Welcome to the Highlands

Welcome to the Highlands, the land of  sparkling Burns, The Heather hughed Glens, High Mountains where the Eagles soar, a land of Deer and Salmon, Kilts and Pipes. The Corbetts, the Grahams and the Monros. A place to revitalise the Spirit and the Soul. This is a land of proud people, people that will give any man the time of day.

But today a certain sadness pervades all. In a desperate drive for fame our politicians have sold Scotland and its wild places to the lowest bidder. The march of the wind factories is heard in the Glens. Tourism for Scotland is dead. Our way of life crushed beneath the greed of mostly foreign adventurers and aided by our Government and Planners.

This is the opportunity for all you to have your say and perhaps we will save something for our children.

The first great requisite of motive power is; that it shall be wholly at our command, to be exerted when, and where, and in what degree we desire.The wind, for instance, as a direct motive power, is wholly inapplicable to a system of machine labour, for during a calm season the whole business of the country would be thrown out of gear.

William Stanley Jevons (1865)

“God never made an ugly landscape. All that sun shines on is beautiful, so long as it is wild.”

— John Muir

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”

— John Muir

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Posted in Tourism, Uncategorized | 36 Comments

Wind Industry Lies About Falling Costs Backfire: MPs Demand End to Subsidies for Wind Power

Interesting dichotomy. If they are so brilliant they don’y need subsidies. If they need subsidy they are an uneconomical method of providing intermittent power. I would go one step further. If we need standing reserve for when the wind doesn’t blow than wind farmers should pay a heavy penalty when they fail to provide power. Never mind constraints payments which are a farce. If the wind is so strong that they need to constrain off generation wait half an hour and the turbines will get closed down anyway and you can make the weasels pay for failure to supply.

STOP THESE THINGS

The moral of the story of ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ isn’t don’t lie, it’s don’t tell the same lie twice.

Renewables rent-seekers continue to stick with the same grab bag of lies, myths and furphies, despite mountains of evidence revealing their marketing pitch is just so much polished propaganda.

South Australia (Australia’s so-called ‘wind power capital’) is held up by wind worshippers as the example of how to transition to a 100% renewable energy future.

When the wind blows for a few hours at a stretch (see above) the wind cult claims victory, and seizes the high moral ground. However, woe betide anybody with the temerity to point out that SA’s obsession with wind power has left it with the highest power prices in the world, retail power prices rocketing, year-on-year, at 20% and a tripling of power costs to business in just on two years. Oh, and heaven…

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I’ve got to take my problem to the United Nations

Perverseness pays off

STOP THESE THINGS

When a bad bout of the Summertime Blues struck Trex’s Marc Bolan a while back, he told us he had no choice but to take his problem to the United Nations. Here’s a flashback for Glam Rock tragics:

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Facing their own version of the same malady – this time the threat of giant fans destroying an otherwise idyllic life in the Scottish Highlands, near Loch Awe – Pat Swords and Christine Metcalfe weren’t about to let the Summertime Blues get them down, so – just like Marc Bolan and Eddie Cochran before him – they took their problem to the United Nations.

United Nation Headquarter New York Maybe this joint really is about social justice for the World’s citizens?

This plucky pair – Christine a red-blooded, Scot and Pat of the “fightin’ Irish” – may have just pulled the wind industry to a screaming halt in the UK and Ireland and – what’s…

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I think you may enjoy this

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The Scottish Wind-Power Racket

10 August 2017

The Scottish wind-power racket

By John Constable and Matt Ridley

Imagine a sausage factory – the luckiest, most profitable sausage factory in the world. Its machines crank out their sausages, and lorries carry them to supermarkets. So far, so normal.

But this particular factory makes as many sausages as the management and staff choose. If they feel like taking the day off, the lorries and shelves stay empty. If they want to go a bit wild, they sometimes make so many sausages that there aren’t enough lorries to take them away. Or they carry on cranking out sausages even if the shelves are already full.

And here’s the really amazing thing: even when the lorries can’t cope or there is no demand for sausages, the factory gets paid. Indeed, they get paid more for not sending the sausages to the shops than for sending them. This is such great business that the factory is actually building an extension, so it can threaten to make even more unwanted sausages.

Does all that sound completely mad? Of course it does. But it’s what happens in the British electricity industry – where the blackmailing, money-printing sausage factory is a wind farm in Scotland.

There are currently about 750 wind farms north of the border, with roughly 3,000 wind turbines. Their total generating capacity amounts to 5,700 MW. The actual amount produced varies according to the weather. But at its maximum, that wind capacity is more than the 5.5 GW peakdemand on the Scottish grid.

What this means, of course, is that the output from Scottish wind turbines is often more than the Scottish system can absorb. That requires the surplus energy to be exported to England and Wales. But that isn’t as easy as it sounds.

The wind farms are distributed across Scotland, sometimes in very remote regions, so there is a real problem in getting their energy down to the English border – let alone getting it across. For some years now, Scotland’s total export capacity has been only 3.5 GW, well under the peak output of the wind farm fleet.

So, reinforcements and new links are being introduced. These range from the hugely controversial, and to many environmentally unacceptable, £820 million Beauly-Denny upgrade, to the massive Western Link, a subsea connector from Hunterston to Deeside that is set to come online this year at a cost of more than £1 billion – and will entail a standing charge on energy bills across Britain of about £100 million a year for 35 years.

Yet in spite of the cost, these upgrades cannot completely address the problem: there is still more wind power in Scotland than can be reasonably and affordably absorbed into the system, or exported to its neighbours, partly because the wind fleet keeps growing.

Why has so much been built? Partly, it is because of income-support subsidies. This top-up of nearly 100 per cent over the wholesale price – funded, of course, from consumer bills – makes wind farms very attractive, at least until they wear out (by which time developers hope to have sold them on to naive pension funds and investment trusts).

There is also the political situation. In England and Wales, onshore wind is effectively dead, due primarily to the strong local resistance the turbines tend to attract, to which government eventually responded.

In Scotland, the story is different. The country is intensely urbanised, with most voters located in the cities. Rural objectors were simply too few in number to have much influence, no matter how strong their environmental or economic arguments.

Subsidies to onshore wind in the UK now cost a little under £600 million a year, with Scottish wind taking about half, yet the Scottish government continues to ignore the protests and consent to new wind farms as if they cost almost nothing at all.

Which as far as Holyrood is concerned, is in fact true. Part of the attraction for Scottish politicians is that the subsidies that pay for Scottish wind farms come from consumers all over Great Britain.Scottish consumption is about 10 per cent of the British total – so when the Scottish government grants planning permission to the wind industry, it is simply writing a cheque drawn overwhelmingly on English and Welsh accounts. Taxation without representation, in fact.

But a careless government and a lucrative subsidy system doesn’t explain the full flourishing of Scotland’s wind industry. Bizarre as it may seem, the fact that the Scottish grid cannot physically absorb all this wind power is also an attraction – because subsidised wind farms can actually earn more per unit generated when that unit is thrown away than when it is sold to consumers. In other words, they really do get paid more for not making sausages than they do when selling normally.

The explanation is simple. A wind farm receives roughly half of its income from the wholesale price and half from subsidy, the infamous Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC). When the grid is either at or close to capacity, National Grid stops the wind farm from generating, in order to prevent damage to the overhead wires and, at worst, a major system disruption.

When this happens, the wind farm will keep its wholesale income – which is fair enough, since it was contracted in to the system. But it loses its ROCs, because those are only issued for electricity actually sold to consumers.

What happens then, however, is that the wind farm will ask for compensation for the lost ROCs.  The euphemism for “being paid for not producing sausages” is “constraint payment”. And often – and this is the crucial point – they will ask for more compensation than they are losing in income.

When one of us, John Constable, first exposed this problem back in 2011, the average compensation being paid was nearly four times the lost income. One wind farm, Crystal Rig, was asking for (and receiving) £991/MWh in compensation when it was losing about £50/MWh.

Naming and shaming worked, and prices fell. But they are still well above the income lost, with onshore wind farms regularly asking for between £60 and £90/MWh in compensation when they are only losing about £45/MWh.

The result is that wind farms in Scotland have a higher average income per unit of power generated, because local demand is low and the grid system is hopelessly congested – leaving National Grid no option but to buy them off at any price.

For National Grid, this is just a pass-through cost, so they don’t care much about it – they simply increase the amount they’re charging consumers. But for consumers, it’s a truly terrible deal. Since 2010, we’ve paid £328m to wind farms not to generate – mostly to onshore Scottish wind farms, though England’s offshore farms have also started to get into the act. Last year, the total was £82m. This year, it’s already reached £50m.

The result is that there is a perverse incentive to locate wind farms in Scotland, even though they aren’t welcome and the grid can’t take their output. In fact, some wind farms that are already being “constrained off” on a regular basis are considering major extensions to their capacity.

Take Fallago Rig in the Borders. This 48-turbine wind farm, with a capacity of 144 MW, was built in the teeth of fierce local resistance in 2013. Since then, it has received £21,713,858 in payments to stop generating, at an average price of £82/MWh – roughly double the lost income. That lost generation, about 264,954 MWh, is equivalent to 16 per cent of its output during that period.

In spite of this, its owners EdF, the economic wizards behind Hinkley Point C, are proposing to add a further 12 turbines, each over 126.5m in height. Is this about saving the planet? Or because the farm’s owners know they are on to a very good thing and are determined to make out like bandits?

Yet remarkably, this isn’t the end of the counter-economic insanity. When a Scottish wind farm is stopped from generating because of a bottleneck in the system, it throws the whole British market out of balance: supply no longer matches demand. A generator that was contracted-in to the market has been told to stop. That means that the market on the other side of the bottleneck is now short. National Grid, which is responsible for fixing these problems, has to buy last-minute supplies to make up for it. And that is very expensive indeed.

It’s quite difficult to determine which payments to these emergency generators – who are said to be “constrained on” to the system – are caused by Scotland’s capacity and export problems, and which by power station failures or errors in demand forecasts (among other factors). But either way, it’s big money.

And in a supreme irony, it is more than likely that the same large companies getting constraint payments on one side of the bottleneck (because the Scottish grid can’t cope) also get paid to start up their gas turbines in England to make up for the shortfall. Laugh? It’s enough to make a grown bill-payer cry.

The remedies are obvious. First, existing wind farms should not be allowed to demand compensation in excess of income lost. Second, we should carefully weigh up the costs and benefits of building new grid and reinforcing existing lines. It may well be much cheaper to shut wind farms down and compensate their owners, at the correct rate of course, rather than build another subsea interconnector on the east coast – or reinforce the landlines over the border to the main centres of load.

Third, and most importantly, the Government in Westminster should put its foot down, in the interests of us all, and stop Holyrood consenting new wind farms and extensions in Scotland. Or at least ensure that if MSPs want to play fast and loose with consumer bills, those should be Scottish bills. That might focus minds.

Dr John Constable is Director of the Renewable Energy Foundation. Matt Ridley is a journalist and author

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Cnoc an Neas

Since Paul Wheelhouse took over the remit for wind farms and even with subsidies cut, a sense of foreboding has over shadowed every wind farm objection as the Scottish Ministers, Mr. Wheelhouse and Mr. Brown have effectively rubber stamped most appeals. However for Force 9 Energy and Electricite de France it will certainly not be a champagne celebration as the Reporter has dismissed the appeal and refused the wind farm application. The full seventeen page report is pretty consistent in supporting the objectors and The Highland Council. Let us hope for consistency as the neighbouring Druim Ba wind farm application is shortly to be decided.

 

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Zero Gain

zero gain

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How to really annoy your neighbours. Buy an electric car!

 

euro sheep

Plugging in six electric cars may cause local power cuts

Emily Gosden, Energy Editor
April 20 2017, 12:01am,
The Times

More than 11,000 public charging points have been installed for 100,000 electric cars on the roads today

Electric cars could cause local power shortages if just six vehicles are plugged in to charge on the same street, a leading think tank has warned.

Britain’s energy networks are unprepared for the growing numbers of electric cars and solar panels and ministers must intervene to prevent a “disaster” of “rising bills, blackout risk and angry consumers”, the Green Alliance said.

Uncontrolled charging of electric vehicles could cause “brownouts” at evening peaks in half of the UK by 2023, where the voltage drops and some household appliances stop working. Even now “as few as six closely located vehicles charging together at peak time could lead to local brownouts”, the report warned.

By 2025, up to 700,000 people could be affected by blackouts unless ministers mandate the use of “smart” charging points that manage usage and prevent cars drawing more power than the grid is capable of providing, it said.

About 100,000 electric vehicles are on British roads and forecasts suggest this could rise to 4.6 million by 2025 as costs fall. There are more than 11,000 public charging points, but most drivers also install their own charging points at home.

Dustin Benton, the policy director of Green Alliance, said initial ownership of electric cars was likely to be clustered in wealthy areas, exacerbating the risk of localised shortages unless ministers acted to manage the way they were charged. The affluent Surrey town of Lightwater could suffer brownouts if a third of households charged electric cars at peak, for example, or if just 7 per cent of households did so in “clusters”.

Using “smart” car chargers could, however, turn electric vehicle batteries into a useful resource, providing power to the grid at peak times and charging at other times when power is plentiful.

Meanwhile, the continued installation of solar panels is threatening power grids with the opposite problem of too much power when demand is low, the Green Alliance warned. The cost of solar panels is falling so rapidly that the government will soon lose the ability to deter people from installing them by cutting subsidies.

A fifth of local networks are already so close to capacity that they will struggle to cope with new solar developments, leaving the authorities facing the “invidious choice” of either barring people from installing solar panels or undertaking costly network upgrades. A radical rethink could instead use batteries and smart household appliances to help tackle the problem, it said.

“Small-scale energy . . . has already led to blackouts and billion-pound losses for unprepared governments, and it won’t be any different for the UK,” the Green Alliance warned. However, “with the right policy, electric vehicles and solar could help keep the lights on and cut consumer bills”.

A government spokesman said: “Keeping the lights on is non-negotiable. The way we use energy is changing and government is already upgrading our infrastructure and investigating what more can be done to deliver a smarter, more flexible energy system.”

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/…/plugging-in-six-electric-cars-…

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Stranded Assets

STRANDED ASSETS (fron Renewable News)
Scotland has nearly 2GW of consented commercial-scale onshore wind projects without an
immediate route to market.The portfolio includes developments awaiting policy on
support for islands wind, those with long-term grid or aviation constraints, and otherwise shovel-ready schemes simply awaiting clarity on the future shape of the UK wind market.
Developers predicted a number of long-in-the-tooth schemes designed to succeed under the Renewables Obligation will simply not progress. “The lower wind speed sites as a
general rule appear likely to fall by the wayside,” said one source. “Some of the small fry are also not really worth chasing.” Some consented ‘old school’ projects do have a future in the postsubsidy era but will require tweaks to current design. “I think you will see a lot of the previous generation of projects going back into planning in search of taller tips or bigger rotors, and perhaps even enhanced site design,” said the source. Renegotiation of lease deals with landowners may also be necessary to reflect the lower margins required
under the new system. A pool of potential buyers, both stablished and newcomers, is
nevertheless active in the Scottish market and eyeing the potential upside of the stranded portfolio. “There are bargains to be had but there is an obvious element of risk,” said another market source. “It could end up being a very long-term game in some instances.”

More recently approved projects

Project, location MW Developer
Aikengall 3, Lothian/Borders 75.5 CWP
Aultmore, Moray 26 Vattenfall
Beinn an Tuirc, Arygll 36 SPR
Camilty, West Lothian 20.4 PfR
Cloich, Borders 54 PfR
Corlic Hill, Inverclyde 24 Velocita
Craigton, Stirling 21 EDF
Creag Riabhach, Highland 72.6 Shanks/Gray
Crookedstane, Lanark 9.2 Velocita
Crossdykes, D&G 48 Muirhall
Dalquhandy, Lanark 45 Hargreaves
Deuchries, Aberdeenshire 6.9 Force 9
Druim Leathann, Lewis 42 Velocita
Gass, D&G 20 Willowind
Glen Kyllachy, Highland 50 Innogy
Glenmuckloch, D&G 25 Buccleuch/2020
Glen Ullinish, Highland 42 Kilmac
Govals, Angus 4.8 Green Cat
Halsary, Highlands 34 SPR
Kellas, Moray 16 REV
Kenly, Fife 12.3 St Andrews
Kennoxhead, Lanark 64.6 Brookfield
Kirk Hill, Ayrshire 24 ESB
Knockman Hill, D&G 5 Ramsay
Knockshinnoch, Ayrshire 4 REG
Kype Muir 2, Lanark 51 Banks
Larbrax, D&G 20 Brookfield
Lion Hill, Lanark 9.2 Velocita
Meikle Hill, Moray 13.8 Brookfield
Millennium 3, Highland 35 Falck
Mochrum Fell, D&G 24 Falck
Muaitheabhal, Lewis 160 EDF/Amec
Penbreck, Lanark 18 Brookfield
Pogbie 2, East Lothian 4.8 Trusted
Poniel, Lanark 9 Hargreaves
Sanquhar Six, D&G 19.8 CWP
Sorbie, Ayrshire 7.05 Velocita
Stornoway, Lewis 180 EDF/Amec
Stranoch, D&G 72 EDF
Tangy 3, Argyll 34.5 SSE
Twentyshilling, D&G 27 Element
Viking, Shetland 412 SSE/Viking
West Benhar, Lanark 27.2 PfR
Windy Edge, Borders 27

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Reality – Personified

Well I have been a little quiet of late the perceived wisdom is that wind turbines do not deliver a power supply fit for the future. This assessment by Prof Jack Ponton nicely illustrates a number of our concerns. Yet every week we have more and more applications raising their heads and other plans being pushed forward. Do they know something we don’t or have they all been laughing all the way to the overseas banks in the knowledge that subsidies were just a blackmail of the government of the time, besotted by Climate Panic and ignorant of fact? Surely now is the time for a Wind Fall tax on all wind farm operators and a reduction of ROCs to a zero value. Also I would not compensate wind farms by constraint payments but fine them for when they are unable to supply power.

Excellent letter by Prof Jack Ponton in Southern Reporter, 2 March 2017. Blowing the myths away

We believe that your readers deserve to know the truth about wind power, so
have set out some popular myths and given the facts which show the actuality.

Myth 1: Onshore wind is the UK’s cheapest form of new power generation, so
we should use it to keep people’s electricity bills low.

It’s not cheap for consumers because we subsidise wind farm developers
through our utility bills, and taxpayers pick up the tab for grid expansion
and back-up power.

Myth 2: Scotland has abundant wind – about 25% of Europe’s wind resources.

There is little point in having 25% of something that no one will pay for –
unlike oil companies which pay royalties to the government, wind companies
claim subsidies.

Myth 3: Wind power helps Scotland to meet its targets for carbon emissions
and renewable electricity generation.

We all want to save the planet, but we need to be realistic. Scotland’s CO2
emissions are barely 0.15% of the world total, so even eliminating them
will have a minute impact. Meantime, the fixation on producing ever more
electricity from wind comes at a very high price – it makes our businesses
less competitive, puts jobs at risk and tips more people into fuel poverty.

Myth 4: Scotland reaps huge financial benefits from investment and jobs
created by the economic activity of wind farms.

Only a very small proportion of each wind farm’s total “investment”
benefits Scotland. The turbine (the most expensive bit) is invariably
imported, the blades are nearly all imported, and the pillars and steel
work are often imported. Most jobs in the renewables industry are in
planning and installing new facilities. Once a wind farm is operational,
what little maintenance it requires tends to be carried out by people with
skills and experience from outwith the area. The £millions invested by
developers with one hand looks much less impressive when they use the other
to rake in £millions of subsidies and constraint payments (when turbines
have to be shut down to avoid overloading the grid).

Myth 5: Most people (71%) think wind power/renewable energy is great
(Public Attitudes Tracking Survey), so there is no problem building more
wind farms.

Most people don’t live near huge, industrial-scale wind turbines and so
have little idea of how devastating they can be to those who do, or the
impact such massive structures can have on the value of people’s property,
which may represent most of a family’s life savings. Flicker and noise from
nearby wind farms can, literally, destroy peoples’ lives. The hundreds of
thousands of tonnes of concrete and hardcore trucked into our countryside
to support and connect wind turbines has a huge carbon footprint, degrades
the environment and is likely to remain forever.

Myth 6: Wind is important in Scotland’s energy mix, so we should be
increasing wind generation and decreasing our reliance on other forms of power.

When the wind is blowing, wind can indeed substitute for other energy
sources, but there are many times when there is not enough – or even no
wind – to generate sufficient electricity to meet demand. So we still need
the same amount of conventional – hydro, coal, gas, nuclear – generating
capacity on stand-by.

Myth 7: Wind provides Scotland with energy security because the wind is
always there, unlike oil and gas, much of which comes from the most
unstable parts of the world.

The wind does not always blow – or blow hard enough, and neither can we
store more than a fraction of any surplus wind power. So, to keep the
lights on, we still need many of our conventional power stations.
Fortunately, much of our gas now comes from Norway – not known for its
instability.

Myth 8: Scotland will make money by exporting surplus electricity to
England and beyond, maintaining its status as an energy-exporting country.

The Green Dream. Sadly, the only people who make money out of wind energy
in Scotland are those companies, often foreign, building or operating wind
turbines. Denmark may have the largest proportion of wind power in Europe,
but it has the highest electricity prices – and it loses money. Why?
Because when the wind is blowing in Denmark, it is almost always blowing in
neighbouring Sweden and Germany, so they are not prepared to pay much for
Denmark’s surplus power. When Denmark has little or no wind, it has to
import expensive electricity from further away. Electricity is much more
expensive to move long distances than oil or gas – the Beauly-Denny power
line cost £600m, twice the cost of a supertanker, yet has just a 100th of a
tanker’s power-carrying capacity.

Myth 9: Wind power is better than nuclear as a low-carbon electricity source.

Wind power is intermittent, whereas nuclear power is constant. In the
Borders, we have lived – many of us never even thinking about it – with
Torness on our doorstep for 30 years. There have been no fatalities at
those nuclear plants which meet western standards for design and operation,
and it is the only low-carbon source of dependable power generation as it
emits no CO2.

Myth 10: Local communities can participate in community-led schemes, or
receive money from nearby wind farms, which benefits the people closest to
wind farms.

Major wind farm developments almost always divide rather than benefit
communities, which are often spread over a wide geographical area. The
closer people live to a wind farm, the more likely their homes and
businesses may be seriously affected by turbine noise and visual impact,
while people living further away, but part of the same rural community, may
be completely unaffected. Relationships within and between communities may
be poisoned for years over relatively small sums of money – even if the
development never gains planning consent.

Jack Ponton
(vice-chair, Borders Network of Conservation Groups)

 

Only comment I would add is that any community benefit payments are eclipsed by the loss in value of homes within 5km of any windfarm (LSE Report). And unlike some continental countries Scottish Residents are not compensated for that loss in value if they sell their properties.

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Scottish Wind Power Company Attempts to Cover Up Turbine Collapse

STOP THESE THINGS

For their eyes only: another ‘rare’ turbine collapse.

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What’s notable about this story is not that a 160 tonne turbine collapsed without warning, nor is it the effort by the wind power outfit’s spin doctor to pretend that this is the first time a 90m tower has taken a tumble to terra firma (a line we demolish, so to speak, below).

No, what is remarkable is their effort to keep a lid on the collapse, only acknowledging it 7 days after the event, and then only because neighbours kicked up a stink.

Safety probe launched after collapse of 480-foot wind turbine in Ayrshire
Daily Record
Stephen Housten
29 January 2017

ENERGY chiefs have launched an urgent probe following the collapse of the 160-ton turbine.

The catastrophic collapse of a giant wind turbine is being investigated.

A 480-foot high turbine came down in a storm – only the second windmill…

View original post 850 more words

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The Future

Well this says what we already knew and I could have told them for a fraction of the cost of this report. Successive Governments and a failed Climate policy have buggered the electricity industry. But don’t worry, the future is rosy? The recommendation is to form a new Energy Commission. Sounds more like an episode of ‘Yes, Minister’. I have no doubt that they will include an SNP diehard and a selection of representatives from WWF, the Renewables Industry and the BBC Trust. The chance that they might appoint a number of people who actually understand the industry would be a miracle and miracles and politics don’t mix. Cock-ups and politics are more likely outcomes.

Anyway you might enjoy this report from Frank Hay.

house of commons

The House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs has now published its report entitled ‘The Price of Power: Reforming the Electricity Market’.

The Committee examined the impact of the policies of successive governments on the electricity market. In its report the Committee identifies two key failures in the current market: the narrow amount of spare capacity, particularly in winter, and the rising cost of electricity to consumers and businesses. The Committee concludes that constant intervention by successive Governments in the electricity sector has led to a complicated, uncompetitive market that is failing consumers and businesses. The Committee highlights:
Domestic electricity bills in Britain have gone from being second cheapest in Europe in the mid-2000s to the seventh cheapest today. Decarbonisation policies accounted for around 10% of the average domestic bill in 2013.
Industrial electricity prices in Britain are amongst the highest in Europe. The Government has taken steps to compensate some energy-intensive industries, but it still estimates 13% electricity costs after compensation relate to decarbonisation.
The growth of renewable energy, supported by contracts that guarantee a given price for a fixed period, has left the UK facing a possible shortage of capacity as private investors have not been willing to build new conventional power plants.
The UK’s capacity margin is narrow. The Government introduced the Capacity Market in an attempt to reintroduce competition into the electricity sector. However, it is still struggling to procure new power stations.

In order to address the failures in the energy market the Committee recommends the Government should:

1) Ensure that security of supply is always the first and most important consideration in energy policy. Affordability and decarbonisation must not be prioritised ahead of security.
2) Ensure that decarbonisation is achieved at the lowest cost to consumers. This may mean waiting for the development of new technologies which can reduce emissions. The Government should make sure that the pace of reductions is flexible and not a rigid path to be achieved at all costs.
3) Reduce and remove Government interventions in the market. The best way to do this would be to ensure that electricity generating capacity is secured through a single, technology-neutral, competitive auction for electricity supply. This auction would ensure that consumers are paying the lowest prices for low-carbon electricity.
4) Establish an Energy Commission to provide greater scrutiny of energy policy decisions. This independent advisory body would report to the Secretary of State and advise on the best way for all the objectives of energy policy to be delivered.
5) Create a world-class National Energy Research Centre which would search for new methods of producing cheap, clean energy and translate them into commercial applications.
6) In the light of the uncertainties remain about the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station deal, outline its ‘Plan B’ in the event the project is delayed or cannot produce the anticipated power.

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Not the best start of the year for the Wind Industry

First the erection of a Turbine Blade in Hull, City of Culture, proves a bit of an own goal when it turns out they have no planning permission. Excuse is the ‘Artist’ wished it to be a surprise? OK so I am going to build a waste incinerator in the centre of Inverness but I am an artist and I want to surprise everyone. That is what planning rules are for. If we all ignore them under the excuse of art we end up with chaos. I fail to see what is art in a massive turbine blade which are manufactured in their hundreds of thousands. May as well put a mars bar on a pedestal in Hull as a cultural image. At least it would have some practical use. Some vagrant could eat it.

hall-blade

Hot on the heals of one fiasco we have the Gamesa Turbine at Scottish Powers Kilgallioch wind farm collapsing under high winds. Apparently it is being looked into why it failed. Could it have anything to do with the wind blowing rather strongly?  Looks like Gamesa and Kilgallioch are jinxed so perhaps they should just give up and go home. Fat chance of that though.

Now we have an interesting situation in the USA with an anti wind farm, anti Climate Change President in power. Like him or loathe him President Donald John Trump is going to ruffle feathers. I think the Renewables Industry is in for a rough ride in the states and without the protection of the government I suspect class actions will become the norm. More than one company is likely to be taken to the cleaners over there and the punitive costs levied on companies in the US system will have an impact on those companies operations in the UK.

As I say, not a great start to the year for the windies!

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When will they grow up?

We see Fracking demonstrations and those of the Climate Agenda. The Film Star Prius purchasers who jet around the world in their private aircraft. The Reality of the world is quite simple. Without coal and oil we would have no plastics, few drugs and few of the necessities of urban dwellers.  Simple message is Grow UP!

the-truth

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Merry Christmas to you all!

christmas-back-ache

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Raw deal for Green House Gases

Firstly I am not, and never will be an expert on Climate, Green House Gases, Meteorology or Marine Sciences. However I have a devout dislike of computer models on the basis of rubbish in, rubbish out. However I am happy to present information from people far more learned than myself! – Editor

freeman-dyson

I ask people – greenhouse gasses are bad for you, RIGHT? Most people when asked say yes. Next question – what is the most abundant greenhouse gas? Every time I get CO2. Water vapour or clouds is the right answer. Water vapour is the most significant greenhouse gas source and is responsible for roughly 96% of all greenhouse gasses. Without our greenhouse gasses we would be like the Moon. Greenhouse gasses keep us warm and protect us from dangerous x-rays, gamma rays, solar flares and solar winds. This is well known among climatologists and is common knowledge, but among special interests, certain governmental groups, and news reporters this is under-emphasized or just ignored altogether.
CO2 is under 1% of all natural and manmade greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Of that one percent manmade CO2 makes up roughly four one hundredths of a percent. Half of the CO2 that comes from natural sources like volcanos or decay goes into the ocean and feeds the plankton to make half of our oxygen, and most of the rest feeds all the plants in the world with the help of photosynthesis that also gives us our oxygen. CO2 is good for life and at 400 parts per million is at one of its lowest levels in global history. Early man breathed 3000 parts per million and people that go down in submarines breath 8000 parts per million or more and they have their hand on the nuclear button.
This is only a small part of the complex climate science issue and as a duel citizen I voted for Trudeau – Hillary Clinton and do not watch Fox news.
Professor of creative studies retired Bob Evermon – Chairman ecology society 60s and worldwide member of the International Program on Climate Change (IPCC) 2009

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This goes to prove that the Climate Mantra has been lead by fools.

ipcc

The IPCC lead the charge to Climate Mania driven by blaming human behaviour. And yet in this from the IPCC proves that it is not definable.

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‘Tis the Season of Goodwill to all Mankind (excluding wind weasels)

christmas-2016

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
As Saint Nick hit the turbine a horrible crash.

                                                       John Curtis 2016 (with apologies to Clement Clark Moore)

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Pass the Champagne

airlander

I like it and the best use for turbines I’ve seen in years. Ten tons payload and two weeks duration. Ok it doesn’t go very fast but either delivering aid to disaster areas or cruising in style it appeals to me. Just imagine how many bottles of champagne and helpings of foie gras could be loaded on board to cruise the Alps, the Norwegian Fijords or even the Scottish Highlands. I can even think of a couple of Munros you could land on for a picnic. Luxury flying ended with Concorde but this could be a return to the Clippers of the past where those wealthy enough could travel in style and take their time to enjoy the trip. Not two hours in a crowded Heathrow followed by little bed pods. I once flew in the Goodyear airship and cane chairs, the ability to walk around and to stop for anything of interest Captained by a character fresh from Jules Verne with a control system very reminiscent of those stories was an experience that has lived with me for decades. Bring it on Airlander and bring the fun back into International travel!

 

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The Electric car – When will we make them pay their share?

tesla-s

I have an admission. I have oft criticised the lack of use of our free electric car charging points in the Highlands. Yesterday I saw a car being recharged in the Drumnadrochit car park. It was a much travel stained Tesla which are as common as rocking horse manure in this part of the world. Was it a reporter road testing it, a carbonista who had misread his satnav on the way to Mararkesh? Who knows? What I saw were two people sitting in the car bored out of their tiny minds waiting for the car to charge. Now there are several nice tea shops in Drumnadrochit plus the Loch Ness Monster Visitor Attraction so why sit in your car when you could invest a few pounds in the local economy and meet real people! That got me to thinking. Why should these scroungers, who have already had £5k from the government to subsidise their car, get free electricity. Well in the Highlands that’s stopping soon but why should the state subsidise the recharging sites. If it is commercially viable the private sector will supply charging points! Then I thought a bit more. On a litre of petrol or diesel we pay 58p Fuel Excise Duty plus Vat. That pays for the roads infrastructure, maintenance and management amongst many other things. In fact only a quarter of what we pay goes back to paying for roads. So if we all drove electric cars not only would the Highways Agency have no money for roads but a further £27billion would be missing from the government spending budget. Now before all the greenies shout foul, that is a simplistic response as much of the city roads are supported by council tax but I think you get the message. Add the same percentage(70%) to the cost of electricity from these charging points and the reality of electric transport would dawn. Now I like the theory of electric cars. Just the reality makes me concerned. Jaguar Land Rover, that premier Indian brand (Tata) has recently announced a major investment in Birmingham for electric cars. Subject to the UK taxpayer subsidising it of course. Makes you think.

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DiCaprio Concerned Over Rising Sea Levels, So He Builds a $2,000/night Luxury Resort ON AN ISLAND!!!!

He joins a long line of Climate fantasists who have built on beaches starting with Al Gore and his $4 million condominiums. Records of South Sea islands being faced with rising sea water have been debunked with later data that suggests they are simply sinking.

Quixotes Last Stand

(Tip of the hat to Not a Lot of People Know That)

Carolyn McGuire and Justin Enriquez — Mail ONline — November 16, 2016

Leonardo DiCaprio is a stickler for detail when playing the part of a new movie character and it seems like the Hollywood star is just as obsessive when it comes to hotel design.
The artists’ renderings for his new resort on a small island off the coast of Belize – slated for opening in 2018 – have been released and they show the actor’s full commitment to sustainability.
Since the first plans were released in April 2015, several of the initial details have been shelved, including a scheme for an arc-shaped platform with villas over the water and artificial reefs and fish shelters underneath.  Continue reading here….

Architects rendering of huts to be built for DiCaprio’s resort: (Um, where exactly does DiCaprio think the…

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