Friday, 5 July 2013

Auf Wiedersehen to Germany's solar energy manufacturers - one after another they all disappear

The demise of the German solar industry is now almost complete: Today Conergy, the once flagship of Germany's renewable energy industry, filed for insolvency

Conergy and its domestic counterparts are under pressure as subsidies fall at home amid competition from Chinese solar providers that has depressed margins and panel prices

Q-Cells, Bosch Solar, Schott Solar, Sovello, Schüco, Odersun, Würth Solar ... one after another, all the much touted big German solar energy companies have disappeared. Only one, Solarworld, remains, but the company is struggling, and its future is anything but certain. 

So much for the new "green jobs" industry that Angela Merkel and her government colleagues have been busy promoting - and the German taxpayers subsidizing - both at home and abroad ...

Thursday, 4 July 2013

David "the greenest government ever" Cameron opens one of Britain's most wasteful energy projects ever

The leader of the "greenest government ever" has today attended the opening of one of the most wasteful energy projects ever, the London Array offshore windfarm: 

“London Array shows you can build large-scale renewable energy projects right here in Britain,” Cameron said at the opening. “This is because when it comes to clean energy, the U.K. has one of the clearest investment climates globally.”

I guess David Cameron is right so far, that wind energy companies are more than happy to fill the country and its coastal waters with their unefficient, bird killing monsters as long as the government (taxpayers) minimizes the risk by paying huge subsidies. 

The sad reality about the London Array and similar projects is not quite the success story Cameron and the wind lobby pretends it to be:

The London Array, Britain’s biggest wind farm, with 175 turbines, employs 90 people at its base in Ramsgate, Kent. The array, which is 12 miles offshore, became fully operational in the spring. The foundation predicts its Renewables Obligation subsidy in its first year of full operation will be £160million — effectively £1.77million per job.--

A new analysis of government and industry figures shows that wind turbine owners received £1.2billion in the form of a consumer subsidy, paid by a supplement on electricity bills last year.They employed 12,000 people, to produce an effective £100,000 subsidy on each job.--

Campaigners also warn that turbines do not generate power when the wind is too low or too high, and cannot store it, meaning conventional generation is needed as a backup.
Dr John Constable, director of Renewable Energy Foundation, said: “Subsidies can create some soft jobs in the wind power industry but will destroy real jobs and reduce wages in other sectors, in the UK’s case because the subsidies cause higher electricity prices for industrial and commercial consumers. The extravagant subsidy cost per wind power job is an indication of the scale of that problem.”
He added: “Truly productive energy industries — gas, coal, oil, for example — create jobs indirectly by providing cheap energy that allows other businesses to prosper, but the subsidy-dependent renewables sector is a long way from this goal; it’s still much too expensive.”
Read the entire article here

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Sociology professor Frank Furedi: "We don’t need a self-appointed clerisy deigning to make us more aware"

 "I don’t have much patience for people who deny climate change"
Barack Obama

Barack Obama and the other "awareness raisers" should read what sociology professor Frank Furedi has to say about them:

Whenever the phrase ‘they just don’t get it’ makes an appearance, it’s a signal for closing down discussion. What’s the point of arguing with climate sceptics who reject The Science? They just don’t get it! It’s pointless to debate with someone who questions awareness itself – that is, the awareness advocate’s version of reality. They just don’t get it!

The most important word in the phrase ‘they just don’t get it’ is ‘they’. This word highlights what is most significant about the practise of awareness-raising, which is the drawing of a moral contrast between them and us. Although the word ‘us’ is left unsaid, the sentence ‘they just don’t get it’ provides a signal through which those who claim to possess awareness can recognise one another. It implies a shared view of the world that is based on mutual comprehension and intelligence. It’s a highly charged phrase; it sends a message to allies which says that, unlike those incorrigible deadbeats, ‘we’ are really aware of the issues at stake.
The presumption of superiority by those blessed with the insight to ‘get it’ is intertwined with contempt for the ability of ordinary people to exercise moral independence. People cease to be regarded as responsible citizens, and instead they’re perceived as creatures in need of being saved from themselves. In the past, the idea that people needed to be saved was justified on religious or philosophical grounds. Today, however, the Elect have not been chosen by God; they express their ambitions through the language of expertise that draws on behaviour-management theories and psychobabble, rather than in Biblical language.
We don’t need a self-appointed clerisy deigning to make us more aware. What society really requires is a public sphere that takes its citizens seriously – a sphere in which there is open discussion among equal citizens, who are quite capable of achieving enlightenment and clarity without needing their hands held by awareness-raisers.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Variations on a theme: A heat wave there and a cold wave here

The media have lately been full of reports about the heat wave in the US West. There has been considerably less coverage on this:
It's June now, but residents in Minnesota's Northland area were waking up to sub-freezing temperatures.
A Duluth News Tribune report says the mercury dipped below 30 degrees in some areas Sunday morning.
The National Weather Service says International Falls reported a low of 30 degrees, a record low for the date. The previous record of 32 degrees was reached three times, most recently in 2009.

Monday, 1 July 2013

European leaders "shocked" by US bugging - What a bunch of hypocrites!

The allegations that US security services bugged EU missions and the embassies of some European countries were published at the weekend by Der Spiegel in Germany and the Guardian in Britain.

The claims have angered many in Europe.
News about US security services bugging EU missions and embassies has angered French president Francois Hollande and others in Europe:
French President Francois Hollande has laid down the law to Barack Obama, telling him that spying on the EU must "immediately stop".
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, also weighed in, with a spokesman saying: "Bugging friends is unacceptable".
Both countries warned that relations with the United States could suffer as a result.
The president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz has said that the is "deeply shocked" by the allegations. The European Commission called it "disturbing news if proven true". 
What a bunch of  hypocrites these people are! 

They all know that their own security services are doing exactly the same - although with smaller resources, and probably with less success. Formally Europe and the US are "allies", however in the real world they are competitors in most areas. 
Secretary of State John Kerry is of course right:
 "Every country in the world that is engaged in international affairs of national security undertakes lots of activities to protect its national security, and all kinds of information contributes to that."

In reality the news about US spying are a welcome opportunity for Hollande and the rest to focus public attention away from their own failed policies. 

Besides, France and Germany have not been real allies of the US for decades. 

Donald Trump continues his fight against landscape destroying and bird killing wind turbines in Scotland

The Ardrossan wind farm in Scotland.
(image by wikipedia)

"Wind farms are a disaster for the environment". "They kill the birds. They are very expensive in terms of energy."  "Who would build a hotel where the windows are looking right into an industrial turbine?"
Donald Trump

It is not difficult to agree with business tycoon Donald Trump in his fight against wind turbines in Scotland. And Trump is not alone in his opposition to these useless and expensive monsters:

He says Scotland is going to end up erecting thousands of wind turbines that'll have to be junked.
They're unreliable, highly inefficient and require heavy subsidies, he says.
Trump appeared before the Scottish parliament's energy committee last year with this warning.
"Scotland, if you pursue this goal, of these monsters all over Scotland, Scotland will go broke," Trump told parliamentarians. "As sure as you are sitting there, Scotland will go broke." --
Plenty of others share Trump's dislike of turbines, says Linda Holt, spokeswoman for Scotland Against Spin, an alliance of groups campaigning against Scotland's wind energy policy.
"I think there are tens of thousands of people, if not hundreds of thousands of people," Holt says. "I think in rural communities, they are so against them now there are hundreds of local groups who think the policy is ridiculous, is uneconomic, has gone far enough."

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Stephen Emmott, Head of Microsoft's Computational Science Research: "Earth will become a hellhole"

"Earth will become a hellhole" - that is the message of Stephen Emmotthead of Microsoft's Computational Science research. The Guardian today publishes an extract from Emmott's book "Ten Billion":

And recent research shows that we look certain to be heading for a larger rise in global average temperatures than 2C – a far larger rise. It is now very likely that we are looking at a future global average rise of 4C – and we can't rule out a rise of 6C. This will be absolutely catastrophic. It will lead to runaway climate change, capable of tipping the planet into an entirely different state, rapidly. Earth will become a hellhole. In the decades along the way, we will witness unprecedented extremes in weather, fires, floods, heatwaves, loss of crops and forests, water stress and catastrophic sea-level rises. Large parts of Africa will become permanent disaster areas. The Amazon could be turned into savannah or even desert. And the entire agricultural system will be faced with an unprecedented threat.

More "fortunate" countries, such as the UK, the US and most of Europe, may well look like something approaching militarised countries, with heavily defended border controls designed to prevent millions of people from entering, people who are on the move because their own country is no longer habitable, or has insufficient water or food, or is experiencing conflict over increasingly scarce resources. These people will be "climate migrants". The term "climate migrants" is one we will increasingly have to get used to. Indeed, anyone who thinks that the emerging global state of affairs does not have great potential for civil and international conflict is deluding themselves. It is no coincidence that almost every scientific conference that I go to about climate change now has a new type of attendee: the military.
Every which way you look at it, a planet of 10 billion looks like a nightmare. --
On his own home page Emmott writes about his passion to produce a new generation of scientists:
"I am also passionate about producing a new generation of scientists, who can become tomorrow's scientific leaders and discoverers." (boldening by Emmott)
The extract published by the Guardian gives us an opportunity to judge how well Dr. Emmott has succeeded:

Science is essentially organised scepticism. I spend my life trying to prove my work wrong or look for alternative explanations for my results. It's called the Popperian condition of falsifiability. I hope I'm wrong. But the science points to my not being wrong. We can rightly call the situation we're in an unprecedented emergency. We urgently need to do – and I mean actually do – something radical to avert a global catastrophe. But I don't think we will. I think we're fucked. I asked one of the most rational, brightest scientists I know – a scientist working in this area, a young scientist, a scientist in my lab – if there was just one thing he had to do about the situation we face, what would it be? His reply? "Teach my son how to use a gun." (boldening by NNoN)