Don’t Tell Mr Barroso That!

All the big oil companies claim to be aware of global warming and all claim to be fighting it in their own ways. It is good publicity for them. The truth, of course, is that all oil companies want to see their businesses prosper and unfortunately if we were to do anything to reduce emissions their businesses would fail, or else reduce in size quite considerably. It should therefore come as no surprise that Shell have been lobbying the European Union very aggressively and it seems persuasively to reduce renewable energy targets. This was part of the negotiations which led to an EU wide climate agreement in October 2014 which the then European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, said was “real progress” in the fight against climate change. Continue reading

Farming Solar

There has been a fashion in the United Kingdom of covering large swathes of good farmland with electricity producing photovoltaic solar panels. This fashion has arisen because the government has given ridiculously high subsidies for PV installations. The government gave such high subsidies because the government set itself renewable energy targets instead of carbon reduction targets.

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Something Will Not Turn Up

It has taken the United Nations many years to reach the conclusion that I reached ten years ago: the people of the world must move away from fuels which when burnt emit large volumes of carbon dioxide. It seems odd to me that this simple and obvious statement has taken the UN many years to conclude, but obvious and universal truth can be hard to recognise, especially when the obvious conclusion of such truth requires people to change their behaviour. Continue reading

Energy Companies Campaign for Lower Bills!

The energy companies have started to campaign for lower energy bills. Of course, they have not started a campaign to make themselves charge consumers less for energy. They have started a campaign for the levies for renewable energy and for insulation which are at present added as extras to the energy bills of households to be deleted from energy bills and charged and paid for out of general taxation. This means that although an individual household’s energy bill may be lower after deducting these additional subsidy costs, an individual household’s tax will be higher so there will be no practical purpose or change. The household will end up paying exactly the same amount. Continue reading

The World’s Largest Solar PV Array

While the United Kingdom’s renewable energy sector is losing business, due to uncertainty about government policy and the administration’s poor understanding of renewable energy the renewable energy sector in India looks as though it will become increasing prosperous and increasing important to the economic development of India. Continue reading

Subsidising Global Warming

We hear much about the large subsidies paid for renewable energy. In Many countries a feed in tariff system have been developed to subsidise the production of electricity from photovoltaic panels and large subsidies are paid to landowners and electricity generators who install wind turbines. Both PV and wind turbines do produce electricity but what they produce cannot be stored easily and the production is intermittent. Nevertheless governments, who regard energy as electricity, are happy to spend taxpayers’ money on these measures, rather than on measures, such as solar water heating, which can produce renewable heat at a cheap cost; unlike electricity heat can be stored.

Subsidies come in different guises. In essence any measure or favourable tax treatment which distorts the market or provides an un-level playing field is a subsidy. The Overseas Development Institute thinks that as a whole the governments of the world spend half a trillion dollars in subsidising…fossil fuel! Continue reading

What Higher Energy Prices Mean to A Prosperous Economy

Many people who do not consider that rapid climate change is a threat  argue that those measures taken to prevent or slow down rapid climate change are damaging to our economy, because they would make renewable energy more expensive and add a burden of cost to our economy. Continue reading

Such is the Nature of Progress

The World Meteorological Organization is an Agency of the United Nations. It has published data which shows that in 2011 the atmospheric content of carbon dioxide in the world was 390.9 parts per million which is two parts per million more than the atmospheric content of carbon dioxide in 2010. In 2011, concentrations of atmospheric methane (of which 60% is as a release of human activities) reached a record high of 1813 parts per billion. Carbon dioxide measured at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii in December 2012 was 394.28 parts per million. Nitrous oxide also reached a new record high of 324.2 parts per billion. Continue reading

Renewable energy: we are still talking the talk but not walking the walk

I attended a seminar in London yesterday that was organised for lawyers and others concerned with the environmental aspects of science, law and policy. It is easy to underestimate how little policy-makers understand about the environment. They resort to a kind of language that is particularly imprecise and a series of concepts which are often as vague as the language.The catch phrases were all there

  • Diversity (in energy applications) is good
  • Green jobs
  • Investor confidence
  • Carbon (when they meant carbon dioxide)

While supporting a concept of diversity with words so far government legislation and tax payers’ money has only properly supported traditional fossil fuels, uranium, wind and PV power. While talking about green jobs many people in green industries have lost their jobs in the past two years. While talking about investor confidence which investors can have confidence about making an investment in a industry which the government lest money flow to, like a child with a tap, turning it on and off.

The three speakers concentrated almost exclusively upon electricity, particularly wind farms. I was struck at how central to policy was wind generated electricity. There was no fundamental commentary upon the limitations of wind power. It is as though the decision to support wind energy has been made and there is no revisiting it, regardless of performance and problems encountered. Government policy is like an oil tanker – very hard to turn and even harder to stop. Continue reading

Renewable energy deniers miss the point

I wrote yesterday about the renewable energy deniers. They are those who decry wind turbines as useless, solar panels as not productive enough and photovoltaics as too expensive to make sense. I showed, I hope, that denying the utility of renewable on costs grounds alone does not work; there are many hidden costs in traditional forms of energy, which are not associated in any way with renewable energy. However, the debate is more than about the cheapest form of energy available, even in a market skewed in favour of non renewable energy. Renewable energy has the virtue of being virtually infinite. Continue reading