Renewables: A Wake up Call



I was recently contacted by a UKIP supporter, concerned about UKIP energy policy. He said that renewables were “the only way forward”. I felt I had to write back, saying how I believed them to be part of the problem, not the solution (especially intermittent renewables like wind and solar — hydro is OK but limited by topography).

This is what I said:

1. Climate Change:  There has been no global warming for at least fifteen years.  More and more scientists are questioning the theory of man-made climate change.  Early leaks of the IPCC fifth report suggest that even the high priests of global warming are admitting that the Sun has more influence on climate, and CO2 less, than previously believed.

2. Even in their own terms, our policies “to fight climate change” will fail.  The EU is the only economic area that pretends to be serious about reducing emissions, and the EU is only 13% of global emissions, or less. Even the Guardian has to admit that Europe’s impact on reduced emissions has been tiny, and hugely expensive. There are 1200 new coal-fired power stations in the pipeline globally at the moment (including 25 in Germany).  If you believe that rising levels of atmospheric CO2 mean a global disaster, then prepare for disaster.

3. Climate Change mitigation is bad value.   The only serious economic analysis that suggests “costs of inaction exceed the costs of mitigation” is the deeply-flawed Stern Report.  Everyone else can see that the costs of mitigation can never be recovered, even on the most favourable assumptions.

4. Renewables don’t actually work.  They don’t make a significant net contribution to electricity generation.  They don’t save fossil fuels.  They don’t cut emissions.  Several studies show that the necessary fossil fuel back-up to cover intermittency (it’s usually gas) operates so inefficiently in the back-up mode that the fuel consumption and emissions of the system of wind plus back-up use as much gas, and create as much emissions, as if you’d just built the gas alone and run it efficiently.  See Professor Gordon Hughes report: Why is Wind Power So Expensive?

5. Renewables dramatically increase costs.  We are giving the EU the most expensive energy in the world — while gas prices in the USA have dropped as a result of fracking, and shown far greater stability than the UK, which is seeing rapid increases in fuel poverty. The UK has had a 30% real price increase in 5 years. We are undermining our competitiveness, and driving energy-intensive businesses, with their jobs and investment, out of the EU altogether — and to other jurisdictions with lower standards. So while we increase our costs, we actually increase global emissions as well.

6. Renewables undermine our energy security.  Beyond a minimal level, electricity grids have increasing difficulty in coping with intermittent generation.  The more wind we build, the greater the risk of blackouts.

So to summarise, renewables will not save the planet, and will not cut emissions.  But they will devastate our economy.  They will mortgage our children and bankrupt our grandchildren.  We need affordable energy.  We need serious, grown-up energy generation to keep industry running and the lights on.  And we have to get over the gesture politics that have led to our disastrous flirtation with playground technologies.

I’m sorry that this isn’t what you wanted to hear, and I know that the public today from a very young age are subjected to massive Warmist propaganda from schools, and from large parts of the media.  But public opinion (and several cabinet ministers) is starting to see the truth — we’ve been had, and we need to change course fast.


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9 Responses to Renewables: A Wake up Call

  1. neilfutureboy says:

    On 1 the met office now say they expect no warming for the next 5 years. We are approaching the period of no warming now being twice as long as the period of warming that was used to start the scare.

    I do not think that the large majority of eco-alarmist activists actually believe their scare story. If they did they would have to enthisiastically support nuclear as the only practical way of ending CO2 production. It would be interesting to know if your correspondent accepts this and supports UKIP policy on nuclear.

  2. You are swimming against a strong tide of propaganda, built up over many years mr Helmer. And who can resist the prospect of real ‘renewable’ energy anyway? T’iss like a visit from Santa every year for eternity. It’s a difficult sell for a politician to suggest that actually Santa does not really exist in any accurate sense. Nobody want’s to hear this, or any idea that they have been a little naive. Fortunately you are no ordinary politician, otherwise you might simply go along with the consensus of the moment.

  3. In Iceland, the underground heat provides reliable (free) heating and hot water for the whole of Reykjavik. All day, every day of the year in a very cold country. In Cairns, Qu, the waterfalls provide reliable electricity every day etc etc.
    But here, the sun doesn’t shine at night. Nor does it shine enough in winter. The wind bloweth where it listeth etc. In the 18th century the windmills proved totally inadequate in draining the Fens.

    So who is providing the ridiculous idea that these power sources will provide enough power for me to get by?

    Well, could it be the unelected, uncheckable, secret Commission and the thousands of invisible, uncheckable Corepers, I wonder……

  4. matthu says:

    What I can’t quite understand is why there aren’t a lot more questions being asked of some of our representatives about conflicts of interest. Tim? David? Nick?

  5. Mike Spilligan says:

    Mr H: I believe there’s no need for a wake-up call, but there is a need for something more dramatic – just don’t ask me what or how. You see, there are two types who might influence these matters, but one group (largely politicians) suits those for whom inertia and the status quo is acceptable; it avoids arguments and trouble with one’s colleagues. The other group (mostly scientists and others who benefit by maintaining the fairy tales) can’t think about a future without grants for open-ended projects, subsidies, feed-in tariffs, carbon trading and so on.

    • rfhmep says:

      Indeed, Mike. So we need everyone with any common sense to shout: “The emperor has no clothes!”. I have a good story about wind farms in Lincolnshire coming up, when I’ve double-checked my facts.

  6. John Youles says:

    Once thorium power becomes a reality in a decade or two, the energy shortage will be a thing of the past. There is enough thorium to power the world for millennia, leaving ample time for our descendants to find alternatives .

  7. David H. Walker says:

    What mean temperature would the earth’s surface be without the sun; absolute zero? It’s laughable at the surface, and horrifying when fully appreciated, to consider the number of scientists and policy wonks who actually buy into their climate change context.

    If there was no sun, there’d almost certainly be no atmosphere: Planets that are closer to the sun have much hotter surface temperatures, while those farther from the sun have much cooler surfaces. Considering this fact and what we know about gravity, molecular weight, hydrodynamics, etc., this should be no puzzle for anybody.

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