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Why Lord Oxburgh Ruled Out Electrification Of Heat

February 22, 2019
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood


While we are on the question of decarbonising heat, we should take account of Lord Oxburgh’s report to the Secretary of State in 2016.

This was what he found:





To summarise:

1) Even with much better insulation, maximum heating demand would amount to 200 GW, four times  the maximum demand for electricity

2) On top of this would come additional load from EVs.

3) There would be issues with grid stability if we went the heat pump route. Heat pumps in any event are not a practical solution for existing housing stock.

4) Even with extra wind power, there would need to be a significant amount of despatchable generation from either CCGTs and/or small nuclear reactors.

5) There is currently no known cost-effective form of inter-month storage available at the scale required to meet these demands

6) Electrification of heating would involve an enormous increase in generating capacity to meet winter demand, but this would be of little use for the rest of the year.

7) The only alternative would be hydrogen, which is ridiculously expensive, wasteful, and crucially still needs CCS to mitigate emissions.

Gummer’s report today addresses none of these issues, but blithely assumes that we can simply wave a magic wand and move away from using natural gas with little cost or difficulty.

  1. February 22, 2019 9:07 am

    Just tell people they won’t be able to use their electric cars much in winter 😆

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      February 22, 2019 10:03 am

      Essentially if we get rid of gas for heating and cooking, and move to EVs, there will be long periods (days, weeks) when a sizable proportion of the UK population will not be able to cook, heat their homes or drive anywhere.

      • February 22, 2019 11:00 am

        And/or heavy industries will have to be paid to shut down.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        February 22, 2019 1:57 pm

        What heavy industries? There will only be derelict factories and decaying chemical plants.

  2. Ian permalink
    February 22, 2019 9:21 am

    He made a more honest job of this that his Climategate investigation!

  3. Phoenix44 permalink
    February 22, 2019 10:05 am

    Our idiot politicians are totally ignoring the issue, all at the behest of mad extremists who have no idea what they are doing. Climate change (if it exists) is an economic problem, not an existential or moral problem. Any costs we spend today have to worth it because they reduce costs in the future by a larger amount. None of these insane schemes meet that test.

    • keith permalink
      February 22, 2019 11:38 am

      You are so right. It beggars belief that the Government does not have a proper long term energy strategy. Clark and Perry should be sacked for incompetence along with Gove and Grayling for their idiotic comments about ICE’s which has crashed the motor industry. We have nothing but idiots running this Country. Does not bode well when we are independent and leave the EU, that is if we ever do!!!!

  4. George Lawson permalink
    February 22, 2019 10:24 am

    It is clear that Gummer and Gove are hell bent on closing down as many industries as they can regardless of the hardship on the employees of those industries and the terrible toll on the wider economy.. ‘Let’s now close down the gas appliance industry’ seems to be their current shout. They are either stupid or are in the pay of the ridiculous Greens who are determined to close down Britain. It is time the wider membership of parliament started to shout about their ruinous tactics and appoint Ministers and Chairmen who are prepared to put British industry first. Without drastic action by the government now, and a fearless policy to oppose the Green movement we will become a second level nation within a generation.

  5. Gas Geezer permalink
    February 22, 2019 10:26 am

    What a gigantic waste of effort just to solve a non existent problem,they may as well try and reinvent the wheel while they’re at it.

  6. Robert Christopher permalink
    February 22, 2019 10:36 am

    If we are heading for a grand solar minimum mini ice age, with peak cooling around 2035, we will be pleased to have the Carbon Dioxide in the air, and some gas central heating!

    Why do they want to eliminate every
    CO2 source: there is a law of diminishing returns here.
    Yes, I know it’s more about wealth redistribution, but it looks more like wealth destruction as well.

    • Colin Brooks permalink
      February 22, 2019 11:18 am

      They do not just want to eliminate all CO2 emissions, British representatives at the Paris Conference (among others) stood up and demanded the elimination of all atmospheric CO2, proving absolutely that they have no clue what they are doing.

  7. Athelstan. permalink
    February 22, 2019 11:58 am

    “Gummer’s report today addresses none of these issues, but blithely assumes that we can simply wave a magic wand and move away from using natural gas with little cost or difficulty.”

    ” a magic wand”……………

    Gummer and his crew, regularly harvests the magic money tree, that’s for damned sure.

  8. perkscan permalink
    February 22, 2019 12:10 pm

    Gummer’s committee is doing what it was set up to do – telling the government what has to happen for the country to meet the legal requirements of the 2008 Climate Change Act. That ridiculous act is the real problem. Whether or not we respect Gummer and his committee members is really irrelevant. But with Brexit occupying most of our politician’s brain cells, they’ll do what they always do when they don’t know what to do, which is kick the issue into the long grass. Even if Gummer recommended that every home should invest in a unicorn-powered treadmill, they’d do the same.

    • Chilli permalink
      February 23, 2019 8:53 am

      One unexpected benefit of the EU referendum has been MPs are so tired-up with preventing Brexit, they’ve had no time for anything else. The 2008 Climate Change Act is what you get when politicians have too much time on their hands.

  9. Athelstan. permalink
    February 22, 2019 12:21 pm

    On other things pert to Oxburgh’s report, though I say it through gritted teeth, this egregious and whitewashing state player, on most things (above report) I have to agree.

  10. February 22, 2019 12:49 pm

    Sep. 2018: World’s first hydrogen train rolls out in Germany

    Alstom says that other countries were also looking into buying their trains, including the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Italy and Canada.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      February 22, 2019 10:54 pm

      old brew:

      The distance from Cuchaven to Buxtehude is less than 100 kms. I wonder how much traffic the railway would get (even if it stopped at Stade but the nuclear power station there has shut down)?
      The hydrogen I assume is made by steam reforming of natural gas. What do they do with the resultant CO2?
      The other problem is where do they get the oxygen from? If it comes direct from air then the fuel cells will be less efficient with the chances of side reactions. And they have the weight of those batteries to carry. I hope they don’t get a hydrogen leak, followed by a fire combined with those lithium batteries. Stade and Buxtehude have lots of wooden houses and they have been burnt down quite a few times before.

  11. February 22, 2019 12:55 pm

    The odd thing about this is that neither of these Lords seem to understand that the Thermodynamic Laws need to be obeyed. Even Lord Oxburgh, who should know better thinks that expending energy and cost to REDUCE the calorific value of the gas could be a good idea. Perhaps he thinks that sacrificing this energy on the alta of the CO2 Dragon will somehow expiate our sins.
    As for Gummer……. I dare not comment; but perkscan (above) is right, it is the corrupt Climate Change Act which is the root of the problem.
    The mere fact that this Act was nodded through with a 99% majority shows that Parliament was asleep at the time and therefore is grossly flawed and in desperate need of amendment.

  12. johnbillscott permalink
    February 22, 2019 1:07 pm

    It is impossible to insulate existing buildings to a degree that there will be great power savings, so this is very much the “usual pie in the sky” propaganda by governments and the Greenies. If a house is turned into an insulated cocoon, other more serious problems arise principally mould which is very dangerous to health, radon concentration and dampness unless an inside air/outside air changer are installed and these require electric power. The loss of 50% EV range on cold days is a “cold fact” and you have no waste heat to heat and defrost the car. In summer you have to trade range against air conditioning. Hydrogen is fine for trains and ferries as a fuel supply infrastructure can be easily installed, however, for general motoring – again “pie in the sky”.

    • Athelstan. permalink
      February 22, 2019 4:38 pm

      We Britons have to beleaguer and belabour are browbeaten by a political class who embarrass ignoramuses, whom meander clueless, are a deluded set of mental pygmies who believe in pie in the sky is manna from heaven and will be sent down and wrought on earth, and that: realities – are for the birds.

      lots of wimin believe it ‘greenin’ up da universe’ sending us all to a fossil fuelless hell called industrial and econmic oblivion, but then wimin and very much like the Soviets and Venezuelans current el presidente do believe faithfully, fundamentally, zealously in dogma and ideology will always triumph over common sence, empricism, pure science and material cold hard fact………and like most wimin, you can’t argue with ’em.

      • dave permalink
        February 23, 2019 8:30 am

        “…lots of wimmin…”

        Of course, but not all wimmin.

        I have a female relative who is a Chartered Accountant, and she can be quite scathing when things do not add up – literally or metaphorically. She also has a degree in Environmental Science, and the CAGW nonsense makes her apoplectic.

        However, the Victorian political and economic commentator, Bagehot, did have a certain phrase, “Masculine common-sense!”, and I think we know what he was getting at.

  13. Kelvin Vaughan permalink
    February 22, 2019 5:16 pm

    Oh dear he hasn’t realised that water vapour is a greenhouse gas.

  14. February 22, 2019 6:31 pm

    Parliament is full of twits like Gummer who demand we abandon fossil fuels, switch to EV’s, use electric to heat our homes. They are the very same people who have the audacity to stand up in HoC and use the announcements from Ford, Nissan and Honda as justification to demand we remain in EU to avoid job losses…..

    They are either extremely thick or extremely corrupt.

    What on earth do they think is going to happen in the next 20 years to those car manufacturers IF these morons get their way and we are all forced to use EV’s. Gummer has even been demanding the outright ban on petrol and diesel vehicles as early as 2025 I believe? There will be at least 200K people losing their jobs as a result of the large scale switch to EV’s (both direct and indirectly) because a) there will never be the demand for EV’s on the same scale as petrol/diesel vehicles b) there will be no capacity in the grid to charge them and c) china will control the worldwide supply of the batteries and will eventually restrict them to Chinese only car manufacturers and d) the £35bn a year loss of fuel duty and VED from petrol/diesel vehicles will be replaced with a road charging system that will incur such high costs (on top of the soaring costs of the grid power to charge the cars) that people will be forced to use alternatives such as public transport………..where they can find it.

    Same will happen to housing market in a few years time if they do ban new homes with mains gas. There will be huge demand for older homes and a complete crash in demand for new homes.

    Of course as it gets closer to the point this supposed ban on diesel/petrol vehicles is meant to come into effect, just like the date of our demise due to global warming, the goalposts will be moved back a few decades because the sleepwalking public will sudden wake up to what is happening and realise that life as they know it is about to end. The politicians think Brexit is bad, just wait till this petrol/diesel ban appears on the horizon.

    • sirclive62 permalink
      February 22, 2019 8:26 pm

      spot on sir!

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 22, 2019 9:55 pm

      There was I think a very good reason why Huhne’s plans that all new homes should be zero carbon (or pay a £30,000 fine) by 2016 were quietly ditched in 2015.

  15. A man of no rank permalink
    February 22, 2019 8:41 pm

    When I used to teach A level Chemistry I would distract the students by asking how a mixture of octane and air could produce NO2 under the heat and pressure of the internal combustion engine. Fewer that 1 in 10 would realise it was from air not octane – and these were bright students.
    Which leads to my question:
    What studies have been done to estimate the NO2 production if hydrogen fuel is combusted under pressure in air?
    I would suspect a lot of NO2 if excess air was used and perhaps even some ammonia with excess hydrogen. Could be even worse than the diesel engine!!
    Bet nobody has looked at this and bet nobody wants to know.

    • February 22, 2019 10:24 pm

      Yes, nobody will admit that.

      Just the same as none of the people vilifying diesels actually understands that a petrol engine can emit more NOx than a diesel engine in certain conditions such as motorway driving at the speed limit or when carrying a heavy load. The media frequently use lab test results to declare how bad diesels are. What they don’t declare is that often these lab tests compare bench tests of unloaded diesel engines to unloaded petrol engines (even stripping the alternator, water pump, steering pump, air con pump and brake vac pump off!). In real world driving the engines perform completely different to in the lab. eg. a 2.3 litre 450Nm diesel engine can haul a 2 ton car at motorway speed limit at 1200rpm, a 1.6 litre petrol engine with less than half the torque may need to run at 2400rpm to achieve same speed. Which emits the most NOx? If the diesel gets 60mpg and the petrol gets 35mpg which emits the most CO2? The real world results are often the opposite of what the lab tests show and I suspect hydrogen is just another example.

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        February 22, 2019 11:01 pm

        Don’t worry. Hydrogen has an octane rating of 66 so any internal combustion engine powered car will be so inefficient it won’t make it to the motorway.

        And the high temperature flame produced with hydrogen is almost guaranteed to increase the NOx output.

      • Athelstan. permalink
        February 22, 2019 11:46 pm

        It’s still dancing on pinheads, the real facts here are that unless you’re regularly breathing in great lungfuls of NOx and soot, unless you have outstanding issues concerning cardiopulmonary complications and asthma bronchil weakness – ie if you are fit and healthy there are more chances of lightning hitting nessie that dying of NOx from roadside emissions.

  16. February 22, 2019 8:53 pm

    The issue is why do the media keep acting as if Deben is some great god ?
    How many times have the news headlines said something like
    …”And a new report has said X about Climate Green Energy … and we are going to parrot it even though it contains extraordinary claims which won’t stand up to scrutiny”

    the news editor has to select that story to be in the list , so why do they ?

    … I think I’ll go to Manchester tmw

  17. It doesn't add up... permalink
    February 22, 2019 9:52 pm

    Roger Harrabin reports on the Lord Deben investigation

    Climate change: Ban gas grid for new homes ‘in six years’
    By Roger Harrabin

    [31 paragraphs on the headline captioned]

    The chair of the Committee, Lord Deben, is being investigated by the Lords Standards Commissioner to see if he has breached rules by not declaring income from firms that benefit from pro-active climate policies. Lord Deben says he has followed advice on the rules.

  18. Gas Geezer permalink
    February 22, 2019 10:13 pm

    Joined up thinking, in the 2005 general election the labour party pledged to abolish fuel poverty . Only five out of 470 MPs voted against the 2008 Climate Change Bill none of which were labour .

  19. Brian Richards permalink
    February 23, 2019 11:36 am

    This is the sort of thing we get in Nova Scotia Canada: The Chronicle Herald

    | | | | | |


    | | | | The Chronicle Herald Thursday, Feb. 21, might not have been the best day for a drive, but I was up before the crack of dawn and on th… | |



    From: NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT To: Sent: Friday, February 22, 2019 4:15 AM Subject: [New post] Why Lord Oxburgh Ruled Out Electrification Of Heat #yiv1806460943 a:hover {color:red;} #yiv1806460943 a { text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;} #yiv1806460943 a.yiv1806460943primaryactionlink:link, #yiv1806460943 a.yiv1806460943primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;} #yiv1806460943 a.yiv1806460943primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv1806460943 a.yiv1806460943primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E !important;color:#fff !important;} #yiv1806460943 | Paul Homewood posted: “By Paul Homewood While we are on the question of decarbonising heat, we should take account of Lord Oxburgh’s report to the Secret” | |

  20. February 23, 2019 5:50 pm

    Lord Oxburgh is encouraged to avail himself of existing knowledge prior to legislating a straight up disaster that would utterly destroy the UK economy and people.

    Energy and the Hydrogen Economy

    Click to access hyd_economy_bossel_eliasson.pdf

    The 5 Myths of the Hydrogen Fueled Vehicle

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