By Paul Homewood
My second item of renewable news comes from Bloomberg:
Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., once the world’s biggest solar manufacturer, plunged the most in more than seven months after signaling it may be teetering toward bankruptcy.
Yingli declined 21 percent to $3.60 at the close in New York, the most since Sept. 29. That followed an 8.1 percent drop Friday after the Chinese solar company acknowledged “substantial doubt as to its ability to continue as a going concern.”
Yingli said Friday that it’s still in talks with creditors about repaying loans due in two weeks, and its losses for 2015 probably would widen because of a series of write-offs, the sliding price of solar panels and declining shipments caused by a shortage of working capital.
“It looks like they are not getting bailed out and they will need to file for bankruptcy,” Gordon Johnson, an analyst at Axiom Capital Management, said in an e-mail Monday.
Yingli hasn’t reported a quarterly profit since 2011 and has been in breach of loan covenants for at least a year. It has been kept alive by state-backed lenders led by China Development Bank Corp. The company said in April it would be “very difficult” to repay 1.4 billion yuan ($216 million) of notes due May 12.
This news follows on from the financial problems of the likes of Abengoa. But, if anything, Yingli is even more significant.
We have heard a lot about how the reducing price of solar panels has made solar energy supposedly competitive. But, as I have pointed out, this, to a large extent, has been the result of dumping by Chinese manufacturers.
As with the dumping of steel below cost, this is impacting on the manufacturers themselves, even in China. It is astonishing that Yingli has not shown a quarterly profit since 2011.
It is obvious that current market prices for solar panels are financially unsustainable.
By Paul Homewood
There are two pieces of news today, which should really drive a stake through the heart of the renewable scam, if our politicians had not already boxed themselves into a corner.
First up from the Telegraph:
Wind turbines and solar panels are a waste of money if Britain wants reliable low carbon electricity supplies through the winter, the late Professor Sir David MacKay said in his final interview.
Prof MacKay, who served as chief scientific advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change for five years until 2014, died from cancer last month.
In an interview with the science writer Mark Lynas, filmed 11 days before his death and released posthumously, Prof Mackay said the "sensible thing" for the UK to do was to focus on nuclear and on carbon capture and storage technology, which traps the emissions from power stations.
He criticised the "appalling delusion" that renewable sources of power could simply be scaled up and paired with battery storage to provide all the UK’s energy needs, citing the high costs and large areas of land that would be required.
Prof Sir David MacKay said there was no point building wind turbines if the country had enough low-carbon energy to cope with periods of no wind
Prof MacKay was renowned in the energy world for his book Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, which examined the potential limitations of renewable power, but said he had "always tried to avoid advocating particular solutions".
However in his final interview – in which he stressed he would be "content with any plan that adds up" – he set out for the first time his own recommendation for "the rational thing to do in the UK", explaining: "Maybe [as] the time is getting thinner, I should call a spade a spade."
"For the UK, I think we want a zero carbon solution and it has to work in the winter," he said.
The British public also seemed to care about the cost of energy, he said, so "we should be looking for a low carbon solution that is low cost".
Prof MacKay said: "If you just cost-optimise and say it has to keep working in the winter, even if there’s no wind for seven days at time and obviously no sun… the sensible thing to do for a country like the UK, I think, is to focus on carbon capture and storage (CCS), which the world needs anyway, and nuclear.
"Then if you ask, what is the optimal amount of wind and solar to add in as well? The answer is going to be almost zero."
Prof MacKay said he loved wind turbines, describing them as "the cathedrals of the modern age", but said that if the country managed to build enough low-carbon supplies to get it through periods of no wind or sun in winter, then there was "actually no point in having any wind or solar".
Wind turbines were a "waste of money" in that scenario since "when the wind blows you are going to have to either turn those wind turbines down or something else down that you have already paid for like the nukes or the CCS", he said.
While advocates of renewable technologies often cite the potential for electricity storage to deal with their intermittency, Prof MacKay said that balancing wind-based power supplies would require "hundreds of flooded valleys" for hydroelectric storage.
Powering the UK from solely solar and batteries would require "absurdly large" batteries, while the cost of battery technology would need to come down "by a factor of 100" for it to be a realistic option, he said.
He alleged that solar panels had been subsidised in the UK against the advice of civil servants, due to their popularity with MPs and the work of solar lobbyists.
However, Prof MacKay emphasised that the best energy solutions would vary from country to country depending on their demands and political priorities.
Solar panels were a "really good idea" in hot countries where solar power supplies correlated with times of high demand, he said, while a combination of wind and storage might make sense in a country where "price doesn’t matter".
Of course, the alternatives he offers are no better. As we know, nuclear is also hugely expensive; he is right however when he says that it is economically illiterate to run nuclear intermittently.
As for CCS, there is no commercially viable technology available. Whether there will be sometime down the line, who knows?
Mackay was intelligent enough to realise that the only logical solution is to build plenty of CCGT, and ignore the renewable crap.
As I mentioned at the time of his death, I found David Mackay to be honest and open. This interview clearly reinforces that view.
By Paul Homewood
h/t Lord Beaverbrook
Talking of early springs, DECC used to publish data on thermal growing seasons in central England. The last report was published for 2012 here. (I have asked them if they still update).
The data is based on the Central England Temperature series, and according to DECC:
And this was what the data showed:
As with so many other temperature graphs, we see that sudden rise between the mid 1980s and early 90s, since when things seem to have stabilised. Those two peaks, in 2000 and 2002, are now becoming a long distant memory, and in any event were not dissimilar to peaks in earlier years, such as 1822, 1833 and 1961.
We can also clearly see the sudden dip in trend in the 1960s and 70s. HH Lamb knew all about this, writing in his “Climate History and the Modern World” (p 274):
But, of course, the real news is that, whatever the cause, this increase in growing seasons is hugely beneficial for UK agriculture.
Not something you read too much about!
By Paul Homewood
How many times have we heard this year about an early spring, flowers blooming early and so on?
Perhaps it is just my imagination, but every time we get a mild or sunny day or two, we get the same old mantra trotted out year after year.
Well let’s see what the Met Office figures actually tell us.
After a mild January, temperatures since have actually been below average across the country.
Taking the four months as a whole, mean temperature of 5.1C is spot on the 1981-2010 average, and lower than many other years in the record. Indeed, there have been 45 other years which have been warmer or as warm.
Meanwhile, my daffs have only just started flowering!
This professor says devastating climate change will be irreversible unless fossil fuels are abandoned by 2030
By Paul Homewood
h/t Paul R
You’d be excused for thinking it was a piece of Greenpeace propaganda, but this junk comes from Professor Gareth Wyn Jones, joint author of the Land Use and Climate Change Report.
Wales may get cooler and several coastal areas will flood, warned Professor Gareth Wyn Jones.
By Paul Homewood
Eurostat estimates that in 2015 carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel combustion increased by 0.7% in the European Union (EU), compared with the previous year. CO2 emissions are a major contributor to global warming and account for around 80% of all EU greenhouse gas emissions.
They are influenced by factors such as climate conditions, economic growth, size of the population, transport and industrial activities. Various EU energy efficiency initiatives aim to reduce emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. It should also be noted that imports and exports of energy products have an impact on CO2 emissions in the country where fossil fuels are burned: for example if coal is imported this leads to an increase in emissions, while if electricity is imported, it has no direct effect on emissions in the importing country, as these would be reported in the exporting country where it is produced.
This information on early estimates of CO2 emissions from energy use for 2015 is published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
Largest falls in CO2 emissions in Malta and Estonia, highest increases in Slovakia and Portugal According to Eurostat estimates, CO2 emissions rose in 2015 in a majority of EU Member States, with the highest increases being recorded in Slovakia (+9.5%), Portugal (+8.6%) and Hungary (+6.7%), followed by Belgium (+4.7%) and Bulgaria (+4.6%). Decreases were registered in eight Member States, notably in Malta (-26.9%), Estonia (-16.0%), Denmark (-9.9%), Finland (-7.4%) and Greece (-5.0%). Change in CO2 emissions, 2015/2014 (estimated).
All this despite stagnant economic growth in the EU and the bill for Germany’s energiewende forecast to rise to Eu31 billion this year.
By Paul Homewood
UAH have got their figures out for April, and they show a small drop from March.
Roy Spencer comments:
I expect average cooling to continue throughout the year as El Nino weakens and is replaced with La Nina, now expected by mid-summer or early fall. Nevertheless, 2016 could still end up as a record warm year in the satellite record…it all depends upon how fast the warmth from the El Nino dissipates and La Nina sets in.
Given not only the intensity but also the duration of the current El Nino, we would certainly expect to see temperatures near to those of 1998.
Although this El Nino has not peaked as high as 1997/8’s, it began earlier in the cycle and has lasted longer so far. As a result, temperatures began the year at an elevated level.
However, the 1998 El Nino restrengthened in February, and did not really decline until June. As a result, temperatures remained high until October.
We already know that current El Nino conditions have been rapidly weakening since February. Because of time lags, this won’t really impact temperatures until the summer.
By Paul Homewood
An intriguing look into the inner workings of environmental journalism by Paul Driessen:
Have you ever wondered how the LA Times, Associated Press, Weather Channel and your local media always seem to present similar one-sided stories on climate change, fossil fuels, renewable energy and other environmental issues? How their assertions become “common knowledge,” like the following?
Global temperatures are the hottest ever recorded. Melting ice caps are raising seas to dangerous levels. Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts have never been more frequent or destructive. Planet Earth is at a tipping point because of carbon dioxide emissions. Fracking is poisoning our air, water and climate. 97% of scientists agree. A clean renewable energy future is just around the corner.
It’s as if a chain of command, carefully coordinated process or alliance of ideological compatriots was operating behind the scenes to propagate these fables. This time, conspiracy theorists have gotten it right.
A major player in this process and alliance is one that most citizens and even businessmen and politicians have never heard of. InsideClimate News (ICN) has been called “highly influential,” a “pioneer of nonprofit advocacy journalism,” the recipient of “prestigious awards” for “high-impact investigative stories” on important environmental issues.
The Washington Free Beacon, National Review and Energy in Depth offer detailed and far less charitable assessments. Less friendly observers, they note, call ICN a “mouthpiece” for extreme environmentalist groups, because it is run by and out of a deep-green public relations consultancy (Science First) and is funded almost exclusively by wealthy foundations that share its and the PR firm’s anti-fossil fuel, pro-renewable energy, Bigger Government agenda. ICN was founded by David Sasoon, a true believer in catastrophic manmade climate change who wants to do all he can “to usher in the clean energy economy.”
Even praise from its supporters underscores the dark side of this “influential” force in eco-journalism. Its approach is “advocacy,” not fairness, accuracy or balance. Its goal is to drive a monolithic, hard-line, environmentalist narrative and political agenda, with little suggestion that other perspectives even exist.
By Paul Homewood
Oil companies and other fossil fuel producers have been coming under increasing attack recently, whether subpoenas from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, or stranded asset threats from Mark Carney.
They all have the same purpose, to discourage companies from investing further in developing oil resources and wind down existing ones.
All of this raises the question, just what effect would such actions have on the world economy?
To give us a clue, we only have to look back at the oil crises of the 1970s.
The Office of the Historian at the US Dept of State has this account:
By Paul Homewood
Just a brief El Nino update.
El Nino conditions have continued to weaken during April, with negative SSTs appearing in the East Pacific.
Below the surface as well cold water is taking over.
Most models are now predicting transition to neutral conditions by June, with an increasing likelihood of La Nina by the autumn.
It will be interesting to see what atmospheric temperature anomalies tell us, when UAH and RSS report later this week.
I have been reporting on the ever growing cold blob in the North Atlantic recently.
WUWT also has a piece up about ocean heat content there, written by David Archibald.
This shows that heat content down to 700m has been sharply declining since it peaked in 2008.
Climate is ultimately controlled by the oceans. We have cold times ahead.