Webcraft – its been brought to my attention …

Comment posted on Question: How can we license fracking when we have permanent drought? by Malcolm Kirk

Webcraft – its been brought to my attention that you are apparently now past just being offensive with your comments but have now taken to lying. Please be careful what you say next !

Malcolm Kirk also commented

  • Webcraft – 17.5% is pathetic for the enormous costs and debt created and of course the destruction of our landscape – and bear in mind at least half was probably generated at night when not required, and the turbines would have to be shut down – and then of course we probably ended up paying the poor owners millions to make up for their ‘supposedly’ lost earnings. Since when were wind turbines newcomers ? We’ve been paying through the nose for them for years.
    I suggest we end it there – after tomorrow we should have a new set of headlines to argue over !
  • Tim – read ‘Political Capital’ as well !
    Webcraft – I accept that in the later half of last year – being the windiest period in living memory – wind generation reached 31% (not 35% ) efficiency – but YOU have to accept by the same token that this year, it might only be 5%. In fact we dread another stormy year like last year as there will be few trees left standing and everything that isn’t already killed off in the garden by the salt spray and wind burn, won’t survive another year of the same. You also have to consider how much of that 31% was delivered overnight rather than when it was most needed i.e. during the working day. I’ll remind you again of the figures for 2 weeks ago for UK wind generation Mon – Fri : 8am – 8pm – Mon 3.35% Tues 3.95% Wed 0.9% Thurs 0.77% Fri 0.77%. And that could be any one of many weeks recently. I will also give you that many wind farms are not yet included in the generation figures – but even if the output was doubled – the figures would still be pathetic and of little use to an industrialised nation.
  • Wave power works, wind power works, algal biodiesel works, tidal power works, the old cooking oil we had as waste from our restaurant kitchen – worked : they may all work, but their inability to supply more than a token gesture towards the power needs of our country – is fact. The people defending renewables are understandably the people making the money out of it.
  • So it is 20 or so years since the Mrs Thatcher’s era, and we still have no useful wave generators, and yet you blame it on her ? ? ? What will we be saying about YOUR research and expenditure in 20 years time ? Huge success – OR NOT and who should we then be blaming ?
    I agree with Robert above – it will be interesting to see how the Sound of Islay tidal generators work out. I am all for R & D and accept the considerable costs to the Taxpayer – but there has to come a time when it’s understood that enough is enough and we have to move on. I suspect that from most new R & D projects that prove to be uneconomical or impractical, there is a spin off that can be taken forward in a new potentially more successful direction.
  • Dr Douglas – you are again not quite being straight forward – same survey, you are right – large proportion supported renewables but what I quoted was correct – only 17% supported wind farms. Most of the public are totally unaware of the legacy they will reap from supporting renewables. Incidentally, just watched an article at ten past seven this evening on the ‘One Show’ on BBC 1 which is a programme I always find reasonably entertaining. An item by of all people – Janet Street Porter – on wind farms was enlightening – have a look on iplayer. But Dr Douglas I must also make this point about wave power – I once sailed the West Coast for a week with a charming and learned Professor from Edinburgh University who’s sole interest at that time was to develop wave power – ( Nodding Donkeys I think ). That was 27 years ago – and yet still with all the investment, grants, and subsidies over all that time we still don’t have an efficient working power supply from wave power. Does that not say something about renewables ? ? ?
    I think Webcraft and his ilk are totally panicked.

Recent comments by Malcolm Kirk

  • Baillie impressive at First Minister’s Questions – and then the polls rolled in
    Have they taken Agnes back in ?
  • Baillie impressive at First Minister’s Questions – and then the polls rolled in
    Would we not be better off with the SNO ?
  • Scottish Labour Leadership: the timeline is Murphy’s headache
    Glasgow blame Holyrood and the SNP
    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/job-fears-as-glasgow-council-faces-cuts-in-excess-of-100m.25731432?utm_source=headlines&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=email%2Balert
  • Scotland heading to be a one-party state
    Robert -I bet agnes supports windfarms, small hydro schemes, solar panels.
  • Labour paralysis proves Lamont right
    I thought we won the Referendum because we wanted a United Kingdom. The Labour Party is a UK / British Political Party, and as with all political parties it is subdivided to each region and always has been. This is not an uncommon situation with a Leader retiring and a successor being sought and indeed if it wasn’t for the rantings of the SNP extremists it would be nothing more that. Let the democratic process we all voted NO for – begin. I personally agree with newsie’s view of the value of Holyrood debates – pathetic. Politics require great orators, characters, personalities, to lead and achieve a following – totally non existent now in Holyrood, in any Party.
    As to why the SNP gang are rubbishing Labour so vehemently on these pages – well its’s just sheer fear and terror. They are scared that a new Labour leader will regain the traditional labour vote and empty the SNP’s membership list and coffers.

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162 Responses to Webcraft – its been brought to my attention …

  1. Searching for underground gas in Scotland

    site / activities / company

    Canonbie and Rowanburn, Dumfries and Galloway / 26 planning applications, 17 sites and a fracking licence / Dart Energy (was Greenpark Energy)

    Moodiesburn, North Lanarkshire / planning application withdrawn after objections / Reach Coal Seam Gas Ltd

    Bandeath, Stirling / four appraisal wells drilled / Dart Energy

    Meadowhill farm, Foresthill, Clackmannanshire / four appraisal wells drilled / Dart Energy

    Orchard farm, Alloa, Clackmannanshire / planning application / Dart Energy

    Arns farm, Clackmannan / planning application / Dart Energy (was Coalbed Methane Ltd)

    Airth, Falkirk / 11 boreholes licensed by Scottish Environment Protection Agency, £300m deal to sell gas signed / Dart Energy

    Longannet power station, Fife / one appraisal well drilled / Dart Energy

    West Fife / 200–square-kilometre block licenced for exploitation / Dart Energy

    East Fife / 112-square-kilometre block licenced for exploitation / Dart Energy

    Source

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  2. The solution for the water issue is waterless fraccing; Gasfrac has done over 1500 fracs with gelled propane; you don’t need any water; you don’t produce any waste fluids (no need for injection wells); no need to flare (no CO2 emissions); truck traffic is cut to a trickle from 900+ trips per well for water fraccing to 30 with propane fracs; and on top of that the process increases oil and gas production; it is a win for the industry, a win for the community and a win for the environment.

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  3. Correct that there is a drought… in the south of England, but not in the north, so this is just a red herring used to have a pop at a new technology that could in fact provide an energy solution for generations to come.

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  4. Funny how wind power is considered uneconomic, but more and more extreme carbon fuel extraction is absolutely fine. Wonder if there’s possibly an ideology involved there?

    We have to stop using fossil fuels. End of.

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  5. Newsroom: You ask: “where this volume of water is to come from in the drought conditions the UK is already experiencing”. The “UK” is NOT experiencing a drought, only parts of England, and even then some of the areas declared as being under drought conditions because of meteorological measurements have not had hosepipe bans imposed because they still have good supplies of water. So, your question is based on a false premise and the hare you have tried to run with, namely a national shortage of water, falls at the first hurdle.

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    • Yeah, and join the SIX (how pathetic is that?) other LUDDITES who have signed it so far.
      Why are you posting as Webcraft? Shouldn’t you be trolling today as your normal i.d. as Scotsrenewables if you’re going to give us all this “we’re doomed; its global warming’s fault”.

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  6. Given the geology of the coal measures across from Ayrshire through to Campbeltown, Machrihanish and offshore, is there a possibility of gas that could be unlocked by fracking in this area?

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    • Worth Cuadrilla investigating these areas, and hopefully any resultant earth tremors might dislodge the foundations of wind farms and make them all fall down.

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      • School Defender, I would imagine that you have been on as many drilling rigs as windfarms, as you appear to know precious little about either.

        Trust me, once drilling companies start operating in an area near you the NIMBYs will be out in force – and you probably marching alongside.

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        • Strange isn’t it? This thread started with me asking a simple question about your statement that ‘we must stop using fossil fuels’, which is a naive proposition to say the least.
          Now you are accusing me of ignorance, and of being a NIMBY protestor (you are only partly correct on the former, but way out of the ballpark on the latter).
          There is never any scope for rational debate when rabid zealots start screeching just because someone dares to suggest that perhaps, just perhaps, the world isn’t going to end in the next ten years.

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          • My comment about NIMBYs was meant to indicate that those who don’t want a windfarm in their back yard will be equally unhappy with a drilling rig at the back of their house.

            If you think the debate on climate change is about the world ‘ending in the next ten years’ then you really don’t understand the issue.

            If you think doing nothing now is an option then the same applies.

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  7. This is just typical, non-factual scaremongering.
    - There is no drought in the north of the UK.
    - The drought is by no means permanent (there was one in 1976 remember?)
    - There are “carcinogens” in coffee and all sorts of other stuff you use every day, those used in fracking pose about the same amount of risk.
    - If we lock ourselves into wind for the next 25 years we will not only be faced with power shortages and an uncompetitive economy we will have to import – guess what…coal to keep the lights on.
    - And finally, gas releases less than half the co2 per unit energy produced than coal does so using it for power generation will go some way to decarbonise if it replaces coal.

    Is shale gas the perfect solution? No.
    Would I like wind/solar to be economical? Yes, but the fact is that they are not and shale gas is the best alternative we have right now that will buy us time until non-fossil energy technologies are far enough advanced to keep the lights on and sustain the economy.

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  8. Was forced to go shopping in Oban and also to listen to the Jeremy Vine show on radio 2 whilst driving there – two of the things I detest most. The Vine show, which takes BBC journalism to its lowest level – had an item on fracking which of course they had never researched in any detail. However people phoned in and the last call was from a gentleman who was from the Manchester area where drilling has already taken place and made headlines. He stated he didn’t know anyone from the area who was not in favour of continuing the drilling as they all saw it as being good for the future of their area . However Mr Webcraft we are going to need something to keep the lights on – using the information from NETA (google it before you rubbish it) I worked out the input to the UK Grid from wind farms for last week from Monday to Friday but especially between 8am and 8pm when all Commercial and Industrial units were at peak demand.
    Mon:- 3.35% Tues:- 3.95% Wed:- 0.9% Thurs:- 0.77% Fri:- 0.76%
    Not all wind farms are yet connected, and therefore recorded, so there could be an error in these figures – but even if it was 100% – the figures are still surely pathetic.

    KEEP ON FRACKING!

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  9. I find it strange how people can end up in opposing camps in regard to energy production and how politicised it can all be. As I have said before,there are pros and cons to all technologies and using a mix seems to be the most rational approach. I was listening to R2 at lunchtime and there was a UKIP person on in favour of fracking and nuclear power but against windfarms and a climate change sceptic. Funny how they all seem to go together!

    Turning to shale gas specifically, there are indeed huge quantities of shale gas in major deposits pretty much everywhere around the globe. What the recoverable reserves are is a more moot point but much of the hyperbole around it providing us cheap and abundant gas supplies for ages to come reminds me all to clearly of the promises that nuclear power would provide us with electricity that was “too cheap to meter”.

    On the upside, it is an energy reserve and we have some in the UK so it could be used to offset gas imports thus improving energy security. If the gas is also being used to displace coal burning then there is an environmental gain here also as gas produces about 50% of the CO2 emissions of coal and the power stations are much more flexible in operation than coal (so much better at balancing the grid). It is interesting to note that much of the opposition to shale gas in the USA comes from coal mining interests. Abundant shale gas supply would depress wholesale prices so might make gas plants cheaper to operate.

    There are, however, serious environmental concerns. Water usage is one (and a possible answer to that is given above). The minor earthquakes are just that but the activities are likely to weaken strata and so much more likely to cause subsidence. Contamination of aquifers is possible but unlikely given good regulation. I would say that health concerns around fracking are likely to be much higher than around windfarms and more justified. There are also real safety concerns. Look at the current problems with a methane gas leak in the North Sea: there would need to be restrictions or at least severe safeguards on fracking operations within several miles of habitations to deal with the consequences of a major leak (just as there is around major gas pipelines).

    Biggest problem is going to be, as Webcraft suggests, the NIMBY resistance to fracking. Whoever coined the term “fracking” was doing the industry no favours!

    In summary, I expect that shale gas will be hugely important in the USA and China but probably quite small scale and localised in the UK.

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    • While we still have to burn fossil fuels to keep the lights on substituting gas for coal is an excellent idea, as it produces approximately half the CO2 per MW as coal.

      However, it does still produce carbon, and if the discovery of abundant local gas causes the renewables revolution to stall then we are going backwards rapidly. Irrespective of whether UK shale gas substitutes for coal, renewables or imported gas, the industry’s latest reserve estimates for just one licence area could account for up to 15% of the UK’s emissions budget through to 2050. Therefore, emissions from a fully developed UK shale gas industry would be very substantial in their own right.

      In a nutshell, we simply cannot afford to burn all this gas. Using local shale gas as a substitute for imports while we are still obliged to burn gas is one thing, emptying the reserves and burning it all while tearing up our emissions committments is quite another.

      The other problem with fracking for methane is that there is more to the fuel’s carbon footprint than what happens when it burns. The manufacture and transport to site of thousands of tonnes of chemicals has its own carbon footprint, while leakages from the well of methane – a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than CO2 – is also an issue.

      As Dr McKenzie says, fracking may well turn out to be a bit of a non-issue anyway . . . many industry pundits believe the profitability of shale gas in the UK has been greatly overhyped, and that it is unlikely to have the impact impact on the UK market that it has had in the US.

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    • There was a guy on Radio 4 this morning – WWF I think – who said that shale gas usage can very easily result in greater greenhouse emissions than coal because of the release of ‘fugitive’ methane. He said even if only 3 to 4% of the methane is released in this way, the “50% less than coal” benefit is lost.

      As Douglas says, the best aspect of shale gas is that it can reduce our reliance on imports. As Webcraft says, the most important thing is that shale gas is not seen as an alternative to renewables development. The best option would seem to be to use the gas as backup for renewables while we work on developing the other storage & demand management technologies.

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  10. Well lets hope you are wrong in every respect. I for one would like to be supplied with gas at one third the price, as they are in the USA. Good Lord – even Switzerland is ahead of us on this ! ! Incidentally having spent the larger proportion of my life in the Lothians, which is a heavily coal mined area, I don’t remember any problems from earth tremors or anything else to do with the mines for that matter. And yes – Webcraft – I have worked at a pit head and I have been down a mine. Anyone who thinks that a drill, or any system used in fracking can compare with the every day dangers ( inc. gas) faced by miners underground is totally out of touch with reality. By the way, all the tests done for environmental damage in the North Sea due to the gas leak have proved negative. And as far as the NIMBY resistance you referred to is concerned – no doubt governments will totally ignore them, just as they have done to wind farm protesters – until now anyway – there is about to be a change !

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  11. I for one would like to be supplied with gas at one third the price, as they are in the USA.

    Malcolm, it seems you know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

    Re. the Elgin leak – the fish may taste OK, but massive amounts of methane – a greenhouse gas 25 times as potent as CO2 – are being released into the air daily.

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    • Yes. The jury is still out on mmgw and to ignore a cheap and abundant new energy source is folly.
      I am certain that the only concern of the vast majority of hardworking and responsible Scots is to have an energy source which is affordable and reliable. Shalegas ticks the boxes.

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      • Ah, our resident spokesperson for the Heartland Institute – I wondered when you would be along.

        The jury most certainly is not out on MMGW, and repeatedly saying that it is does not change the facts.

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        • The jury most certainly is out on MMGW, and repeatedly saying that it is not does not change the facts.

          If the science were settled then we would not be having this debate and governments worldwide would be taking clear and urgent action to immediately cease CO2 emissions.

          How inconvenient for your “cause” that no such thing has happened and our CO2 emmisions are increasing.

          Obviously governments worldwide do not believe the mmgw myth otherwise they would be in mass decarbonising panic.

          The jury most certainly is out on MMGW, and repeatedly saying that it is not does not change the facts.

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    • Christopher Booker? Don’t make me laugh Malcolm. That’s the same numpty who argued that asbestos, passive smoking and BSE were not dangerous.

      I give you the IPCC and thirty years of steadily building consensus and worsening outlook. If the best you can put up against that is Booker then its not much of a contest. You will be offering me Delingpole next.

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  12. Stephen MacKenzie.
    What a stupid suggestion ending the use of fossil fuels. How are people going to get to their place of work by public transport. Do you suggest that we use Flintstone vehicles similar to the ones in the cartoon series.

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      • Of course not. If I sounded brusque it’s because I’m getting a little fed up attempting to debate in an adult manner with people who are unwilling to examine their a priori assumptions or to accept the scientific consensus, which isn’t fabricated by people with “an agenda” but is the result of years and years of hard work.

        To expand on my previous statement: it is quite clear that we have to stop using fossil fuels and soon. This is not a matter of belief, this is a matter of evidence and the evidence has been unequivocal for at least ten years. More and more evidence is arriving on the scene all the time, and denying it at this point is like placing your throne below the high tide line.

        Given that that is the case, there is not the slightest point in developing new fossil fuel resources, especially inefficient and polluting ones like tar sands and fracking. Instead put that money into renewable energy, whether that is wind, wave, solar, hydro or the production of carbon fuels from biological sources such as algae or bacteria*. That is a better investment; and incidentally all fossil fuel exploration benefits from substantial subsidy-in-kind, cough, sorry, tax breaks.

        We probably have 10 to 20 years before GHG emissions reach a point of no return and we are, in a word, —-ed. OK? I’m off to argue with a brick wall now, it’ll probably be more prepared to listen…

        *There’s an interesting article on “artifical photosynthesis” in this week’s New Scientist, for example.

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        • Stephen: I understand your frustration. It does often feel like hitting our heads off the proverbial brick wall with some of the hard core climate change denial/let’s keep drilling brigade but I think it is worth persevering because there is a silent (or at least pretty quiet) audience to fora like these and to leave the field to the ostriches might give those people the misapprehension that the ostriches are right.

          Telegraph v Nature hmm… now there’s a contest.

          On artificial photosynthesis, this is a fascinating field (and some of the world’s best experts are down at Glasgow University). It is a puzzle why natural photosynthesis is so inefficient. Plant biochemistry seems designed to be inefficient and limited at less than 30% efficiency (and in reality even the most efficient plants don’t approach anything like that – even algae usually only manage 10% and that under highly optimised conditions). However, the theoretical efficiency is over 85% (from memory). So artificial photosynthesis could supply us with liquid fuels at a much higher efficiency than any other technology and solve our carbon problem.

          Only drawback is that it is a long way off.

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          • Yes, this is exactly what I’m talking about. The temptation to flame you, Malcolm, is immense. But it would be entirely futile. And rather rude.

            I’m not asking you to agree with me, incidentally, just to make some attempt to understand the arguments I’m (we’re) making, and to engage in some kind of rational conversation.

            In my opinion, you are undermining your own position by making claims that are easily shown to be false. If you don’t want the Argyll Array to be built–and that is what this is all about, no?–you have to start coming up with cogent and defendable reasons why it’s a bad idea. You haven’t yet.

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    • Well… hate to self advertise but my company works on developing equipment for growing algae which can then be used to produce carbon neutral algal diesel and aviation fuels that can be directly used in existing engines without modification. Only barrier at present is cost but lots of people are hopeful that cost parity between algal and fossil oil will be reached within this decade. Algae represent the only biotechnology that could be scaled sufficiently to displace fossil oil (and without impacting on terrestrial food production).

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      • Are you in the real world ? The only barrier at the moment is cost ? Have you ever had to start a business without any sort on government funding / grants etc and make it pay ? ? ? Growing algae for pete’s sake ! ! ! ! What planet ?

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        • That would be planet Earth, Malcolm. People used to say very similar things about internal combustion engines. And computers. I can’t remember exactly, but I think it took about seventy years to produce fully “modern” steam engines, and there wasn’t exactly a lot of support for that either. A good reference for that is “The Lunar Men”, by Jenny Uglow.

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        • Alexander Bain, from a croft at Watten, Caithness, invented the principle of the fax machine in 1843. And then there were John Loudon McAdam, and John Boyd Dunlop. What planet do you assume they were on, Malcolm?

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      • Yes please, “without impacting on terrestrial food production”. An awful lot (as reported) of present-day bio-fuel production seems to take away land which could be much more usefully employed for growing food crops.

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        • The flaw in the biofuel argument is how do we feed a massively growing population if we have switched land use to biofuel crops, but the Doc is correct in that algae wouldn’t need that land. I would like to think the 10 year prediction is true (I somehow doubt it but still salute the pioneers actually doing something constructive).

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        • What are those acronyms?

          [EDIT: Thanks for clarifying, Keith. There's no reply link under your reply, so I'll pop this in here.]

          Also there is the question of whether there’s sufficient solar energy available. Our current fossil resources were laid down over a LONG time.
          What proportion of fossil transport fuels could practically be substituted?

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    • Can we cut the ad hominem please? It isn’t constructive.
      As you raise the point, I suggest walking, cycling, electrically powered vehicles like trains, trams or battery cars, or larger vehicles using renewable carbon fuels as discussed elsewhere. Or working from home. Or reforming our economy so people don’t need to commute as much.

      [Mmmm, that comment didn't end up where I was expecting it! It was a response to the earlier dig about Flintstones cars!]

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  13. Malcolm: I think there is a lot of hype around shale gas at the moment, mostly driven from the US. Some of it is justified: new techniques are making shale gas much more feasible than before, aided by supply concerns over conventional natural gas production methods (and their location). However, the situation in the UK is different and shale gas exploitation may be much less economic than in the US. The conclusions of the DECC report on shale gas are worth repeating here:

    “Shale gas is currently produced in significant volumes only in the US and that success has raised interest in the UK potential. The untested shale rock volume in the UK is very large, however, more drilling, fracture stimulating and production testing is necessary to prove that shale gas development is technically and economically viable.
    Even if one assumes that the American shale gas producing analogies are valid, many of the operating conditions are different in the UK. In the UK, land owners do not own mineral rights, so there is less incentive to support development, and local authorities must grant planning consent. The US has relatively permissive environmental regulations, low population densities, tax incentives, existing infrastructure, well developed supply chains and access to technology. Cumulatively, these factors mean that it is far from certain that the conditions that underpin shale gas production in North America will be replicable in the UK.”
    http://og.decc.gov.uk/assets/og/bo/onshore-paper/UK-onshore-shalegas.pdf

    I am skeptical that shale gas in the UK will provide either substantial recoverable supplies or indeed cheap gas, though there are reasons for exploring its potential as I outlined above.

    Regagrding the North Sea problem: the main issue is a methane explosion rather than environmental impact and this would be the major issue for on shore shale gas as well. As the UK is much more densely populated than the US, safety concerns will be higher.

    Coal mines have a long history of environmental problems and I’m surprised you didn’t encounter these when living in Lothian. Main problems tend to be mine waters
    http://publications.environment-agency.gov.uk/PDF/SCHO0508BNZS-E-E.pdf

    but underground fires and open cast coal mining are additional concerns (and that’s before we get into the problems caused by actually burning the stuff).

    Came across this interesting sets of stats when looking up some of this. They relate to deaths per unit of energy produced by different production methods.

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

    Obviously pro-nuclear but interesting nonetheless.

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    • I found his reference to the Arctic ‘methane bomb’ the most alarming part.

      A very interesting article altogether (including the banking stuff). Thanks Morag.

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    • At last – a good practical point for discussion Stephen – something for the experts to definitely consider. But on the other hand – if that gas 2 miles down has stayed there since ‘ forever’ isn’t it the natural place to store CO2 ?

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      • Zing!

        If you fracture the rock that has been holding the gas in place, there is a risk that any other gas you might want to stick down there will simply leak straight out again.

        (…and the gas hasn’t been down there forever; those shales were laid down by biological processes during (probably, I seem to have a wall induced headache preventing me from looking up references at this moment in time) the Jurassic era. So about 400 million years. Approx. 10% of the age of the planet.)

        I think I’ll go and have a nice lie down now.

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  14. I’m surprised that none of the sources of so many ‘ knowledgable ‘ paragraphs on this Forum have yet questioned my figures stated in post 9 above with actual facts. Come on – lets hear from you !

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      • However, if it will please you, the dataon wind generation is pretty interesting. The graphical data can be accessed here:

        http://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/~dcurtis/NETA.html

        It is good fun to play with it. I couldn’t see any days where wind produced none of the UK’s electricity. The percentage is pretty variable but I think I saw some production reach about 8% (and that is the UK not Scotland remember). It would be quite interesting to correlate gas usage with wind production.

        But it still has very little to do with shale gas.

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  15. 1. WS you are completely and utterly wrong about man-made global warming. Completely and utterly. The debate surrounding it resembles the tobacco and seatbelt debates of years past: one side with actual evidence, the other with a massive vested interest.

    2. The mobile view of forargyll doesn’t show the comment threading, which makes things a bit disjointed. Something to bear in mind.

    3. I found this on twitter. http://m.guardian.co.uk/ms/p/gnm/op/sHWL3EC8cnMbR-DQO91AOkg/view.m?id=15&gid=environment/2012/apr/17/whats-the-truth-about-fracking&cat=environment

    I hope we can all agree it is relevant to our various interests.

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    • “WS you are completely and utterly wrong about man-made global warming. Completely and utterly.”……in your opinion only.

      You, however, cannot even answer one, inconvenient, question …..

      If, in your conspiracy theory world, CO2 emissions are causing global temperatures to rise to catastrophic levels how come global average temperatures have not risen for almost two decades now, meanwhile CO2 has risen to record levels ?

      Clearly it is you and your fellow alarmists who are completely and utterly wrong about man-made global warming. Completely and utterly.

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      • And now WS puts forward one of the denialist movement’s greatest lies – their favourite one in fact , but one that is easily refuted. IN fact, when you look at the evidence this claim really is an insult to peoples’ intelligence.

        For a very simple and graphic illustration of how climate change deniers attempt to push this lie under the radar of peoples’ common sense, take a look at this:

        Going Down the Up Escalator, Part 1

        (You don’t even need to read the article if you haven’t got time – the animated graphic says it all really. If you are seriously giving any credence to WS’s claim that global warming has stopped I urge you to click the link and take another look at the so-called ‘evidence’ deniers put forward to ‘support’ this utterly false statement).

        Of course, if you have already decided that the majority of the world’s climate scientists are wrong and WS – whoever he is – knows better, then forget it, no amount of facts will change your mind

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      • correct me if I am wrong but the plants and trees need CO2, so these global warming people want to kill plants and trees is that the script? or is it just another way to take my money?

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          • My wall now has a dent in it. The question of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a lot more subtle than that; see the link to Bad Astronomy below for a link to an explanation.

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        • Just in case Keith isn’t being deliberately silly, a very quick lesson in photosynthesis:

          Plants require light, a carbon source (usually CO2) and water to photosynthesise. They also need nutrients (P and N) and trace elements (such as metals) to grow. (Temperature also plays a role with plants generally growing faster under warm conditions though this is often correlated with light availability).

          A plant’s growth and metabolism will be dictated by the interplay between these different factors but one of them will be limiting. If CO2 is the limiting factor then giving the plant more CO2 will indeed increase the growth of the plant. However, if one of the other factors is the limiter then adding more CO2 will have no effect on growth.

          In practise, CO2 is rarely the limiting factor for terrestrial plants under natural conditions. This has not always been true throughout geological history. Even if we completely stopped all emissions of carbon dioxide today, it would take decades if not hundreds of years for plants to reduce atmospheric CO2 sufficiently for it to become the limiting factor and thus start to depress plant growth.

          No need to worry about us starving through reducing our carbon emissions.

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      • Wrong, wrong, wrongy, wrongy, wrong. You are so wrong. So so wrong, and it’s not a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of fact.

        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/page4.php

        Scroll down a bit. The fourth graph. The one in red. The one showing a clear rise in temperature over the last two decades.

        Of course you’ll refuse to accept that because NASA are part of the conspiracy.

        http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/04/13/breath-taking-climate-denial-nonsense-this-time-aimed-at-nasa/#more-47330

        Perhaps you’d like to explain where the Arctic multi-year sea ice has gone?

        Or why the Antarctic peninsula’s beginning to be colonised by temperate plant species?

        Or why we had three separate storms last winter, all fully as strong as the 1995 or 1967 storms?

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        • “Wrong, wrong, wrongy, wrongy, wrong. You are so wrong. So so wrong,”……sounds to me like you have failed to make a case for mmgw and are totally rattled.
          No global average temperature rise for almost two decades despite record CO2 emmisions ! You quite simply cannot explain that so you head off into conspiracy theory distractions and totally made up alarmist untruths;
          eg.
          “Perhaps you’d like to explain where the Arctic multi-year sea ice has gone?”
          Nowhere; it hasn’t gone. Still there last time anyone looked. You’ve made that up.
          “Or why the Antarctic peninsula’s beginning to be colonised by temperate plant species?”
          What are you making up now?
          “Or why we had three separate storms last winter, all fully as strong as the 1995 or 1967 storms?”
          Ermmm….its called weather. We get storms every winter, some quite strong. Always have, throughout recorded history.
          Calm down, have a cuppa, stop reading the wierd and wonderful conspiracy theory websites, and enjoy life.
          The jury is still out on mmgw and you know it.
          Global temperatures have been stable for almost two decades and you know that too.
          Alarmists….huh !

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          • Another interesting denialist technique.

            If you look back over this thread you will see that no-one on here has made any comments about multi-year Arctic sea ice, the colonisation of Antarctica by temperate plants or last Winter’s storms.

            It is a favourite denialists trick to make up things which ‘warmists’ or ‘alarmists’ (as they like to call the world climate science community and those who believe them) have allegedly said or claimed. Usually no evidence is presented, but if they say it enough times people will assume there must be something in it.
            After all, no-one would just make this stuff up, would they?

            Well yes, they would. No-one said anything about any of these things, and WS’s claim that they did is no more than a cheap distraction
            .
            What was presented was clear evidence that the global warming trend has not stopped since 1998. For those who missed it the last two times it was posted, HERE’S THE LINK that shows how climate change deniers wilfully misinterpret data to support their warped world view. Do give it a look if you haven’t already – you may find it a bit of an eye-opener.

            (WS is such a classic climate change denier that some people assume I have made him up as an illustration. I have to admit I couldn’t make a better job of illustrating the way the denial movement works, but no – WS is real))

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  16. @ Webcraft yes “climate change” is happening but there is nothing we can do to stop it and nothing we do adds to it. We are going through what is called a grand alignment “passing the tail of the Milky Way galaxy (not the chocolate sweeties) thus it is causing the Sun to become more active hence the recent images of the sun in the main government operated media. As for the hole in the ozone layer try asking the American government about their HAARP machine

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      • @webcraft LOL by the same are you the love child of Al Gore? try looking into the crap these people tell you mate/lass
        first have a look at “MrComet” watch then maybe look up the “club of Rome” then listen to Lord Monkton
        maybe then you will stop listening to the green men

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    • In the 70 these nutters told us we were going to have a great new ice age yet we are supposed to believe them now with the latest crap, why did they change from “Global warming” to the rebranded “climate change”?

      see you are dismissive of Lord Monckton yet you show a clip of Kevin Trenberth LOL.

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      • Rewriting history is just one of the many Orwellian techniques beloved of climate change deniers.

        Around 1970 there were 6 times as many scientists predicting a warming rather than a cooling planet.

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  17. A brief note on how science works and on how climate change denial works

    Science works through a process perfected over centuries. Numbers of independent scientists and institutions carry out lengthy research and analysis then publish their findings in scientific journals for review worldwide by their peers. Only the research that passes this intense and highly qualified scrutiny gains any credence. Other scientists – fiercely competitive and inquisitive as a breed – will then probe and test these findings in an attempt to further validate (or disprove) them before using them as a platform for further study.

    Climate change deniers on the other hand do not need to do any of this. All they need to do is cast a shadow of doubt into peoples’ minds. They can make bald statements – such as ‘global warming stopped in 1998′ (their favourite) safe in the knowledge that most people will not try to independently verify or discount this.

    Climate change deniers may be rotten at science, but they are very good at manipulating public opinion. That is what makes them such dangerous people.

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  18. A brief note on how science works and on how climate change alarmism works
    Science works through a process perfected over centuries. Numbers of independent scientists and institutions carry out lengthy research and analysis then publish their findings in scientific journals for review worldwide by their peers. Only the research that passes this intense and highly qualified scrutiny gains any credence. Other scientists – fiercely competitive and inquisitive as a breed – will then probe and test these findings in an attempt to further validate (or disprove) them before using them as a platform for further study.
    Climate change alarmists on the other hand do not need to do any of this. All they need to do is cast a shadow of fear into peoples’ minds. They can make bald statements – such as ‘sea levels are going to rise and flood all our cities′ safe in the knowledge that most people will not try to independently verify or discount this.
    Climate change alarmists may be rotten at science, but they are very good at manipulating public opinion. That is what makes them such dangerous people.

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    • Consider the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

      Thousands of scientists and other experts contribute (on a voluntary basis, without payment from the IPCC) to writing and reviewing reports, which are reviewed by representatives from all the governments, with summaries for policy makers being subject to line-by-line approval by all participating governments. Typically this involves the governments of more than 120 countries.

      Are ALL these scientists, experts and politicicans ‘climate alarmists‘?

      Seems unlikely to me.

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  19. Webcraft says:
    April 18, 2012 at 11:40 am
    “Another interesting denialist technique.”
    “If you look back over this thread you will see that no-one on here has made any comments about multi-year Arctic sea ice, the colonisation of Antarctica by temperate plants or last Winter’s storms”.
    “It is a favourite denialists trick to make up things which ‘warmists’ or ‘alarmists’ (as they like to call the world climate science community and those who believe them) have allegedly said or claimed. Usually no evidence is presented, but if they say it enough times people will assume there must be something in it.”
    “After all, no-one would just make this stuff up, would they?”
    “Well yes, they would. No-one said anything about any of these things, and WS’s claim that they did is no more than a cheap distraction”
    ……………….
    Do you think that those who bother to read your ramblings are total idiots (“If you look back over this thread you will see that no-one on here has made any comments about multi-year Arctic sea ice, the colonisation of Antarctica by temperate plants or last Winter’s storms”)?
    What’s this then…
    …………………..
    Stephen Mackenzie says:
    April 18, 2012 at 9:24 am
    “Perhaps you’d like to explain where the Arctic multi-year sea ice has gone?”
    “Or why the Antarctic peninsula’s beginning to be colonised by temperate plant species?”
    “Or why we had three separate storms last winter, all fully as strong as the 1995 or 1967 storms?”
    ………………….
    LOL Webcraft/ScotsRenewables. No wonder most people now ignore the witterings of global warming alarmists.

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    • These threads do become very confusing but it takes a long time to read through them every time you want to post. Webcraft clearly missed Stephen’s earlier post but this is hardly grounds for WS to suggest we can ignore everything Webcraft is saying.

      Stephen obviously reads New Scientist as the study on the colonisation of Antarctica by temperate plants (mostly grasses) was recently reported in there.
      http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21542-seedy-scientists-are-polluting-antarctica.html

      Seasonal sea ice is thinning and disappearing over much of the Arctic for some time

      http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1999/1999GL010863.shtml

      The best data set for illustrating what is going on is here:
      http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/
      but as can be seen from March’s data, the picture is complex as the ice is thinning but the timing of the annual fluxes seems to be shifting.

      Denying that physical changes are in fact occurring is quite an astonishing form of denial!

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    • Oops, missed that post.

      However, Dr. McKenzie has apparently provided chapter and verse for those statements of Stephen’s in his post above.

      And WS’s post is still a perfect example of the denier’s propensity to attempt to switch the subject when shown to be wrong in terms of the topic under discussion (global temps since 1998 in this case).

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      • Your credibility is totally down the Swaneee I’m afraid Webcraft/ScotsRenewables.

        First you declare my post is; Quote:

        …………….

        Webcraft says:
        April 18, 2012 at 11:40 am

        “Another interesting denialist technique.”

        “It is a favourite denialists trick to make up things which ‘warmists’ or ‘alarmists’ (as they like to call the world climate science community and those who believe them) have allegedly said or claimed. Usually no evidence is presented, but if they say it enough times people will assume there must be something in it.”
        …………..

        Then, having been caught making that up, you change your mind and squirm thus; Quote:

        ……………

        Webcraft says:
        April 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm

        “WS’s post is still a perfect example of the denier’s propensity to attempt to switch the subject when shown to be wrong in terms of the topic under discussion (global temps since 1998 in this case).”
        ……………….

        The global warming industry is supported by a legion of alarmists of which Webcraft/Scotsrenewables is obviously one. They peddle misinformation and brooke no dissent, cannot admit the failings of their discredited theory.

        Here we have seen an arch-alarmist first trying to discredit a post of mine by saying I was making it up, which we have proved is not true, and then by accusing me of changinging the subject, when it was clear I was responding to three claims made by another poster.

        The Alarmists even deny the scientific data when it contradicts their discredited myth. Here’s a graph showing global average temperatures over the last three decades..
        http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/uah_march2011.png
        Now watch the global warming industry alarmists attempt to squirm out of that proof that temperatures have not risen for the past two decades despite increasing CO2…no doubt they’ll go all ad hominem and make up stories (as is their wont) about the source.

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        • (deep sigh). All of this has been covered ad nauseum earlier. Even on the graph you show it is clear that the trend line is upwards.

          The planet is warming and has been for decades. Variations in solar output, volcanic eruptions and Ocean current related events mean that the actual temperature in any year will oscillate around the trend mean. That mean is clearly going upwards.

          WS: Do you actually read any of the links we put on here?

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          • ‘Ad nauseum’ is absolutely right, and anyone acting the ostrich must surely be aware that they risk presenting an inviting target for ridicule.

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          • Yes, very deep sigh.

            Ad nauseum is correct, but sit and think for a moment…….who is it, every time, who always first brings global warming into virtually every topic here?

            Hint…take a look at post 4 and the extremely condescending put down of SchoolDefender’s reasonable question.

            Sigh indeed.

            As for the graph I posted……thirty years of data and where’s the catastrophic global warming, where’s the hockey stick ?
            Were there no CO2 emmisions in that period ?
            The temperature trend is near as dammit flat !!!!!

            Someone screamed IPCC; Well they’ve been making Alarmist predictions for decades now…..name just one which has turned out to have happened as predicted.

            Global warming alarmists need to pull their ostrich-like heads out of the sand and listen.

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  20. WS – you say the ‘jury is out’ on man-made global warming. At what point do you suggest we will have a verdict? Or, put another way, what would it take to convince you that there is a problem with human CO2/CH4/whatever else emissions and that we need to take action?

    I’m not a climate scientist, or indeed any kind of scientist, but it seems obvious that there is huge complexity in the interactions between climatic factors, and in particular the timescales over which many of these factors take effect. This surely means that if we wait for the kind of evidence (i.e. getting close to catastrophic) which you seem to imply we should, it will be way too late to do anything about it.

    Do you actually mean that the ‘jury is out’, in which case what is your view on the above points? Or have you already come to a certain verdict and firmly believe that no action whatever is required?

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    • My firm, evidence backed, viewpoint is:
      1. The Earth’s climate fluctuates cyclically, always has done, always will. Sometimes it warms, sometimes it cools.
      2. These climate cycles are perfectly natural.
      3. The overwhelming driver of climate on the Earth is the energy we receive from the sun.
      4. There is nothing we can do against the power of the sun.
      5. CO2 is a red herring, it has had no discernable influence on temperature for two decades now, and the theory of mmgw is promulgated for political purposes.
      If you’re worried about natural warming cycles then we should do what we have always done, extremely successfuly…adapt.

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      • All meaningless, anodyne pap except for no.5, which is just wrong on several levels.

        You have been shown over and over again that your claim that global temperatures have not risen for ‘nearly two decades’ is a blatant lie. Even using the standard deniers trick of starting with the peak temperature of 1998 and drawing a straight line to 2012 ignoring everything else you are only looking at 14 years, which is not ‘nearly two decades’ by any stretch of the imagination.

        Perhaps you could increase our confidence in your authority on this matter by letting us know exactly what your scientific credentials are, specifically in physics and atmospheric science. A link to a peer-reviewed paper would help.

        (And don’t bother asking for my credentials – I am choosing to believe the worlds’ top experts in the field, so I don’t need to prove anything – you and your fellow ‘contrarians’ do).

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        • 1.
          By how much have global average temperatures and CO2 concentrations risen since 1982?
          http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/uah_march2011.png
          Ans: No temp rise, huge CO2 rise.
          2.
          You’re a cheeky wee fellow aren’t you……demanding to know what my “scientific credentials are, specifically in physics and atmospheric science”.
          I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours!
          What you do have, scientifically ? Google is your friend….a website salesman ! That you?
          Nothing wrong there, but hardly makes you a climate expert.
          But hang on, the google brings up the rather interesting fact that your username appears to run at least five, little visited, global warming websites. Is this you? http://www.greenphase.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1472&sid=66afaa7a6e1284289f88e1d4ad0bf618 ?
          Answer those above and I’ll answer your equally personal question about my scientific qualifications.
          Meanwhile the jury is still out.

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          • I don’t have to ‘show you my credentials’ because I am not the one who is challenging the scientific consensus. You are, so we need to know why we should believe you instead of the vast majority of the world’s top climate scientists.

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      • WS – just looked at the wattsupwiththat graph you posted above. Taking a single point on such a graph (as has been done in blue on the right) will obviously not tell you anything useful (I think the expression is ‘statistically significant’). It’s pretty obvious just looking at it that there is an upward trend from left to right, 1979 to 2011.

        Most of the months in the LH half are below 0, most of the months on the right are above 0.
        It may not look like a hockey stick :-) but surely you can’t deny that something is going on there.
        How many more decades of this trend would it take to convince you, and as I asked above, do you not concede that if these pesky ‘warmists’ turn out to have been right after all, then it may be too late if we wait much longer?

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      • I’m sure you won’t be convinced WS but just in case anyone else is interested and wants to see a more detailed rebuttal:

        WS: 1. The Earth’s climate fluctuates cyclically, always has done, always will. Sometimes it warms, sometimes it cools.

        DM: Yes this is true

        WS: 2. These climate cycles are perfectly natural.

        DM: Up till the late 18th century this was also true. With the industrial revolution, and more specifically the switch to using coal rather than charcoal, humans started to produce significant amounts of CO2. One third of all of teh CO2 molecules in the atmosphere currently were put there by human activity: an unprecedented augmentation of global CO2 concentrations, notable not so much for how much CO2 has been added as for how quickly it has been added.

        WS: 3. The overwhelming driver of climate on the Earth is the energy we receive from the sun.

        DM: This is also true but the Earth has had millions of years to come to an energy balance with solar input. In the short term (decades to hundreds of years) solar output doesn’t change much and not enough to explain the current observed warming. For a much fuller explanation of the various drivers see:
        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/page4.php

        WS: 4. There is nothing we can do against the power of the sun.

        DM: But it is not the sun which is driving current warming trends. Indeed the sun has been quite quiet of late and so may have retarded somewhat the actual warming. And for WS: are you arguing that warming is not occurring or than it is all down to the sun?

        WS: 5. CO2 is a red herring, it has had no discernable influence on temperature for two decades now, and the theory of mmgw is promulgated for political purposes.

        DM: Webcraft already covered this. CO2 levels are rising (you are presumably not denying that?) and global temperatures are showing a correlated rise (but not an exact correlation: there are other factors at play as well).

        WS: If you’re worried about natural warming cycles then we should do what we have always done, extremely successfuly…adapt.

        DM: and that’s exactly what people like Stephen, Webcraft, myself, pretty much the whole scientific community and billions of people worldwide want us to do. The adaptive measure is to reduce CO2 emissions. The clever ones amongst us want to do this while not impacting on our quality of life. That may be wanting to have our cake and eat it too (and that has always struck me as a daft saying!) but we have a variety of technologies and behavioural adaptations that we can make that gives me hope that we will adapt.

        I worry that this topic has strayed too far from fracking so I for one will not discuss climate change any further in this thread (and have deliberately not expanded on my pet subject of algae!)

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  21. To get back to fracking for a moment . . .
    There is an article today on the Bishop Hill climate denial blog which points out that one of the UK government’s conditions for allowing fracking may in fact ensure that it never happens.

    “Under a proposed “traffic light” control system, a “red light” would be triggered by any tremor measuring 0.5 local magnitude or higher, meaning fracking should stop and safety procedures such as allowing water to flow back to the surface should be carried out.”

    It has been suggested that this is such a low magnitude ‘tremor threshold’ that background seismic activity may halt all fracking permanently.

    Wonder if this was deliberate.

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    • It does seem a bit extraordinary to have recommended such a low limit. Someone on the news yesterday was saying that coal mining regularly produced tremors of up to magnitude 3, but that little if any structural damage had ever been caused by them.

      We get quite regular ‘quakes in North Argyll measuring a lot more than 0.5, and I’ve not heard of so much as a dislodged chimney pot.

      http://forargyll.info/tag/bonawe/

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  22. Those who have open minds and are reading this rather contentious thread with deep sighs may want to read these two short articles.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2012/04/11/a-new-global-warming-alarmist-tactic-real-temperature-measurements-dont-matter/

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2012/04/18/more-global-warming-alarmist-games-doctoring-the-temperature-record/

    They help one understand why the global warming industry and, in particular, the Alarmists are getting all hot and bothered right now, like the Emperor when told about his clothes.

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  23. WS – the deep sighs from those of us with open minds are partly due to you answering every question with quotes from Heartland Institute “experts” and other carefully selected sources.

    I merely asked you (twice) whether your mind was open enough to consider that human-induced global warming is at least a possibility, and whether you would accept in that case that we need to do something about it while we have a chance.

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  24. Re. the two links above – both go to articles in Forbes (a business magazine) penned by James Taylor. Taylor is the Managing Editor of Environment & Climate News, a Heartland Institute publication. He has a B.A. from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law.

    He most emphatically is not a climate scientist and has no background in any related field. Why anyone should prefer his opinion to that of the vast majority of experts in the field is a complete mystery.

    There is no ‘controversy’ over global warming and the jury is not ‘out’. There is just doubt and uncertainty sown liberally in the mainstream media, who have been told they must offer ‘balance’. The problem with balance is that it requires two equally weighted sides.

    In this ‘debate’ we have on one side 97% of peer-reviewed published scientists working in the field of climate change, we have the IPCC, we have the science academies of the worlds’ leading nations, we have highly respected scientific bodies such as the Royal Society, we even have David Attenborough!

    On the other side we have some fossil fuel funded ‘experts’ who by and large have no relevant qualifications or experience and are essentially media manipulators and propagandists. Their masters are those for whom global warming is indeed an ‘inconvenient truth’ because the implications clash with their political or economic aspirations. Their foot soldiers are people like bloggers/columnists Delingpole and Booker, shameless attention-seeking mediocrities who not only have no scientific credentials but who have been proved wrong repeatedly.

    Do the deniers have a case? Is the jury out? Check this link before you make your mind up:

    Is there a scientific consensus on global warming?

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  25. Free-Thinkers have, no doubt, spotted that neither Webcraft nor Tim McIntyre have been capable of addressing the issue raised in the articles I linked to…..that temperature data has been clearly and proveably manipulated in order to make the Alarmist case !

    Their only defense is to try to rubbish the source of the articles.

    Clearly the global warming industry alarmists cannot defend the science so take to attacking personalities and organisations instead.

    Most clearly, therefore, the jury is still out.

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  26. It takes one no time to do a little reading of Climate Change and I have come to the conclusion that the majority who deny that the said Climate Change is happening, have either a vested interest or no scientific qualifications.

    I am in that place, of believing that if we do nothing it will be our children, grandchildren who will be faced with the problems. I don’t want that for them.

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    • Well said Morag.

      The only problem, though, is your basic premise that people are denying Climate Change.

      Wrong.

      No-one is denying Climate Change.

      What Free-Thinkers and Open-Minded folk are doing is strongly questioning the evidently spurious link between CO2 emmisions and our, naturally, ever changing climate.

      Fortunately we have not all been brainwashed like the bullying haters of free speech; The global warming alarmists.

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  27. Its not often that I change Government Policy ( if fact this is a first ) but somewhere above did I not say that if it just needed a change in the Law to allow nuclear to compete in the electricity supply business then lets do it. Todays headlines – subsidies will now ” help all low carbon technology” inc. nuclear – the subsidies to be paid directly through our utility bills just the same as windmills.

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    • I’m a bit agnostic on nuclear: I don’t like the fact we haven’t solved the waste and decommissioning problems (and it is very expensive at £5 billion each) but it is carbon neutral(ish), offers energy security at scale and is available.

      However, the Tories are being disingenuous here. The subsidy for renewables is to encourage their development. Nuclear has been heavily subsidised in the past and is supposed to be a mature technology not requiring further subsidy. The EC may also rule subsidies for nuclear as illegal.

      On the other hand, given the lack of interest from private companies in building new reactors, it may be simple pragmatism that we need to bribe them to build them.

      Don’t see cheaper electricity coming from this route.

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      • In a way this can be seen as levelling the playing field because nuclear electricity is another form of low-carbon power.

        If we really need nuclear to meet our emissions targets and this is the only way to get the stations built then it would make sense – so long as it is not at the expense of renewables development.

        However, this still may not be enough money to tempt EDF (currently the only player still interested) – and of course there are additional subsidies for nuclear in terms of caps on insurance liabilities and decomissioning costs.

        (Don’t need to mention multi-generational / multi-century waste storage, everyone knows about that . . . )

        Like Dr. McKenzie, as we continue to drag our heels over climate change I’m becoming increasingly ambivalent towards nuclear. However, I think it is going to be yet again too little, too late and far too expensive in both the short and the long term.

        It’s certainly no magic bullet.

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    • But Malcolm, you have been protesting endlessly about subsidies for renewables paid through electricity bills.

      Yet now you seem to be supporting subsidies for nuclear paid through your electricity bill. It seems a bit inconsistent.

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  28. I wonder if the bribes will be on the same scale as wind farm bribes where there is so much profit they can offer huge cash inducements to communities to drop any planning objections. That is the really totally dishonest bit and best describes the word ‘bribe’. Moreover, the new power stations will be built on existing sites and therefore will not despoil our countryside And of course it leaves Scotland with a major problem should Mr Salmond have his way – 10% of the UK populations (ie us) will have to pay for the folly of renewables which already consist of 2000 turbines in Scotland and in a few years many many more costing billions and billions in subsidies – because the rest of the UK will be enjoying a constant energy supply from alternatives – not necessarily cheaper – but at least reliable. I think its already been said – this could bankrupt Scotland !

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    • The ‘bribes’ – or a guaranteed price for nuclear-generated low-carbon electricity to be more accurate – will be substantial and long-term. The cost of this subsidy will be added to your electricity bill.

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    • Eh? I don’t think so.

      If new nuclear power stations are built in the UK they will be entirely privately owned. To persuade EDF to start construction the UK government will have to enter into a long-term agreement to guarantee a favourable (i.e. expensive compared to gas or coal) price for this energy.As it is low-carbon they will be able to justify this under existing climate change legislation.

      The mechanism for this may be the carbon floor price or some equivalent of ROCs or something else, but however it is done the cost will be passed on to the consumer through their electricity bill, in exactly the same way that renewables subsidies currently are.

      (Though I expect it will cost more . . . )

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      • Ken, although I’m no great fan of PFI I can’t imagine many projects quite as disastrously managed as a very large hospital that suffers from a ‘fail dangerous’ power supply where the emergency generators have repeatedly failed to kick in when needed – ever since the hospital first opened.

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  29. Webcraft – its been brought to my attention that you are apparently now past just being offensive with your comments but have now taken to lying. Please be careful what you say next !

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    • What on earth are you on about now Malcolm? Your post sounds vaguely threatening.

      At least I have never claimed to have changed government policy :)

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    • Having looked over Webcraft’s post, I cannot see anything in it you. could possibly take exception to Malcolm.

      New nuclear reactors will be privately owned; the subsidy regime will probably be along the lines Webcraft suggests: different technologies have different subsidy levels based (supposedly) on the stage of development of the technology. From memory, the order is hydro, wind, solar.

      I suspect it was Webcraft’s comment that nuclear’s subsidy will be more expensive you are objecting to but in this he is quite correct. The cost of new nuclear plants is being touted as £5 billion each. Let’s say that is for a 2500 MW plant (which would be two reactors but let’s just say they are on a 2 for 1 offer and the cost is 5 billion and not 10 billion).

      Onshore turbines of 5 MW will cost around £3 million each so you would need 500 turbines to match the notional capacity of the nuclear station so £2.5 billion. Of course the wind farms aren’t as efficient as the nuclear plant so you will need more plant to match the nuclear plant. So let’s double the number of wind turbines and we end up with the same capital costs and both technologies cost the same for the same power output (these figures are all very rough so don’t pick me up on the detail – it is the rough comparison we are interested in).

      However, that’s just the construction costs. The running costs of the wind turbines are a fraction of that associated with a nuclear plant (fuel, security, technicians, reprocessing of spent fuel etc). I don’t know what the insurance costs of a wind turbine are but I would guess it is a lot less than for a nuclear plant (which has a limited liability then the Government has to cover the excess). Then we have the decomissioning costs. Wind turbines are probably very low decommisioning costs (because of the scrap value and ease of dismantling the structure). Best guess estimates for a nuclear plant is around £3 – £4 billion (based on the UK estimate of 70 billion to decommision all 19 of the UK’s existing sites.

      Nuclear plants have a longer life than wind turbines so they may claw back some of their commercial advantage. However, it looks as if nuclear plants would be about 2x the cost of an equivalent amount of wind turbines. If there was ever a serious accident (God forbid) then the costs are of course much, much higher.

      So, on balance I would expect that nuclear plants would require a higher subsidy per MWh than for wind. Rubbing salt in the wounds is the fact that we the consumers have already paid out huge subsidies on nuclear for the last generation of reactors.

      However, as I said posted previously, this is probably just a cost we are going to have to pay for carbon neutral generation as we will always require a thermal base load for those times when high pressure dominates the UK in winter.

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      • Onshore wind is never going to satisfy demand and is now capped, so let’s try some accurate figures shall we?

        A Round 2 offshore farm costs £3.5bn/GW nameplate capacity (from SSE’s financial report 2009 “costs Walney 1 & 2 excluding connection costs”); costs for a Round 3 farm are not publicly available as none have been built – and might never be – but sensible estimates are £4-4.5bn including connection costs.

        These are nameplate capacities; actual output averages a third of that so the effectve cost per GW generated of a Round 3 farm will be over £12bn per GW.

        The same caveat applies to nuclear where costs are not known but, I think your estimate is low and £3bn/GW might be better.

        That puts nuclear construction at a quarter of a wind farm.

        The ROC subsidy paid to a 1GW offshore farm will be £0.5bn per annum.

        I do not know exactly what the life expectancy of a turbine at sea is – nobody does – but there’s some evidence that shore based units are expected to be written off after 10 years as a lending condition. This owes more to historic data and failure rates and may not be applicable to a new offshore turbine. Time will tell. Nuclear longevity is many orders of magnitude greater and the current stations are manged by people who know what they’re doing so my money is on nuclear. Gas, no.

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  30. In the good old days, when a lot of correspondence had either reached its logical conclusion, or degenerated into vulgar abuse, the editor would just print “This correspondence is now closed”.

    Can’t forargyll.com just do the same?

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    • Same survey, different interpretation.
      I suppose most of us would back wave over wind if it was equally affordable and available. But it isn’t (not yet at least). I say most, as other marine users might not be as keen.

      Salient point though is that support for renewables is high with the public willing to absorb the higher costs. It will be interesting to see if they are as keen on nuclear under the same premise.

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      • It’ll be very interesting to see how the marine turbine array in the sound of Islay interacts with shipping, and also the larger marine life from seals to basking sharks etc.

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      • 300 Scots were on the YouGov panel and if Ipsos absolutely played a straight bat, less than a 100 Scots were on their Omnibus panel.

        These surveys are for marketing. Whereas you could be sure that a very large proportion of the country uses tomato ketchup and therefore asking their preference is likely to get an informed opinion, you can not say the same of the questions (any questions for that matter) in these two polls.

        The Ipsos poll for RenewableUK has been done many times; I wonder whether they’ve found a panel to their liking and have stuck with that demograph.

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  31. Funny how these things come in threes . . .

    A report coming out tomorrorow from Renewable Energy Association (REA) and consultants Innovas concludes that the industry is worth £12.5bn per year to the UK economy. It says the renewable energy industry supports 110,000 jobs in the UK and could support 400,000 by 2020.

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  32. Dr Douglas – you are again not quite being straight forward – same survey, you are right – large proportion supported renewables but what I quoted was correct – only 17% supported wind farms. Most of the public are totally unaware of the legacy they will reap from supporting renewables. Incidentally, just watched an article at ten past seven this evening on the ‘One Show’ on BBC 1 which is a programme I always find reasonably entertaining. An item by of all people – Janet Street Porter – on wind farms was enlightening – have a look on iplayer. But Dr Douglas I must also make this point about wave power – I once sailed the West Coast for a week with a charming and learned Professor from Edinburgh University who’s sole interest at that time was to develop wave power – ( Nodding Donkeys I think ). That was 27 years ago – and yet still with all the investment, grants, and subsidies over all that time we still don’t have an efficient working power supply from wave power. Does that not say something about renewables ? ? ?
    I think Webcraft and his ilk are totally panicked.

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    • Malcolm – that must have been Prof. Stephen Salter – I went to one or two of his very interesting lectures when I was a student in the next department along the corridor.

      He’s now busy working on developing ‘geo-engineering’ solutions to climate change – spraying fine water droplets into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight, among other things. Meanwhile wave power developments have come some way, but at a disappointing rate of progress as you say.

      No-one ever said that developing renewable power technologies would be easy… but it’s worth the effort.

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    • Not me who is being disingenuous here. There were two surveys: the IPSOS MORI survey asked solely about wind power. The first question was: to what extent are you in favour of or opposed to the use of wind powert in the UK?
      28% strongly in favour of; 38% tend to favour; 22% neutral; 5% tend to oppose; 3% strongly opposed and 4% didn’t know.
      Hardly a resounding cry against wind power.

      Taking the second survey, I see you are doing the same thing you did with support for the SNP: you interpret everyone who does not vote for whatever it is you don’t like as being against it.

      I haven’t been able to find the actual survey yet but here is what the Scotsman actually says:

      The YouGov survey showed that while 65 per cent believe wind should be part of the mix, this was down from 78 per cent seen in a similar survey by Scottish Renewables in 2010.
      Instead the preferred choice in Scotland is for tidal and wave energy to become the main supplier with 32 per cent backing the option, even though it is still in its early development stage.

      If I am reading this correctly, there was a question asking the polled people what ORDER they would put their FIRST preference for electricity generation. We see that the largest category went for wave and tidal then 18% went for wind. This is not the same thing as saying only 18% backed wind – indeed the first paragraph indicates that 65% wanted to see it as part of the mix. Another You Gov survey looking at specifically Scottish attitudes found that 88% were in favour of wind.

      Turning to your other points: It was Salter’s Ducks that were being developed as wave power generators. The reason that they didn’t flourish is that Thatcher pulled the plug on support for their development to focus UK energy efforts on nuclear. Had the same support that went into nuclear gone to wave energy I suspect we would not only have excellent wave generators but the UK would lead the world in this technology.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salter's_duck

      More reading, less bias.

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  33. So it is 20 or so years since the Mrs Thatcher’s era, and we still have no useful wave generators, and yet you blame it on her ? ? ? What will we be saying about YOUR research and expenditure in 20 years time ? Huge success – OR NOT and who should we then be blaming ?
    I agree with Robert above – it will be interesting to see how the Sound of Islay tidal generators work out. I am all for R & D and accept the considerable costs to the Taxpayer – but there has to come a time when it’s understood that enough is enough and we have to move on. I suspect that from most new R & D projects that prove to be uneconomical or impractical, there is a spin off that can be taken forward in a new potentially more successful direction.

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    • I’m afraid you are degenerating into talking what might be politely termed rubbish.

      There are advanced prototype wave generators being deployed world wide as we speak. Salther’s ducks were commercialised. What has slowed renewables down was not technological difficulties but political will. During the Thatcher era renewables were not favoured so very little R&D spend came their way. Progress was thus slow.

      Advanced technologies take time to create, refine and finally commercialise. We have been working on fusion reactors for over 40 years now and still don’t have a working model. Fission reactors only developed to the point they have because of massive initial investment into their development for military purposes.

      20 years is in fact a fairly short time for engineering: if you look at “new” techniques in the oil and gas industry you will find that virtually all of them take at least a decade of research before they are deployed (sometimes longer).

      Wave power works, wind power works, algal biodiesel works. What you are moaning about is that they don’t have price parity with fossil fuels but coal has been with us for over 200 years now and oil 100. It takes time and money to catch up.

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    • ‘There comes a time when enough is enough and we have to move on’

      But what you are proposing is not moving on, it is standing still. You are like the people who opposed the railways or enacted the Red Flag laws for early automobiles, standing foursquare in the path of progress.

      My ilk are for progress, Malcolm. You and your ilk are for a (very) short term benefit to your own pocket at the expense of future generations.

      As for panicking, I believe it is you and your fellow sufferers from turbophobia that are panicking with the realisation that onshore wind will achieve grid parity in four years time or less. The whole denier thing is unravelling.

      Renewable energy is here to stay, wind, wave and tidal. Live with it.

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  34. Wave power works, wind power works, algal biodiesel works, tidal power works, the old cooking oil we had as waste from our restaurant kitchen – worked : they may all work, but their inability to supply more than a token gesture towards the power needs of our country – is fact. The people defending renewables are understandably the people making the money out of it.

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  35. ‘Token gesture’ huh?

    Scotland generated the equivalent of 35% of domestic electricity demand from renewables last year Malcolm.

    I have no commercial interest in renewable energy by the way, I just have an interest in new technologies and in the world my grandchildren are going to live in.

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  36. Tim – read ‘Political Capital’ as well !
    Webcraft – I accept that in the later half of last year – being the windiest period in living memory – wind generation reached 31% (not 35% ) efficiency – but YOU have to accept by the same token that this year, it might only be 5%. In fact we dread another stormy year like last year as there will be few trees left standing and everything that isn’t already killed off in the garden by the salt spray and wind burn, won’t survive another year of the same. You also have to consider how much of that 31% was delivered overnight rather than when it was most needed i.e. during the working day. I’ll remind you again of the figures for 2 weeks ago for UK wind generation Mon – Fri : 8am – 8pm – Mon 3.35% Tues 3.95% Wed 0.9% Thurs 0.77% Fri 0.77%. And that could be any one of many weeks recently. I will also give you that many wind farms are not yet included in the generation figures – but even if the output was doubled – the figures would still be pathetic and of little use to an industrialised nation.

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    • Malcolm – political capital? No… that doesn’t work either – I’m not a politician, nor a member or strong supporter of any political party.

      Just someone with an interest in sustainable energy and, as Webcraft says, the future.

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    • Malcolm,

      The 35% figure I mentioned does not refer the capacity factor of wind in Scotland in 2011. I am talking about the total amount of electricity generated and fact that the equivalent of 35% of all electricity used in Scotland was generated by renewable sources last year.

      Renewable electricity generation in 2011 was a record high at 13,750 GWh. Of this 7,049 GWh (over half) was wind. Wind therefore generated the equivalent of over 17.5% of Scotland’s electricity demand last year.

      I don’t regard 17.5% as too shabby for a newcomer to the generating mix, do you?

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  37. Webcraft – 17.5% is pathetic for the enormous costs and debt created and of course the destruction of our landscape – and bear in mind at least half was probably generated at night when not required, and the turbines would have to be shut down – and then of course we probably ended up paying the poor owners millions to make up for their ‘supposedly’ lost earnings. Since when were wind turbines newcomers ? We’ve been paying through the nose for them for years.
    I suggest we end it there – after tomorrow we should have a new set of headlines to argue over !

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  38. Maybe For Argyll can set up a permanent floating bickering about renewables thread for us?

    Malcolm, I think you are conflating “efficiency” and “percentage of total electricity generated” back there. There’s also “load factor” which is another thing.

    And I’ll end on noting that in this week’s edition of Stephen’s favourite science magazine is a small article mentioning that the US is now preparing to export gas… since fracking has produced so much of it it’s no longer economic to sell it.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21428612.800-us-to-export-gas-as-glut-slashes-prices.html

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    • I haven’t read the NS article yet but I did read elsewhere that fracking companies MUST keep drilling to maintain their licences: hence the glut. This might seem a good thing as consumers get cheaper gas (though I also noticed that the reduction to the consumer was only a couple of cents per therm), however, it is likely that lower costs just mean that consumers use more.

      Ignoring Malcolm for a second and addressing this to the non-ostriches: is anyone else surprised at just how much of our electricity is now being produced by wind?? Looking at the daily figures, it is clear that wind is now much more important than hydro (including PS) and that surprises me given how new the technology is.

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      • Actually, yes, I’m surprised at the speed it’s developing here. If you’re against wind power, I agree it must seem very threatening. However, I like it. I walked down Buchanan Street in Glasgow the other day in search of trousers, and I could see the turbines powering Buchanan Street (so to speak) up in the hills to the south of the city.

        I’ll confess to being a little confused about that 35% figure as well. Did wind really generate 35% of all electricity made in Scotland last year?

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        • Renewables generated 35% of Scotland’s electricity demand last year.

          Wind accounted for just over half this. The rest came largely from hydro, but some also came from solar and biomass.

          When you consider the huge changes the coming of the hydro made to the Scottish landscape and the time it took to build the schemes the fact that wind has surpassed it already is quite impressive.

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          • Yes, important to distinguish between demand and production. Renewables presumably about half again of total production (as production is about twice demand from memory). But still an impressive growth.

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  39. Pingback: The drought scenario makes fracking an even more absurd proposition « Bridgend Green Party

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