Artist’s impression of Dogger Bank island [credit: The Independent]


The construction agreement is planned to be signed on 23 March 2017, reports The Independent.

A vast artificial island is to be built at Dogger Bank in the North Sea, complete with a harbour, airstrip and homes, to help provide a vast new supply of renewable energy, under plans drawn up by two companies with the blessing of the European Union.

The North Sea Wind Power Hub would act as a hub for offshore wind turbines and a new place to put solar panels, according to the German and Dutch arms of electricity firm TenneT and Danish company Energinet. The firms will sign a deal creating a consortium to develop the plan further in Brussels on 23 March in the presence of European Energy Union Commissioner, Maos Sefcovic.

Torben Glar Nielsen, Energinet’s Danish technical director, said: “Maybe it sounds a bit crazy and science fiction-like, but an island on Dogger Bank could make the wind power of the future a lot cheaper and more effective.”
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shining_sun

With sadness, I’m sharing the news that my Talkshop co-blogger Tim Channon passed away on Friday. Tim had been bravely battling with cancer for some time, and was still upbeat and lively-minded when I spoke with him last week. Since then unfortunately, medical complications set in.

Tim was one of a kind. A humorous, thoughtful and technically brilliant individual. His contribution to our understanding of cyclic phenomena through the analysis software he wrote propelled me into my own research. His patient recording of weather data and survey of UK weather stations demonstrate the depth of interest and passion he had for bringing facts to bear on the climate debate. His dedication, skill and good natured rebukes against uninformed speculation and bad theory puts him in the Pantheon of great sceptical thinkers and scientists.

Tim will be missed and remembered.

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The largest ‘TNOs’

This is about the ‘no-name’ dwarf planet 2007 OR10, which has the unusual property of being 3 times further from the Sun at aphelion (furthest) than at perihelion (nearest).

Everybody gets a moon! With the discovery of a small moon orbiting the third-largest dwarf planet, all the large objects that orbit beyond Neptune now have satellites, reports New Scientist.

Trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) spend most or all of their orbits beyond Neptune. Last April, the dwarf planet Makemake became the ninth of the ten TNOs with diameters near or above 1,000 kilometres known to have a moon.

So when dwarf planet 2007 OR10 was found to be rotating more slowly than expected, it was suspected that a moon might be the culprit.
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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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Once America’s new leader poured cold water on the Paris ‘deal’ it didn’t take some (all?) of the other G-20 members long to get cold feet about stumping up the ‘pledged’ cash. Looks like the political showboating was just that. Who is surprised any more by this well-worn routine?
H/T GWPF

Finance ministers for the U.S., China, Germany and other members of the Group of 20 economies may scale back a robust pledge for their governments to combat climate change, ceding efforts to the private sector.

Citing “scarce public resources,” the ministers said they would encourage multilateral development banks to raise private funds to accomplish goals set under the 2015 Paris climate accord, according to a preliminary statement drafted for a meeting that will be held in Germany next week.

The statement, obtained by Bloomberg News, is a significant departure from a communique issued in July, when finance ministers urged governments to quickly implement the Paris Agreement, including a call for wealthy nations to make good on commitments to mobilize $100 billion annually to cut greenhouse gases around the globe.
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Andy Shaw has drafted this as a submission the the Govt consultation on energy. Suggestions for improvement welcome.

Worth Arguing For .. it really is.

My submission to the government’s consultation Green Paper on Industrial Strategy.

Questions:

27. What are the most important steps the Government should take to limit energy costs over the long-term?

28. How can we move towards a position in which energy is supplied by competitive markets without the requirement for on-going subsidy?

My submission:

Theresa May’s foreword to the Green paper states “Last summer’s referendum was not simply a vote to leave the European Union, it was an instruction to the Government to change the way our country works – and the people for whom it works – forever.”

The Prime Minister’s spirit is most welcome. It could apply to energy policy, where a bold change in direction and a clear focus is required.

The current ‘trilemma’ of simultaneously finding policies that contribute to meeting climate change targets, guarantee security of supply and minimise energy costs is contradictory and…

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US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt


BBC News all but bursts a blood vessel over the EPA head’s opinion that the climate science ‘debate’ is not settled. Their reaction is to trot out some standard warmist platitudes, which surprises nobody.

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt has said he “would not agree” carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming.

He told CNBC that measuring human impact on the climate was “very challenging” and there was “tremendous disagreement” about the issue.

Mr Pruitt instead insisted that officials needed “to continue the debate” on the issue. His remarks contradict his own agency’s findings on greenhouse gas emissions.
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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.


It’s the tube train with a difference – viable public transport or a fairground novelty? Testing is under way.

The first images of the Hyperloop One test track were shown off during the Middle East Rail conference, demonstrating progress on the high-speed transport system that promises to be faster than air travel, as Sott.net reports.

Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd unveiled never-before-seen images of the ‘DevLoop’ development site, in Las Vegas, during the 11th annual Middle East Rail conference in Dubai on Tuesday. The images show an aerial view of the construction of the world’s first full-system Hyperloop test site, with a test track of 500 meters or about one-third of a mile long and 11 feet wide.

The Los Angeles startup, Hyperloop One, has designed a near supersonic transport system that uses levitating pods that travel through a low-pressure tube at speeds up to 760 miles per hour. The goal is to make a test track during the first half of 2017.
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The tide is starting to turn, in America at least.

STOP THESE THINGS

01-coal-640x480

James Delingpole has been slugging it out with lunatics from the Greenblob for more than a decade. Now, as the world wakes up to the scale and scope of the great wind power fraud, Slim Jim finds himself on the right side of history. Here he is letting the world know about it.

Why Renewables Are Doomed and Fossil Fuels Are the Future
Breitbart
James Delingpole
9 February 2017

We’re on the verge of a new energy revolution. Except it’s the exact opposite of the one the “experts” at places like BP, the International Energy Agency and – ahem – the Guardian are predicting.

For years we’ve been assured by politicians, energy industry specialists and green advocates that renewables such as wind and solar are getting more and more cost-competitive while dirty fossil fuels are so discredited and wrong and evil we’ll soon have to leave them in the ground.

But…

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sea-ice

Arctic sea ice [image credit: cbc.ca]

H/T GWPF for this article on science daily

Earth has known several mass extinctions over the course of its history. One of the most important happened at the Permian-Triassic boundary 250 million years ago. Over 95% of marine species disappeared and, up until now, scientists have linked this extinction to a significant rise in Earth temperatures. But researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, working alongside the University of Zurich, discovered that this extinction took place during a short ice age which preceded the global climate warming. It’s the first time that the various stages of a mass extinction have been accurately understood and that scientists have been able to assess the major role played by volcanic explosions in these climate processes. This research, which can be read in Scientific Reports, completely calls into question the scientific theories regarding these phenomena, founded on the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, and paves the way for a new vision of Earth’s climate history.

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River Amazon in the Peruvian rainforest

River Amazon in the Peruvian rainforest


The UK is importing from halfway round the world what could be produced by its own workforce within the country.

A tanker docking in the UK is transporting a controversial cargo of gas from the Peruvian Amazon, says BBC News. It is thought to be the first shipment to the UK from the Camisea project in rainforest 60 miles from Machu Picchu.

Supporters of fracking say the UK should frack its own gas, rather than importing from sensitive regions like the Amazon. But opponents of fracking say the practice creates disturbance and pollution and fuels climate change.

The tanker Gallina, owned by Shell, is scheduled to arrive at the Isle of Grain in Kent. The gas project at Camisea field has been hugely contentious.
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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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Electric car charging station [credit: Wikipedia]

Electric car charging station [credit: Wikipedia]


The battery can be made from ‘earth-friendly materials’ like sodium, which can be extracted from seawater.

A new longer-lasting battery technology that can’t catch fire has been developed by a team of engineers led by 94-year-old Professor John Goodenough, the co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, the Daily Mail Online reports.

Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most popular types of rechargeable batteries used in many mobile devices, but they can sometimes explode and catch fire – as was the case for Samsung’s Galaxy 7 exploding battery fiasco.

But this new battery technology could increase the distance electric cars can drive for between charges, and recharge within minutes rather than hours.
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Tropical beach

Tropical beach


Can the tropics ever get too hot for life on Earth, or not? That’s the question posed by this research. As the report notes: ‘these theories are controversial’.

New research findings show that as the world warmed millions of years ago, conditions in the tropics may have made it so hot some organisms couldn’t survive, reports Phys.org.

Longstanding theories dating to the 1980s suggest that as the rest of the earth warms, the tropical temperatures would be strictly limited, or regulated by an internal ‘thermostat.’

These theories are controversial, but the debate is of great importance because the tropics and subtropics comprise half of the earth’s surface area, greater than half of the earth’s biodiversity, as well as over half the earth’s human population.

But new geological and climate-based research indicates the tropics may have reached a temperature 56 million years ago that was, indeed, too hot for living organisms to survive in parts of the tropics.
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Reality is catching up with wind power dreamers in South Australia as the public wake up to the truth – via power failures.

STOP THESE THINGS

alice_in_wonderland17 Fantastic in theory, but reality is another place.

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It’s been barely 5 months since South Australia experienced a state wide blackout on 28 September, when a typically vigorous spring storm delivered wind speeds in excess of 90km/h, causing the majority of turbines operating at its 18 wind farms to automatically shutdown to avoid self-destruction. The ensuing collapse in wind power output overloaded the interconnectors with Victoria, which tripped automatically; and thereafter South Australia suffered what is now known as a ‘system black’ (see our post here).

With a string of blackouts during December (see our post here) and mass load shedding during a heat wave when, yet again, wind power output plummeted (see our post here), humour among South Australians is now a rare and treasured commodity.

Inversely related to South Australians’ fury at their power pricing and supply calamity, is the battle that the wind…

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atmos
They admit the hiatus, or pause, is still a puzzle: ‘processes remain unclear’. What is clear is that the observed temperature trend in the study period is unlike the carbon dioxide trend.

The increasing rate of the global mean surface temperature was reduced from 1998 to 2013, known as the global warming hiatus, or pause.

Researchers have devoted much effort to the understanding of the cause, reports Phys.org. The proposed mechanisms include the internal variability of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system, ocean heat uptake and redistribution, and many others.

However, scientists also want to understand the atmospheric footprint of the recent warming hiatus as the dynamical and physical processes remain unclear.
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Credit: BBC

Credit: BBC


Pattern or coincidence? Theorists will have their ideas.

Why are “giant fountains of lava” suddenly pouring out of some of the most dangerous volcanoes on the entire planet, and why are so many long dormant volcanoes suddenly roaring back to life?

The spectacular eruption of Mt. Etna in Italy is making headlines all over the world, but it is far from alone, as Sott.net reports.

According to Volcano Discovery, 35 major volcanoes either are erupting right now or have just recently erupted, and dozens of others are stirring. So what is causing this upsurge in volcanic activity? Is something strange happening inside the Earth?
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s-bahn
Hard to see bus and train operators giving 40 days of discounts to ‘help the climate’ as so-called climate experts fondly imagine. Pollution, congestion and climate fears all get rolled into one issue.

For years German cities have suffered under the effects of polluted air, mainly caused by diesel cars. But now that it’s nearly the Christian season of abstaining before Easter, experts have a novel solution, as The Local explains.

The Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) and other climate protectionists are encouraging Germans to go on a ‘car fast’ for the season of Lent leading up to Easter.

Katrin Dziekan of the UBA suggested special discounts on Deutsche Bahn and regional train services could be offered to those who abstain from cars for the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
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The El Niño of 1997-8

The El Niño of 1997-8


The report says ‘the possible return of El Niño this year would present a unique situation’. Is there still excess heat in the system as sunspots go further into ‘quiet mode’?
H/T GWPF

The path to another round of El Niño in 2017 appears to be shortening, as tropical Pacific Ocean waters have been warming at a substantial rate. Several models suggest that El Niño could be comfortably in place as early as May.

Weather forecasters have been eyeing for a couple of months a possible return this year of El Niño, which normally comes around every two to seven years and last occurred in 2015/16.
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