Mr. Leggett\’s fascinating argument

So Griff objects to a solar plant near his home. Leggett says:

We know that the lights will start going out in Britain in 2016, unless new electricity generation comes onstream. It can\’t be coal. That much most of us agree on, if not because of the emissions, then because the EU has already made the decision, in its Large Combustion Plants Directive and other climate commitments.

Could it be gas? In principle yes. But increasingly we\’d have to rely on overseas favour, because anyone outside the Treasury who knows what happens in a Texan shale-gas fracking operation knows in their hearts that – whatever we might feel about the desirability of gas – there would be civil war in rural England if there are attempts to produce it on land at any scale here.

People would complain about gas so we can\’t have gas. People are complaining about solar so we must have solar. Good argument, innit?

Did you know that Mr. Leggett runs a solar power installation firm?

17 thoughts on “Mr. Leggett\’s fascinating argument”

  1. How big are fracking wellheads then? Looking online at pictures from the US they don’t look that big. Admittedly a tall drill frame sticks out a bit, but I’m assuming that is only temporary? Once the holes are drilled can it just all be done at ground level? Looks like they need a big pond for water as well. I’m guessing 10acres would cover the entire site, and that would be generous.

    Whereas solar panels are set to cover the entire south of England at the rate things are going – I can point to over 200 acres of solar panels either already installed or given planning permission within 5 miles of me. The local council want to put another 200 acres in one site they own not far from here. And we haven’t even scratched the surface yet – the targets for solar electricity production are 22GW by 2020. Current installed capacity is just over 2GW. So you better get used to seeing acres and acres of solar panels covering the countryside, and get used to paying the bill for them – they are extremely profitable for the installers and landowners, and all that money has to come from somewhere – your heating bill!

  2. Because at the time I was working for a large multinational energy company I was, some years ago, on the receiving end of a proper finger-jabbing-in-the-chest, spittle-flying rant from one of Mr Leggett’s employees. His demand in short was that money be taken from our successful business to prop up his unsuccessful one.

  3. Want to know how to put a spoke in Mr Legget’s solar powered wheel?
    Simples.
    Inform the public about all those highly toxic heavy metals that wash off of solar panels after they’ve been exposed to sunlight & rain for a couple years. Those cancer causing heavy metals get into the water table & would take a million years to wash out again. That cause birth defects in children. Think of the baybeez!!! The poor innocent baybeez!!!
    Load of bollocks?
    Of course it’s a load of bollocks.
    That’s the name of the game.
    They’ll deny it. The scientists will deny it. The government will deny it.
    Must be true then.
    Cover up!

    That’s how this game’s played. Those is the rules.

  4. Can you please sort out your comments software??

    “It can’t be coal. That much most of us agree on, if not because of the emissions, then because the EU has already made the decision, in its Large Combustion Plants Directive and other climate commitments.”

    This is a truly beautiful sentence. A work of art.

    “It can’t be coal. That much most of us agree on…”

    No we don’t. This is simply an assertion. If you ask the public: Would you rather have the lights going out or use coal? It’s pretty obvious what the answer would be.

    “… If not because of the emissions…”

    What? You make reference to catastrophic global warming, the advocates of which have repeatedly failed to provide the evidence of its existence.

    “… Then because the EU has already made the decision…”

    Oh right. The EU says we have to do it. That’s all right then.

    So, to summarise.
    1. It can’t be coal because we don’t care what you think.
    2. It can’t be coal because you believe in the giant evil sky fairy that’s going to eat the world.
    3. It can’t be coal because an unelected bunch of bureaucrats have said so.

    Compelling stuff.

  5. @bloke in spain

    Sounds like a tactic used by the other side. Strange how I think that the right tends to tell the truth. But maybe I am biased.

    So if we want to build this story into something more substantial, what would the metals be that washed off.

    I suggest that there must be a lot of mercury because mercury is shiny and poisonous.

    Perhaps some scandium ?

    Tim can you help improve this rumour 😉

    Tim adds: The major metal in use is silicon. When this oxidises (as it eventually will) then this silicon oxide can cause silicosis. A particularly disgusting lung disease not dissimilar to mesothelioma (aka asbestosis).

    This is actually true too.

  6. What do these evil capitalist solar installers have against nature?
    Every square yard of solar panel, by definition, deprives some potential plant life of the energy it needs. Let’s stick up for lichens on your roof, grass in the fields, crops for humans and the whole chain of nature that depends on sunlight, instead of covering the earth with these nasty panels full of toxic rare earth metals and stuff.

    (OK, solar panels might be a good road surface for supermarket car parks and rumble strips on motorways.)

  7. It can’t be coal. That much most of us agree on, if not because of the emissions, then because the EU has already made the decision, in its Large Combustion Plants Directive and other climate commitments.

    Then how come Germany is building coal fired power stations?

  8. Hah! It’ll be b***er the yokels when the lights start going out in Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham etc. First to brown out should be Islington – that’ll larn’em.

  9. Can anyone help me out here? I think I read that solar power is actually a promising power source, but not in the UK, partly because of the weather, but mainly because, surprise surprise, we are quite a long way North. Whereas Southern Spain for example, could generate serious amounts.

    Tim, you refer to “silicosis. A particularly disgusting lung disease not dissimilar to mesothelioma (aka asbestosis).” Asb and meso are not the same.

    Mesothelioma is much nastier, or at least more frightening. For asbestosis, you need prolonged exposure, like working in a shipyard etc. For meso, just one or two fibres can kill you. There are cases of the wives of people who were exposed to asbestos dying of meso, probably from washing clothes.

    SO if silicosis is like mesothelioma, that’s a bit worrying.

    Tim adds: Well, yes. But do recall that I was asked to hype up the evils of this technology. There’s another name for silicon oxide: beach sand. Silicosis is a real disease but it’s damned hard to get.

    Doesn’t stop people though. When that red mud from the alumina plant went splat over Hungary a couple of years back the BBC warned that the mud did contain silica which could cause silicosis. Yep, mud contains sand…..

  10. SO if silicosis is like mesothelioma, thats a bit worrying.

    Of course it’s like mesothelioma. We’ve a campaign to run here. And it causes impotence. I read it somewhere.

  11. Being pendantic – Silicon is not a metal and in the UK silicosis is more common than asbestosis but gets little media coverage because the culprit was the National Coal Board.
    Solar panels are the desirable means of providing power in the future – every African village should have an acre or two of them covering the least fertile patch in the neighbourhood. Morocco should have a hundred square miles of them on the edge of the Sahara and export the electricity to the cities of Andalucia. They are already economic for households in Arizona and California compared to electricity purchased from power companies at a price including generation, transmission, billing costs, depreciation charge on infrastructure, sales tax and profits.
    BUT in England? Non-core. Good for garden/shed lights if you have a robust battery and for marginally reducing the damage we do to the environment. Solar water heaters are actually economic but solar PV are not without a subsidy.

  12. Solar panels give off large amounts of radiation. Much in the visible spectrum, the rest near-visible, and none ionising. But we can leave that bit for the small print, right?

  13. “Morocco should have a hundred square miles of them on the edge of the Sahara and export the electricity to the cities of Andalucia”

    And I live in a city in Andalucia & you can fuck right off. Have you ever been to Morocco? Getting water to come out of the tap two days running is a national achievement mentioned in the papers. We do not need our electrical supplies dependent on a bunch of towelheads couldn’t organise fertiliser supplies in a camel park. We have the Spanish to cope with already.

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