Alien robot inspects windfarm

The design of the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change “Energy Infrastructure” website shows what appears to be an robotic, alien figure in a green and pleasant land under a wind turbine. It must be a trick of the light, but I’m sure you can see the join between its head and its body, and added to that, there’s an unearthly glow around its helmet :-

https://www.og.decc.gov.uk/EIP/pages/recent.htm

But what intrigues me more than the choice of photographs to adorn this website, and the curious, 1940’s style graphic of an electricity pylon used as a logo, is the mention of the recent permission granted to an CCGT/OCGT power station planning proposal at RWE npower Willington C in Derbyshire :-

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/meeting_energy/consents_planning/consents_planning.aspx
https://www.og.decc.gov.uk/EIP/pages/onshore.htm
https://www.og.decc.gov.uk/EIP/pages/recent.htm
https://www.og.decc.gov.uk/EIP/pages/projects/willington_ccgt_decision_letter.pdf

Burning petroleum refinery residues ? Yes.

The decision letter lays out that :-

“On 24 September 2010 the Company formally requested if section 36 consent was granted that it could be on the basis of a phased development, that is the construction of the open cycle gas turbine generating station, followed by the combined cycle gas turbine generating station once development consent for the natural gas pipeline had been obtained. The Company has explained that the open cycle turbines can be operated on distillate oil and would be used only for periods to meet peak demand or in response to intermittency in renewable generation”

The gas pipeline has been requested :-

http://infrastructure.independent.gov.uk/projects/east-midlands/willington-gas-pipeline/

But I’m asking myself, has no progress been made in energy policy ? Are we going to carry on burning oil refinery residue at times of peak demand ? The people and many of the Parliamentarians have shown their resistance to new coal-fired power stations, and there does appear to be a moratorium on new coal, kind of. But do people realise that some of the new “peaker plants” that are believed to be necessary will be burning fuel oil ? You see, Willington C is not alone :-

http://www.rwe.com/web/cms/en/97626/rwe-npower/about-us/our-businesses/power-generation/fawley/

“In June 2011 we announced that we are investigating the possibility of developing a new distillate oil-fired open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) plant at our Fawley site. For more information about the proposals…” :-

http://www.rwe.com/web/cms/en/97626/rwe-npower/about-us/our-businesses/power-generation/fawley/
http://www.rwe.com/web/cms/en/657602/rwe-npower/about-us/our-businesses/new-power-stations/fawley/

http://www.thisishampshire.net/news/9066256.Energy_giant_pledges_consultation_over_new___100m_power_plant/
http://www.internationalsustainableenergy.com/news/rwe-npower-investigates-new-ocgt-plant-at-fawley/
http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/9066256.Energy_giant_pledges_consultation_over_new___100m_power_plant/?action=complain&cid=9407217

Are people aware of what fuel oil is and what burning it can do ? :-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_oil
http://www.epa.gov/ttnchie1/ap42/ch01/final/c01s03.pdf
http://www.epa.gov/ttnchie1/ap42/ch01/final/c01s11.pdf

So you see, people, if you refuse wind farms, you get Civil Service non-engineers agreeing RWE npower can carry on burning toxic oil refinery waste to provide your electricity. Great choice, Britain !

Carbon Dioxide – a virtual, negative commodity

http://www.cato.org/event.php?eventid=7999

I found this excellent little CATO Institute debate somewhere in my Twitter stream, and I watched the whole of it, despite the annoying accents and speaking styles of the speakers, and the insider economics references to Pigou and Coase (they’re only theorems, you know).

I thought that Kate Gordon made some excellent rebuttals to Andrew Morriss’ whining, pedantic free marketeering, and I was with her right up until the last few frames when she said that the Center for American Progress, of course, supports a carbon tax, as this is, of course, the best way to prevent Carbon Dioxide emissions.

Such disappointment ! To find that somebody so intelligent cannot see the limitations of carbon pricing is a real let down. I tend to find that American “progressives” on the whole are rather wedded to this notion of environmental taxation, “internalising the externalities” – adding the damages from industrial activities into the cost of the industrial products. I do not see any analysis of the serious flaws in this idea. Just what are they drinking ? What’s in the Kool-Aid ?

Continue reading Carbon Dioxide – a virtual, negative commodity

Cool poverty

They’ve never had it so cold. The British have just shivered through another long, centrally heated winter, and people are receiving enormous gas bills. Social campaigners and parliamentarians are rightly concerned that a clutch of harsher winters and rising energy costs could reverse gains made in tackling fuel poverty. The UK Government’s recent Budget announcement to reduce fuel poverty assistance payments is another blow to maintaining decent and warm homes for the vulnerable, the elderly and children. Proposals to cap the amount that energy companies can charge people in their bills is welcomed by some, but feared by others – as it could jeopardise energy company funding for the Green Deal – a free-to-the-consumer loan scheme for insulation and renewable energy installation. And there’s another problem waiting in the wings. Unlike the United States and Australia, the average British home doesn’t have air conditioning, and it costs real money to install it. If outsized summer heatwaves continue to pop up more frequently in Europe, UK households will face “cool poverty” in summer – a lack of cooling.

Continue reading Cool poverty