Law of Unintended Consequences Number Eleventy-Zillion

English: of wood chips

wood chips (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By charles the moderator

We missed this story in May, but in order to replace the use of coal in the UK, power stations are being refitted to burn wood chips.  But the UK doesn’t have enough forests to supply the wood chips, (biofuel) so…

Wait for it…

Wait…

Yup, power companies in the UK are planning on purchasing timber in the United States to be converted to wood chips to be shipped across the Atlantic to burn in the previously coal-fired power plants.

From the BBC

Swamp forests in the US are being felled to help keep the lights on in the UK. Is this really the best way to combat climate change?

Environmentalists are trying to block the expansion of a transatlantic trade bringing American wood to burn in European power stations.

The trade is driven by EU rules promoting renewable energy to combat climate change.

Many millions of tonnes of wood pellets will soon be shipped annually to help keep the lights on in the UK. Other EU nations may follow.

Critics say subsidising wood burning wastes money, does nothing to tackle climate change in the short term, and is wrecking some of the finest forests in the US.

The insanity of this is difficult for me to put in perspective, but it seems comparable to shining spotlights on solar collectors.

Read the full BBC story here.

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238 thoughts on “Law of Unintended Consequences Number Eleventy-Zillion

  1. Not news, just insane! A power station, Drax, in the UK on top of a coal field is going to be converted to burn woodchips, yes from the USA!

  2. It would make more sense to burn coal and offset the Co2 by planting trees. Only a moron would burn trees!

  3. “The German public does not like the nuclear power industry for some reason,” Putin said, adding that he would not comment on it. “But I cannot understand what fuel you will take for heating,” he said anyway.

    “You do not want gas, you do not develop the nuclear power industry, so you will heat with firewood?” Putin asked, as reported by Itar-Tass. “Then you will have to go to Siberia to buy the firewood there,” he said, adding that Europeans “do not even have firewood.”

    http://rt.com/politics/putin-nuclear-europe-siberia/

  4. Drax currently supplies 7% of Britain’s electrical power needs. I’ve spoken with one of the train drivers who shift the fuel into Drax. He is aware of some severe problems ahead. You can’t stockpile woodchip, it spontaneously ignites. It’s power density is 8 times less than coal. More trains, less downtime, no margin for f-ups.

  5. But the UK isn’t interested in Climate Chamge or Energy Supply. Over here we just want to encourage green industry. Whether it works or not is irrelevant.
    The money is in the subsidy

    Try this one from the Telegraph last week:

    Wind farms in remote locations currently face far higher network charges than those close to big cities, to cover the extra costs of connecting them to the power grid.

    But energy regulator Ofgem says they are charged too much under the current system, particularly because they only work intermittently.

    It plans to cut the charges they face to reflect the fact they do not use the network when the wind isn’t blowing, in a move intended to encourage more wind farms to be built.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/10216239/Scottish-wind-farms-handed-1.3m-annual-discount-while-southern-power-plants-to-pay-more.html

    Can anyone beat these for stupidity?

  6. Well to me, that’s yet another massive own goal from the environmentalist ‘green’ zealots – as per fecking usual ?
    Perhaps one day, some of them might even get to understand how to think a proposal through from start to finish……but I doubt it !

  7. I would say that they are as thick as two short planks of wood (English Saying) but no doubt they have been chipped too.

  8. Of course the bureaucrats don’t factor in the diesel used to grow, fell, manufacture the pellets and transport them. All they care about is that they are using a “renewable” resource.

    Maybe someone should demand that the ships transporting them be driven by sail?

  9. Why not burn fossilized wood pellets? They are mostly reduced to their base carbon, have six times the heating content of fresh wood pellets, and extraction of the fossilized plant matter leaves a nice big hole in the ground in which to return the residue not used for other purposes such as building materials for roads and commercial structures, additives for concrete, and fertilizer.

    The economy of scale means extraction of fossil wood is much less expensive than getting the standing stuff anyway. The live standing cellulose has to be processed, kiln dried which is so dang energy intensive, transported greater distances, and then you can’t store it in great huge mountains like the fossilized material.

    Humans are just so stupid sometimes.

  10. Isn’t there a trash burner power plant that’s optimized for waste wood in the SeaTac, Washington region? I recall it coming on line in the early Ninties.

  11. tallbloke says:
    August 6, 2013 at 6:33 am

    “You can’t stockpile woodchip, it spontaneously ignites.”

    No problem. The wood chips can be kiln-dried and pelletized in the US at coal fired processing plants. The dried chips are then transported in vacuum-tight cargo containers by diesel-powered ships. Diesel-powered trains carry the containers to the power station. The empty cargo containers are then shipped back to the US for refilling.
    The costs are not an issue, as the entire enterprise is subsidized.

    Problem solved!!!!
    :-)

  12. Why does the Green energy agenda always entail taking something useful like wood or food and wasting energy to grow/transport it just to burn it to make some energy? The whole freaking universe runs on nuclear chemistry. Why do we think ultimately that we aren’t going to have to do the same?

  13. Everybody knows that emissions in another country don’t count anyway. Those become their problem, and the rule of the day is NIMBY.

    The irony of trying to reduce CO2 emissions by generating more CO2 emissions, AND getting rid of things that remove CO2, is nothing short of delicious. I love watching stupid people do stupid things, but from a distance… some of their antics can put out an eye if you get too close!

  14. Not only that, but diesel generators are being installed all over the country to top up power that windmills are not producing. The National Grid site shows current demand at 36.88 GW of which .25GW is being produced by windmills.
    The insanity of UK government climate policy is beyond description or understanding. All their data comes from the Met Office or the IPCC and there is not the slightest attempt to obtain independent non idealogical data.
    In fact they are proposing a reduction of Co2 by 80% which should effectively shut down British Industry.
    While most of the world is beginning to realise that CAGW is nonsense the British soldiers on with eyes shut and ears closed. Its quite unbelievable.

  15. All the veggies here think we shouldn’t eat meat. Okay. Burn meat for heat instead. I can just see it now. Bessie, the 4H cow, gets sold to the UK to help keep the children warm there. Somebody make a poster. I’m sure the kids will go for it.

    • @Pamela Gray – just think of the “pollution” from that! You would have Burger King subsidizing it, and everyone’s mouth watering and trying to get DOWN wind of the power plants! ;-)

  16. This is a great idea! Perhaps it will catch on and the US timber industry will add jobs and tax revenue at the expense of our competitors industry and tax base. As the saying goes; “a fool and his money soon part”.

  17. can you just see the conference /meeting where they, with straight faces discuss how they will do this to save the world.

    that is a special kind of delusion which an eternity in hell wont be enough to satisfy the stupid that they are.

  18. Madness. And they sit around at their cocktail parties smugly asserting the creativity of their problem-solving and how sustainable it all is.

  19. M.Courtney:
    Yes its a crazy situation in the UK. North Northamptonshire is being overun by wind farms, not because there is a lot of wind there, but because the connection charges are low, being in the centre of the grid.

  20. In the UK there are three basic rules for Government and the Civil Service:
    1. never employ anyone who has the slightest knowledge or experience of the job to be done
    2. always ignore and reject any form of proven technology or working practice
    3. maximise wastage (of time, money and resources) by attempting to develop the most stupid, ludicrous and illogical methodology possible.

  21. So the logic is that wood chips from the US are a RENEWABLE source of energy, and thus complies with “green” sources of energy. However, burned wood chip give off CO2 as well, right? Reduced forests in the US cause reduced CO2 sinks, right? The wood has to be transported to Europe using energy that more than likely increases CO2 levels, right? Now I finally realize that not only do increased levels of atmospheric CO2 make climate scientists stupid, but they also make everyone stupid. If ignorance is bliss, what is stupidity?

  22. I’m sure we can find some old growth forest here in Oz to sell to the Poms.

    Why not burn Flour though, it has similar calorific value to Coal, and with the right flour air mix burns really well, what’s that – People will starve – never stopped them before.

    I make my point yet again, the next best fuel after coal is Flour, not Nuclear.

  23. I have known about this being in the works for quite a while. This is what happens when government imposses a tax to make a product unusable. The power plant doesn’t want to switch from coal to wood, but they cannot operate at a big loss caused by the carbon tax. They will be getting a subsidy for being renewable. Of course shutting down is not an option since wind is such a large part of the UK’s power grid now. This is all being forced on the UK by the EU, who signed the Kyoto agreement.

  24. I also forgot to mention, while piling on, it is the LAW of unintended consequences, not the suggestion, or the possibility, or the probability…. IT’S THE LAW… and around here we obey the law, mister. No no, not law in the legal sense, LAW in the Science sense, like Newton’s three famous ones.

    In my experience (not opinion, experience) it’s always those with the best intentions that are bitten by this particular Law, because they are blinded to the possibility of a “downside” due to the nobleness of their plan.

    Like our friend in the other thread who thinks forced sterilization is a good thing, and yet he would be completely blindsided by the unintended consequences (rioting in the streets, wars, panicked residents fleeing the country, etc.) Of course, others see these consequences coming from a Gazillion miles away, but hey… we’re sorta experiencing the same Law in effect in Alberta, in the “unintended” flooding from building neighborhoods on the beautiful green riparian floodplains.

  25. It does the worst thing possible for the climate. You cut down the trees, you cut down the low-level clouds. Well documented. In Africa they have learned this lesson and started to plant trees in order to make the temperature more even. The “green” people deserve a colour change to brown.

  26. Don’t ask how many million acres of forest will be required to fuel just the Drax power station.

    I need to buy some shares in logging truck manufacturers.

  27. Why not bury the woodchips in the US and dig up the coal in the UK?

    I know, it is as stupid as the original plan, but it will be cheaper.

  28. On the bright side, lots of jobs are being created in rural places where unemployment was 40% as lumber mills shut down. The company I used to work for had an allotment of several million acres of timber in Ontario that they wanted to use to make alternative fuel. But the economics for building a plant to convert solid feed into liquid hydrocarbon fuel was not economical. So, they never built that plant. It would have created a good number of jobs felling trees and making fuel, but even government subsidies (RIN’s) couldn’t make the number work.
    But making wood pellets is far cheaper. Solid feed is going to solid product, a much easier conversion process. Only problem is, the trees would be cut in Canada and the US, and for the Canadian situation, Panamax freighters would be loaded with pellets in Vancouver and go through the Panama Canal to get to England. Cost is something like $200/ton for 7500 Btu/lb fuel to replace maybe $30-40/tone coal that has 11,000 Btu/lb. Numbers will vary for coal depending on source and mining costs, but the wood pellet energy content and delivered prices are pretty good.
    The forests do need to be harvested to manage them properly, but this is not the best idea for use of the harvested timber. Maybe houses for homeless (Habitat for Humanity) would have a better use for the wood.

  29. We have a gazillion acres of bug killed line here in BC. Need to expand the current pellet plant capacity to supply the European demand. Any investors?

  30. Shortly before the use of coal became common in the 19th century, Europe was almost entirely de-forested due the excessive use of wood for cooking/heating, as well as for construction work.

    Some areas like the Luneburger Heide in Germany are still treeless.

    Gas, coal and oil are the most environmentally friendly fuels availlable today.

  31. I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK, I sleep all night and I work all day. I chop down trees, and chip them up, and ship them to the UK. We need to reduce our emissions, so we burn trees instead of coal. I’m a lumberjack…

  32. re Bert says: August 6, 2013 at 6:57 am
    Bring on more of the Environmental Industrial Complex!

    Had not seen this term before, but it absolutely fits, we need to use it more often so that it becomes a part of the media lingo.

  33. “On the bright side, lots of jobs are being created in rural places where unemployment was 40% as lumber mills shut down”…”The forests do need to be harvested to manage them properly, but this is not the best idea for use of the harvested timber.”

    Agreed!

  34. Pamela Gray:

    At August 6, 2013 at 6:51 am you suggest

    All the veggies here think we shouldn’t eat meat. Okay. Burn meat for heat instead. I can just see it now. Bessie, the 4H cow, gets sold to the UK to help keep the children warm there. Somebody make a poster. I’m sure the kids will go for it.

    Too late. It was done.

    Cattle slaughtered because of the BSE scare were burned in the same power station (i.e. Drax) which is the subject of this thread.

    Richard

  35. patrioticduo says: August 6, 2013 at 7:13 am “Atlas Shrugged becomes more and more prescient every day.”

    You need to be more cognizant of Ayn Rand’s and AS’s philosophical provenance, all the way back to Platonism versus Aristotelianism, and Nietzsche and Hegel. It’s a good story but not philosophically reliable. For no other reason than Peikoff’s absconding with Randian Objectivism.

  36. CTM: If memory serves, to help suppress brown outs in coming years as electric demand outweighs supply, the UK is also signing up large electricity users (industrial plants, hospitals, large office buildings, etc.) to a program where they will run their emergency generators when asked.

    Regards

  37. I suggest that they do not burn anything.

    That woul;d solve all kinds of “problems”.

  38. BradProp1 said @ August 6, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Only a moron would burn trees!

    I must be a moron then! Firewood energy costs me ~$AU0.03 per kwHr and heats my home, provides hot water and cooks my food. Because we consume very little electricity, it costs us nearly $AU0.30 per kwHr, ten times the cost of firewood per unit. Of course, if I was “intelligent” as you, I could obtain all of my energy needs from electricity and “reduce” the cost to ~$AU0.20 per kwHr.

  39. Tilbury power station on the River Thames opposite to Gravesend has had to stop using woodchip pellets because of them catching on fire in the stockpiles.
    It’s also true that Drax power station is only miles awy from some of the biggest reserves of coal in the UK
    If you’re planning on visiting Britain – bring your own batteries!

  40. Sadly, I live in the UK and have to put up with this insanity. Any criticism of the government brings the Police round your house with Tasers.
    I am a 51 year old man with Ischemic Heart disease having had two heart attacks. I was Tasered last May after an argument about my Online Nationalist views. That put me in hospital on a de fib. Reason: Two young coppers thought I was being aggressive.

  41. mogamboguru says:
    August 6, 2013 at 7:16 am
    Shortly before the use of coal became common in the 19th century, Europe was almost entirely de-forested due the excessive use of wood for cooking/heating, as well as for construction work.

    Some areas like the Luneburger Heide in Germany are still treeless.

    The Lueneburger Heide is actually mostly forested again – it is only a few places that are kept free of forest and covered with heather for the sake of tourism.

    Also note that most of that wood was used in former centuries for boiling down the brine pumped from underground in the Lueneburg saltworks. This used to be a major operation that lasted through several centuries. The salt was shipped via Lauenburg and Luebeck across the Baltic to Scandinavia, where it was used to pickle fish that was then sold to Mediterranean countries. The salt trade enriched both Lueneburg and Luebeck, and both cities have some splendid architecture extant from those times and are well worth a visit.

  42. “BradProp1 says:
    August 6, 2013 at 6:30 am
    It would make more sense to burn coal and offset the Co2 by planting trees. Only a moron would burn trees!”

    Hey, I burn wood! If a tree needs removal in my yard, it’s going to heat my house in the winter. Apparently, if I were a large enough enterprise I could even get the government to subsidize the process. And that’s where it all goes wrong….

  43. Windmills being built across the land, burning wood for fuel, scare stories when the sun is shining in summer, people freezing to death in winter. What century are we in again?

  44. Amr marzouk says:
    August 6, 2013 at 6:30 am
    You can’t make this up.

    Beat me to it. I don’t but wonder if this scheme were subject to a life cycle analysis it wouldn’t show a net loss of energy. Is anything so silly that subsidy cannot promote it?

  45. Bob Tisdale says:
    August 6, 2013 at 7:23 am
    a program where they will run their emergency generators when asked.
    =============
    We had the same situation in Papua New Guinea (north of Australia). Electrical supplies were unreliable so everyone had gas/diesel generators. It was not unusual to have multiple power failures a day from the power company.

    Mains electricity was so expensive that it actually cost more to buy power from the power company than it did to run your own generators, so the government passed a law making it illegal to run your generators when there was power available from the power company.

    One can foresee the time when this happens in the UK. Didn’t they just sign a law in Spain, making it illegal for people to use their own solar panels to replace more expensive power from state sponsored (monopoly) power companies.

    Governments are not only promoting a monopoly product, now they are forcing you to buy it rather than turn to cheaper alternatives.

  46. I know some folks who are doing conversions of small coal-fired boiler/power plants to wood fired. They do them very close to the wood supply and rely on green energy credits. As long as the wood is close by and relatively cheap they will do ok. Preparation of dry pellets and shipping a lower energy density fuel several thousand miles is an economic and ecological loser for all the reasons already mentioned. But, as Robert Heinlein said “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”

  47. Our politicians when asked to explain this lunacy report that the UK is setting an example for the rest of the world…….
    I’m afraid that there will never be another empire, Victoria!

  48. Apparently the use of a synonym of one of the 7 words got my previous post round filed. Original sanitized post follows:

    Why does the Green energy agenda always entail taking something useful like wood or food and wasting energy to grow/transport it just to burn it to make some energy? The whole ________ universe runs on nuclear chemistry. Why do we think ultimately that we aren’t going to have to do the same?

  49. I am so, so ,so, so, so, s, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, sorry, but yes it is all true, it’s due to ill thought through legislation dictated down from on high by half-wit (polite) European Commissioners, (who are in large part failed socialist ex-politicians, who couldn’t exert power before so do so by stealth) who run the Peoples Democratic Republic of the European Union, or the European Union of Socialist Republics. We are destroying your forests to keep our lights on because of Global Warming! We have a half-wit for a President & we didn’t even get to elect him!!!!!! It is an obscenity to be honest. This is the “post-democratic” world in which we find ourselves in Europe. Guess what chaps & chapesses, you’re next with the lunacy legislation, & just like us, democracy is circumvented by your President empowering your EPA to pass laws without a check or balance, to see if it’s makes sense, as they do so under health & safety crap!!!

  50. Please note that the BBC’s mildly questioning report is by super greenie CO2 will kill us all ‘Environment Correspondent’ Roger Harrabin. For him to express any doubts at all is earth shattering.

  51. ferdberple says: August 6, 2013 at 7:36 am “Mains electricity was so expensive that it actually cost more to buy power from the power company than it did to run your own generators, so the government passed a law making it illegal to run your generators when there was power available from the power company.”

    My Island can be self-sufficient on 2.5 MWe diesel-electric generators. FedGov is issuing limited pollution permits necessitating all but our newest pair be disabled – no back-up.

  52. Ah, yes…. Leftist often have a hard time seeing the forest through the trees…

    This is just a literal example of that sad phenomenon…..

  53. You could not make this up …… its like the story of how the Spanish government has to sell bonds on the international markets (at 7%) so they can fulfill their EU obligations to share in bail outs of (eg. Italy) with ony a 3% return.

    Utter madness.

  54. And it only seems like yesterday that Dud Dudley was having problems with militant charcoal burners trashing his Sea-cole burning blast furnaces…

    See Dud’s book Martellum Martis 1665 for details.

  55. Remember the Clinton Administration scheme of an inflated “everybody gets a house” market? Because houses for sale were hard to find, since everybody was getting one, the prices went way up. And the people who bought them, though they couldn’t really afford the huge prices, were allowed to get guvmnt-backed loans anyway. Then somebody took a needle and blasted the balloon all to hell.

    Owning your own home is a great way to improve communities, families and the economy. WW2 pre and post economics show that. So it is a good thing. However, instead of the Clinton plan, we should have opened up our forests and enlarged the supply of home improvement wood products thus reducing the price, then put people to work improving foreclosed/decaying houses the guvmnt bought at garage sale prices. Those houses could have then been improved then sold at a reduced price instead of an inflated one to folks whose income was less than ideal for home ownership. Over-inflated housing prices would have been avoided due to the normal supply of houses for sale. The bursting bubble would have been avoided. And we would not be in the mess we are in now.

  56. Drax requires 7.5 million tonnes per year. Seems the BBC could no tcalculatre how much of North Carolina that equates too.

    Nor how many ships, big heavy oil burners are needed to transport this very low density fuel.

    Nor could they calculate how much energy to crop, trim, transport , process and dry in USA

    Or how much the port infrastructure will cost to build and operate, seeing that six states combined only export 1.2 million tonnes.

    Nor could they bring themselves to state that such logging is illegal in Europe, hence the need to clear cut North Carolina.

    They also see to think that this is the next best thing to sliced bread, whereas a palm oil plantation is the very spawn of the devil

    I have repeatedly asked Watermelons what is the difference and they decline to answer.

  57. One would expect that the pollution (excluding CO2) from burning wood pellets would be higher than from burning natural gas for example. There are a whole lot of tars and resins in wood that should burn to form all sort of interesting compounds, most of which are not likely to be lung friendly.

  58. My question is for the WUWT pro-nuclear readers: how many of you will heap scorn on the attorneys that are representing the environmental groups that are trying to stop this wood-burning nonsense?

    Is using the law to halt, or even delay the wood-pellet shipping operation a good thing?

    Guessing the response will be “of course it’s a good thing. But, lawyers who strive to make new nuclear power plants comply with the law are evil.”

    Just want to make sure I understand the nuclear advocates’ position.

  59. It appears that the World’s Grand Experiment in Industrialization is experiencing a hiccup. Can’t anyone see that the culmination of the Industrialization process eliminates all jobs. This is what automation does, eliminates jobs!!! Detroit was a growing city [1915]. Automation flourished [1920]. Detroit led us into the Great Depression, then WW2.

    They will have WW3 to remove the unemployed; standard practice through out the ages. First no electrical power, then economic collapse, next WW3.

  60. Roger,

    I don’t know the full story behind the wood-pellet burning, but I very strongly suspect it was due to either a government policy or legislation of some sort. So, to cut to the heart of what you seem to be asking, making entities comply with the law does not appear to be inherently productive or counter productive; it depends on how stupid the law in question is.
    If you’d argue that the original problem is the law / regulation rather than enforcing compliance, I might agree with you.

  61. Yes it’s all true. It seems stupid to us too here in the UK, but we have no say in it.

    However, you need to be aware that, due to the deregulated nature of the UK energy industry, Drax is now a listed company. And it owns a US subsidiary… Drax Biomass International Inc. And of course Drax power station will be obtaining its pellets from… Drax Biomass International Inc.

    You might want to find out what subsidies Drax Biomass International Inc is getting for its operations. At least they will be subsidising the UK’s electricity industry — something we’re grateful for to since most is now owned in Europe and milked to keep Continental energy costs low.

  62. If I remember, Einstein said he knew of only two infinite things, the universe, and stupidity. He added he wasn’t sure about the universe.

  63. If the oarsmen on the combustion free ships carrying the wood chips go on strike, the UK clean, green government can boot-up the thousands of Diesel generators setup to provide clean energy to backup the grid when their windmills stop turning.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2362762/The-dirty-secret-Britains-power-madness-Polluting-diesel-generators-built-secret-foreign-companies-kick-theres-wind-turbines–insane-true-eco-scandals.html

    Green Logic Fail.

  64. Re: M Courtney

    Wind farms in remote locations currently face far higher network charges than those close to big cities, to cover the extra costs of connecting them to the power grid.

    The UK has a “Committee on Climate Change” which is supposed to be independent and advises he Government on tackling climate change. The chairman of this committee is Lord Deben who also happens to be Chairman and shareholder of a company called Veolia. Guess what this company does … connects wind farms in remote locations to the grid. The more wind farms connected, the more profit.

    The House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, who appointed Lord Deben, decided that this (and other interests) were not a conflict of interest. That is hardly surprising since the Chair of the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee that decided this was Tim Yeo, who is also chairman of the Renewable Energy Association, chairman of TMO Renewables, director of Eco City Vehicles PLC, Waste2tricity Limited, Albion Community Power PLC and so on.

  65. The UK Government, via the Department of Energy and Climate Change (yes, that’s what the part of government responsible for our electricity and gas supply is called) now realises that wind won’t do it, even if they do spend £100 Billion on it. So in addition to buiklduing all those offshore windmills, they also plan to enter into unbelievably lucrative contracts with owners of standby diesel generators (factories, hospitals, filling stations, churches, you name it) so that we won’t have blackouts when the wind doesn’t blow. It is difficult to understand how a government department in a mature democracy can have reached such a level of mass instanity. Unless, of course, the democracy is getting senile…

  66. http://www.forgreenheat.org/blog/An%20environmental%20impact%20assessment%20of%20exported%20wood%20pellets%20from%20Canada%20to%20Europe.pdf

    An environmental impact assessment of exported wood pellets, by the Department of Chemical and Mineral Engineering, University of Bologna, Italy and the Clean Energy Research Centre, at the University of British Columbia, published in 2009, concluded that the energy consumed to ship Canadian wood pellets from Vancouver to Stockholm (15,500 km via the Panama Canal), is about 14% of the total energy content of the wood pellets.

    An ice free Arctic could reduce this considerably, by opening the long sought North West Passage to shipping and thereby reducing the CO2 created.

  67. At the same time, Europe and the US are giving hell to poor countries to export legitimate lumber from tropical forest where 99 % of trees die of old age and release all the co2 they have stored. Talk about double standards.

  68. They aren’t interested in reducing CO2, they’re moving CO2 production ‘off shore’ ( outsourcing if you will ) so they don’t have to account for it in Britain’s CO2 production.

  69. To my mind the solution is simple.
    Plant large pineapple plantations in Greenland. Service these using electrically powered vehicles that can be recharged using solar energy and transport the biomass, after it has dried out in the sun, to the UK by sail.
    Why has nobody thought of this simple, practical solution before?

  70. How many readers here saw the Financial Times article of a few months back which showed that from 2006, relative to the US, EU electricity rates have risen 40%. And that continental and UK industries were moving production to the US because our energy costs were so much cheaper (mainly nat gas feedstocks for chemicals, I think, but there were others).

    Yes, the EU, with its massive unemployment, is committing economic hari kari, to appease the Gods of Greenpeace.

    Well, as long as they persist, we might as well become an energy exporter for a while. And a good thing is that the environmental folks here, losing forests and species in them, can get a good gander at what the world will look like if and when their ilk continue to get governments to do their bidding.

  71. I live in southern Alabama, also known as the black belt for its fertile soil. It’s quite amusing to read the tree devotion from other places. About 10 years, a bunch of northern artistes protested a plan to cut down a live oak tree for condos, The live oak was about 50 meters in limb spread and 6 meters in diameter at the base. They brought tree experts who testified that a tree that big had to be at least 300 years old. The owner of the tree ringed it to kill it. After the usual delusional attempts, court-ordered to save it, it was eventually cut down. It was 50 years old.

    A long leaf pine can be harvested for pulp in 7-10 years. They grow like weeds. You don’t have to fertilize or irrigate them. If we ever manage to get a low-lignin wood like eucalyptus to grow in Alabama, the turnaround will be 3-5 years. The energy density isn’t anything like coal, but there’s absolutely no reason to obsess about killing them because they’re trees.

  72. Unintended consequences! DOH!

    Environmentalists are trying to block the expansion of a transatlantic trade bringing American wood to burn in European power stations.

    When will they realise that they caused this nonsense in the first place by demonising nuclear, oil and coal?

    BBC
    Policies create opportunities and entrepreneurs were quick to exploit the potential of wood power, which will soon create more renewable energy in the UK than wind and solar combined.

    Everytime we get these unintended consequences I always congratulate the ‘eco-worriers’ – well done chaps, what would the world do without you?

    Now, something similar is about to happen in a developing country near you, today. Large financial institutions in the West are restricting / refusing loans to third world countries for coal and oil powered generating stations. Mmmmmmm. I wonder what the next step is???? What else could a poor third world country burn I wonder???? :-(

  73. Reminds me of Dr. Seuss’s “Lorax”….good grief. I’m going to start bottling air, call it “clean breath” and sell it to the Brits.

  74. By the way back in winter this year there was a report in Spiegel about Germans stealing wood from forests to keep warm because the cost of energy was so high. Another lovely consequence and spreading worldwide. This mus be what greens meant when they talked of worldwide action.

  75. Something else not yet widely appreciated about this is that stores of wood chips are incredibly susceptible to spontaneous combustion.

    Of course, if Drax burns, the Greenies will be overjoyed – one less power station to fuel civilisation!

  76. Once wood chip project is exhausted there is an environmentally superior plan B:
    using existing generating power to extract hydrogen from sea water by electrolysis. UK will have excess of the sea water supply, to its current requirement, due to forthcoming sea level rise.
    So acquired hydrogen will be burned in the existing gas powered stations.
    This has two advantages:
    a) There is no CO2 emitted by burning hydrogen
    b) water released by such process could be used
    1. for irrigation, since climate scientist predicted that in decades to come England will be as arid as Spain, or if that does not come materialise
    2. this pure water will be return to the Atlantic Ocean reducing the ocean’s acidification.
    (no need to put end sarc, is there?)

  77. Bob Tisdale @ 7:23am:

    Yes, and using all those diesel generators won’t add much CO2 to the atmosphere, will they?/Sarc.

    I despair for my country. The lack of basic commonsense and justice is mind-blowing.

  78. I’ll try again:

    “Planting trees is a great way to offset your carbon footprint and become carbon neutral. Through photosynthesis trees absorb carbon dioxide to produce oxygen and wood.”

    http://www.carbonfootprint.com/plantingtrees.html

    But also in Great Britain they have figured out that burning trees produces less CO2 than burning coal. So, logically they refitted their power plants to burn trees instead of coal. They soon ran out of trees to burn so now the U.S. is providing them with trees.

    What can go wrong with this plan?

  79. Why not build combination coal/wood fired plants in a forest, then run the stacks horizontal into the forest to help accelerate the forest growth? Sell the wood for building materials and then you get your wood waste.

  80. Chris says:
    August 6, 2013 at 6:51 am
    ……….In fact they are proposing a reduction of Co2 by 80% which should effectively shut down British Industry…….

    It is not only British industry, the CEO’s of the power generation companies have already warned of blackouts in UK inside two years due to the EU mandated closure of perfectly serviceable coal fired power stations, which (as tallbloke reports) are often literally on top of coalfields.

    If the predictions of forthcoming severely cold winters are correct, Cameron, Clegg, Milliband and the assembled morons in the Commons will have many dead people on what passes for their consciences.

  81. Okay, but you don’t seriously think these pellet plants exist only for UK orders do you? Those orders merely went to the highest bidder for that capacity over a specified period. Otherwise, the fiber would go somewhere else.

  82. Don’t people throughout the world, but mostly in the Middle East, rather routinely burn effigies of U.S. presidents? Now, if Obama continues his stellar Middle East policies, which he just simply can’t tell us about, is it not possible that he will be the most effigiently burned U.S. president of all time (particularly in Egypt)? Couldn’t some enterprising young green savior wannabe figure out some way to harness the energy from all these burning U.S. president effigies rather than burning wood, or even worse, wood that’s been dead for a couple million years? Granted our (ok, Europe’s) energy supplies would still be coming from the Middle East (and, of course Pakistan) but at least it wouldn’t be those supposedly dirty fossil fuel supplies but instead coming from otherwise wasted (insert your own adjective) U.S. president burning effigies.

  83. Complete madness of course, what next shipping millions of tons of liquid gas from Qatar /Sarc

  84. I may have a story that tops this:
    When Sweden had a referndum too abandon Nuclear in 1980 they decided sustainable energy had to make up the majority of the new mix. Several thermal power plants were built/converted for biofuel but even in Swededen that is in short supply. So they imported a lot of peat from the Baltics. Now peat is dried, dead moss from old bogs and it takes about 1000years/m to grow it. Haarvesting it is clearly not sustainable but never mind, as long as it goes into the statistics as biofuel and is excempt from fossile fuel taxes.
    The heat density of peat is low so you will have a small peat mountain outside the Power plant. One of these caught fire and it turned out it couldn’t be extinguished , the dry peat kept on smoldering no matter how much water they poured on and they had to let the mountain burn itself out. To prevent this from happening again it ws decided to store the peat in 40′ shipping containers so then you had a container mountain. The cost of this folly was covered over the electricity bill and was quite affordable because it only happened on a relatively small scale, not like Danish wind or German Solar/Wind efforts.
    My explanation is that when you take economy and common sence out of the decission process you can end up with “solutions” that in retrospect everyone agree are mindbogglingly stupid.
    What happened to the containers you ask? They switched from peat to a fuel that is renewable and available for free – garbage. In the end sense prevails.

  85. Resourceguy: There used to be a thriving trade with Norway, shipping ice to the UK for the English Gentlemen to put in their scotch on warm summer evenings.

    It was considered superior to English ice stored in ice-houses on the big estates, and a more reliable source given that not all winters produced good crop of ice.

  86. Lots of excellent comments above, about the energy stupidity of this “enterprise.” However, a few observations and clarifications are in order:

    * Regardless of the leaps made in technology over the past few years, it remains that more than 50% of the wood volume harvested every year around the world is used for FUEL, heating, cooking, or both, primarily in the 3rd and developing worlds.

    * While piles of wood chips can and do spontaneously combust, they need not do so if handled properly. Pulp mills around the world have mountains of chips piled in their wood yards, and these days rarely deal with spontaneous combustion as long as the pile is moved and utilized promptly.

    * Several have repeated the canard that harvesting of trees equals deforestation. In the 3rd world maybe, but certainly not in North America and other parts of the world with enlightened forest management ethics – oh and BTW, mature, developed economies that rely upon low cost, high energy fuels such as coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear.

    * Wood pellets can be an excellent source of heat for individual homes, but burning them to produce electricity and thinking you are saving the planet is madness.

  87. @ Resourceguy, what’s your point? The law of supply and demand means that along with this new demand will come new, additional supplies.

    I can only imagine what this will do to the price/availability of pellets here in the U.S. My understanding is that supplies can already run tight. Lots of folks invested (unwisely, I think) in pellet stoves when the price of oil spiked a few years back. Although Uncle Sam probably kicked in generously for those stoves, being “green”.

  88. And the insanity just rolls on and on … in the Daily Telegraph you can read how the Liberal Democrats now want to ban petrol and diesel cars from UK roads by 2040.

    Fortunately, as their alliance with the Conservatives has been widely (and rightly, IMO) regarded as traitorous activity among their rank and file members, it should matter little what these particular dipsticks think for quite a long time into the future. If we have a future, that is.

  89. Maybe the UK could take all the unneeded extra “U”s they put into words like “color” and burn them.

  90. This has been known about for at least 2 years. Drax power station is a standalone coal fired station (listed separately at the london stock exchange) which produces a fairly large % of the UK’s electricity. The EU demands that the UK stop using coal so rather than have an energy policy all governments decided to delay and provaricate until there would be no other choice but to shut it or fuel it with wood. The rest of the stupidity is there for all to see. What I find so fascinating is that highly paid, ‘intelligent’ people can blunder along, putting the UK’s industry and people in danger, without being call to explain their actions.

  91. Sigmundb says:

    August 6, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Somewhere in the UK, from memory, there is a peat fire that has been burning underground for decades. Can’t put it out.

  92. Stacey says:

    August 6, 2013 at 9:22 am
    Complete madness of course, what next shipping millions of tons of liquid gas from Qatar /Sarc

    Unwarranted sarcasm. Energy density per fuel cost to transport is fundamentally different and if you are a greenie loon very important. Cost per joule per mole co² is what counts.

  93. Will the UK take our used tires that garbage dumps no longer accept?

    They can have mine for nothing.

  94. No one on here yet has sussed why it really really is a good idea to burn American wood .
    There is a huge industry in Britain in composting food waste ( every household has special bins to put the scraps in ) to produce high quality plant fertilizer food . Now the composting medium naturally becomes acidic which cuts down the composting efficiency , so a cheap neutralizing source of alkaline material is needed in very large quantities ……… wood ash from Drax !
    Plus , as neat wood ash is itself a good fertilizer that can be put directly on the land then a vast supply of wood ash will be great for the growing of our Nations food .
    The fertility of the USA forests will be helping to keep Britain in both food heat and power , not forgetting of course the fertilizing effects of the vast quantities of burnt wood CO2 constantly wafting over the countries farmland and gardens ,
    A win win situation for our nutrient deprived little country , we chopped down and burnt our own forests years ago and really do need a cheap replacement , so thanks you guys in America !!

  95. A snake eating it’s own tail.

    As in Orwell predicted in “1984”… declining technology is being portrayed as an advancement for mankind. Someone is using the book, as a blueprint, for the new world order. GK

  96. Sitting here in southwest Montana, breathing smoke from forest fires in Idaho Oregon and Washington, the idea of shipping wood pellets to the UK sounds pretty good.
    For years our local forests have been managed by tree huggers and a federal judge. The result of this peculiar combination of expertise is a forest full of trashy undergrowth ravaged by beetles when it’s not on fire.
    Not wanting to be left out of the Green Team, the US Forest Service has declared that the nation will, among other requirements: …”live with wildland fire.” USFS.GOV: “A National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy”.
    Sorry, UK, no pellets from here, we’re going to turn all that wood into CO2 and lung disease in situ.

  97. Most people don’t care about the source of electricity. They just want the switch to work. Then complain about the monthly bill.
    Shipping cellulose across the Atlantic is no different from any other transportation of goods, the free market will always prevail, eventually.
    Since this activity will increase atmospheric CO2, then I’m in favor. We should all be putting as much CO2 into the atmosphere as possible. Burning fossil fuels is entirely beneficial to photosynthesis. We should be saving crude oil as a chemical feedstock.
    Drax Industries is a lovely company name. I wish the company great success in all future activities.
    I’d love to drive a DRAX car, or eat DRAX cereal in the morning.

    • @bw – that is just it. The free market is not being allowed to work. Clearly it is cheaper and more efficient to burn coal locally. But the government is not allowing that to happen, so they have to import wood from over seas. Greatly increasing both the cost AND energy used to process the fuel source.

  98. I agree with above poster, if the world would just go on a tree planting agenda AGW would be solved in 20 years.

  99. Friends:

    It seems that the insanity of wood-burning in Drax is a ‘lesson from history’.

    Few remember the ‘acid rain’ scare of the 1980s unless reminded of it but some of its effects remain; e.g. the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD) exists. Importantly, the bureaucracy which the EU established to operate the LCPD still exists. And the LCPD bureaucrats justify their jobs by imposing ever more stringent, always more pointless, and extremely expensive ‘acid rain’ emission limits which are causing enforced closure of UK power stations.

    Bureaucracies are difficult to eradicate and impossible to nullify.

    The AGW-scare was killed at the failed 2009 IPCC Conference in Copenhagen. I said then that the scare would continue to move as though alive in similar manner to a beheaded chicken running around a farmyard. It continues to provide the movements of life but it is already dead. And its deathly movements provide an especial problem.

    Nobody will declare the AGW-scare dead: it will slowly fade away as did the ‘acid rain’ scare of the 1980s. The LCPD is stench from the corpse of the ’acid rain’ scare, and that stench is closing power stations in the UK.

    As the AGW-scare fades away those in ‘prime positions’ will attempt to establish rules and bureaucracies to impose constraints which provide immortality to their objectives. The use of wood to replace coal in Drax is a response to one such bureaucratic imposition from the zombie AGW-scare.

    Guarding against attempts to establish similar bureaucracies to the LCPD now needs to be a serious activity.

    AGW-skeptics have ‘won’ their scientific case (really, nature has ‘won’ it for them), and their political case was ‘won’ in 2009. The present need is to defeat attempts to establish bureaucracies which nullify those victories.

    Richard

  100. Didn’t the Easter Islanders sacrifice all their trees to their Gods? Got a lot of funny looking statues out of it. Followed by starvation, cannibalism, and near extinction. Lesson learned. Don’t sacrifice the damn trees to your CO2 and Power Gods!

  101. Roger Sowell says:
    August 6, 2013 at 7:53 am

    My question is for the WUWT pro-nuclear readers: how many of you will heap scorn on the attorneys that are representing the environmental groups that are trying to stop this wood-burning nonsense?

    Is using the law to halt, or even delay the wood-pellet shipping operation a good thing?

    Guessing the response will be “of course it’s a good thing. But, lawyers who strive to make new nuclear power plants comply with the law are evil.”

    Just want to make sure I understand the nuclear advocates’ position.

    Roger, this is like saying “I dare you not to think about a pink elephant”. I don’t think anybody has mentioned nuclear in this thread. It started with a news item about converting a coal power plant to run on wood pellets, due to UK/EU “renewable energy” mandates. Plenty of comments about stupid Eurocrats, but nobody’s picked on attorneys yet.

    I’m sure they will now though.

  102. Roger:

    I just checked through this thread and the pro-nuclear advocates have barely uttered a peep to this point. The few comments containing the word were tangential. There was no mention of “attorney”, “lawyer”, “barrister” or solicitor prior to your comment above.

    But now that you’ve opened the ball, I’m sure your dance card will be full.

  103. chris y says (August 6, 2013 at 6:47 am): “The dried chips are then transported in vacuum-tight cargo containers by diesel-powered ships. Diesel-powered trains carry the containers to the power station. The empty cargo containers are then shipped back to the US for refilling.”

    I wonder if the empty containers could be filled with some of that useless British coal, so the ships wouldn’t have to return empty. No doubt Drax could get additional carbon credits for ridding the UK of all that dangerous carbon.

    Hmm. I suppose you could get the same effect by encouraging carbon-based Brits to emigrate…

  104. GunnyGene says (August 6, 2013 at 10:44 am): Didn’t the Easter Islanders sacrifice all their trees to their Gods? Got a lot of funny looking statues out of it. Followed by starvation, cannibalism, and near extinction.”

    The ecocide of Easter Island may be just another eco-myth.

  105. And hasn’t Coal Mining UK (or is it Coal Field Resources) gone into administration?

    They are not allowed to sell much coal to the Government these days. We will not have much longer to wait so see the folly of all this.

    Stay cool.

  106. This is a good post. Mowing down forests to replace coal does nothing to improve our carbon emissions, and adds destruction of natural ecosystems for good measure. We of course should be using wind and solar instead, but those resources are more difficult to find in Great Britain.

    Anthony, after all these years we finally have a point of agreement.

  107. If that makes you angry, look into the UK’s Renewable Heating initiative – the terms offered for burning this stuff and type of ‘consumer’ who will be able to benefit from them.

  108. @Gordon Ford

    Hey mate, we have been exporting wood pellets to Britain for a long time. In fact many wood mills in BC and Alberta have been using wood waste to produce power for their operations for years. I worked on the site utilities for some 20 years or so ago. Not new technology but it has been getting better and better. And as a person living in BC, you should know BC is wanting to build power plants to run on beetle killed wood. Now, turning waste into electricity at a place where the waste wood is anyway seems to make a lot of sense. But shipping it to Europe in quantities sufficient to supply large power plants seems a bit of. However, we have been shipping wood pellets to Europe for power for many many years – see below:
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    MOUNTAIN PINE BEETLE INFESTATION: TURNING WOOD WASTE INTO ENERGY
    British Columbia is experiencing an unprecedented mountain pine beetle infestation that has affected several million hectares of trees throughout the province. This infestation is having a significant economic impact on B.C.’s forestry industry and the many communities it helps to support and sustain. The forest fire risk to these communities has also risen as a result of their proximity to large stands of “beetle-killed” wood.
    B.C. has developed a bioenergy strategy to promote new sources of sustainable and renewable energy in order to take advantage of the vast amounts of pine beetle-infested timber and other biomass resources. In the future, bioenergy will help meet our electricity needs, supplement conventional natural gas and petroleum supplies, maximize job and economic opportunities, and protect our health and environment.
    The production of wood pellets is already a mature industry in British Columbia. Industry has produced over 500,000 tonnes of pellets and exported about 90 per cent of this product overseas in 2005, primarily to the European thermal power industry. Through The BC Energy Plan, BC Hydro will issue a call for proposals for further electricity generation from wood residue and mountain pine beetle-infested timber.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    http://www.energyplan.gov.bc.ca/bcep/default.aspx?hash=6

  109. I am embarrassed to be:
    1) a Brit,
    2) anything to do with the godawful EU.
    On behalf of all people in this country with > half a brain cell, I would like to apologise to the rest of the world. In our defence, nonoe of us voted “for” these EU regulations.

  110. @Alan Watt, Climate Denialst Level 7 on August 6, 2013 at 10:47 am

    “Plenty of comments about stupid Eurocrats, but nobody’s picked on attorneys yet.”

    Anybody know what the energy density of attorneys is?

    /SARC

  111. Latitude August 6, 2013 at 6:41 am
    This is absolutely silly…why don’t they just burn food

    Silly boy… if we throw the food into Drax then what will our cars run on?
    _________________________

    For those with an appetite for more UK insanity.

    Richard North tends to keep on top of the latest wheezes …

    Admittedly just a trial but … use the huge numbers (stop laughing up there in the cheap seats) of EU EV’s on the road to act as ‘capacitors’ to the grid, smoothing out the ups and downs of whatever they made a mess of last.

    >Pay anyone with a large Diesel backup generator horrendous amounts of taxpayer juice to cover up the mess they have made of a previously fully functional system.

    Dyrewulf August 6, 2013 at 6:32 am

    I can hear the circus music in my head just thinking about it…

    Try living here!

    These days the circus music has faded and I get an echo of a rhyme I was taught at ‘baby school’. Until I became an engineer I didn’t recognise its significance.

    There was an old Lady who swallowed a Fly … Just about sums up UK energy policy.

  112. Rick K said on August 6, 2013 at 8:58 am:

    After the wood pellets run out, what do they burn next? People?

    Well, between the effects of the (planned?) fuel poverty among the pensioners, combined with the cost-saving maneuvers of the NHS, the UK government is already doing a bang-up job clearing out the deadwood. Might as well get one final use out of them.

    Plus the fuel is free, as the “loved ones” get a free cremation, and the power plant could get a break on disposal costs by shipping them back a “representative” box of ashes. A true win for everyone.

    Imagine as the business picks up and becomes routine, and the power plants can save money using their own delivery trucks. You’ll hear the bell ringing in the street, “Pick up your dead! Pick up your dead!”

    “Can you give me a hand with me granddad here?”

    “Bugger off, mate! That’s the afternoon truck. Have the paperwork ready, and he better be breathing a lot less than that!”

  113. Eric H. says:
    August 6, 2013 at 7:21 am
    “On the bright side, lots of jobs are being created in rural places where unemployment was 40% as lumber mills shut down”…”The forests do need to be harvested to manage them properly, but this is not the best idea for use of the harvested timber.”

    Indeed, but there is a substantial fraction of the harvested tree that won’t result in lumber, e.g. branches, bark, etc., that wastage could appropriately be used to produce pellets for greater overall efficiency.

  114. tomtre says at August 6, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Maybe the UK could take all the unneeded extra “U”s they put into words like “color” and burn them.

    Non-U?
    How very common you Americans are.

  115. tomtre says:
    August 6, 2013 at 9:45 am
    Maybe the UK could take all the unneeded extra “U”s they put into words like “color” and burn them.
    =================================================
    Applase!

  116. 3×2 says at August 6, 2013 at 11:46 am

    There was an old Lady who swallowed a Fly … Just about sums up UK energy policy.

    Do you really think we have an energy policy?

    I wish we had an energy policy.

  117. View from the Solent
    Darn, better formatted and far wittier.
    My shame…

    Good work, Sir (or Madam).

  118. Oh yeah – the first “co-generation” plant I worked on for the forestry industry was about 1977 and my company did some before that. Remember all those old beehive burners the forestry companies used to use to get rid of waste wood. When electrical producers started raising their prices and people started complaining about the smoke, It didn’t take them long to figure out they could use the waste to make power and steam heat their buildings and add some scrubbers to the stacks and have a positive impact on their bottom line by utilizing their own waste product. Now Canada and the US have been fighting about softwood lumber and log exports for decades. So, pelletize the wood and ship it to Europe and Asia, and suddenly we can stop fighting about shipping 2×4’s between Canada and the US, and the Europeans get to feel happily Green. Sure the shipping may be an issue,. but it actually can work for now. I agree it is stupid to haul pellets to a plant sitting on coal. Better to modernize the coal plant but you never know, when wood chip demand/supply changes, one could imagine an upgraded coal fired plant suddenly becoming a good idea.

  119. My uncle in Mississippi, who among other things does a lot of forestry stuff, was telling me about this last year. The wood that is being used is neither suitable for pulp(paper) or construction. It’s the junk wood that the lumber company would be otherwise unable to sell or dispose of.

  120. Mike Roddy:

    Your post at August 6, 2013 at 11:26 am provides a very fine example of concern trolling.

    It says in total

    This is a good post. Mowing down forests to replace coal does nothing to improve our carbon emissions, and adds destruction of natural ecosystems for good measure. We of course should be using wind and solar instead, but those resources are more difficult to find in Great Britain.

    Anthony, after all these years we finally have a point of agreement.

    This post is about the stupidity of burning imported wood chips in Drax.
    It is not about the stupidities of wind and solar.

    If wind power were sensible then oil tankers would be sailing ships.
    Some people want to switch their lights on – not off – when the Sun goes down.

    Both wind and solar were abandoned (along with muscle power from slaves and animals) when the greater energy intensity fossil fuels became available by use of the steam engine.

    Wind and solar are inefficient, intermittent, unreliable, and expensive. It is not possible for them to power an industrialised economy.

    In the unlikely event that you want some factual information concerning your daft advocacy of the impossible (i.e. wind and solar powering the UK) then you may care to read this

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/courtney_2006_lecture.pdf

    Richard

  121. philjourdan says:
    August 6, 2013 at 6:30 am

    The UK is going to look like Haiti soon. Yea, that is progress.

    Too late. Try to find a stand of trees in Caithness. All the standing trees in all of Caithness wouldn’t equal the Patuxent River State Forest in Maryland – and it ain’t that big.

  122. kadaka (KD Knoebel) August 6, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Rick K said on August 6, 2013 at 8:58 am:

    After the wood pellets run out, what do they burn next? People?

    Well, between the effects of the (planned?) fuel poverty among the pensioners, combined with the cost-saving maneuvers of the NHS, the UK government is already doing a bang-up job clearing out the deadwood. Might as well get one final use out of them.

    A lesson there for those who believe that there is no (UK) ‘joined up thinking’. The dead, as with ‘future generations’, just can’t vote.

  123. BarryW says:
    August 6, 2013 at 6:41 am

    ….Maybe someone should demand that the ships transporting them be driven by sail?

    Quiet! Don’t give them any ideas!

  124. Gee guys, c’mon, get with the program! We’re trying to Save The Planet over here and you’re nit-picking over details? Pffft!

  125. The batting average of AGW inspired policies and regulations continues at .000.
    The madness of enviro-extremists and climate kooks is unabated, even as the evidence of their ill conceived- if not worse- demands, laws and regulations contiues to pile up.

  126. This is a repost because its original has not appeared after an hour. If the original also appears then I apologise for the duplication.

    I consider it worth reposting because others have not rebutted the item it addresses and which requires rebuttal to avoid onlookers being misled.

    ====================

    Mike Roddy:

    Your post at August 6, 2013 at 11:26 am provides a very fine example of concern trolling.

    It says in total

    This is a good post. Mowing down forests to replace coal does nothing to improve our carbon emissions, and adds destruction of natural ecosystems for good measure. We of course should be using wind and solar instead, but those resources are more difficult to find in Great Britain.

    Anth0ny, after all these years we finally have a point of agreement.

    This post is about the stupidity of burning imported wood chips in Drax.
    It is not about the stupidities of wind and solar.

    If wind power were sensible then oil tankers would be sailing ships.
    Some people want to switch their lights on – not off – when the Sun goes down.

    Both wind and solar were abandoned (along with muscle power from slaves and animals) when the greater energy intensity fossil fuels became available by use of the steam engine.

    Wind and solar are inefficient, intermittent, unreliable, and expensive. It is not possible for them to power an industrialised economy.

    In the unlikely event that you want some factual information concerning your daft advocacy of the impossible (i.e. wind and solar powering the UK) then you may care to read this

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/courtney_2006_lecture.pdf

    Richard

  127. So they are going to take sequestered carbon and burn it. Won’t it also give off black soot? I think the climate refugees we’ve all being waiting for are going to come from Europe to North America to get away from the stupid virus. In Canada, we have had the OECD and other UN heads come over to give speeches about how horrible Canada is (under a conservative government, of course) – how we are lagging in environmental matters and producing dirty oil, how mean we are to our native people and all. Europe was also ticked off when Harper lectured them at the G8 on what they had to do to get their economies back from the brink. I think all these attacks are really because we are one of the few non-socialist governments left in the world. I was despairing that we couldn’t hold out for ever, but this type of idiocy from outside does give me hope.

    The most manipulated market in the world must be currency. What in hell is the Euro (almost a dead currency) doing being more valuable than the dollar with the intractable mess the EU economies are in and the stupid that seems to break out daily. Soros made all his money betting on the Euro but he must be investing it all back in again to keep it artificially propped up. I think their only hope over there is Germany to show them the way out- they’ve already had enough and are building coal plants.

  128. I hope they’re also creating nuclear-powered trucks and ships.
    Not that I care for this project. I just want to see the nuclear-powered trucks.

  129. Let’s go the next logical steps: cut the trees with axes, ship it to port on wood burning steam engines, run across the Atlantic on wood-burning paddlewheels, etc. Ugh.

  130. What is the carbon footprint of $1? The subsidies that make these fiascos possible all cost energy to create. Not only that, but the interest on the debt used for the subsidies all cost energy too.

  131. { Peter Ward says:
    August 6, 2013 at 8:02 am

    However, you need to be aware that, due to the deregulated nature of the UK energy industry, Drax is now a listed company. And it owns a US subsidiary… Drax Biomass International Inc. And of course Drax power station will be obtaining its pellets from… Drax Biomass International Inc. }

    (Bastrop, LA) Congratulations to Morehouse Parish for winning a $120-million economic development project, which will create 63 new direct jobs. The state began discussions with Drax in January 2012 about its plans for wood pellet facility. To secure the project, the state offered Drax a custom incentive package that will include a $1.7 million Economic Development Loan Program commitment that will not require repayment if the company meets payroll performance obligations. Drax will receive the services of the nation’s No. 1 state workforce training program, LED FastStart™, at no cost. The company also is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption program incentives.

  132. Gloster, Miss. (December 13, 2012) – Governor Phil Bryant and officials from Drax Biomass International Inc. have announced the company is planning to construct a 450,000 metric ton per year wood pellet production facility in Gloster, Mississippi, in Amite County.

    The facility, to be known as Amite BioEnergy, represents a substantial multi-million dollar investment by the company and will create 45 direct jobs, as well as additional indirect jobs during construction and in the transportation and forestry sectors once the plant is operational.

  133. From 3×2 on August 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm:

    The dead, as with ‘future generations’, just can’t vote.

    But as opposed to pensioners, ‘future generations’ may become future taxpayers that can be milked for many decades, making them valuable.

    However as it takes about two decades from birth to get them to the proper taxpaying stage, this may be too long to wait for those who need to fund immediate and near-term social change, or to maintain the status quo to retain power, whatever.

    Wouldn’t it be much better for government if they could avoid the wait with native-born future taxpayers, and instead “import” those who could immediately or very soon become willing taxpayers, perhaps even grateful and obedient taxpayers? Such would be much more valuable to government than mewling children ever could be.

  134. @Jim Clarke
    Monty Python was originally a documentary series. But when it hit America, they didn’t know what to make of it, so they added a laugh track, and, the rest is history. True story!

  135. @Allan Watt (August 6, 2013 at 10:47 am),
    Roger is just pissed that the UK is an island with 16 nuclear generating plants and they were built before the lawyers could stop them.

  136. Charles th Moderator – Great post. To my mind, it needs one correction: “Law of Predictable Consequences” instead of Law of Unintended Consequences. And as CodeTech pointed out in an earlier comment, it is a LAW.

  137. 3×2 on August 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm
    said:
    The dead, as with ‘future generations’, just can’t vote.

    In Chicago, Illinois they can.

  138. Again, I wish the skeptical bloggers would have a little skepticism about their own preconceptions.

    Wood pulp is a crop, like corn. It’s grown on private lands, cut with private money, and shipped by floating downstream. It’s ecologically sound even from a warmist perspective as trees fix carbon most effectively in their first years of growth.

    The only reason Alabama pulp is losing to Brazilian pulp is the higher lignin percentage in Alabama wood. That doesn’t matter if you burn it.

    From an Alabama point of view, burn our trash trees, please. It’ll drive up the price of our pulp. We can use the money.

  139. Tiredoc:

    At August 6, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/06/law-of-unintended-consequences-number-eleventy-zillion/#comment-1382756

    you say

    Again, I wish the skeptical bloggers would have a little skepticism about their own preconceptions.

    Your post may have made some sense if it had stated the “preconceptions” you think you have observed.

    Burning imported wood chips instead of coal in a power station situated in a coal field and designed to burn coal makes no logical sense, no environmental sense, and no economic sense.

    The stupidity of burning imported wood chips in Drax is not mitigated by the fact that – as you say – rent-seekers local to you are cashing-in on the stupidity.

    Richard

  140. Deforesting the USA is just the Brits’ way of getting even for that infamous act of treachery back in 1770 something.

    For those who do not understand the UK political parties’ attitude towards the country’s policy it is this:
    Conservative: Pseudo-green and goofy
    Labour: Pseudo-green and goofy.
    Lib Dems: Manic green and goofy squared.
    UKIP: Green sceptic and sane.

    The politicians have not yet realised one of the big issues in the next UK election is going to be about energy supplies, or rather the lack of future reliable energy supplies.

  141. “Replacement of 10 percent of the coal in China by cofiring would approximately require a staggering 500 million tons of wood pellets annually.”

    http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/8837/asian-markets-for-wood-pellets/

    To replace 70% of China’s coal with wood pellets would thus require all the wood harvested in the entire planet. Non sustainable.

    http://www.paperimpact.org/how-much-wood-is-harvested-each-year-worldwide-and-what-is-it-used-for-1941.html

    So biomass should work as long as we can terraform Venus and Mars, cover them with trees and ship the chips back to Earth.

  142. Tom Andersen:

    In your excellent post at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/06/law-of-unintended-consequences-number-eleventy-zillion/#comment-1382782

    you say

    To replace 70% of China’s coal with wood pellets would thus require all the wood harvested in the entire planet. Non sustainable.

    ‘Sustainable biomass’ is solar energy collected by photosynthesis over one growing season and obtained in a wet (so needs drying) and uncompressed form.

    Coal is solar energy collected by photosynthesis over geological ages and obtained in a dry and compressed form.

    The idea that ‘sustainable biomass’ can significantly displace the present use of coal displays willful ignorance. Indeed, the greater energy intensity of coal is why coal displaced the use of biomass.

    Richard

  143. Didn’t ‘Fast Terry’ McAuliff try to convert a Virginia paper mill to a fuel pellet facility using lots of Federal magic money? Since he is the consummate inside dealer in all things green, could the Brits be in cahoots with our lovable Gubernatorial candidate? Would be nice to be able to follow the money. Dan

  144. This absolutely proves that these people have a mental disorder. Coal is what SAVED our forests from being used up as fuel back in the 1800’s and now they’re threatened again – by NITWITS. Shut them OFF and let them FREEZE if they’re too stupid to use fossil fuel.

  145. Rick K says:
    August 6, 2013 at 8:58 am
    After the wood pellets run out, what do they burn next? People?
    =======================================
    Oh Noes!

    Soylent wood pellets is (are) people!

  146. Alan Watt, there’s really no point taking up R.S. on his topic troll… face it, most people just don’t care.

    It’s great to be “against” something, especially if there are good reasons. I’m personally against deploying bird slicer/clubbers in bird migration routes or covering acre after acre with PV arrays, but I wouldn’t be as against it if there was some kind of tangible return. Being against nuclear makes no sense, since there is abundant and definable benefit in exchange for the “risk”.

    Our entire existence on the planet is a trade-off between risk and reward. Every time you get into a car you are at risk of getting run over by a truck, and judging by some of the Russian car crash videos, even sitting in your house or a building or walking you are at the same risk.

    However, I still don’t understand what kind of risk, exactly, shipping wood from continent to continent to use as fuel is supposed to be mitigating, or what the benefit is supposed to be. Even the least number-savvy person can see that the fuel used to package and transport the materials alone is wasteful, and whether you believe in CO2 being harmful or not it makes little sense to be shipping industrial quantities of stuff around that doesn’t need to be.

    WUWT certainly has some entertaining comments…. some unintentionally entertaining…

  147. Someone mentioned the recent problems of one if the UK’s remaining coal producers. One of the challenges they are facing is competition from US imports at much lower prices than they need to maintain their investment/production cycle. The US coal is reaching world markets because it has been displaced at home by shale gas, but rather than close their own coal industry the US is exporting the problem and helping EU and UK greenfreaks to destroy ours.

  148. If I’m not mistaken burning waste products counts as renewable energy in the UK so the answer is to create a lot of paths, surface them by tipping coal on them and then a fortnight later collect the old coal and resurface the paths with new. The old coal can then be burnt as an environmentally friendly fuel and the Circumlocution Office will be happy.

    They’ll probably subsidise the process too.

  149. I gave up on the place 32 years ago. This abso-effing-lutely stupid bevavior convinces me of my correct decision.

    What happens when ideology trumps science – Lysenkoism.

  150. Green deforestation!. Those that make money out of this deal most likely are investing it in planting those huge eucalyptus plantations in South America.

  151. Tiredoc says:
    August 6, 2013 at 2:06 pm
    “Again, I wish the skeptical bloggers would have a little skepticism about their own preconceptions.
    Wood pulp is a crop, like corn. It’s grown on private lands, cut with private money, and shipped by floating downstream.”

    All the way downstream from the USA to the UK.
    This is a crazy day.
    Earth has fallen deeper into the crazy sector of the Milky Way.

  152. The truth is that most people don’t understand what “renewable energy” or “biofuel” mean even at the most fundamental level.

  153. Swamp forests in the US are being felled to help keep the lights on in the UK. Is this really the best way to combat climate change?

    Isn’t it interesting that they chose not to purchase wood from other places, like Brazil perhaps?

    I hear they are cutting down lots of forests down there and likely have lots of wood to spare.

  154. Power Grab says:
    August 6, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Is anyone working on a method for transforming belly fat into fuel oil?

    Absolutely Brilliant — liposuction recycling! Obesity as a renewable resource! Public health improvement and energy independence in one package. I wish I’d thought of it. Plus we get to label Nanny Bloomberg as a lipoid energy denier — a win, win, win.

    Think of it as urban whaling. This is definitely grant-worthy.

  155. As a Floridian, I’m happy to see that he UK is buying the local pine product that used to be sold to paper mills that made newsprint. But no one buys newspapers anymore, so I guess we can go ahead and burn the newsprint. Next we’ll burn books, after which we’ll burn our clothes to keep warm.

  156. The U.K. has no idea of the power plant misery in store for them when they convert to wood chips. I once ran three wood chip burning power plants. Wood chips are so abrasive they’ll eat the belly-pan off the Cats moving the woodpiles. They’ll eat up the feed belts. They’ll eat up the boiler tubes and develop clunkers the size of automobiles that must be blasted from, the fire box walls. Miserable fuel!

  157. The preconception that I refer to is the idea that there is some inherent ecogical damage in cutting down trees for wood pulp. There isn’t. Pulp is a completely different product than timber. Southern Alabama gets 150 cm of rainfall per year. The trees are adapted to a 30 year life cycle, about the time between severe hurricanes. As for the “rent seeking,” how is selling a product at market rates “rent seeking?” Will it work? Of course not. There isn’t enough timberland in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to make much of a dent in any country’s energy supply. But as a practical solution, it’s a hell of a lot more reasonable than windmills and solar power.

  158. Chipping wood is the weirdest part. Rail cars, barges, log booms are efficient means of moving whole logs. I watched logs being moved at the local pulp mill several tons at a time.
    Chipping reduces density, Canadian railways don’t even haul wood chips anymore.

  159. What’s wrong with selling the U.K. wood pellets? Wood is a renewal resource, we have a ton of it in Canada, and we’d like the money. Thank you very much.

  160. The Germans are burning lignite. The British are burning wood pellets. The Chinese are burning coal. The environmentalists are burning mad.

  161. I believe that there are companies here in the states that are importing from South America wood chips for making toilet paper.
    It is cheaper than locally grown chips.

    And properly dried and stored chips / pellets do not spontaneously combust.

  162. “I believe that there are companies here in the states that are importing from South America wood chips for making toilet paper.”
    It’s the other way around. The bleaching process for getting the lignin out of wood smells awful. Most of the paper production is in Brazil for this reason. In addition, eucalyptus, a low-lignin fast growing wood, grows in Brazil and won’t in Alabama because it’s too cold.
    American swamp wood pulp is cheaper than Brazilian eucalyptus pulp because of the lignin content. It makes perfect sense, if you’re going to use wood pulp for fuel, to buy the cheap stuff.

  163. Tiredoc:

    Your series of posts attempts to rationalise idiocy by conflating two different issues.
    1.
    Burning waste wood pulp and waste wood chippings as fuel makes sense: it reduces fuel costs and avoids waste disposal costs. Indeed, that is why timber mills often burn their waste as fuel. The fuel has low calorific value but has disposal cost.
    2.
    There is no sense in transporting wood chippings across a quarter of the planet to displace coal from use in a power station designed to burn coal and situated in a coal field.

    Also, there is nothing new in sustainable wood farming for fuel: coppicing was practiced for centuries. A suggestion that return to such practices could be beneficial is a display of willful ignorance.

    I am interested to know if you have any connection to the wood pulp supply industry which you say will benefit in your locality.

    Richard

  164. Just another example of mad dogs and Englishmen spending too much time out in the hot sun. (Note: PowerGrab, I will gladly donate ALL of my belly fat towards the cause of solving the UK’s energy problems. Lol!)

  165. Snake Oil Baron says:
    August 6, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    I hear that endangered species make for excellent biofuel.

    Many endangered species perform a useful function, even if only in being nice to look at or having entertaining habits. I suggest we use lawyers for biofuel – they fail on all the above attributes.

  166. BarryW says:
    August 6, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Of course the bureaucrats don’t factor in the diesel used to grow, fell, manufacture the pellets and transport them. All they care about is that they are using a “renewable” resource.

    Maybe someone should demand that the ships transporting them be driven by sail?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>..
    OH what a great idea! I am sure we can get the Econuts behind that. Anyone want to start an NGO for sail power for transport of biofuel to the UK? And while you are at it those locomotives should also be running on wood chips.

    (Where is James Delingpole when you need him?)

  167. I have a useful sideline using the pellets.

    THE DRAX HUG-A-TREE AT HOME KIT

    You know what it’s like: after a hard week at the demo: after two or three consecutive nights chanting outside a power station you need to hug a tree.

    But you can’t. You live in town. No trees.

    NOW YOU CAN HUG A TREE. ANYTIME. ANYWHERE. WITH THE NEW DRAX HUG-A-TREE-AT-HOME KIT.

    Just for you entire forests are lightly clear-felled in North America and shipped across the Atlantic in sustainable barges. Reduced to healthy and non-toxic pellets using renewable energy, they are supplied with a zip-up case in luxurious sustainable felt, soft as the fur on a baby bunny’s tummy, and dyed a healthy green. Just add the pellets to the case, zip it up and you have a DRAX HUGGY TREE.

    Your DRAX HUGGY TREE is always there. Always huggable. Always ready for you. Get that smug feeling. Be as sanctimonious as you want. All day. Everyday. With your DRAX HUGGY TREE..

    ORDER ONE TODAY.

    donotexposetodampasmayspontaneouslycombustflammablewhendrymaycontainorattractnutswillcontainporcupineandorsquirreldoesnotcontainorangutangthatispalmoil

    JF

  168. The UK government and the higher levels of the UK Civil Service are populated by PPE and Classics graduates (all in the same bubble) and really really believe all of the AGW/ renewables crap.
    Power from wood from the USA indeed, what madness.
    I am surprised that no one has tried to sell them the extremely effective green energy alternative of extracting sunbeams from cucumbers (Jonathan Swift details the technology in Gullivers Travels)

  169. The UK is sitting on some of the best shale potential in the world, but exploitation of this is being delayed by a bunch of “aromatically challenged” benefits claimants. Hence our need to deforest the USA; sorry guys!

  170. Wood pellets are good business in Mississippi (I have no interest in them — I just live here). They are made of byproducts like sawdust. No one is going to clear cut forests to make pellets. Wood used for building is too valuable to do that.

  171. Several have repeated the canard about “deforesting the US,” most recently John Law above. Once again, with feeling, harvesting trees in North America long ago ceased to result in “deforestation,” which is the PERMANENT removal of forest cover. Trees are truly the only infinitely renewable natural resource.

    Tiredoc is mostly right, although I agree with most that transporting woodchips across the globe to generate electricity in the hope of saving the planet is madness. He is incorrect, however, to say that most paper production is in Brazil – NA remains a heavy producer of P&P, although many mills have been shuttered and torn down as paper usage declines. The reason eucalyptus fiber is imported has nothing to do with lignin, which is burned to produce energy at NA mills, but more to do with the fact that eucalyptus fiber is in many ways very superior to pine fiber. But, it all depends on what kind of paper is being produced. The future in P&P is in the so-called “fluff” grades, used to produce sanitary products, baby and adult diapers (take note, baby boomers!)

    Finally, making wood pellets to use as an alternative to burning firewood in domestic residences close to the source of the wood makes some sense, but shipping wood chips across the ocean to generate electricity is madness.

  172. A few points:
    1) Drax made a commercial decision to switch to wood chips because there is a subsidy to do so while the idiot government has introduced a carbon tax that makes coal more expensive. Coal is currently cheap to buy since the US is using its shale gas. I believe the subsidy – ie money stolen from us in taxes – for wood chip is about to be reduced. Any wonder our energy planning is a mess and private companies are not keen to commit to building new generating capacity as the goalposts float around?

    2) Contrary to the ‘lights go out in a couple of years’, National Grid has learnt from others – ie Germany, Denmark – about the problems of intermittent wind power as an increasing part of UK power generation. A network of diesel powered generating sets is being prepared as private investors realise there is money to be made since the ‘Short Term Operating Reserve’ will pay them a fee whether the generators run or not. The advantage of diesel power is that they can be turned on immediately power is needed with not thermal warm up needed. When they do generate, they will be paid anything from 8 to 300 times the current market rate per Mwh. Given the cooling planet and the prospect of longer colder winters with spells of static windless high pressure, one can just guess at how much our electricity prices will increase. One can but wonder at what point buying your own diesel generator and running it on tax-free ‘red’ diesel will undercut mains electricity.

    3) Note for point 2 above, with Spain taxing personal solar panels and that there is diesel emissions legislation from our occupying power in Brussels, the government could find a way to stop personal diesel generation if it was cheaper.

    4) While the idiot government drones on about the creation of ‘green jobs’ and a ‘renewable industry’, currently every ‘green job’ – ie economically unsustainable without the subsidy of taxes stolen from the people – destroys 3.7 real jobs that add value to the economy and make people richer.

  173. As has been mentioned before, the coal burning Drax power station sits on top of a coalfield. This was no accident. The site for Drax (and other power stations in the area) was chosen deliberately to place them on top of their energy source and save on transportation. What a great idea.

    Now the greens are unhappy at bringing wood chips all the way from the USA. The question is, what will make them happy? The answer, probably nothing.

    Ignore these anti-human, anti-progress idiots and let’s get on with allowing proper science and engineering to better the human condition.

  174. richardscourtney says:

    If wind power were sensible then oil tankers would be sailing ships.

    AFAIK there are no commercial ocean going freighters currently in operation which are wind powered.

    Both wind and solar were abandoned (along with muscle power from slaves and animals) when the greater energy intensity fossil fuels became available by use of the steam engine.

    IIRC the first factories of the “Industrial Revolution” used water power. The ability to match power supply with demand is vitally important. Nobody has been able to do this with wind, even given several thousand years.

  175. ***
    Tiredoc says:
    August 6, 2013 at 8:37 am

    A long leaf pine can be harvested for pulp in 7-10 years. They grow like weeds.
    ***

    A tiny $2 bare-root tuliptree I planted 9 yrs ago is now near 50′ tall. And I have 2 longleafs here in west MD, way north of its range. One is 25′.

    Go CO2!

  176. Had something similar brewing at the University of Wisconsin – Madison a few years back. The Sierra Club and other misguided Luddite types succeeded in forcing the closure of the small coal fired plant that powered the UW-Madison campus.

    Then Gov. Doyle (since retired by the electorate) decided to convert it to a ‘renewable biofuel’ power plant, ostensibly to be fueled by crop residues, wood chips, and old wood pallets trucked in from area farms and businesses. The citizens were assured this would only cost $251 Million and would establish Wisconsin as the leader in ‘coal to biofuel’ conversions. …. Or not. It would have required at least 2.3 times more tonnage of ‘biomass fuel’ to achieve the equivalent BTU yield of coal. This would have required a much larger plant footprint to accommodate storage of the larger pile of ‘biomass’ fuel as well as for local and regional trucking access to deliver the new fuel. The plant would have had to burn 20% natural gas along with the biofuel, to assure reliable combustion. As the story link below highlights, citizens of greater wisdom began to question the true viability of the plant.

    http://dailyreporter.com/2009/05/20/more-cheaper-biofuels-needed-for-power-plant/

    This spawned several new examples of the Law of Unintended Consequences. The irrational environmentalism that was the driving force behind closing the coal fired plant and conversion to a ‘biofuel’ power plant became a small but significant negative for Gov. Doyle in the WI gubernatorial race of 2010. He was defeated by Scott Walker, who immediately scuttled the ‘biofuel’ conversion and made it a 100% natural gas fired power plant, with minimal conversion costs to the taxpayers and the next lowest fuel cost to coal. Gov. Walker also ushered in balanced budgeting for the state, much needed reforms to public employee union contracts, defunded the construction plans for the 90 mph max. ‘high speed train’, and ended many other inefficient and out right stupid state spending projects.

    Sometimes the Law of Unintended Consequences has real, positive results!
    MtK

  177. Gerry – England says:
    August 7, 2013 at 6:17 am
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Think natural gas instead of diesel. I have a 14 kw generator that runs on either propane or natural gas. Since I don’t have access to natural gas, it uses propane and so is a little less efficient and it has run for days when the power is off (rural area). Reasonably efficient but Grid Power is cheaper. But if it keeps going up … Course this is not practical in the city (noise).

  178. GrzeTor says:
    August 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm
    Sam Harris – The fireplace delusion

    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-fireplace-delusion

    ________________________________________________________________________
    Everything Sam says may be true – especially for city dwellers. But I live 40 km from the nearest community, over 100 kilometres from a shopping centre, I have no natural gas. What I do have is a high efficiency wood fireplace and wood on my land from which I cut 6 or more cords of wood each year (and burn up even more from deadfall) and I heat over 2000 square feet of building space primarily with a central fireplace with outside air and sealed glass fire pit with a mass of several tons that can keep the house warm at 20 below C with two to three good fires a day. I do supplement with geothermal from my wells to heat my basement and garage/work shop. And I get warmed by the wood several times – when I cut it, when I spit it, when I stack it, when I carry it in, and when I burn it. I will never run out of wood since it grows faster than I can use it so I let my grand kids come and have out door fires in the summer. But I can’t imagine that my “carbon” footprint is any worse than some folks fireworks displays. 😉

  179. Eli Rabett:

    At August 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm you ask

    The UK imports most of the coal that is burnt for power, principally from the US and Russia. Exactly how is this different?

    Drax is a PF power station designed to burn coal not wood.
    The energy intensity of coal is much greater than the energy intensity of wood.
    It is an expensive and environmentally damaging waste to reduce the efficiency of Drax by displacing its intended fuel with wood.

    In common with your other posts on the web, your question demonstrates there is gulf between the understandings of science and technology possessed by bunnies and by humans. So, I suggest that you return to your warren and there continue to do what rabbits do while humans deal with the matters which so puzzle you.

    Richard

  180. “When the EU set its 2020 target of sourcing 20% of energy from renewables, some leaders thought the deal referred to electricity. (I know because I spoke to Downing Street on the day of the decision).In fact, it included energy for transport and heating too, so the bar was set much higher than anticipated.”

    This brings the question – why not just install hordes of heatpumps to heat the buildings to meet 20% overall goal? Heatpumps are a proven technology.

  181. Two thoughts:

    Cutting down forests will affect climate for sure.

    Cutting down trees in a swamp forest have a huge impact on the ecosystem.

    Where’s the Green people? (Oh right, extinct after the reds hijacked the green movement …)

  182. GrzeTor on August 8, 2013 at 12:51 am

    Heatpumps has been tested i Sweden for many years. They work fine when outdoor temperatures are above freezing point. Below they are almost as efficient as wind power during calm days and extra heat sources are needed to compensate. (oil, wood, expensive electricity …) During the winter season, we have plenty of sub zero (ºC) days …

    • SasjaL says:
      August 8, 2013 at 2:40 am
      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
      Think water to air or water to water heat pumps rather than air to air. Have had one for underfloor heating for 11 years. Works well to 40 plus below. The water is a constant 42 degrees F and discharges at 36 to 37 F. Also have a heat recovery system available on my waste water system.

  183. Hey! “Doug Huffman”, what is the mentality of not providing proof when smearing Leonard Peikoff?
    (And you write poorly:
    – “Randian” sneering buzzword, meaningless to most people,
    – what is your point about Nietzche and Hegel? Both are in the Plato fork, the one that theorizes the bizarre notion of two worlds (one real but unknowable – except by priests and other academics like Andrew Weaver and David Suzuki, the other the unreal bad one we live in).

  184. So will the ships carrying the wood to Europe use wood for fuel?

    But hey! Perhaps the BC government could sell its surplus of beetle-killed pine trees to Europe. (Gordon Ford on August 6 at 7:14am is looking for investors, but methinks he’s asking in the wrong place. :-)

    As for wood-burning generation of electricity, it is done where the wood is available. The Harmac pulp mill near Nanaimo BC does that, presumably wood they can’t use in making their specialty paper products, or perhaps waste from the process either at the beginning (such as bark) or at the end. Pulp mills use energy, so have direct motivation to generate it onsite. West Fraser lumber company is building generation as well.

    • I live in Grand Forks, BC and watch every day as chip trucks roll by on their way to Kettle Falls, WA where there is a wood-fueled generating station. It’s pretty frustrating when you consider we could be producing power from our forests after making lumber. Of course, the ‘environmentalists’ are against it, as they are everything.

  185. UK Marcus says: @ August 7, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Where is John Galt when you need him?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Busy making movie part III. (Just ran into a kid named Dagny yesterday at a birthday party and ‘she was named after a character in a book’)

  186. Eli Rabett says:

    August 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    “The UK imports most of the coal that is burnt for power, principally from the US and Russia. Exactly how is this different?”

    Come on, Eli, don’t be so modest. Everyone knows they must be the same…..because you say sooooo!

Comments are closed.