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« A prayer for our times by Dominic Lawson | Main | What a difference a week makes »

Government admits benefits of green policy less than cost

There was a wonderful comedy answer from Lord Bourne to a question from Matt Ridley in the Lords yesterday. Ridley was inquiring about the abatement costs of various renewable energy technologies and was told this:

...based on support provided through the renewables obligation, the estimated abatement cost in 2014 was £65 per tonne of carbon dioxide for onshore wind, £121 for offshore wind and £110 for solar PV.

When Ridley pointed out that these costs were in excess of most estimates (and all sensible estimates) of the cost of global warming, Bourne was only able to tell him that the cost of renewables is coming down.

My Lords, it is fair to say that there is a decline in the cost of renewable generation technologies. The steepest decline is in solar PV. On my noble friend’s point about the fact that the last leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, had a policy on energy that was not in the interests of the country, I am pleased to say that one of the first actions of the new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change was to write to the energy companies to say that we look forward to seeing a reduction in bills consequent on the fact that the last leader of the Opposition is not now Prime Minister.

Note that there was absolutely no attempt to rebut Ridley's point. The government therefore appears to be tacitly admitting that the cost of its renewables policy exceeds the benefits.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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Reader Comments (45)

At this very moment, I'm having more solar pv panels fitted to my roof. Gosh, I now feel guilty about accepting the feed in tariff, snark.

Jun 25, 2015 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

Mixed well with a substantial wadge of hænep, I am told that most difficulties go up in smoke quite well. Quite the rage these days. A likely assist for those hapless four perching precariously at the front the Parliament Building in Wellington with a bunch of PV panels in a country that generates 60% of its base load power from hydro.

Jun 25, 2015 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterManfred

"The steepest decline is in solar PV."

I want to know how much of the price fall is due to improvements in technology and production and how much is down to poor quality, highly subsidised and over produced panels in China.

Jun 25, 2015 at 9:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I'd be interested in how much energy you spend recovering the indium and other non-renewable minerals from dead solar panels.

Jun 25, 2015 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterClovis Marcus

The cost that's never figured into the analysis is cleaning up the toxic waste of out of life panels.

"Billions and billions and we’ve ended up with pretty much nothing. Actually, that’s not quite correct. What we will have, within a decade or two, is a clear up job that’ll make Chernobyl look like a training day. As the vast arrays of panels age, they’ll crack and contaminate the topsoil with poisonous chemical particles."

The sun is setting on solar power, the money’s gone and nobody’s asking any questions.


Jun 25, 2015 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

"The government therefore appears to be tacitly admitting that the cost of its renewables policy exceeds the benefits."

This is why this Dutch court ruling & the SNP challenge to the UK government on wind are so good. Most governments already know the cost of these gullible energies is higher than any possible benefit. But they still keep talking the green-gullible rhetoric in public to pander to those like the BBC and keep them on side.

So it's green-gullible in public and sceptic in private.

But with these court cases, governments are going to have to decide whether to be green-gullible in public & private or whether to be pragmatic cost conscious sceptics in both public & private.

There is only one way for them to go!

Jun 25, 2015 at 10:53 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

TinyCO2: "The steepest decline is in solar PV."

Back around 2000, when I looked at the cost of gullible energies I found solar PV was something like 50 times the cost of the mains. So perhaps it is now 10x the cost of mains?

Note: solar hot water was cheaper than mains electric power. And this fact alone and the way no one has pushed for solar hot water proves beyond doubt that this whole scam had nothing at all to do with better ways to get energy but instead was solely a way to make a lot of money to scamsters using the electricity grid to funnel profits to themselves.

Jun 25, 2015 at 10:57 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Do they factor in the cost of employing people to tell us all how wonderful unreliable energy is?

There is no Government Dept to tell us all how cheap and reliable a woodburning stove is, so I just don't understand why so many of us country bumpkins like them.

Apparently wood is renewable, and it even grows on trees in the UK. Not a lot of Green townies know that

Jun 25, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf charlie: "unreliable energy"

are they unreliables or are they gullibles?

They are certainly unreliable and in terms of engineering and power grid that's a great name for them.

But I think what really characterises these energy sources is a form of perpetual motion energy madness. Because they never ever consider the costs of producing the things or transportation or all the other costs like backup. They are in short political follies and as such I think what characterises these "green" energies is that they are green as in greenstick or gullible.

So wouldn't the better group name for wind, solar, and similar idiotic energy forms be: "gullibles"?

Jun 25, 2015 at 11:05 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

It will only get worse. It looks like our caring 'greenest evah Government' is going to allow an even higher price for tidal power. For the Government Ms Leadsom said: "A diverse set of energy sources is vital, not just for our energy security, but also for our decarbonisation and for keeping the costs down to consumers." What???? How can they keep costs down by allowing hugely expensive electricity generating schemes. They are totally insane.

See Swansea Bay tidal lagoon power price questioned

Jun 25, 2015 at 11:58 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Mike Haseler, climate science semantics is another growth profession in the Fantasy Green economy. We, that is to say, the taxpayers, have been subjected to mass brainwashing and conditioning, into accepting the term "renewable" when linked to energy, when clearly there is nothing renewable about it, apart from the subsidies.

Having failed with science, the eco loons have been changing the English Language, to enforce their indoctrination upon all. They do not discriminate of course, they prey on everybody, but specialise in the vulnerable, poor, frail, elderly and young, in fact the very people least able to think things through for themselves.

So gullible or unreliable? Well they are both correct and applicable when used to define advocates of Green energy. The greatest sense of Faux Outrage inflicted, is probably the best assessment of effective green science communication failure.

Obviously their abuse of rhetoric goes without saying, normally.

Jun 25, 2015 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

In spite of the Government rhetoric; happily much less of it since the terminally moronic 3Eds have departed; a lot of the houses in my area have spouted stainless steel chimneys and there has been a corresponding increase in the number of people scavenging through my wooded copse. At one time they were looking for magic mushrooms but now it is mostly tree limbs that are disappearing. This has all resulted in a haze of smoke and dust over the area when the wind drops in the evening. So we are now experiencing some of the discomfort of the African cooking experience.

How a Government Policy which must be directed towards increasing electricity use for light, heating, transport and all, at the same time as changing the generation of same to non CO2 emitting sources can have worked so completely in reverse could become a study for the next generation of PPE students lining up to be MP's.

I have changed from Electric heating to Calor gas to avoid the future price hikes caused by un reliables policy. Now the Pope has outlawed carbon credit scams I'm feeling pretty good about it. When LPG exports get under way from America I should be a very happy person.

I could waffle on about the unbelievable stupidity emanating from the Government and their Greeny guides but it has all been said before. On the ground it is very obvious that their policies are counter productive, regressive, and dumb.

Jun 25, 2015 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

Re Jun 25, 2015 at 10:57 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler


I'd suggest you do some research on solar hot water before you leap. Been there, done that and didn't get a T-shirt.

Here (our part of Oz) the payback was around 20 years when we went that way. The panels seem to be OK but the first storage tank rusted out an about 7 years. We got a price reduction, so went with a second which rusted its bum out in about 12 - and that one had plenty of sacrificial anode left and run on rainwater when we had it.

Theoretically sound but practically imperfect - and an expensive hobby we can't afford.

So we now have gone with a Rinnai on demand gas, which type seems to have stood the test of time around here. And the plumber that installed it only knows of about one solar left in an area with bodacious sunshine.


Jun 25, 2015 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnother Ian

Re Jun 25, 2015 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered Commenter Ivor Ward

Check the gas price here and hope!

Jun 25, 2015 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnother Ian

Ivor Ward, UNeliable energy is a job creation scheme for the UNemployable. All sanctioned by the UN.

There is a link, but I am UNable to see it.

World Peace through World Poverty

Jun 25, 2015 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Another Ian - thanks! Very interesting.

I understood the payback for solar hot water heating was about 2 years - but it's been around 15 years since I checked and it may have been DIY prices. Come to think about it, I recall a figure of around 4-5 years for commercial - but that could be Scottish figures, where (I was once told) paradoxically the longer Spring and Autumn means we have long periods with cold ground (so very cold water) when there is a lot of sun.

And solar is excellent at heating really cold water to a moderate temperature - but not so good to really "hot".

My own plan a long time ago was to pre-heat the water to perhaps 30-50C (for which solar is ideal) and then use an instantaneous hot water boiler to boost it just a bit extra to a temperature suitable for use. Unfortunately, I didn't read the boiler spec when we bought it as it requires quite a low input temperature.

So it then morphed into an idea of using a thermal mixing valve - so that I mixed hot water at say 60C with the solar hot water to get water at 55C. But that required a mains pressure hot water storage tank and what with the problem of finding any place sensible to put all the storage boiler, pumps etc. the idea was shelved.

(You want the heater and tank close together so the water quickly gets to the right temperature. If there is a long pipe, not only do you waste the heat, but there is a long delay so you can get a sudden increase in temperature after you think it is settled to a temperature)

Jun 25, 2015 at 12:32 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

On the subject of wood stoves. I read somewhere that after an installation cost of £8000, for every £1 spent on wood pellets the Lord of the manner gets three quid from the taxpayer.

Can this possibly be correct?

Jun 25, 2015 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterpatrick healy

patrick healy, a conventional open fire sends the majority of heat up the chimney. Any stove that restricts air flow in, reduces gases and heat going up the chimney. This does increase condensation within the chimney, and the chance of damage to the mortar, and tarlike deposits coming through the chimney breast in upper rooms.

It is therefore recommended that chimney flues are lined with a flexible metal concertina type liner, inserted top down, before installation of a woodburning stove or Aga type of cooker. This is lucrative work for the average house, for people charging £8, 000.

Jun 25, 2015 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Another Ian.... It's always a guess based on a hunch backed by feeling when you are trying to find the cheapest fuel.

In our French house we went for a pellet burner for €4000 which costs about €12 a week to heat half the house and an ethanol fire in the lounge. Ethanol is now really difficult to buy and it was expensive to run so we are back with an electric fire. I like the pellet burner though, combined with nuclear powered wall panels courtesy of EDF. No more chimney fires in a 12 meter high chimney.

I have great hopes for LPG !

Jun 25, 2015 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

patrick healy, the rights of a Lord of the Manor may go back to the Domesday book, and are linked to serfs being able to pick up firewood from the forest floor, but not chop down trees or branches for firewood.

The Forestry Commission was created in 1919, as a consequence of structural timber shortages during WW1, and some Laws were updated. Since Common Market farming subsidies were introduced, and created tax incentives for owning land and planting trees, more problems were created, than solved. However lawyers have been very happy.

Folklore and current EU Law are not always compatible, and greedy people always benefit from confusion.

Jun 25, 2015 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The Green Blob like the idea of reverting to a feudal law system, having appointed themselves as Lords of all they desire, and reclassifying taxpayers as noncognizant serfs. It matches their needs and political aspirations.

Jun 25, 2015 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Think of the cost benefits if Labour had scrapped Ed Miliband before the Climate Change Act.

Jun 25, 2015 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Another Ian

Guy i work with was offered Solar Panels for 7 grand and the Rep assured him the panels would pay for themselves in 5 years in reduced Electricity Bills .Received the contract in the post his wife slowly read through the small print and the company estimates was actually between 5 and 22 years plus extra for the warranty .Obviously he didn't sign it and threw the contract in the bin.

Skeptic argument in a nutshell Carbon Free Renewable Energy at the present state is not viable.Simples

Jun 25, 2015 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

And in the Guardian today, 'Land bought by Greenpeace to defy Heathrow expansion quietly sold for £1', and the trees adopted and dotingly planted in it by our climate caring politicians, Clegg and Cameron included, all rotted and died off in a tangle of weeds.

Jun 25, 2015 at 4:56 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Mike & Another Ian: My understanding has always been that a cost-effective solar water heater consisted of a black 55-gallon (US) drum placed on the roof and piped appropriately with valves accessible from grade. Obviously, in later years, people's expectations of solar heating have risen beyond economic attainability.

Jun 25, 2015 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

golf charlie: It is therefore recommended that chimney flues are lined with a flexible metal concertina type liner, inserted top down, before installation of a woodburning stove or Aga type of cooker

Yes, top down!! I started by trying to pull it up but you are pulling against gravity and there turned out to be a big blob of concrete a few feet up.

The other advice I have - is check which chimney pot is at the top. I just assumed it would be the one that was open - I couldn't understand why the chimney sweep brush wouldn't come out. I finally gave it at almighty push only to hear a "thud thud thud .... CRASH" as I pushed the other chimney pot stopped with concrete off the chimney stack and it bounced down the roof wrecking the tiles and finally landing on next door's drive where they usually park their car (not that day thankfully!)

Jun 25, 2015 at 5:27 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

jorgekafkazar "My understanding has always been that a cost-effective solar ... heater"

A friend put a large solar water panel on the wall of their house so it looked like a window. But it turns out, that if they really wanted to benefit from the sun's heat the simplest possible solar heating system is something known as ...

... a window. (south facing)

They are very efficient heat collectors, the low temperature heat is extremely good at reducing energy use. And like everything else about this "gullibles" energy scam, the only reason no one ever talks about them is that no one has thought of a way to con politicians to give them public money to install them.

Jun 25, 2015 at 5:33 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Jun 25, 2015 at 9:50 AM | TinyCO2

The biggest cause for the drop in prices of PV was the reduction in the feed in tariff, which was fought in the courts by FoE. High tariffs meant that suppliers could overcharge for an installation but the customer could still get a decent return on their investment. Once the tariff started to come down, suppliers had to charge more realistic prices to make the purchase worthwhile.

Jun 25, 2015 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

Mike Haseler, another advantage of a woodburning stove (with or wiithout a lined flue) is that it can be swept top down, with the stove vents closed. Chimney sweeping is a lot less bovver, provided you have simple access to the roof.

Window Tax was tried from 1750s to 1850s in the UK. It was so popular that many historic buildings still have their windows bricked up, as proof of political stupidity.

Jun 25, 2015 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Lies, damned lies and statistics. That's the renewables scam in a nutshell.

Jun 25, 2015 at 7:01 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

My experience of a woodburning stove is that if you only use well-seasoned wood and burn it hot (I aim for a stove top temperature of about 200C), then the chimney does not need sweeping.

Jun 25, 2015 at 7:52 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Not enough thought goes into understanding how greenies think. Let me give you an example. If you were told that it would cost every Briton, man woman and child, a couple of thousand quid to stamp out rape in the UK, you would probably pay up quite happily.

Yesterday a Dutch friend posted the news of the Hague decision with great rejoicing. I pointed out to her (using Leo Smith's figures which he in turn got from David McKay) that it would cost the Dutch about $30bn to erect enough wind turbines to meet their energy needs, leaving aside for the moment the intermittency problem. She said, so what, that's only $2000 a head, a cost she's quite willing to pay.

Greenies have it fixed in their heads that fossil fuels are morally equivalent to rape. Right or wrong, you're not going to change that. You can also try to show that the proposed solution is not going to work. Matt Ridley's experience in the House of Lords shows that that argument is futile too.

This week the UK's Met Office warned that thanks to predicted reduced solar activity, Britain (and thus the world) might be entering a mini ice age. My first response was oh good, maybe everyone will abandon the war on carbon in a hurry. But upon consideration I realised that (a) the Met Office under Slingo has been 100% wrong in every other long term prediction they made and we might instead be in for a period of acclerated warming; and (b) the greenies would blame the cooling on fossil fuels anyway.

Am I being pessimistic or realistic?

Jun 25, 2015 at 8:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Mellor

GC: "Window Tax was tried from 1750s to 1850s in the UK."

Shortly followed in the 1780s by the brick tax, which was even more ridiculous. The brick-makers responded by making larger bricks, almost twice the size of those previous. This reduced the tax paid, but increased production costs due to the need for longer firing, so customers still paid more but the Government got little in the way of taxation.

So Government responded by introducing a maximum legal volume for an individual brick. As a result, many brick-makers went bust, leading to a shortage of bricks and the whole scheme was abandoned in 1850 when it became apparent that the tax was holding back the industrial revolution.

It seems that modern politicos are totally ignorant to their historical predecessors mistakes in trying to rig the commercial and industrial scene to suit their own agendas.

Jun 25, 2015 at 8:58 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

PB, even under those circumstances unless you have a very short indoor flue, you should sweep the flue every 2-3 years. Easy to do yourself with proper tools. We heat my farmhouse in winter as much as possible with an enclosed wood stove and a double walled fan blown firebox connected to the propane fired furnace. All wisconsin hardwood (oak, hard maple, hickory, a little birch for show) from my 3 woodlots, seasoned at least 1 year in the outdoor woodpile next to the tractor shed before splitting, plus at least 6 months more in the cellar woodstore, which holds about 6 true cords of split 18 inch bolts. Enough for one Wisconsin winter.
The problem is trace tars and creosotes in the smoke as new wood is periodically added to the fire, which condense out as the flue gas rises and cools. Eventualy accumulates enough to cause either a chimney fire (bad) or a melt/plug. Worse, as that happened in dead winter four years after I bought the place. Turns out the previous owner subscribed to your theory. Took two miserable cold days to get that plug hacked up and out by dropping a heavy pointed iron rod on a chain down from atop the chimney, on a two story roof covered in two feet of snow. Regards.

Jun 25, 2015 at 9:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

Mike Haseler

have you thought about a couple of these? At 30€ each it is not a great investment even if the lifetime is only a few years

Solar Swimming Pool Heater

Jun 25, 2015 at 9:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

As might be expected with something which is practical, effective and not subsidised or centrally controlled, the greenies have got woodburners firmly in their sights. Already parts of the US have banned them except for the newest, most expensive "low emissions" models, which probably require a diet of only the best quality seasoned wood.

Expect the UK to follow as usual, the first rumblings can already be heard.

Jun 25, 2015 at 11:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

NW: " Already parts of the US have banned them except for the newest, most expensive "low emissions" models, which probably require a diet of only the best quality seasoned wood."

Or maybe "parts of the US" have sussed out that it is far profitable to turn their wood into pellets and export them to places like the UK that have idiotically decided to meet their carbon reduction targets by turning their coal-burning power plants to biomass?

Jun 25, 2015 at 11:30 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Rud Istvan:
What happened to the Baronial stove idea? Sorry, I can't remember the german name. A large assembly of sandstone making a labyrinth for the fue gases. The fire is lit with full air flow for hot combustion, but the tars, resins etc. condense on the sandstone until the hot gases warm them to ignition point. The mass of sandstone becomes warm and heats the room. The stove often had benches for sitting or sleeping on.

The fire is damped down leaving coals ready for the next tree. Yes, they weighed tons and required lots of wood, but that was to heat a vast hall. The fire door was usually on the other side of a wall so wood loading didn't disrupt social life. I saw something similar in the Monastery in Melk last year, where the visitor appartments were heated, with the wood fed in from the corridor.
I was told that the big units could use green pine. Whether true I don't know, but it may be an idea to see if these could be made a bit smaller for those without a baronial hall to heat.

Jun 25, 2015 at 11:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

Salopian, the brick tax also created further conditions for "mathematical tiling". This was a thin walled hollow brick, with a rear face that extended upwards, so it could be nailed in place like a tile, but the visible front faces, once pointed up with mortar, made the finished appearance indistinguisable from brickwork. This allowed older timber framed properties to be "clad" to give the appearance of trendy modern brickwork, and did not incur brick tax, when introduced.

It is very difficult to identify! In older market towns, it is sometimes possible to spot a "brick" house, in the middle of a terrace of Tudor timber framed houses if they all have the same ridgeline and window layout, but that is not guaranteed proof.

Jun 25, 2015 at 11:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Graeme No3, bricks and mortar don't burn, but every year there are chimney fires. It is the products of incomplete combustion that condense in the chimney forming "tars", partially absorbed into porous stone and brickwork that catch fire, always helped by birdsnests, soot and other airborne leaf litter etc.

The inside walls of a traditional timber smoke house, for kippers, is blackened and oily. This is from the wood, not the herring, but would probably burn nicely if hot enough, though a smoke house should not rely on that level of heat.

Jun 26, 2015 at 12:19 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Mike Haseler:
The payback time for solar hot water heating in Adelaide, South Australia used to be 6 years, but then our politicians got involved.
They demanded that the backup heating be from a heat pump. Someone told them that the COP was 4 or something, I.e. They could get 4 units of heat for 1 unit of electricity. They didn't hesitate to ask how? I would call them airheads but there is no evidence of oxygen reaching their brains.
Enthusiasm for heat pumps fades after 2 nights in winter. On all the time using electricity, which has tripled in price thanks to 'cheap' wind.
There is also a problem if you live in a frosty area, you need the more expensive type. Unfortunately politicians don't burn with much heat.

Jun 26, 2015 at 12:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

The problem is the legal commitment to CO2 reduction. Until the legislation with respect to this commitment is repealled, the government has no choice but to promote so called 'green' energy and diversification of energy supply.

The only way to substantially reduce CO2 is to go nuclear, but that is not going to happen any time soon. With existing technologies, the next best option is to go gas. The USA although not signing up to Kyoto is the only major economic country to have significantly reduced its Co2 emissions these past 15 years, and that is because of the switch from coal to gas.

What is not presently being acknowledged is that biomass produces more CO2 than coal (and more than double that of gas) and it is only by way of misleading accounting that this method of energy production is being promoted, and windfarms (or for that matter solar) do not result in any meaningful rduction in CO2 emissions.

The real political scandal is that politicians will not acknowledge what is now plainly obvious, namely due to the intermittent nature of renewables, 100% back up is required and the consequence of this is that there is no significant reduction in annual CO2 emissions. The data is coming in showing that windfarms on average produce only about 22% to 25% of their nameplate capacity. That means that on average, conventional backup is required to be run for about 78% of the time.

One might think that if this backup is required only 78% of the time there will be a 22% reduction in CO2 (ie,m the average output of a windfarm). However, the backup is not being run in staedy state mode when it is most efficient and when CO2 per kWh produced is at its minimum. Rather it is being used in ramp up/ramp down mode and this is when the plant is working at its most inefficient. Just like a car on the urban cycle. Everyone knows that start/stop motoring in urban environments results in high fuel consumption whereas steady 60mph driving on a motorway produces the most fuel efficient returns. This is teh same with power generation.

Although the conventional backup is being used for only about 78% of the time, it is emitting about 98 to 99% of the CO2 that it would emit if it was running 100% if the time in eeficient steady state mode.

The upshot is that renewables are not only expensive, they do not result in the meaningful reduction of CO2, and therefore fail on their primary objective; the only reason for using unreliable and intermittent renewables which are at their least efficient when power requirements are at their peak, is IF they result in a meaningful reduction of CO2. But they do not, and sooner or later the politicians will have to admit this.

The politicians may be able to hide behind the science. They may be able to claim that they were misled by scientists as to the harmful consequences of CO2 and cAGW, but there is no where to hide from the simple fact that renewables in every day use do not result in the meaningful reduction of CO2. They can never help teh Governmnet achieve its 2030 and/or 2050 targets for CO2.

Jun 26, 2015 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Mike Haseler

have you thought about a couple of these? At 30€ each it is not a great investment even if the lifetime is only a few years

Solar Swimming Pool Heater

Jun 25, 2015 at 9:11 PM | SandyS

I have a swimming pool in Spain fitted with solar heating, and it is not particularly effective.

Spain is very sunny. usually not a cloud in the sky from sun rise to sun set 95% of the time between April to October, so plenty of sun, and being nearer the tropics the sun's rays are more powerful. Also around the Med, there is no pollution to speak of.

My pool is about 100cbm, and my solar array consists of 3 domes of tightly wound rubber/plastic 15mm tubing of about 1.7m diametre. I do not know how many metres of tubing, but it is a lot The first outter wind will be about 5,34m, the next wind will be 5.24m, the next wind 5.15m etc etc until it gets to the centre. And I have 3 of these so plenty of area. The area of the array is about 8 sq.m.

Obviously I do not use the solar heating in summer, my pool in early July through to August is between 34 to 37deg (sometimes it gets up to 38degC). I only use it in April and October when it will add about 1 to 2 degC. If I am very lucky, it will add 3degC to the temperature. This can make all the difference but it is not much. It probably would be more effective if I used a pool cover (because the pool takes up a temperature of about 3 to 4 degC warmer than the nightime temps) but I do not since I like to see the pool not look upon a cover.

I do not imagine that in the UK, a small device (which did appear cheap) would be particularly effective. One can buy solar covers and i suspect that those would be more effective. Some claim raising the temperature by about 8degC but that presumably is in ideal conditions rarely if ever encountered in the UK.

Some have commented on solar for heating water. I have frequently extolled the virtues of this as being the only cost effective 'green'/renewable energy source. In Spain systems can be purchased from about €750 (this includes an array and a tank which lies above the array and uses convection too circulate the water). These systems can produce all the hot water required for a small family/house for about 9 months of the yeart and even in the winter months add something of worth. In Spain, the pay back time is probably about 3 years, which is a sensible return on investment. Obviously in the Uk it would be longer, but still worth the investment.

In fact one can make a good DIY system simply by using flat panel radiators insulating the back of them and painting the sun facing side black. Some years back I bought 9 x 1.6m 60cm flat panel radiators which were being sold for about £20 each and cheap central heating pump (but with a suitable head to pump to roof level), With piping etc, it only cost about £250 and worked really quite well. the glass tube arrays are no doubt slightly more efficient, but if you have the area, an extra radiator more than makes up. It is surprising how efficient a painted black radiator can be, but of course, you need a sunny outlook.

Jun 26, 2015 at 9:07 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Jun 26, 2015 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered Commenter richard verney

Totally agree, Richard. Unfortunately government has always been about creative accountancy through the manipulation of statistics. No way to hold them to account as they will simply quote a different metric then wait for us to catch up before they change the metric again. This is beautifully illustrated by the unemployment statistics and the inflation stats. Change the count, not the numbers.

Jun 26, 2015 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

Ivor Ward, I can't disagree with that.

Governments usually fiddle employment statistics in only one direction. Usually suspicious. People usually try to call them on it, to little apparent effect. But it is difficult to quantify what effect that has on the electorate in the long term, even after passing through the media sieve.

Global-Warmers do the same, and many are now ensconced within government and the bureaucracy, but that's the world we have to live in. However, it also works both ways, so they could die by the same sword if they lose control of the message. This may be happening, but the lobbying looks to be becoming furious and frantic in the push for Paris.

I keep hoping someone is going to write an update to that classic "How to Lie with Statistics" by Darrell Huff, with reference to such matters. I'm not the best the best person to do it, but I just don't see any authors/publishers picking up on a fantastic publishing opportunity.

Jun 26, 2015 at 6:50 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

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