THE Met Office would certainly like you to think they are. In a recent blog post, titled ‘July 2022: A dry run for UK’s future climate?’, they claimed ‘Met Office climate change projections highlight an increasing trend towards hotter and drier summers for the UK.’
Certainly, it was extremely dry in England and Wales last month, though less so in Scotland, with high pressure systems dominating the weather. But was the month of July that unusual, and does the data show that droughts are becoming more common?
The Met Office’s own data shows neither to be true:
Since 1836, there have been eleven other Julys that have been drier. In order, with the driest first:
Note that, despite the hyperbolic reporting, this July was not even as dry as 1999. And it is abundantly clear from the above chart that there is no trend to Julys becoming drier. Instead, the whole of the record dating back to 1836 is dominated by huge swings from year to year, from extremely dry to extremely wet. In other words, classic British weather.
It has also been a very dry start to the year as a whole, but again the data demonstrates that these are now much less common than in the past. Overall, 2022 ranks as only the tenth driest January to July:
The south of England has been worst affected. But even here, this year’s drought is far from unprecedented, and is indeed now a rarity:
Of course, it was the same clowns at the Met Office who predicted nine years ago that wetter summers would be the norm in Britain; you guessed it, because of global warming!
July heatwave in context
THE country seems to have lost its collective mind over two days of hot weather, but how hot was the month as a whole? Probably not as hot as you have been led to believe!
In Central England, amongst the hottest parts of the country, July 2022 was no warmer than 1759, 1818 and 1911. All told, it ranks just 20th warmest, 1.6C colder than July 2006.
Of course, the Met Office did not work itself up into a lather in those earlier times. For instance, July 1934 had the same mean temperature of 18.2C as last month. The Monthly Weather Report at the time simply noted that it had been ‘warm and sunny’!
But they were simply meteorologists back then, without an agenda to peddle.
Blackouts are looming
EVERY year the National Grid publish their Future Energy Scenarios (FES) to convince everybody, not least themselves, that the UK can get to Net Zero in 2050 without any problems.
This year’s edition is still as full of wishful thinking as ever. Forget about 2050, even the figures for 2035 don’t stack up. There are four scenarios presented, but let’s focus on the Consumer Transformation scenario (CT), which is fairly middle of the road, and assumes widespread uptake of electric cars and heat pumps. The other three scenarios are not much different.
Below is the anticipated electricity mix:
By 2035, as you can see, wind and solar will account for 78 per cent of electricity output. Dispatchable sources, including gas (with carbon capture), biomass and nuclear, will supply only 17 per cent. Apparently we will have so much power that we will be exporting 88 TWh a year, assuming anybody actually wants it.
You can probably already sense that the grid simply won’t be stable with such a high load of intermittent renewables.
Electricity demand is set to rise rapidly, as fossil fuels are phased out. Under our CT scenario, peak demand will rise to 87 GW by 2035.
As for the projected capacity, the National Grid dare not even show it on one page together. Their data however gives this:
Look very closely, and you will see that dispatchable capacity – nuclear, bio and gas – provide only 44.2 GW; and half of that is unabated gas, which will not be allowed much longer.
So where, pray, do they get the rest of that 87 GW from?
For a start, you should note that the peak demand quoted in FL-04 is ACS – they explain: ‘ACS demand for electricity is the maximum demand over an average winter and is consistent with the treatment of demand in the electricity Capacity Mechanism. As an average it has a 50 per cent chance of being exceeded in any given year.’
In other words, it is not ‘peak’ at all. You would probably need to add at least 10 per cent to cover years of extreme demand. You will also need to build in a safety buffer to allow for plant outages – it is normal to assume that only 85 per cent of capacity will be available at any given time. Finally, you also need to allow for line losses. All in all, to supply that 87 GW, you would need about 120 GW of firm capacity.
The projection assumes 109 GW of wind power and 47 GW of solar power. The latter is effectively worthless in mid-winter, when it can supply only about 2 GW at most on average. And as we know too well, wind power can plummet to well below 10 per cent of its capacity for days and weeks on end.
Even if we assume that wind power can generate at 10 per cent of its capacity during periods of cold anti-cyclonic weather, we will still be about 50 GW short.
What about interconnectors to Europe, then? The plan allows for 18.8 GW, which still leaves us well short, even assuming the Europeans have any surplus power to sell.
The FES reckons that we can shuffle demand around during the day, with smart meters, vehicle-to-grid and demand response. Even assuming that demand can be perfectly smoothed each day, this will likely cut peak demand by only 10 GW, given that winter demand fluctuates by about 20 GW from peak to trough.
So what is the FES answer to this conundrum?
Batteries! They plan to have 28.9 GW of battery storage. But, as they acknowledge, these batteries will be able to store on average only an hour or two’s worth of electricity. This may be fine for meeting peak demand in early mornings and evenings. But they will be absolutely useless for supplying power during those days and weeks on end when the wind stops blowing.
There is only one conclusion that can be drawn from this truly frightening and childishly naive analysis – there will be electricity rationing in the not-too-distant future. No longer will we be able to rely on a secure, reliable energy supply.
And this all appears to be deliberate policy.
We were warned. In 2011, the National Grid’s then CEO, Steve Holliday, told Radio 4 that the days of permanently available electricity may be coming to an end. Families would have to get used to only using power when it was available, rather than constantly. He said: ‘We are going to change our own behaviour and consume it when it is available and available cheaply.’