“Power Mad” (Matt Ridley on the UK Energy Crisis)

From MasterResource

By Robert Bradley Jr. — September 23, 2021

“Capitalism turns luxuries into necessities. Socialism turns necessities into luxuries.”

“What did socialists use before candles? …. Electricity”

These are just funny jokes until a scenario unfolds where a huge lifestyle disruption lurks for you, your family, friends, and most everyone else.

Matt Ridley of the UK is there. And the notable classical-liberal thinker and writer is steamed about it.

Energy crises should be a thing of the past, the West having painfully learned to avoid the price and allocation controls that cause physical shortages and fuel riots.

Now, energy crises occur in the name of “green” energy policies that force inferior energies on the power grid–and discourage or prohibit the fossil fuels from doing their yeoman work. Consumers lose. Businesses lose. Taxpayers lose. A small intellectual and political elite win.

“Net Zero” and “Decarbonization” produce anti-energy, anti-industrial central planning

Back to Matt Ridley. His recent cover story in the UK’s Daily Mail is an instant classic on the turmoil that is going on before our very eyes.

POWER MAD: Visions of an eco apocalypse have been used to justify a headlong charge to carbon zero for years… but this current crisis is a mere harbinger of the candle-lit future that awaits us if we do not change course, says MATT RIDLEY

Had it not been so exceptionally calm in the run up to this autumn equinox, one could call the energy crisis a perfect storm. Wind farms stand idle for days on end, a fire interrupts a vital cable from France, a combination of post-Covid economic recovery and Russia tightening supply means the gas price has shot through the roof – and so the market price of both home heating and electricity is rocketing.

But the root of the crisis lies in the monomaniacal way in which this government and its recent predecessors have pursued decarbonisation at the expense of other priorities including reliability and affordability of energy.

It is almost tragi-comic that this crisis is happening while Boris Johnson is in New York, futilely trying to persuade an incredulous world to join us in committing eco self-harm by adopting a rigid policy of net zero by 2050 – a target that is almost certainly not achievable without deeply hurting the British economy and the lives of ordinary people, and which will only make the slightest difference to the climate anyway, given that the UK produces a meagre 1 per cent of global emissions.

As for the middle-class Extinction Rebellion poseurs and their road-closing chums from Insult Britain, sorry Insulate Britain, they are basing their apocalyptic predictions of ‘catastrophe’ and billions of deaths on gross exaggerations.

And while preventing working people earning a livelihood may make them feel good, it does nothing to solve the real problem of climate change.

Yet this crisis is a mere harbinger of the candle-lit future that awaits us if we do not change course.

It comes upon us when we have barely started ripping out our gas boilers to make way for the expensive and inefficient heat pumps the Government is telling us to buy, or building the costly new power stations that will be needed to charge the electric cars we will all soon require.

When David Cameron’s energy bill was being discussed in Parliament in 2013, the word on everybody’s lips was ‘trilemma’: how to ensure that energy was affordable, reliable and low-carbon. Everybody knew then that renewables were unreliable: that wind power fully works less than one-third of the time, and that solar power is unavailable at night (of course) and less efficient on cloudy winter days.

Yet whenever we troublemakers raised this issue, we were told not to worry – it would resolve itself, they said, either because wind is usually blowing somewhere, or through the development of electricity storage in giant battery farms.

This was plain wrong. The task of balancing the grid and maintaining electrical frequency has grown dangerously the more reliant on wind power we have become – as demonstrated by the widespread power cuts of August 2019. The cost of grid management has soared to nearly £2billion a year in the last two decades.

Wind can indeed be light everywhere and the grid still needs vast extra investment to transfer wind power from northern Scotland to southern England. One of the cables built at huge expense to do just that has failed multiple times and Scottish wind farms are frequently paid extra to switch off because there’s not enough capacity in the cables.

As for batteries, it would take billions of pounds to build ones that could keep the lights on for a few hours let alone a week.

So the only way to make renewables reliable is to back them up, expensively, with some other power source, responding to fluctuations in demand and supply.

Nuclear is no good at that: its operations are slow to start and stop. So, ironically, renewables have only hastened the decline of nuclear power, their even lower-carbon rival (remember it takes 150 tonnes of coal to make a wind turbine).

And in any case, an inflexible approach to regulation has caused the cost of new nuclear to balloon – despite it being perhaps the most obvious solution to our long-term energy needs.

Coal – the cheapest option and the only energy source with low-cost storage in the shape of a big heap of the stuff – was ruled out as too carbon-rich, even though countries such as China are currently building scores of new coal-fired plants.

Unlike those countries, the UK Government has rushed to close its remaining coal power stations – and banned the opening of a opencast coalmine at Highthorn on the Northumberland coast last year, despite it winning the support of the county council, the planning inspector and the courts when the Government appealed.

Ministers decided they would rather throw hundreds of Northern workers out of a job, turn down hundreds of millions of pounds of investment and rely instead – for the five million tonnes of coal per year gap that we still need for industry – on energy imports from those famously reliable partners, Russia and Venezuela.

To add insult to injury, the Government has been handing out hefty subsidies to a coal-fired power station in Yorkshire, Drax, to burn wood instead of coal, imported from American forests, even though burning wood generates more emissions than coal per unit of electricity generated.

The excuse is that trees regrow, so it’s ‘renewable’, which makes zero sense then you think it through (trees take decades to grow – and then we cut them down again anyway).

So that leaves gas with the task of keeping the lights on.

Gas turbines are fairly flexible to switch on and off as wind varies, they’re relatively cheap, highly efficient and much lower in emissions than wood, coal or oil. But until 2009, the conventional wisdom was that gas was going to run out soon.

Then came the shale gas revolution, pioneered in Texas. A flash in the pan, I was told by energy experts in this country: and ‘could never happen here anyway’. So Britain – whose North Sea gas was running out – watched on in snobbish disdain as America shot back up to become the world’s largest gas producer, with their gas prices one-quarter of ours, resulting in a gold-rush of industry and collapsing emissions as a result of a vast, home-grown supply of reliable, low-carbon energy.

We, meanwhile, decided to kowtow to organisations like Friends of the Earth, which despite being told by the Advertising Standards Authority to withdraw misleading claims about the extraction of shale gas, embarked on a campaign of misinformation, demanding ever more regulatory hurdles from an all-too-willing civil service. Nobody was more delighted than Vladimir Putin, who poured scorn on shale gas in interviews, and poured money into western environmentalists’ campaigns against it. The secretary general of NATO confirmed that Russia ‘engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organisations – environmental organisations working against shale gas – to maintain Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas’.

By 2019, shale gas exploration in Britain was effectively dead, despite one of the biggest discoveries of gas-rich rocks yet found: the Bowland shale, a mile beneath Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Just imagine if we had stood up to the eco-bullies over shale gas. Northern England would now be as brimming with home-grown gas as parts of Pennsylvania and Texas. We would have lower energy prices than Europe, not higher, a rush of manufacturing jobs in areas such as Teesside and Cheshire, rocketing wealth, healthy export earnings, no reliance on Russian whims (they control the reliability of supply and the price we pay for imported electricity, as we are experiencing right now) – and no fear of the lights going out.

But in lieu of that, we could at least invest in gas-storage facilities, to cushion against the Moscow threat and any potential disruptions to supply. But no, we chose to close the biggest of them, Rough, off East Yorkshire, in 2017 and run down our gas storage to just under 2 per cent of annual demand, far lower than Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands.

Why? Presumably because the only forms of energy that ministers and civil servants respect are wind and solar. Gas is so last-century, you know!

Yet your electricity bill is loaded with ‘green levies’ that in part go to reward the crony capitalists who operate wind farms to the tune of around £10billion a year and rising.

Because energy is a bigger part of the household budget of poorer people than richer people, this is a regressive tax.

Because of the price cap on domestic bills, these levies hit industrial users even harder than domestic, and thus put up the prices of products in shops and deter investment in jobs too.

In the past, coal gave Britain an affordable supply of electricity that was also reliable so long as the miners’ union allowed it to be.

The market mechanisms introduced by Nigel Lawson in the 1980s gave us greater efficiency, the dash for gas, cheaper electricity, a highly reliable supply and falling emissions.

The central planning of the 2010s has given us among the most expensive energy on the planet, futile price caps, bankrupt energy suppliers, import dependence, rising worries about the reliability of supply and – because of the fading influence of nuclear power – not much prospect of further falls in emissions.

So, it’s time to tear up the failed policies of today. What would I do? Take a leaf out of Canada’s book and reform the regulation of nuclear power so that it favours newer, cheaper and even safer designs built in modular form on production lines rather than huge behemoths built like Egyptian pyramids by Chinese investors.

Look to America’s example and restart the shale gas industry fast. Do everything to encourage fusion, the almost infinitely productive technology that looks ready to go by 2040. And call the bluff of the inefficient wind and solar industries by ceasing to subsidise them.

Energy is not just another product: it’s what makes civilisation possible.

Final Comment

This tour de force ends on some policy notes that I would take issue with. First, nuclear is not the savior but a highly uneconomic, politicized alternative that at a very high cost would only rescue, to one extent or another, wind and solar. And it would be five years anyway before any new unit would be ready, best case. Nuclear is the most complicated, expensive, risky way to boil water.

Second, nuclear fusion is pie-in-the-sky, and always has been. [1]

These two sops to the climate lobby will do little and allow the mass mis-education to continue. The real story is that CO2 is not a pollutant, and the negative effects of any weather/climate event is easily handled by a free, entrepreneurial society.


[1] Ridley elsewhere has written:

The problem, of course, is that reliable fusion power stations were 50 years away in 1950, and were still 50 years away in 2000, so milestones on the road to fusion are greeted with sceptical yawns. But almost everybody in the industry now thinks that jibe is out of date: the stopwatch has started, as one insider put it to me. We are probably less than 15 years away from seeing a fusion power station begin to contribute to the grid. 

I would ask whether in 1950 or in 2000 the fusion optimists believed that “the stopwatch has started.” I’m sure they did.

It’s a government subsidy game, and those profiting from the uneconomic will scarcely say that a bright future is not there for them to continue.

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High Treason
September 26, 2021 2:17 pm

Questions need to be asked about the entire cAGW narrative (as well as the COVapocalypse narrative.) The very first question should be-“At what age should someone stop believing scary fairy tales?”
FEAR is what drives both narratives and makes people think irrationally. We should all just sit back, have a sip of Pimms with cucumber sandwiches and ignore the fairy tales of doom and gloom. Click your heels and just say-I don’t buy it.

Reply to  High Treason
September 26, 2021 3:22 pm

It’s not as easy as you say.
If you are not open to the fear or smart enough to avoid it than It’s easy to be relaxed and ignore it .
But for those who have been overwhelmed by indoctrination and especially fear strategies are needed to get the people out of the mess.
The problem is,according to chief commie propagandist Yuri Bezmenov ,that the impact of indoctrination is so deep that a reversal is almost impossible.

The real danger of all the Marxist replacement religions(as AGW ,Covid> vaccine,inslusivity etc) contrary to traditional religions is that people don’t even realise that they follow a religion because the religion is sold as something scientific and atheistic while in fact the only real difference is that this religion is not spiritual but 100% mechanic.
So the problem is:How do we get people out of a religious mania if they don’t know they are religious and consider themselves 100% normal.
Drug addicts know that they are drug addicts.
Religious zealots know they are religious.
The wife of a wifebeater knows that she is a victim,no matter how submissive she is .
But the neomarxist is far too cool,too smart,too modern and too enlightened
to fall for a religion,because he carries his god in a pocket (smartphone,the outsourced brain,personality,soul and will)

Abolition Man
Reply to  SxyxS
September 26, 2021 6:45 pm

It’s a long and winding road, but someone’s got to do it! Trying to overcome the seriously indoctrinated is usually futile, but during the attempt those around the margins who still have more than two brain cells to rub together may begin to doubt the rectitude of their beliefs!
We must remain positive and active in calling out the ignorance and insanity of ALL of the Progressive (neo-Marxist) religious sects; whether CAGW, Critical Racist Theory, or the belief that men can get pregnant and breastfeed! Every aspect of the High Church of Progressivism is anti-scientific, as well as contrary to the laws human nature; so never give them a break! I like to use humor and ridicule; getting other people to laugh at them is sure to burst some bubbles!
You are bringing rationality and truth to the discussion, so buck up and press forward! From ChiCom-19 to climate weirding, the truth is leaking in faster and faster! That’s why they are so frantic!

Reply to  High Treason
September 26, 2021 6:11 pm

I believe it is fear, but it is TPTB who are fearful of losing control of their power structure.
The increasingly centralized ever growing government is a big tell. Now we looking at vaccine passports for heavens sake.Why isn’t that even considered to be absolutle insanity?
It does go hand in hand with Zero Carbon, so there is that.

Reply to  High Treason
September 27, 2021 12:40 am

Except it is warming and the effects are absolutely plain.

Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 1:42 am

Only if you take a short term view, which is modus operandi for you and your ilk

Alan the Brit
Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 4:27 am

1 & 1/10th of a degree Celcius over 150 years is 1/7000th of a degree per annum, hardly anything to worry about Griffy-baby. Hope you’ve stocked up on or unpacked your woolly jumpers now that the big shiny ball in the sky is probably in shut-down mode. Today we are living inside a massive experiment & it’s only just begun!!!

Doc Chuck
Reply to  Alan the Brit
September 29, 2021 2:04 pm

Alan, I don’t know how to break this to you, buddy, but by your own figures 1/7000 of a degree per annum is 51 times too small. Perhaps you meant to say .0073 degrees or else your mathematics chip suffered mightily during a voltage spiking power surge at the end of a recent power outage and so doesn’t reflect on any general innumeracy in Britain that would itself readily explain why politicos get away with so many utter fabrications.

Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 6:45 am

Mr. Griffly, if the climate is warming then why have the average temps, worldwide, stayed steady for 20 years. Is the earth losing mass so the available energy will start warming it?

The actual cause is most likely the grand solar minimum we are likely entering.

Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 1:19 pm

Flat lie, griffter. It has taken a worldwide network of many highly precise thermometers along with satellites recording data for decades to see evidence of (a slight) warming. But, it was warming 150 years ago, BEFORE CO2 increased. It warmed as fast from 1910 to 1940 as it has recently.

There has been no statistically significant changes in weird weather either, claim there has been and you are lying again. The polar bears are doing great. Coral is doing fine. No climate induced extinctions. No climate induced famines – food production is at its all-time high. Elephants haven’t grown huge ears.

The only thing that has increased dramatically has been lying about a phony “climate crisis”.

Last edited 28 days ago by Meab
Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 1:26 pm

There is as usual no evidence that you read the posted article………

It hasn’t been warming for 6 years now……

September 26, 2021 2:31 pm

The problem the Brits had in the last election was that hey had no real choice. BoJo has drunk the climate change KoolAid, and Corbin is possible was worse.

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 26, 2021 2:31 pm

They, not hey

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 26, 2021 2:56 pm

You are allowed to use the ‘edit’ function.

M Courtney
Reply to  Tom Halla
September 26, 2021 3:06 pm

Corbyn was not worse.

He was a lifelong anti-racism campaigner whom the press portrayed as an anti-Semite. That’s just one example of the slander. One amongst many.

You were conned by a media hatchet job.

Richard Page
Reply to  M Courtney
September 26, 2021 3:19 pm

No we weren’t.

Reply to  M Courtney
September 26, 2021 3:40 pm

A labour party conference was notable for it’s members waving Palestinian flags in support of its government, Hamas, which is a terrorist organisation dedicated to eradicating all Jews.

Corbyn himself was photographed at a the funeral of a Hamas official (from memory) and was a notable friend of members of the IRA as well as being a member of the communist party, as was his mentally ill sidekick McDonnell.

But he’s a millionaire socialist, so that’s all OK…….

Rory Forbes
Reply to  M Courtney
September 26, 2021 4:06 pm

Clearly your mind is clouded by socialist sympathies. Corbyn is a communist. No further explanation is needed, but also being antisemitic makes him even less attractive. What the hell is “a lifelong anti-racism campaigner” when it isn’t an excuse to manipulate or to apply the soft bigotry of low expectations?

Julian Flood
Reply to  M Courtney
September 26, 2021 10:19 pm

Lies. As someone with Jewish grandchildren I saw Labour’s antisemitism when I worked as a councillor. Always ready to hunt out racism in others, antisemitism was somehow acceptable.


Leo Smith
Reply to  Julian Flood
September 27, 2021 1:28 am

Right Julian. I used to live surrounded by N London Jews, and count them as some of the most civilised and honourable people I have ever had dealings with. Even if their politics was usually pretty far Left. Corbyn alienated them completely to curry votes from the Islamic community which now outnumbers the Jewish community.

Corbyn is a hard left Communist – pretty much a Trotskyite – by avowal, if not conviction (does any politician have conviction?) masquerading as a liberal left wing moderate. He was put where he is by other communists in the Trade Unions, and promoted beyond all reason by the BBC and the mainstream ‘liberal’ media, until the ugliness of his politics became too apparent to conceal.

Desert Skeptic
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 28, 2021 11:44 am

The “anti-racists” in the US are the actual racists who want to treat all races differently, and are even starting to segregate by race in some instances. I am guessing that “anti-racism” campaigner Corbyn is no different.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  M Courtney
September 27, 2021 4:29 am

Socialists have always been anti-Semitic, Hitler demonstrated that his National Socialists were just that, to the tune of millions of lives!!!

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 26, 2021 5:28 pm

No real choice is almost always the case everywhere, once elections become common place. Do whatever is necessary to hold onto power is the only real game most political oriented slobs play.

Last edited 28 days ago by AndyHce
Jack Black
Reply to  AndyHce
September 28, 2021 9:20 am

Warning, off-topic political ad hominem ahead, bends for the next 3 miles !

Unplanned diversion, all vehicles exit at the next junction, to be redirected to the original path, and discussion.

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 27, 2021 12:41 am

There isn’t any part of the UK electable political spectrum which does not accept climate science and which won’t keep on towards UK Net Zero.

don’t keep kidding yourself this is a one man initiative from Boris and/or that’s only because of his wife’s influence.

Leo Smith
Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 2:17 am

Not quite true, griff. First of all its not climate science, it’s a political and commercial narrative – propaganda.

Political parties are all behind it for now, because the population largely has accepted it up till now.

Up till now. But it is changing very very rapidly. Indeed we may have reached a tippingPoint™. Public opinion is changing way faster than the climate.

  • People are sick of the antics of BLM, Extinction Rebellion, and Insulate Britain, because no matter how noble the cause, having palpable hypocritical morons espousing it by utterly anti-social behaviour tends to put the cause itself in a bad light.
  • Energy prices matter more to people than vague threats of an inch of sea level rise somewhere else.
  • NetZero™ is of course completely impossible with current renewable technologies, at any price.
  • The political question is how much will we squander on it, before we accept the truth?
  • Boris could be in general helping it along, or gently hindering it. His wife seems to have ensured that he is helping it along.

However – as much as Boris may appear to be a bumbling fool, do not be deceived. Under that mop of unruly hair lurks a very sharp mind indeed. And one who can calculate the political odds and sense the political winds in an instant. For whatever reason Boris has chosen to support Big Green for now, but his vacillations on Brexit showed that he takes a long time to make up his mind which way the tides of history are blowing before he picks his side, and he is perfectly capable of changing it. He is the consummate pragmatic politician.

One interpretation of Boris, is that he has decided not to take a side in the climate meme, but merely to appear to. On the basis that if fools continue in their folly, they will become wise.

The only way to stop greenCrap™ is to get an overwhelming mandate to stop it, from the public. Any individual of influence is likely to get himself cancelled – possibly with a radioactive Russian meal, or a bullet from a completely mad antisocial convinced that the CIA were employing him to do it, who unfortunately died just before the full story could be ascertained…the number of people who said awkward things who died young, is beyond coincidence…

If I were a power engineer employed by the grid, I might, in a spirit of public service, very well engineer an energy crisis – as the fuel crisis has (it now turns out, been deliberately engineered by and anti-Brexiter initiated panic buying) – by setting a fire in an interconnector station.

I know, because of my website and people who contact me about matters of energy, that for every useful idiot enthusing over Renewables, there is a deeply concerned ex National Grid or power station engineer, worrying aboiut what he used to keep running, being in danger of complete collapse.

We need a complete collapse to puncture the Green bubble of fantastical complacency, and demonstrate to the world that Green policy may be laudable, but it is broken beyond all hope of ever working.

Faced with that reality, any party that does not abandon renewable energy, will be in the same instant completely unelectable.

Currently energy is not on the electorate’s mind. Six energy companies going bust has focussed peoples minds a little. 30% on their bills has focussed it a bit more. Mothballed coal powered generation capacity being brought online has caused them to ask ‘but weren’t windmills and solar panels supposed to replace all this’ to be met with the answer ‘if the wind isn’t blowing, and there is no sun, how can they?’ .

When faced with a question of educationg the masses, sometimes the best way is not to take a political lead and risk censure, it is to let events take their course – even help them along a bit – until the consequences become so obvious that the inevitable political solution has a massive popular consensus.

It was always known that renewable energy much above 20% of total grid capacity would result in extreme cost increases and reliability issues. You are not an engineer Griff, so the reasoning why this is so, is of course completely above your pay grade.

Suffice to say there is no way that the current trajectory towards NetZero™ has a cat’s chance in hell of rendering any politician supporting it, electable, in around 5 years time.

I know this because I am privy to the Secret Knowledge Of Engineering and Cost Accounting, whereas you merely believe in Climate Change and Renewable Energy.

I think Boris knows this as well, and he is content to keep his shagbunny happy, and the Russians happy, and the Arabs happy, by mouthing what he knows is palpable nonsense – and isn’t quoting Kermit the Frog a hint at what he truly thinks of ClimateChange advocates – a bunch of muppets?…in the full and certain knowledge of the resurrection of common sense once the consequences of an energy policy based on renewable energy are clearly demonstrated to a shocked, appalled and angry electorate?

Griff, dear boy, you think you are winning. What you have no idea of, is what you are winning.

Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 12:11 pm

Most climate ‘science’ is based upon unprovable and unfalsifiable hypotheses, and therefore are not actual science. Much of the rest is defined by ‘political science’ which is not actual science.

I am not a scientist. But I am an engineer. If I used data analysis and modeling as faulty as that to ‘prove’ anthropogenic climate change, I’d be fired, and rightfully so.

Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 1:28 pm

It appears you are for going back to the stone age, which is why you deserve it!

Walter Horsting
September 26, 2021 2:37 pm

4th Gen nuclear power barges are the way forward.


Reply to  Walter Horsting
September 26, 2021 3:38 pm

The problem will materialise in 3 months. Something that makes a promise for three years out is not a solution.

Reply to  RickWill
September 26, 2021 9:47 pm

Because we’re so successful projecting on a 90 day, Wall Street driven time frame.

Leo Smith
Reply to  RickWill
September 27, 2021 2:20 am

Well it may well be a solution, just not right now!

Reply to  Walter Horsting
September 27, 2021 12:42 am

Except it DOES NOT EXIST and may well not for a decade

September 26, 2021 2:42 pm

 ”remember it takes 150 tonnes of coal to make a wind turbine.”

That is the real message that needs to be pushed hard. Especially with loony greens wanting to shut down Australia’s coal industry. Oh the irony.

Reply to  aussiecol
September 26, 2021 2:59 pm

The loony greens sincerely believe that if one builds a wind turbine using coal, it will be capable of building another wind turbine from the energy it produces…..and supply electricity for consumers as well.

And there is no effing point explaining about perpetual motion to them, they just don’t get it.

Christopher Hanley
Reply to  HotScot
September 26, 2021 3:21 pm

“… and supply electricity for consumers as well …”.
And that must include for the ~70% of the time the turbine is not generating much or not at all, a point often disregarded by promoters.

Last edited 29 days ago by Christopher Hanley
Reply to  Christopher Hanley
September 26, 2021 9:48 pm

Climate Nutters have no time for reality.

Jack Black
Reply to  roaddog
September 28, 2021 10:01 am

In the rainbow unicorn utopian land of the green future, there is No friction in bearings, no transmission losses in cables, transformers are 100% efficient and never require cooling, infinite capacity electrical storage cells can be made from sewage, Oh and every family has a genetically engineered, immortal Golden Turkey that shoots Platinum eggs from its rear end… every twenty minutes.

… etc.

Reply to  aussiecol
September 26, 2021 3:43 pm

And the next one in 20 years and the next one in 40 years and so on. Until each can generate enough electricity in its productive life to make the next turbine and the storage batteries needed to give it on-demand capacity no wind turbine is sustainable. Fostering these monstrosities is a crime against humanity. They are consuming valuable resources and can never return more than they consume.

Reply to  aussiecol
September 26, 2021 4:03 pm

About those wind turbines:

Rory Forbes
Reply to  gringojay
September 26, 2021 6:23 pm

That doesn’t even mention the cement required to make the super-massive concrete foundations for the things. “The production of cement, the binding element in concrete, accounted for 7% of total global carbon dioxide emissions in 2018.” Each windmill is responsible for tons of CO2. For concrete + reinforcement the CO2 emissions are 80.2 kg CO2/tonne

alastair gray
Reply to  gringojay
September 26, 2021 7:48 pm

Hang on a sec . Let us get our numbers straight!
Energy content of 1 tonne of coal = 8.1 MWhr
there are 8760 hours in a year
energy output of a 2 MW turbine at capacity factor 30%= 2 x 30% x 8760 =5.256 GWhr.
so it takes about 2 years for such a turbine to pay back its steel manufacturing energy cost. This does not include the cost of the other constituent parts especially the concrete.
On the face of it paying 2 years of production for a 20 year return is not that bad and actually looks like reasonable economics.

I am no fan of wind energy but the above poster is plain wrong
I would like someone (possibly even me) honestly to calculate the entire energy cost of installing a GW of wind turbinery . Maybe someone in the green lobby would be honest enough to save me the time. What about you Griff. Put pen to paper and do some sums

Leo Smith
Reply to  alastair gray
September 27, 2021 3:23 am

I upticked you, for bringing reason and maths into the discussion. I am replying because your premises are only partially correct.

There is no point in asking a Green to do this calculation – they simply lie and cherry pick

There are other energy costs to wind turbines. The concrete you have mentioned. But copper must be smelted too. both fir te turbine and its grid connection.

Massive offshore diesel powered boats are used to install them and servicing is energy intensive, and they don’t last 20 years either, the mean time between a failure that stops the turbine working is around 6 months, after a year or two, and in general the turbines are beyond economic repair after twelve years.

In addition, if they are backed with gas turbines, the reduction in fuel efficiency of a gas turbine being ramped up and down far more often than it would have been had there not been a wind turbine attached, has been *measured* in one study done on the Irish grid, at over 50% of the putative gains of that wind turbine. In short half the carbon gains of the wind turbine are lost in extra gas burnt heating up, and then allowing the gas turbines to cool.

In another study done many years ago in I think Latvia where they looked at balancing the wind with their existing coal plant, they found that adding wind turbines increased CO2 emissions overall.

The Hughes report back in the day made the point that shorn of their role as high capacity factor baseload generators and pushed into the role of low capacity factor peak load followers, by wind and solar, the economics of running an efficient but high capital cost combined cycle gas turbine set no longer made sense, and operators would naturally build the cheaper gas guzzling open cycle gas turbines to do that job, negating and even reversing any CO2 gains from the renewables.

Only the Irish actually measured their CO2 per MWh under high wind and low wind conditions, and before and after their investiment in renewables. They can now hide their issues using the connectirs to the UK, so we absorb the wind peaks, whilst their gas generators operate as baseload… they export their problem to us.

No one else has doine any holistic studies to actually see whether or not a shift to renewable energy actually results in any emissions gains, overall, at all.

The Shell energy report of 2019 (I think it was Shell) made the point that despite Energiewende the carbon emissions of Germany were the highest per capita, the highest per nation and the higest per MWh generated of any country in Europe and well as its electricity being the most expensive.

Despite having more installed nuclear capacity than the UK.

Yet Griff will tell you that with upwards of 30% renewable capacity on the German grid, the countryside ruined with windmills, and the houses wreked by solar panels, to no avail whatsoever, Energiewende has been a resounding success!

Poor Griff. Poor Germany.

The point is that not only does no one actually know whether or not windmills and solar panels actually reduce CO2 emissions, no one actually cares, either!

There was a green site that measured overall CO2 per MWh emissions of various countries, but they shut it down when it revealed that actually the cleanest countries were France, Switzerland and IIRC Sweden because of their massive investments in nuclear power, and hydro.

These are inconvenient truths for the Griffettes of this world. They can only think in terms of “wind turbine good, steam turbine bad”.

The whole rush to renewables has been marked by a complete sweeping aside of any true holistic costing, or holistic analysis of carbon emissions. The European Union, bless their little cotton socks, couched their climate policy in terms of a renewable obligation without ever once even asking the question as to whether or not renewable energy would actually reduce emissions overall, or not!

Clearly, they didn’t care, they saw an opportiunity to placate the Green Griffettes, and to throw taxpayer money at the likes of Siemens and Vattenfall, and transfer more money from the plebs to the pockets of rich industrialists and landowners.

In short they seemed to know already, that ClimateChange™ was not something that they needed to worry about, beyond being a handy way to fleece consumers and justify central government control of energy.

I tried to do these calculations, but frankly you end up making so many assumptions that the results get exremely dubious.

The correct way to do it is the Irish way. Sit there and measure the amount of fuel burn on all power staions, versus the amount of wind and solar energy on the grid, and the amount of power being generated. Then you can add in carbon costs for the capital build out of all the kit needed to make it work, and the carbon cost of keeping it working.

But governments dont do that sort of stuff any more. It might come up with a politically incorrect answer. Anyone remember David Nutt’s ‘Horseriding is actually more dangerous than heroin’, or Edwina Curry’s ‘all eggs are contaminated with salmonella’. Both got sacked…for telling the truth. Likewise David Mackay’s ruthless analysis of renewable energy stopped when he died very young of bowel cancer….and David Kelly, who attempted to tell the truth about the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, handily ‘committed suicide’ …

It may be easy going green, but telling the inconvenient truths can get you fired, or dead.

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 28, 2021 5:11 am

Yeah… but the problem with CO2 is that there is far too little of it.

Jack Black
Reply to  Rainer Bensch
September 28, 2021 10:20 am

Fact Check TRUE !

Ultimately so much CO2 will be sequestered into limestone and chalk by marine organisms, that principal Human Food Crops will progressively decrease yield per hectare, as plants become weaker, being starved of this gas which is essential to ALL Carbon based lifeforms, including ourselves. Vilifying CO2, is akin to joining some doomsday death cult.

Namby-pamby, Niminy-piminy, neo-marxist schoolteachers and lecturers (themselves stupified and brainwashed) are mis-educating scholars of all ages, about the truth of CO2s role in all our lives, and its certain fate.

Reply to  gringojay
September 27, 2021 6:06 am

That’s quite a fantasy. In what world do you get 260 tons of steel from 300 tons of iron ore?

Reply to  aussiecol
September 27, 2021 12:43 am

And where does that figure come form?

turbine components made in Europe – and very many of the UK’s are – will be produced with a large renewable electricity component.

Ian Johnson
Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 1:14 am

Let’s not forget the petrochemicals needed for blade manufacture.

Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 2:15 am

griff: Do tell us how you make concrete with renewable electricity ?

As a rule of thumb for a wind turbine you need 1,000 tonne/ MW
(From the International journal of sustainable manufacturing –
Average weight of concrete foundation = 937,500 kg / MW)

Jack Black
Reply to  saveenergy
September 28, 2021 10:37 am

Yes, and you need coal fly-ash to make the cement for the concrete, and also to build the roads and infrastructure to reach the wind turbines? Maybe Mr Griff can tell us how much fly-ash can a 100MW wind turbine produce, at say … a wind speed of 1. 5kph. 2. 25kph. 3. 80kph. (Show calculations).






Answer : None, but every turbine produces millions of microscopic shards of Carbon based plastic resin, that are distressed off the blades, each and every day. (and with each exploded Bat’s Lungs, a smattering of delicious red sauce).

Mmm, guzzle that down, sooo tastee (NOT).

Dave Andrews
Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 7:54 am

If anything aussiecol was underestimating the amount of coking coal needed to make a modern wind turbine. According to the World Coal Association it takes 170 tonnes of coking coal to make the 260 tonnes of steel required by that turbine

Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 1:31 pm

Ha ha and where does YOUR figures come from?

You are LYING anyway since it takes a LOT of carbon intensive materials to make the turbine parts.

Ron Long
September 26, 2021 3:05 pm

Good comments, except for one item: Nuclear was never intended as a back-up power source. You build it and run it and a lot later decomission it. And, if you are so inclined, as they are in France, you grow great grapes around it and make great wines (try that with your solar nonsense).

Reply to  Ron Long
September 26, 2021 4:56 pm

The French also have rate discounts for electricity in concentric zones around their nuclear plants. They do some things right.

Reply to  Ron Long
October 1, 2021 2:24 pm

First, nuclear is not the savior but a highly uneconomic, politicized alternative that at a very high cost…

It’s only the pointless over-regulation that makes nuclear so expensive. How many times does a nuclear plant get reviewed, and each time it’s as if the developer is starting all over again, proving that the design is safe, and it happens at siting, for financing (extreme pressure put on lenders to NOT fund the project no matter what), for the design, again before fueling, then again before it’s actually allowed to put power on the grid, could there be any more interference? And for what? If anyone can present a modular design that needs approval only once, and the next model is rolled off the same assembly line identical in every respect, AND someone with some balls were to put a limit on the regulators (I see no reason a nuclear plant couldn’t get a 90-day review, if the review were done by intelligent, competent engineers who actually want to see a nuclear plant built, not by ideologue activists who do everything in their power to prevent commencing construction, even, of a nuclear power plant), I’m pretty sure the cost of nuclear will come down, probably even undercutting coal (even if coal also is unchained, sure require clean exhaust, but that can be done, and the plant and everyone around it shall live happily ever after). Oh, and stop subsidizing unreliables.

Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
October 1, 2021 2:39 pm

In fact, I can easily picture a perfectly safe nuclear industry with no regulation at all, just so long as the owners/operators/developers remain liable for all damages just as every other manufacturer throughout the world! The chemical plant in India that allowed a toxic leak and killed thousands of people (without looking it up I want to say Bopal?) didn’t get off scot-free, they paid for that, several times over. In fact, I hazard that all this over-regulation gives the owners a get-out-of-jail-free card. If there ever is an accident, all they have to do is show they followed all applicable government regulations!, so if anyone is at fault it’s the government. Turn them loose! Let innovators innovate!

September 26, 2021 3:18 pm

Bradley usually says some sensible things, but has on blinders when it comes to nuclear power. He still pictures large, highly complex, highly regulated facilities built as one-off designs. Of course those can’t compete in an open market. However, nuclear has a bright and necessary future, remembering two factors:
1. This is no emergency. There is no climate catastrophe that demands “immediate” solutions. The world has enough readily available fossil fuels for many years into the future, so there is no need to force “old school,” uncompetitive nuclear power into the mix. However, eventually, the world will begin to use up available fossil fuels and an alternative will be needed. Wind, solar and biofuels are not it. Some form of nuclear power is the best and only known candidate for a slowly phased-in replacement.
2. By the time they are needed, standardized designs for safe, modular nuclear power units that can be sited practically anywhere will be developed. Following the model of combined cycle gas turbines, such units could be cookie-cutter designed, licensed, sited and constructed in a matter of months. For greater output, just add more modular units to a local plant. Away goes Dr. Bradley’s cute and oft-repeated “truism” about nuclear being an expensive way to boil water.

As many have said, notably Bjorn Lomborg, the false urgency of the catastrophists has led to political and societal insanity in the West, pushing a transition to other forms of energy before it is time by using unsuitable alternatives. Of course, besides energy, those same people are pushing other forms of insanity as well. One can only conclude that there are other forces at work attempting to bring us down.

Reply to  Pflashgordon
September 26, 2021 3:54 pm

Coal powered locomotives were around for over a century and diesel powered locomotives replaced them in one to two decades. Steam locomotives were chopped up for scrap metal. Thorium MSRs have that potential to replace the existing…with a better mouse trap. Thorium MSRs can be looked at as heat furnaces…produce electricity…medical radioactive isotopes…desalinate seawater…other uses….all at the same time.

Reply to  Anti-griff
September 27, 2021 12:44 am

And now the UK has hydrogen/diesel hybrid trains

Dave Andrews
Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 8:30 am

Griff you don’t ever tell the full story.

The UK’s first hydrogen powered train began mainline testing on 30th September 2020. It has a range of just 100 miles and takes 20 hours to refuel.

Network Rail, which runs the UK’s railways says

“electrification will continue to be best for lines carrying long distance high speed trains and freight services because neither hydrogen nor battery trains have enough power.”

Reply to  Dave Andrews
September 27, 2021 11:26 pm

People call that a lemon 🙂

Leo Smith
Reply to  Anti-griff
September 27, 2021 3:29 am

Thorium technology is irrelevant. It is no better and no worse in the end than standard uranium technology. It is of course more expensive, because no one has done it commercially yet.

Even the most basic cheap boiling water uranium reactor would do the job.

The problem is not with the technology, it is with the politics.

Robert Bradley
Reply to  Pflashgordon
September 26, 2021 6:47 pm

Good to be ‘luke right’ in the energy debate, sir.

I have no problem with a technology improving to be enter the mix, but that is still pie-in-the-sky if the project is too expensive and risky. Can it be designed and built without government subsides? How quickly? Can it obtain its own private insurance without government involvement? Nuclear is certainly a backstop technology, but whether it can have its market niche like NGCC and state-of-the-art coal plants is yet to be seen.

Reply to  Robert Bradley
September 27, 2021 12:46 am

Can it be designed and built without government subsides? How quickly? 

Key questions.

Keep asking them as the govt tries to get a US consortium up and running to build Wylfa and as the Chinese are eased out of Sizewell

Leo Smith
Reply to  Robert Bradley
September 27, 2021 3:33 am

Nuclear is not a backstop technology. It generates something like 10% of all the worlds electricity. More than renewables…

Jack Black
Reply to  Robert Bradley
September 28, 2021 9:51 am

Hmm, can it be that you, as Chairman/Founder/President … whatever, of the so called Institute for Energy Research, ought to admit to some personal bias about nuclear power and indeed against the well known rational optimist, Matt Ridley ?

“The IER (a 501c) is the successor organization to the Institute for Humane Studies—Texas, a foundation established in 1984 by classical-liberalism advocate Greg Rehmke of the Institute for Humane Studies in Menlo Park, California, of which billionaire businessman and political donor Charles Koch was a director. After failing to pay the Texas state franchise tax, IHST lost its charter in 1989, and was later rebranded as the Institute for Energy Research, or IER, under the presidency of Robert L. Bradley Jr., the former director of public policy analysis for Enron.”

– Wikipedia (yes I know, but do your own fact check; there’s more evidence as to why Mr. Bradley’s views are certainly more biased, and less rational, much less knowledgeable about specifically The United Kingdom, it’s power grid, and indeed its politics, oh and its Byzantine Bureaucracy.)

Reply to  Robert Bradley
October 1, 2021 2:27 pm

See my comment above. Nuclear is only “the most expensive way to boil water” because of pointless over-regulation.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Pflashgordon
September 26, 2021 7:13 pm

The Defense Department is looking at mobile, modular reactors in the 1-10 MW range! The bidding is supposed be finished by March, 2022; with construction starting next summer! Of course, it is a government program; but hopefully it will spin off into the private sector!

John McCabe
September 26, 2021 3:48 pm

What’s going on with the formatting of this article; it’s very ugly and detracts from the message.

September 26, 2021 3:57 pm

that wind power fully works less than one-third of the time,

A single wind turbine never rarely “fully works”. A collection of wind turbines NEVER “fully work”. The diversity fairy does not exist in making wind power reliable but diversity guarantees they will never ALL reach capacity air the same time.

In Australia, the peak output from the collection of diverse wind farms is around 60%. As more are built, that value goes down unless there is enough storage capacity to ensure all their potential output can become actual output.

Modelling of power generation systems based on random energy is even worse than climate modelling.

Thomas Gasloli
September 26, 2021 4:23 pm

The European voters are getting what they asked for. Soon the US voters will get the same from the catastrophically incompetent & negligent administration of Dementia Joe.

Giordano Milton
September 26, 2021 4:39 pm

Did the UK voters know Johnson was a climate Kook when they elected him?

alastair gray
Reply to  Giordano Milton
September 26, 2021 7:52 pm

You bet your ass I didnt and I only voted for Brexit because EU energy policy was so insane and now the idiot Johnson is even worse than the Euroloons. Be careful in what you wish for!

Reply to  alastair gray
September 27, 2021 12:48 am

Exactly what has Boris added to UK green ambitions which wasn’t already there?

The all EVs by 2030, boiler ban, offshore wind plans, COP26 hosting, all of it was there before he became PM, before the election

Leo Smith
Reply to  alastair gray
September 27, 2021 3:36 am

See my comment to the Griffette. Boris’ mad enthusiasm for renewables will result in a grid crash, that will in the end wipe renewables off the planet.

‘Those who persist in their folly, will become wise’

Does Boris know this? I think he does.

Reply to  Giordano Milton
September 27, 2021 12:47 am

The had nearly ten years of a ‘green’ conservative govt: Boris has added nothing at all to UK climate/renewables policy – it was all there already.

Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 7:10 am

When are posters going to take 30 sec. to proofread a post??

September 26, 2021 4:40 pm

“this crisis is a mere harbinger of the candle-lit future that awaits us”

What candle-lit future ??
Clean(ish) burning candles are made from petroleum wax. (oil is going to be kept in the ground)
Dirty burning candles are made from beeswax. (not enough bees)
Filthy burning candles are made from tallow [animal fat ] ( not enough animals).

Breathing in candle smoke will bring life expectancy down to about 35yrs, add malnutrition & cold that should bring it down to 25-28yrs … just like the good old days !!

September 26, 2021 4:53 pm

So Boris is in NY during a perfect storm of domestic policy fights in DC. Good luck with that dumba$$.

Pat from kerbob
September 26, 2021 5:15 pm

The message about nuclear here is garbage.
I’m still astounded at something I learned here last week
That nuclear/uranium is 25% of Australia’s energy exports, but by weight that is 7800 tons vs 650million tons of coal snd LNG

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
September 26, 2021 6:54 pm

Uranium is ridiculously cheap. Apparently there is a greater density of uranium in the average back garden in Australia than there is gold in the average gold mine in Australia.

Last edited 28 days ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
alastair gray
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
September 26, 2021 7:53 pm

Prove it and give us backup evidence

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  alastair gray
September 27, 2021 12:20 am

Try looking up the price of uranium? It used to be about $2 a pound. It rose to $5, and recently jumped to $40 for various reasons. That’s damned cheap compared to gold at around $15-20,000 a pound (I haven’t checked recently).

Last edited 28 days ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
September 27, 2021 7:14 am

Gold is strictly priced by the conglomerates producing most of it and by the whims of an ill-informed market.
Most gold trading is to buy it low and sell it high to “marks” reading the the news.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
September 27, 2021 3:46 am

Uranium is around $50/lb or $112,000 a ton.

A typical UK 1.2GW power station uses I think about 50 tonnes a year – say $5m worth of raw uranium, most of which is not ‘burnt’ but is just contaminated with reusable fuel products and a small amount of high level radioactive waste. Even at that price it isnt worth reprocessing.

1.2GW for say 8000 hours is 9.6TWh of electricity.

costing about $0.50/ MWh, in terms of raw uranium

whereas the market rate of wholesale electricity is about $60/Mwh

Uranium isn’t expensive at all. It’s dirt cheap. It costs more to process it than to mine it.

It costs more to reprocess it than to mine it.

September 26, 2021 5:28 pm

Ignoring the incredibly simple and vast potential of LIFTR, liquid ion fluoride thorium reactors, is a big mistake. Planning for fusion power is still a pipe dream and misleading the public.

LIFTR is simple, self-leveling and uses a cheap and easy to handle fuel, thorium oxide. Better yet, we can throw all of our used uranium fuel into the system and get the other 50% of the energy out of it. Traditional fission was used only 50% of the energy while LIFTR uses 99%. There is no down side to it and it also can be made totally automatic as well as scalable to any size, which means we could create a decentralized and thus not prone to collapse energy grid.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Charles Higley
September 26, 2021 6:29 pm

Thorium is not only more than three times more abundant than uranium, ” It is estimated that one ton of thorium can produce as much energy as 35 tons of uranium”.

That translates into a very good return on investment.

alastair gray
Reply to  Rory Forbes
September 26, 2021 7:55 pm

please show your workings!

Rory Forbes
Reply to  alastair gray
September 26, 2021 9:13 pm

It’s called an internet search. I highly recommend it.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Rory Forbes
September 27, 2021 3:56 am

It’s called reading biased disingenous glossy press releases from companies wanting investment. Same as windmills and solar panels

I recommend research instead

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 27, 2021 10:44 am

First you need to brush up on basic reading skills, then learn to search … then you can do some research.

I recommend research instead

I recommend that you put your shorts on the right way around.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Rory Forbes
September 27, 2021 3:55 am

Please, enough with thorium. Yes we know it works, yes we know its abundant, yes we know its cheap.

Thorium reactors however are even MORE nasty in terms of radioactivity than uranium ones, have yet to have their developmennt costs amortized, and present no significant advantages.

The cost of uranium is simply not an issue right now, and even at $200/lb – the estimated cost of getting the 4billion tonnes in the oceans, out of the oceans, it is simply no barrier.

And the statement “one ton of thorium can produce as much energy as 35 tons of uranium” is a total lie. They are similar. What is being referred to here – disingenuously – is the dfifference between a breeder reactor and a normal reactor, Thorium reactors have to breed. Uranium ones do not. We built breeder reactors for uranium but the extra cost wasn’t worth the increase in fuel efficiency, becase uranium is dirt cheap.

Try doing research instead of reading glossy press releases.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Leo Smith
September 27, 2021 10:37 am

I couple a couple of simple facts and you managed to get your shirt in a knot. You need to cool your jets, son. I didn’t provide an argument either for or against thorium. You’re confusing me with someone else.

Try doing research instead of reading glossy press releases.

Try adjusting your underwear instead of attacking straw men. Reading appears to be a dying art.

alastair gray
Reply to  Charles Higley
September 26, 2021 7:54 pm

sounds interesting. Post more info please

September 26, 2021 5:29 pm

Dopes – dopes all. Take a look at progress this year on the __________ (the one whose name one CANNOT be mentioned in polite company.)

Christopher Chantrill
September 26, 2021 6:13 pm

A year or two ago I coined the notion that “government is war plus loot and plunder.” I thought I was being a bit naughty.

But really what is the whole climate thing but a war on carbon — the thingy at the base of all life — plus subsidies for the “good people.”

Peta of Newark
September 26, 2021 6:43 pm

We wanna be a bit careful here for 2 especial reasons…

‘British Fortitude
Boris is gonna return from New York to find that ‘tough strong resilient British people have weathered this storm and ‘done their duty‘ in the face of the gargantuan threat that Climate Change is.
That they have (not very but still have) cheerfully endured the price hikes, petrol queues (queues were invented here after all)
It will be painted/spun not as a Boris Fail but as a British People Success

The oldest trick in the book of the used-car salesman (and Emporial couturier), stroke the ego of the buyer while polishing/selling a turd.

Green Energy Success
Similar to how the Texas energy fail was (attempted to be) painted as a Fossil Fuel Fail, this will be painted as a Green Energy Win.
Because as of these last few hours, quite a brisk wind has picked up over the UK and guess what, the windmills have come on song and ‘saved the day’ from the horrendous hikes in gas prices and that evil Europeans (and Mr Putin) who caused them.
Thus= Windmill/Green Energy success and why we need more of it

Thereby you see The Problem with these slimeballs – it’s just like when Cooling = Warming
In UK politic, Failing = Succeeding

Even better for UK Treasury/Exchequer, folks are spending more money and when they do, treasury is always there taking a big phat slice
Even even better, it makes inflation, which is always spun as a ‘growing economy’ – despite it stealing our children’s futures and our old-folk’s pensions

Supposedly we’re gonna run out of ‘turkeys’ for Christmas…
farmers warn

Some of us beg to differ…..

Last edited 28 days ago by Peta of Newark
September 26, 2021 6:51 pm

Fusion??? Please. Do not insult my and many others intelligence with that fairy tale. All the current technology approaches to fusion commercial power are a dead end. All. Of. Them.
The same goes for a chemical “hydrogen future.”

And stop it with the Green-Blue-Pnk-multicolor hydrogen junk claims. There is no easy path to a hydrogen energy economy without copious CO2 release unless one wastes 1/3 of the energy in natural gas for capture, and then another 20% for refrigeration to liquid and transport to a sequestration (injection) well.

Time is up to stop the climate scam. Some serious human harm is about to happen this NH winter. Governments buying into the climate scam must be swept out of power. The Western democracy’s Leftist pols have been working on their training wheels of socialism with COVID lockdowns. Time to send them back to basement.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 27, 2021 7:33 am

Actually, most places already have a hydrogen fuel economy. Octane- C8H18 and similar hydrocarbons already supply most of the energy economy. Gas, oil, and coal will likely supply 65-80% of electricity and other energy usage for the next 15-20 years.

This is a factual presentation by a group that has consistently show a honest representation of facts, not politics.
“https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Global-Energy-Graph-1024×951.jpcomment image

Julian Flood
September 26, 2021 10:14 pm

Robert, while having some sympathy with your belief that there is no need for a Net Zero policy, it is obvious that you do not understand the political mind. It is beginning to dawn on some of the less dim members of our political and civil servant class – not a large cohort admittedly – that closing coal and nuclear power stations and discouraging gas means that when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, the lights go out.

Building SMRs means they are seen to be still committed to Net Zero, so they can then get on with emergency measures like fracking just to tide us over. It means that they can save face. It also gives them leverage to keep the gas price down.

When the hysteria dies down we’ll still have a functioning economy with good old gas power and cheap nuclear base load. I can live with that.

It’s called politics. If they stick to struggling with the almost unbuildable European Pressurised water Reactors we will see how dim they really are.


Leo Smith
Reply to  Julian Flood
September 27, 2021 4:06 am

I knew there was a reason why I liked you Julian 😉
Are we the only two people who look at things as the political animal does?
Boris will do what the electorate asks him to.

Getting the electorate to ask for the right thing is the problem. Sometimes giving them enough of the wrong thing, to make them sick, works quite well…
…Then its handy to have the right thing, oven ready, up your sleeve…
You want net zero? Here’s a British consortium ready to roll out mass produced nuclear reactors. That your government has been quietly funding. Or you can have the lights go out. Your choice.

Have you ever ready Ruydyard Kipling’s ‘Stalky &Co’ ? it purports to be a book about a Victorian public school, but it is actually the epitome of intelligence used to achieve desired results by the most devious ways possible. How Britain used to run an empire with 100 civil servants…

I find it inconceivable that an old Etonian would not have read it.

Steve Browne
September 26, 2021 10:33 pm

Mr. Bradley is woefully uninformed on the subject of nuclear power. It’s far from the ‘most expensive way to boil water’ as he likes to say. Anything can be made expensive by excessive regulatory burdens and licensing approval hurdles. The economic risk of nuclear is all manmade by government and the political class. Nuclear is possibly the safest, most reliable and most efficient electrical power generation technology we currently have and will only get better if we allow the next generation of reactor designs to be built.

John Doran
September 26, 2021 11:33 pm

A smasher of an essay by Matt Ridley somewhat blighted by Bradley’s inept commentary.

I suggest he read Merchants Of Despair by Robert Zubrin, nuclear PhD engineer. Nuclear fusion has been deliberately underfunded to fail. & the “Green Movement” has its roots firmly in its Nazi past. It is a eugenicist, depopulationist monster behind that “Green” curtain.

It looks like China & Russia will pursue nuclear power & drag a reluctant West along behind them.

Interesting times.

Reply to  John Doran
September 27, 2021 12:49 am

Utter nonsense. conspiracy theory.

Kiwi Gary
September 27, 2021 12:09 am

A small correction, courtesy of the German Energy Minister – Russia is providing all of the gas which it has contracted for. It could supply more, and has said that it will do so if requested, but the European court has limited supply to protect its supposed anti-monopoly rules. The German energy companies who put a lot of money into Merkel’s Nord Stream 2 have also been told by said court that they do not have full rights to the gas flowing therefrom. China has requested a doubling of the Power of the East line from Siberia to China despite the existing one only recently opening. A contract has recently been signed for a gas line through to Pakistan. At this rate, Europe will soon have a bidding war for gas on its hands. In order to go wholly imported LPG as demanded by Poland, a very large shipbuilding programme will be needed as there are simply not enough gas carriers to meet Europe’s demand.

September 27, 2021 12:34 am

Fracking remains the elephant in the room

Leo Smith
Reply to  fretslider
September 27, 2021 4:09 am

In the short term yes.

There is absolutely no doubt that frackable gas could solve Britains energy sensitivity for at least long enough to build a new generation of nuclear plants.

But will people vote for it?

Reply to  Leo Smith
September 27, 2021 4:24 am

They won’t be given a choice.

They’ll be told how it’s going to be. That’s how Parliament works.

Nobody voted for the climate change act or any of the measures that have been taken – not even Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs)

September 27, 2021 12:39 am

This tour de force ends on some policy notes that I would take issue with. First, nuclear is not the savior but a highly uneconomic, politicized alternative that at a very high cost would only rescue, to one extent or another, wind and solar.

You should note the UK govt is currently trying to get a US consortium to take over the reactor project at Anglesey which Hitachi pulled out of, plus they are under pressure to get the Chinese out of the proposed Sizewell new reactor (20% Chinese stake) and ban them from the proposed all Chinese Bradwell reactor.

You can expect a lot of stories backing up the govt on these issues planted in UK press in coming weeks…. and a lot aimed at opposing them.

Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 3:40 am

Nobody believes any of your just so stories, griff

Last edited 28 days ago by fretslider
Leo Smith
Reply to  griff
September 27, 2021 4:28 am


For once you are right. There will be a lot of stories planted in the press opposing them. Renewable energy that doesn’t actually work, does not compete with gas. Nuclear power does. Ergo it must be stopped. Your paymeisters in the gas and oil industry will see to that Griff, and give you all the ammunition to do it.

Meanwhile in the real world, the government faces a dilemma. It has to continue to be seen to support renewable idiocy, but it also needs to keep the lights on. The current regulatory environment precludes utterly the economic construction of large scale reactors like the EPWR, the AP1000 or the ABWR.

That leaves el Govermento with three hard political choices.

  1. Use Brexit to completely rewrite the nuclear regulations into a saner form than EURATOM. This is possible, but risks outrage from the EU.
  2. Use Brexit to use taxpayer money to completely underwrite the massive cost of meeting the current insane regulations. Which risks faux outrage from the GreenIdiots And, of course, the EU.
  3. Exercise some technical sleight of hand and fund a reactor that doesn’t need to meet the current regulations because it is technically different. If for example, your reactor doesnt need active cooling under SCRAM conditions, it’s safety circuits don’t need to meet the criteria for active cooling, do they? Then build it in a factory, in quantitity because it is not individually approved, it is type approved. This may not in strict terms give you as good a technical solution that a large reactor does, but it gives you a pracatical way to roll out a lot of nuclear power at a low cost in a hurry.

I think they are examining all these options, very quietly. And releasing it to the press is a way to test the political feasibility of each one.

The thing that halted all the current new nuclear has been lack of political will in the face of massive anti-nuclear pressure from the EU via Euratom, and the GreenIdiots

That will change

September 27, 2021 1:03 am

Yes, the classic move of the green tendency. To propose to do something because climate that can, on their theory, have no effect on it.

Here we have a country which does 1% of global emissions being told to get to zero, because climate. When, obviously, even if the alarmists are right, whether it does or not can have no effect on climate.

Its like the old telling children to finish their dinners because of the starving children someplace else halfway around the world. Whether they did or not could make no difference to them.

Extraordinary how the intellectual, political and media leadership seem unable to grasp this simple proposition.

Anyway, the good news, such as it is, is that the UK is showing the world the way by coming into crash collision with energy reality. If this results in a demolition of the crazed idea that anyone can run a country off wind and solar, it will have done some good.

Leo Smith
September 27, 2021 1:16 am

nuclear is not the savior but a highly uneconomic, politicized alternative that at a very high cost would only rescue, to one extent or another, wind and solar. And it would be five years anyway before any new unit would be ready, best case. Nuclear is the most complicated, expensive, risky way to boil water.

It is the saviour, and you are simply wrong about the risk and the cost.

  • More children have died from burns incurred pulling at the handles of boiling saucepans on stoves than have died from nuclear power.
  • Nuclear isn’t complicated, in fact it is extremely simple. You put enough slightly enriched uranium in proximity with more of the same, and it gets hot. This is actually simpler than a coal burner, because you don’t (necessarily) end up with hot gases, you end up with hot water, because you surround the uranium with water.
  • Nuclear is only expensive because it is politicised. Rewrite the regulations to be simply safe, and it gets to be cheaper than a coal power station to build.
  • Nuclear is capable of load following at least as well as coal. The Natrium project couples a small reactor to a molten salt reservoir in order to store energy thermally to allow even faster load following. The reason nuclear doesn’t normally load follow is economic, not technical. Because the fuel cost is so low, nuclear power is happy to generate electricity at well below the cost of fossil fuel if it has to, as long as it can also sell it at a higher price in times of high demand. Fossil fuel stations that cannot get the price of their fuel back are more profitable if shut down until they can.
  • There are not 10,000 years of known reserves of any fossil fuel. There are of uranium and thorium. There may be 100 years of coal and gas in the USA, this is not the case in the UK. A country that is smaller than Texas by a large margin, yet contains 10% of the population of the entire United States.
  • Nuclear would not rescue wind and solar. It would, in the end replace them. Wind and solar cannot load follow, nor are they reliable baseload. That the UK energy policy provides for a mix, with renewables is a political – not a technical or economic – led decision. “There is nothing a nuclear powered grid can not do that cannot be done worse, and at far greater expense, by adding solar or wind power to it”

Nuclear (and fracking), in the UK, is where it is because of politics and propaganda from the conventional oil and gas industry, which is located these days in countries that we do not regard as our friends. Russia discretely shovels funds into Big Green to discourage alternatives to its gas. Certain Islamic countries seem to have the UK and Europe so in thrall that declaring yourself to be that religion is a surefire way to escape prosecution for almost any crime.

It suits their purpose to demonise fracking and nuclear. Windmills and solar panels are perfect – they simply displace coal and increase the price of all energy and waste gas in a vain attempt to load follow not just fluctuating demand, but fluctuating renewable output.

It is a shame to see a WUWT contributor fall for green propaganda.

Last edited 28 days ago by Leo Smith
September 27, 2021 6:26 am

A rich vein of discussion – politely done in the main.

For my own sake I find it utterly incredible that we’re in the situation where we give the producer the absolute right to sell us his output at the time he decides (when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining) at a price determined by non-market means. Where we the customers pay £10Bn pa to subsidise renewables. Where the National Grid is forced to provide transmission capability to the Celtic fringe (or any other fringe for that matter). Where the populace is unaware that they have a large highly regressive tax (ie the poor pay as much per household as the rich) imposed on them. Where every problem will be solved by some magic piece of technology which is “just around the corner”. Where adults act like children on the M25.

I do not look forward to the time when the reckoning comes. When we have a large anticyclone in the middle of winter parked between us & Iceland for 6-12 weeks. No Sun. No wind. Sub-zero temperatures. No electricity, no gas (‘cos it’s pumped by electricity) no water (ditto). No phones (apart from perhaps landlines using old fashioned copper cables). No transportation. No food. None of the aspects of a modern civilisation at all.

So there will be lots of dead people, very young, very old, very vulnerable which will make COVID19 look like “a walk in the park”.

Derek Wood
September 27, 2021 9:39 am

It’s looking very likely that the idiots are going to have to discover their idiocy the hard way. That’s unfortunate for the rest of us, who repeatedly told them that they were idiots, because we’re the ones who will have to suffer. If this winter turns out to be very cold, which is likely, if only because of Sod’s Law, I’m going to be obliged to spend a great deal of time in one room, with a single radiator on, and a sleeping bag. Thanks Ed, Dave, Boris, you idiots.

September 27, 2021 12:05 pm

Even if fusion was perfected tomorrow and could be built quickly and cheaply, you know the more radical Greens would be against it for “This, That, and the Other reason”. The political elite would also be against it because it would make vast amounts of energy readily available and they would lose their power to control the modern day serfs. With abundant energy the ‘Age of Scarcity’ just might end, and as such, the serfs would no longer need the elite. That will not be allowed to happen.

September 27, 2021 2:59 pm

A candle led future? But surely that just creates more CO2.

Reply to  Robber
September 27, 2021 11:28 pm

For Griff a candle led is all you need we saw that with Africa.

September 27, 2021 8:07 pm

Direct link to Ridley’s excellent Daily Mail article:
I didn’t know the UK had shot themselves in the foot so badly in the Shale Gas discovery! What a pity.

Here’s a question for Dave Middleton — where else in the world are there current shale gas/oil production or serious plays? I recall reading of prospective ground around the world in the early days after shale started coming online in the US. Since then… Nothing. Surely Russia & China have prospective shale? Geology is geology….

Sounds like Europe is in for hard times. I hope the German nuclear plants were just mothballed, and not decommissioned. They wouldn’t be that stupid? Right?
“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”
– Albert Einstein

Reply to  Peter D. Tillman
September 28, 2021 3:01 pm

Well, darn, this one got buried in all the fluff & nonsense. Oh, well.

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