Solar farms: A toxic blot on the landscape


AY 30, 2021

By Paul Homewood


Across Britain, solar farms are on the march.

Some 1,000 acres of rural land a month are earmarked for ‘photovoltaic’ panels and the miles of cabling that go with them.

The Government admits that more than a fifth of our farmland will eventually be lost to ‘green’ initiatives such as these.

Last week, The Mail on Sunday counted 270 solar farms under construction or waiting for planning permission around the country.

Environmental lobbyists argue that solar energy is a crucial part of a sustainable future, but they talk less about the growing doubts raised by scientists and angry groups of residents.

Because, apart from ruining the view, solar panels are also woefully inefficient at their only job – which is to generate electricity amid the cloud and rain of north-west Europe.

Then there is the question of disposal.

The materials the panels are made with have a life expectancy of less than 50 years and are difficult and expensive to recycle, raising the prospect of discarded panel mountains leaking dangerous heavy metals.

And with the majority of panels now made in China, there are fears – all too plausible – that some have been produced in forced labour camps, including those where members of the oppressed Uighur minority are imprisoned.

‘A power supply that is always both unpredictable and intermittent is not sensible,’ says Christopher Darwin.

‘In a few years’ time, if winter power cuts increase as expected, people will wonder why solar industrial sites in the countryside were considered anything other than expensive white elephants.’

The protesters have been joined by actor and local resident John Nettles, who keeps a smallholding nearby.

Best known for roles in Bergerac and Midsomer Murders, today Nettles features in a video which lambasts the spread of solar farms and, in particular, the proposed mega-development near the village of Pyworthy.

‘Enough is enough,’ he says. ‘People need to understand the enormous scale and visual impact.

‘The giant new project at Derril Water would desecrate the pastoral vista in this part of Devon, turning it into an industrialised landscape of solar panels and security fencing.

‘It would ruin 164 acres of pasture for at least 40 years. Decision-makers… have failed to take into account the carbon footprint of manufacturing 76,000 solar panels on the other side of the world, transported and installed here.

‘They are simply not low-carbon.’

So unsuitable is the British weather, it has been calculated that most UK solar farms will never get beyond 12 per cent of their true generating capacity in the course of a year.

Solar energy contributed a measly seven per cent of National Grid power last month, even though April was unusually sunny and dry.

In December, the solar contribution was a pathetic 0.67 per cent of the total.

Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) think-tank, says solar energy makes no sense in this country and the many miles of panelling are likely to do more harm than good.

‘There is simply not enough sun,’ he says.

‘Perhaps in the Sahara, where no one lives, having these huge, tens of miles of solar panels may make sense.

‘But in Britain I’m concerned about the unintended consequences.

‘You would need to carpet about five per cent of Britain’s entire land in solar panels to generate enough energy to keep things working – and that’s only in the day.

‘Obviously they don’t work at night. They leave a huge ecological footprint.

‘A single nuclear power plant sits on a square kilometre or so of land.

‘For solar panels to generate the equivalent energy, you’d need 10,000 times more space – maybe even more.’ […]

Direct Government subsidies for solar farms were abandoned in 2019 (although earlier lucrative agreements are still in force).

But rents from solar farms far outstrip the precarious profits from conventional agriculture, with Devon landowners reportedly earning up to £2,000 an acre every year from solar.

Some sheep farmers in the county are said to earn as little as £6 an acre

This gulf is only likely to get bigger thanks to the Government’s ‘Net Zero By 2050’ initiative, according to Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation.

Hard-pressed farmers have realised that they can make a profit – and are rushing to take advantage.

‘The net-zero drive is so insensitive to cost and environmental damage, a lot of very strange things are happening,’ says Dr Constable.

‘The brakes are completely off. It’s an unrestrained area of the economy. We’re preparing to lose a large part of British farmland to a second-rate electricity scheme.

‘We’ve got a growing population so within a couple of decades we’ll be 50 per cent dependent on imported food.

‘Is that a sensible way of using a finite resource, especially post-Brexit? It’s a very odd thing to do.’

There could be worse to come.

Thanks to a loophole in the planning system, Dr Constable believes solar farms are a good way for developers to turn lower-grade farmland into ‘brownfield’ land, potentially allowing them to be built over in future.

‘Some landowners regard this as a nutcracker scheme,’ says Dr Constable.

‘Farmland is mostly protected from development – except for solar.

‘If you own several thousands of acres of land and you’d like to have an industrial estate, solar is a good way to crack the planning nut.’ 

Full story

Just for the record, last year subsidies paid to solar farms via Renewable Obligation Certificates cost energy users £510 million, equivalent to £73/MWh. For that money, we get just 6.9 TWh a year, a tiny 2% of our electricity. Smaller schemes subsidised through Feed In Tariffs will add to this cost.

Despite the figures quoted in the Mail, solar deployment has virtually dried up since ROC subsidies were withdrawn in 2016. (Row 28 are “Unaccredited Schemes – ie not subsidised). Only 326 MW of solar capacity was added last year, an increase of 2.4%.

If the government really plans a big increase in solar capacity, the current desecration of our countryside will be the tip of the iceberg. It is also clear that new solar development is not economically viable, other than in a few niche cases. Which raises the question of whether subsidy schemes will have to be reintroduced.


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May 30, 2021 10:19 pm

The [Toxic] Green Blight

Phillip Bratby
Reply to  n.n
May 31, 2021 11:40 am

The full Mail on Sunday story is in this video:

Steve Case
May 30, 2021 11:13 pm

At ~53° North solar panels don’t make much sense. Add in the fog and gloom and it makes less sense than that.

Reply to  Steve Case
May 31, 2021 3:00 am

but they absolutely do work, even in Scotland.

Pillage Idiot
Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 7:48 am

Generators powered by hamsters running on their wheels ALSO works in Scotland.

As long as we are skipping all fundamental analyses of efficiency!

Rich Lentz
Reply to  Pillage Idiot
June 3, 2021 4:30 pm

I have even read that they have shown a Tennis Court sized solar panel can charge a cell phone over night with no sun ever striking the panel!

Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 7:56 am

So do candles. 24/7.

Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 8:51 am

It is not really a matter of if they work. It is a matter of if it is worth the cost per kwh output, which it is not.

The whole blight, removal of agricultural land from productive use and the necessity of disposing of this toxic blight are ADDED costs both real and esthetical, that REALLY make solar ridiculous, even in the desert SW of the US.

But I must say that warmists are consistent: They don’t do any cost-benefit analyses for the use of unreliable power, the same as they have never done one for “mitigation” of “man made CO2” as compared to just adapting to the “consequences” of CAGW.

I know CAGW is crap, but you all, including griff, get my point. The earlier post about the newspaper editorial discussed this very point. They see a cost analysis as nothing but an attempted roadblock to “what we NEED to do”. And it is, because if everyone knew how much we are actually sending for 0% gain, the game would be over for all the rent seekers and the political machines receiving the pay back for taxpayer subsidies to the unreliables.

Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 10:58 am

Once again, griff demonstrates his inability to understand basic reality.
Working was never the question. Working well enough to be worth the effort is.
And solar panels fail miserably by that standard.

Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 11:12 am

Griff doesn’t live in Scotland, and we have an even more stupid blight in the Baltic states since last year.

hey, Griff, come and show me how Solar panels work at 60N in Estonia!
Did you ever visit it, and notice in december there’s F-all sunlight, and often lots of snow cover?

Even in midsummer, white nights it’s going to give you zilch before 8am, and zilch after 8pm.

Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 1:46 pm

There’s no fixing stupid.

Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 6:01 pm

It is clear you were born 300 years too late, you would have enjoyed poverty and serfdom lifestyle of the 1700’s.

Last edited 2 years ago by Sunsettommy
Pat from kerbob
Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 9:06 pm

Griff, here in Alberta they are building a 560mw solar farm, covering 6 sq miles of prairie.

I bet you here that on december 21 at noon on a brilliantly clear day it will produce less than 30mw.
And on June 21 at noon of a brilliantly clear day it will never approach 500.

All these sites can be viewed in real time, like our wind installs currently producing ~10%, or just right as they say

Look here

Rich Lentz
Reply to  griff
June 3, 2021 4:25 pm

Griff, Have you tried Prevagen? It might provide you with greater understanding of the scientific facts.

May 30, 2021 11:28 pm

“Last week, The Mail on Sunday counted 270 solar farms under construction or waiting for planning permission around the country.”
“Despite the figures quoted in the Mail, solar deployment has virtually dried up since ROC subsidies were withdrawn in 2016.”

Who to believe?

Richard Page
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 31, 2021 12:29 am

Considering that the UK had about 230,000 solar installations built by 2011, then about 980,000 by the end of 2019, 270 is a piddling amount. I would easily contend that both statements were factually correct and not mutually exclusive. If the building rate had stayed the same, I would have expected about 80-90,000 installations waiting to be built, not a tiny fraction of that – from that number down to 270 is a collapse, frankly.

Reply to  Richard Page
May 31, 2021 12:46 am

Are you counting solar cells or farms?
But anyway, what is the point of the post. It features a Mail story headlined
Across Britain, solar farms are on the march.”
Then it says that installations have virtually dried up. Which is it?

Richard Page
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 31, 2021 12:59 am

I’ll repeat it again, using different words in the hope that those who are hard of thinking will get it. There has been a near collapse of the solar energy sector – ONLY 270 solar installations are due to be built – a huge decrease from previous years. However, as you can plainly see in the article those tiny few that are to be built have generated a lot of backlash and recrimination, hence the Daily Fail’s headline is a blatant appeal to emotion from it’s target demographic. Do I need to explain it in any more detail, do I really need to explain who their readers are?

Reply to  Richard Page
May 31, 2021 1:21 am

I’m quite prepared to doubt the Daily Mail. But the question remains, what is the point of this article, with its clashing messages? Or more particularly, of the GWPF promoting the Mail article.

Ron Long
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 31, 2021 3:07 am

Nick, focus more on the use of words. One report is including “…waiting planning permission.” and the other is using “solar DEPLOYMENT has virtually dried up…”. You should consider arguing with yourself if you find that entertaining.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 31, 2021 3:37 am

what is the point of this article, with its clashing messages? Or more particularly, of the GWPF promoting the Mail article.

Bless. You really are in a class of your own when it comes to naïveté…

All tabloids have stories, which are written by trade bodies, lobbying groups, PR agencies and very very occasionally, a journalist.

All tabloids need clickbait headlines which are written (*or so it appears) by a random group of woke green monkeys probably unpaid, doing ‘job experience’.

They skim the supplied article, and generate a headline that will attract readers to the advertising material contained within, or associated with, it.

It is rare for the headline to be either correctly spelled, in English, or bear any relation to the supplied article.

Just occasionally, the article does contain a fact – sometimes even two. In this case the rather dull fact – to a tabloid readership – is that no one is building solar farms.

To a green woke monkey, this needs spinning, and 270 sounds like a Big Number to an ArtStudent™.
Hence ‘onward march of solar ‘ (comes to a halt?)

It’s brilliant, the stupid who only read headlines, who overwhelmingly comprise the green/woke side of the game get the message they want to hear, whilst those in search of real facts read the arcticle and realise the truth is the exact opposite!

Everybody gets drawn in and reads the adverts and the Daily Fail gets paid!

The tabloid press is about spinning facts – or even just fact free spinning – into emotional narratives that will get their readership to click on an article that has paid-for content in it, or associated with it.

I thought everybody knew this. It seems I was wrong

Reply to  Leo Smith
May 31, 2021 7:41 am

I agree with all those things about the Mail. So why is it promoted here? Why is it the lead? What is the author trying to do?

paul courtney
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 31, 2021 7:22 am

Mr. Stokes: “What is the point of the GWPF promoting the Mail article?” Figuring I could help you, I scoured the article, dug deep, and found this- SOLAR FARMS: A TOXIC BLOT ON THE LANDSCAPE.
Does that help you? Your notion that there was contradiction of some sort is likely where you got off track. If you thought “missing the point” is a feature for you, that might explain it.

Stephen Rasey
Reply to  Richard Page
May 31, 2021 10:19 am

Counting “solar farms” is a pretty dumb measure in any case. Why count one 1-acre farm the same as one 1000 acre farm?

Better measures are:
How much ACREAGE?
How many MWHr/yr?

Richard Page
Reply to  Stephen Rasey
May 31, 2021 1:18 pm

All of the solar panels are counted as being ‘installations’ – whether they are 4 panels on a house roof or an extensive farm on a 100 acre plot. The installations are rated on the ideal output (ideal conditions and temperatures) but it isn’t always easy to find out what they are. Ideally, yes – you’d divide them up into groups of similar ideal output but for the purposes of this article it isn’t really necessary. All we’re really discussing here are the last few remnants of a collapsed UK industry with no government support and the groundswell of opposition to these toxic monstrosities.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 31, 2021 9:59 am


I’m not sure where you are in the world, but The Mail, The Mail on Sunday, and The Guardian tend to play fast and loose with the facts.

The left holds the Mail and the Mail on Sunday in the same contempt that the right holds The Guardian.

Reply to  Redge
May 31, 2021 5:00 pm

I have no faith in the veracity of the Mail. That is why I don’t know what we are supposed to take away from this article. It quotes some extravagant criticism of solar, along with the lede
Across Britain, solar farms are on the march.”

But Paul tells that
“solar deployment has virtually dried up since ROC subsidies were withdrawn in 2016”

Are we supposed to believe one part of the Mail’s story but not the other? Because the Mail said so?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 31, 2021 3:19 am

The two statetements are not contradictory:
The renewable energy site puffs any and every potential site being considered.
The reality is that most either don’t get planning or are abandoned due to lack of a sound business model. Or in words you can understand ‘profit’.

Despite lobbying for more subsidies, the government seems to be standing firm, and those “270 solar farms under construction or waiting for planning permission around the country.” will simply never get built.

George Tetley
May 30, 2021 11:52 pm

When people wanted to travel faster we invented the automobile , with out subsidiaries

Richard Page
Reply to  George Tetley
May 31, 2021 1:12 am

There were several subsidiaries. No subsidies though.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  George Tetley
May 31, 2021 4:10 am

The public pays for the improved roads needed by autos- so that’s a subsidy of sorts. Same with airlines and airports.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 31, 2021 8:12 am

And pays the gasoline taxes to pay for roads, but that gets sent by politicians to other uses. Where does one end the winding spiral of where money goes?

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 31, 2021 9:06 am

The “public” also “paid for many of the “improved” roads’ that horses pulled wagons used. The “public” also uses the roads to get about. The “public”, even those who don’t travel much, eat the food and purchase the products transported over the roads and brought to their communities.

You seem to think that roads are for “autos” that are only used for recreation. BUT, ICE autos used for recreation DO subsidize every EV driving on the roads that the EVs pay nothing to build or maintain because they pay no gas or diesel taxes.

So please clarify what the point of your comment was. Are you with Barack: “you didn’t build that”?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Drake
May 31, 2021 9:10 am

I have no problem with the public paying for roads- of course not- just making the point that every industry is aided by the public in one way or another- either directly with subsidies or by the development of infrastructure which we all use. I make this point for anyone who disses woody biomass because some of that industry gets some token subsidies- very token compared to what many other industries get.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 31, 2021 1:54 pm

Burning wood produces >40% more CO2 per kWh than burning coal. But it’s “green”, stupid green, but “green. Tell me again why it should get a penny of tax money.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  DrEd
June 1, 2021 3:13 am

Not true if you take the landscape perspective but I give up trying to explain it to those who won’t listen.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 31, 2021 10:06 am

Most of the public is happy to help subsidize things that they use regularly, like the public road system and airports for traveling around our beautiful, green planet! They are less willing to help pay for expensive and unreliable energy systems that tend to crap out during extreme weather events like heat waves and cold snaps! Especially ones that are a blight on the landscape by destroying scenic vistas, while killing millions of bugs, bats and birds every year!
Just as the politicized general in Vietnam said: “We had to destroy the village to save it,” the idiots and morons of the “Green” cult have no qualms about destroying wide swaths of the Earth as long as they can rid it of capitalism and fossil fuels. They are too stupid or ideological to realize that without those two benefactors, life is squalid and poor; if not actual slavery!

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Abolition Man
May 31, 2021 12:58 pm

Like I’ve said- good forestry which may include production of chips for fuel enhances the landscape. I agree with your dislike of wind and solar. A huge solar “farm” was built next to my house and I hate. Fought them in court and pushed them back and they paid for some landscape work to hide it.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 31, 2021 7:53 pm

I agree with you on biomass generation. My newest smoker uses pellets; yesterdays pork had some extra apple smoke, Friday’s beef brisket will get a little extra cherrywood! But is it really cost effective to send wood chips on an ocean voyage when you’re sitting on a lot of perfectly goood coal?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Abolition Man
June 1, 2021 3:15 am

right- but apparently the British government isn’t permitting coal- maybe it’s time to reopen that discussion

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 31, 2021 11:02 am

Many roads were privately built.

Vincent Causey
May 31, 2021 12:07 am

Things arent’ very clear. In one part he said there are no direct subsidies, but in another solar farms can earn £2000 per acre. How come?

Richard Page
Reply to  Vincent Causey
May 31, 2021 12:46 am

Some subsidies are still on going, despite having been stopped for new applications. Feed-in subsidies, for example, stopped in 2019 but are still available for companies that registered before that date – I’m betting that all of the installations waiting to be built were planned and registered before the cut off date. Additionally, canny farmers may also be able to earn fallow field subsidies and benefits whilst at the same time renting the space out to solar companies. As with any renewable energy scheme, it’s all a con job.

Reply to  Vincent Causey
May 31, 2021 3:00 am

By selling the electricity at the going rate

Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 10:48 am

you mean the government mandated rate. “going” implies market forces at play.

Richard Page
Reply to  WR2
May 31, 2021 1:30 pm

Not UK solar – not any more. They’ve been trying to sell their electricity to anyone that will buy without a huge amount of success – currently the market rate is around half what it should be and dropping. After the UK dropped solar into the bin, no-one wants it – it’s toxic, unreliable and never generates more than the barest trickle of electricity.

Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 11:04 am

Selling electricity to the utilities at the government set rate, while the utilities are simultaneously paying people to take their excess electricity.

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 1:25 pm

Unfortunately not Griff – the landowner/farmer never sees any of that money. What we are looking at is the built-in perks of playing the system for every penny you can screw out of it. The renewables scam lends itself extremely well to such gameplaying and cons – if you remember the Northern Irish wood burning heating scandal that nearly brought down the Stormont government?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Vincent Causey
May 31, 2021 9:11 am

I don’t know about “little England” but in New England, that’s about the amount of money that the developers of solar “farms” pay to lease the land.

May 31, 2021 12:34 am

is there something in the water in GB, if they had left the land green instead of putting in the solar panels how big a coal generator plant could they use

Chris Hanley
May 31, 2021 12:44 am

This is other small step towards UK becoming a world leader in green energy.
It’s Boris’s bold plan and there’s a long way to go — a very long way.
comment image

Richard Page
Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 31, 2021 1:18 am

No it isn’t. Check out the latest UK government documents on their green agenda – solar has been dropped off it completely; not a mention – BoJo’s plans mention a lot of silly pie-in-the-sky ideas, but solar is no longer one of them.

Reply to  Richard Page
May 31, 2021 3:39 am

Really? so its more bloomin whirligigs in the norh sea is it?

Richard Page
Reply to  Leo Smith
May 31, 2021 1:33 pm

Yup – BoJo appears to be going heavily into oversized fidget spinners and non-existent carbon capture technology.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 31, 2021 2:39 am

Funny, how they hide hydro amongst wind and solar when hydro is the only, actual “green” source, wind and solar being very bad for the environment.

Reply to  2hotel9
May 31, 2021 4:02 am

And wasteful for the grid.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  2hotel9
May 31, 2021 4:17 am

Woody biomass is a green renewable, dependable and base load- and when done right it helps improve forests- which produce more value for the owners- so they are more likely to retain the forest as a forest and not something hideous like a solar “farm”. Though some comes from clearcuts, mostly in the American southeast, woody biomass in the American north mostly comes from excellent forestry as you can see in the following Facebook photo album of a forester colleague here in Massachusetts: As for those clearcuts in the American southeast- they’d clearcut even without a market for biomass to export to Drax- instead, they’d just pile up the woody debris and burn it in the open resulting in far more air pollution and the same amount of carbon emissions.

Sebastian Magee
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 31, 2021 5:57 am

Is it still renewable if the biomass is shipped from America in fuel-oil burning ships? It is only considered carbon neutral because it doesn´t increase the carbon budget in the biosphere, that is no the case if you have to import the fuel from half-way across the planet.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Sebastian Magee
May 31, 2021 7:14 am

It depends on what you mean by “renewable”. I think it means it can be renewed- that is, you can producing it. It’s got nothing to do with moving it around. And, the issue of carbon neutrality with wood is totally messed up by people who hate the cutting of trees. It’s not like coal- which adds NEW carbon to the carbon cycle. Burning wood doesn’t do that. And, instead of tracking carbon at the chimney- track it from the forests. If all the biomass comes from managed forests – and the managed forests are not decreasing in carbon- then the forest isn’t a carbon source- regardless of the fact that burning wood releases carbon- since the forest is simultaneously capturing more carbon. The “forestry haters” say- look at the stump- the site of the stump lost carbon- so how long will it take for the site of the stump (more or less) to regain that carbon. They call this a “carbon debt”. But that’s myopic- it makes more sense to look at the entire forest- that is, the landscape perspective. Then the “forestry haters” will say- “but if you don’t cut the trees- the forest will gain carbon even faster”. True, maybe- but- the forest doesn’t belong to them- the owner has a right to manage it profitably. If those forestry haters or anyone else pushing the climate catastrophe story want forests to do nothing but collect carbon- then that’s a “taking” from the owner and society will have to pay the owner substantially. But even if it does that- then it means we can’t produce wood products for homes, furniture, paper and energy- and we’d have to replace those wood products with what? Cement? Metals? Plastic? Or just tell future generations to go live in a straw house? If the owner can’t make a decent profit- many will and do sell the land to developers.

Besides- most here on WUWT don’t worry about what the alarmists call “carbon pollution”.

As for the idea that the forests should do nothing but sequester carbon- that’s a new movement called Proforestation- pushed by a retired professor from Tufts U. named Bill Moomaw, also here in Massachusetts. I’ve tried discussing these issues with him but he won’t communicate- other than write about his fantasy in propaganda journals and give speeches- some on YouTube.

As for shipping -what- 3,000 miles to Drax, so what? It’s in huge ships so the carbon emissions associated with each ton of wood chips must be rather small. If the shippers will ship wood chips at a price that makes sense for Drax- then it makes sense. The fact that Drax gets subsidies- virtually every industry gets subsidies in one way or another.

then we have the fact that producing wood chips really results in improved forestry- I managed forests for 36 years without a chip market- I forced loggers to kill or cut down and leave them on site, the trees they don’t want to harvest so they can rot on site and yes, emit CO2 and methane – the loggers don’t like doing this- and the cost to do so comes off the price they pay the owner for the timber— then I moved to a different part of MA where there is a chip market- the owner gets little or nothing for the chips- other than better forestry work- because now I have a way to weed the forest. If you’re growing a garden and have no way to weed it- you wouldn’t be happy about it.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 31, 2021 9:56 am

 instead, they’d just pile up the woody debris and burn it in the open resulting in far more air pollution”

Utterly false.

Even without Drax, there is a massive chipped wood marketplace that uses chipped wood for everything from mulch to paper product to plywood/fiberboard products.
Burning wood waste becomes a stupid business choice when there are so many markets for wood wastes.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  ATheoK
May 31, 2021 10:00 am

“Burning wood waste becomes a stupid business choice when there are so many markets for wood wastes.” But it happens- so there must be an economic reason to do so- they need to get rid of the debris so they can plant again. Some have these markets but some don’t. One of the markets is to chip the wood and send it to Drax. Why is it stupid to burn wood? Don’t you think these industries have smart people who’ll do whatever makes the most economic sense? As for paper- the paper industry is slowly moving out of North America. Of course they don’t burn all this material but they do burn some. Perhaps you also don’t like the burning of fossil fuels?

Reply to  ATheoK
June 1, 2021 6:01 am

As much as I personally hate OSB(obviously sh*t board) building products made from wood chips/saw dust is a gigantic market. And then there is the landscaping applications of same. Paper and fiberboard are also huge. Burning it for a tiny amount of electricity is stupid.

Richard Page
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 31, 2021 1:36 pm

I would agree with you, in principle, except that it isn’t really being done right in the UK. We have token plants that are more of a subsidy mine than anything else.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 31, 2021 2:02 pm

Nonsense. The EU market for wood pellets has cause massive clearcutting in the US southeast and the building of pelletizing factories close to ports that can export the wood to Drax. Green and renewable? In a pig’s eye. It would take 30+ years to replace that wood. And as I pointed out above, burning wood generates much more CO2 over kWh than burning coal. So why are you stupid alarmists supporting biomass burning?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  DrEd
June 1, 2021 3:19 am

Sheesh- PAY ATTENTION – the clearcutting shall occur regardless of whether or not there is a pellet market- can you get that? It’s been the common form of forest mgt. in the south for generations- it’s called “even age silviculture”- and again, if you think bigger- you know, use more neurons, and view carbon from a landscape perspective- you’ll see that the forest is not a carbon source- only about 3% of all the wood cut in the southeast goes to pellet production- while that is burned, the forests keep growing- unlike fossil fuels which actually ADD carbon to the carbon cycle- besides, few people who read this blog worry about carbon emissions- so the fact that you do, maybe you need to read more of the blog and learn something.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 1, 2021 5:55 am

Bio-mass looks good on paper, just like socialism and communism and marxism. And just like them in the real world it is a non-starter. If it was viable California would long ago have cut down all that brush that burns each year and used it to make electricity.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  2hotel9
June 1, 2021 6:01 am

What the *&^% does biomass have to do with communism? Are you also against ordinary forest mgt. which produces wood so you can live in a wood home with wood furniture? Biomass from the forest is just a byproduct of good forest mg. It’s not about saving the world from climate disaster. Virtually all forestry people LOVE fossil fuels because we can’t do our work without those fuels. We do not destroy landscapes like wind and solar energy. Woody biomass as a power source provides base load power. If you don’t like it- that’s your right but I don’t care if you like it or not. Stopping woody biomass as an energy source is not helpful to the long term mgt. of forests. What your tiny mind doesn’t grasp is that removing wood from well managed forests is nothing like harvesting brush in CA. You have no clue what you’re talking about- only what you read in propaganda by crazy enviros who’d love to install a solar or wind “farm” across from your home.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 1, 2021 6:22 am

Reading is fundamental, comprehension is, also. “And just like them in the real world it is a non-starter.” “And just like them in the real world it is a non-starter.” “And just like them in the real world it is a non-starter.”. Get it? If not I really can’t help you.

“Biomass from the forest is just a byproduct of good forest mg.” And it is used in a plethora of products which are far more important than the tiny amount of electricity it is making. Want more electricity? Use more gas, coal, hydro and nuclear. Wood chips have far more important uses.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  2hotel9
June 1, 2021 6:37 am

People in the wood business know a lot more about the potential uses and markets than you do.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 2, 2021 7:51 pm

Good thing they are in charge and not you, then.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  2hotel9
June 3, 2021 3:16 am

What I do is mark trees to be cut- and sell them to the highest bidder. I don’t give a *&^% what they do with the wood. Here in New England- in areas where there is a biomass market- much of the wood goes there- otherwise, the logger would have to drop all those trees and let them rot on the ground- making a mess and a fire hazard. I previously worked in an are without a biomass market. It’s much better with that market. The harvest is “mechanized” with large machines (feller-bunchers and forwarders)- which work at least 10 times faster than a guy with a chainsaw and a log skidder- and the work looks better and is better. You said “Wood chips have far more important uses.” Good thing they’re in charge and not you!

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 3, 2021 7:14 am

Right here in western PA I know 10 people who do exactly that, and guess what? That timber goes for lumber and poles and posts, what is left is often sent to be ground up. And a lot of it just lays there and rots, or is piled for small game habitat. All the bark from those trees gets ground up. And it gets used for products people purchase. And yea, they use a whole list of equipment of all descriptions, even know people who use mules and oxen to do low impact timbering. None of this changes the facts, they are that burning ground up wood and brush is a niche issue. It ain’t going to replace coal, or gas, or hydro, or nuclear. Hell, it can’t even replace solar panels and windmills, crappy and unreliable as they are. You can “feel” as passionate as you want, it will never replace real electric generation technologies. Supplement on a very minor scale? If you want to put your money into it. I will keep putting mine towards gas, coal, oil, hydro and nuclear, please “feel” free to spend your’s as you please.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  2hotel9
June 3, 2021 7:38 am

Of course woody biomass isn’t going to replace nuclear or fossil fuels. Do you know anyone who is claiming that? We don’t do it to solve the climate problem and replace other forms of energy- it’s to get rid of the wood to improve the forest. As for what happens in PA, I don’t care because forestry is very local. What happens in one area is very different than any other area. You are now talking out of the wrong hole. Here in New England, on many woodlots, half or more of all the wood has NO MARKET other than for biomass. THAT’S A FACT Mr. 2Hotel2. Gee, couldn’t you come up with a better handle than that? Enough already- I can’t waste any more time with you.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 3, 2021 3:12 pm

“Woody biomass is a green renewable, dependable and base load” Either what you are saying here is true, or it ain’t. Either it can produce base load to a grid or it don’t. You have your shorts in a twist because I don’t leap up and proclaim burning woody biomass as the greatest advance in all human history. Please feel free to go knock on doors and sell your idea, don’t get snotty when people aren’t interested in listening to it, much less buy.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  2hotel9
June 3, 2021 4:54 pm

I don’t give a dam what you think. I live in the real world of forestry here in New England where there are woody biomass facilities and could be much more if it wasn’t for climatistas arguing against it, whining that it’ll destroy the forests, the biodiversity, the indigenous peoples’ sites, blah, blah, blah. We could have had 2 new biomass facilities here in Mass. Each were to cost $250,000,000 and each would have burned 600,000 tons of “junk wood” each year- resulting in a boom in forestry, benefiting the forests and forest owners. But, not- those greenies wouldn’t allow for it. But there are several biomass facilities in Vermont and New Hampshire and Maine- but this industry could grow 1,000% if allowed. There is plenty of wood for it. That’s a fact. If you don’t like it- too bad- but it’s reality. And those biomass facilities are indeed base load power- just like Drax. I don’t anyone who claims it’s the greatest advance in all human history- but when people say really stupid things about- all false, then I have to enlighten them- but you’re obviously hopeless so I give up. You can have the last word- go for it if it makes you feel manly.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 4, 2021 3:13 am

The last word? Really? Your self aggrandizing victimhood is enlightening all by itself. Burning bio-mass for power is a tiny niche industry and that is all it will ever be. What you so merrily burn in Taxxachusetts is turned into products people buy elsewhere, and what is not used is left to feed what grows after cutting. I understand that offends you, gets your feelings all butthurt and whatnot. Oh, well. The rest of the world will continue to use bio-mass as we see fit, or let it rot, as we choose. That makes you angry and that is quite funny.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 3, 2021 2:13 pm

There is a reason the “woody biomass” was dropped as a significant fuel in the U.S. There isn’t enough of it. New England at the beginning of the 1900’s was practically denuded of trees. All the growth on the Eastern Seaboard of the US is secondary and tertiary, with a very few small pockets here and there. You can’t pump out 4.1 trillion kW-hrs per year burning wood.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
June 3, 2021 4:42 pm

There is a great deal of woody biomass. Who the hell is claiming it’s going to be a huge source of energy? I’m not. Nobody is. It’s just that whatever the potential is- should be used. We’re not saying it’s going to solve anything other than help forestry. It’s not claiming as solar and wind industries- that it’ll save the Earth. It’s just ONE other source of energy. The more sources the better. Look at the eastern Seaboard on google Earth- there are tens of millions of acres of forest most of which is not managed at all. THAT’S A FACT. Again, nobody is saying it’s a SIGNIFICANT fuel- but it has some potential- which would be beneficial to the forests and the forest owners. If their forest is profitable, it may remain as forest- not developed or turned into a solar “farm”.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Chris Hanley
May 31, 2021 5:09 am

Obviously I should have added one of these 🤣.

Hans Erren
May 31, 2021 12:54 am

Snow also doesn’t help in winter

Reply to  Hans Erren
May 31, 2021 3:01 am

It has little effect: look it up – also it cools the panels with a gain in efficiency

Rod Evans
Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 7:34 am

Now that is funny Griff, I don’t care what anyone says, that is funny. Snow on your panels improves efficiency…..LoL.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Rod Evans
May 31, 2021 8:38 am

Rod, I think what Griff is referring to is a situation where there is snow on the ground but none on the panels. In such a, probably often rare, situation the albedo effect of sunlight on the snow can increase power output.

However, if the panels themselves are completely covered in snow then of course they do not produce any output and if partially covered output is affected. What snow can also do is clean the panel surface when it melts and this may also improve to an extent subsequent power production for a while.

So Griff is partially right on this one though, of course, he fails to consider all the facts.

Reply to  Dave Andrews
May 31, 2021 10:36 am

So how come when snow on my sunroof melts, it leaves a blotchy residue?

(and I don’t live in a city)

Reply to  Dave Andrews
May 31, 2021 11:10 am

I don’t know of any solar panels that are designed to absorb light through the back of the panel.
As to snow cleaning the panels, utter nonsense.

Last edited 2 years ago by MarkW
Carlo, Monte
Reply to  MarkW
May 31, 2021 11:54 am

So-called “bifacial” silicon modules are offered by a number of manufacturers, they have a second sheet of glass for the rear instead of Tedlar (so they weigh twice as much), and the cells have grids on both sides. Most of them suffer from having the junction box attached to the rear which shades 1-2 cells.

Reply to  Carlo, Monte
June 1, 2021 2:09 am

I wonder if the extra electricity you get covers the extra cost of these panels. I would imagine that you would get less than 25% reflected sunlight from the partially shaded grass covered ground…is it worth the cost?
Not quite sure just what % the junction box shades. 1-2 cells out of how many?

Reply to  Dave Andrews
June 3, 2021 7:16 am

Snow melting off also leaves residue from airborne particles on panel surfaces. They still need cleaned rather frequently.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Dave Andrews
June 3, 2021 7:42 am

With heavy snow- it can remain for several days. A 20 acre solar “farm” was built next to my ‘hood in ’12 and I’ve been studying it ever since and I made a rank amateur video of its construction- near the end, I show it after a snow storm.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 8:17 am

Fresh snow reflects probably 80-85% of sunlight. How does it have little effect?

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 8:32 am

Do you even try to think before typing?

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 10:49 am

I’m starting to believe you’re a brilliant parody in the same field of excellence as Titania McGrath

Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 11:07 am

So, in whatever world griff inhabits, snow doesn’t block sunlight.
BTW, just how much colder is snow, compared to the air it falls through?

Last edited 2 years ago by MarkW
Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 6:07 pm

Why don’t YOU look it up and post it, but you are a lazy person who usually make a shallow drive by comment and vanish.

I remain unmoved by your empty comment.

Reply to  Sunsettommy
June 1, 2021 7:10 am

Man I love Griff! He provides so much fodder for the comments. It’s fun to read everyone blast his thoughts. There are others I enjoy too but Griff is the best.

May 31, 2021 2:02 am

And every politician in every party in parliament is signed up to the insanity

What to do?

Reply to  fretslider
May 31, 2021 3:39 am

Elect politicians from parties that are not in parliament.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  fretslider
May 31, 2021 4:18 am

Propose building a solar “farm” next to THEIR home.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
June 3, 2021 7:48 am

When such a “farm” was built next to my house and I complained about it- many said, “oh, dontcha know that we need green energy?”. I then asked for their address, saying, “the solar company is looking for more sights so I want to give them your address”. I never got a single address from anyone.

May 31, 2021 2:43 am

So again they lie, all along they claimed only non-arable land would be used for solar and wind. Now it comes out they have been targeting arable land all along. Lying scumbags who lie, it is all they have ever been.

Reply to  2hotel9
May 31, 2021 1:27 pm

It’s crazy how man people lie to make their point.

Reply to  Simon
May 31, 2021 8:54 pm

Hello pot?

Reply to  Derg
June 1, 2021 12:21 am

When exactly did I lie?

Reply to  Simon
June 1, 2021 5:50 am

It is crazy, you lie constantly and make no point. Other than the point you are a liar, that is. Tell us some more lies, simple minded, we love laughing at you.

Reply to  2hotel9
June 1, 2021 12:51 pm

Haha. How did that drive go in the F-150 Lightning Mr Honesty?

Reply to  Simon
June 2, 2021 7:47 pm

When you lose you just keep losing, over and over. Just can’t stop the losing, guess because it is all you know how to do. Oh, that and lying. Good thing they both go so well together.

May 31, 2021 2:59 am

Really? Have you gone out and looked at them?

That’s an aerial view in that picture and if you were on the ground anywhere near it you just wouldn’t see that solar farm… they are nearly always screened by hedging. (and no, it doesn’t shade them out – nor for that matter do solar panels prevent grass growing underneath – they are frequently grazed under)

Even round here where I can look out over the plain from the edge of the hills, the solar farms just blend into the distance… on a clear day you might think there was a lake or water over there, but that’s it.

Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 8:39 am

frequently “grazed under”?…..have yet to see that except for a photo op with some goats used for weed control after neighbors complained….Herbicide was quickly substituted when gnawing damage became apparent.

Reply to  DMacKenzie,
May 31, 2021 11:16 am

They’d have to be pretty short goats as well.

Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 10:02 am

they are nearly always screened by hedging”

More falsehoods from giffiepoo.

Hedges take years to grow high enough to block even low solar arrays.

Nor do “hedges” change the fact that high quality arable land is converted to wastelands by the solar arrays with almost zero benefit.

Reply to  ATheoK
May 31, 2021 3:20 pm

In this case I will grant griff one minor positive that they will generally not be seen. Where the solar farms that can be seen from Google earth around Pyworthy when I went to street view (most were not built last time camera went by them) not only was the land flat but the hedges were quite tall and unless you were in a high vehicle you’d not see the panels.

But griff thinks that dotting the country around Devon and elsewhere with all these solar “farms” to perhaps up the production of power in Britain from 2% to perhaps 4% by solar is worthwhile. I do not. Britain does not have the appropriate climate as has been pointed out here and many others places on WUWT.

Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 10:41 am

Griff, are those miniature unicorns that live in your world used to do the grazing under the solar panels?

(and do they have methane emissions issues?)

Abolition Man
Reply to  Mr.
May 31, 2021 1:13 pm

In the griffter’s world, he and the other children can go out and do anything thing they imagine is the right thing to do; and then the adults come along whilst the kiddies are napping and fix everything! You know, plant the border hedges, install the battery backup systems that haven’t been invented yet, much less produced! They even save all the little bats and birds that have been chomped up by the whirligigs by magically restoring them to life!
The griffter lives in a magical, kiddie paradise with all his co-religionists; with unicorns and pixie dust, the Easter bunny and Santa Claus. Only the EVIL Christian parts have been removed for his mental health and well being! I remember believing in stuff like that; when I was six or seven years old! Maybe it would be better if I could go back to thinking that way.
Hey griffter! Are those guys you know still performing the voluntary lobotomies you gushed about?

Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 11:15 am

I’m guessing that griff believes grass is as heavy in forests as it is in meadows.

Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 11:30 am

I have sheep grazing right next to me right now.
That’s because it’s spring and the grass grows like crazy and we prefer meat to noisy lawnmowers and making hay with a tractor!!

Sure as anything if we stuck solar panels on that grassy space, the grass wouldn’t grow because it needs rain, sunlight and lots of cables in and out of there.
Quite apart from that, the extra insects keeps the swallows fed, and the air temperatures lower (rather than some great big pieces of hot dark coloured plastic).

Do I need to say more?

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
May 31, 2021 1:47 pm

Griff- you are really, really worrying me now – did you get checked out for mental health issues? In one single post you state that hedges are high enough to block the view of solar panels yet these panels are also high enough off the ground for animals to graze under. I live in a farming community and no farmer will grow hedges that tall – the tractor and hedge cutter cannot go that high. So you deliver 2 statements that clearly contradict each other and you think you’re ok? This is a clear example of cognitive dissonance Griff and an extremely clear indication that you need urgent help for your mental health issues. Go first thing tomorrow.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  griff
June 3, 2021 7:55 am

Do you want one next to your home? And, grass doesn’t grow well under solar panels. I’ve been watching the solar “farm” right next to my home. It’s mostly just a few weeds under the panels after almost a decade. If it was growing under the panels, it would have to be cut and that would be expensive. The ground had been an exploited gravel pit. Since they couldn’t use herbicides- they didn’t bother to restore the ground with some minimal amount of topsoil- left it pure sand- 20 acres of it. So now it’s 20 acres of metal and glass on pure sand. Not exactly green energy. The site should have been restored. The owner of the land actually had left mountains of topsoil he could have spread out before installing the panels- but no, he took all of it off the site.

May 31, 2021 3:13 am

It is also clear that new solar development is not economically viable, other than in a few niche cases. Which raises the question of whether subsidy schemes will have to be reintroduced.

What seems to be happening in the whole climate change/renewable energy game – and it is now little more than a game – no one really believes in it apart from a few misguided students – is that it’s full on virtue signalling overtly, whilst covertly people who can Do Sums are trying to come up with solutions that are moderately economically viable.

Making stuff uneconomic – as the greens managed to do with nuclear by strangling it with red tape – is one way to make encouraging noises about renewables whilst ensuring none get built.

The same may well happen to wind power.

Meanwhile behind the scenes many encouraging noises about nuclear power are beginning to be heard, and development of the next stage of reactors – small modular reactors that can be churned out, fully compliant, in volume and at low cost from ‘approved’ manufacturing plant, is ongoing in at least three international consortia.

Governments should know by now, even if they won’t say it, that not only is renewable energy an expensive mistake, that, when it has to be coupled to fossil fuel for reliability, loses all its carbon gains so doing, but that also the great climate scam is just that – a scam.

However there are good reasons for lowering reliance on fossil fuels – in many countries it’s already exhausted (much of Europe) or never existed (Japan)…and importing it can be expensive and leave a nation vulnerable to trade pressures.

A nuclear fleet whose fuel for decades can be easily stockpiled is a strategically interesting resource.

And paying lip service to woke/green is poltically adept, avoiding an argument that would be embarssing to all, whilst at the same time ‘regretting the failure’ of renewables to come up to the mark.

As I wrote before, I think Western governments are now caught in a lie – how to not look utter incompetents or totally corrupt for having supported ‘renewable energy’ whilst actually having realised that not only does it not fix CO2 emissions, but also that they didn’t need fixing anyway…and one way out of that lie is to reintroduce the idea of nuclear power, stressing how safe and how green it is and how oh so totally ‘net zero’

A new report aiming to reassure policy makers and the public is just out: It makes interesting reading.

It has been my increasing conviction that the most ill equipped species to make any decisions are in fact the political class. Churchill is alleged to have said of his American allies “The Americans can always be relied upon to do the right thing – after they have exhausted every other possible alternative”.

I think that is unfair – it applies to all political classes – and the virtue of a democracy is that the ruling class cannot get totally out of alignment with the people. Management by bumbling about until the correct course of action is a no-brainer is how mankind works. And it is far easier to convince people of the wrong solution, using all the powers of marketing that money can buy, than it is for lone geniuses to explain the truth, and be believed.

“When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him”.

Jonathan Swift.

We will therefore probably bumble along making all the right noises renewable..sadly costly, more damage than climate change itself…. climate change serious..need nuclear? …until the situation beconmes so blindingly obvious that the people will vote in a politician who will show his ‘leadership’ by doing what the ballot box tells him.

Trump allowed some good decisions to be made, irrespective of what sort of person he was.

Perhaps our job is to find for the US a more acceptable replacement.

Reply to  Leo Smith
May 31, 2021 4:08 am

Leo I think many in the US enjoy being lied to. Trump was just to honest for them. He will eventually be right about Covid escaping a lab and WHO covering up for China.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Leo Smith
May 31, 2021 1:24 pm

With the watchdog media being turned into a vicious, yapping lapdog by the DemoKKKrats; there is no longer anything to prevent the sociopathic and the corrupt from rising high and accumulating at the top of our political system! Back when there were journalists on both ends of the political spectrum, any major malfeasance or corruption would be exposed.
Now there are only left wing propagandists and urinalists who spend more time burying and distorting the truth than they do reporting it! Until we have total transparency and accountability in politics, our leaders will literally be able to get away with MURDER, like Fauxi, Cuomo, Whitmer and others just did with the ChiCom virus bungling!

May 31, 2021 3:32 am

There must be a huge number of these farms because they are generating 7GW as I type. In 6 months of course that figure will be close to zero.

Richard Page
Reply to  Rusty
May 31, 2021 1:55 pm

The ideal output rating and the actual energy coming out of them is completely different. I would suggest that your 7GW figure is wildly overoptimistic to the point of being from another planet entirely. As to them being gone in 6 months, well we can only hope but I fear it may be longer as they won’t be obsolete yet. As soon as it becomes more profitable for them to be sold for recycled scrap than to keep them in place, they’ll go like a shot.

Reply to  Rusty
June 1, 2021 8:49 am

Did you mean six hours?

Bruce Cobb
May 31, 2021 4:00 am

Meanwhile, here in the US in the “Live Free or Die” state of New Hampshire, with a Republican governor no less, we have RGGI driving the Solar Scam as well as Big Wind, but the big blahbitty-blah nowadays is offshore wind. We have a scant 18 miles of shoreline, and they want to try to ruin that with ugly bird-chopping machines which do nothing but drive our already-high electric rates still higher. It is insult added to injury. When will the insanity end?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
May 31, 2021 4:25 am

But, NH has a vast forest- yet the state no longer welcomes woody biomass- which helps improve the forests- which makes it more economically productive- which helps the owner retain the land as forest rather than a new shopping center or God forbid, a *&^% solar “farm”. The people of NH have been cutting trees for centuries but still have plenty. It’s the ultimate renewable resource- providing jobs, producing wood for construction, furniture, paper and energy.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 31, 2021 8:33 am

The problem with woody biomass used for electricity is that it is expensive to do it sustainably. It is preferable to so-called “green” energy, but that’s not saying much. Let’s be real here: biofuel is attempting to carpetbag off of the bogus “green energy” movement.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
May 31, 2021 9:08 am

In what way is it expensive? The southern industry that ships chips to Drax isn’t getting subsidies. it’s a huge industry- and the chip side of it is only a small part. In the north, the chip industry- most of it- does get some subsidies- but to say it’s expensive to do it sustainably? What do you mean by that? You have to have an understanding of long term forestry- what has been done right and what has been done wrong. Until recent decades, most forestry was ruthless exploitation with little concern for the future. But that’s now rare. Most forestry in the north of America is regulated by the states. You can’t just go in and rape and pillage the forest. Pretty much all forestry today is done sustainably whether or not there is a chip market. A lot of people still don’t like the look of a logging job- any logging job- but the ugliness of some logging is short term- the stumps, the slash, minor rutting. But some logging looks fantastic- the forests actually look better after the work is done- as in that Facebook photo album I mentioned earlier. As for biofuel attempting to carpetbag- well, I can’t comment about other kinds of biofuel- but forestry is just trying to develop markets and the chip side of it is only a small part. The wood that goes to chips- if there is no chip market- will still exist only it’ll be left in the woods as living, low value, unhealthy, undesired trees- or be killed and left to rot in the forests. To get a grip on woody biomass you need to see the full story and you won’t get it from anyone other than a forester or people who run the chip industries. Michael Moore had it all wrong. Woody biomass has nothing to do with wind and solar. It doesn’t waste the landscape like wind and solar- it enhances the landscape:

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 31, 2021 9:56 am

To clarify- the chip producers in the north and northeast USA don’t get subsidies- but the power plants that burn the chips for electricity do- or did. NH and Maine no longer want to provide those subsidies. Neither does MA which is the home of the most fanatic forestry haters and climate hysterics- which is why I now call it the caliphate of climate fanatics.

Peta of Newark
May 31, 2021 4:01 am

Quote:””Solar farms: A toxic blot on the landscape“”
Just like Pyrgeometers in fact.
The manufacturers of those frauds make great play and epic claims about the ‘Silicon Window‘ that blocks solar energy from getting in and upsetting their delicate little ‘black painted’ sensor

If carefully deposited thin films of silicon were in fact opaque to sunlight, solar cells and panels would not work.
The silicon in solar cells has to be transparent to solar so that the sunlight can get into the diode-junction/depletion-zone in the very middle of cells and thence kick electrons across it and make elcektrickery
Let me guess, they use ‘special’ silicon.
Or is it possibly: supermassive, unprecedented, gigga zigga squigga trillion (you know the rest) silicon?

If they REALLY wanted to block solar and admit IR into those crap-heaps, they would use a Germanium window or lens

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 31, 2021 6:28 am

Nonsense. Learn some solid-state physics.

John Pickens
May 31, 2021 4:20 am

Unless you can demonstrate a SINGLE photovoltaic panel production facility powered entirely by solar panels, you know that it is a scam. Unable to make as much energy as it takes to manufacture.

Why would you NOT use the power of your product to make more product?

Think about it.

John the Econ
May 31, 2021 6:12 am

In 20 years or so in the US, I see the Superfund scheme needed to be expanded to clean these sites up as their owners all go bankrupt sans subsidies.

Rod Evans
May 31, 2021 7:29 am

Hey! let’s look on the positive side here. With all the rain we get in the UK cleaning the solar arrays won’t add too much to the water demand in our otherwise desert based climate. Being around the 54 deg. North latitude means they won’t be too troubled by solar overload either. Then when you add in all those rainy days when electricity generation is next to zero and all those winter months when solar generation is next to zero and all those night time hrs when solar electricity generation is actually zero. With all that time when no generation is possible or expected, it does mean the staff will have plenty of time to clean the arrays for when the sun does show up and is high enough in the sky to produce something.
Imagine how much more difficult it would be to operate in a real desert location with all that dust and lack of water to contend with?

Charles Higley
May 31, 2021 7:32 am

For solar farms, any site above 40º latitude will never make enough energy to even pay for itself. London is around 53º, which makes all of the UK a complete joke. These also have a limited lifetime as their power dwindles with time, leaking toxins metals into the soil.

I addition this is the green jobs source. Someone has to clean the panels, literally dust them, check the wiring, and keep debris off them as much as possible, not to mention snow and rain and no energy on cloudy days. Germany has quite a few solar farms that have been sitting idle and become overgrown due to lack of care or interest.

Wind and solar are the two most unGreen energies on the planet and destroy the environment in permanent was far beyond any other sources of energy. I pity the UK.

willem post
May 31, 2021 7:40 am


Cost Shifting from Owners to Ratepayers and Taxpayers
The owning and operating cost of wind, solar and battery systems, c/kWh, is reduced by about 45%, due to subsidies.
However, because no cost ever disappears, per Economics 101, the subsidy costs are “socialized”, i.e., added, in one way or another, onto:
1) The rate bases of utilities, i.e., paid by ratepayers
2) Taxpayers, by means of extra taxes, fees and surcharges on electric bills and fuel bills
3) Government budgets
4) Government debt
5) Prices of goods and services other than electricity
If the subsidies had to be paid by owners of wind and solar systems, the contract prices paid to owners would need to be:

– At least 19.3 c/kWh, instead of 11 c/kWh, in case of large-scale solar
– At least 15.5 c/kWh, instead of 9 c/kWh, in case of ridge line wind. See table 1 and URL 

Shifting Grid Costs 
Many small-scale solar systems and/or a few large-scale solar systems on a distribution grid would excessively disturb the grid, especially at midday. Battery systems, with sufficient capacity could counteract the output variations of those solar systems.
Wind and solar systems could not be connected to the grid without the services of the CCGT plants, i.e., shutting down CCGT plants, and artificially diminishing/obstructing their domestically produced gas supply, advocated by pro RE folks, would not be an economic option for decades, if ever, because of the high costs of battery systems.

1) The cost of extension/augmentation of electric grids to connect widely distributed wind and solar systems (not paid by wind and solar system owners)
2) The cost of services rendered by other generators, mostly CCGT plants, which counteract the ups and downs of weather/season-dependent, variable, intermittent wind and solar outputs, 24/7/365 (not paid by wind and solar system owners).
3) The cost of battery systems to stabilize distribution grids, due to variations of the solar system outputs (not paid by wind and solar system owners). See Note
Shifting Owning and Operating Costs 
The combined effect of cost shifting, determined behind closed doors, increases a project’s annual cash flow, i.e., “left-over-money”, to provide an ample profit for the RE system owner.
RE system owners are happy, having the “ears” of friendly politicians, saving the world from climate change, and claiming: “See, my project is profitable and competitive”, while everyone else gets hosed.

1) Grants from various sources, such as the VT Clean Energy Development Fund
2) 26% federal investment tax credits, plus state FITs. Tax credits reduce, dollar-for-dollar, the taxes GMP pays on profits
3) 100% depreciation over 5 years; the normal for utilities is 20 to 25 years. Write-offs reduce GMP taxable income
4) Deductions of interest on borrowed money. Interest deductions reduce GMP taxable income. See URL
5) Various O&M payments that are waved, such as sales tax, fees, property tax, school tax, municipal tax, etc.
6) RE system owners who sell their production at two to four times NE wholesale market rates, which have averaged about 5 c/kWh starting in 2009, courtesy of:
– Low-cost, low-CO2, very-low-particulate, gas-fired CCGT plants
– Highly reliable, very-low-CO2, zero-particulate, nuclear plants
– Low-cost, very-low-CO2, zero-particulate, hydro electricity from Canada.
 All-in Cost of Wind and Solar
The all-in cost of wind and solar, c/kWh is:

1) Price paid to owners 
2) Subsidies paid to owners
3) Grid extension/augmentation (not paid by owners)
4) Grid support services (not paid by owners) 
5) Battery systems (not paid by owners)
Pro RE folks always point to the “price paid to owner” as the cost of wind and solar, purposely ignoring or belittling the other cost categories.
– The owners of legacy systems were paid much higher prices, than owners of newer systems. This was especially the case after the onset of competitive bidding, a few years ago.
– Vermont legacy “Standard Offer” solar systems had greater subsidies, up to 30 c/kWh paid to owner, than newer systems, about 11 c/kWh
– Wind prices paid to owner did not have such drastic reductions as solar prices.
– Vermont utilities are paid about 3.5 c/kWh for various costs they incur regarding net-metered solar systems
– “Added to the rate base” is the cost wind and solar are added to the utility rate base, which is used to set electric rates.
– “Traditional cost”, including subsidies to owner and grid support, is the cost at which traditional is added to the utility rate base
– “Grid support costs” would increase with increased use of battery systems to counteract the variability and intermittency of increased build-outs of wind and solar systems.
1) The prices should be compared with the NE wholesale grid price, which has averaged about 4.2 c/kWh, starting in 2009, due to low-cost CCGT and nuclear plants, which provided at least 65% of all electricity loaded onto the NE grid in 2019.
– Wind, solar, landfill gas, and methane power plants provided about 4.8%, after 20 years of subsidies
– Pre-existing refuse and wood power plants provided about 4.6%
– Pre-existing hydro power plants provided about 7.4%
– The rest was mostly hydro imports from the very-low-CO2 Canada grid, and from the much-higher-CO2 New York State grid

2) There are O&M costs of the NE grid, in addition to wholesale prices. 
ISO-NE pro-rates these costs to utilities, at about 1.6 c/kWh. Charges are for: 
Regional network services, RNS, are based on the peak demand occurring during a month
Forward capacity market, FCM, are based on the peak demand occurring during a year.

3) Each local utility has its own O&M grid costs, in addition to item 2, some of which are detailed on electric bills.
4) Vermont utilities buy electricity from various sources; average cost about 6 c/kWh, plus ISO-NE charges of about 1.6 c/kWh, for a total of 7.6 c/kWh. 

Abolition Man
Reply to  willem post
May 31, 2021 1:37 pm

One of the saddest things about the Unreliable Energy scam is that it has always been a welfare program for the wealthy, paid for by the middle and working classes! The politicians got their bribes, er, I mean donations, from the wealthy groups and individuals who were backing solar and wind power; they received the sales and subsidies that they negotiated with their politician cronies, and everybody else gets to pay through the nose for the enjoyment of making them richer! There was never any consideration of the expansion of the grid necessary, or the problems that an over reliance on Unreliables can bring; as we saw in Texas this winter!
It was always a con job, foisted on the ignorant and innumerate at the expense of the public!

May 31, 2021 7:47 am

This is what happens when low intelligent, greedy people are allowed in government.

There are scrubbers for coal powered plants that eliminate pollution.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Olen
May 31, 2021 10:22 am

As any second or third year college student can tell you; besides white, Christian men, fossil fuels, like coal, and capitalism are the only truly evil things on this planet! They have been routinely taught, and for the most part believe, that Marxism and socialism have led to the huge rise in global wealth and freedom!
If I need to add a sarcasm tag you should seriously consider getting professional help!

Reply to  Abolition Man
May 31, 2021 11:20 am

Lest we forget the baby “burden”. Four choices and a wicked solution. One step forward, two steps backward.

May 31, 2021 8:21 am

I wonder exactly who the farmers are who earn 2,000 pounds per acre per year.

I’d imagine you find its not the average Joe whose family has been farming that land for thousands of years, but some well connected politician.

Richard Page
Reply to  Lil-Mike
May 31, 2021 2:01 pm

They won’t be farmers at all – these will be farm managers; a different breed of animal entirely. Farm managers don’t know huge amounts about historical farming practices but they are experts at wringing every last penny out of the land one way or another.

May 31, 2021 8:23 am

I’m quite prepared to take all subsidies off. The best of breed can take the market that remains because they have the lowest costs in the broad distribution of costs that comprise the average. It’s a very cluttered market with green groups, lobbyists, and politicos arm waving and the general public not getting past the generalities partly because of these promoter groups. Just don’t look the other way on slave labor making solar components and deforestation for Drax.

May 31, 2021 8:27 am

Th main problem with ill-informed debate at all levels is that it slows down and holds back the best players with their lowest cost advantage. That includes governments with their expensive pilot projects to nowhere and subsidies for the loudest lobby groups.

Patrick Hrushowy
May 31, 2021 9:16 am

I cannot understand how the Brits have allowed this to happen. Have they no pride in their heritage and their beautiful country? How has Green propaganda become gospel, to be followed no matter the consequences?

Richard Page
Reply to  Patrick Hrushowy
May 31, 2021 2:08 pm

Oh please, don’t buy into the Daily Fail’s propaganda and fabricated sense of moral outrage at this assault on our green and pleasant land, our island home, our fricken castle! The UK solar industry has been binned; most of these installations won’t get planning permission and in a few years time the rest of the solar installations will be scrapped as they reach the end of their short and unproductive lives. Now we just need the same to happen to the windmill industry.

Reply to  Richard Page
June 1, 2021 1:44 am

but UK solar installations continue… and they don’t impact people anyway.

Reply to  griff
June 1, 2021 11:44 am

Sure, as long as you don’t count slave labor in western China as people.

Reply to  Patrick Hrushowy
June 1, 2021 1:45 am

UK population is still educated and able to understand the science and the issues. The roll out of renewables hasn’t actually affected them in any way

Reply to  griff
June 1, 2021 12:09 pm

Oh yes it has. Energy costs have increased so that these white elephants can get their “Subsidies”. I fully understand the science and they are NOT VIABLE.

May 31, 2021 9:42 am

Oh, the horror! He said “obviously” – OBVIOUSLY – ‘they don’t work at night’.

The HERESY!!!!!!

Reply to  Sara
June 1, 2021 1:44 am

And from about 11 pm to 6 am, UK power consumption drops enormously.

during the early evening hydro, pumped storage and demand management tend to be switched in.

May 31, 2021 10:50 am

a life expectancy of less than 50 years”

technically correct, I suppose. 7 -10 years is less than 50.

John Sandhofner
May 31, 2021 2:01 pm

Turning to solar as one of your primary sources of electricity is a fool’s errand even in an area that has abundant sunshine. A country like England where clouds and rain are more prevalent, it is irresponsible for a government to put all their energy eggs in alternative energy basket. When are smart people going to figure out every evening at night fall the sun doesn’t shine, no way around it, and you can’t count on the wind to fill the gaps. Batteries are an expensive and dangerous means to fill the down times. Beside you would have to build even more wind and solar facilities to generate the excess energy so it can be stored. More land gobbled up. Can environmentalist really think they are helping nature by pushing this wind/solar madness? We all know this is not about saving mother earth; it is all about control.

Reply to  John Sandhofner
June 1, 2021 1:43 am

Well you don’t need blazing sunshine to get power from solar and perhaps you’ve noticed the UK has both solar (better in summer) and wind (better in winter) – that is, a mix.

Most of UK’s wind will be offshore, latterly so far off you won’t even see it.

Plus we’ll be connected to multiple other nation’s renewable supplies.

Reply to  griff
June 1, 2021 11:12 am

Ok. I’ll bite.
When the wind doesn’t blow in England, it is not usually blowing in Germany.
Same for the sun.
The UK consistently imports electricity from France and Belgium using HVDC interconnectors. Those two countries are exporting electricity produced by atomic energy.
Here is a graph of the 2020 UK power grid. The UK imports much more electricity than it produces from solar. And, they added another 1GW HVDC line to France this year in 2021, so that ratio is only going to get worse.

Reply to  griff
June 1, 2021 11:36 am

Then why is Drax Group forging ahead with more far flung wood pellet investments across the pond?

June 1, 2021 9:29 am

The only facts which need mentioning here are the following:

  1. The English electricity sector accounts for 0.3% of the world’s CO2 emissions.
  2. The renewable energy change over has made England go from energy independence to dependence on imported fuel, electricity, and technology.
  3. Electricity prices in England are among the highest in the world, and have risen much faster than most other European countries.

Based on these facts, the conclusions are obvious.

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