Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

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You couldn’t make it up. Insisting on spending a fortune when much cheaper and better options are available makes no sense, but climate obsessives plough on regardless.

STOP THESE THINGS

If what Australia’s political brains trust has done to its once reliable and affordable power supply had been done by external agents, it would have been branded an act of terrorism.

The so-called ‘wind power capital’ of Australia, South Australia has become an international laughing stock: statewide blackouts, routine load shedding and rocketing power prices might be enough, you would think, to make its Labor government see sense.

Far from it, it is now looking to spend $150 million on a giant battery that will return power to the grid and ‘power’ SA for all of four minutes and to set up somewhere between 200 and 250 MW of diesel generation capacity to keep the lights on, whenever the wind stops blowing.

The absurdity of throwing $550 million at a perfectly avoidable problem, when Jay Weatherill had the option of paying a mere $30 million to Alinta to keep its…

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energy -prices-EU

The institute for Economic Affairs has published a report calling for a reduction in electricity bills.

Brexit provides real opportunity to bring down electricity bills for low-income households

Executive Summary:

  • Electricity charges for households in England and Wales have risen by 50 per cent in real terms since 2001, partly as a result of policies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The decarbonisation policies adopted have been complex and inefficient, and have also been contradicted by other measures such as the reduced rate of VAT imposed on domestic fuel. Emissions reduction objectives could be achieved at much lower cost.
  • The government should phase out the Climate Change Levy, the Energy Company Obligation, the Warm Homes Discount and the Carbon Price Floor.
  • Utility bills should be taxable at the full VAT rate (20 per cent) rather than the reduced rate (5 per cent). Any help to vulnerable households should be in the form of electricity vouchers.
  • If the goal is to reduce emissions, decarbonisation should be undertaken under a single market-based mechanism such as a cap-and-trade scheme or a carbon tax, which would apply to all CO2 emissions.
  • Climate-change policy should be technology-neutral. The government should establish a decarbonisation target and allow energy markets to adjust to it in the most efficient way.

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Credit: wheels.ca


But where will the hydrogen come from? As the report says: ‘Questions remain over how to supply hydrogen in a low-carbon cost-effective manner’. The trouble is these questions have been around for ever and show no sign of going away. Producing electricity, converting it into hydrogen then back to electricity seems unlikely ever to be a cheap process.

The UK government has revealed plans to pump £23 million into “cutting edge” infrastructure to accelerate the uptake of hydrogen powered vehicles, reports Utility Week.

The Department for Transport has invited hydrogen fuel providers to bid for match funding from the government for high-tech infrastructure projects, including fuelling stations, in a competition launching over the summer.
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What could possibly go wrong? Like all pumped storage, every ‘refill’ uses more electricity for the pumping than is generated by its water release. The UK is also looking to develop similar schemes. The motivation is the intermittency of renewables.

The German state of North-Rhine Westphalia is set to turn its Prosper-Haniel hard coal mine in Bottrop into a 200 MW pumped-storage hydroelectric plant reports PEI.

The facility will act like a battery and will have enough capacity to power more than 400,000 homes, according to state governor Hannelore Kraft.

Other mines may also be converted after Prosper-Haniel because the state needs more industrial-scale storage as it seeks to double the share of renewables in its power mix to 30 per cent by 2025, she said. North-Rhine Westphalia generates a third of Germany’s power.
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UK taxpayers paid a high price to ensure the government didn’t get egg on its face over its agenda-driven electricity generation policies, as Utility Week reports.

The supplemental balancing reserve (SBR) cost a total of £180 million over the three years it was in operation but was “never once used”, a new report by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit has found. 

The think tank raised concerns that “fearmongering” about the “overblown” risk of blackouts led ministers to purchase an expensive insurance policy that was not needed. It has urged them not to spend “billions” more to bolster the UK’s capacity margin.

“The clear message from this report is that paying to boost spare capacity in Britain’s electricity system can be very expensive, and potentially unnecessary,” said Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) energy analyst Jonathan Marshall.
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Could UK electricity supply follow the postage model?


This looks more than a little like a warm-up act to the unveiling of the true role of smartmeters, preparing us to be ‘flexible and squeezed’. First or second class electricity? Just tick the box, thank you. That kind of thing.

A senior figure at Ofgem has called for a public debate on how consumers pay for and make use of the UK’s electricity networks, Utility Week reports.

Moves to increase flexibility and squeeze the most out of existing infrastructure could otherwise allow “one group of customers to outbid another group of customers for access”.

“When we consider that capacity may be at a premium – it is increasingly expensive to provide on a marginal basis,” said Ofgem senior partner Andrew Wright, “allowing everyone to charge their vehicles and power their heat pumps without constraint could turn out to be prohibitively expensive for everyone and increasingly difficult to manage on the system.
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The UK is struggling to get any reliable power generation built under its existing energy policies, as Utility Week explains. Meanwhile subsidies to renewables, and old coal-fired plants (as emergency back-up) roll on, making the future uncertain.

The capacity market has failed to deliver flexibility and reliable new-build generation, a new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has argued.  Existing generation should be exiled from the mechanism and support reserved for flexible new-build capacity, according to the think tank.

“While the goal of the capacity market was to drive investment in reliable new generation, the scheme—with £3.4 billion in awarded contracts to date—has yet to incentivise a single large new power plant,” the report said.

“This support for existing generation is distorting energy markets and has subsidized outdated investment, including more than £450 million for existing coal-fired power plants.” This was despite government intervention to increase the volume of new generation contracted by increasing the procurement target in the most recent four-year-ahead (T-4) auction.

“The enlarged T4 auction took place in December 2016, but achieved only a tiny increase in new generation as a proportion of the total contracted capacity, from four per cent to seven per cent,” the report said. It noted that the only new build combined-cycle gas turbine to secure a contract was a 370MW replanting of an existing power station in King’s Lynn.

The government should instead “repurpose” the capacity market and hold “smaller, targeted capacity auctions solely for flexible, new-build generation, including gas peakers, demand-side response and storage”.

The report continues here.

Electricity usage - one of these may cause a shock.

Electricity usage – one of these may cause a shock.

A woman has spoken of her surprise when her smart meter quoted thousands of pounds for a day’s usage of gas and electricity, due to a system error, reports BBC News.

Jane Allen was one of many confused customers who posted the strange readings from their SSE smart meters on social media. One customer’s display showed more than £30,000 for a single day.

SSE apologised and said no customers would be charged “the extra amounts resulting from errors”.

Smart meters send information on energy usage back to the supplier. They let the customer know how much electricity or gas they are consuming each day – and how much it’s costing them – in real time.

But for some customers, the readings have been somewhat higher than usual over the past week.
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Channel Tunnel [image credit: BBC]

Channel Tunnel [image credit: BBC]


The project is described as ‘vital’, which may raise questions about the present state of these two national grid systems. The idea that it will help support increased electric car use – that’s one of its claims – is a bit weak as so few people want them.

A major new project to install an interconnector linking the electricity markets of Britain and France via the Channel Tunnel has just put down its foundations, reports PEI.

The foundation stone of the Folkestone Converter Station was laid on Thursday by Jesse Norman, UK Minister for Industry and Energy. The ElecLink 1 GW Direct Current link is expected to cost around £580m.

The project will generate approximately 300 new jobs during the construction phase together with ongoing jobs needed for the operations and maintenance throughout the life of the project.
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Note the output from the cooling towers is NOT black - no trick photography here.

Note the output from the cooling towers is NOT black – no trick photography here.


For some reason (‘de-carbonisation’) the UK government’s actions on electricity supply are usually opposite to its stated policy of ‘secure, affordable’ energy. Expensive and often unreliable power sources are given priority most of the time, apparently in pursuit of climate illusions.

Interventions in the energy market by successive governments have pushed up prices, but not secured supplies, peers found. A House of Lords committee said the interventions have led to an opaque, complicated and uncompetitive market, reports BBC News.

The peers blame “poorly designed government interventions in pursuit of decarbonisation” that they say have put pressure on energy supply and bills. The government said its priority was ensuring secure, affordable energy.
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abracadabra-515x396The biomass problem, or fallacy, is well-known and media like The Times are finally catching up.

Britain is wasting hundreds of millions of pounds subsidising power stations to burn American wood pellets that do more harm to the climate than the coal they replaced, a study has found.

Chopping down trees and transporting wood across the Atlantic Ocean to feed power stations produces more greenhouse gases than much cheaper coal, according to the report.

It blames the rush to meet EU renewable energy targets, which resulted in ministers making the false assumption that burning trees was carbon-neutral.
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Phase-shifter [image credit: Reinhausen]

Phase-shifter [image credit: Reinhausen]


This has been going on for a while but is probably getting worse. The Poles and Czechs are now setting their phase-shifters to ‘stun’. 😉
H/T GWPF

Germany’s excess power spills over the border into Polish and Czech territory and threatens their electrical grids with collapse, companies and governments there say.

A battle is raging in Central Europe over the balance of power—the electrical kind. Poland and the Czech Republic see Germany as an aggressor, overproducing electricity and dumping it across the border. Germany sees itself as a green-energy pioneer under unfair attacks from less innovative neighbors.

As part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Energiewende, or energy revolution, Germany will shut its nuclear power plants by 2022 and replace them with its rapidly expanding wind and solar power. But the volatile renewables don’t always perform, and the Germans are also relying on coal- and gas-powered plants to keep the lights on.
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Credit: cleantechnica.com

Credit: cleantechnica.com


One claim by the developer is that ‘its devices could increase the revenue of a wind farm by 25 per cent, through increased output and exploiting higher wholesale prices when the wind isn’t blowing’. It has to be said that battery and storage innovations have a poor record of turning into commercial success, but as ever time will tell.

An Adelaide company has developed a silicon storage device that it claims costs a tenth as much as a lithium ion battery to store the same energy and is eyeing a $10 million public float, reports Sott.net.

1414 Degrees had its origins in patented CSIRO research and has built a prototype molten silicon storage device which it is testing at its Tonsley Innovation Precinct site south of Adelaide.

Chairman Kevin Moriarty says 1414 Degrees’ process can store 500 kilowatt hours of energy in a 70-centimetre cube of molten silicon – about 36 times as much energy as Tesla’s 14KWh Powerwall 2 lithium ion home storage battery in about the same space.
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A Merc in the murk

A Merc in the murk


The ideologically-driven dash for renewable energy in Germany is heading towards a natural obstacle hiding in its winter weather. Will ‘traditional energy’ always be there to provide security of supply when needed?

Germany has a reputation for being a renewable energy leader – but some believe that the nation’s long, still and dim winters threaten such green aspirations, reports DW.COM.

The “dark doldrums” conjures images of the deep Middle Ages, when the only light to be had flickered from a tallow candle. In fact, it is the loose translation for the German word Dunkelflaute, which describes this time of year, when neither sun nor wind are to be found in great abundance.

And this is the very scenario some are suggesting could plunge the nation into, if not quite a re-enactment of its medieval past, then energy uncertainty. An article published recently in the German daily “Die Welt” warned that the Dunkelflaute could be pushing Germany’s power supply to its limits.
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Politicians who sabotage the public’s power supplies do so at their own risk.

STOP THESE THINGS

turnbull-frydenberg Yes, boy wonder, it’s a place called ‘Queensland’.

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In 2016 no two words struck more fear into the hearts of the city-bound, political elite than ‘Trump’ and ‘Brexit’.

In both instances, ignorance amongst the media and political class meant that – for them – what were predictable, if not inevitable, results came as visceral, gut-wrenching, bewildering shocks.

If there is a single issue that has the potential to destroy political incumbents, it has to be energy.

South Australia has proved, without doubt, that skyrocketing power prices and unreliable supply are part and parcel of attempting to run economies on sunshine and breezes. Dutifully ignoring the effect of rolling blackouts and punishing power bills on the businesses and people who grow, build and create things (other than whipping up fair-trade, skinny-soy lattes and smashed avocado on toast at hipster cafés) is a recipe for political disaster.

Ever since it became…

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Which way next?

Which way next?


Those trying to make a business case for renewable energy may want to look away now. The assumption that vast numbers of solar panels and wind turbines are good for the environment is questionable.

Poverty, unemployment and zero economic growth are the likely outcome for countries which choose renewable energy sources over fossil fuels, according to a study.

Energy from fossil fuels appears to ignite economies into greater and more sustained growth, whereas energy from wind and solar power not only fails to enhance or promote economic growth, it actually causes economies to flat-line, as Phys.org reports.

The results, from an in-depth study of more than 100 countries over 40 years, pose a serious ethical dilemma, according to the lead author, economist Dr Nikolaos Antonakakis, Visiting Fellow at the University of Portsmouth Business School and Associate Professor at Webster Vienna University.

Dr Antonakakis said: “Put simply, the more energy a country consumes, the more it pollutes the environment, the more its economy grows. And the more the economy grows, the more energy consumption it needs, and so on.

“This poses big questions. Should we choose high economic growth, which brings lower unemployment and wealth for many, but which is unsustainable for the environment? Or should we choose low or zero economic growth, which includes high unemployment and a greater degree of poverty, and save our environment?”

Dr Antonakakis and co-authors, Dr Ioannis Chatziantoniou, at the University of Portsmouth, and Dr George Filis, at Bournemouth University, set out to study whether environmentally friendly forms of energy consumption were more likely to enhance economic growth.

In the light of recent policies designed to promote the use of green energy, including tax credits for the production of renewable energy and reimbursements for the installation of renewable energy systems, the authors predicted that environmentally friendly forms of energy consumption would enhance economic growth. Dr Antonakakis said: “It turned out not to be the case.”

They argue that societies now need to rethink their approach toward environmental sustainability, and strongly question the efficacy of the recent trend in many countries to promote renewable energy resources as a reliable alternative for helping achieve and maintain good economic growth.

The report continues here.

Credit: businessinsider.com

Credit: businessinsider.com

One letter changes in the new US climate policy: ‘defund’ replaces ‘defend’. Interesting times ahead.
H/T GWPF

US president Donald Trump will honour his campaign pledge to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement and defund UN climate programmes, a former adviser to the new administration has said.

Myron Ebell served as head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) transition team from early September until 19 January, when he helped to draft an advisory action plan on how to implement Trump’s campaign promises.

At a press briefing held by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) and the Foreign Press Association (FPA) in London today, Ebell declined to divulge any details of the EPA document on the grounds that it is confidential.

But Ebell, a well-known climate change sceptic and head of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s (CEI) energy and environment centre, outlined Trump’s “very clear” promises on energy and the environment that he is convinced the new president will honour.
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It’s OK ‘says ex-National Grid boss’. Well, let’s hear that from the current boss, and if it turns out he’s wrong he can be the next ex-boss.

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

image

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38791572

Roger Harrabin, who is apparently now an energy analyst as well as an environmental one, writes:

The UK has enough energy capacity to meet demand – even on the coldest days when demand is highest, says Steve Holliday, the man who ran National Grid for a decade.

He said news stories raising fears about blackouts should stop.

His optimism is based on the government’s latest auction of capacity for power generation, which starts later today.

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‘The donkey goes on to the ice until it breaks’ - German proverb [image credit: evwind.es]

‘The donkey goes on to the ice until it breaks’ – German proverb [image credit: evwind.es]


Grasping the nettle of reporting the views of leading German climate sceptic Professor Fritz Vahrenholt, PEI magazine airs several awkward issues arising from Germany’s ambitious – he says reckless – energy policies.

At a mid-January meeting in parliament buildings in London, Professor Fritz Vahrenholt provided a very detailed monologue on the motivations behind Germany’s energy transition, and why he feels it’s misguided and potentially disastrous, writes Diarmid Williams.

Had the lecture been delivered by somebody from the coal power sector, they might have been written off as a ‘climate denier’, but given Vahrenholt’s background and pedigree as a backer of renewable energy, he is not so easily dismissed and his position must cause some unease for those so adamant that climate change is man-made.
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UK Cabinet visits Cheshire

UK Cabinet visits Cheshire


Someone that UK leaders listen to may have pointed out that hanging a ‘green’ millstone round the neck of the economy, as recommended by the EU, is not the best route to success.
H/T GWPF

Household energy bills are set to fall after ministers unveiled plans to slash green subsidies, it emerged yesterday.

Billions of pounds are handed out by the Government to wind farm and solar energy firms every year, with families and manufacturers picking up the cost. These climate change subsidies add around £110 a year to a household’s average bill.

Theresa May’s industrial strategy, published yesterday, suggested that these levies should be dramatically reduced to help steel plants, which pay for emissions, compete overseas.
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