Friday, April 19, 2024
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The climate scaremongers: Wind farm operators start backing out as they get cold feet about costs


IT WOULD not be an exaggeration to say that the government’s Net Zero policy is almost wholly dependent on offshore wind. They claim it is cheap, reliable and plentiful enough to fuel our transport, heat our homes and power our industry.

We already know of course that it is far from reliable. Now hopes that it would at least be cheap are fading into the distance like a desert mirage.

We are currently paying around £180/MWh for the offshore wind already being produced. Renewable lobbyists and the government have steadfastly asserted that costs have since tumbled, and that new wind farms being built will generate electricity at a cost of below £50/MWh, which has been the traditional historic benchmark for wholesale power prices.

These promises have been based on the prices set at Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions in the last few years. Financial experts, however, have contended that the capital costs published on the wind farms’ own Annual Accounts don’t support this claim of rapidly falling costs. Moreover, wind farms are under no legal obligation whatsoever to take up their contract options.

Now it appears that the wind power industry is getting cold feet. There have already been demands from the industry for more government subsidies. And the Swedish energy company Vattenfall have announced that they are halting their 1.4 GW Boreas Wind Farm project off the Norfolk coast because it is not viable. Last year Vattenfall was awarded a CfD for Boreas at a current price of £45.37/MWh. It was due to start operations in 2028, but construction work has not yet begun. It is highly likely that other companies, such as Orsted, will follow suit. This also calls into question whether any wind companies will bid at the next CfD Allocation Round at the ultra-low prices the government has insisted on.

The government is between a rock and a hard place. It desperately needs tens of gigawatts of new offshore wind power, but it will have to pay much higher prices to get it.

The outlook for our energy bills is not encouraging, as it is the public who will end up paying the bill.

Blustering Met Office ignores its own figures

THE Met Office have just published their State of the UK Climate 2022  report, claiming that the last year’s weather was ‘extraordinary’. The slightly warmer than average year was evidence, they say, that the UK climate is continuing to warm rapidly, and that in particular we will see hotter and drier summers in years to come. They say that by 2060 a year like 2022 will be considered an ‘average’ year and that by 2100 it will be considered a ‘cool’ year.  

Their own data, however, contradicts all of this. Given that the year as a whole was remarkably unremarkable, the Met Office report focuses on one hot day in July 2022, when temperatures breached the 40C mark next to airport runways and main roads.

As they really ought to know, one day’s WEATHER is not CLIMATE.

Over the year as a whole, temperatures were 0.8C above the 30-year average, well within the bounds of natural variability. 1921, for instance, was 1.1C warmer than the 30-year average at the time. Other years have been colder than average by similar amounts.

The Met Office’s own graph explains that the reason for the warmth was the relative absence of cold weather – WEATHER being the operative word.

They also claim that the 2013-22 average of 9.44C was the hottest ten-year period on record. What they fail to admit is that the 1998-2007 average was almost as high at 9.35C. Statistically speaking, the difference between the two numbers is indistinguishable from zero.

What they steadfastly refuse to admit is the UK climate in effect stopped warming two decades ago:

UK 1884 – 2022 GRAPH HERE PSE

And what about those hot and dry summers? Despite all the bluster from the Met Office, 1976 is still the hottest summer on record. This is a clear sign that we won’t see significantly hotter summers in future than the ones we have experienced in the past. Indeed, last summer was only 0.2C warmer than that of 1899.

As for ‘drier’, the Met Office have obviously not bothered to check their own data, which shows the opposite.

The Met Office try to use these annual reports to persuade the public that our weather is becoming more extreme. But as the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s latest annual report written by me, The UK’s Weather in 2022, lays out, the opposite was true last year:

•       The number of days with extreme temperatures is not increasing, as fewer cold days are offsetting more hot ones;

•       Rainfall is not becoming more extreme, whether on an annual, monthly or daily basis;

•       Long-term averages in rainfall in England and Wales, which have been rising since the 1970s, are similar to the 1870s and 1920s;

•       Sea levels have been rising at around 1.7mm a year around the UK, after taking account of vertical land movement, and there has been no acceleration in the rate of rise on multi-decadal scales;

•       Wind storms have been declining in frequency and intensity since the 1990s.

In short, although it is slightly warmer than it used to be, the UK climate has changed very lit­tle. Long-term trends are dwarfed by the natural variability of weather. Nor is there any evidence that weather is becoming more extreme. Nothing in the data indicates that our climate will become more extreme in future.

Memo to the BBC: Holidaymakers go abroad because they like it hot

SOMETIMES I wonder whether BBC reporters live in their own little eco-bubble, totally unaware of what goes on in the real world.

The other day Georgina Rannard, their ‘Climate and science reporter’, wrote an article headed ‘Europe weather: How heatwaves could for ever change summer holidays abroad’. Obviously convinced by the BBC’s ongoing attempts to persuade us all that the Mediterranean is turning into some sort of uninhabitable hellhole, Rannard was sure that tourists would stay away from countries like Greece in future.

Poor Georgina does not quite seemed to have worked out that tourists flock there precisely because it is so hot. Indeed they have been doing so in increasing numbers, interrupted only by the pandemic.

As is mandatory with any BBC climate article, the views of eco-crackpots were given full coverage, ranting on about the wickedness of air travel, along with nannying advice from Dr Ellie Murtagh, ‘UK climate adaptation lead’ at the British Red Cross, viz: ‘If you are travelling with older people, pregnant women, young children or someone with a chronic health condition; take extra care to make sure they’re safe and healthy.’

The report focused on Rhodes and the wildfires there, as if there had never been any before global warming. In fact, according to the official EU data, wildfires in Greece have been declining since the 1980s and 90s:

And as the Greek government admits, most of the recent fires were started by humans.

But the truly laughable bit in Rannard’s naïve report must be the prediction by her ‘travel expert’ that tourists would be flocking to North Sea beaches next summer to escape the Mediterranean heat. There’s nothing like a cold, wet and windy week in Bridlington!

The Climate Scaremongers is taking a short break and will be back on Friday September 1.

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Paul Homewood
Paul Homewood
Paul Homewood is a former accountant who blogs about climate change at Not a Lot of People Know That

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