Tilting at windfarms

The government intends to reset the country to some time before 1760

Does Boris Johnson actually believe what he is saying? All the time? Ever?

He has promised a “reset” of his government around a “green industrial revolution”. This will apparently “create and support up to 250,000 British jobs”. 

Don’t crack open the champagne yet. For this rang a few bells at the Global Warming Policy Foundation:  

In March 2009, the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced his Labour government’s 'industrial strategy,' a term the Conservatives have also adopted, promising to create 400,000 jobs. Brown’s words are strangely reminiscent of today’s announcement:

"I want to create a global 'green new deal' that will pave the way for a low carbon recovery and to help us build tomorrow's green economy today.”

Twelve years later Britain has green industries that are still dependent on handouts, now totalling £10 billion a year, and building nearly all their green equipment overseas. 

The recent Seagreen offshore wind farm, for example, has awarded its contracts to two countries with cheap energy, the UAE and China, bitterly disappointing BiFab and other Scottish manufacturers. Green miracles just don’t happen.

It rang other bells too. Alarm bells. Loudly. 

For example, meeting the absurd offshore wind target of an additional 30 GW of capacity (giving a total of 40 GW in 2030), will have a total capital cost of £120bn–£130 billion for wind farms and offshore transmission grid, nearly all that expenditure going to overseas companies, just as it did with Seagreen. 

Paying for that investment and all ancillary costs related to it will put something £27 billion a year on the UK electricity bill, roughly double the wholesale market value of the entire UK electricity sector at present, with horrific implications for electricity prices by the end of the decade.

Those high electricity prices will render utterly unaffordable the Prime Minister’s proposals for heat pumps and electric vehicles. This will cause anger, not only because UK consumers will be confined to their freezing homes, but because many will have spent a fortune on realising the PM’s green utopia.

Heat pumps cost between £10,000 and £20,000 each to install, so the Prime Minister aim of installing 600,000 Ground Source Heat Pumps a year by 2028 implies an annual cost of between £60 billion and £100 billion a year.

Electricity prices have been rising for around a decade in large measure because of efforts to decarbonise the energy system. Now the country faces being bankrupted altogether for the privilege of shivering while the lights go out.

Earlier this month, National Grid sent out an urgent call for more power stations to fire up after plant outages and low wind farm output increased the risk of blackouts. The Times reported

The alert and the prospect of Britain relying on polluting coal plants to keep the lights on will raise concerns about energy security. All coal plants are due to close by October 2024, while the government recently committed to a renewed push for offshore wind farms.

In August, the Mail on Sunday reported that National Grid had warned renewable energy was a blackout risk, after chaos during the biggest outage in a decade, even though it publicly downplayed the role of wind energy in the power cut: 

Yet in April, National Grid published research warning that using more renewable power sources posed a threat to the network's 'stability'.  In a report based on a £6.8 million research project, National Grid admitted that renewables increased the 'unpredictability and volatility' of the power supply which 'could lead to faults on the electricity network’.

… Figures from the National Grid show almost half the UK's power was generated from wind at one point on the day the power failed. 

There are many, many such studies and reports producing the same kind of analysis and warnings. Yet the government, which fell into a collective swoon — heaven help us — at the feet of that poor child Greta Thunberg, has already cost the country millions of pounds or more on irresponsibly tilting at windfarms, leaving poor people increasingly unable to heat their homes as the bills go up, and is hell-bent on courting further self-inflicted disaster.

No wonder the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Lawson, observed: 

If the Government were trying to damage the economy they couldn’t be doing it better.

“Damage the economy”? Boris Johnson’s aim is far more ambitious than that. For this “marks the beginning of the UK’s path to net zero” carbon emissions by 2050.

This paper explains what “net zero” will entail: 

Plans to decarbonise the economy will probably require homeowners to install: • heat pumps • electric vehicle charging points • electric showers • other electric devices. 

The extra demand for electricity will overwhelm most domestic fuses, thus requiring homeowners to install new ones, as well as circuit-breakers and new distribution boards. Most will also have to rewire between their main fuse and the distribution network. In urban areas, where most electrical cabling is underground, this will involve paying for a trench to be dug between the home and the feeder circuits in the street. 

In addition, increased demand along a street will mean that the distribution network will need to be upgraded too. This will involve installing larger cables and replacing distribution transformers with larger ones. Most urban streets will need to be dug up. In rural areas, where electricity is normally carried on overhead cables, it may be possible to just replace the wires, but it is more likely that cabling will have to be buried instead. 

The cost to the country of rewiring alone will probably exceed £200 billion, or over £7,000 per household. This figure excludes the cost of new equipment, such as EV chargers, heat pumps and electric showers.

In other words, “net zero” will reset the country to a date some time before the Industrial Revolution.

Oh — and the idea that unless the world decarbonises we’re all going to fry, drown and starve is utter, anti-scientific rubbish: propagated by zealots, transmitted by cowards and sucked up by idiots.

If Boris Johnson really does believe in all this, he needs a reset of his brain.

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