Archive for the ‘Incompetence’ Category

UK electricity supply - approaching the cliff edge? [image credit: Wikipedia]

UK electricity supply – approaching the cliff edge? [image credit: Wikipedia]

Utility Week highlights an expert’s view of the dire state of the UK’s electricity network, largely driven by the climate dogmatism of government policies. Urgent action is advised, with Brexit in mind.

UK Business and Energy secretary Greg Clark needs to “reset the balance between the market and the state” and avoid “more patching up of what he has inherited”, [Professor] Dieter Helm has said.

The energy sector is “not in good shape,” and is unable to fulfil the needs of a major industrial economy, “especially for one doing Brexit”.

Growing electricity demand, as heat and energy are electrified, will make the “current capacity margin of roughly zero even more alarming than it is now”, the Oxford economist said in a paper.


Solar-Loaf-600-AEAEd Hoskins has sent me a summary of his latest post on ‘green energy’ profligacy, which well worth a click and read.

It seems that the UK with the least performant solar energy environment  in Europe has allowed to be invested about £30 billion with an output of less than 1 GW as and when the sun shines.

This amounted to a total of about   9.6GW nameplate solar installations yielding the equivalent of about 0.9GW of power, but only when the sun shines.  The capacity factor for Solar energy in the UK is only ~9%.  This is the least performant solar power in the whole of Europe.

Even though according to David Mackay DECC well understood that solar energy should never have been considered viable in the UK, the department still oversaw these huge continued expenditures and dispensed with about £19,000,000,000 in 2014 and 2015.  That amounted to more than the full cost of Hinckley Point C:  the wasted expenditure seems never to have been questioned or discussed.


michael_mann_hurricane_matrixIn a recent interview, Prof ‘taking the Mickey’ Mann said this about floods in the US:

NOOR: So we’ve seen this historic flooding not only in Louisiana but more recently in West Virginia, even right here close to Baltimore in Ellicott City. Is it, are we seeing more and more of this and is this connected to climate change?

MANN: We often hear about events being characterized as thousand year events and what that means is just given the usual statistic of the weather, we wouldn’t expect such an event to happen more than once in a thousand years. Meaning we probably wouldn’t expect to see it during our lifetimes. And yet we are seeing a plethora of these thousand year events. Whether it’s the flooding events in South Carolina, in Arizona, in Texas as I said and of course this latest event in Louisiana and Alabama. We are seeing thousand year events far too often to be able to attribute them just to randomness. We are seeing the loading of the random weather dice by climate change.

Mann is disinforming the public here. 1000 year or 100 year flooding events measure the likelihood of that event occurring on a specific stretch of river, not in a selection of whichever random states happened to get a flood that year.

Wiki: In the United States, the 100-year flood provides the risk basis for flood insurance rates. Complete information on the National Flood Insurance Program is available here. A regulatory flood or base flood is routinely established for river reaches through a science-based rule making process targeted to a 100-year flood at the historical average recurrence interval.

Regarding ‘1000 year’ events. How long have we been keeping flood records in the US. It’s unlikely they predate Columbus’ discovery of the continent in 1493, so, not more than 500 years. How well established is the basis of characterising a flood as ‘once in 1000 years’ then? You can be sure there’s a model for it…

It’s also worth remembering that there’s around a 60%chance of seeing more than one ‘100 year flood’  in a specific location during a 100 year period anyway.

Wiki: A common misunderstanding exists that a 100-year flood is likely to occur only once in a 100-year period. In fact, there is approximately a 63.4% chance of one or more 100-year floods occurring in any 100-year period. On the Danube River at Passau, Germany, the actual intervals between 100-year floods during 1501 to 2013 ranged from 37 to 192 years.[4] The probability Pe that one or more floods occurring during any period will exceed a given flood threshold can be expressed, using the binomial distribution, as

P_{{e}}=1-\left[1-\left({\frac  {1}{T}}\right)\right]^{{n}}

where T is the threshold return period (e.g. 100-yr, 50-yr, 25-yr, and so forth), and n is the number of years in the period. The probability of exceedance Pe is also described as the natural, inherent, or hydrologic risk of failure.

There is of course the possibility that Mann simply doesn’t understand the stats, given his previous record. There again, if that’s so, he shouldn’t be professor of rubber ducks, let alone a science with such enormous cost implications for public policy.

Renewable energy: fantasy meets reality in South Australia and it’s not pretty, as STT reports.


tom koutsantonis2 Tom Koutsantonis: the ‘Joker’ in the pack, but SA isn’t laughing.


South Australia is, thanks to its ludicrous attempt to run on sunshine and breezes, now on the World stage: for all the wrong reasons.

With total and totally unpredictable collapses in its wind power output, SA is now accustomed to routine load-shedding (dropping suburbs and whole regions off the grid to keep the rest running) and the odd state-wide blackout. Then there’s the small matter of retail power prices which, for businesses have doubled in 12 months and which are all set to double again.

A suite of consequences which have energy experts around the globe quietly giggling and saying ‘we told you so’. One of them is London based Senior Research Analyst with the World Nuclear Association, Ian Hore-Lacy.

Here’s the yarn being spun from London about South Australia’s perfectly avoidable energy calamity.

South Australia’s green dream…

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An article about the failings of the UN highlights a paper by our friend Jamal Munshi -Professor Emeritus at Sonoma State University:


The situation has become so bad that some academics have concluded that it is time to shut down the UN’s out-of-control bureaucracies. A paper by Sonoma State University Professor Emeritus Jamal Munshi published by the Social Science Research Network, for example, makes a solid case for ditching the UN environmental bureaucracy. Under the headline “The United Nations: An Unconstrained Bureaucracy,” the June 2016 paper concludes that “unconstrained and undisciplined public sector bureaucracies do not serve the interest of the public” and that “such UN bureaucracies can safely be dismantled without any harm to the public interest.”

In a note to The New American, Professor Munshi said that “the case study is specific to the UNEP, however, the broader conclusion that we can draw from the UNEP case study is that a public sector entity without accountability and constraint and without adequate oversight and discipline mechanisms tends to serve itself and not the public.” That, he added, “would apply to the whole of the UN.”


“I think it’s fair to say there is a growing awareness of the need for stable back-up.”
– Spark Infrastructure’s new chairman, Doug McTaggart

Well, yes. But you could have read that on amateur blogs at any time in the last few years. Somehow it takes leaders with supposedly smart advisers an age to see the obvious, especially when they don’t want to see it.


Gerard Mahoney, manager of iron making at the Arrium steel works, in front of the blast furnace in Whyalla.

Arrium Steel’s Gerard Mahoney: SA’s power play the last roll of the dice.


South Australia’s unfolding energy calamity, has drawn all sorts of self-professed experts out of the woodwork; desk-bound boffins, who all seem to have ready-made answers to SA’s self-inflicted power supply and pricing disaster.

However, most of their “solutions” involve spending hundreds of $millions more of other people’s money.  We’ll hand over to The Australian, as another power market dilettante, Tony Wood from the Grattan Institute (a Labor-left think tank) struts his stuff.

Green push risks power price surge, distorts national market
The Australian
Rick Wallace & Michael Owen
21 July 2016

Energy crises in South Australia and Tasmania have shown that unilateral state-based renewable energy measures were distorting the national market and could trigger damaging price surges in eastern states, one of Australia’s leading energy specialists has warned.

The head of energy policy at the Grattan Institute…

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Credit: Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia

Sanity went out of the window some time ago in the Western world’s ideas on electricity supply, and California’s leaders have been keen to lead that type of charge, in league with ‘green’ pressure groups, as Somewhat Reasonable points out.

“California’s largest utility and environmental groups announced a deal Tuesday [June 21] to shutter the last nuclear power plant in the state.” This statement from the Associated Press reporting about the announced closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant should startle you.

The news about shutting down California’s last operating nuclear power plant, especially after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) had sought a 20-year extension of the operating licenses for the two reactors, is disappointing—not startling.

What should pique your ire is that the “negotiated proposal,” as the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) called it, is between the utility company and environmental groups—with no mention of the regulators elected to insure that consumers have efficient, effective and economical electricity.


Britain is well down the road to chronic electric power shortages, thanks mainly to hopelessly unrealistic EU energy policies.


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Image credit: BBC / PA

Image credit: BBC / PA

The storm clouds are gathering over UK electricity generating capacity. The government seems paralysed by the absurd belief it can ‘save the climate’, or something.

Urgent government intervention is required to ensure that current uncertainty in the UK market is replaced by developer confidence, writes Paul Webber.


‘Auntie’ knows best – or likes to pretend it does.

The BBC has been plunged into a transparency row after data revealed it refuses to answer more than a third of the Freedom of Information requests it receives by relying on a specialised excuse, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

The public service broadcaster, which charges households a £145.50 licence fee every year, has been criticised after data showed it failed to fully respond to 3,110 requests out of a possible 9,076 between September 2011 and March this year.


carboncreditcertificateFrom H/T Alan Poirier.

The trial of 12 people accused of involvement in a multi-billion euro carbon-trading fraud opened in Paris on Monday, in a case that has been described by French authorities as “the heist of a century”.

Shady deals, offshore accounts, money laundering… The trial has all the hallmarks of a crime thriller and comes nearly seven years after French authorities cracked down on a carbon-trading scheme that cost the European Union €5 billion – including €1.6 billion in France – according to Europol.

The case dates back to October 2008, around the same time the European Commission introduced phase two of its EU emissions trading system (EU ETS), which was designed to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gases.


china-steelFrom the Daily Express

PUBLISHED: 00:01, Sun, Apr 10, 2016

BRITISH taxpayers have been forced to subsidise the very Chinese steel companies that are threatening 40,000 UK jobs, critics say.

It comes after revelations that the European Investment Bank has given so-called “soft loans” to China of £80million as part of a climate policy intended to lower emissions.

The astonishing figures include a loan of £40million to one of the world’s worst “steel dumping” culprits, the Wuhan Iron & Steel Corporation.

To add insult to injury Wuhun, the world’s eighth largest steel producer, boasts the Chinese state as its main shareholder. Wuhun is such a prolific steel dumper that it has now been especially targeted by the European Commission, which wants to slap it with 36.6 per cent tariffs.

The loan was paid out under the China Climate Change Framework Loan II. The money is supposed to persuade the steel giants to invest in lower emission technology.Furious critics last night pointed out the irony that the loan was concerned with reducing the cost of power generation while one of the complaints of Tata Group is the high cost of energy associated with its steel production operation in South Wales.

Others asked whether Wuhan would have been in a position to dump steel so aggressively if their energy costs had been higher.


turbine-failRepost from Stop These Things

The Germans went into wind power harder and faster than anyone else – and the cost of doing so is catching up with a vengeance.

The subsidies have been colossal and the impacts on the electricity market chaotic.

Some 800,000 German homes have been disconnected from the grid – victims of what is euphemistically called “fuel poverty”. Power starved Germans, instead of freezing, grabbed their axes and tramped into their forests to improve their sense of energy security – although foresters apparently take the view that this self-help measure is nothing more than blatant timber theft (see our post here).

German manufacturers – and other energy intensive industries – faced with escalating power bills are packing up and heading to the USA – where power prices are 1/3 of Germany’s (see our posts here and hereand here). And the “green” dream of creating thousands of jobs in the wind industry has turned out to be just that: a dream (see our post here).


Hydro power in Tasmania [image credit: ABC Rural]

Hydro power in Tasmania [image credit: ABC Rural]

Tasmania has got itself into a power generation mess and has been forced into expensive emergency measures to ‘keep the lights on’, reports PEI. For more background on the policies that led to this situation, see here.

The government of Tasmania believes a decision to use diesel power generation on a temporary basis can prevent power blackouts, despite present and ongoing difficulties with its power infrastructure.

The island’s Basslink subsea cable, a vital interconnection with Australia, has been under repair since breaking in December, while drought has reduced water for its hydroelectric power facilities to record lows.


Chapter-9-Cartoon-CaptionH/T to Josh for this story from the Calcutta Telegraph.

New Delhi, Jan. 26:
India’s monsoon is in no danger of catastrophic collapse in response to global warming and air pollution, two atmospheric scientists said today, refuting earlier predictions that the monsoon could shut down within 100 years.

The scientists at Yale University in the US who used computers to model the Earth’s atmosphere, land and oceans have found that the expected changes in the monsoon will not abruptly alter their strength or their water volume.

Their results contradict earlier forecasts by scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany portending frequent and severe failures and even a breakdown of the monsoon, which is critical to India’s food, water resources and economy.


What a power station really looks like - in normal daylight

What a power station really looks like – in normal daylight

Paul Homewood highlights a report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on the electricity supply black hole being created by successive UK governments.

Even the notoriously biased (towards unreliable wind and solar energy) Guardian has a story on it, complete with the usual back-lit sunset shot of a power station churning out ‘black steam’- the usual propagandist trick.

From the “We’ve Been Telling You This For Years” Dept:
The UK is heading for a severe electricity supply crisis by 2025, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) is warning today.


Tim writes: here we have a demonstration of both sides of scientific and organisational integrity. Ten years later, 2005, there was confirmation of the poor practice.

Some time ago Part 1 was published

The last line of the 1995 email was withheld. Here it is

Our daily series is anchored to the monthly one so that
each months average calculated from the daily data equals its value
in Manleys monthly series.

The Met Office promote “Hadley Centre Central England Temperature” and HadCET but avoid “Manley CET”. There was and is no daily Manley CET. The Met Office made one up, adjusting daily figures to average the Manley CET monthly value exactly.

January 1974 onwards there is no Manley CET data to constrain Met Office daily figures.


Above is an image of the email, the verbatim server files from US publishing site are here inside a zip. File timestamps are preserved, presumably from original FTP disk write here on a contemporary computer system.



Image coutesy of

My Thanks to Philip Foster for this timely article on making a simple and effective backup system for coping with black-outs this winter. Be prepared and don’t freeze!

With the likely prospect of power cuts lasting several hours or even days this winter due to becalmed wind turbines, there are things to watch out for and ways to be ready for them.

This article shows how to put in place a standby system in an average home at a cost of around £300.

If you are heated by gas or oil  remember a power cut prevents your boiler from working.  Gas and oil boilers need electricity to run ignition, electronics, pumps and valves. The same is true of most gas cookers. So you will need off-grid electric power.

If you are totally electric then, sadly, there are limited options. It would be sensible to have a camping gas stove (£20-£30), a bottled gas room heater (£130, eg Rhino H02233 Catalytic Heater) and plenty of LED lamps and torches with spare batteries.


Pembroke CCGT (gas) power station

Pembroke CCGT (gas) power station

UK energy policy has tried and failed to face both ways – i.e. pleasing the EU and serving the public – on electricity supply, as this GWPF report shows. Critics like us have been saying this for a long time but now UK leaders are trying to catch up, in words at least, having spent far too long listening exclusively to the ‘greenblob’.

Britain needs to build the equivalent of more than 25 large power stations to meet its power needs over the next two decades, Amber Rudd, the energy secretary, will warn this week. She will say that the nation’s energy security will be under threat unless it starts replacing its old nuclear and coal power stations.