German Companies Dump UK Nuclear

RWE and EON have pulled out of building new nuclear plants in the UK. (See Telegraph Here)

It is perhaps unsurprising as both companies have been financially crippled by the German decision to shut down their nuclear plants. Both companies are faced with a massive drop in income as their German plants languish. This is the income they were relying on for the next 20+ years to pay for the investment in UK nuclear. Essentially RWE and EON say they now lack the cash for the up front investment in the UK nuclear facilities.

They will also have to pay out for early decommissioning of their German plant. So while the Horison consortium is obliged to keeping to its Finnish commitments for nuclear plant
they have found that legally they can pull out of the large up front commitment in the UK with virtual impunity.

While it is easy to see their financial reasoning, this clearly leaves a big hole in power supply for the UK. It also perhaps shows the stupidity of allowing strategic industries to fall into the clutches of foreign companies. Especially when their commitment to the UK is essentially controlled by a foreign government. (This incidentally applies to all generation technology not just nuclear)

So, we live in interesting times.

Maybe the Horison consortium will be picked up by EDF or others. Again foreign companies controlling our strategic industries.

Then maybe we could simply not build the nuclear plants.

We desperately need reliable, dependable and dispatchable power generation. We have already wasted far too much time and money on unviable an ineffective energy daydreams.

If we were to walk way from these two proposed nuclear sites the most likely outcome is that we would have to adopt the German post nuclear strategy and build more coal plant. Maybe with the potential of the Lancashire shale gas field we could build more gas instead.

Either way we slide backwards.

For the last 20 years we have been living in a dreamworld where strategic industrial investment has been dictated by the technically illiterate, ideological bigotry and wishful thinking.

Instead of relying of foreign companies, who are in turn controlled by foreign governments, maybe it is time we took responsibility and did it for ourselves.

You know - Just for a change - and before it is too late.

U.S.S Prince of Wales?

The two Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers, currently being built, were originally costed at £3.9 Billion. That was the proposed completion cost. There was a a potential small increase for the fitting of a catapult launching system if things went wrong with the JSF35 VSTOL aircraft.

The price is now £7 Billion and is likely to top out at £10 Billion. (Robert Peston Here)

That is a hell of alot of money for two new British ships. But it gets worse.

The Americans have consistently blocked access to aspects of the design of the (supposedly jointly designed) JSF F35 aircraft. These are the primary aircraft that these two carriers are supposed to operate.

It now appears that these carriers will also have an area for the sole use of US personnel, into which RN personnel will not be permitted. This on a supposedly UK sovereign ship. ( Telegraph Here )

Are these really going to be bona-fide British ships? Or are they really going to be mere proxies for the American navy. The current controversy over whether they will take the VSTOL version of the JSF35 or the conventionally launched version revolves around the fact that the USA will only operate the conventional variant.

It seems that the USA is quite keen to be able to deploy their own aircraft on these two British flagged carriers. Hence they are pushing hard to get the current VSTOL configuration changed.

There is also a possibility that the VSTOL version of the JSF35 will get cancelled under the feet of the RN. A situation reminiscent of the SkyBolt debacle in the early 60's.(Cabinet Papers Here)

There are a aspects of this I think we should all find really alarming.

1. Cost overrun. If you ordered a house extension for 30k and the end result was an extension costing 100K  you also found your neighbour had rights over occupancy would you be happy? Or would you call in the Fraud Squad?

2. National Sovereignty. However much the USA would like to have us as pet poodle, and however much certain sections o the UK administration love playing the lapdog, we really ensure that command and control of our national defence assets rests solely with the UK. We would be better off without either of these ships rather than merely being the "approved" operator for the real owner.

It would be an outrage if we ended up spending £10 billion simply to provide the USA with a diplomatic smoke screen so they can deploy their aircraft under the guise of the flag of convenience.

Of course an even bigger travesty would be that the owner of that flag of convenience would be us.

The Wind Industry and Rotten Onions

When I first started this blog I had no plans for it to be dominated by the energy debate. But so far, and by a long margin, my most prolific output has centred on the utter disgrace that is wind power.

It is worthwhile (at least for me) to see how this blog has got subsumed by the energy debate. Perhaps it may also be of interest to those who rather amusingly think I am in the pay of some grand conspiracy against wind.

I came at this as a wind turbine virgin.

I had not bothered investigating the pros and cons of wind farms. I had no reason to. Like most people I had blindly assumed that wind energy was a viable and sensible option. After all, why was so much money being thrown at it otherwise?

Checking out the ability of wind farms to actually generate useful energy had frankly, never occurred to me. I had certainly never heard of ROCs. I just took it as a given. Probably just like most of the population.

Then one day (2009) I was driving to work through East Stoke. The local radio reported on how Infinergy had modified their proposal for a wind farm at East Stoke from six to four turbines. Breathlessly the reported said this four turbine industrial complex would generate 9.2 MW. I guffawed. Seriously. I thought the reporter had left a nought off.

So that night I thought I would have a gentle poke at the mathematical illiteracy of the reporter in my new blog. Just to ensure I got it right I Googled what it should be. Good job I did!

The reporter had not left off a nought. In fact the reporter had reported the maximum output. An output that would hardly ever be achieved. We now know that the averaged output over a year would be about 20% or 1.8MW. Or less that 0.5 MW for each huge turbine. (It is actually considerably worse than that, but I won't go into that now)

To say I was shocked was an understatement.

Ever since then it has been like peeling the layers off a rotten onion. Each time I exposed another rancid layer, I thought that it could not get any worse. But each time I have been dis-proven.

On closer examination virtually every pro wind statement proved, at best to be optimistic. At worst an outright lie.

I have not blogged for a while basically because I've got bored with it. Particularly, blogging about the Wind Farm Scam is a bit like continually clearing up sewage, it gets tedious and unpleasant.

Hence the break.

But (as has been pointed out to me!) I need to get back into it. I literally have stuff backed up I need to post on. The wind industry is still awash with graft and greed.

Perhaps most depressing of all this is how the dogmatic quasi-religious followers of the carpet baggers blindly ignore the facts, while chanting out the propaganda spewed out by their well heeled idols. Maybe they don't actually lie, maybe they are so soaked in their dogma that (in their minds) 2 + 2 really does equal 5

I have been entertained by the childish accusations from the zealots of being in the pay of "the global conspiracy" (or whatever), but hardly ever get meaningful challenges to any of the data I present.

So, to my friends ( and detractors) - I have not given up, and I certainly have not gone away.

I am just having a breather from poking a virtual stick into the filthy self serving mess that is the wind industry.


Heres an opportunity to become an executive producer of a documentary (on a budget). Not only that it gives you the chance to bust a few myths about shale gas.

This proposed documentary on the realities of shale gas will not stop the misinformation and outright lies being propagated by its opponents.

But hey, it's a bloody good start. You can join the conspiracy HERE. (I'm in for $10.00)

Watch the trailer below (h/t to the The Filthy Engineer )

Why is Wind Power So Expensive?

Billothewisp is having trouble keeping up with this.

Today another devastating report on the hopelessness of wind power has been published.
 (Why is Wind Power So Expensive? - See Here ).

To be honest I have only managed to spend about an hour on it but it is very hard hitting. It actually questions some of my prepositions - and I oppose wind turbines!

This document has been published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

I know some of my more disparaging readers will instantly dismiss this report because it is published by what is regarded as a right wing think-tank. But they need to look past the mere publisher and see who the author is. Namely one Professor Gordon Hughs.

So who the Hell is Gordon Hughs?

Here is his Bio:

Dr Gordon Hughes is a Professor of Economics at the University of Edinburgh where he teaches courses in the economics of natural Resources and Public economics. He was a senior adviser on energy and environmental policy at the World Bank until 2001. He has advised governments on the design and implementation of environmental policies and was responsible for some of the World Bank’s most important environmental guidelines.

Not exactly an ignoramus then.

Professor Hughs is somebody, I would imagine, who really would not have to take his socks off to count above ten.

Somebody one would expect to have the highest integrity.

RenewablesUK have yet to pass judgement on Professor Gordon Hughs.

Of course, Gordon Hughs may be a crank, an axe murdering psychopath, or even in the pay of some fabulously dark international conspiracy to do something or the other.

I am sure RenewablesUK can come up with something derogatory. Just give them a few days.

But still, Professor Hughs is awfully good with figures.

What my turbinista loving readers should do before closing their minds and shutting out the (very) nasty truths expounded upon in this report, is do the dangerous thing - read the report.

Look at the figures presented. Read the explanations of the technologies. Go through the the explanations of the subidies and how debilitating they are.

Maybe, you could go onto reading the the four independent reports I outlined in my last post ( See Here ). But, hey, one report would be a start.

So have a good (or maybe a very unpleasant) read. At the very least owe it to your community to give it a fair hearing.

Feel free to recommend back a contrary report for me to read. Though actually, you may well find I have read it already.  I really do try to address this issue from a position of informed opinion rather than from simply one side. But please feel free to recommend away.

You never know - maybe you can influence me.

Of course, if you are fair minded, then there is also the chance that I may influence you.

Wind Power - Another Damning Report

RenewablesUK and the government have really thrown their toys out of the pram over the latest energy report by the AF Mercados engineering consultancy.  (  Title: Powerful Targets - Link Here* )

The original version of the report was originally due to be published by KPMG last year. Consequently it held a very high profile. But contents of the report were so explosive KPMG bottled out. The report was suppressed at the last moment.

According to KPMG this had nothing to do with any pressure from the government, RenewablesUK or their many wind farm clients. They said the report was so complex it was open to misinterpretation. Hmmm - thats believable (not).

The engineering firm who did the research for KPMG has decided to publish anyway.

According to the government and RenewablesUK (the wind industry trade body), AF Mercados produced a simplistic and shoddy report.

Bearing in mind AF Mercados is a large and highly respected international firm of consulting engineers - obviously with enough status to be hired by KPMG, that hardly seems likely does it?

Of course, if this was the only report detailing the absurd squandering of resources that epitomise wind power then we all may be forgiven for treating the report sceptically.

But this is very far from the first report.

Go back a few weeks. There was a damning report by Civitas ( Title: Electricity Costs. the Folly of Wind Power - Link Here.)  RenewablesUK, obviously lacking any reasoned defence of their position, blamed the report on "Cranks"

Then there was the report by Stuart Young Consulting for the environmental group the John Muir Trust (roughly a Scottish equivalent of the CPRE). ( Title: Analysis of UK Wind Power Generation - Link Here.) Scottish Renewables announced they had no confidence in the Stuart Young figures (no surprise there then)

Previous to these there was a report by Royal Academy of Engineers (Title: The Cost Of Generating Electricity - Link Here) which detailed the horrific cost associated with wind power compared to other generation techniques. It looks like the wind sector ignored this damning report completely and simply hoped it would go away.

Four separate and detailed reports by four independent and highly respected bodies.

Each independant report presents a damning vision of current government policy. Each report displays how hopelessly ineffective and how unaffordable wind turbines are.

They all display the wind industry as an industry gripped by a gold rush. An industry squandering our money and resources on what is little more than a fashion statement.

Have a good read.

* if this link to the AF Consult document (hosted on "businessgreen") mysteriouly breaks, drop me a note and I'll make my copy available directly

Raspberry Pi

A great little SBC (single board computer) has been launched. It has had a long an arduos gestation lasting several years, but this little SBC  is a magnificent achievement. It has been designed and developed in Cambridge by the Raspberry Pi foundation.

See Here
RS Components Here
Farnell Here

You can get one for £25. (that's right - twenty five quid)

 So what? You may say. What is so special about just "another" computer. Believe me, this little SBC is far from being just another pile of electronics. It promises to revolutionise both the teaching and implementation of electronics/computing in our schools, colleges and industry.

You will be seeing it in schools within a year and then in home brewed products shortly afterwards. Where better to start than with the educational market? But that is merely the tip of the ice burg. Believe me this is not just a load of hype. This thing will fly.

But great as this is there is one downside that needs debating.

The talented and creative folk who created this breakthrough wanted to build the initial boards in this country. Good for them. But they couldn't.

The main reason?

The brick wall to getting these things made here revolved around the price of components.

 If they were built and fully assembled in China then there would be no import Tax when bringing them into this country.

But if they were built here, then the components would have been subject to import tax on entry and so would have pushed up the price of the finished boards to a much higher and unsustainable price.

 A case of tax breaks for the Chinese at the expense of UK industry.

 What a shame.

 But even so, this is a great achievement full of promise for the future.

I haven't been able to get one yet - they are sold out (grrrrr)