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Energy day 

BBC Radio 5 Live is running an energy day today, with the studio powered entirely by renewables.

OK, so it's a daft idea, particularly on a day when the UK wind fleet is only generating 0.46 GW, but you never know, maybe the conclusion will be that renewables are stupid and wasteful. If anyone is listening, do post it in the comments.

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Reader Comments (41)

A pointless exercise as it just electricity coming off the national grid. Unless they are are linked directly to wind turbine, solar panels? So it will be trumpeted as a success.
Will they calculate that only X percent of radio studios in the country could operate at any one time if they all did this? Mmmmmm...

Sep 5, 2013 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Schofield

" maybe the conclusion will be that renewables are stupid and wasteful."

Dream on.

Sep 5, 2013 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterMorph

I trust some one from the GWPF will be monitoring the programme.

Sep 5, 2013 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Listened on the way into work. The audience is packed to the rafters with Greens, anti-frackers, WWF, FoTE, solar and renewables advocates, plus on-message councillors. A complete SaveThePlanet ****fest.

Barely a voice of reason amongst the lot of them.

Oh, and Ed Davey is like, really really great, and when he leaves politics he's gonna be, like, really really great for childrens TV.

God help us.

Sep 5, 2013 at 9:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterCheshirered

They are really missing the point.

The studio being powered by renewables is utterly irrelevant. What's powering the transmitters? Fairy dust?

Sep 5, 2013 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Cheshirered (Sep 5, 2013 at 9:54 AM):

God helps those who help themselves. Which could be why Christianity is under such assault from the do-gooders in our benefits-rich society – can’t have people getting the idea that they can survive without the guiding hand of The State, can we?

Sep 5, 2013 at 10:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Caught a 'headline' item on R4 news this morning about this. Apparently 2/3rds of people would be happy to have a wind farm in their neighbourhood. (Face/palm moment!)

Sep 5, 2013 at 10:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

" the studio powered entirely by renewables."

Hope they dont switch on the Air Conditioning they re lose power to the lights the Mixing Disks the Laptops and rest of the studio .

So what they using to power the Staff Canteen and the rest of the building and the Transmitters of course.

The old BBC TV Center in White City was actually powered by Gas Turbines.Because it took to long to run them down and back up again they kept them running ,so the BBC just sold their excess power back to the Grid.

Work out the Carbon Footprint for UK Television and Radio Broadcasting.
Ever felt the heat that comes off a Studio light and then the Air Con that goes with it.
In this modern era their power consumption will rival some Manufacturing Industries.
Maybe the BBC should think about that when it they just had 4 national radio stations the World Service and 2 TV channels.

Sep 5, 2013 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

BBC Radio 5 Live is running an energy day today, with the studio powered entirely by renewables.

Oh what joy to behold should there be a timely power-cut today>

Sep 5, 2013 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

The live audience had obviously been packed with vested interests but at least Nicky Campbell did make each one introduce their affiliation before speaking - Ed Davey appeared quite sane compared to them. It was obvious that the outside callers were generally older and more realistic than the audience. It is becoming quite obvious that the green movement is composed of mainly well off idealists who will probably change their minds and deny it all in a decade's time. In fact the more disturbing figure was the environment chairman of Manchester City Council who was a prime example of the concept of Parkinson's law - very scary.

Sep 5, 2013 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrefjon

Sep 5, 2013 at 10:20 AM | Snotrocket: "... 2/3rds of people would be happy to have a wind farm in their neighbourhood."

Not so.

The DECC has just published Wave 6 of its "Public Attitudes Tracker" (link). It's a huge survey (over 2,000 households responded) and, so far as I can see, the methodology is sound. Question 12 asked respondents if they "would be happy to have a large scale renewable energy development in [their] area". 26% agreed "strongly" that they would and 30% agreed "slightly". Far less than 2/3rds. And the next response puts even that into perspective: when asked if they agreed that "renewable energy developments should provide direct benefit to the communities in which they are located", 47% agreed "strongly" that they should and 34% agreed "slightly".

It's interesting BTW that, when presented with a pre-determined list of "top challenges" (unlike IpsosMORI which allows respondents to think for themselves), only 5% opted for "climate change" as the principal challenge - the second lowest choice. (The lowest is "national security/defence" at 2%. The highest is "unemployment" at 37%.)

Sep 5, 2013 at 11:01 AM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

"It is becoming quite obvious that the green movement is composed of mainly well off idealists who will probably change their minds and deny it all in a decade's time."

I'm afraid that might be wishful thinking. If the previous example of insanity, communism, is anything to go by, those who were driven insane by it in their youth may wear different clothes in middle age, but they still believe it's religious belief system.

And they occupy power.

Sep 5, 2013 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Wind down to 0.35GW


Sep 5, 2013 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterJabba the Cat

I haven't been listening to R5 but ...
I question whether you mean Parkinson's Law (work expands to meet the number of people available to do it) or the Peter Principle (employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence).
Assuming that the guy you refer to is chairman of Manchester CC's Environment Committee then he will be an elected councillor in which case, like all too many elected representatives, he will be an example of the latter (though technically he is not an employee).
Pardon my pedantry.
I'm not sure whether anyone has yet formulated a Law that says that Councillors will normally be appointed to chair committees dealing with matters about which they know virtually nothing but on which they have very strong views.
I'm happy to call it the Trefjon Principle if you wish.

Sep 5, 2013 at 11:11 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Over 10GW of wind capacity is currently generating 355MW.

A little over 3.5% of faceplate capacity.

The government claims that, on average, the turbines run at 27.68% of faceplate capacity. Every time I have looked this summer it has been 15% or less.

Sep 5, 2013 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Presently listening to 5 Live for as long as I can (oh, so utterly tediously banal! Give me the banter of Ken Bruce anytime!); the first mention I heard of “powered [entirely] by renewable energy”, and it was “powered partly by renewable energy”. Now it appears that it is only the outside studio being powered by renewables. Hmmm. Maybe they are learning that “renewable” does not mean “reliable”.

Sep 5, 2013 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

It's been low since April, I'm waiting to see what the 2013 average turns out to be as the output hasn't been that great all year.

Sep 5, 2013 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Had to give up when they decided to have a long, long, long, (well, you get the picture…) discussion about the 2-year old bunking off nursery.

“How could she walk half a mile and no-one notice?” they wail, “why did no-one stop her?” Because, you utterly stupid imbeciles, of the programming of society that you are so happy to have a hand in. No-one wants to be thought of as a pervert or paedophile, as anyone (particularly a man) stopping to talk to a strange child, particularly one alone, will be considered. Men have difficulty walking past schools, nowadays, staring resolutely ahead lest their presence be misinterpreted.

Sep 5, 2013 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Robin Guenier @11:01 am: I hope you didn't think that I was advocating that 2/3rds would be happy to have a wind farm etc.....? I was merely reporting what the 'headline' news snippet said on my radio this morning.
I'm pleased to see you have dug out the truth of this. I shall be able to use it in any future rebuttal.

Sep 5, 2013 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

In fact if you look up what they mean by powered by renewables, 86% of the energy is coming from a generator burning vegetable oil!

Sep 5, 2013 at 12:36 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

none of these 460MW ever reach a customer outlet of course

most is dispersed in the extensive cabling and apparatus or soaked up in grid inefficiencies as fossil fuel network needs to monitor and adapt for the 460MW parasitic noise in its network.

Sep 5, 2013 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterptw

Caught a little bit of Nicky Cambell’s show couldn’t get past the horrendous woman that said in response to the pensioner who couldn’t sell his home because of a planned wind farm, that she lived on the doorstep of the second largest wind farm in the UK where house prices had risen because of it.

My BS detector went off the scale.

Sep 5, 2013 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJaceF

The Radio 5 Live blog for Energy Day says that

Sensors have been built to measure the energy generated and software written to allow the four sources (Solar/Wind/Kinetic/Bio) to be represented graphically, both on the big screen in the MediaCityUK Piazza and on the BBC Radio 5 live website.

I can't find the graphical representation on the website. Can anyone else?

Sep 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterhebe

hebe, see this tweet

"Here's a 1pm reading of the energy we've produced so far at #EnergyDay. Looks like we might need some help."

Sep 5, 2013 at 1:59 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Renewables are the way forward. And here parliament demonstrates the contribution they can make to Britain's future, and pronounce themselves to be 'Over the moon'.

Sep 5, 2013 at 2:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagleblog

Sep 5, 2013 at 11:21 AM | TerryS

Over 10GW of wind capacity is currently generating 355MW.

A little over 3.5% of faceplate capacity.

I call them resources on a stick. On average 75% of these resources are placed beyond use. In your example about 97% of the resources are beyond use.

Is this really the way to use earth's resources?

Sep 5, 2013 at 6:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Sep 5, 2013 at 12:26 PM | Snotrocket:

Worry not: it didn't even occur to me that you were advocating the 2/3rds would be happy to have a wind farm etc ... And I'm glad to have been able to help. In return, perhaps you'd give me some support here. Thanks.

Sep 5, 2013 at 8:14 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

You don't need help, RG. You appear to be blitzing them with sound science (aided by a couple of other well-known names), which might sit very uncomfortably upon them. The blog title says it all, really: "Campaign against Climate Change". May just as well call it "Stop Seasonal Changes"; while shorter term, it amounts to the same. Tim's comment tells you a lot about his ilk: "Pay no notice of the sceptics, guys!"

Sep 5, 2013 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent: just look at who they are.

These people are worth hitting - the harder the better. Get stuck in.

Sep 5, 2013 at 9:04 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Ed Davey on Five live Breakfast:

A sample (from about the 27:38 point):

But let me deal with the point on biomass, and whether it's sustainable - we have consulted and done a huge amount of research to make sure that our biomass policy is more sustainable, because of some of the worries that you actually described, and Neil, the counsellor from Manchester, I'm afraid you misquoted our ambitions - it's far more ambitious than you suggested, it's 30% by the end of the decade, not the end of the century, 30% by the end of the decade, many people think that's ridiculously ambitious, I'd like to do more and if you look at the European Union debates, it's Britain leading the way, so that Europe is even more ambitious than it's been in the past, and in terms of making sure our energy - our homes are as insulated as possible, it's been Liberal Democrats in this Coalition government who've pushed the argument for zero carbon homes, which could be a mixture, 'cos some homes it won't be right for solar panels, other homes it will be, so you can't - it's not one size fits all, but a zero carbon home policy is a way of making sure that our new-build homes are as energy-efficient as possible and as clean and green-efficient [sic] as possible, that's what I want.

Everyone clear? Good.

Sep 5, 2013 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

" Zero carbon homes "
Does that mean homes constructed without using wood & plastic etc?

Sep 5, 2013 at 11:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterTom Mills

@ Tom Mills, I think they're proposing to set up some sort of offsetting process for that. There's a consultation about "zero carbon homes" going on at the moment, apparently:

On page 8 of the consultation document, the government "proposes that house builders can achieve the zero carbon standard by mitigating the remaining emissions ‘off-site’, in effect a kind of carbon offsetting or abatement" ("Allowable Solutions".)

"The options for Allowable Solutions may involve payments by house builders to third parties who would provide the necessary carbon abatement."

I haven't read it all the way through yet, but am assuming the upshot to be that house builders will face an additional cost of CO2 offsets, in order to make the whole thing "zero carbon".

As far as I can see, it will be, in effect, just yet another bureaucratic hurdle to impede house building in the UK: see this recent Reuters article:

Building costs are also expected to be pushed up by new regulations, with local councils to charge housebuilders fees to help finance items such as roads and a government push for a net-zero carbon emissions standard for all new homes by 2016.

Sep 6, 2013 at 8:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

Tom, Alex

I don't believe the "zero carbon homes" scheme/scam for a moment. Cement and concrete are used in virtually all methods of construction and are responsible for large quantities of CO2 (bricks are even worse). Even wood requires plenty of processing to make it suitable (including kiln drying) and all the plastic/oil-based products are super-bad, if that sort of thing worries you.

Hard to see that enough trees could be planted to offset that lot, even if they were a long-term sink, which they aren't...

Sep 6, 2013 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Do we know what the end result at Radio 5 was? Diesel generators 1, cyclists nil, I imagine.

Sep 6, 2013 at 9:51 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

RG (Sep 5, 2013 at 9:04 PM):

Oh, Lord! I had thought that they were just a bunch of school-kids, showing off how clever they were with computers! Now I know that they are supposed to be intelligent adults, all in comfortable positions paid for by the tax-payer, that makes the site very, very scary!

Sep 6, 2013 at 10:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Okay, RG. Wrists, slapped, I have now done my bit.

Sep 6, 2013 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

RR: thanks. What I'm beginning to find scary is that they're making no attempt to fight back.

I don't like it: it's too quiet out there.

Sep 6, 2013 at 2:01 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

The calm before the storm or the dying away of the last shots of the battle? It's part of the adventure of being a human being that one never knows. :)

Sep 6, 2013 at 2:16 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

More likely that they post the... erm, post... and forget about it. They have enlightened the world, and are not bothered as to how the world responds.

Sep 6, 2013 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

RG: You have wound me up - I have now added a comment to their "Mission Statement" page, in the hope of prodding them into some sort of reaction.

Oooh, but I can be so naughty!

Sep 7, 2013 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

As an aside, this is a late post here to avoid knocking other threads off-line: the “Campaign for Climate Change” site is still “active”, as they continue to post links to the Grauniad – the well-known centre of investigative journalism. Obviously, they consider any responses criticising them to be beneath contempt to reply to.

Sep 11, 2013 at 11:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

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