maybe we are hoping aganst hope that we can convert it.

Face it, WE CAN'T

Just a few days ago, another troll under the name ZED obviously posted some unsavoury comment on a thread. The Bishop snipped it and very few of us saw this comment. I know that I didn't see it.

But then, some who did see it were adding commments such as, It wasn't OUR Zed, or OUR Zed is never rude like that or Our ZED this and OUR Zed that and so on.

This creature ZED is not OURS.

It has no sympathy with OUR thoughts and beliefs on the subject of cAGW and it is doing everthing possible to distract us from making legitimate comments on items that The Bishop presents to us.

I would like to make a suggestion.

That suggestion is that we all make a decision, collectively, to not reply or react in any way to ZED. That's it, full stop, ignore the comment and carry on with normal commenting. We decide on a time, say 1200 noon today, 1st September 2011 that from that time we will NEVER AGAIN let the troll divert us. Theoretically, if we do this, then in time it will/may get fed up with being ignored and go away.

That is probably wishful thinking mind you but here's hoping.

Remember, at no time since Zed came here, has it every answered any of the questions raised by any of us. It has never, that I am aware of, responded with evidence to back up the claims or statements it makes. Yet we continue to feed it by giving it attention. How much time has each of us spent replying to it I wonder?

STOP IT NOW!

12 noon today, stop replying and feeding it.

Thanks for reading this.

Normal life resumes at midday.
Sep 1, 2011 at 8:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

Temptation, answer to;

And if after all of the above, you feel tempted to reply, recite the following mantra:

We don't need it,
It needs US.

We don't need it,
It needs US.

Sep 1, 2011 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

Sep 1, 2011 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

Richard Betts

"However, using land to grow fuel does clearly create conflicts with food production "

but according to today's Torygraph, they will be growing meat in the lab in six months - with the added advantage of ......... NO METHANE !

Sep 1, 2011 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterPFM

As an avid lurked, I have to say that I agree with RB and Peter Walsh.

Please, please, please stop feeding the troll. I used to enjoy the comments here and have learnt quite a bit but now I am getting to the point where I cannot be bothered as I just find the hijacking so irritating.

Best, Lynn

Sep 1, 2011 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterLynn

I reckon the future lies in using the Fischer-Tropsch pyrolysis technology to turn CAGW alarmists into diesel.

Sep 1, 2011 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Peter Walsh
As a serial offender in the troll-feeding business I had come to a very similar conclusion earlier today. I agree with everything you say and I promise I will really try very hard to resist the temptation in future.

Sep 1, 2011 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Josh

Seems bonkers to 'save the planet' by burning grass or trees just so we dont use oil or gas.

Yes that's entirely my point. We have to get energy from somewhere, every source has a downside, and the downside of biomass (and biofuel) is competition with food production. The problem, of course, is to work out where the appropriate balance lies - which energy source (or mix) gives the best solution overall.

Mark Lynas's book The God Species has a lot of good discussion on this. He argues that the Green movement has shot itself in the foot by being totally against nuclear and pinning all its hopes on renewables - which Jim Lovelock has also been arguing (even more strongly than Lynas) for several years.

Sep 1, 2011 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Betts

Miscanthus (grass) requires damp soil and therefore needs irrigating if it doesn't rain. It requires over-wintering to let it dry when used as a crop althhough this reduces the volume harvested- how likely is it to dry in a British winter?

Sep 1, 2011 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

David MacKay's book "Sustainable Energy - without the hot air" points out the uselessness of most renewable energy sources. It can be downloaded at http://www.withouthotair.com/ or purchased.

Sep 1, 2011 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Peter Walsh, I too have been foolish enough to respond to Zed on frequent occasions, with no results apart from becoming utterly frustrated by Zed's silly ripostes and refusal to do what it demands of everyone else, so I will try to follow your advice.

Sep 1, 2011 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

Coming from an agricultural background, I have retained a life-long interest in it. This piece of silliness leaves me wondering if some evildoer has regularly spiked the drinking water in various parliaments with some narcotic that totally befuddles the thinking of politicians. The first principle of farming is the husbandry of soil, crops and animals farmed: this suggestion is anti-husbandry in the worst possible way and can only have been dreamed up by an outbreak of mass idiocy. Don't politicians ever talk to intelligent and knowledgeable constituents and other 'outsiders', or do they just prattle self-perpetuating nonsense at each other?

Sep 1, 2011 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

I, too, have been exasperated by Zed in the past, and resolved a while ago not to respond any further. An unintended (by Zed) consequence of his/her actions, however, has been the detailed and clear explanations offered by several regulars here, who have clearly stretched themselves to describe climatological processes in simple words, as if to a small child. They have been valuable and could form a useful primer on the subject - e.g. for government ministers.

Sep 1, 2011 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Messenger

Thanks, that's interesting - I don't really know much about miscanthus. As you may know, we unfortunately expect British winters to (generally) get wetter as a result of climate change....


Phillip Bratby

Yes, David Mackay's book is excellent, I join you in recommending it.

Incidentally, he is Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Sep 1, 2011 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Betts

it is strange but farmers do tend (with emphasis) to behave much as ultra-orthodox economics suggests - the concept of a rational person, which the science is doing its best to get away from, but with only limited success so far. If someone guarantess a price for their crops, they will grow as much as they can - hence the butter mountains and wine lakes of the EU for example (and not to forget the set-aside payments where they get paid in order not to grow crops). However, this creates a surplus of food which can be dumped on the developing world - hence depressing their agricultural industries. And of course agriculture in the developing world is denied access to EU markets via tariffs. A strange side effect of this latest government distortion might be that farmers concentrate so much on growing miscanthus that the EU does not produce enough food. Which would give the developing world access to EU markets....And we can then forget all about the stupid Aid budget by doing real economic good in the developing world - assisting real industry.

Sep 1, 2011 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

To put the figure 60 million tonnes in a Swedish perspective:

70 % of Sweden's surface area is covered by woods. That is some 300.000 km2. UK has a total area of some 200.000 km2. Most of the Swedish woods are well kept. Every year we take some 70 - 90 million cubic meters out of them. Equivalent to some 60 - 70 million tonnes. That is the same figure as mentioned in the article. Does not sound very realistic.

Sep 1, 2011 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterGösta Oscarsson

Richard Betts

MacKay gives the best performance of energy crops in Europe as 0.5W/m^2. He goes on:

Let’s cover 75% of the country with quality green stuff. That’s 3000 m2 per person devoted to bio-energy. This is the same as the British land area currently devoted to agriculture. So the maximum power available, ignoring all the additional costs of growing, harvesting, and processing the greenery, is

0.5 W/m2 × 3000 m2 per person = 36 kWh/d per person.

Wow. That’s not very much, considering the outrageously generous assumptions we just made, to try to get a big number. If you wanted to get biofuels for cars or planes from the greenery, all the other steps in the chain from farm to spark plug would inevitably be inefficient. I think it’d be optimistic to hope that the overall losses along the processing chain would be as small as 33%. Even burning dried wood in a good wood boiler loses 20% of the heat up the chimney. So surely the true potential power from biomass and biofuels cannot be any bigger than 24 kWh/d per person.

[...]

I think one conclusion is clear: biofuels can’t add up – at least, not in countries like Britain, and not as a replacement for all transport fuels. Even leaving aside biofuels’ main defects – that their production competes with food, and that the additional inputs required for farming and processing often cancel out most of the delivered energy (figure 6.14) – biofuels made from plants, in a European country like Britain, can deliver so little power, I think they are scarcely worth talking about.

Sep 1, 2011 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD

Yep. It doesn't significantly feature in any of Mackay's 5 UK energy plans

And for Europe he says

Let’s be realistic. Just like Britain, Europe can’t live on its own renewables. So if the aim is to get off fossil fuels, Europe needs nuclear power, or solar power in other people’s deserts or both.
Similar comments for America and elsewhere - indeed his bottom line for the World is
to complete a plan that adds up, we must rely on one or more forms of solar power. Or use nuclear power. Or both.

Sep 1, 2011 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Betts

Seems the pols and those they consult may need to be reminded why England moved coal from somethng the lower classes in the countryside used on an as-available basis to a fuel used by nearly everyone - England ran short of wood.

Sep 1, 2011 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn A

One of the greatest causes of frustation and annoyance is (to accord with the politically correct public message) the deliberate suppression of the wealth of experimental evidence demonstrating up to 30% or more crop yield, and shorter growing seasons, for a doubling of atmospheric CO2. Indeed, although well researched and non-controversial since the 1980's, a great deal of more recent research effort has seemingly been directed at trying to find flaws with this huge but embarassing potential bonus for the future global food resource.

It's as if, as well as whispering 'We must get rid of the MWP', they were whispering 'We must get rid of crop enhancement'.

Sep 1, 2011 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

Richard Betts

It's going to be tricky, isn't it? Even with heroic build rates for Gen III nuclear, desert CSP and deep offshore wind (sceptical: costs for construction and maintenance; feasibility of maintenance), we are in a pickle.

As I'm sure you know, even the most optimistic estimates for nuclear generated electricity come in at under 40% by 2050. And possibly even more optimistic estimates only get solar to 13% of global electricity generation. The upper end guesstimate for wind is about 17%.

And that's just electricity generation.

Sep 1, 2011 at 10:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD

Absolutely - hence my enthusiasm to get more of the climate conversation to be about adaptation and not just about whether emissions need to be reduced or not (which tends to lead to exaggerated interpretations of future impacts either way, in order to support either side of the emissions argument).

We need to get real and accept that there is going to be some level of further external forcing of climate, and figure out how best to live with the probable/possible consequences of that. Partly that requires making better forecasts of what the conditions will be like, but also (given the limited skill) we also need to prepare to be resilient against a range of possible outcomes.

Sep 1, 2011 at 11:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Betts

Pharos

I agree with you - there does appear to be a tendency to regard it as politically incorrect to accept the existence of any kind of beneficial effect of CO2. In the context of my reply to BBD above, this is a bad move because it could lead to wrong decisions on adapting to future CO2 rise and climate change.

CO2 fertilization and/or increased water use efficiency may lead to overall beneficial effects in some areas, or may merely lead to less severe negative impacts in others - so it may not completely offset detrimental impacts of climate change. As usual, it's complicated.....

We discuss the CO2 effects on crop productivity in our paper Implications of climate change for agricultural productivity in the early twenty-first century (see section 4).

Sep 1, 2011 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Betts

Richard Betts

We need to get real and accept that there is going to be some level of further external forcing of climate, and figure out how best to live with the probable/possible consequences of that.

Agreed. Keep saying it.

Sep 2, 2011 at 12:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Richard Betts. Many thanks. I am glad that was entirely your point!

I am still not clear what we need to mitigate. What is the evidence that there is anything wrong with using fossil fuels for the next 100 years?

Just asking ;-)

Sep 2, 2011 at 7:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterJosh

RSPB on Today program this morning coming out against biofuels if they are going to be imported. Recomending better UK woodland management in the interests of the bird population.

Josh, I agree with what I think you are hinting at, that nuclear is the future and it is better to retain fossil fuel for the intermediate time period until nuclear can produce the majority of the UK energy requirements. Wind and solar for the UK are going to take a lot longer to establish than we can afford to pamper to if we want to retain a secure supply of energy.

Sep 2, 2011 at 8:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Sep 1, 2011 at 11:28 PM | Richard Betts

We need to get real and accept that there is going to be some level of further external forcing of climate, and figure out how best to live with the probable/possible consequences of that.

The best way of coping with the ups and downs of the climate in the UK is to have an abundance of cheap electricity available 24/7 so that we can either warm ourselves up or cool ourselves down as required, and doing this based on our own decisions, at the time of need.

The last thing we need or want is to have the "how much" and "when" of our electricity supply being decided for us by some faceless bureaucrat with his dead hand on the remote control of our "smart" electricity meter, to cover for the many occasions when the wind doesn't blow.

In order to achieve the state of affairs where cheap electricity is available 24/7 (a given during the period 1948 to 1990, for those reader who are too young to remember) it is necessary to build a lot of coal-fired and nuclear power stations PDQ.

One of the huge advantages of coal-fired power stations is that it is possible (as was proved in the early 1980s) to store enough coal on site for about 1 year of operation, thereby providing security of supply for extended periods, if the need should arise (as it did in the early 1980s).

The same thing can be said for nuclear power stations.

If the MPs were serious about protecting the voters from certain future shortages of electricity, rather than feathering their own, their relatives and their cronies nests with ever more fantastic quantities of cash stolen from the wallets of the peasants, they would be organising the construction of an armada of new power stations.

Say, 12 coal-fired facilities each equipped with 3 power islands of 800MW and each facility having a vast storage area for coal stockpiles. This would provide just short of 29GW of reliable non-stop electricity.

A similar useful project of building 10 facilities with twin nuclear power islands, each island being rated at 1,600MW or so, with ample fuel storage. This would provide about 32 GW of reliable non-stop electricity.

Another 25GW or so of CCGT will give us all the juice we would ever need to "cope" with the UK climate.

Thoughtful MPs would also ensure that, if you owned a large brownfield site which once housed a power station, then you would be allowed to just get started with the procurement process of a new power station, gas fired, coal-fired or nuclear, merely by informing the Minister of your intention.

However, I am afraid that this would mean get rid of thousands of bureaucrats and jobsworths, some of whom would inevitably be relatives or cronies.

In addition, any subsidy farmer seeking to impose a new windmill facility on the landscape would be required to install, local to the National Grid sub-station to which it is connected, an OCGT power station with a capacity of twice the sum of the nameplate MW values of his windmills. This OCGT plant would be configured so that one half of the power station is permanently on load-following duty and the other half of the power station is on "spinning reserve" duty to cover for any hiccups with the duty half. In this way "x million homes" will truly have their electricity supplied 24/7 at nameplate capacity by a subsidy farmer as per their advertised, but never realised, promises. In addition the running costs of the OCGT power station would all be paid for by the subsidy farmer.

Partly that requires making better forecasts of what the conditions will be like, but also (given the limited skill) we also need to prepare to be resilient against a range of possible outcomes.

As one of my bosses in the good old days once remarked during a meeting: "**** the differential equations, Doctor, just get out of the way!"

I shall now go for a lie down.

Sep 2, 2011 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

O/T @ Peter Walsh

agree, saw this coming as blogs were assigned there minders by the powers that be - re -

http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/9/2/wsj-on-uncertainty.html?currentPage=2#comments
agent ZDB

abort your mission, you have been assigned the wrong target.

this is an uncertainty thread & we are not certain if you can be uncertain without appearing certain.

these guys can talk the hind legs of a donkey (they may turn you), do not engage, repeat do not engage.

Dougie, you say
"these guys can talk the hind legs of a donkey (they may turn you), do not engage, repeat do not engage"
As a very wise man once said: " better jaw than war"
Yes, I paraphrased, but feel I retained the intentioned meaning.
To not engage is to surrender the high ground without struggle. I'd rather fight the fight and lose to the truth than suffer under blind acceptance of, my possibly misplaced beliefs.
Denigration of the opposition, as comforting as it may seem, confers no advantage, other than the short-lived satisfaction that you can stoop to their levels,
A spoon, short of a picnic, I think.

Sep 3, 2010 at 1:55 AM | royfomr

Sep 2, 2011 at 11:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

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