Electric cars do require an entire societal redesign

Electric car owners have been warned that if they attempt to boil a kettle while charging their car it will blow the fuse.

The National Grid expressed concerns that an average size 3.5kW battery charger would take 19 hours to fully charge a car battery, even when it is 25 per cent full.

A “thought piece” document obtained by the Financial Times warned that a more powerful 11kW device would still take six hours to charge a car battery and during that time, the use of everyday items such as kettles and ovens would blow the fuse.

“The average household is supplied with single phase electricity and is fitted with a main fuse of 60-80 amps,” the National Grid said.

“If one were to use an above average power charger, say 11kW, this would require 48 amps. When using such a charger it would mean that you could not use other high demand electrical items…  without tripping the house’s main fuse.”

The expense of the changes should be added to the costs of electric cars of course…..it’s not at all obvious that they therefore are cheaper that petrol, even when emissions are taken into account.

Not much point then really, is there?

Green taxes which are blamed for adding up to £150 to every power bill will not be cut as the result of a government review of rising energy bills announced today.

Dieter Helm, an Oxford academic and critic of wind and solar power, has been hired to lead the official review of energy bills – but has been told he cannot suggest any “detailed” changes to green taxes.

And as I’ve been saying all along it would have been cheaper to simply slap a carbon tax on and be done with it.

So we’re more than paying for climate change then


The Office for Budget Responsibility said that cost of the subsidies, which are levied on household and business energy bills, is expected to rise from £4.6billion in 2015-16 to £13.5billion in 2021-22.

Add the effect of the fuel duty escalator (as Ken Clarke said, to pay for our Rio commitments) and we’re paying that £30 billion a year. Or, that $80 per tonne on 500 million tpa of CO2-e as a carbon tax that would be the Stern Review solution to climate change.

As Stern said, a carbon tax would be the cheapest way of dealing with it…..


The Government will also commit to banning the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 in a bid to encourage people to switch to electric and hybrid vehicles.

No, not the way to do it. That’s to have government picking technologies again.

Instead, if this is what you really want to do, then set the emissions standards. Make them really tough, perhaps so tough that an ICE can’t meet them. But leave open the possibility that someone makes an ICE that does meet them.

How to make green energy work

Under the arrangements suppliers will be able to switch consumer’s appliances – like TVs and washing machines – on or off during times of high or low demand.

The scheme is designed to save billions in electricity bills, but it is likely to raise further questions on privacy and data security for households who choose to move to such contracts to reduce their bills.

Such tariffs will lead to householders paying more for watching television, charging gadgets and running the dishwasher during morning and evening “rush hours”.

To choose to sign up to the scheme consumers must first have a smart meter installed, which transmit information about when a household uses most energy to suppliers, giving them the power to increase bills at busy times.

They’re going to have to reduce data protection laws to make it work of course:

But Ofgem has said it will relax licensing and data sharing rules in order to let tech firms introduce the new gas and electric tariffs, which will have more control over appliances in people’s homes than traditional arrangements.

I will g.u.a.r.a.n.t.e.e you that the people who will complain most bitterly about the data relaxation will be those who normally sxcream that we must have the 100% renewables. Not willing to understand that the two necessarily come as a package.


It is a polar record Pen Hadow wishes were impossible to achieve. The explorer, who was the first person to walk solo across the pack ice from Canada to the North Pole in 2003, will now try to highlight climate change by becoming the first to sail there in a yacht.

Wonder if he’ll get trapped in the ice as so many previous attempts have….

Seems logical

Governments may be seriously underestimating the risks of crop disasters occurring in major farming regions around the world, a study by British researchers has found.

The newly published research, by Met Office scientists, used advanced climate modelling to show that extreme weather events could devastate food production if they occurred in several key areas at the same time. Such an outcome could trigger widespread famine.

If all the major growing areas failed at the same time then yes, serious problems.

Give it two days and some idiot will be telling us this means we must become more self sufficient in food. You know, thereby concentrating the risks of a disaster.

That Battery in Australia

Proves that renewables work for the whole grid it does, it does:

Elon Musk’s agreement to build the world’s largest battery for South Australia isn’t just an extraordinary technological breakthrough that signs coal’s death warrant. It’s potentially a game changer in the way we do politics, reinserting the importance of basic reality into a debate which has been bereft of it for too long.

Post truth, yadda, yadda,

For months now, Malcolm Turnbull, Josh Frydenberg, various fossil fuel energy executives and media commentators like Paul Kelly have been rabbiting on about the “energy trilemma”. It’s their contention that energy policy must deal with cost, reliability and emissions, and that it is impossible to achieve all three at the same time. Conveniently, they choose to put emissions at the bottom of this list and bury it under a pile of coal, which they claim is cheap and reliable.

This is not true. Not even close to it. It doesn’t stand up to basic scrutiny.

Rilly? For if there weren’t a trilemma then there would be no problem, would there? Further, we’d not need rules or regulations or subsidies or feed in tariffs.

Renewable energy, which obviously wins on emissions, is now beating coal on cost. What’s more, with an energy grid managed effectively by people who want renewables to succeed, it is no less reliable than fossil fuels.


Musk’s gambit closes this book. He has brought reality crashing in.

Within 100 days, there will be a huge battery system making South Australia’s energy grid clean, affordable and reliable, and benefitting the eastern states along with it.

Well, yeeeees.

With those additional installation investments, an estimate of $500-$600 per kilowatt-hour of storage is probably closer to reality. An installed 100 MW/300 MWhr lithium-ion power station would cost somewhere between $150 million -$180 million (200 million Australian dollars to A$240 million)

Within the context of addressing South Australia’s electric power system stability needs, a 300 MW-hr installation appears to have been unaffordable. Premier Jay Weatherill has a total of A$550 million available, and Tesla’s massive battery is only a part of the necessary capability.

As Gizmodo has reported, the system that Tesla will be installing will provide 129 MW-hr of energy storage capacity, less than half of what Rive originally hinted could be delivered. At a discharge rate of 100 MW, the battery will be totally depleted in less than 80 minutes. As all cell phone, tablet or laptop computer owners should know, it isn’t advisable to fully discharge a Li-ion battery. It can dramatically reduce battery lifetime.

The response plan also includes a new government funded, A$360 million, 250 MWe fast reacting gas turbine power plant, a bulk electricity purchase contract designed to encourage construction of a new privately owned power plant, a taxpayer financed exploration fund for additional natural gas supplies, special powers granted to the SA energy minister to order plants to operate, and a requirement for electricity retailers to purchase a fixed portion of their power from SA generators.

They’re having to subsidise people to go fracking to make this work.

Looks like that trilemma is still active really. And what was that about a post truth world?


No more petrol or diesel cars, buses, or trucks will be sold anywhere in the world within eight years. The entire market for land transport will switch to electrification, leading to a collapse of oil prices and the demise of the petroleum industry as we have known it for a century.

This is the futuristic forecast by Stanford University economist Tony Seba. His report, with the deceptively bland title Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030, has gone viral in green circles and is causing spasms of anxiety in the established industries.

There’s a lot more technological inertia in an economy than that.

We’ve not actually got a viable electric car as yet. That is, one which people will willingly buy unsubsidised. OK, but not one in volume. The Model T was probably the first mass market car, came out in 1913. When was the last pony trap sold? As something other than a toy or recreation? 1930s sometime for the US and UK maybe? Amish are fun but don’t count here.

Technological change just doesn’t happen that fast.

Dunno really

The National Grid has announced Britain’s first full day without coal power “since the Industrial Revolution”.

A combination of low demand for electricity and an abundance of wind meant the grid completed 24 hours relying on just gas, nuclear and renewables.

Engineers at the company said Friday marked a “historic” milestone in Britain’s shift away from carbon fuels, and that coal-free days would become increasingly common.

Was Drax online burning those wood chips that are even more polluting than coal?

No, this isn’t a river vanishing

This is a river moving:

An immense river that flowed from one of Canada’s largest glaciers vanished over the course of four days last year, scientists have reported, in an unsettling illustration of how global warming dramatically changes the world’s geography.

No, really, it didn’t:

For hundreds of years, the Slims carried meltwater northwards from the vast Kaskawulsh glacier in Canada’s Yukon territory into the Kluane river, then into the Yukon river towards the Bering Sea. But in spring 2016, a period of intense melting of the glacier meant the drainage gradient was tipped in favour of a second river, redirecting the meltwater to the Gulf of Alaska, thousands of miles from its original destination.

Rivers do in fact change their beds. This is notable for the size of the change but not much more.

Enquiring minds want to know

Within them sits some 80,000 years of history, offering researchers tantalising clues about climate change and the Earth’s past. At least that was the case – until the precious cache of Arctic ice cores was hit by warming temperatures.

A freezer malfunction at the University of Alberta in Edmonton has melted part of the world’s largest collection of ice cores from the Canadian Arctic, reducing some of the ancient ice into puddles.

“For every ice-core facility on the planet, this is their No1 nightmare,” said glaciologist Martin Sharp.

Were they using renewable energy to power those freezers?

So stop bloody flying around thew world then Mason, you idiot!

It hits you in the face and clings to you. It makes tall buildings whine as their air conditioning plants struggle to cope. It makes the streets deserted and the ice-cold salons of corner pubs get crowded with people who don’t like beer. It is the Aussie heatwave: and it is no joke.

Temperatures in the western suburbs of Sydney, far from the upmarket beachside glamour, reached 47C (117F) last week, topping the 44C I experienced there the week before.

Hang on a minute!

Physicist Steven Desch has come up with a novel solution to the problems that now beset the Arctic. He and a team of colleagues from Arizona State University want to replenish the region’s shrinking sea ice – by building 10 million wind-powered pumps over the Arctic ice cap. In winter, these would be used to pump water to the surface of the ice where it would freeze, thickening the cap.

The pumps could add an extra metre of sea ice to the Arctic’s current layer, Desch argues. The current cap rarely exceeds 2-3 metres in thickness and is being eroded constantly as the planet succumbs to climate change.

“Thicker ice would mean longer-lasting ice. In turn, that would mean the danger of all sea ice disappearing from the Arctic in summer would be reduced significantly,” Desch told the Observer.

Desch and his team have put forward the scheme in a paper that has just been published in Earth’s Future, the journal of the American Geophysical Union, and have worked out a price tag for the project: $500bn (£400bn).

But geoengineering is wrong, isn’t it?

And if it isn’t wouldn’t we be better off spending $20 million (perhaps) on iron seeding the Southern Ocean to capture a billion tonnes a year of CO2?

Michael Mann still really just doesn’t get it

Beyond destroying our politics and corroding public trust in science, climate change denial also threatens the future of a habitable planet and a viable global economy. As a growing body of research has revealed, the maintenance of a “fossil fuels forever” mentality has real implications for the future of global food production, biodiversity, social functioning and geopolitical security. Leading economies around the world have recognised that the decarbonisation of energy and transport systems are key to the future prosperity of human civilisation.

The dramatic fall in the cost of renewable energies and commitment to large-scale investment in solar and wind energy highlight a pathway away from coal, oil and gas. But government leadership is badly needed to take the threat of climate change seriously and ramp up the scale of economic transformation on a par with the political and economic mobilisation we have applied to other existential threats in the past.

As the actual IPCC reports (specifically, the SRES) point out, and as every economist who has turned their attentions to the subject insists, all we have ever needed to do is make non-fossil fuels cheap and we’re done. True, the economists have been saying we should aid this process by sticking a tax of the social costs of carbon on the fossil side but that’s a matter of efficiency in reaching the goal, not the goal itself.

If, for example, solar is cheaper than coal then we’re done. Simply because people will naturally install solar off into the future, not coal.

And we are told, repeatedly, that solar is now cheaper than coal. Thus we’re done in active measures. We can just sit back and allow the market to carry the weight for us. True, if solar isn’t cheaper then the market won’t, but then that means that all those people telling us it is cheaper are being economical with the actualite, doesn’t it?

In the US and Australia, we must shift away from a culture of politically motivated climate change denialism to an acceptance of the truly existential threat now facing humanity.

But this is the point. Given the advances that have been made in non-fossil electricity generation we don’t face an existential crisis. We have already shifted from A1FI to something more like A1T, or from RCP 8.5 to 4.5 or even 2.6.

This is, of course, only true if what we’re being told about renewables is true. But if it is then we’re pretty much done here.

This is the point at which we rise up and hang them all

OK, so, climate change, data faked for the paper that insisted there was no pause and all that.

Ho hum.

And then this:

“the computer used to process the software had suffered a complete failure,” which means the study cannot be replicated.

Ecksie? Go get that gallows would you? We’re going to need it.

Won’t this all be terribly fun? The first public executions for the new crime of “taking the piss”.