Subsidies for windfarms

Last week my Conservative Parliamentary colleague Andrew Bridgen tabled a 10 Minute Rule Bill to abolish subsidies for future windfarms. I supported him. We won the vote 59-57 in favour of the abolition.

Ten Minute rule bills do not usually become Acts of Parliament. They are backbench initiatives. Government does not make time available to enable them to become laws, though the better ideas are sometimes taken up by government and incorporated into one of their bills or future executive action.

The advantage of the format is the short debate takes place in prime time after questions, can attract publicity, and may highlight an important issue to government for their consideration.

This bill meets all those requirements. It highlights the hugely expensive cost  of renewable electricity, at a time when plunging gas and oil prices are making power generated from fossil fuels so much cheaper. The advocates of windfarms have often told us the large subsidies they attract will vanish in future years as the price of fossil fuel energy surges. They did not usually explain just how much dearer renewable power will become in conditions when fossil fuel prices plummet.

The presence of large windfarms in Scotland will be a burden with escalating subsidy levels to keep them turning. Conservatives wish to call a halt to expensive onshore wind, and many of us wish to eliminate all new subsidies altogether.

It is high time we made affordable energy our priority, and used more methods to generate power that keep the lights on even when the wind is not blowing. Total subsidies to renewables are around £2bn a year already, paid by electricity consumers. The burden gets bigger the more they build, and the cheaper the alternative way of generating power becomes.

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107 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Exactly they should stop them all and even stop them for existing ones. It was after all, in effect, a blatant conspiracy between the industry, greencrap religious leaders and scientifically illiterate politicians to cheat the taxpayers, over charge electricity customers and destroy or export jobs.

    No only is wind uneconomic per KWH but as the electricity is intermittent (and cannot be stored economically) it is worth far less than on demand electricity too.

    The coalition have largely decided offshore wind (which is even more expensive) is better than onshore and that subsidies for larger more efficient PV are to be restricted where silly toy ones on houses in say cloudy Manchester are to be retained. Two more bonkers decisions. Stop all subsidy now when and if the technology becomes competitive it will fund itself.

    I do not object to sensible R&D, but rolling out duff, uneconomic technology with grant subsidies before they really work is idiotic. Electric Cars, PV, wind, combined heat and power, heat pumps, insulation, efficient boilers, biomass, coal, oil, gas, nuclear, should all compete on a fairly level playing field or not at all.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      JR do you think Ed Davey types and his department are actually daft and innumerate enough to believe the nonsense they comes out with? Or do you think they knows perfectly well it is complete and utter economic drivel but think there are some Libdum votes in it. I cannot decide, but tend towards the latter. Even Oxford PPE graduates cannot be that daft can they?

      Surely there is one decent and brave engineer or physicist in his department who must have explained the truth to him?

      The votes are actually in cheap energy anyway not in expensive, token, greencrap.

      People like to sound caring and sharing when surveyed, but if push comes to shove they want cheap, reliable energy. Rather the same with trains everyone likes them until they are expected to pay the full unsubsidised fare, plus the taxi at each end for themselves. Then they take the family in the car, coach or on Easyjet.

      Anyway these massive, noisy, bat and bird exploders are hardly environmental anyway.

      • A different Simon
        Posted January 29, 2015 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        I once posed the question you asked to an ex Labour party spin doctor .

        He told me that cabinet level politicians are fully aware that it is quote “bollocks” and only vie to be seen as the greenest because they think there are votes in it .

        He also has a theory that for many MP’s it is primarily a job rather than a vocation .

        Explains a lot .

        • stred
          Posted January 29, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          Ed Davey must believe his own ‘bollocks’. When he was developing energy policy for the Liberals, shown as plan L in the Sustainable Energy book by their energy expert, he proposed we ran the grid to a giant solar farm in the Sahara, presumably lovingly cleaned by colonel Gaddaffi’s mob after sandstorms.

        • nigel
          Posted January 30, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          This is precisely why so many people despise most politicians.

      • miami.mode
        Posted January 29, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Ll

        I often think the same about ministers. I seem to recollect that some years after being unceremoniously ejected from the ERM, Norman Lamont said that ‘he’d never really believed in it anyway’. Quite how these people can live a lie is beyond me. In some walks of life you can go to jail for living a lie.

        If I heard it correctly on The Daily Politics a short while ago Dame Joan Bakewell, who is a Labour supporter, when talking about Greece and the euro, said that she found these ‘exciting times’. Quite what is exciting about 50% of young Greeks being unemployed she failed to explain, Unless of course it’s a price worth paying to keep the whole project alive,

      • turbo terrier
        Posted January 29, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Ed Davey types and his department are actually daft and innumerate enough to believe the nonsense they comes out with?

        Sadly Lifelogic you had better believe it. Apart from our host and few other brave souls the majority of politicians do not have a Scoobie on the damage all this green crap has caused both to our heritage and the million + in fuel debt and poverty

        The Tories should do as Australia. Move into No 10 on the weekend and close the DECC down completely on the Monday and name the EU Referendum date on Tuesday

      • Bazman
        Posted January 29, 2015 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        What is the truth lielogic you would not know it if you fell over it! Slating anyone with a PPE degree? This is from someone who cannot tell the difference between Kw and Kw/hr believing that turbines cannot produce more than 1 Kw. Do tell why they are not environmentally sound out at sea. Bats and birds?Since when have you ever cared about them?
        We are going to get cheap energy from nuclear and when everyone is on the road as there is no rail travel will be great?
        You need to do some reading. I recommend the internet.

  2. Brian Taylor
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    At six o clock this morning the Grid is taking just over 30,000 MWs, Coal and Gas are producing half this requirement, Wind is putting in about 5,000 MWs with onshore wind costing over twice the cost of Coal and Gas and offshore Wind at over three times the cost of Coal and Gas.
    Today the Grid will require an extra 20,000 MWs this will all be provided by Coal And Gas.
    I suggest those in favour of renewables should be allowed to by them at the going rate and allow me and others to buy our electricity at the fossil fuel rate.
    And before we have a howl of protest about Global Warming may I point out some facts, 2014 was. Not the hottest year, CO2 is rising steadily and the rate of warming is HALF what all the so called experts predicted!!!!!!!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      Exactly two to three times the price but intermittent and so worth rather less than half as much as the on demand power. Perhaps up to 6 times its true value? Total insanity by government decree.

      • Rita Webb
        Posted January 29, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        To me renewables just about sums up the incompetence of the political class that is on a par with how they handled the Crimean war. Somebody wants to build a solar farm in a village near me. FFS its in West Cumbria it rains virtually every other day. Solar might work in southern Spain, but you would have to be truly very thick to think the sun shines here as much as it does on the Costa del Sol. Every week or so another windmill pops up. I do not know what this is all doing to our balance of trade figs, because virtually all of them come from Denmark.

        If there is cash to spend on this why not use it on R&D and make the current technology more efficient, instead of peeing it away on its current inefficient version? That is what I believe the Germans are doing and as usual they will eventually clean up. You can bet your bottom $ there will be a British version of Solyndra floating around in all these subsidies.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 29, 2015 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Nuclear has massively subsidised costs much more than six times it true value and is also not guaranteed by the producers to be supplied, who have yet to even build any working power station and is not mentioned by you. Any reason for this?
        Global warming promises increased extreme weather conditions. Climate deniers like Delingpole who have no scientific credibility are is now trying to say there is no hottest year.
        In 13950 peer reviewed climate articles 1991-2012 only 24 rejected global warming The gold standard of science is the peer-reviewed literature. If there is disagreement among scientists, based not on opinion but on hard evidence, it will be found in the peer-reviewed literature, so tell us again about your love of hard science?
        Quackery when it suits you.

        • Mark
          Posted January 30, 2015 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

          The Cook et al. study which you cite has been comprehensively debunked by several different investigators, including José Duarte, and Legates et al.

        • Ted Monbiot
          Posted January 30, 2015 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          Its a closed shop Baz
          Try getting a career going as a scientist whilst publishing papers which challenge the orthodoxy.
          You would struggle to find anyone willing even to peer review your work.
          And so the cosy money making consensus rolls on.

          However the temperature data still stubbornly refuses to follow the predictions made in these thousands of papers all based on the same flawed computer programmes.
          Less than one degree rise in the last 115 years.

          The claim of 2014 being the hottest is a statistical nonsense because it is claimed to be two hundeths of one degree warmer globally.
          Yet the statistical margin of error in the IPCC reports is 0.1 of a degree.
          Five times the error rate.
          This is how desperate they are to keep the funding bandwagon going.
          There has been a pause or plateau since 2000 and the reasons for this are discussed at length in some of the very same peer reviewed reports you have so much faith in.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 30, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

            Funny how business never runs a closed shop even when they run cartels. Bankers have the best union ever and conspiracy theorists are often the same laissez faire moon walking climate change deniers. How strange these science deniers with a great understanding of science, but not any sort of logic are also in the same union.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 31, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            Science is a business Baz.
            Billions are paid to to their research organisations by Governments , the EU, the UN, the BBC and big business.
            You fail to understand how academia is funded and how competitive it is to give paying customers the research they want.

            The main purpose of the UN IPCC is to encourage the transfer of money from rich nations to poorer ones.
            A noble ambition perhaps, but to use a less than one degree rise in temperature in the last 115 years as the driver is a poor motivation.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 1, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

            More conspiracy theory nonsense without any sources except the EU, the UN, the BBC and big business. You forgot hippies, greens, crusties, goths, grebbos, to good, the bad, the average and the unique.
            Were the moon landings faked? Does smoking cause cancer?
            Is wresting fixed….

          • Edward2
            Posted February 4, 2015 at 3:59 am | Permalink

            Nowhere near as full of dodgy theories as your religious beliefs in climate change.
            Still less than one degree rise since records began and no statistictically significant change since 2000.
            Source IPCC reports and Met Office graphs

          • Bazman
            Posted February 5, 2015 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            Its not a religious belief as you and the rest of the deniers seem unable to prove by science, but ask for ever more scientific proof.
            The religious and unscientific views are firmly in your camp along with the crackpots of other things in particular laissez-faire economics and moon landings.
            The one degree is not one degree in a cup of tea or a pint of beer as you would have us believe.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      On the “2014 the hottest year ever” claims James Delingpole, in the Spectator this week, has it about right.

      http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnists/james-delingpole/9425671/the-hottest-year-on-which-record/

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 29, 2015 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        Good article on Prince Charles in the Spectator too by Nick Cohen.

    • Matt
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Heretic!
      How dare you question the almighty consensus.
      Come on, out with it. Which oil company paid you to say that?

      • Jagman84
        Posted January 29, 2015 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        In some quarters it is believed that “big oil” actually supports the green lobby, due to all the subsidies on offer for renewables. They invested heavily in the green market and took a hit. The subsidies allow them to claw back some of the losses. They are in business to make a profit, not save the world.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 29, 2015 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        You don’t believe in global warming, but imply a conspiracy by oil companies are behind the global warming theory. LOL! Sounds about right.

        • Matt
          Posted January 30, 2015 at 8:23 am | Permalink

          That’s not what I’m suggesting.
          I disbelieve the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming hypotheses, which is usually what people mean by “climate change”; for various reasons, but largely because it fails to correctly predict the climate.
          I was poking fun at the way in which the warm-mongers as I like to call them attempt to stifle debate on the accuracy of their supposed science by making ad-homenim attacks on their critics.
          Yet again you attempt to conflate the established science of the greenhouse effect with the far weaker “consensus” hypothesis. I have no issue with global warming theory, but it’s a massive leap from that to modern climate change dogma.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 30, 2015 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

            Medical consensus would be accepted by you though and Prince Charles views on alternative medicine and herbalism are quackery. Funny that..

          • stred
            Posted January 31, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

            A good example of denier bashing was a programme made by Sir Paul Nurse, which my better half put on last night. She is also a life science expert and thinks the sun shines out of his FRS. She could see me becoming more and more displeased by the programme and I was given a lecture on bloggers not knowing anything because they did not study primary papers.

            Nursey, inteviewed Prof Sanger in a burger bar and the old boy was held up as the scientist who disagreed with the consensus because of the effect of the sun’s output. He was duly squashed by the NASA expert. No more scientists were allowed from the sceptic side. The NASA expert showed us how good their systems were by dislaying the world cloud forecast a day before and the actual result.The inference was that the method could be applied over longer periods. No mention of ice cores, temperature measurement disputes, the admission by the Met Office that the hockey stick graph was wrong, or anything else.

            A visit to Delingpole revealed him as an idiot, in my wife’s view, because he did not understand that the consensus on cancer treatment was the same as consensus on climate change. The scientist at East Anglia were exonerated for their unfortunate language when (finding ed) statistics to suit the cause. Then a visit to a GM research project, where scientists were being attacked again and crops destroyed. These idiotic bloggers at it again- unfortunately bloggers from the pro warmist side in general.

            Finally, a visit to the Royal Society, to wonder at their long standing expertise and ponder on why everyone should accept the consensus. Books were pulled out by Newton and Christopher Wren to emphasise the point. No mention that Chris was also an architect who studied science as a sideline or that Sir Isaac used to have bitter arguments with other scientists.

    • lojolondonl
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Exactly, and can I point out that all the ‘dirty’ power generation plants are required to run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, often at minimum efficiency because when the wind dies down they need to take the strain instantly, with no time delay. So when you invest in a turbine, you still need to pay for a coal plant just in case. Of course, they allocate all the additional CO2 and costs against coal/gas, making the figures for legacy power generation seem far worse than they would be in the absence of any wind provision. Lastly, when the high pressure system arrives and windfarms stand still as snow falls and ice forms, all be aware that we take power from our coal, gas, nuclear plants to heat and turn those useless old windmills, thus increasing the energy requirement at exactly the moment it is most needed.

    • bigneil
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Maybe we can have another form of generation. How about buildings where row upon row of fixed cycles, with generators attached, so our own, and the immigrated, non-employed can cycle away merrily. The power generated can at least be used to heat and light the DWP offices these people attend, to put in their claim for our taxes. The more benefits you want – the more power you have to produce. Please refer to the DM ( thurs) and a certain man for an example. John has seen my previous comments and knows what I get for 45yr of contributions (nothing) and see what this man has had.

  3. Mark B
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Somebodies Father-in-Law is not going to be happy.

    Owen Patterson MP seemed to have a few good ideas. Perhaps he should be the new Shadow DECC Minister after May.

  4. alte fritz
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Lancashire County Council has deferred the final decision on Cuadrilla’s application for permission to extract shale gas. Cuadrilla appears to be doing everything possible to accommodate concerns. The UK needs the gas which these companies seek to extract.

    If OPEC drives new energy providers out of the market, we will be left at their mercy. Energy security is as important as any other form of national security.

    • Bob
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      @alte fritz

      “Energy security is as important as any other form of national security”

      We are becoming ever more dependent on imports as our farms and factories are closed down to make way for housing estates. Not a good position to be in.

      • Cliff. Wokingham.
        Posted January 29, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, during the last war we were under seige by air and sea and we had rationing. Back then we produced more than today and we had far fewer mouths to feed.
        I was shocked last week to hear that we import twenty-five percent of our milk, especially given that we’re loosing dairy farmers at a rate of knots.

        John, to stimulate our nation’s economy and growth, why doesn’t the party revive the “I’m backing Britain” campaign of the 1960s or would that go against our master’s rules in Brussels? Or perhaps, all too many things that we want or need, are just no longer made in the UK…..Any thoughts?

        Reply Good question – I do not know the answer.

        • stred
          Posted January 30, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

          I have been doing my bit by having a Scotch with British milk before I go to bed. A doctor friend recommended it. Better than with water and lines the stomach.

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      It is vital that the country replaces its imports of gas and coal by home produced energy. Fracking provided it replaces other CO2 generating methods is an ideal solution. The scare stories about pollution are just that if proper controls are enforced. We must however continue to encourage the non-polluting methods of electricity production. There are many weirs on our rivers that could be used to generate electricity cost effectively. Similarly solar can be cost effective if it is incorporated into new builds.

      • Mark
        Posted January 30, 2015 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        There is a very informative evaluation of the potential for hydro power available from the British Hydropower Association, listing potential locations and their potential to produce power. They also have a map of existing locations, and an excellent guide to what is involved in establishing a hydropower site. At present, small scale hydropower can get a price guarantee at £100/MWh plus inflation – slightly more than onshore wind. That subsidy does make some sites viable that are not viable at normal market prices for power. They conclude that potential capacity is of the order of150-250MW across England and Wales – subject to obstacles such as planning permission etc. Interestingly, they concur with my back-of-envelope estimate that the Thames could produce about as much power as one Rolls-Royce Trent engine (30MW).

        In short, while there is some potential for economic exploitation it is very limited, given our peak power requirement is of the order of 55,000MW.

  5. Mondeo Man
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    It’s no good these people worrying about carbon emissions when these same people are increasing the population at the present rate.

  6. alan jutson
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Thank you for once again voting for common sense John.

    Given the logic and the way some green (at all costs) type politicians think, they will be asking for a penalty tax on baked beans next, because their consumption may contribute to the breakdown of the ozone layer.

    Is it no wonder farmers and landowners want their land covered in windmills/Solar Panels if they are being paid more for them, than they can get for growing crops.

    I see some landowners are bright enough to use such land for dual purposes as well, by the grazing of sheep at the same time, and in doing so may probably get a subsidy from some other Department at the same time.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      And all those chopped and exploded bats & birds then fall down & help to fertilise the soil.

    • turbo terrier
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Alan.

      farmers do get their normal subsidies CAP and Single payment.

      When does the farm become a power station and taxed and rated accordingly?

      That could be a good move for the incoming government. Could help towards the £1.5 trillion debt.

  7. petermartin2001
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Wind power has its uses. But they are limited. I read something the other day that Denmark was boasting that 40% of its energy came from wind.

    That claim is completely overblown! Denmark can only achieve that figure because it switches over to energy supplied by Germany and Sweden when the wind doesn’t blow. It would be impossible for Europe as a whole to achieve anything like that figure.

    Even if it could it wouldn’t be enough to prevent dangerous climate change.

    Wind power is Greenwash. Look up what top former NASA climate scientist Dr James Hansen has to say on that.

    • A different Simon
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      With regards to wind I think it makes sense to put it on the back burner and review it again when energy storage technologies have become mature .

      In a country like the UK , the primary purpose of onshore wind is to act as a daily reminder towering above the population that the will of the establishment will be done and their is nothing they can do about it .

      If we could quadruple the CO2 in the atmosphere it might be possible to reverse the advance of some deserts .

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 29, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

        Indeed they are the new religion’s churches with massive (sometimes) rotating crucifixes to attract attention. Perhaps they should be rotating “electric chairs” instead given what they occasionally generate.

        The fact that they get more wind when in full view on top of hills is just fortuitous for their religious agenda, visibility and an excuse to divert tax payer cash into private pockets.

  8. Richard1
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    How many Labour and LibDem MPs joined the rebellion? The only way green crap is going to be contained and got rid of is by future rebellion by backbenchers, meaning backbenchers from all sides. it is clear official front bench policy has been captured by the green blob.

    • Martyn G
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Richard -“How many Labour and LibDem MPs joined the rebellion”? Er, not a lot because the vote went (if I recall correctly) 57 ayes and 55 nays.
      Not a huge number of MP appear to have been in the house at the time (our host was and voted aye) and because both UKIP MP voted ‘aye’ they would appear to have tipped the voting balance in favour. For the record, John, I am not a ‘ukipper’….

  9. agricola
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Subsidies distort the market, and usually screw the consumer who pays for them. Look what the Common Agricultural Policy does to the price of food compared to the price on the open market.

    MPs are closer to the electorate than is government and therefore more likely to reflect the views of the electorate. Government should not be allowed, in a democracy, to pick and choose topics that MPs consider it important enough to vote on in the H o C. You could argue that most MPs do what government tells them based on threats to their future careers. This diminishes democracy and creates voter apathy. Post an election ,perhaps MPs in the majority party should vote on who should comprise the pool from which ministers are selected and who will head them as PM. This might redress the democratic deficit. Discuss.

    Reply Conservative MPs play a crucial part in choosing and keeping or removing a leader.

    • agricola
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Then they must be blinkered or have masochistic tendencies.

  10. nigel
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Has anyone worked out who will pay to remove these offshore windmills when they become defunct? I suspect we will end up with huge eyesores all around our coast.

    • Martyn G
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Rather like in some areas of the USA.
      Trawl the web and you can find graveyards of the darned things….

    • Bob
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      @nigel

      “Has anyone worked out who will pay to remove these offshore windmills when they become defunct? “

      Let me have a guess, would it be the MPs that voted for the Climate Change Act?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 3:05 am | Permalink

      nigel–Just imagine the maintenance costs in say 10 years’ time as the damn things rust–that’s if we are lucky (cost wise at least) and the wretched things don’t irremedially fall apart in other ways; for instance their sails start falling off, which I read is already beginning to happen. It is truly crazy that these contraptions only work when the wind is just right and neither too high nor too low. In a real windmill the sails could of course be adjusted dependent on the wind.

  11. oldtimer
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    The renewable energy subsidy schemes are a scandal. It is good to see that, at last, this motion to end them was passed. But will it actually make any difference? Not, I suspect, with Mr Davey in post.

    • agricola
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      The big six energy companies collect all the green levy. The companies working at the domestic end of the green agenda, insulation, modern boilers etc. suffer constant changes of policy from government departments, and then have the greatest difficulty extracting payment from the six who have the money but prefer top keep it in their bank accounts. Piss up in a brewery comes to mind.

      • stred
        Posted January 29, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        HMG also ensures by regulation that essential wall insulation, which has to be fitted on the inside in small terraced houses, is 6 inches thick and improves the insulation value of a solid brick wall by a factor of six at a cost of £5-10k. This will rise again in 2016. It is possible to improve the same construction by a factor of 4.4 by using a low emission reflective cavity and a thin multifoil quilt for under £1000. I have fitted this system, before it became illegal, and cut my heating costs drastically.

        In my extension built with a thicker 3cm multifoil, we have not had to fit a radiator and the room stays at 1 deg C below the lower house. But the powers that be insist that their test must be used and that it does not work. The calculation submitted had to discount manufacturer’s claims.

        • stred
          Posted January 29, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          I should add that if a higher insulation standard becomes necessary, a second low emission cavity could be added with a total thickness of 2.5 inches, saving room space by around 6 inches at 2016 standards.

  12. Old Albion
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Globally the planet has warmed 0.8*C since 1880. With no measurable warming for the last two decades.
    The whole thing is a farce.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      A little warmer with higher co2 too is probably good on balance for food production, plant growth, and precipitation anyway.

  13. Bill
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Thank you for doing this. Keep up the good work. Some of us would be happy to see new generation nuclear plants built or, if there are genuine dangers here, the introduction of fracking. Those of us who can remember the power cuts of the three day week under Edward Heath never want to go there again.

  14. Atlas
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    “Wind Farms”, “Money down the drain”, etc, etc That’s the EU for you.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      Cameron, Ed Davey and all the MP who voted for the moronic climate change act are driving it.

      Who did he fire Owen Patterson.

  15. David Murfin
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    ” the better ideas are sometimes taken up by government and incorporated into one of their bills or future executive action” but some of them affect family fortunes.

  16. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    I am astounded at our incredible stupidity.
    We know from the figures that the wind farms do not produce electricity unless the wind is blowing exactly right – which is not often when we want or need it. We know that the people running the global warming scare are cheating, covering up unpleasant facts and relentlessly pursuing scientists who see through their false statistics.
    We know that we have signed up to a deal which is bound to end our electricity supplies before long. We know that Europe is beset by the Green Blob which was powerful enough to get rid of Owen Paterson and which has forbidden fracking.
    But we go on as if it was still the 1990s when to vote blue was to get green. Do you know what? We deserve to go back to the 1970s we really do.

    • Bob
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      @Mike Stallard

      “I am astounded at our incredible stupidity.”

      Our stupidity? I didn’t vote LibLabCon.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      Postscript–I have just realised that the sails on today’s windmills likely must also feather because it would be mad for them not to, but assuming so one might have thought that more variable wind speeds could be accommodated than the impression given I know little about them and just hate them because they are so abominably ugly and intrusive and despoil the type of wild countryside that I love–not to mention the seascapes and the danger to shipping.

      • alan jutson
        Posted January 30, 2015 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Leslie

        I think you will fid that the sails/Props/Blades of modern windmills can be adjusted /feathered to gain best advantage of wind speed and direction.

        Older traditional windmills were not as tall as the new versions, had shorter blades/sails, and also had a huge stable base compared to their more modern versions.

        Thus the very height and slimness of the new versions mean that whilst they are more efficient at low wind speeds, they are massively more unstable in higher winds, than the traditional types which have stood for centuries.

        Example:
        Stand the blunt end of a full length pencil upright on a desk, and compare its stability with a shorter and thicker marker pen.

  17. JimS
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I sent my MP a few grams of coal and pointed out to him that that ‘sugar cube’ contained more energy than the mass of air in the HoC moving at 20 mph.

    Before we set out on the path of regression we had been able to find energy sources that had more energy per kilo than we had before – if we hadn’t done that air travel would have been impossible and road transport impractical.

    Coal is a million times more energy dense than wind. Oil is nearly twice as energy dense as coal. The use of wind is a massive step backwards.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      You should have sent him an atom.

  18. stred
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    The only long term solution is to have mainly nuclear baseload. Unfortunately, the DECC has agreed a deal which ensures that we will have electricity heating and powering homes and industry at a price 3 times gas and inflation linked.

    We managed to build Sizewell B nuclear station for a much lower price. It is a pressurised water reactor, similar to existing French stations. Presumably, it is considered safe to run. Can anyone explain what prevents the building of identical new power stations over the next 5 years? Is it EU regulation which ties us to the new French design ?

    • stred
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      My question has been clarified by the Wiki history on Hinkley Point put on by Baz.

      The current wholesale price of electricity is £48 /MWh. The price agreed by DECC at Hinkley EDF is £89 + inflation. Calculated at 2%, after 11 years the cost will rise to more than offshore wind, currently £155. After 35 years the price will be £225. INEOS have recently agreed a price for nuclear in France at 45 euros or £35.

      The regulator is British. The older British reactors planned as Sizewell C were priced at £1.7 billion. The Finns have ordered a 1200 MW nuclear power station from the Russian firm Rosatom at twice the cost of similar staions in China, but with costs agreed at 50 Euros or £37/ MWh. The construction cost is given as £6.7 billion.

      To summarise, DECC has managed to lumber the British customer with a cost for baseload electricity 2.5 x current costs for industry in France, 2.4 x the costs agreed for the Finns with the Russians, rising to 6 times this current cost after 35 years.

      Mr Cameron would not want relations with the Russians to improve and order a cheap one like the Finns would he? No, he’s leading the charge for more sanctions and tit for tat on a stronger scale. Donkeys.

      • stred
        Posted January 30, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Interesting to see the French comparative costs of electricity given on Wiki dated 2011. Nuclear is priced at 50 euros/ MWh including state insurance post Fukushima. They have just sold Decc a deal at £89= 119 E…+inflation.

    • Mark
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      I think it is no coincidence that the initially agreed price for power from Hinkley C is essentially the same as for onshore wind. EdF knew they would get the contract at that price, and had no incentive to make it any cheaper. Moreover, they know that cost overruns will be paid for, because we’ll be desperate for the capacity – unless we get on and cancel the deal now, and replace it with CCGT and prolonging rather than shortening the life of our existing coal stations until we can negotiate cost competitive nuclear supply. I have nothing against nuclear in principle – only against building the world’s most expensive nuclear power station.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Massive subsidy for nuclear generation by foreign owned companies is acceptable and did you read my post on nuclear costs here?
      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2015/01/24/will-printing-money-save-the-euro/#comments

      • stred
        Posted January 30, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        Yes. I read it and summarised the contents and mentioned your post. Probably being moderated. The costs agreed by Decc are amazing. Hope JR allows it.

  19. They Work for Us?
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    We should aim to make ourselves independent of Scottish wind generated electricity as they move to independence. Why should we buy it all. The National Grid site is revealing. The “dial” for wind should be to the same scale as the other major means when it’s contribution would be seen at a glance to be very low to almost zero at times.
    The consequences of running out of power at the wrong time feature in the 1979 book “Overload” by Arthur Hailey. Any conservation group opposing any sensible method of generating electricity or government failing to install enough new capacity should be made to read it.

  20. BobE
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    If the government is concerned about fossil fuel use then let us change all government cars to be electric cars. Get rid of all those limos. Could do the same in Europe as well.
    Bob

    • Mark
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      How do you think the power would be generated for those electric cars? I don’t think the hot air from the DECC will cut it. We’d need at least 50% more electricity.

  21. Richard Molyneux
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Wind farms can play a samall part in renewable energy supply. However the limitations are surely now well understood. Looking at the website Grid Watch over a 48 hour period it is interesting to note that coal and nuclear output were fairly constant and that all the swing between the demand and the variable wind input was taken up or shed by CCGT generation which is the most efficient and much smaller CO2 emitter vs coal.(roughly half)
    I look at the French grid supply and see Nuclear provides 80 percent or more of their power generation. If they don’t see a problem with this why do we? Lets face many Britons in the south live closer to France than othesr in the North

    Anti frackers say we should not go for gas ( not even to replace coal) as we must use renewables Well where are they? Wind farms are not the answer.
    It makes sense to preserve or fossil fuels climate change ot not.m However not all gas ona oil are used for burning. All those plastics, polt ethylene , poly propylene come form gas reserves plus innumerabe other petroleum derivitives.

  22. ian
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    This is one of the most hated policies in the country, even some of the green do not like them. I can not see for windmill.
    But house of lords landowner love them for income

  23. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    1. Wind turbines from China are very much cheaper than current suppliers. They would be cheaper still if the Chinese were encouraged to invest more in their production with promises of greater sales throughout the EU. The UK has made a definite decision along with its policy on non-buying of Chinese solar panels to waste tax-payers money in the billions.

    2. The switching off of wind turbines in periods of over-supply of electricity is by far cheaper than temporarily closing down any other type of producing facility.

    3. Attacks upon wind turbine generation when other energy production such as fracking have hit the long grass is ill-advised as it leaves the UK with yet one more less option for energy.

    4. A tiny island nation like Britain needs only one major nuclear power plant incident to knock several Parliaments into the most bizarre and expensive imports of energy. Wind turbines though not filling the resultant energy scarcity-gap would at least keep the Houses of Parliament’s lights on while it discussed alternative energy sources in panic.

    5. Had not wind turbines out of practical necessity needed to be placed in what we in our blindness call “countryside” in Britain where the rich are as blind as anyone else and instead placed say in social housing estates then I feel that in certain quarters there would be an effort to tell inhabitants how turbines “bring communities together” “create interesting focal points” of which Dutch artists seeing their objective beauty will fill our art galleries with these “state of the art” “space-age” “ultra-modern” ye olde windmills.

    6. Has the UK Parliament , recently, albeit for just a few minutes, in a time where our country could face massive terrorist attacks ( nuclear installations being easy targets ) got nothing better to talk about than wind turbines, topless women on page 3 when they can be observed for free in many a suburban garden when the sun has got his hat on, and, by just 8 MPs the other week ..whether local councillors should have Parliamentary approval to say their prayers before Council meetings?

  24. W Lambeth
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    We are an island surrounded by water. The direction & strength of the tides have been known for centuries. Too rely on Wind Mills designed and constructed outside the UK was a decision of crass stupidity.

    • Mark
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately, tidal power is very expensive to exploit. Despite the government offer of £305/MWh – about twice as much as offshore wind, more than three times the Hinkley C price guarantee, and more than six times the market price for electricity, there is no great queue of projects.

  25. fedupsouthener
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I absolutely agree with everything you say here John. The whole scenario regarding renewable energy is a total farce. These policies have been brought in by governments afraid of the Greens and the votes they might garner at the expense of the main parties. It is an utter disgrace when a government goes down this route rather than doing things which would be good for their country’s economy. Shale gas is being thwarted in Scotland as we speak with the consequences of Grangemouth in danger of shutting for good. We should be exploiting our own natural resources and not pandering to the whims of the Greens and certain hippy like charities. The people in the know would tell you that this is a misguided policy. The government should be taking advice from people like Deiter Helm and Dr John Constable who all know more and have no vested interest. The wind industry is reaping the benefits of free ludicrous subsidies for all they are worth while the industry can get away with it. The situation in Scotland is truly out of control Even the SNP cannot tell you how many turbines have been installed or are scoping/application/consented. In the Highland around Loch Ness there are a total of over 500 and in my area we have over 400 at present. We are not talking about small individual turbines (for which the subsidy is still stupidly lucrative) but large turbines some now over 150m high. These are getting closer and closer to people’s homes and the situation for some is intolerable. We are at a stage where many of us would move out tomorrow but still they keep coming. It is the small villages here that have suffered the most. We have seen our homes devalued and in some cases become unsaleable and we have seen people’s health deteriorate. We have had our water contaminated and some have been very ill through this. Nothing has been done about the situation. The grid cannot handle what wind we have now and yet more applications for large wind farms are still being consented and applied for. For the first 2 weeks in January a large wind farm known as Hadyard Hill was paid to turn off for all but 2 days meaning they earned more through subsidies than they would have had they been working! What a stupid situation and when Ed Davey says that Cameron is being too harsh on the wind industry you can see why we get really angry with the whole thing. We must have shale, coal and gas and some nuclear – no, a lot of nuclear especially as fission is so close to being perfected. Please can someone see sense?

  26. fedupsouthener
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    has also come to light that because of the need to keep ramping our fossil fuel stations up and down to accommodate wind we have not reduced our CO2 emission (if important) by as much as if we had used nuclear, gas and coal sensibly. When it is decided enough is enough because of this failure what mad scheme will they come up with next? I don’t see the weather being any different or less floods, earthquakes, drought, snow etc so why are we being forced to pay for this trash? Times are hard enough for some in society without being lumbered with the costs for this cash cow. Mr Davey needs kicking out and Owen Paterson or Roger Helmer from UKIP need to take over. Roger has some great blogs about wind and the waste of money they are and really takes the time to understand. How about you John? You also seem to have a good understanding of it all.

  27. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    The wind farms should be working well over the last few days . I hope the electricity is stored.We have the capability that wind farms provide in the structures themselves so this does not dissapoint me too much.Research into renewables should not be difficult It is a hot topic . Really, what we have to be is open minded and flexible and not focus on one thing or another .Always spread the risk.

    • margaret brandreth-j
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      disappoint .. oh blast fingers working too slowly… age shall not weary us!

    • Matt
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Margaret.
      I know you mean well, but no the energy is not stored. There is a small amount of energy storage in the system in the form of pumped hydro-electric. The ones where a previously beautiful mountain is defaced with huge concrete structures.
      There are no energy storage technologies of the scale required in development or even for which we have the basic science. It is a thing well beyond mankind and likely to remain so for a very long time.

      • Margaret Brandreth-J
        Posted January 31, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        Try not to ignorantly condescend ; creative management is the only potential way of lasting energy .An open mind is necessary for progress. Whilst energy is produced by the continual power of the elements , I believe there are small systems which do store energy. Why does it seem compulsory for some to try and be too clever for their own good. This negativity I find very boring.

    • oldtimer
      Posted January 29, 2015 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      indfarms are incapable of working “well” as you put it. The owner/operators are paid if there is no wind to power the turbines; they are paid if the wind is too strong for the turbines to cope; and another operator is paid to have 100% fossil fuelled standby capacity on tap to provide cover when these eventualties materialise, which is most of the time. Electricity cannot be stored in the quantities needed – the technology does not exist. (A study in Scotland demonstrated tha even hydro electrically powered storage was inadequate.) Even the modest requirements of a mobile phone (measured in miliamps) struggle to be satisfied by their batteries.

      • Margaret Brandreth-J
        Posted January 31, 2015 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        I believe there is much research on negative energy using continuous tension as a means to create a vacuum in a cone shape and subsequently reverse the negative energy to a positive force. The ‘ whirlwind project ‘

  28. forthurst
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    A recent article in the Register provides a summary of the evidence and comment on the comparitive reasonableness of the warmist and sceptic positions:

    SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS that 2014 was record HOTTEST year? NO
    No significant warming, since at least 2005

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/01/19/no_scientific_consensus_on_2014_hottest_year_on_record_claims/

    CO2 has little if anything to do with climate, ” because colossal amounts of CO2 have been emitted during the hiatus period – on the order of a third of all that has ever been emitted by humanity since the Industrial Revolution”

    AGW is a gigantic hoax and now that there has been no genuine warming trend for several years, dishonest scientists still massage the data at the margins and dishonest public policy makers continue to misepresent the evidence; their theory is rubbish, their models are rubbish and it is now time to stop voting for those who would destroy our economy on the altar of a discredited cult.

  29. turbo terrier
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Great entry today. Only one thought.

    “many of us wish to eliminate all new subsidies altogether”

    Repeal the Climate Change Act and stop all subsidies new and existing and let market forces drive the prices down. The cheapest most reliable supplies will be the winners and therefore their share holders will be ecstatic as will be the consumers.

    With the moratorium on fracking announced in Scotland coupled with the owners of Grangemouth really pushing for it or else and the nuclear boats maybe being relocated to Wales how many jobs could that cost Scotland? Could they then be in a position to pay the subsidies for the turbines? In a word NO!

    Lord Lawson and his GWPF latest edition highlights the need for fracking and the bilions that have been wasted on renewables. We all know who has paid for that as highlighted by our host

  30. Terry
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I am dismayed that the voting was so incredibly close. Wind farms do not make any sense. No sense from the energy supply angle and certainly no sense from the economic angle. They are too expensive to build, run and maintain.

    However, they do make sense to the installers of such behemoths and their shareholders. At around £2 Millions each to build and hundreds of tons of concrete to erect that is always going to provide a large profit to the Foreign companies who have a monopoly on these products.
    Who on earth thought that they would actually replace CLEAN gas fired Power Stations? Would it be a socialist green dreamer? It is a joke, they are a joke but we are still paying for it and we should not be laughing but crying. How can we afford it?

    Sometime back, I discovered that when they cannot run due to winds in excess of 50 mph they actually use electricity generators to turn their turbines lest they seize up. So, what ever little they generate is fed back to them at a later date. Wonderful efficiency .

    So what is the point of them? Let’s bring back ultra cheap Coal fired Power stations using modern techniques to clean up their act and have a local supplier for our energy supplies for some 300 years hence. Just think of the new jobs that would create through the country. Just like China and India are doing.
    All this can be achieved merely by removing the chains of suppression from around our necks. The EU. The rest of the world must roar with laughter at the endless red tape and dumb directives that do nothing but stifle grown and inhibit future development and make the EU the slowest growth zone in the world. Please let us do ‘our own thing’ again!

  31. Colin Hart
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Wind turbines don’t turn when there is no wind – often on the coldest days. Nor do they turn when there is too much wind. As a result we have to maintain adequate generating capacity fuelled by nuclear, oil, gas or coal. Wind and solar are an expensive bit on the side. We don’t need them but they make some people feel better.

    Until I hear the Conservative leadership acknowledging these realities instead of pandering to the green blob, I will find it difficult if not impossible to give them my support at the election.

  32. Ted Mombiot
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    All the figures used to justify early subsidies for windmills were based on an ever rising oil price.
    We were told peak oil and rising world demand for energy could see oil prices going off the scale and so these early subsidies would help develop the industry and because of economies of scale windmills would be self sufficient and protect us from the fires of hell caused by a less than one degree rise in temperatures since 1900.
    Now we are awash with gas and oil at cheap prices, windmills and their now endless huge subsidies are a failing experiment.
    Greens should re-cost their pet theories based on the price of gas and oil as they now are.

  33. Bazman
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Green energy means clean and sustainable. Who is against this? To expensive means not sustainable. Pollution the same.
    Massive subsidies paid to nuclear and even more planned, hidden subsidies to gas, oil and coal also subsidised by not paying for their pollution and special tax rates not enjoyed by other industries such as manufacturing. This is all true. To deny is to be deluded and this why you will not check.
    The wind turbines are also subsidised, but to nowhere near the above a power source of last resort like nuclear. Yes it is. Nuclear submarines have no alternative power source. No subsidy no nuclear. No argument.
    The Subsidies are to aid development of wind and solar which in some places like Australia the fossil fuel generators are calling them ‘unfair competition’ Yes they do. How many would see them as this here if the technology evolved to this level? Solar has fallen massively in real terms whilst nuclear just keeps rising. Yes it does. Please check.
    The subsidies you know like the ones to other forms of energy production just end up in the companies or landowners pockets, but like rail if these where no subsidy and free for all there would be no energy a banking crisis, but with lights out and crime skyward.
    This is the real problem and energy is of strategic significance not just commercial gain.
    Another problem is that the world is crying out for non fossil fuel sustainable energy and to abandon research and funding often by subsidy would be a big risk.

  34. Hefner
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    This would be more credible if at the same time there would also be a call for the suppression of all subsidies to the oil and gas industries. But could the Conservatives do such a thing?

    • Ted Monbiot
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      If we had a subsidy free energy market then it would be coal, gas and oil first followed some way behind by nuclear then way behind that Pv panels and wind.
      For the consumer wood burning would become popular.

      Presuming you mean genuine subsidies not the same taxation rules which apply to all companies?
      Would you remove all the duties added to petrol and diesel as these are reverse subsidies?
      And equal treatment on VAT and climate change levy too?

  35. Hefner
    Posted January 29, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    This would be more credible if at the same time there was a call for suppressing all subsidies to the oil, coal and gas industries.

    • Mark
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      There are no subsidies to those industries – we stopped subsidising coal mining a long time ago. Oil and gas production is more heavily taxed than any other industry.

      • Hefner
        Posted January 30, 2015 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Funny if you do a simple search for “oil gas coal subsidies” you can get a lot of articles, and not all from greenies … And some are directly linked to UK companies.

  36. Martin C
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I dont understand how you can cut the subsidy, its nailed down tighter than a bulls arse in fly time.
    There is no subsidy to build the windfarm, that I am aware of, but there is a guaranteed strike price for the electricity it produces. That strike price is way higher than market, and is guaranteed by contract even when the grid cannot use the power the windfarm generates, and these contracts are for 25 years, I believe.
    It would cost more for the state to extricate itself from these contracts than it would cost just to pay the subsidy.
    What you can do is not to create any more of these subsidy contracts, which will stop new windfarm building dead in its tracks. But it wont affect those already on-stream.

    • Mark
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      I guess there might be a windfall (sic) profits tax?

  37. CdBrux
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I have read somewhere that the cost of solar panels is reducing fast and likely to be at the point where solar energy will be cost competitive in the next 5 years. I noticed today that a new Aldi distribution centre in North Lincolnshire and the new JLR factory in Wolverhampton amongst others have covered the roofs of their large buildings with them.

    Surely something like this, where installations can be almost invisible, on existing structures likely to be around for many years, and indeed literally on top of large consumers of the electricity produced, is more worthy of backing if it has a realistic chance of requiring little or no subsidy in a few years.

    • Mark
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      The problem with solar power at large scale is that it is very intermittent: on average, at Southern English latitudes it produces about 10% of its capacity – but that varies between almost 100% at high noon on a cloudless day in midsummer when demand for power is modest, and zero overnight and during dark, cold winter rush hours when we have most need for power.

      This is causing great problems in Germany, which already has very substantial solar capacity. They are forced to sell surplus power at low or negative prices to neighbouring countries (since the power must go somewhere if it is not to cause fires in the solar farms), and also to provide extensive backup capacity for when the sun doesn’t shine. Hence they are now investing in more coal fired power stations – and their carbon dioxide emissions have increased, because coal stations are forced to operate very inefficiently, in order to be ready to provide backup power. The panels may be cheap, but the cost of incorporating them into the supply network is very expensive.

      • CdBrux
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for your reply Mark.
        If the panels are situated on buildings where they, or their imediate neighbours, will almost always be consuming all the output of those panels (hence industrial / warehouse type buildings whose energy requirements > max panel capacity), will this not reduce / eleminate the problem you identify?

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      We need the planning constraints on new builds to mandate installation of solar panels on their roofs. This should include where possible aligning buildings and their roofs to maximise the generation. All commercial buildings and suitably sized residential buildings should be included.

      Designing the buildings to incorporate the solar panels should minimise their installation costs and take us nearer the point where solar panels are cost effective without subsidies.

    • A different Simon
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Have a look at this German Gridwatch type site .

      It’s not hard to spot the solar ; it’s cyclical .

      https://www.energy-charts.de/power.htm

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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