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CCC’s Net Zero Plans Rely On Dramatic Rise In Windy Days

October 24, 2021

By Paul Homewood

h/t Philip Bratby



The Committee on Climate Change have been caught cheating:



Modelling used to justify the "feasibility" of the net zero target assumed a dramatic fall in the number of days of calm weather, when many turbines stand still, according to new analysis.

Data obtained from the Climate Change Committee (CCC), the official advisory body, following a legal battle, shows that a series of assumptions underpinning its advice to ministers included a projection that in 2050 there would be just seven days on which wind turbines would produce less than 10 per cent of their potential electricity output. So far this year, there have already been 65 such days, and in 2016 there were as many as 78.

On Saturday night the disclosure prompted questions over the accuracy of the CCC’s claims in 2019 about the feasibility of meeting a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. Ministers rely heavily on the CCC’s advice and modelling, and last week its chief executive, Chris Stark heralded Boris Johnson’s new Net Zero Strategy as "largely mirroring the CCC advice".

It comes as an analysis by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) think tank warns that the "quality of the CCC’s advice is questionable", particularly in relation to the 2050 target adopted by Theresa May in 2019.

"[The CCC] advised that this target was feasible but refused to disclose the calculations on which its costs figures were based, and it became clear that the scale of the challenge of net zero was not well understood when the target was passed into law," states the report, which is published today. The IEA report also accuses the body of having expanded an initial remit as an independent advisory body delivering balanced advice, to becoming a "pressure group".

Mr Stark used a newspaper interview on Friday to say that the Government should be urging people to "understand what they can do" about climate change, including "flying less, eating less meat".

Back-up power could be required from more reliable sources

Craig Mackinlay, the leader of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group of Conservative MPs and a member of the public accounts committee, warned that if the committee had significantly overestimated the amount of power that turbines would generate, significantly more back-up power could be required from more reliable sources.

He said: "These predictions appear somewhat fanciful. The Climate Change Committee seem to be looking at the whole project through rose-tinted spectacles to try and minimalise the unpalatable costs of this whole enterprise."

Analysis of CCC data obtained following a legal battle by the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF), a climate sceptic think tank, found that the body’s assumptions as part of modelling included that the UK would experience just one day in 2050 on which wind turbines would operate at less than five per cent of the industry’s overall capacity. That compares with 20 days so far in 2021 – which has seen particularly low wind speeds – ten days in 2020, nine in 2019 and 21 in 2018.

Wind energy varies throughout the year

The CCC’s modelling, which drew on a study by Imperial College London, also included an assumption that, in 2050, there would be just seven days on which wind turbines produced less than 10 per cent of their overall capacity. That compares to 65 such days so far this year, 30 in 2020, 33 in 2019 and 56 in 2018, according to analysis by Net Zero Watch, a campaign of the GWPF.

A spokesman for the CCC declined to explain the disparity, saying: "Detailed assumptions on power generation were made in 2019 as part of an extensive body of modelling and analysis to inform our advice to government on net zero. We stand by these insights.

"This information, including the study undertaken by Imperial College London, is published in full on our website. We have no further comment to make."

The CCC has previously said that the UK’s future energy supply should come from a "portfolio of technologies" including nuclear and hydrogen power, but insisted that the costs associated with the intermittent nature of wind "represent a small proportion of overall system costs." Experts have also suggested that placing turbines in a wider variety of locations around the UK would increase the overall yield when the wind fails to blow in particular areas.

Victoria Hewson, a solicitor and the IEA’s head of regulatory affairs, said: "The scale and impact of the areas covered by the advice of the Climate Change Committee is vast… Far from being treated as an irreproachable source of truth, the CCC should be challenged and scrutinised more than any other regulator or advisory body.”

Whether the CCC assumptions are realistic or not, the simple truth is that British weather is not the same year in year out. You only need one year, or for that matter one month, of low wind speeds, and the electricity grid is broken if you have not got back up in place.

It is highly irresponsible of the CCC to have not allowed for this in their planning – in other words planning for the worst case. As such they have grossly misled the government and Parliament.

I can only assume they have done so in the knowledge that their Net Zero Plan would have lost all credibility otherwise.

  1. October 24, 2021 10:18 am

    Some reading for the CCC…

    OCTOBER 22, 2021
    What Europe’s exceptionally low winds mean for the future energy grid

    • kjbirby permalink
      October 24, 2021 11:38 am

      This paragraph in that report sums up the whole climate-change charade: “Some climate models showed wind speeds (across Europe) increasing as temperatures warm, and others showed decreases”. You really couldn’t make it up . . . Oh, wait – indeed they do!!

  2. October 24, 2021 10:32 am

    Academics have consistently tried to deploy dodgy statistics to get “the wind is always blowing somewhere” argument to work for the UK. The Irish are more fortunate, being smaller than the UK, no amount of brass neck can make it work there, in fact they have a 98% demand rule, which also applies to the UK:

    … whatever the peak demand is for a particular year, conventional sources will be required at some time to provide 98% of that peak demand in that year, unless that particular high demand cold spell falls on a weekend or a holiday:

  3. John Cullen permalink
    October 24, 2021 10:38 am

    Hello Paul,

    Yes, those of us of “a certain age” may remember the summer of 1976 when the sun blazed down and there was little or no wind for days on end – well, about 16 weeks according to the attached link.

    Sixteen weeks is about 100 days, without any allowance for a safety factor. Thus a wind drought of about 100 days (minimum) is what needs to be catered for by all responsible planners. And we must remember that the wind probably will not be blowing in adjacent countries either. So we can forget about receiving much wind-driven electricity via interconnectors at such times.


    • TrevorC permalink
      October 24, 2021 12:00 pm

      Yes, and even if the wind is blowing in adjacent countries it will be supplying their own needs. Why should they build spare capacity and have it sitting idle just in case we need it?

  4. Joe Public permalink
    October 24, 2021 10:44 am

    “This information, including the study undertaken by Imperial College London, is published in full on our website. We have no further comment to make.”

    One has to wonder if Imperial College London used the same programmers who got its Covid victim-numbers so disastrously wrong.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      October 24, 2021 12:32 pm

      Beat me to it! 🙂

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        October 24, 2021 1:38 pm

        And me!
        My reaction to “the CCC’s modelling, which drew on a study by Imperial College London” was “what could possibly go wrong?” (\sarc).

        I think the IEA’s report that ‘accuses the body of having expanded an initial remit as an independent advisory body delivering balanced advice, to becoming a “pressure group”’ probably hits the spot.
        As I understand the accepted physics of climate, a warmer world ought to be a calmer world. As the temperature difference between tropics and poles declines so does the temperature gradient and therefore the wind. (I’m sure there are plenty of real physicists on here who can explain if I’ve got that wrong!)
        Assuming I’m right the CCC’s argument is totally upside-down. Given the backgrounds of those most directly involved I can hardly say I’m surprised.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      October 24, 2021 12:48 pm

      At least with Covid the government ended up with 3 models. All far too similar sadly and thus all going to be wrong if one was wrong. To be truly useful they should have used 3 with different fundamental assumptions.

      For the CCC to use one is criminally reckless.

  5. Robert Jones permalink
    October 24, 2021 10:54 am

    The Climate Change Committee effortlessly proving its unfitness for guiding the Government yet again. Surely it must stand down and stop providing useless information before the little child calls out ‘Look, the PM’s got no clothes’?

    • Julian Flood permalink
      October 26, 2021 8:06 am

      No. The government demonstrating its unfitness by relying on such a ragbag of ideologues and chancers. Or Gummer.


  6. Penda100 permalink
    October 24, 2021 11:09 am

    Assumptions as part of modelling – also known as GIGO.

  7. Bill Berry permalink
    October 24, 2021 11:10 am

    The inadequacy of the CCC is exposed here – from October 2019

  8. Adam Gallon permalink
    October 24, 2021 11:23 am

    Hence the reason for the attacks on the GWPF’s funding.

  9. Ian PRSY permalink
    October 24, 2021 11:27 am

    “It is highly irresponsible of the CCC to have not allowed for this in their planning – in other words planning for the worst case. ”

    But they did, Paul, for the IPCC worst case. Nothing else matters

  10. Chilli permalink
    October 24, 2021 11:29 am

    I believe Bishop Hill also spotted the CCC’s Hydrogen calcs assumed 100% efficiency in the conversion of wind power and gas to hydrogen via electrolysis and steam methane reforming – rather than the actual 80% & 74% best case efficiencies. Rose tinted spectacles all the way down.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      October 24, 2021 12:46 pm

      Model tweaking. Done it myself as a lad. When you know the desired result and you have to adjust your assumptions to get it. If you are lucky you can keep each one just within justification. Looks like the CCC couldn’t.

      • Broadlands permalink
        October 24, 2021 2:15 pm

        What is the current desired result? Where is the numerical net-zero target published in parts-per-million (or metric tons) of CO2?

        “….about the feasibility of meeting a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.” ???

  11. David Wojick permalink
    October 24, 2021 11:44 am

    I wonder why 10% is considered useful? Does that mean if you Ned 100,000 MW you build 1,000,000 MW?

    Same with the wind blows somewhere. Do you build total needed capacity in 5 different places, say four corners plus center?

    We never see an actual system design because the cost would be chokingly high. It is all just hand waving. No engineering allowed.

    • Gamecock permalink
      October 24, 2021 10:26 pm


      ‘The CCC’s modelling, which drew on a study by Imperial College London, also included an assumption that, in 2050, there would be just seven days on which wind turbines produced less than 10 per cent of their overall capacity.’

      Just seven. Just seven days with no electricity for the UK. And that’s acceptable.

      Well, at least you’ll have Net Zero for seven days.

    • Julian Flood permalink
      October 26, 2021 8:09 am

      Minimal wind from Norway to Morocco happens. We’re going to need a longer cable.


      • October 26, 2021 9:27 am

        We’re going to need a longer cable.

        We are going to need a bigger planet.

  12. jazznick permalink
    October 24, 2021 11:52 am

    Amazed how the Telegraph can still have AEP in their ranks.

    Other Telegraph writers expose his mates in the CCC for their “wishful thinking, that’ll work !” methodology and attempts to deceive by (failed) legal barriers and another calls for a Climate Referendum !

    Nice to see free-speech allowed though and the government’s “nudge-unit’ not running the paper, like it is in The Times.

    The BBC is beyond saving, however, and needs to be put out of our misery.

  13. Is it just me? permalink
    October 24, 2021 12:08 pm

    The CCC caught lying? Fiddling data? Surely not?!

  14. cookers52 permalink
    October 24, 2021 12:34 pm

    Nobody knows whether wind and solar can supply the UK with electricity, a back up of something else is necessary, but the government inexplicably demolished all the power stations setting an example to the rest of the world.

    Whether the UK have set a good or bad example is unfolding as we watch and wait.

    Parliament has declared a climate emergency and now we definitely have one.

    • dennisambler permalink
      October 24, 2021 11:53 pm

      Blowing up coal fired power stations so they can’t be used again is state vandalism, if not terrorism. Two contractors got killed as a result of the Didcot demolition.

  15. Harry Passfield permalink
    October 24, 2021 12:37 pm

    “Detailed assumptions on power generation were made in 2019 as part of an extensive body of modelling and analysis to inform our advice to government on net zero. We stand by these insights.

    “This information, including the study undertaken by Imperial College London, is published in full on our website. We have no further comment to make.”

    The sheer bloody arrogance of these people! Who elected them?? But I know who pays them, and that being the case, they have no right – none whatsoever – to withhold data from anyone who wants to review it.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      October 24, 2021 12:43 pm

      One study. Seriously? They have one study that tells them what they want to hear. And on that basis we overturn our entire grid and economy.

      It’s way beyond a joke, way beyond sense. No bank would lend a project £10m based on the borrower’s study. They would commission an independent review of that work and look for other studies to compare.

      It is beyond reckless of both the CCC and pavement to trust such vast, important decisions to one study.

    • Julian Flood permalink
      October 26, 2021 8:13 am

      I read today that the Nudge Unit, aka Goebells’R’Us, is a private company. Reading the CVs of its members is interesting


  16. Phoenix44 permalink
    October 24, 2021 12:40 pm

    Said it before but the whole climate change farrago is based largely on misusing averages. This is yet another example. What matters in energy production is minimums. Averages are meaningless. I need electricity when I need it, not as an average over a year. This smacks of modelling sleight of hand, tweaking all the assumptions to get the right result and having to over tweak one you hope will stay hidden.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      October 24, 2021 1:01 pm

      In managing large computer systems and networks we would always push for maximum availability and reliability. One without the other is no good to anyone.

      (for those who don’t fathom that, a network can have 99% availability but suffer very many micro-outages which knocks the reliability.)

      • Robert Christopher permalink
        October 24, 2021 1:27 pm

        This is especially true when there are many points of potential failure: all the network needs to be up and running for a signal to get through.

        It’s why we need to keep FM radio. Radio stations on the internet may offer better quality reception, but it only needs one link in the chain to break to not get an emergency broadcast.

    • October 24, 2021 3:07 pm

      the whole climate change farrago is based largely on misusing averages.

      You are spot on with this. The whole nonsense of climate science starts with averaging the sunlight over 24 hours, so that there is no dark nighttime or polar winter on climate world. This averaging has the effect of making the sunlight too weak to create the climate. The false concept of greenhouse gas back radiation heating the surface (or delaying cooling) is an ad hoc solution to correct the original modelling error at the dead heart of this non-science.

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        October 25, 2021 7:01 am

        Any more rubbish you’d care to write?

      • October 25, 2021 8:18 am

        @Adam Gallon
        So Adam, in your world does the Sun shine on to the ground at night?

  17. Jack Broughton permalink
    October 24, 2021 2:02 pm

    The costs of “Net-zero” remain unclear, even as real first estimates, (what’s a trillion or two between friends?). What is really clear is that the belief in the outputs of mathematical models of complex systems has to reach a limit soon. Models are only definitive when they are fully based on natural laws, and even then the law of unforeseen consequences can apply. We have seen this regularly in economic models and climate models which use many empirical assumptions.

    The cost models used by National Grid and the CCC are real examples of the spreadsheet driving the “political-science”. The assumptions about technology development rates and costs in their publications take them into the realms of fantasy games. The glossy forecasts always look so convincing, while really they are worse that the back of envelope calculation of a knowledgeable real expert.

  18. David Alan Garner permalink
    October 24, 2021 2:30 pm

    All joking and the usual chunnering aside, this is a serious matter.

    This is not a short-term uplift in universal credit. It’s not a revised policy on tax, which may or may not stimulate the economy or be a pre-election bribe.

    It’s energy, to keep the lights on, keep food cooked or cooled, keep our industry powered and keep the nation functioning. Energy security is national security.

    What the CCC have done here is take a projection that’s so egregious and so insecure as to be reckless. It also begs the obvious question what else are they playing fast and loose with?

    To play games with national security deserves the most punitive response.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      October 24, 2021 4:14 pm

      Well said

    • October 24, 2021 4:22 pm

      It also begs the obvious question what else are they playing fast and loose with?

      The truth, which is that there is not, has not ever been and never will be any risk from raising the level of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere.
      Greenhouse gases are a fake concept and they do not control the climate.

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        October 25, 2021 7:05 am

        Greenhouse gases are proven physically.

      • October 25, 2021 8:54 am

        @Adam Gallon,
        The issue is the power of the sunlight at the surface of the Earth.
        The purpose of a model is mimic reality.
        The Sun never shines on to the surface of the Earth at night therefore the power of the sunlight must be divided by 2 to model the reality of a permanently lit hemisphere.
        Here is a model that uses divide by 2 to mimic the reality that we observe.

        Figure 7 : An Analysis of the Earth’s Energy Budget – Update

    • Julian Flood permalink
      October 26, 2021 8:23 am

      Yes. But what can we do about it?


  19. Keith Harrison permalink
    October 24, 2021 2:56 pm

    There appears to be a CCC penchant for averaging turbine output. No matter the modelling when the turbines are not producing the fancy statistical analyses and modelling does not keep the lights on.

    I am reminded of the statistician who drowned crossing a river after calculating the depth to average three feet.

  20. October 24, 2021 2:57 pm

    Government should be urging people to “understand what they can do” about climate change, including “flying less, eating less meat”.

    Eat more beans, create more wind.

    • Broadlands permalink
      October 24, 2021 3:45 pm

      Cows are vegetarians that emit methane. If we cannot eat meat then we must become like cows. How does that help mitigate the global warming frenzy?

      How will all the delegates get over to roam around Scotland to discuss all this without flying in and back out… that requires biofuels? They are 90% fossil fuel being burned as fast as they are produced.

      Who is running this circus? Dim-bulb Joe? Or some political climatologists in Paris on their way to Scotland?

      • Julian Flood permalink
        October 26, 2021 8:27 am

        We could kill all the termites which equal human CO2 emissions.

        (A joke but maybe they wouldn’t realise that. Imagine the Behavioural Insights Team paper: It’s US Or The Termites.)

  21. Lloyd Price permalink
    October 24, 2021 4:00 pm

    The likelihood of wind drought is a big flaw in the drive for windmills, as stated earlier by John Cullen. But there have been far more challenging past times for wind than the hot years of the seventies and, not forgetting, the long warm drought years in the eighties

    I well recall the freeze-ups of 1963 and 1981 ( but was too young to remember ‘46) and these
    WILL be repeated at some future time when, and not if, the wind gets stuck in the north east for a few weeks during winter months. One of the main features of those long hard winters was always the weeks of relatively calm weather, with extremely intermittent very gentle north easterly breezes following the initial covering and occasional re-covering of snow, which locked the ..temperatures well below freezing day and night. So windmills would be becalmed and possibly freeze up under these conditions, plus the vast acreages of solar panels would be completely ineffective under layers of snow and ice.

    Think, for a moment, about the recent freezing disaster in Texas; now think about the way UK is heading – the Texas experience would pale into insignificance. Fear the cold – not the heat!!! “Global warming” brainwash has lulled virtue signalling generations of our policy makers into discounting an old fashioned winter – but it WILL come again, even though the climatologists have not included the likelihood in their modelling. When we get a long freeze up, the ‘Climate Change’ narrative will inevitably bend to accommodate it. This scenario, though, is a likely disaster of biblical proportions hanging over us and for futile reasons, We barely have sufficient power to cope with the gentle autumn weather.and precious little in reserve for winter. Where has robust parliamentary debate disappeared to? It used to be an insurance against completely insane policies.

    Weather is cyclical and does not go in straight lines for long, as you say, but what is utterly amazing is the fantastic stability and predictability of the good Earth and its solid enduring relationship with the sun and the moon. We just need much more time-honoured common sense to prevail so that we can live in harmony with the ever changing seasons.

    Thank you, Paul, for all your continuing efforts in calling out the perpetual madness Our days would be much harder to bear without the sanity of your articles and all the supporting correspondence. I had though we were sunk when we lost the great Christopher Booker, so thank you again.

  22. Douglas Dragonfly permalink
    October 24, 2021 4:02 pm

    Indeed, this failed experiment has become a national security issue.
    The prime duty of government being to provide security.

    Now comes the Winston Churchill moment for Bozo and his cabal.

    We are at the start of winter, there are 40,000 nurses short in the NHS and not enough beds.

    Can we expect Johnson to land at Glasgow and demonstrate true leadership ?
    Will he tell the delegates gather before him that he has given renewable energy generation his best shot but the results are highly unsatisfactory ?
    Therefore without further a do, the nation is returning to gas and coal forthwith at least until Hinkley and other nuclear stations come on line.

    He could round up his speech by wishing everyone a great time in Scotland and to try and catch the Edinburgh fringe before flying home.
    So not having an entirely wasted journey.

    Enough of the goofing around and talk with extra spin. Now is the time for immediate action.

  23. It doesn't add up... permalink
    October 24, 2021 4:25 pm

    This is of course just one of many shortcomings in the CCC’s work. We know they grossly underestimate the costs of insulating the housing stock, the cost of converting to EVs, the implausibility of hydrogen, the amount of storage required for a renewables system and so forth. Indeed, Chris Stark admitted the other day that there was no plan.

    I’ve looked at the reality at the level of hourly data covering 1980 to 2016 that lies behind this chart:

    Even when summarised to monthly averages, the periods of low wind shine out. It will be interesting to see whether 2021 works out to be lower than 2010 (where there were no big wind months), which is way below 2016. Only when I see evidence of work that looks at long run system performance over decades, based on real weather data and not models, can I have any confidence in the results. My examination of this data says the CCC projections are infeasible.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      October 24, 2021 8:17 pm

      The monthly figures are a guide to the intermittency problem and excess generation over the years. However, the daily variations cause more havoc to the power system with CCGTs running up and down far more often than they were designed to. In my view OCGTs are the best answer to spikes and rapid changes; their efficiencies are comparable to older CCGTs and they can reach peak efficiency in minutes rather than hours.

  24. Mewswithaview permalink
    October 24, 2021 4:42 pm

    Net Zero: principles for successful behaviour change initiatives

    Click to access net-zero-behaviour-change-initiatives2.pdf

    Governments leading by example and following their own narrative brings multiple benefits.
    First, actions can speak louder than words, and so the decisions of government and members of government signals the importance, validity, credibility, and moral authority of the net-zero message. Perceived hypocrisy can do a lot to undermine efforts to build public engagement and support. This was observed during the COVID-19 pandemic when prominent authority figures broke guidelines, leading to measurable reductions in public compliance as well as shifting attitudes.

    Second, though establishing widespread pro-environmental social norms and values is not
    easy, governments can play a role. Government statements, actions and laws powerfully
    shape perceptions of normative and acceptable behaviour. For instance, even with public
    criticism being high, many still perceived government approval as the yardstick for safe
    behaviour during COVID-19 ‘we’re allowed to do this now [so must be safe]…’. This reveals,
    for many, a deep set reverence for legitimate government authority, regardless of one’s
    personal political views. Being an early and visible adopter may help deliver this message.

    For instance, national leaders publicly receiving their COVID-19 vaccination on national television sends a strong signal to citizens to trust in the safety of the vaccinations.

    • Douglas Dragonfly permalink
      October 24, 2021 7:06 pm

      Excuse me ? I may not know which month the Edinburgh fringe is in but please be aware of the yellow card reporting. The ‘jabs’ are not in fact vaccines.
      Best thing is to be aware of your government.
      From illegal wars to ineffective air sourced heat pumps – our government, what ever their colour most certainly do not know best.
      If they did we would be independent with our most basic needs like electricity production. This service economy is fake.
      A better education system would be a good start.

  25. It doesn't add up... permalink
    October 24, 2021 7:45 pm

    Another example of the BBC’s RCP 8.5 based climate porn:

    They fail to mention that RCP 8.5 isn’t just a high emissions scenario – it also assumes a high CO2 doubling sensitivity that is at the outer (stretched) bounds of the estimated range.

  26. Peter Barrett permalink
    October 24, 2021 8:51 pm

    The Charlatan Climate Conmerchants have been caught lying and cheating again. Colour me amazed.

  27. October 25, 2021 10:34 pm

    Reblogged this on Gds44's Blog.

  28. Julian Flood permalink
    October 26, 2021 8:02 am

    A senior member of the CCC is from the Nudge Unit, that sinister private company (treble gins all round) aka Goebells’R’Us. Now why would that be?


  29. Jack Broughton permalink
    October 26, 2021 7:44 pm

    A couple of interesting energy industry developments that the UK’s planners ought to be aware of:
    President Macon has announced that France is to start on SMRs -s so much for the UK leading the technology.
    Australia is installing two new OCGT power stations (about 1 GW capacity): Snowy Hydro is 660MW using Mitsubishi M701 F gas turbines. The RR engines are far more efficient in OCGT mode: why are the UK not leading the world in a technology that they own?

    We need OCGTs urgently to cover windless days and the spikes that nature causes. Furthermore, it would save RR from making further divestments of its technology to survive.

  30. October 27, 2021 2:17 pm

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    H/T gds44

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