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Renewable Energy Is Here To Stay– Says Renewable Investment Fund Manager

July 25, 2017
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By Paul Homewood

 

The Telegraph used to be a serious paper!

 

 

Mike Fox is, I should point out, Head of Sustainable Investments at Royal London Asset Management, so he is hardly objective.

 

 

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Cigarette makers are actively trying to wean people off traditional cigarettes. In the tobacco industry, it is not uncommon to hear some of the largest manufacturers of cigarettes espousing a “smoke-free future”. Through the classic hedging strategy of offering the alternative, they have acquired a leading role in providing e-cigarettes, heated tobacco and vaping technology, which are replacing “normal” smoking. This pattern can occur all the time in markets, where established players with deep pockets can become the greatest beneficiaries of disruption to their traditional industry.

Reckitt Benckiser, the consumer health provider and owner of condom brand Durex, recently snapped up baby food maker Mead Johnson. The significance of offering the alternative should be immediately obvious here. But nowhere is this trend as prevalent as in the energy industry.

It is not surprising that some of the strongest critics of Donald Trump’s decision to extract the US from the 2015 Paris accord on climate change have been energy firms, more commonly associated with extracting oil and piping gas natural gas

With this in mind, it is not surprising that some of the strongest critics of Donald Trump’s decision to extract the US from the 2015 Paris accord on climate change have been energy firms, more commonly associated with extracting oil and piping gas natural gas. Big names in the oil industry have already begun to dip their toes in the green pool, as the market for renewable energy reaches critical mass.

In 2016, Royal Dutch Shell ploughed $1.7bn (£13.1bn) of capital investment into its new renewable division, New Energies, while also joining a consortium that bid on a wind farm venture to power more than 800,000 Dutch homes. French producer Total Oil can now claim, through its interests in a number of businesses, to be a leading light in the solar energy market. The firm recently announced a plan to cut 10,000 tons of carbon emissions each year by installing solar panels on 5,000 of its petrol stations.

 

 

This isn’t merely an ideological crusade. The commitment to a longer-term business model is clear. Serious focus on renewable energy has taken time to arrive, but thanks to both R&D and pure economies of scale, production costs have been driven down. Renewables are beginning to look like an attractive business regardless of any government incentives still available.

As the oil price has struggled, it has squeezed revenues and forced oil companies to tap new streams of energy to make money. Even outsiders to the energy market are jumping on the renewables bandwagon.

Technology giant Apple has invested heavily to create vast solar fields that will power its data servers. Any excess energy can then be sold on the open market. Closer to home, the consequences of investment in renewables are already being felt. For the first time ever, on June 7, more than half of the electricity being produced by the National Grid came from renewable sources. Downstream from power production, the future is arriving at petrol pumps where most of us are best acquainted with the fossil fuels that power our daily lives. 

This isn’t merely an ideological crusade. The commitment to a longer-term business model is clear

Hybrid cars, electric cars, hydrogen cars, and more, are becoming regular sights in the UK and overseas. Again, a number of factions have waded into this market place, from radical incumbents such as Tesla to established heavyweight VW, a firm that knows, more than most, how harmful excessive emissions can be. Even the scream of supercar exhausts is now enhanced by hybrid technology, with batteries recharged by nothing more than the heat from brake discs.

Naysayers, climate deniers and protectionists may balk. They argue that this hurts extractive industries and the jobs they provide, or isn’t really needed at all. But 21st century Luddites are unlikely to halt either capitalism or progress. The American solar industry already employs three times as many people as oil, gas and coal combined. The smart money is on a future that is going to be more, not less green.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/07/22/modern-luddites-cant-stop-progress-renewable-energy-stay/

 

Most of the article is little more than “look at renewable energy, isn’t it wonderful!”

But let’s pick up on a few points.

1) As the oil price has struggled, it has squeezed revenues and forced oil companies to tap new streams of energy to make money

He does not seem to have worked out that the abundant supply of oil, and consequently its low price, are actually bad news for renewable energy.

It was only a few years ago that Ed Davey and co were using the prospect of rising oil prices to persuade us all to go renewable.

Inevitably, with oil prices low, oil companies are drawn towards the attractive subsidies offered for renewable energy.

 

 

2) As the market for renewable energy reaches critical mass.

Last year, wind/solar accounted for just 2% of the world’s energy. Fossil fuels provided 86%.

 

 

3) For the first time ever, on June 7, more than half of the electricity being produced by the National Grid came from renewable sources

This claim refers to one half hour period, 12.30 to 1.00pm. He forgets to mention what happened when the sun went down.

Between October 2016 and March 2017, wind and solar only generated 14% of the UK’s electricity, and on many days much, much less.

He also forgets to point out that the we are paying subsidies of £8.7bn this year for the privilege of using this renewable energy.

 

 

4) Hybrid cars, electric cars, hydrogen cars, and more, are becoming regular sights in the UK and overseas

Despite all of the hype, plug in electric cars registered last year only accounted for 1.4% of the market. Two thirds of these are hybrids, which still use petrol or diesel.

Even though electric cars attract a subsidy of £5000, courtesy of the taxpayer, very few people actually want to buy them.

 

 

But the final paragraph really takes the biscuit!

5) The American solar industry already employs three times as many people as oil, gas and coal combined. The smart money is on a future that is going to be more, not less green.

Yet last year energy produced from oil, gas and coal in the US amounted to 125 times more than solar power managed.

 

 

Mike Fox’s job depends on making money out of green investments, so he is hardly likely to write a balanced article.

Shame on the Telegraph for giving his biased views column space. Is it too much to expect them to allow the same amount of space to the other side of the story?

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18 Comments
  1. Joe Public permalink
    July 25, 2017 6:30 pm

    “It was only a few years ago that Ed Davey and co were using the prospect of rising oil prices to persuade us all to go renewable.”

    Like these …..

    For info, current prices are approx $50/barrel

    • July 25, 2017 7:00 pm

      and have been for the last two years and and eight months!

  2. HotScot permalink
    July 25, 2017 6:34 pm

    The balance between 1 Coal worker producing as much energy as 70 renewable workers seems to have escaped this Luddite.

    But remember folks, it’s taxpayers money supporting a 70/1 balance, so the unemployment figures tumble. It’s the socialist way, you know it makes sense.

    • July 25, 2017 8:56 pm

      Interesting that: the kind of put-down that should have his cheeks burning as he slinks to the sideline. He calls people who prefer efficient energy Luddites. And yet he is extolling the virtue of manual looms because they employ more people for the same output.

      We live in a strange world.

      • HotScot permalink
        July 25, 2017 9:29 pm

        That’s the socialist way. Restrict progress to keep repressed workers working, so they have a job to serve their masters, the socialist elite.

        Capitalism, and in particular Libertarianism, or more accurately, the original meaning of Neoliberalist, is fairer to the common man by offering him a way out of poverty through the application of labour and the freedom of genuine, equal opportunity.

        The US used to operate almost exclusively on this basis, and yes, it was difficult if one was poor, but I’m afraid that’s little better than being poor in socialist Britain right now.

        Incredibly, of course, the west is now heading for socialism, whilst the former communist states of Russia and China (nominally) are converting to free trading capitalism.

        China and Russia have addressed their own shortcomings relative to socialism, murderous and barbaric oppression. Is the west to suffer the same fate before learning the same lessons?

  3. Bloke down the pub permalink
    July 25, 2017 8:01 pm

    It’s funny him calling us luddites. The original luddites campaigned to stop more efficient means of production from taking their jobs, yet now, apparently, you’re a luddite if you don’t want less efficient energy being forced upon us.

    • July 25, 2017 8:58 pm

      Sorry Bloke: missed your comment and made a near-identical one.

      • 1saveenergy permalink
        July 25, 2017 10:02 pm

        Great minds… ?

  4. July 25, 2017 8:41 pm

    The consequences of the Climate Change act is producing the most regressive stealth tax system yet devised. Totally against socialist principles. But, of course, this has always been the problem with socialism. It sees the cake; but has no idea how to bake it.

    • HotScot permalink
      July 25, 2017 9:35 pm

      But it bakes it anyway, screws it up, then gobbles it up before anyone else can get any, then vomits it all over society, and we’re left to clear up the mess.

      Capitalism and the free market can deliver everything socialists can, cheaper, better, and timelier than socialism ever can. And I include welfare and healthcare in that as well.

  5. richard verney permalink
    July 25, 2017 8:44 pm

    It is like the sub prime market where government (President Clinton) wanted to expand home ownership, and make easy finance/credit available for all. The government had an agenda and the markets were happy to go along with this whilst they thought that they could make a dime from the credit boom, but in the process they created an artificial bubble until reality hit the fan..

    These investors do not understand the fundamental problems with renewables. Sooner or later these fundamental problems which mean that renewables will never become cost effective and provide secure and reliable energy 24/7 will bite, and the market for renewables will crash.

    • HotScot permalink
      July 25, 2017 9:49 pm

      That’s a very good point.

      You will of course note that the UK higher education market is convulsing right now because of Blair’s idiotic education, education, education mantra that dictated degrees (first class ones, a subject now under scrutiny) were handed out like sweeties to 50% of the population.

      Now we just have degree qualified welfare recipients. So then imposing fees was introduced to somehow address the balance of unlimited free higher education Vs commitment and ability.

      Now we have university applications from UK residents dropping like a stone, and expensive campaigns mounted to attract fee paying immigrant students. And kids are wandering the streets with useless degrees.

      How insane are we to tolerate this.

      BTW my wife is head of department of a University.

      • Bitter&twisted permalink
        July 26, 2017 11:17 am

        Some 10% of the “students” I teach science to, at an English university, are barely literate, or numerate, yet when they fail, guess who is to blame?
        Bliar has a lot to answer for.

      • AlecM permalink
        July 26, 2017 1:49 pm

        Blair, a congenital liar, gives an opposite character impression to the character truth. You must ask him whether he is telling the truth three times, then tell him that you believe he is a liar or truth-teller.

  6. Athelstan permalink
    July 25, 2017 9:49 pm

    Once, the DT had pretensions to be a serious newspaper, “had”.

    “Even outsiders to the energy market are jumping on the renewables bandwagon.”

    Without taxpayer subsidy in the £$€ billions enforced taxation I might add……….the “renewables bandwagon” would simply not exist.

    […] “, hydrogen cars, and more, are becoming regular sights in the UK and overseas.”

    “hydrogen cars” “becoming regular sights” wot?……………..

    when was the last time I saw one….erm on the night of the last blue moon on the twelfth of never – probably. And lets see here, hydrogen, hmm has to come from somewhere and the last time I read up on it, ‘steam reforming” still uses…………er yes – FOSSIL FUELS!!! and it ain’t cheap to produce it in bulk and pump it out in ‘gas stations’ – and thinking on that, across the north of England, I’m hard pressed to pinpoint a hydrogen filling station…………ho hum.

    All this coming from some ill educated whelp who knows lots of BS statistics and absolutely sweet FA about life let alone what he purports to be ‘expert’ in – though lord knows what that may be [bus studs/accountancy].
    And then someone should let him in on a thing most of us know but probably his generation do not, we gave up windmills when we discovered steam was a damn sight more efficient by work….”Luddite” he should revisit his personal dictionary of definitions.

    What a dummy, he ain’t no scientist let alone an engineer…………….and must a mate of potatoED and or an accountant who can’t figure.

  7. HotScot permalink
    July 25, 2017 10:43 pm

    Athelstan

    I see a Tesla every day, it’s parked up outside our local grocery store. I have yet to see it move.

    I can think of only one LPG filling station (even if that still exists) within my immediate vicinity of Dartford, one of the busiest (if not the busiest) transport hubs in the UK. I have yet to see a hydrogen filling station.

    Having dealt with lawyers and accountants over many years, my abiding contention is that they exist to take instruction from their clients, not dispense instruction. A fact most of them forget.

    Indeed, I sacked a particularly incompetent one in court, in front of M’lud, and continued my own proceedings without her, despite M’luds protestations that I couldn’t represent myself. Really?

    I know one single lawyer, of all I have dealt with, I would trust. Ironically, he is what some might call an ambulance chaser. A no win, no fee, personal injury lawyer, and possibly a man with the most integrity I have had the pleasure to meet.

  8. July 26, 2017 5:33 am

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “Last year, wind/solar accounted for just 2% of the world’s energy. Fossil fuels provided 86%.”

    WHILST Moral Mike gesticulates about the virtues of “unreliables”, the sane world continues their massive build-up of fossil-fuel, coal-fired power tech…

    https://climatism.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/new-york-times-worlds-nations-building-huge-numbers-of-new-coal-plants-despite-emissions-growth/

  9. July 26, 2017 7:43 am

    “as the market for renewable energy reaches critical mass” “a wind farm venture to power more than 800,000 Dutch homes”

    Total Primary Energy Supply in The Netherlands 🇳🇱 (2014)

    Natural Gas: 40.2%
    Oil: 39.8%
    Coal: 12.6%
    Biofuels/waste: 5.1%
    Nuclear: 1.5%
    CRITICAL MASS – Geo/Solar/Wind: 0.9%

    Oh and his cute Durex/Baby example company (RB) was fined £10m in the UK for anticompetitive practices, whilst of course having some Carbon PR campaigns….

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