Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Image credit: bus-bild.de


An attempt to put some of the blame on a tractor protest by farmers, holding up traffic, sounds a bit weak. A solution adopted by some e-bus builders is to use fuel-powered heating systems, described here as ‘an absolute oxymoron for the electric vehicle industry’.
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By 2030, Berlin wants all local public transport buses to be electric, says the Teller Report.

Passengers and drivers are already experiencing what this can mean in a cold winter.

Apparently one type of vehicle in particular causes problems.

According to information from The “Berliner Morgenpost” newspaper, a dozen of the electric buses operated by the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) are currently out of action.

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Winter in Braemar [image credit: BBC]


Must be a blast from the past, before the invention of a ‘climate emergency’.
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The Met Office says an overnight temperature of -22.9C recorded in Scotland is believed to be the lowest in more than 25 years, reports BBC News.

BBC weather presenter Simon King described the temperatures in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, as “incredible”.

The Met Office said it was provisionally the coldest night since 1995.

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Credit: CBC News


Not your run-of-the-mill winter snowfall, only six weeks after a similar event described by the BBC as ‘record-breaking’ .
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People of the northeastern U.S. shoveled themselves out Tuesday after a two-day snowstorm that shut down public transport, canceled flights and closed coronavirus vaccination sites, reports Phys.org.

Some bands of snow were still moving through parts of Maine and Pennsylvania in the morning, but the worst was over, with more than 30 inches (76 centimeters) in parts of New Jersey and just a few inches in Boston.

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Credit: Met Office


January 2010 was itself described as the UK’s coldest January since 1987. All three of these cold months occurred within a year or so of a solar minimum (end of a solar cycle). Cold weather and snow are continuing in some parts today, but not on a par with the current major US snowstorm.
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The average temperature last month was 2.2C – the coldest January since 2010, Sky News reports.

This makes it the coldest January since 2010, when the average was 0.9C.

The coldest January on record was 1963, when conditions averaged -1.9C.

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Image credit: BBC


The BBC didn’t think it would be reporting a widespread outbreak of toboganning and British-built snowmen in 2021, judging by its longstanding practice of trying to consign such pastimes to history along with Arctic sea ice.
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Severe weather warnings are in place across much of the UK after large parts of the country saw heavy snowfall, reports BBC News.

The blanket of snow drew people outside for sledging and winter walks, but motorists have been warned to take extra care on icy roads.

Several coronavirus vaccination and testing centres were closed in England and Wales due to the conditions.

Police forces have reminded the public to stick to Covid lockdown rules while enjoying the snow.

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Drax power station [credit: drax.com]


Another attempt by climate obsessives to dictate UK energy policy to the government via the courts, bites the dust. Reliability of national electricity supply is not completely dead yet.
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The UK Court of Appeals has rejected a bid from environmental campaigners to prevent Drax from building the biggest gas-fired power plant in Europe, reports NS Energy.

The proposed plant, based next to an existing facility in Selby, North Yorkshire, was given the go-ahead in October 2019.

It was a controversial decision as the UK government, in approving the project, overruled its own planning authority’s recommendation to reject it on climate grounds.

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


European leaders are too fond of their so-called climate policies to take much notice of practicalities like engineering limitations. The fragility of the power supply can only get worse under existing policies, if these warning signals are ignored.
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On 8 January 2021, the European electricity grid only just missed a large-scale collapse, says The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF).

Around 13:04 p.m. there was a sharp drop in frequency that could have paralysed Europe. The cause was apparently a power failure in Romania.

According to the Austrian blackout expert Herbert Saurugg, it was the second most serious major incident in the European network to date.

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Image credit: NewsNow


This is said to be the heaviest snow seen in Spain for at least 40 years. Who’s next?
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Storm Filomena has blanketed parts of Spain in heavy snow, with half of the country on red alert for more on Saturday, reports BBC News.

Madrid, one of the worst affected areas, is set to see up to 20cm (eight inches) of snow in the next 24 hours.

The city’s airport has closed along with a number of roads.

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East Tyrol, Austria and the Dolomites


Yes, it’s winter. But this report says they’re checking the snowfall record books. Major skiing events have had to be cancelled or relocated. One area reported a metre of snow in 24 hours. Is this a one-off or a sign of things to come?
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Heavy snowfalls and rain have caused chaos in alpine Austria and northern Italy, reports DW.com.

Avalanche alerts apply in Austria’s East Tirol and Italy’s Dolomites and South Tirol. Italy’s Po river is among those flooded.

Austrian authorities declared avalanche alerts Sunday as heavy snowfalls blocked roads and rail segments and left thousands of homes without electricity.

Across Italy’s northern Emilia-Romagna region, rising rivers prompted evacuations as the north’s main conduit, the river Po, rose 2.5 meters (8 feet) in 24 hours.

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Credit: wcia.com


How to see it, plus videos – here.
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Jupiter and Saturn will merge in the night sky Monday, appearing closer to one another than they have since Galileo’s time in the 17th century, says Phys.org.

Astronomers say so-called conjunctions between the two largest planets in our solar system aren’t particularly rare.

Jupiter passes its neighbor Saturn in their respective laps around the sun every 20 years.

But the one coming up is especially close: Jupiter and Saturn will be just one-tenth of a degree apart from our perspective or about one-fifth the width of a full moon.

They should be easily visible around the world a little after sunset, weather permitting.

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‘It is the latest in 17 years of wrangling over whether or not to build a third runway at Heathrow’, notes Sky News. Only 17 years? Seems like a lifetime. Climate miserablists will no doubt want to express their frustration at the apparent lack of interest in their imaginary ‘climate emergency’, sooner or later.
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Climate activists have lost a long-running legal battle to stop a third runway at Heathrow.

The Supreme Court has overturned a previous Court of Appeal ruling in a case brought by Friends of the Earth and others against Heathrow Airport.

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Credit: carsdirect.com


Critics may struggle to stifle a yawn, as battery ‘breakthroughs’ are regularly promised or hinted at, but the actual pace of change in EV battery tech seems quite slow. On the other hand, solid-state batteries may be the best way forward if tests can be successfully turned into full-scale production. The original report headline says: ‘VW and Bill Gates-backed QuantumScape releases performance data…’, so plenty of industrial and financial muscle behind the project. No cost estimates available.
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California-based QuantumScape Corp (QuantumScape), a company focussing on the development of next-generation solid-state lithium-metal batteries for use in electric vehicles (EVs), has released performance data, which it says demonstrates its capability to address fundamental issues holding back widespread adoption of high-energy-density solid-state batteries, including charge time (current density), cycle life, safety, and operating temperature. Autocar Pro reporting.
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The company says a commercially viable solid-state lithium-metal battery is an advancement that the battery industry has pursued for decades, as it holds the promise of a step function increase in energy density over conventional lithium-ion batteries, enabling electric vehicles with a driving range comparable to combustion engine-based vehicles.

QuantumScape claims its solid-state battery is designed to enable up to 80 percent longer range compared to today’s lithium-ion batteries.

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So the greenblob can’t always steamroller local opposition to its land-grabbing subsidy farms. The actual solar panels are not renewable or even recyclable.

PA Pundits - International

By Bonner Cohen, Ph.D. ~

For the second time in 15 months, residents of rural Culpeper County, Virginia have risen up against a proposed massive solar array project, forcing the would-be developers to withdraw their application to put the renewable energy facility in the county’s picturesque rolling farmlands.

North Carolina-based Strata Solar had planned to build the $200 million, 1,700-acre, 149 megawatts project on cleared timberland in southern Culpepper. The land on which the industrial-sized solar array was to be built was zoned agricultural in keeping with the rural character of the area.

Maroon Solar, the name the developer gave to the project, was supposed to be another step on the way to a “carbon-free” energy future, but local officials and nearby residents raised strong objections. The Culpepper County Board of Supervisors (BOS) evaluated the project and, on Nov. 12, held a well-attended, four-hour public hearing on a request by…

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Scottish offshore wind project [image credit : urbanrealm.com]


Billed as ‘A bright future for Levenmouth’, the claim that switching to hydrogen could ‘save energy customers across Britain billions of pounds’ looks rose-tinted to say the least. Maybe it’s easy to get carried away when you imagine you’re going to save the world, or something.
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Fife has leapt closer to launching the world’s first 100% green hydrogen network with the announcement of an £18 million funding boost, reports The Courier.

Three hundred homes across Levenmouth will be connected to the network, with residents becoming the first in the world to use zero carbon hydrogen for heating and cooking.

Householders will be invited to get involved in the four to five year trial from late next year.

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Bright Comet Erasmus

Posted: November 22, 2020 by oldbrew in Astronomy, News, solar system dynamics

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Short video here.

Spaceweather.com

Nov. 21, 2020: Every 2000 years, Comet Erasmus (C/2020 S3) visits the inner Solar System. News Flash: It’s back. Discovered on Sept. 17, 2020, by South African astronomer Nicolas Erasmus, the dirty snowball is plunging toward the sun for a close encounter inside the orbit of Mercury on Dec. 12th. This is what it looks like:

Gerald Rhemann took the picture Friday morning, Nov. 20th, using a 12-inch telescope in Farm Tivoli, Namibia. “The tail is magnificent,” he says. “In fact, I couldn’t fit it in a single field of view. This two-panel composite shows the first 3 degrees–and it keeps going well past the edge of the photo.”

Comet Erasmus is brightening as it approaches the sun. Right now it is 7th magnitude–an easy target for backyard telescopes. Forecasters believe it will more than triple in brightness to 5th magnitude by the time it dips inside the orbit of Mercury…

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At an estimated $500 billion it’s an expensive model, but ties in with the equally hyperbolic ‘Saudi Arabia of wind’ rhetoric. But neither bears much resemblance to reality.
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JEDDAH — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has touted Saudi Arabia’s NEOM city as a model for a “greener future,” warning G20 leaders that the world risks failing future generations if states do not take bold steps to reduce carbon emissions, reports the Saudi Gazette.

“And if we were in Saudi Arabia today … what I would have loved to have done was to visit the exciting new city of NEOM, whose origins I was able to inspect a couple of years ago,” he said in a pre-recorded address at Saudi Arabia’s virtual G20 summit on Saturday.

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Narrow escape [image credit: BBC News]


This report features the scary video that the screen shot above was taken from. A local meteorologist said the last similar storm bringing such freezing rain occurred 30 years ago.
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A snowstorm has battered parts of the Russian Far-East, causing power cuts, transport chaos and school closures, reports BBC News.

The storm hit the Primorsky region on Thursday. In the port city of Vladivostok winds brought down frozen trees and ice-laden power lines.

A state of emergency has been declared across the region.

Rescue services and the army are scrambling to deal with the fallout. At least 150,000 homes have been left without electricity.

“The situation with the electricity supply remains very difficult – the destruction is widespread,” the deputy head of the region’s government, Elena Parkhamenko, said.

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Bardsey island


Cost per head: over £100,000. Four of the eleven (2019 data) even reside there in winter, when they should be able to enjoy the output of a turbine each with one to spare, in theory. The island is only one mile long.
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The Welsh island of Ynys Enlli could ditch its dependency on diesel to become the world’s first ‘blue energy island’ thanks to a new tidal energy project, reports the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

Nova Innovation has secured an investment of £1.2m from the Welsh government through the European Regional Development Fund for its Enlli project in north Wales.

The installation will generate electricity from the natural ebb and flow of the tide between Ynys Enlli – also known as Bardsey Island – and the mainland of the Llŷn Peninsula.

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SMR transporter


RR has also linked up with American and Czech nuclear firms with a view to developing the international market. Hard to see how the government can get anywhere near its ‘net zero’ electricity targets without this technology. They keep saying ‘build back better’ so here’s an obvious chance to do that, as existing UK nuclear is being retired.
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A consortium led by the engine maker is hoping to secure a further £217m of funding from the government for the project, says Sky News.

A group led by Rolls-Royce has pledged to create 6,000 regional UK jobs within the next five years under plans to build 16 mini nuclear power stations.

The consortium said the jobs would help support the government’s “levelling up” agenda, with up to 80% of the power station components set to be made in factories across the Midlands and the north of England.

These components would then be sent on to existing nuclear sites around the country for rapid assembly.

The plans come at a crucial time for the UK amid rising unemployment caused by the pandemic.

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Power lines in Victoria, Australia [credit: Wikipedia]


Come the next potential blackout situation, the battery could give Victorians up to an hour to find a way out of trouble. But making the wind blow harder or the sun shine more won’t be among their options, of course.
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Australia is poised to construct one of the world’s largest batteries, using Tesla’s technology for lithium-ion batteries, reports TechXplore.

The football-field sized battery will provide up to 300 megawatts of power output and 450 megawatts-hours of storage in a country that has been struggling to meet energy demands during skyrocketing power usage triggered by record-breaking temperatures.

Last year, Australia suffered its hottest and driest year ever, with temperatures topping 121 degrees Fahrenheit last December.

The battery, known as the Victorian Big Battery Megapack, will be located in the state of Victoria, Australia’s second most populous region.

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