20% renewable energy by 2020, this is what the EU has agreed to achieve. When we hear this phrase we imagine a Europe powered by wind and solar, perhaps even a wave machine or two. A closer look however indicates that our expectations and reality are somewhat different. The 20% renewables target will be met mostly by energy from biomass, that is things such as burning wood or biofuels as transport fuel. There are good arguments that this amount of biomass is far from sustainable, but I will leave that for another post.
8.4 GW. This is the total capacity of coal plants under construction in Germany today. Add this to what was opened last year and we have a total of 10.6 GW of new coal online in the years 2012-2015. Continue reading
Gas is leaking from pipes beneath New York City and Bill McKibben has confidently informed us that this is simply more evidence that the climate benefits of shale gas are much worse than many claim. Unfortunately the only real message from the article is that Bill McKibben is rather selective about evidence when it comes to fracking and that his apparent willingness to “do the math” on climate change does not transfer over very well to the rather important question of where we get our energy from. Continue reading
A simple thought experiment. What if instead of building the 3.2 GW Hinkley C nuclear power station, the UK built a biomass plant instead? Continue reading
It has become a cliche to call the seas around the UK the “Saudi Arabia of offshore wind.” The reasons for this are relatively straightforward. Continue reading
A couple of days ago my Twitter feed relayed the information that wind power production grew faster in China in 2012 than it did for coal, and naturally this was classified as good news. Continue reading
Occasionally the Google search referrals I get for this blog give me ideas for a post, and today I got a rather topical one. The UK government has just given planning approval for the first new nuclear power plant in almost 20 years, and evidently someone wanted to know the following:
How many windfarms are needed to generate the same amount of power as Hinkley point nuclear plants? Continue reading
Do wind farms make you sick? Not so, according to new research out of Australia. It appears more likely that “wind farm syndrome” is caused not by the turning of wind turbines, but by scaremongering about wind turbines. What’s quite notable about this is just how much in common this has with certain types of Green scaremongering over power sources, touched on here by Keith Kloor in a post comparing “wind farm syndrome” with some of the more outlandish and evidence free claims about the health impacts of fracking.
“Wind farms do not reduce emissions.” A commonly used talking point by those opposed to wind farms. This talking point is evidently enjoyed so much by some that this week the Global Warming Policy Foundation reposted a story from Natural News on the subject. Natural News is at a level nutbaggery that one would have thought that even the GWPF would be sensible enough not to use it as a news source. But one thing is clear, most of the people who claim that wind farms don’t reduce emissions first don’t care about emissions in the first place, and second don’t care if wind farms don’t reduce emissions. They just don’t want them built.
So, do wind farms reduce emissions? Continue reading
Andrew Simms of The New Economics Foundation has a book out: Cancel The Apocalypse. He appears to have a large number of apocalypses, and mini-apocalypses, in mind, but I’ll just stick to what he says we should do about climate change. What we discover here is a rather long list of green herrings, that is red herrings with a Green tint. Continue reading