back to article England just not windy enough for wind farms, admits renewables boss

The head of the wind industry’s trade body in the UK has admitted England isn’t windy enough for any more wind farms. “We are almost certainly not talking about the possibility of new plants in England. The project economics wouldn’t work; the wind speeds don’t allow for it,” Hugh McNeal, head of Renewable UK told the …

  1. codejunky Silver badge

    Real shame

    This is where Lewis Page is missed. That is not to skip the respect to Andrew Orlowski for continuing to keep an eye on the unquestionable religion we must all knuckle under.

    Nice article Andrew

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Real shame

      Nice article, but doesn't Sir David MacKay FRS, FInstP, FICE deserve to have his name mentioned?

      "In his final interview before his untimely death, DECC’s chief scientific advisor called it an “appalling delusion” that the UK could meet its energy needs from renewables."

      Perhaps In his final interview before his untimely death, DECC’s chief scientific advisor David McKay called it an “appalling delusion” that the UK could meet its energy needs from renewables. might work just as well?

      Also, it should be noted the the conductor of the interview asks viewers to "please do not quote him out of context or sensationalise what he said."

      1. energystar
        Headmaster

        Re: Real shame

        Fusion Research a lot more unavoidable to Northern Lands.

        High Voltage DC commerce, also.

    2. Blitheringeejit
      Headmaster

      Knuckling under

      Facty bit: “We are almost certainly not talking about the possibility of new plants in England."

      Reg hack conclusion: "...the UK isn’t windy enough for wind...".

      The ghost of Lewis Page lives on.

      By all means bash the hippies (we love it), but please try to stay honest. And if you can't resist over-interpreting and putting words in peoples' mouths, at least try be much funnier than this. Lewis usually was.

      1. Steve Crook

        Re: Knuckling under

        It's NOT a reg hack conclusion. The full context is that, without subsidy, onshore wind will never be cost competitive with gas. Because the turbines don't generate enough electricity, because there's not enough wind...

        Which is strange when you think that, 15 years ago we were being told that wind power would solve our need for low carbon electricity and that issues surrounding intermittent operation were idiotic because 'the UK is very windy, and the wind is always blowing somewhere'.

        Now, we're confronted with wind and solar operators installing DIESEL generators to cash in on the need for short term power generation to meet peak margin requirements. You couldn't make it up.

        1. Phil Lord

          Re: Knuckling under

          Against this, we have the clear difficulty that gas is not renewable, will run out and is causing significant damage to the environment. In otherwords, gas would never be cost competitive with wind power if dumping the waste were not subsidised (i.e. free).

          The world we operate in is changing. The correct response to these statistics is, "we have to use less energy" or "we have to make wind power more effective", not "burn, baby, burn".

          1. ukgnome

            Re: Knuckling under

            The actual article states "England is not windy enough to justify building any more onshore wind turbines, the chief executive of wind industry trade body has admitted.

            ONSHORE!

            "Hugh McNeal, who joined RenewableUK two months ago from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, insisted the industry could make the case for more onshore turbines in some parts of the UK, despite the withdrawal of subsidies.

            But he said this would “almost certainly” not be in England, as the wind speeds were not high enough to make the projects economically viable without subsidy."

            So Scotland or Wales then, or replace the smaller turbines with larger ones - as suggested by Scottish Power.

            Basically a click baited article missing almost all the key facts.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Knuckling under

              On El Reg? Goodness what a surprise

          2. abedarts

            Re: Knuckling under

            We may not be windy enough or sunny enough but that doesn't mean we have to cut down on energy use because the only alternative is carbon fuels. The solution to our energy problems is at hand and has been for decades - nuclear power. We should of course supplement nuclear with offshore wind and solar farms but our base generation should be modern, safe nuclear power.

            Look at our neighbour across the channel - France is 90% nuclear and the remainder mostly hydro. That hasn't stopped them wasting huge amounts of money on wind turbines though.

            1. Ucalegon

              Re: Knuckling under

              "France 90% nuclear", maybe when I was last in school. The World Nuclear Assoc. have it as 75% in March 2016.

              As a percentage it's fallen year on year since 2004, from nearly 88%. That may not seem much but that's just under 80+TWh coming from somewhere else. Given France export "cheap" energy across Europe they must be making their model work (low carbon) even if nuclear is a diminishing percentage of total production. Nuclear,is predicted to dip to 50% of total production by 2025.

            2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

              Re: Knuckling under

              The solution to our energy problems is at hand and has been for decades - nuclear power.

              If you think renewables are expensive...

          3. itzman
            FAIL

            Re: Knuckling under

            we have to make wind power more effective

            I do love ideologically driven engineering.

            I get to do huge belly laughs.

            And how, Mr Phil Lord, do you propose to 'make wind power more effective' when its pushing the absolute limits of Betz' law and you can't make a windmill out of dreams and fairy dust: It takes energy.

            The WHOLE POINT is that wind power cannot be made 'more effective'.

            You sir, are a rampant Cat-beller*, and so are those who upvoted you.

            Naïve to the point of being dangerous.

            * Belling the Cat

            LONG ago, the mice had a general council to consider what measures they could take to outwit their common enemy, the Cat. Some said this, and some said that; but at last a young mouse got up and said he had a proposal to make, which he thought would meet the case. “You will all agree,” said he, “that our chief danger consists in the sly and treacherous manner in which the enemy approaches us. Now, if we could receive some signal of her approach, we could easily escape from her. I venture, therefore, to propose that a small bell be procured, and attached by a ribbon round the neck of the Cat. By this means we should always know when she was about, and could easily retire while she was in the neighbourhood.”

            This proposal met with general applause, until an old mouse got up and said: “That is all very well, but who is to bell the Cat?” The mice looked at one another and nobody spoke. Then the old mouse said:

            “IT IS EASY TO PROPOSE IMPOSSIBLE REMEDIES.”

            1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

              Re: Knuckling under

              And how, Mr Phil Lord, do you propose to 'make wind power more effective' when its pushing the absolute limits of Betz' law and you can't make a windmill out of dreams and fairy dust: It takes energy.

              Betz' law only applies to the blades themselves. there are other areas where efficiency can be increased such at the generator stage, bearings etc. For example, we could replace the present generators with those based on high temp superconductors which have been trialed. I don't think we have reached peak efficiency in any way or form

              1. mabl4367

                Re: Knuckling under

                Generators are already at about 80% efficiency. Even if we could by some miracle get to 99.999% efficiency it will not solve the problems of wind power.

                We need a true breakthrough in grid level storage if we want to depend on wind and solar for a major part of our electric power needs. Without viable grid level storage of some kind we must have some alternative power generation for the nights when the wind doesn't blow.

                1. PyLETS
                  WTF?

                  Re: Knuckling under

                  "We need a true breakthrough in grid level storage"

                  Likely to be P2G - power to gas. That's for when the low hanging fruit of readily available sites for pumped storage and uprated hydro and the effect of strengthened continent scale interconnection are used up and only more expensive options remain. Storing energy in the gas grid from wind/solar/tidal when electricity from that source is cheap, will lose about 50% of the stored renewable electricity in conversion costs. Given the likely variations in electricity spot price this will still be economic in helping eliminate the massive subsidies we all pay the carbon burners through untimely urban pollution deaths and excessive extreme weather insurance or uninsured flood and gale losses.

                2. Schultz
                  Boffin

                  mabl4367: "Generators are already at about 80% efficiency."

                  I hope you talk about wind energy generators. Modern power plants seem to be in the 30-45% range: https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=107&t=3

              2. Nightkiller

                Re: Knuckling under

                Superconductors? Really? Cool down your dreams using liquid Helium? How many watt-hours just to power the compressors to keep it liquid? How many effing Pounds Sterling is this going to cost for your anticipated "improvement"? You have any idea of the increase in efficiency you are proposing? Call back when you do.

                1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

                  Re: Knuckling under

                  Superconductors? Really? Cool down your dreams using liquid Helium? How many watt-hours just to power the compressors to keep it liquid? How many effing Pounds Sterling is this going to cost for your anticipated "improvement"? You have any idea of the increase in efficiency you are proposing? Call back when you do.

                  Call me back when you work for a company that is developing that technology

                  1. Roland6 Silver badge

                    Re: Knuckling under @hammarbtyp

                    Call us back when you work for a company that is able to increase the output power to a level greater than the input power.

                    Betz's law gives an absolute limit to the amount of energy that can be extracted from the wind by a perfect "actuator disk" aka turbine. So the efficiency figures AMSC claim are with respect to Betz's limit, hence their 94% efficient "HTS generator" at its output terminals will deliver at best circa 55.7% of the energy originally contained in the wind; although I note that AMSC do not actually give an efficiency figure for a complete tower and hence the above is based on an assumption...

                    Whilst AMSC's 94% efficiency is a big improvement on previous generation of equipment with 75~80% efficiency, it would seem that there is little room for further significant efficiency gains, yes they might be able to creep up to 98% but that ain't going to deliver significant increases in energy output. Nor are they going to resolve the problem of when the wind doesn't blow...

                    1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

                      Re: Knuckling under @hammarbtyp

                      Roland6 - well lets not short change a 5% increase in efficiency. Airliners are sold on smaller improvements. Also unlike fossil fuel generators, once the turbine is setup there are no other major costs, so that 5% will continue delivering for the lifetime of the generator.

                      Also making the generators small and light reduces base costs and allows you increase the number of areas which makes placing wind turbines.

                      OK there are no magic solutions and you can't beat physics, but there are a lot of things you can do within those limits and I don't think we have go there yet.

                      1. Roland6 Silver badge

                        Re: Knuckling under @hammarbtyp

                        hammarbtyp - I wasn't trying to short change the increases in efficiency we have seen in wind turbines, just the idea that there is room for technology enhancements that could enhance a 10MW wind turbine beyond 11MW...

                        As for making generators small and light, I have no problem with, just that we're not seeing manufacturers addressing micro-generation, where these attributes really come to the fore.

              3. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

                Re: Knuckling under

                Looked at one way, you will NEVER reach 'peak efficiency' - it's asymptotic.

                Looked at another way, we are ALWAYS at peak efficiency - we are always doing the best that we and current technology can. The minute you make optimistic assertions about the future of your favourite technology, you allow me to counter with optimistic assumptions about mine - including the assumption that we will invent a much better form of energy production next year...

                Betz's law limits the energy you can take from the wind, You could make the rest of the system 100% efficient, and you would still get no more than the Betz limit...

          4. Kumar2012

            Re: Knuckling under

            @Phil Lord "evidence... is causing significant damage to the environment"

            Well maybe you can pass some of this 'evidence' on to the zealots of the Church of AGW, they haven't managed to produce any undoctored evidence for AGW yet.

          5. kventin

            Re: Knuckling under

            @Phil Lord

            """

            Against this, we have the clear difficulty that gas is not renewable, will run out and is causing significant damage to the environment. In otherwords, gas would never be cost competitive with wind power if dumping the waste were not subsidised (i.e. free).

            """

            re "gas is not renewable, will run out" in 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 or 500 years? i know! soon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bro-WwwroEA&feature=youtu.be&t=3)

            re "is causing significant damage to the environment" as opposed to what? coal? diesel? hydro? nuclear? we change the environment with our sole existence, not to speak about numbers. we live, therefore we need energy. the real question should be how to provide, not how to stiffle it. if (more people) => (more energy needed) then conversely (less energy provided) => ??? (careful, borders on mass genocide)

            """

            The world we operate in is changing. The correct response to these statistics is, "we have to use less energy" or "we have to make wind power more effective", not "burn, baby, burn".

            """

            re """The correct response to these statistics is, "we have to use less energy" or "we have to make wind power more effective""""

            WRONG. the only land that uses "less energy" is yesterdayland. throughout _all_ history we (genus homo, homo sapiens species) used progressively more energy. arguably that's what progress _means_. again, not to speak about numbers. ever heard of this? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale

            in fact the _real_ correct reponse is "we have to stop wasting energy" and related "we have to stop polluting environment" -- and by pollution i don't mean by product heat or co2. had we not poisoned the oceans and felled down the forests we could have used them for changing heat and co2 to food.

            """

            not "burn, baby, burn"

            """

            agreed, burning is stupid when you have e.g. nuclear energy. correction: _if_ you have nuclear energy.

          6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Knuckling under

            'The correct response to these statistics is, "we have to use less energy" or "we have to make wind power more effective", not "burn, baby, burn".'

            Or "we have to bottle up the wind so as to have some when it's not blowing"?

          7. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

            Re: Knuckling under

            ...Against this, we have the clear difficulty that gas is not renewable,....

            Yes it is.

            ... will run out...

            No it won't

            ... and is causing significant damage to the environment....

            No it doesn't

            ... In otherwords, gas would never be cost competitive with wind power...

            Yes it is...

        2. Schultz

          Steve Crook: "without subsidy, onshore wind will never be cost competitive with gas"

          Do you own a hat? I can supply some nice hot gochujang sauce to make it go down easier.

          ... never say never ...

          See: Historic gas prices, note the factor 5 price decrease in the last ten years, and extrapolate at will.

      2. NeilPost

        Re: Knuckling under

        Yeah, it;s certainly windy in parts of Wales and Scotland... England is not the UK.

  2. rcoombe

    Tidal?

    In terms of reliability it's pretty guaranteed to be there every day 24x7. Problems with storms trashing your kit perhaps? I dunno. Just wondered why it's not even mentioned in the piece.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Tidal?

      I think Scotland are sorted for Tidal power. But how much of that power would you lose in transferring it down south to Birmingham for example?

      1. BoldMan

        Re: Tidal?

        Tidal has huge environmental impacts on wildlife and environmental "disruption" that effectively eliminates most of the promising sites.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Tidal?

          "environmental impacts on wildlife"

          ISTR reading about tests at Strangford quite some time ago which concluded that this wasn't really a problem. It's a good test site given that there's the QUB marine station immediately adjacent, that the turbines occupied a reasonable percentage of the opening and that the tidal flows are very strong with the entire tidal volume of the Lough rushing in and out through a very narrow opening.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Tidal? Power loss

        But how much of that power would you lose in transferring it down south to Birmingham for example?

        About the same for nuclear.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tidal?

        Swansea tidal lagoon would be closer.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Tidal?

          Swansea tidal lagoon would be closer

          Because I can see the site out of the window, here are some links:

          Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay

          Funding boost

          All is not rosy

          I also saw an analysis somewhere that claimed their figures for generation were out - they would not be able to generate for as long on each tide as they claimed. However, the idea of a chain of tidal lagoons around the country, taking advantage of staggered tides, is interesting and in some ways the Swansea project is too small.

          Gotta be better than the Severn Barrage which would not only have wrecked the tidal mudflats upstream, but stopped for ever the awe-inspiring Severn Bore.

          M.

        2. Leeroy Bronze badge

          Re: Tidal?

          Has the Swansea lagoon been canceled, not heard anything about it for ages ?

          It looked nice at one point, shame if all that work goes to waste.

      4. ZanzibarRastapopulous

        Re: Tidal?

        > I think Scotland are sorted for Tidal power.

        We get 9 metre tides in Fleetwood and Liverpool, the Bristol channel is truly epic on springs 13m at the moment.

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/coast_and_sea/tide_tables/12/523

        I think Strangford Lough hits 4 knots, which - in theory - could provide substantial amounts of power for the small village of Belfast.

        1. energystar
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Tidal?

          "...hits 4 knots..." ?

          Tidal-Flood on the same package?

      5. SolidSquid

        Re: Tidal?

        We've actually got quite a lot of renewable stuff up in Scotland (quick check suggests it's around 57%) and iirc we're a net exporter to the national grid. There probably is some loss, but not as much as you might think since the whole reason for high voltage pylons is to reduce power loss during transfer from remote power stations

        Honestly though, while I'm all for renewables as a power source, they are going to need more research and investment in pilot schemes since it's heavily dependent on regional conditions. Until then the best way to reduce carbon emissions is probably to invest more in nuclear, but good luck getting that passed in parliament

      6. R3sistance

        Re: Tidal?

        Why would you take tidal energy from Scotland down to Birmingham? That seems wasteful to start with. There are massive sections of coast far closer to Birmingham than Scotland and it's likely some of those would be more likely but generally Tidal energy would like be used for the closest areas first meaning the coastal towns first and then further inland with excess. However this energy reduces the total amount of energy needed in the UK completely. Somewhere like Birmingham which is nearing the point furthest away from any coast possible, would likely be on a different type of energy source but you don't need to use that same type of source for coastal areas powered by tidal power.

        1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

          Re: Tidal?

          ...Why would you take tidal energy from Scotland down to Birmingham? That seems wasteful to start with. There are massive sections of coast far closer to Birmingham than Scotland and it's likely some of those would be more likely ...

          Tidal energy, like hydro, is critically dependent on suitable geography. There are actually very few sites in the UK suitable for either, so any proposal suggesting widespread use of either is an immediate failure...

      7. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Tidal?

        "...Birmingham..."

        Power from Labrador (a.k.a. northern Quebec, LOL) is sold to the USA.

        I'm not an expert in geography, but I'm pretty sure that the UK is about the size of a small coconut by comparison.

        The real problem with tidal is that it must be on the same truck as my flying car. Delayed by endless decades...

      8. gumbril

        Re: Tidal?

        Don't believe it's an issue.

        As of 1980, the longest cost-effective distance for direct-current transmission was determined to be 7,000 km (4,300 mi). For alternating current it was 4,000 km (2,500 mi), though all transmission lines in use today are substantially shorter than this.[16]

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_power_transmission#Losses

    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Tidal?

      My understanding is that it's incredibly expensive and the greens are opposed ( because fish, or something ).

      From the governments perspective, why bother spending billions on a tiny amount of generation if both sides ( green and non-green ) are going to moan about it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tidal?

        Tidal will never be cost effective. The combination of moving parts and salt water makes it totally non-viable, plus maintenance is slow and difficult. Imagine the difference beteen estuary wind farms and land wind farms - then multiply by 5.

    3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Tidal?

      well because its not a review of all possible renewables.

      I agree completely however . Tides are a great natural resource almost completeley unused. All that water sloshing around , the potential energy must be immense. Also we have some of the highest and strongest tides in the world. Storm damage to kit sounds like a trifling problem, and also one that applies to sun n wind.

      ..or we could start off the water power revolution by damming all these rivers up and getting some turbines going. Rivers are another massive (and reliable!) source of energy and again untapped ( in this country)

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: Tidal?

        ..or we could start off the water power revolution by damming all these rivers up and getting some turbines going. Rivers are another massive (and reliable!) source of energy and again untapped ( in this country)

        Er... are you sure that's a good idea? Have you not noticed what happens when rivers fill up with too much water? Blocking the outflow seems like a perfect way of ensuring that large inhabited parts of the country are, er, flooded.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Tidal?

          You could put floating waterwheels on many rivers.

          These are anchored but can rise or fall with river levels.

          These would use the flow of water to turn the wheels. As the majority of rivers flows 24/7/52 then there is always a flow of power.

          These could be placed under bridges (where the water speeds up) or at the sides in multiples

          It wouldn't take an enginnering genius to get a design that could be mass produced thus lowering the cost.

          Ok, so it might not be in the mega or goga watt range but as the tesco advert says

          'Every little helps'.

          Just think what a thousand of these on the River Thames/Severn/Trent might produce?

          Maintenance? just lift them out of the water, replace with another one and cart the old one off to a base for work.

          But hey, I'm just dreaming. The planners would put a stop to this sort of thing in an instant.

          1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

            Re: Tidal?

            ..It wouldn't take an enginnering (sic) genius ....

            On the other hand, it looks as if it DOES take an engineering genius to point out that the energy density of a flowing stream is about 50 watts per square foot (assuming 10% efficiency, which is generous). That really isn't enough to harvest...

      2. Chemist

        Re: Tidal?

        "we could start off the water power revolution by damming all these rivers up and getting some turbines going."

        Are you serious ?. Where in this small island is there enough catchment to collect sufficient water and free land to flood to a depth sufficient to generate meaningful amounts of electricity at an altitude that will give a sufficient head - well I can tell you, just about nowhere including most of the Highlands.

        I'm in Switzerland at the moment. In the Valais from Martigny to Visp ~60km the side-valleys almost all contain dams for flood-control and hydro purposes. Many of the dams have heads of ~1000m with rainfall and meltwater from 4000+ m peaks and yet this area stiil only produces electricity equivalent to ~15% of Switzerland's consumption

        1. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: Tidal?

          Where in this small island is there enough catchment to collect sufficient water and free land to flood to a depth sufficient to generate meaningful amounts of electricity at an altitude that will give a sufficient head - well I can tell you, just about nowhere including most of the Highlands.

          Psst, try looking at New Zealand if you need help with hydro. Some of our early dams were only metres high, and the world's oldest functioning hydro generator is on Mt Taranaki, near Dawson Falls, fed by a pipe that's only 10" or less IIRC. Even our modern dams are puny compared to what you're suggesting.

      3. tentimes

        Re: Tidal?

        And to hell with the fish and other wildlife?

        1. ZanzibarRastapopulous

          Re: Tidal?

          >And to hell with the fish and other wildlife?

          How far would you go with that? Should Holland be re-flooded? The Thames barrier removed?

      4. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Tidal?

        Rivers are another massive (and reliable!) source of energy and again untapped ( in this country)

        @Prst. V.Jeltz: citation? I'd be amazed to learn that the comparatively small, slow-moving rivers of England could deliver much energy.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Tidal?

      "Just wondered why it's not even mentioned in the piece."

      I think it's much less developed. It's a more hostile environment to place free-standing turbines. If you've got a bit of land in an exposed situation you could plant readily available wind turbines there and collect a nice subsidy for delivering an erratic supply of power. Submerged turbines in tidal races are only just getting towards production. The alternative of building tidal reservoirs is apt to cause real environmental problems because promising sites tend to be wild-life friendly places, something the pseudo-environmentalists are apt to overlook.

      The other explanation might be that wind turbines and solar are easy to see so the p-es are reminded what they're getting for their our money.

      1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Tidal?

        Submerged turbines in tidal races are only just getting towards production.

        Something I have wondered about is why I have not heard much about any efforts to submerge turbines in deep water where there are strong currents, tidal or otherwise. Besides maintenance issues, I would guess they would have fewer problems to overcome than other renewables. It would seem that they wouldn't pose more environmental issues than windmills, shouldn't get in the way of shipping, and would be a lot more reliable in terms of hours of production than wind or solar.

    5. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: Tidal?

      The big problem with tidal power has always been the inability to build a machine with moving parts that can survive for more than a couple of years in any sea with the conditions that would make tidal power economically viable.

      Wind does work, but there's a limited number of places where the wind is predicable enough to make it work. What the report is saying is that the relatively few good sites are now taken, and there's no point in building out anything else.

      Despite the scepticism about the UK's climate, Solar is probably the best of the options mentioned. Solar cells convert light, not heat, to electricity. Heat is the enemy of photovoltaic power: a hot cell has higher resistance and produces lower current. The UK's cooler climate offsets its lower light levels, so that even with today's relatively inefficient panels, people with enough free space can achieve an economic return on solar, even without subsidy.

      Subsidies are part of the problem, as they encourage people to invest in poor technology. Also, I personally don't like subsidised buy-back tariffs for renewable electricity, because at the bottom line they're just another tax-break for the wealthy - the economics of selling energy back to the grid only work if you don't have to borrow the capital needed to set up the generating system. Also, subsidies have to be paid for by someone, and that someone usually ends up being the poor git who can't afford to deck his/her house with fifty grand's worth of solar panels.

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Tidal?

        people with enough free space can achieve an economic return on solar, even without subsidy

        Citation Needed

        The last time the BRE did research on this, the cost per kWh was around 40p for solar PV, which is significantly more than the general price of domestic electricity, let alone the price that CCGT can generate at. I can't find it in this report (2007) but I distinctly remember reading that payback without subsidy was of the order of 20 years for domestic systems which have a lifespan of perhaps 25 years (for the panels, probably less for the inverter). I dare say that's improved recently, but I've not seen any research proving it. Given a high installation cost and the uncertainty of subsidy levels over governments for PV, I'm almost certainly going to install Solar Thermal (just an example) on the limited amount of suitable roof I have. It can be a DIY job, the raw cost is relatively low (even factoring in a "dual coil" cylinder) and the payback should be much quicker than PV.

        M.

        1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

          @Martin an gof Re: Tidal?

          To clarify: without feed-in subsidies, for domestic residential use, PV is not there yet unless you've got a lot of space available for panels. With only a small amount of suitable space, you're entirely right to go for thermal solar instead - it's also what I'm doing.

          However, if you are operating a business, the case for PV solar is far stronger. I'm writing from Ireland, where we have no feed-in subsidies on solar electricity, but where we do have a lot of small, residential farms. For this kind of operation, PV can be economical - they've got space to install a sufficiently large array, and the business activities to be able to claim a capital allowance on it. PV also acts as a hedge against future electricity price rises, which is important when the price of your product is highly volatile.

          When you factor in capital allowances, the payback time for a modern system is 5-10 years to a business user (including sole traders). Other jurisdictions treat this stuff differently, so your mileage may vary, but even without feed-in subsidies, one can make an economic argument for PV.

      2. Kiwi Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Tidal?

        The big problem with tidal power has always been the inability to build a machine with moving parts that can survive for more than a couple of years in any sea with the conditions that would make tidal power economically viable.

        I visited the Mv Doulos during her farewell tour in 2008. She'd had many parts replaced during service including her engine in IIRC the 1970s, but still those parts did decades of service in very harsh environments. The prop shaft was still the original from 1914 or thereabouts.

        We can make ships with good long lifespans, I'm sure near-shore installations could be done. Though dry-docking them would be harder.

        Post intended for all those saying it's to harsh an environment. I'm not saying it'll be easy or suitable, just that we've had the necessary engineering skills for a long time.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Tidal?

          " we've had the necessary engineering skills for a long time."

          Someone made a throwaway comment about Strangford Lough earlier.

          It wasn't obvious whether they were or weren't aware that Strangford Lough has had a tidal generation scheme designed, installed (in 2008), operating and generating power, and (earlier this year) decommissioned. By an originally British company based in Bristol (Marine Current Turbines, not to be confused with Tidal Generation Ltd, also from Bristol). So it's been through the full design operate decommission lifecycle, and has been studied by the company and by academic researchers.

          http://www.marineturbines.com/tags/strangford-lough

          Just sayin.

    6. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Tidal?

      Tidal is what we (UK) should be concentrating on above all else. Our geography more than any other country[1] gives us a huge resource to tap.

      The downside there is, those countries which have committed more seriously to renewables (from China to the USA to more enlightened Europeans) have proportionally less of it and more of other sources. So noone has taken the lead in developing it. We have some pioneering projects, but only in Scotland have we got a government more-or-less prepared to back their pioneers.

      And there still seems to be a lot of ignorance. Generic anti-green knee-jerks and a claim that greens don't like it have already popped up in this thread.

      [1] With possible exceptions amongst tiny island countries whose total needs might be a the size of single UK power station.

  3. James 51 Silver badge

    The headline is very misleading. The article says any more wind farms, not at all as the headline implies. What about off-shore? Steadier wind although more expensive to build and maintain.

    1. OurManInX
      FAIL

      selective use of facts

      He said basically that all the best onshore locations are used up, but offshore is still viable.

      He also said (actually said because it is in quotes):

      “We are now the cheapest form of new generation in Britain,” Mr McNeal said. “If plants can be built in places where people don’t object to them and if, as a result of that, over their whole lifetime the net impact on consumers against the alternatives is beneficial, I need to persuade people we should be doing that.”

      The Reg writer is just an industry shill.

      1. caffeine addict Silver badge

        Re: selective use of facts

        "The Reg writer is just an industry shill."

        Anyone who reads ElReg on a regular basis knows that Andrew has an opinion and that he writes articles that support his view. But an industry shill? Really?

        1. OurManInX
          Big Brother

          Re: selective use of facts

          "...an industry shill? Really?"

          Read the article, read the article it came from. Can only see that the quotes are so selective as to indicate an attempt to edit reality. What other reason would the writer have to do this?

          1. Tom7

            Re: selective use of facts

            Yep. For instance, he quotes 'REF's current "real" spot price' for wind energy as £101/MWHr. This might be true, but is heavily cherry-picked. The monthly average for May was more like £65/MWHr and the monthly average hasn't topped £100 since May 2013, generally hovering around £75 +/- £10 since then. It's still above the wholesale electricity price, but then the wholesale price is subsidised.

        2. TheOtherHobbes

          Re: selective use of facts

          >Andrew has an opinion and that he writes articles that support his view

          Which is usually nonsense - "not even wrong" much of the time.

          Here we see "Actually offshore is fine" transformed into "UK not windy enough and renewables are teh stupid."

          That's not exactly honest competent reporting, is it?

          1. herman Silver badge

            Re: selective use of facts

            Depends on whether you consider 'off shore' to be part of the UK or not.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: selective use of facts

        “We are now the cheapest form of new generation in Britain,” Mr McNeal said.

        He/they might be able to say that IF they can run without the direct subsidies they get and they can sell the electricity for less than the coal fired or CCGT units.

        Until Wind can provide base load electricity at a price at least equal to fossil fuels it is nothing but pie in the sky.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: selective use of facts

        We are now the cheapest form of new generation in Britain,” Mr McNeal said.

        And of course he lied, or was extremely economical with the truth

        But then he is an industry shill, after all.

        Wind power is cheaper in terms of name plate capacity than nuclear, though nowhere near as cheap as diesel or gas..

        However nuclear runs at 90% capacity factor and is shut down with lots of warning for scheduled refuels and maintenance. Generally when it's least needed. It lasts around 60 years and O & M costs are low.

        Wind shuts down randomly and erratically with little or no warning, and its output is completely unpredictable as far as 4 hours ahead. It's high maintenance and so expensive to keep running, and the turbines seldom last more than 12 years before they are BER, and it runs at an average capacity factor of around 22%, or a shade more offshore. It also needs expensive grid links that can take its peak output, whereas most of the time the link capacity is wasted. It also needs serious and online backup all the time.

        Putting al that together and costing it out levelised over a units lifetime, wind is around twice as expensive as even Hinkley point will be.

        OurManinX is just another renewable energy industry shill. Guilty of precisely what he accuses others of.

        And the rest of renewable UK are here today upvoting rubbish, as they always do.

        I personally am sick of certain factions trying to shut down objective reporting of facts by ad homimen attacks against the reporters.

        It shows the sheer paucity of counter arguments, to the intelligent.

        The fact is that all intermittent renewable energy is total rubbish, and creates far more problems than it solves, not only because te energy density makes it an ecological disaster, but because the intermittency means it cannot ever stand alone, and must always be complemented with some other technology, a fact which, and the cost of which, is always conveniently omitted by Renewable UK when they compare apples to bobsleighs and declare them equivalent.

        There is a word for people like Renewable UK, but I want this post to remain.

        1. energystar
          Windows

          Re: selective use of facts

          "It lasts around 60 years and O & M costs are low." Always dismissed on Fission PR is that depleted s#!t management always severely lacking resources [contrasting overpriced acquisition]. Public affairs need of a different logic. Designs for Bad Times, and Worst.

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      The headline is very misleading

      Even The Telegraph, where the linked story originated at the weekend- a paper that seems to believe that the very idea of renewable energy is a hippy-communist plot - managed to conceed that the government has so cocked up the energy market that they're even having to subsidise gas-powered generation.

      All our eggs are currently in the Hinkley Point C basket and, despite EDF reportedly planning to sell off assets left right and centre to raise the funds to build it, there is real uncertainty that it will go ahead. If it does go ahead, the experience of Flamanville does not bode well for a timely completion.

      Whatever the future of centralised renewable power generation, it's looking increasingly like a sound precaution to have some sort of household solar capability to keep the LEDs on when your compulsory smartmeter is instructed to start shedding load.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Epic FAIL

        sound precaution to have some sort of household solar capability to keep the LEDs on when your compulsory smartmeter is instructed to start shedding load.

        But you dont need the LEDS on in the middle of the day, and solar dont work at night.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Epic FAIL

          >But you dont need the LEDS on in the middle of the day, and solar dont work at night

          But all you have to do is introduce super-double-triple daylight savings and put the clocks back 12hours !

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Epic FAIL

          "But you dont need the LEDS on in the middle of the day, and solar dont work at night."

          But you could charge your batteries from them during the day then run a 12v lighting system when needed, getting rid of the expense and losses of inverters. It might even be worth running a DC ring or drops from a DC lighting circuit with varying voltages to suit various devices. Why convert battery stored (or "live") DC power into 240VAC just so you can plug in all your phones/laptops etc when you can just a simple DC/DC converter and use it directly.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Epic FAIL

            "But you could charge your batteries from them during the day then run a 12v lighting system when needed"

            OK, that's the lights sorted. How do you power the washing machine in the middle of a cycle or the oven partway through cooking a meal when the smart meter disconnects you?

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Epic FAIL

              Well, obviously you still have the inverter for where the 240V is needed. I'm just suggesting that since we are mainly switching to LED lighting anyway why not cut out the middle man and have a 12 lighting ring instead of taking a DC storage device, converting to 240VAC to pump it around a lighting ring which is going to be converting back to 12VDC anyway. Plenty of 12V halogen lamps out there too. Only CFL might be a problem and most people seem to strongly dislike those anyway.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Epic FAIL

                Perhaps better still, distribute it at 48V with spot converters back to whatever voltage is actually needed, where it's needed. Shame there's no existing standardised reasonably inexpensive mechanism for using the same indoor cables for both reliable high speed data and the usual indoor low power applications, just think what you could do with that.

                What, Power over Ethernet exists and has been standardised for years? Who knew!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nuclear

    Build nuclear now.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Nuclear

      I wonder how much more its going to cost now brexit is looking more likely? I'd guess over 4x current rates.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nuclear

        re. I wonder how much more its going to cost now brexit is looking more likely? I'd guess over 4x current rates.

        not if we're going to employ those sub-sub-sub-contracted Poles to build it. Oh, wait...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nuclear

        If we exit te EU, we have the ability to halt all renewable development.

        That alone should knock 50% of the bill

    2. Bob H

      Re: Nuclear

      We also need to explore more innovation in nuclear instead of relying on designs from the era of the atomic bomb. I like the Thorium designs and I don't think they've been given nearly enough investment. The Indians and Chinese are starting to invest in Thorium reactors and I think it would be really good if we didn't get left behind.

      1. caffeine addict Silver badge

        Re: Nuclear

        Seeing as how Thorium reactors eat nuclear waste, I don't understand why they aren't considered to be the greenest form of power that there is.

        We could replace the muck in our containment facilities with stuff that has a half life of centuries instead of milleniam. Win-win, surely?

        1. SolidSquid

          Re: Nuclear

          The main limitation currently for thorium powered reactors (which do seem like an excellent solution until renewables become more cost effective) is finding a material which can contain the thorium salt without breaking down due to its corrosive effects. It also seems there's been at least some degree of lobbying against it by established nuclear power interests, particularly the companies who've invested in uranium mining and would see their margins disappear given how easy thorium is to get hold of

          1. energystar
            Terminator

            Re: Nuclear

            "finding a material which can contain the thorium salt without breaking down due to its corrosive effects."

            Really, really didn't want to come back into this conversations. Innocent me, thought of Fukushima Daiichi as the last one.

            Look! Look! sweet carrot! We're just a bunch of little donkeys.

    3. OurManInX

      Re: Nuclear

      Please ensure when you agree to this that the company doing it factors in costs of clean up and puts the money needed aside in escrow before they start so if (when) they go bust we can use it

      1. Andrew Heenan

        Re: Nuclear

        Nuclear is incredibly expensive, and the whole-life costs have been hidden by successive governments for decades. Governments like nuclear (until it goes wrong), because it's a one off project, rather than policing and managing multiple smaller ones. Just as they hate solar, because it gives power to the individual (literally and figuratively). If you took the interest on the loans needed for a nuclear station, and used them to build solar, we'd be laughing for 100 years.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Nuclear

        "Please ensure when you agree to this that the company doing it factors in costs of clean up ".

        Also factor in the cost of cleaning up the air and preventing Global warming when burning coal and oil.

        I don't like Nuclear that much but it's a technology that can be improved a lot, and that will not happen if that technology is let to die. The Chinese and the French seem to understand that. China will have more Nuclear than anybody else, not that surprising as the result of burning coal is so "visible", and they are damned good at long time planning.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Nuclear

      Build nuclear now years ago.

      The reason why we've been unnecessarily shoving valuable fossil hydrocarbons up power station chimneys for most of my adult life has been down to self-styled environmentalists objecting to nuclear power. We've missed out on decades of the investment needed to develop a mature technology with maximal safety and minimal environmental impact. When all else fails we'll end up with a desperate dash in which cost and any other concerns are disregarded because it's all been left too late.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nuclear

      RR could be supplying multiple small nuclear power stations on a production line system based on those they produce for the nuclear subs. Maybe that is just too simple for the greens and government - the greens are against anything nuclear and the government don't like it because it isn't a trough they and their friends can get their snouts into.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. ukgnome

        Re: Nuclear

        Any idiot that says we need more nuclear should make their gardens available for waste burial.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. ukgnome

            Re: Nuclear

            @Symon - That's a solution that I wouldn't be totally against.

        2. Kiwi Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Nuclear

          Any idiot that says we need more nuclear should make their gardens available for waste burial.

          Sit down and do the maths/research for yourself one day, then you'll see who the real idiots are. I used to be a huge fan of wind and very anti-nuke (I am from NZ and heavily influenced by the Labour party's campaign in the early 80's)…

          Not long ago I decided to prove some nutter wrong, and limited myself to raw data. Took a while for me to accept but wind really is not green (almost anti-green if you factor in the costs of production and removal, including the pollution and environmental damage resulting from making the turbines, transportation to site, and the huge mess made at the site). Wind likely still has a huge but largely hidden carbon footprint and is a net polluter on a large scale. The nukes I once passionately hated are quite green by comparison.

          And as much as I'd love extra income, I'm not paid to say these things. Well I am, but only in the sense that maybe before it's too late people will listen and start doing things that really do improve the planet rather than jumping in idiotic ideas that cause far more harm.

          Oh, and so long as I get future mineral rights my back yard is available for storage of nuke by-products.

      3. Jonathon Desmond

        Re: Nuclear (Multiple small reactors)

        David Maddison makes much the same observation in this months copy of Silicon Chip:

        http://www.siliconchip.com.au/Issue/2016/June/Small+Nuclear+Reactors%3A+Reliable+Power+At+Low+Risk?res=nonflash

      4. Blitheringeejit
        Facepalm

        "the greens are against anything nuclear"

        I'm a green - shameless and longstanding, right down to the pony-tail. And I want molten-salt technology, and fusion power, much more than I want anything renewable. I have solar panels on the roof, but would prefer a thorium reactor in the garden (especially if I can get the same feed-in tariff <ahem>).

        This debate might actually be useful if we could all resist the temptation to over-simplify the views of those who don't share our own particular totems.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nuclear

        "RR could be supplying multiple small nuclear power stations on a production line system based on those they produce for the nuclear subs. Maybe that is just too simple for the greens and government - the greens are against anything nuclear and the government don't like it because it isn't a trough they and their friends can get their snouts into."

        @most folk: So many comments, so little information, so much heat, so little light. Orlowski doesn't even seem to understand that England ,ne. UK, and is apparently unwilling to respect the request that Mackay's last interview (a few days before he died) be used with due respect or not at all, ie DON'T QUOTE BITS OUT OF CONTEXT. Scum.

        @Ivan: Did you know uk.gov was/is having a design competition for small modular reactors (of the kind produced at RR Raynesway?

        38 companies applied to participate and the first results were due to be announced on May 23rd:

        http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rivals-line-up-to-build-small-nuclear-plants-in-snowdonia-9ffj3vpwj

        I haven't seen any official sign of the results anywhere. Have I missed them?

        There was this rumour mentioning RR and Bechtel (4 Jun, I guess things in the nuclear industry always run late, even if they usually get there eventually):

        http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rolls-royce-in-running-to-build-baby-nuclear-reactors-2r7l7shnv

        That might be interesting and might be news. Orlowski's rants aren't.

        1. Schlimnitz

          Re: Nuclear

          "DON'T QUOTE BITS OUT OF CONTEXT. Scum."

          Please explain.

          I watched video, and I don't think it's out of context. The interviewer pushed him to 'come out' and say what he really thought, and the essence of it was that if you have wind power, it's intermittent, so you're going to need nukes, but once you have paid for the nukes, there's no point spending money on wind any more.

  5. msknight Silver badge

    House of Commons

    Plenty of hot air in there to drive on-shore wind turbines.

  6. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Tidal

    IIRC the feasibility study into the Severn barrage tidal power system recommended that tidal wasn't viable due to cost, timelines and environmental impact, suggesting that nuclear and wind were better options in terms of meeting the 2020 and 2050 targets. Not sure where it went after that.

  7. msknight Silver badge

    Also....

    Fit turbines to the voting gates in the House of Commons, and then repeatedly file motions to cut MP pay. That'll do it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Solar only works in really sunny countries"

    Germany's not that sunny at all - very cloudy winters, and half of it's at the same latitude as GB - yet they pull in more solar watts per person than anyone else.

    Plus the technology is, albeit very slowly, improving efficiency all the time, so your statement is at best irrelevant.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: "Solar only works in really sunny countries"

      If you pay attention while driving through England (much easier on public transport) you'll quickly notice just how few pv and wind installations there are. Wind is strongly held back by nimbyism so even though i don't believe we're out of good sites, we're out of good sites with much chance of approval.

      In one of the last Lewis rants he dismissed pv for only supplying 5% of demand. At the time I started looking for pv installs in my part of the uk and it was noticeably less than 5% of available sites.

      PV works so well in Germany simply because they installed more. More efficiency would be nice but it's not needed in our conditions, more panels and infrastructure to support them are what's missing. Chinese mass use is doing more for pv by reducing prices than our government or industry ever did.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Solar only works in really sunny countries"

        solar is facing the same issue as wind turbines. Down here in Cornwall all we get is moan, moan, moan. Very few large PV instalations

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Solar only works in really sunny countries"

      Solar doesn't work at all.

      EROEI of less than unity. You burn more fossil fuel to make it than it ever pays you back

      http://euanmearns.com/the-energy-return-of-solar-pv/

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: "Solar only works in really sunny countries"

        Yes but you burn dirty coal cheap in china and make nice expensive clean rosy electricity in Surrey - so it all works out.

      2. aBloke FromEarth

        Re: "Solar only works in really sunny countries"

        "Solar doesn't work at all" - pointing to an article written by Euan Mearns, a long-time consultant for the oil industry. Nice.

        1. Paul Shirley

          Re: "Solar only works in really sunny countries"

          ...while not "pointing" at any actual expert reports (or that the sources for that fairy tale aren't from experts in PV either). Panels produced in 2004 were estimated to have 1.7-2.7 year energy payback in S Europe - ~5 yr in the UK. Since then efficiency has improved a lot and manufacturing efficiency has improved.

          The downside is shifting production to China has pushed up CO2 production, through dirty coal generation and lax manufacturing standards. Even there the numbers don't support the 'story' and they're getting better as China imposes regulation on production. I'm aware that 'regulation' is a red mist word to Andrew ;)

          It's another urban myth that won't die because some desperately need to justify their position.

    3. mabl4367

      Re: "Solar only works in really sunny countries"

      Sure Germany has a lot of solar power and solves the intermitense problem with coal gas and import of nuclear power from France. Germany could never stand on its own unless building a lot more of those nasty coal and gas plants.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: "Solar only works in really sunny countries"

        "Germany could never stand on its own" ??. They don't have to stand alone. What about Britain. you import about 50%.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Silly Article

    While oil prices are unusually cheap, it's hard to raise enthusiasm among short-term thinking city types for investment in renewable power. But the sun shines brightly on the UK, and solar power is slowly but surely edging up. It would be faster, but the changing subsidy rules have unsurprisingly dampened demand and slowed the rise. but it's still happening.

    Of course we'll need more soar panels up here than we would if we were in the Med; but we have plenty of roofs to fill, so it will happen. The REAL cost of solar is much cheaper than fossil fuels; no digging, no maintenance - and no £3bn decommissioning costs, like nuclear.

    Every gain by solar is a permanent gain: once the panel is there, it'll produce for 25 years, maintenance free, so there's no point in turning it off, whatever distortions get built into the energy market. And with installation costing half what it did 6 years ago, and panels twice as efficient as then, solar has won, though the nay-sayers won't see that for 50 years. Silly them ;-)

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Silly Article

      "changing subsidy rules"

      Subsidies: pretending someone doesn't have to pay for things, therefore hiding the real costs.

      1. Ucalegon

        Re: Silly Article

        Or, if you'd prefer, influencing money to follow the government's policy. This lot are hardly hiding in plain sight:

        Farming

        Energy (Both renewable and nuclear)

        Transport

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Silly Article

      "once the panel is there, it'll produce for 25 years, maintenance free"

      Don't these things get covered in dirt and grime to the point even rain can't wash them off? What about hail? Intense winds strong enough to rip up windmills? Damage from extreme cold and so on? From what I've read, solar is hardly a "set-it-and-forget-it."

      1. Barry Rueger Silver badge

        Re: Silly Article

        And meteors! And bears! And daredevil motorcycle jumpers who land on your roof by mistake!

        No, solar could never work.

        Also, shark-nado!

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Abengoa

    Spain went from showering renewable energy companies in subsidies to stopping subsidies completely to scaring off customers with high taxes, bureaucracy, and fines for daring to use renewables after lobbying by the big three electrical companies.

    Unsurprisingly it all but wiped out the entire renewable sector in Spain. How that could happen in a country as sunny as that is testament to dysfunctional politics more than the market.

  11. sawatts

    What we need is some sort of technology that can extract power from rainfall...

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Nay, lad. Tha needs a means o'catchin' t'misery an' turnin' that int'er 'leccy.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. DailyLlama

      Water turbines in the downpipes?

      1. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

        Why just downpipes?

        An though that occurred to me only a short while ago (and I can't believe no-one else has come up with the idea) was considering the idea of turbine(s) in domestic water supply pipes. Every time you flush the loo, have a shower, do the laundry etc etc, you top up your tesla house battery at the same time. Seems a no-brainer to me.

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          turbine(s) in domestic water supply pipes

          Except that the energy you extract has to come from somewhere. You will notice that your loos may take longer to fill, your shower will certainly be less powerful and to counteract it the water company pumps have to work harder - using more electricity.

          Here's an interesting experiment which illustrates losses and just how little power is generated by small "turbines". Take two identical computer fans (the sort of thing we all have lying about, surely?). Connect the power leads together. Blow into one of them and notice how it is impossible to make the other one move. Try it with a can of compressed air, and notice how the second fan will move, but barely. It's quite good fun doing the same experiment with an incandescent torch bulb, especially with a class of children and comparing the result with that obtained from a 1.5V battery or two.

          M.

          1. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

            I knew there had to be a problem somewhere... thanks

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              It's worse than that

              In much of the UK, the domestic water pressure comes from electric pumps either directly or by pumping water uphill into reservoirs and water towers.

              So such turbines would actually be wasting energy by making those work harder.

              In places where the pressure is such for it not to matter, more energy would be freed up by turning the pumps down a bit.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          a part from it would generate virtually feck all power, slight draw back. I have a nice shower it uses maybe 10l\min runs at @3Bar I stick a dirty great impeller in the pipe its going to

          a) run shit

          b) well you could do the maths but spinning at a few rpm for 10 mins will generate, not a lot

          Most new bogs use VERY little water, so you take a dump and the cistern fills for maybe 20 seconds, again you'll generate next to nothing!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Seems a no-brainer to me."

          Indeed as you say, sir, a 'no-brainer' </jeeves>

        4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "Why just downpipes?"

          I wonder if you could extract power from all those whooshes.

  12. chivo243 Silver badge

    Free Power

    In Chile!

    Chile’s main solar power plants are supplying so much electricity that they have to give it away for free or face prices going down. The glut has been driven by the country’s booming copper industry.

    https://www.rt.com/business/345445-chile-free-solar-power/

    But there are downsides to this too...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Free Power

      Fantastic well done Chile, unfortunately the UK isn't Chile, nor is it Iceland that has the potential to generate GW's of thermally generated electricity with a population not much bigger than Plymouth. And thankfully we're not Venezuela that until a recent drought generated all of its electricity from hydro, not looking so clever now as they have very little water (eggs in basket springs to mind!)

  13. tiggity Silver badge

    Storage, obviously

    A lot of the "low hanging fruit" sites for wind are taken (where you can cheaply & easily build big farms (turbine number & size (thus power) of turbines)

    Plenty of scope for more, but protests / landowner refusal

    Smaller scale turbines capable of being very productive in many areas (lots of farms near me in UK use them as "free power" - handy savings with modern electric milking parlours given poor wholesale price per pint)

    What most "erratic" renewables (e.g. wind, solar) need is research into storage mechanisms when power not needed (not necessarily "classic" batteries, just some way where a proportion of the currently "wasted" energy can be regained)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Storage, obviously

      Research into storage shows that there is no technology even remotely capable of meeting safety, cost and energy density, and efficiency requirements even theoretically available.

      Storage is just another renewable chimera to extract more funds from Gullible Greens and Greedy Governments.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: Storage, obviously

        Research into storage shows that there is no technology even remotely capable of meeting safety, cost and energy density, and efficiency requirements even theoretically available.

        Storage is just another renewable chimera to extract more funds from Gullible Greens and Greedy Governments.

        There are stations in the UK and I believe other places around the world where water is pumped from a lower dam to a higher one during times of less demand, and then used to generate power during times of higher demand. As safe as any hydro station and potentially far more efficient than wind.

        For a long time farmers have used wind-driven pumps to haul water from the ground to useful places via tanks that are placed in high locations to give some semblance of pressure. While not the most efficient use of wind energy such ideas could be used to move water to storage lakes, which could then feed smaller scale "on demand" hydro. And as you can direct-drive the pumps you don't need the potentially wasteful tasks of converting kinetic energy to electrical energy and back again (where you can site the lake and turbines reasonably close to each other of course). There's all sorts of "ancient" (ie > 100 yrs old) engineering ideas that will let you govern the speed of the turbines without having to use any "fancy" control systems to keep the blades turning at an optimal speed.

        Also you could use electrolysis to crack water into hydrogen/oxygen which can be stored fairly safely. Again probably not very efficient but surely better than what the current flock of wasteful eyesores wind turbines can achieve in usefulness and efficiency!

        1. Martin an gof Silver badge

          Re: Storage, obviously

          There are stations in the UK and I believe other places around the world where water is pumped from a lower dam to a higher one during times of less demand, and then used to generate power during times of higher demand. As safe as any hydro station and potentially far more efficient than wind.

          They could even (shock, horror!) be used to even out some of the variability of wind, solar, wave power. Grid storage is a big issue, and pumped storage such as the UK's biggest installation is a good potential (hah!) solution. It wasn't the first, but it's by far the biggest. If you happen to be in the area, an older station can be found in Ffestiniog and there's a good view of the generating house from the Ffestiniog railway - zoom in on Tanygrisiau reservoir near Blaenau Ffestiniog on this map. There are several other small stations dotted around Snowdonia if you know what to look out for, and there are more in Scotland. This map is interesting. I have an older version which has much more detail, but this is the best one I can find now.

          When Dinorwig was being planned my grandfather was an accountant with the NCB and a shareholder of Brown Boveri, and very interested in this sort of thing. If I understand the old information he left behind (he died when I was 10, so we never got the chance to talk about it), the CEGB was interested in Dinorwig to even out the demand peaks (the Corrie ad-breaks) which nuclear (at that time it looked like we'd eventually get the majority of our electricity from nuclear) can't cope with.

          The interesting thing is that they originally planned two such stations, with the second being in the south west (Exmoor? Dartmoor?) somewhere. While Dinorwig really helps cover the demand peaks, these are less of an issue these days with less nuclear, less coal and more gas, which can react much more quickly, though nowhere near as fast as pumped storage.

          The second station was never built. Perhaps it would be a good idea to build that second station now, perhaps even identify two or three additional sites (there must be some good locations in Scotland or Cumbria)? While I am totally in favour of new nuclear stations, the fiasco over Hinckley C makes me think that in the short and medium term perhaps adding a fleet of pumped storage units would be cheaper, quicker and less prone to NIMBYism.

          M.

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: Storage, obviously

            This map is interesting. I have an older version which has much more detail, but this is the best one I can find now.

            I have found my older map online - at the BBC for some reason. Here it is (it takes quite some time to render on my machine).

            This report from National Grid is also interesting reading, though not as pretty :-)

            M.

        2. Schlimnitz

          Re: Storage, obviously

          With Nimbys stopping wind turbines being built, you want to create artificial lakes?!

          Good luck with that.

          Also, helps to have lots of mountains.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: Storage, obviously

            With Nimbys stopping wind turbines being built, you want to create artificial lakes?!

            Good luck with that.

            Responding to an old post I know but...

            In my lifetime NZ has built several large Hydro projects and related lakes. Some I've had the pleasure of being on afterwards, as have many other people. They may look a bit nasty when being built but once done they can be incredibly beautiful places with boosts to parts of the ecology (I know, natural habitat is lost for other creatures). And I know from personally visiting the place that Lake Rotorangi (behind the Patea hydro station, stretches for some 85km) is only visible from a few hundred metres from any part of it, whereas wind turbines are fecking ugly from many kilometres away.

            If I ever win the lottery I'll be putting funding into some smaller hydro projects and building myself a house with a smallish lake for Hydro. I will use some wind as well, but that'll be mainly for pumping water around the place and probably not for any electricity (I am wondering if I turn wind->leccy to make it easier to get motive force to the pumps and take a hit on transmission losses or if I just site the turbines where I want the pumps).

  14. wowfood

    As I see it

    the major issue with renewables is the fact that we currently need to switch them off whenever we start making too much energy, and when we can leave them on, they aren't producing enough energy. It's a catch 22 situation.

    The solution is, in my opinion, simple, but expensive. Tesla have already launched a home battery system for those with solar panels, any excess energy generated from your panels, rather than being sent back to the grid, is stored away for a rainy day. (quite literally).

    There is actually scope to do this also on a local and/or national level. When renewable energy is up the batteries get charged, when it is down the batteries drained. The problem is it's a massive change and a massive investment on what is currently a theoretical concept. We're still a ways from it being fully feasible, the tesla home battery is currently brand spanking new tech, and we're better off waiting a decade or so for battery tech to improve enough to make such a system cost effective.

    I do still firmly believe that with advances in technology we could become fully reliant on renewables. But not with our current grid system, and not with the renewable systems currently on the market We would be better off first changing that system (which could also save money by building up our stored energy reserves when fuel prices are low, and relying on the stored reserves as much as possible when prices rise again)

    By the time such a system is planned and implemented solar should have had enough time to mature to a point it's worthwhile for the majority and not the minority.

    1. paulf Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: As I see it

      Considering the point you make about Tesla's home storage battery. UK Power Networks (they own the REC distribution part of the network that used to be EDF Energy Networks (London and East of England). They are trialling a massive battery in a substation near Leighton Buzzard which can charge up during usage troughs and then start supplying during demand peaks:

      http://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/internet/en/news-and-press/press-releases/Minister-welcomes-trial-of-pioneering-energy-storage-project.html

      Note that the linked article flirts with alternative units:

      "The building itself is approximately 760 square metres – about the size of three tennis courts -"

      This moves the storage out of the consumer premises into the network, where it should be more efficient than a domestic unit.

      I think Wind and Solar do have a roll to play in satisfying our energy needs but since we can't control when the wind blows and the sun shines storage becomes an inherent part of the Renewables system. If you can store electricity from wind at 3am when it's worth, say, £1/MWh and release it into the network when people are making their morning cuppa and get £10/MWh for it (example values) suddenly the economics of wind power are turned on their head. It certainly wouldn't need subsidy any more.

      As we've seen with solar, more deployment drives research into improving the technology and the same should be true with storage; and this research may well feed back in battery technology in general.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: As I see it

        "As we've seen with solar, more deployment drives research into improving the technology and the same should be true with storage; and this research may well feed back in battery technology in general."

        Except there's been a drive to find a better battery for decades. Unless some hitherto-unknown "miracle" tech is discovered, we've practically hit the limits as far as physics tells us. We keep hitting tradeoffs that force us to sacrifice a desired quality until we give up too much and the result is not practical.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: As I see it

      Tesla's battery is a clever marketing solution to a manufacturing yield problem.

      Manufacturing batteries is very expensive, and quite a few of the ones you make don't work very well.

      Previously, the bad ones would be dismantled, recycled and remanufactured into a new battery, at great expense with the hope that it'll be good this time around.

      Now they simply put it in a different box and bolt it to your wall.

  15. Cuddles Silver badge

    Renewable != solar+wind

    Why is it almost all claims about what renewables can and can't do seem to consider wind turbines and photovoltaics as the only options? Sure, solar panels and onshore wind turbines in England are never going to meet our power needs. Offshore wind and onshore in parts of Wales and Scotland are pretty handy, however. Tidal has been mentioned already, and while it's less developed we're an island nation with some of the largest tides in the world so there's a hell of a lot of power there if we actually make an effort. Wave power, which is not at all the same as tidal despite the two often being mixed up, also has plenty of potential. Most of the obvious targets for hydroelectric have already been used, but some of the smaller schemes aren't completely stupid (unfortunately many of them are). Solar thermal, geothermal (ground source heat pumps rather than electric in this country), biomass, and various others also exist. And of course nuclear, which is not renewable but has such abundant fuel that it might as well be. No single power source is ever going to meet all our needs on its own, but any discussion that ignores almost all of them is a complete waste of time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Renewable != solar+wind

      Why is it almost all claims about what renewables can and can't do seem to consider wind turbines and photovoltaics as the only options

      Because they are the only technologies that even come close (like an order of magnitude) to matching fossil/nuclear/hydro.

      1. intlabs

        Re: Renewable != solar+wind

        hydro IS a renewable, well done ac you just demonstrated the point perfectly.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Errata

    On shore wind is the cheapest Electric generation method we have, build to decommission. The issue is that it produces energy with no respect to demand.

    As for tidal the seven barrier costs ranged from 27 to 43 billion. That's for 21 percent of UK current power needs (lowest estimate).there is no at sea issue as it is basically big dams with land access so parts can be replaced as needed. and no fuel costs when built . The reason it was not built kills the case for nuclear power stations on one side and the birds would need to move on the other.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Errata

      On shore wind is the cheapest Electric generation method we have, build to decommission.

      No, thats a complete lie, and only can be remotely justified by cherry picking the data.

      In any sane, holistic levelised lifetime cost, its twice the price or more of anything else.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Errata

        No it is true that does not mean it is the best solution but it is the cheapest if you would like to suggest which method you think is cheaper and for what size system we can look at the comparison in detail

        I order not to waste time please remember this is the full cost including, fuel, maintenance, staff wages, construction and returning the site to green field status.

    2. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

      Re: Errata

      "On shore wind is the cheapest Electric generation method we have, build to decommission. "

      So that will be why the companies producing electricity this way are complaining about their subsidies being withdrawn then.

      If it really was cheaper than other generating methods then the money-grabbing electrickery companies would be beating the living hell out of each other to cover the countryside in THEIR turbines. The fact that they aren't would tend to suggest that the other methods are cheaper and therefore give a better return on their (woeful) investment...

      1. dcathjlmif

        Re: Errata

        If it really was cheaper than other generating methods then the money-grabbing electrickery companies would be beating the living hell out of each other to cover the countryside in THEIR turbines. The fact that they aren't would tend to suggest that the other methods are cheaper and therefore give a better return on their (woeful) investment...

        The reason is the second part of my comment e.g. that generation timing is not controllable, combined with land purchase and site density per watt .

        You also have to take into account sunk costs, not many power generation companies are starting from scratch Additional there are subsides for these existing sites tax breaks, cheap loans, etc. as large power station employ a lot of people on ok wages

        Decommission is also a issue in these figures as it is not always done e.g. changing a coal plant to a gas plant is a lot cheaper than building a new plant and you don't have to clear up the pollution for the coal power station.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Errata

      trouble is it has the potential to be a bit of a local envoriomental disaster area, stick a chuffing great big dam across one of the biggest tidal ranges in the World is going to seriously mess with local wildlife. And baring in mind you can have a heck of a job doing a small barn conversion if they find you've got bats in there!

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Errata

        "it has the potential to be a bit of a local envoriomental disaster area"

        You didn't bother to quote what you were referring to but your "it" seems to be the Severn barrage. You're wrong, it wouldn't be just a local environmental disaster. The role of the Severn estuary in feeding migrating birds would make it a disaster on a continental scale..

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Errata

      "the birds would need to move on the other"

      Translation: it would be an environmental disaster on a continental scale. But never, mind, it's green power.

  17. Haku

    What about methane collection?

    Surely the politicians and big businesses that operate in this country spew so much bullshit that the methane from it can power a small city?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about methane collection?

      Surely the politicians and big businesses that operate in this country spew so much bullshit that the methane from it can power a small city?

      Sadly not.

      Probably the entire sewage output of London wouldn't even keep Westminster in gaslights

      1. Haku

        Re: What about methane collection?

        Aww, really?

        I hate it when film science lies to us.

        Screw you Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome!!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gardens for waste burial?

    Sure. Why not?

    Gimme some plutonium and I''ll put it in me Aga.

    Do you really think peole who understand the data on radiation are scared of it?

    1. David Pollard

      Re: Gardens for waste burial?

      As it happens, I've been on record since the 1970s as saying I'd be happy to have a parcel of radioactive waste in my back garden. It needs to be monitored, mainly against malevolent thieves, so it would be better to used it in a small district heating plant rather having individual units. Piping heat to, say, 200 properties wouldn't be that expensive in city areas and 2.5 kW each would provide useful savings on the hot water and winter heating bills.

      Critics always seem to bring up the question of cooling in summer. Air cooling would be fine. Half a megawatt is roughly equivalent to ten cars starting off from a set of traffic lights. No one seems to be too concened about the risks from that.

  19. Josco

    Create Gas then

    Both wind and solar are intermittent, usually producing power when it is not needed. I recall hearing an interview on the radio where it was suggested that the power produced could be used to create gas, this gas could then be absorbed by the national gas grid which has sufficient elasticity to accommodate this irregular . When power is needed then a gas power station is fired up. Simples!

    I also agree with those respondents who suggest river power. My local river (The Wharf) has never run dry in all the years I've been here.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Create Gas then

      I also agree with those respondents who suggest river power. My local river (The Wharf) has never run dry in all the years I've been here.

      Never running dry simply isn't enough; to get a meaningful quantity of electricity there needs to be a lot of water flowing through the turbine; simply meandering along won't do. ISTR that there is a newish microgeneration plant on the Wharfe at Grassington, replacing one that existed years ago before the National Grid came into being. Placing the turbine in the "mill race" (for want of a better description) produces about 500,000 kWH per annum. (Having just checked it is actually at Linton!)

      To be able to work the kinetic energy contained in a large mass of water has to be converted to mechanical energy using some form of turbine, which is then converted to electrical energy by an alternator. The only way for the kinetic energy to exist in the first place is for the large mass of water to drop some distance; the bigger the drop the more energy can be obtained.

      However simply having a river to hand doesn't automatically mean that it can be used to generate worthwhile amounts of power. A lot of civil engineeering is likely to be required, including some means of storing water upstream of the turbine to iron out level fluctuations in the basic flow attributable to rainfall.

      See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-york-north-yorkshire-17473345

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Create Gas then

        did a big project when doing my BTEC engineering back in the late 80s', all about hydro power, different types of overshot or undershot wheel etc You need a shit load of fast moving water to generate anything useable. An ex navy pal of one of our elec eng lecturers had a small system that he built himself to power some of his house (it was on the edge of Dartmoor) we took a trip to have a look at it. Main thing I can remember was getting pissed on the trip back!

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Create Gas then

        "a newish microgeneration plant on the Wharfe"

        Unfortunately this sort of thing isn't helped by Yorkshire Water demanding an extraction fee even though the water extracted is promptly returned back to the river.

  20. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

    "Scientific Proof" 101

    1.Observe an event.

    2.Generate a hypothesis to cover what caused it.

    3.Test hypothesis, either in a lab or in The Real World.

    4.Observe the result and compare to the original event.

    5.Refine hypothesis if necessary.

    6.Repeat steps 3 to 5 several times, until the actual result matches the expected output for MORE THAN 2 occurrences.

    At this point you have "proof" that your hypothesis matches The Real World.

    I eagerly await the Green Lobby showing us their documented evidence for repeating steps 3 to 5 from the start of industrialisation to the present day to get their "scientific proof" that man-made global warming, anthropogenic global warming, or whatever other name they want to give it is really "scientifically proven".

    When they manage to provide convincing proof that they have re-run The Real World with and without the Industrial Age etc then they can claim to have REAL "scientific proof". Until then, all they can really do is promote their own particular belief and hope that nobody calls them on it.

    Shouting down all those who disagree with them does not make their claims any more valid. Being supported by politicians does not make their claims any more valid. Losing, massaging or "error-correcting" data does not make their claims any more valid.

    Earth is not flat.

    Earth is not the centre of the Universe.

    The climate *will* change regardless of what we do, or do not do. (Or did the dinosaurs die out because, somehow, they knew we needed the oil and gas to burn?)

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: "Scientific Proof" 101

      No one can prove anything to someone such as yourself who ignores the facts.

      In other words, it's been proven. You have chosen to ignore it. It's your problem now, not theirs.

  21. Thought About IT
    Facepalm

    Meanwhile ...

    The Great Barrier Reef: a catastrophe laid bare

    "Coral bleaches when the water it’s in is too warm for too long. The coral polyps gets stressed and spit out the algae that live in inside them. Without the colourful algae, the coral flesh becomes transparent, revealing the stark white skeleton beneath."

    "When the coral dies, the entire ecosystem around it transforms. Fish that feed on the coral, use it as shelter, or nibble on the algae that grows among it die or move away. The bigger fish that feed on those fish disappear too. But the cascading effects don’t stop there. Birds that eat fish lose their energy source, and island plants that thrive on bird droppings can be depleted. And, of course, people who rely on reefs for food, income or shelter from waves – some half a billion people worldwide – lose their vital resource."

    When will the penny drop that we simply can't keep burning fossil fuels, whatever the inconvenience to us or the implications for ExxonMobil et al?

    1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
      Boffin

      Oh dear. (Re: Meanwhile ...)

      That old canard again.

      Read up the actual studies. There are all sorts of things that cause bleaching events. In this particular case, the bleached areas are in more remote areas, which mean that they will recover quickly, as they have before.

      Remember also that "bleaching" is not necessarily "death" -the coral can go through a process of changing the strain of agae to match the current warminer conditions, caused by El Niño.

      The authors of the report are annoyed at the sensational headlines it has cause.

      1. Thought About IT
        Facepalm

        Re: Oh dear. (Meanwhile ...)

        "The authors of the report are annoyed at the sensational headlines it has cause."

        Citation, please.

        Meanwhile ...

        New work, published in Nature Climate Change, considers the impact of emitting 5tn tonnes of carbon emissions. This is the lower-end estimate of burning all fossil fuels currently known about, though not including future finds or those made available by new extraction technologies.

        "These models simulate, in response to 5 EgC of CO2 emissions, global mean warming of 6.4–9.5 °C, mean Arctic warming of 14.7–19.5 °C, and mean regional precipitation increases by more than a factor of four. These results indicate that the unregulated exploitation of the fossil fuel resource could ultimately result in considerably more profound climate changes than previously suggested."

        Still happy about continuing to burn fossil fuels?

        1. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: Oh dear. (Meanwhile ...)

          I wonder...

          Still happy about continuing to burn fossil fuels?

          Now, those with intelligence know that increased carbon availability means increased plant growth and wonder about how much increasing carbon in the atmosphere could be a boost to the ecology over all (so long as there's no other pollutants that could cause a detrimental effect).

          You mention in your post increased rainfall as well.

          Just doing some lack-of-sleep busy-doing-other-stuff filling-in-time-while-waiting thinking, I wonder how much these events might be able to co-incide to improve things in areas of say desert where the resources to grow plants are currently lacking?

          There is some potential benefit to putting more carbon into the atmosphere, though I'd rather do it without some of the other crap that goes with it.

          (Note that while I am a AGW skeptic (I don't deny the climate changes - why NZ has just apparently had it's warmest Autumn since 1938! (at least until the IPCC decides that people in 1938 didn't know how to measure temperature so must have had it wrong therefore the IPCC need to falsifyadjust the old data to bullshitcorrect it), I do believe that we should research and invest in clean tech and clean renewables (and I do not believe wind leccy in it's current form is anywhere near clean!), and I don't believe in inefficient/wasteful stuff simply for the sake of convenience (although burning a few old tyres can sometimes be great fun on a cold but clear winter's night, especially when you fill them with oil-soaked plastic rags and roll them down the hill towards the nearest FATM greeny camp)

          Oh, and:

          ...the unregulated exploitation of the fossil fuel resource...

          There's a ton of regulations around this in every country, from pollution/emissions regulations to laws-of-physics regulations.

          1. Thought About IT

            Re: Oh dear. (Meanwhile ...)

            With inteligence comes the realisation that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing:

            More Carbon Dioxide is not necessarily good for plants

            Meanwhile ...

            Fundamental changes in seawater chemistry are occurring throughout the world's oceans as they absorb the excess CO2 which we are emitting, leading to a process known as acidification. This is not a good thing!

    2. Vic

      Re: Meanwhile ...

      Coral bleaches when the water it’s in is too warm for too long

      This is misleading; temperatire is not the only thing that causes coral bleaching.

      A mate of mine was amongst the first people to dive Bikini Atoll when it started to open up. This is an interesting place - the devastation of the nuclear tests is long past, but it has been protected from local human activity ever since. Thus the water temperatures are much as you would expect from the latitude, but the pollution level is very much lower.

      When the Atoll was opened up, there was almost no coral bleaching whatsoever, despite the raised temperatures. The conclusion drawn was that coral bleaching is also caused by local polllution, and this effect may well be far more significant than that of raised temperature (as it is at Bikini).

      Vic.

  22. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face
    Paris Hilton

    Spongey pavements!

    Micro-generation and combats obesity at the same time.

    Paris, well, because...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fundimental Lack of Understanding

    This as with so many pieces on Renewables is based on people who dont fully understand the market jumping in. To function economically, efferently and provide a country with energy security there needs to be a mix of power sources, as a result there is no "correct" solution for power generation. Unfortunately the people who are prepared to enter into a rational discussion about it are few and far between outside.

    Wind is not the solution, but it is also not not the solution, it is a part of it. When sites appropriately wind is an excellent source of power - the problem with the industry is the seemingly random set of subsidies and planning regs that have been thrown at it over the years. I have installed wind turbines that have generated significant income, and would have generated income without ROCs/FITS. And installed others that were totally insane, yet met equally insane planning requirements which wanted renewable generation on site, regardless of whether there was an exploitable resource (schools were obsessed with this shit).

    That said - I agree with the general argument, the good sites went between 2005-2010. Offshore wind, makes a bit of sense in a few places, but the concept is centred on supporting the declining off shore service industry in my opinion.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fundimental Lack of Understanding

      "Wind is not the solution, but it is also not not the solution."

      Wind, solar, and any other "renewable" source of energy simply cannot be a practical form of generation unless and until it can properly satisfy supply and demand. Baseload generators achieve this by oversupplying, ensuring that all demand is met at the cost of occasional surplus which in most cases is preferable to a shortage (meaning load shedding and all that, and yes I've been there). Renewables must find a way to meet demand at all times (such that it can meet demands at all times, even during a blizzard on the Winter Solstice). Anything short and it's just plain a nonstarter.

      And let's not get started on affordability. After all, if there really was money in renewables, wouldn't companies be falling over themselves trying to be first to corner the market, like what happened with oil?

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Fundimental Lack of Understanding

        Yes, they would be trying to corner the market and they are. Solar alone is a $32 billion dollar PROFITABLE market in the U.S. and the global market is projected to reach $137 billion in the next 4 years. It is currently just shy of $100 billion now.

        That ain't small change.

        The amount of ignorance regarding solar and wind here, by technology people no less! is astounding. And sad as well.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Fundimental Lack of Understanding

          "The amount of ignorance regarding solar and wind here, by technology people no less! is astounding."

          Yes, there are still people believing that solar generates power at night and wind generates power on still days.

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Fundimental Lack of Understanding

          "Yes, they would be trying to corner the market and they are. Solar alone is a $32 billion dollar PROFITABLE market in the U.S. and the global market is projected to reach $137 billion in the next 4 years. It is currently just shy of $100 billion now."

          WITH or WITHOUT government subsidies? My point is that if renewables were profitable on their own, they'd be rushing to be the "first in who wins" without any intervention whatsoever.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    someone best tell those Clowns in the Green Party as they're still peddling this load of old tosh that we can fulfil the countries energy needs with renewables. What we need is a MIX of generating capacity, and improvements on efficiency. We could definitely do better in the UK as quite frankly we're pretty shocking on the renewables front, mainly due to reactionary old tw@ts that moan even about the mention of putting up a wind turbine somewhere in the countryside.

    I often think if we had the same attitudes a couple of hundred years ago we'd have had feck all built in this country, no rail, canals, roads, bridges, electricity!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Problem is the Greens would turn around and reply, "And we'd be better off for it. At least we wouldn't be running the planet into the ground."

  25. jason 7

    Stop Dicking about!!!!!

    Just build the 8 or so new Nuclear stations we need and be done with it.

    Christ the time wasting is appalling. I can see what will happen, we'll start getting brown outs and rationing of power and then all the twats that were so 'anti-Nuclear' will be screaming at the Govt to build them yesterday.

    1. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

      Re: Stop Dicking about!!!!!

      Look, we have a stockpile of plutonium that was used for making weapons and which now really ought to be reduced somewhat. We also have quite a bit of long half-life sludge, which also wants destroying. We therefore need a fast neutron reactor somewhere, and if we're going to build one, we might as well also go the whole hog and build a fleet of other smaller pure-power reactors as well.

      Further to this, as well as standard nuclear power reactors we could also give serious thought to building district heating systems which heat water to steam, and distribute the steam as a form of heating. Much of the gas burned in Britain is burned to provide heating or hot water; a small nuclear thermal device would supply quite a large area with heating at similar cost to gas.

      On a final note, it is about time we stopped listening to the Great Uninformed Green Blob. They talk an awful lot of utter and complete toot, and really ought not to be listened to quite so freely.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Stop Dicking about!!!!!

        Yeah ask any Green what happens when we've gone 100% renewables on a cold still Xmas night when folks across the country turn on their kettles for the EastEnders Xmas episode.

        They go very silent.

        Don't get me wrong, the local Green politicians where I live are fantastic people for getting behind local community issues. They really do put in the effort unlike the Labour and Tory folks. But on bigger national and more technical issues they are as thick as two short planks and twice as naive.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stop Dicking about!!!!!

      The problem is that the planning that goes into it.. months/years of planning permission, objections by NIMBYs finding sites where no one will object.

      What we need is a f*cking dictator, no committees deciding where/if we should build just someone high up saying "We need these, build them", no focus groups gathering public opinion just build the bloody things.

      As for the cost to clean up and store the waste... Yes its expensive, so the cost of electricity has to go up, so be it, if the options are higher bills or rolling blackouts I know what ill be choosing. *

      This is bound to trigger arguments such as "What about people who cannot afford increases?" To be brutally honest - I dont care, they might need to look at their consumption but we cannot hold back progress just because it might be a bit inconvenient for some (Same as NIMBYs complaining about the scenery being spoiled really).

      1. jason 7

        Re: Stop Dicking about!!!!!

        Yeah cost doesn't really come into it when a modern economy cannot function without electricity. It will cost what it costs.

        As for nuclear waste...it's a hell of a lot less than people think it is. Much less.

        Doesn't matter though cos as soon as the NIMBYS can't charge up their iPads they will be bending over backwards for Nuclear. It's going to happen so why fight it?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stop Dicking about!!!!!

          "Doesn't matter though cos as soon as the NIMBYS can't charge up their iPads they will be bending over backwards for Nuclear. It's going to happen so why fight it?"

          Don't be so sure. A true NIMBY would probably also be a Luddite who believes in chopping your own firewood, hunting your own meat, and wearing hair shirts.

  26. 97browng

    Is England not windy enough or the whole of the UK

    Reading this article, I am not sure if they are talking about England or the UK as a whole. The title of the article is England yet the UK is mentioned several times as if they are interchangeable.

    We can see that the head of a UK body states that it is ‘England’. However, the article then talks about the UK as a whole so which one is it? Saying England is not windy enough is not the same thing as saying the UK is not windy enough.

    I am not being pedantic this is a serious question. It could well be that wind energy is England is not a viable option anymore but elsewhere in the UK it is.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: England vs UK

      Well spotted.

      Orlowski deliberately being misleadingly selective again? Surely not.

      Still, it gets the clicks.

    2. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: Is England not windy enough or the whole of the UK

      The title of the article is England yet the UK is mentioned several times as if they are interchangeable.

      Thing is, to most of the rest of the world they are interchangeable. Much the same as we (ab)use English and British interchangeably (except when in the presence of Welsh and some Scotts, you only make that mistake once and if you're really really lucky you live to tell about it! :) )

  27. Yugguy

    Bollocks

    Ever since I moved to Warwickshire 13 years ago the biggest difference I have noticed from the NW is that because there are no hills it is PERMANENTLY windy.

  28. andrewj

    Nonsense. Just stick it in front of Boris Johnson. Plenty of wind.

  29. Stoke the atom furnaces

    Wind power is a dead duck in the UK.

    Very few people want an onshore wind turbine anywhere near their backyard, not least because of the negative impact on house prices. As for the eye wateringly high price of offshore wind, that has been well and truly undercut by cheap Chinese built solar panels.

  30. ecofeco Silver badge

    Erm, wot?!

    The British Empire was built on sailing ships and it's not windy enough?

    Doubleplus good!

    1. Stoke the atom furnaces

      Re: Erm, wot?!

      The industrial revolutionaries ditched sailing ships and machinery powered by water wheels when coal fired steam engines became available.

    2. Schlimnitz
      Trollface

      Re: Erm, wot?!

      Even at the height of the British Empire, I'm not aware that they were sailing their ships onshore...

  31. FrMo
    Happy

    Phew!

    What a relief! I was beginning to be worried about the possibility that climate change might be damaging the planet, but thankfully Andrew Orlovsky's put my mind at rest. All these silly windmills and solar panels will never power the country, and so we can all relax and burn fossil fuels as before.

    I never thought of it in this way, but Andrew's right: just because there is not enough wind in England (hmmm, I wonder why he didn't say the UK), it follows that there is no climate change! I must alert the world.

  32. PassiveSmoking

    Thorium fission

    Why aren't we looking at that? In theory it bypasses at least some of the issues with uranium/plutonium fission (with the added benefit that thorium is far more common than either and doesn't require isotope separation), and in the short-medium term it's far more achievable than fusion.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thorium fission

      I think the main problem is that it's tricky to keep it stable and clean in molten salt form, especially for long periods. Plus it still produces weaponizable Uranium as a byproduct.

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