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Gas Heating To Be Replaced By Thin Air!

August 1, 2017

By Paul Homewood



Naturally we have all recently been focussing on EVs, as far as electricity demand has been concerned.

But what about domestic heating and cooking, as RogerJC rightly asks?

The Two Degrees scenario, which is the only one where carbon reduction targets are achieved, projects a sharp drop in gas consumption, to virtually nothing by 2050.

This is to be achieved largely via better insulation and the widespread adoption of heat pumps.






All highly optimistic, but the real surprise is what they are forecasting for electricity demand. After all, all of these heat pumps must be using a hell of a lot of power.

Moreover, as they assume, by 2050 there will be an extra 9 million people living in 4 million extra homes.

Yet, under the same scenario, residential demand barely increases at all from current levels.






And how does the FES account for this sleight of hand?


Easy peasy, eh?

And we can forget about more efficient appliances, as they will do no more than dampen the effects of population growth.




The whole exercise seems to have been designed to start with the answer, and work backwards from there, ever increasingly into fantasy land.

I think I mentioned a wing and a prayer last week, in this context. And that accurately sums up just where we are heading.

The whole of our energy strategy is dependent on new technologies (which don’t even exist yet), consumers agreeing to cooperate (even though it is not in their interest), smart grids (which are pie in the sky), the sun shining 24 hours a day in winter, and goodness knows what else is dreamt up by the “experts”.

And if all of these things don’t happen to come about?

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that we are all governed by a bunch of idiots!

  1. stephen m lord permalink
    August 1, 2017 9:50 pm

    There is a concept IYI. This means Intellectual yet idiots. It describes the smart people with no common sense who are planning these scenarios.

    • Adrian permalink
      August 1, 2017 10:10 pm

      At the end of the day, like the BBC, Met Office, CRU, ICCP, Parliament, EU, Local Authorities etc etc etc they get paid whatever shyt they churn out.

      Would you bother producing better, your jobs safe, your pensions safe, your salary is safe, you get to go home every evening at a reasonable time, have holidays.

      Seriously where is the incentive for any of this enormous boil of incompetence on the backside of the taxpayer to do any better?

    • David Ashton permalink
      August 2, 2017 12:26 pm

      Or educated beyond there intelligence.

      • Adrian permalink
        August 2, 2017 1:19 pm

        Yes this is a lovely phrase that sums up far too many, I remember it from yrs ago while working at a uni, although best to use ‘their’ unless you want capturing in it !

        I found that adding “and funded beyond their wits” covered pretty much everyone in some departments, a feeling helped because I could see CRU through the window!!!

    • August 3, 2017 12:02 pm

      I refer you to Nassim Taleb’s article from September, 2016: “The Intellectual Yet Idiot.”

      View story at

  2. Joe Public permalink
    August 1, 2017 10:16 pm

    As I commented in your previous post, space heating can’t be time-shifted.

    In addition, heat pumps’ Coefficient of Performance reduces as outside temperatures drop. They are least efficient at all times of greatest demand. And during times of greatest demand our Smart Meters will impose the highest time-of-use charges.

    • Valued Customer permalink
      August 2, 2017 12:47 am

      Acksually…. Space heating CAN be timeshifted, just not feasibly. Summer heat can be stored in heat sinks, and used in winter by transferring it back into the dwelling via circulating pumps (usually of water), through the sink.

      Alternatively, winter coolth can be saved as ice stored in insulated chambers, and then used in summer.

      Just sayin’… I can do anything, but I limit myself to the feasible.

      Valued Customer

    • dave permalink
      August 2, 2017 6:34 am

      “…exterior residential heat pumps are a major source of continuous noise…”

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      August 2, 2017 12:38 pm

      Joe Public:
      Thank you for pointing this out. I have known this for 50+ years because my father was an engineer with a company making air conditioners (as heat pumps were known then).
      I think most politicians and public servants believe the claim that heat pumps develop 4 times the warming as the the electrical input would give. This claim is made again and again without the slightest evidence or truth.
      The name HEAT PUMP gives it away. When your house is hot and you want to pump heat outside, then the most efficient results are when the outside is much cooler. Similar if you want to ‘pump heat’ into the house; very easy if it is hot outside, but virtually impossible when it is cold enough outside for the tubes there to freeze up.
      I know you know, but this is for those browsing for information.

  3. TinyCO2 permalink
    August 1, 2017 10:27 pm

    I can’t understand how this gets through. How many layers of people pass this Unperpants Gnome plan? From the power generators to the media, it’s like they all deliberately look away from the facts. Is it ignorance, corruption, blind faith or don’t they expect to achieve the goals but are aiming high in the hope of getting as close as possible?

  4. August 1, 2017 10:39 pm

    This idea of double glazing to reduce energy bills: Dunno about you but I can’t stand a stuffy atmosphere so I always keep a window ajar even in mid winter. Sure, maybe I’d need less heating if I kept the windows closed at all times – but gas prices would have to be unbelievably punitive for me to put up with a stuffy room. And I’m sure that’s what they’re planning – however, as we saw when Ed Milliband made his price-freeze promise – it only takes one of the main political parties to break ranks on energy pricing and the game can change overnight.

  5. August 1, 2017 11:52 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  6. August 2, 2017 12:25 am

    Paul, (not to put too fine a point on it), the verb is to damp (as by a vibration damper), not to dampen (as in making wet). Similarly, the noun is the damping, or the damper, not the dampening.

    • Valued Customer permalink
      August 2, 2017 12:52 am

      Hmmm. You’re saying dampen isn’t a word?

      I love that word. I especially love ‘The Dampening’, which is what happens to panties when I work with my shirt off.


      Valued Customer

    • dave permalink
      August 2, 2017 6:39 am

      Not to put too fine a point on it, it was not Paul who used the ugly expression. It was the wording in the piece on which he he commented. If you wish to assert that official reports are full of non-standard English, that is a given.

  7. John F. Hultquist permalink
    August 2, 2017 1:55 am

    Chart’s green line is for ASHPs = air sourced heat pumps.
    The alternative is called “ground sourced” = dig up yard, lay tubes, bury, get heat there.
    GSHPs are better because they can work in colder temperatures.
    We have an ASHP. At about -7° C the air doesn’t have enough heat to use.
    The unit in the house has resistance heaters (more expensive to operate), and we have a wood stove for winter emergencies.
    Gas line is about 12 km. south. Locals are forced to use electricity or tanks of propane.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      August 2, 2017 10:15 am

      In our hamlet in rural France there are no heat pumps of any sort, nor are there any in the neighbouring 3 hamlets. Heating in winter is by wood burning stoves, gas heating using cisterns as per your picture, oil central heating, there are some heating systems run off the woodburners. Electricity is used as a backup heating system. Sometimes a couple heat sources are operated at the same time.

      There are a few people who use mobile aircon for summer cooling, but natives and savvy incomers from the north close the open windows in the cool of the morning, then close shutters before the heat of the afternoon. This, coupled with thick stone walls can mean 33+’C temperatures do not cause much of a problem unless they last a week or more. Averagely hot summer days are high 20s and occasional low 30s.

      Low 20s cause an elderly French couple to light their woodburner morning and evening even in July and August.

      Weather averages here

  8. August 2, 2017 8:01 am

    When(?) the south of England becomes as warm as the Med it will be a case of air conditioning and fans, not gas heating 😉

    • Green Sand permalink
      August 2, 2017 8:55 am

      As pointed out, previously by, ‘The Jewel in the Crown’!

      ‘What have we done?

      “..Using our climate models to assess future temperature increases, we looked at how this could effect all aspects of the energy industry. This included factoring in issues such as the affect of heat on the efficiency of thermal power stations. We also studied the potential changes in demand as our seasons are altered under climate change – such as an expected shift in peak power demand to the summer as people rely more on air conditioning…..

      I fear we are all going to suffer from the unquestioning acceptance of the output of ‘climate models’

      • Gerry, England permalink
        August 2, 2017 1:01 pm

        We already are since all this energy fairytale is because the world is warming – especially if you raise the readings eh Australian Bureau of Meteorology? – and is diverting funds from productive uses and costing us money.

  9. RogerJC permalink
    August 2, 2017 8:03 am

    Thanks for answering my question Paul. Unfortunately it raises a few more which I doubt you can answer.

    I see the “average” (whatever that may be) cost of installing a heat pump in the UK stated as £8000. I suspect there are few people who can afford that outright so it’s will we be seeing big grants or are we expected to use HP. I foresee more selling scandals.

    I read that although you can use a single phase supply ASHPs work better with 3 Phase. This is another expense and is this something the grid is prepared for? Electrical input appears to be around 4kw.

    ASAPs lose efficiency as the temperature falls and it seems that the better systems boost output by electric heating. I am yet to discover whether the Grid has made an allowance for this.

    ASAPs might be able to replace a boiler for domestic heating and hot water, but it doesn’t address the cooking question.

    • RogerJC permalink
      August 2, 2017 8:07 am

      Sorry predictive text has changed ASHP to ASAP, it could be an omen!

    • August 2, 2017 8:36 am

      Three-phase is something the French have long since got rid of — phased out, you might say!

      Not being in any way electrically qualified I may be talking nonsense but I was always given to understand that three-phase and the average household consumer were two things that should be kept well apart!

      But the (apparently invisible) elephant in the room continues to be that everything we discuss on energy revolves around the “need” to curb CO2 emissions which suggests that no-one has taken any cognisance of the plethora of recent (and not so recent) papers arguing that in climate terms CO2 is an irrelevance.

      A quick trawl through the last couple of weeks on NoTricksZone would be a starting point.

      We need to convince government that the road they are heading down is leading in a totally wrong direction and that their journey isn’t necessary anyway. All else is navel gazing.

    • Dave Ward permalink
      August 2, 2017 9:56 am

      “I read that although you can use a single phase supply ASHPs work better with 3 Phase”

      Put simply, 3 phase induction motors are smaller, lighter and more efficient for the same mechanical power output. They also have better starting torque than single phase motors, which is particularly relevant for compressor applications. Having said that, the latest designs of A/C and heat pumps use “inverter” motor controllers, which allow variable speed control for better overall efficiency.

      “Not being in any way electrically qualified I may be talking nonsense but I was always given to understand that three-phase and the average household consumer were two things that should be kept well apart!”

      It shouldn’t be a problem with dedicated equipment like heat pumps – they are (almost certainly) going to be installed by specialist engineers, and won’t have any “plug in” components running on 3 phase – it’s the higher voltage (380-415v depending on local supplies) which is the danger, in any case.

      • August 2, 2017 10:02 am


      • dave permalink
        August 6, 2017 6:38 pm

        “…the danger…”

        Which goes up as the SQUARE of the voltage. So, getting one shock from a 400 V source is like getting a simultaneous shock from fourteen 110 V sources. Lethal.

  10. Richard permalink
    August 2, 2017 8:38 am

    A predicted 9 million more people!!
    Population is still the underlying problem, whether through childbirth or immigration.

    • August 2, 2017 8:42 am

      There is no basic difficulty in supplying and/or generating enough power. It’s the policy constraints that are causing the problems.

  11. CheshireRed permalink
    August 2, 2017 8:48 am

    The top graph is predicated on government aspirations, so it almost certainly says what they want it to say in order to drive their new policies. Appeal to authority and all that. We also know it’s going to be an almighty (and pointless) clusterf*ck.

  12. Robert Jones permalink
    August 2, 2017 8:52 am

    A Professor at Imperial College London once explained to me the process by which governments and big corporations create these sorts of clever prophecies. They start at a point in the future where some sort of defined nirvana is required to exist. The authors then work backwards to the present day setting out timelines for their (mostly untutored and certainly speculative) reasoning expressed as new technologies and different societal mores.

    The process is called ‘backcasting’. The beauty of it is that by the time we get to that defined point in the future all the authors will have moved on to greater triumphs and won’t be available to apologise for or in any way account for their threadbare theories.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 2, 2017 1:10 pm

      So just like climate change. The answer of our report is human generated CO2 caused it, so how do we prove that?

  13. August 2, 2017 8:56 am

    It is informative that under the “Consumer Power” scenario people keep their gas boilers. In other words, people want gas boilers. The gov’ts role ought to be to give its citizens what they want. Instead, they intend to give us what they think we would want if we were part of a doomsday cult who believe that a few ppm of CO2 is gonna end the world.

    Dear gov’t, please do what the people who elect you want.

    • August 2, 2017 10:29 am

      … And stop virtue signalling and “sending messages” to countries that aren’t listening or “setting an example” to governments that don’t give a stuff.

      If I could say what I really thought about Climate Ministers and civil servants seconded from NGO, Prime Ministers and their egos, and ex-Ministers and multi-national “environment” firms Paul and I would both get sued for libel and I would probably be barred from here for life!

      What the hell has happened to our politicians? There have always been “bad apples” or “rough diamonds” but almost every one was ar least honest in his/her politics. Now it seems that most of them have lost both their moral compass and their intellectual compass (ie, their thinking bits) and all they have left is their ego or some misguided idea of a British government’s function.

      Hence the Climate Change Act and all that flows from it. Not to mention Hinkley Point, HS2, and assorted other ego trips at our expense which we never asked for and don’t want!

      Rant over! For now.

      • Rowland H permalink
        August 2, 2017 9:30 pm

        They seem to have forgotten that they are supposed tone our servants. They seem to think that once they have passed a law, however crass or bad, they can just walk all over us claiming their right to do so because it is a parliamentary democracy. however, it is the people who have ultimate sovereignty.

  14. Jack Broughton permalink
    August 2, 2017 9:26 am

    Agree with JIT, the obsession with leading the carbon reduction race is determining our future policies irrespective of the fact that it contributes next to nothing to the global trajectory of carbon emissions. The root cause of all of this is governance and all controlled bodies (BBC/ITV/newspapers) refusing to debate global warming: the acceptance of a “proven science” coupled with moral high-ground fanaticism is driving the UK (and the EU) up a cul de sac.

    I do not believe that there is much popular support for the policies, but they are being implemented dishonestly and the truth will out, but when?

  15. keith permalink
    August 2, 2017 9:35 am

    I see we are going for improved insulation, what just like the Grenville Tower!!! In no tricks zone recently it was highlighted there are thousands of houses and apartments in Germany insulated with the same stuff as used in the Grenville Tower, so people are living in fire traps. Oh how wonderful our Government is, they really know what they are doing!!!

    Yes, you are quite right we are being governed by a ‘bunch of idiots’.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 2, 2017 1:05 pm

      That’s probably why Germany has recorded over 100 insulation related fires since something like 2004 – correct date not to hand – while some fake news outlets have been claiming it would never happen in Germany.

  16. Mike Higton permalink
    August 2, 2017 10:10 am

    As always there is devilry in the detail.
    A friend looked into installing a heat pump. For his property – a largeish bungalow – the recommended system used a 5kW motor which, he was told, had to run on 400V due to the starting load. Bringing a 400V supply to his propery would cost £000s. There was talk of cobbling together two smaller systems but, even to my non-techie friend, that sounded like trouble in the making and, of course, it would cost much more.

  17. 1saveenergy permalink
    August 2, 2017 12:19 pm

    “Gas Heating To Be Replaced By Thin Air!”

    That means heating prices will rise
    … as thin air has to be conjured out of thick air,
    a process that needs a 97% subsidy as the only ‘Green’ gas that can be economically employed is chlorine, so the ‘Greens’ like it, as it’s use will reduce population by 97%.

    • August 2, 2017 2:45 pm

      T think Patrick Moore left Greenpeace when they campaigned to ban chlorine (the element, not specific chlorine compounds). So I guess they ain’t too keen on it.

    • August 2, 2017 3:15 pm

      Greenpeace tried to have Chlorine banned. Happily this did not happen – I believe it is the only substance which can kill the Ebola virus.

  18. Gerry, England permalink
    August 2, 2017 1:09 pm

    Good story re rural heating. Salesman came round pushing ground source heat pumps as a solution to the cost of rising heating oil. Of course heating oil would only ever get more expensive so change now was the spiel – similar to the crap that Davey spewed out when a minister that we would save money because oil would keep getting more expensive. But…of course the price has gone down and in fact the storyteller saw his cost halve. So what happened to his neighbor who went for the sales patter? Their electricity bill doubled from £1000 to £2000 and they where not happy.

  19. HotScot permalink
    August 2, 2017 4:47 pm

    I’m intending retiring back to Scotland from UK central (SE England) and building a Passive Haus type building using an Oak post and beam frame (very traditional and relatively cheap structure) clad with SIP’s (Structurally Insulated Panels). I could do it with just SIP’s panels, but it’s incredibly boring.

    Now a properly built, commissioned and certified Passive Haus is a very expensive option but no reason I can’t get 90% of the way there and skip the certification. The concept being that the house is built to take advantage of solar gain, but it runs the risk of overheating in summer.

    My preferred option is to make sure the house is well insulated enough that it doesn’t rely on solar gain but needs a small amount of heating. But I effing hate wood burners, they are old technology stoves brought into the 21st century with a bit of decorative stainless steel, and they still chuck the charred contents of the wood out the flu.

    So having looked at numerous alternatives including ASHP’s and GSHP’s I stumbled on the Rocket Mass heater. And the shots in the link are all a bit ‘Hippy Dippy’ but the concept is impressive.

    Employing the simplest construction techniques, and I mean simple, like moulding a clay bench, this thing burns small amounts of timber so efficiently there is nothing at the exhaust other than water and, of course, the dreaded CO2 (double #Sarc for that one).

    Circulating the heat round a 4 bedroomed house might be a bit of a challenge but I’m thinking a mechanical air circulation system might be a reasonable option using little electricity as it’s not moving air quickly.

    Perhaps with a small petrol generator in the garage of course, for the inevitable power cuts.

  20. HotScot permalink
    August 2, 2017 4:58 pm


    Scroll down for the concept of the Rocket Mass heater.

  21. August 4, 2017 11:07 am

    Professor Paul Howarth, the CEO of the National Nuclear Laboratory [NNL] explains that the UK [and most any other nation] will need to uprate the National Grid 4X from the current 80 GW to about 320 GW by 2080, to fully decarbonise grid energy demands.

    He’s not making a play about doing any more energy saving than we’re doing at present. The implication being that there will be sufficient electricity generating capacity to displace all piped gas demand. Maybe we’ll see electricity cables [at 3X existing individual electrical capacity] popping up through the gas pipe in our kitchens ???

    Apparently, written into our Industrial Strategy, it’s going to be 100 GW nuclear; 100 GW renewables; 100 GW FF with CC&S. But if FF with CC&S proves a no-goer, it’ll surely be 200 GW nuclear.

  22. Jack Broughton permalink
    August 4, 2017 7:07 pm

    When I look at analyses like the FES papers multiple charts, I am forced to conclude that Spreadsheets are now becoming a problem. Any semi-technical person can produce reams of charts (as FES do) that appear convincing to the layman. While a brief accurate statement of the essential facts is what is needed. This obfuscates all debate, especially among the gullible. The assumptions in the FES reports are almost laughable: massive nuclear power growth, CCS suddenly becomes viable etc., then curves are generated that would possibly be valid if these assumptions were credible.

    Curve fits are applied without any real understanding of their limitations (goodness of fit / sensitivity etc), and conclusions are drawn from unsuitable curve fits to prove hypotheses.

    Mathematical models have wrecked even more havoc in health service models, economic models and climate models: it remains astounding that so many people are taken in by computer models that use obvious garbage as inputs.

    There is no substitute for sensible, knowledgeable analysis.

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