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Sixth Carbon Budget Does Not Add Up!

October 27, 2021
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By Paul Homewood

 

When I looked at the CCC’s Sixth Carbon Budget last December, I concentrated on costings.

However, given recent revelations about their wildly optimistic assumptions about wind power, I thought I would take closer look at their Power Sector calculations:

 

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https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/sixth-carbon-budget/

Let’s begin with their 2050 capacity scenarios. I’ll focus on the Balanced Pathway as the central case, though other scenarios demand even greater electrification:

 

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If we work back from 2050, capacities in 2040 are projected to be:

Wind – 65 GW

Solar – 55 GW

Gas CCS – 5 GW

Nuclear – 10 GW

Total – 135 GW

It is planned that all unabated generation, ie gas and coal, ends in 2034.

But when we turn to demand, the CCC estimates 625 TWh pa:

image

This includes 58 TWh of electrolysis. Excluding this, the actual level of demand is 567 TWh. Assuming demand was constant throughout the year, that would imply a required capacity of 65 GW.

As we know however, demand for electricity is much higher during winter months, something which would be exacerbated by electrification of heating. Even assuming that storage could cope with day/night fluctuations, daily demand could easily average 85 GW in winter. And after allowing for de-rating, that is to cover generating plants being offline at times, the grid would need at least 100 GW to cope.

But according to the CCC’s scenario, we would only have 15 GW of dispatchable power, ie nuclear and gas. They do say that interconnector capacity could rise from the current 6 GW to 18 GW, but this will only make a dent in the amounts needed, even if could guarantee it.

If that was not bad enough, even with 18 GW of interconnectors, we would still need about 70 GW from the 120 GW of wind and solar capacity. Even at average levels, they will produce nothing like this, maybe about 40 GW.

In particular, solar power typically runs at less than 5% of capacity in winter, equivalent to 2 GW. An utter irrelevance in other words. To meet demand of 85 GW, therefore, wind power would have to supply 50 GW, even with interconnectors, gas and nuclear working flat out. But on most days, wind power will running at much less than that, given total capacity of 65 GW.

As for storage, the CCC is banking on hydrogen burnt in converted gas plants, produced from surplus wind power, as the primary source, but the amounts will be tiny, just 20 TWh by 2035. This will only be of use for meeting peak demands for an hour or so each day.

They talk of up to 25 GW of battery and pumped storage, but that would only amount to about 25 GWh or so. Daily demand in winter would be around 2000 GWh, so again this storage would only be of use for a few minutes a day. Remember as well that they have to be recharged at other times during the day, at a time when electricity may already be in short supply.

There is clearly an enormous capacity gap here, not to mention a credibility gap! Yet the CCC report does not even seem to be aware of it. Indeed, this is the only mention I can find where they address the issue:

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We are sleep walking into a disaster, led by the CCC who seem oblivious of the fact.

45 Comments
  1. October 27, 2021 5:24 pm

    That the CCC can’t do maths or logic is incredible and outrageous, but then I suppose that’s why they were appointed.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      October 27, 2021 9:35 pm

      Oh! They can do them! They also know how to manipulate the numbers enough to bamboozle the man in the street.
      The CCC should be disbanded – with prejudice!

      • Della Hynes permalink
        October 28, 2021 1:46 am

        They should be strung up before they are allowed to impoverish and freeze to death the most vulnerable members of UK population.

      • George Lawson permalink
        October 28, 2021 2:06 pm

        Paul. Will you be writing to Lord Deben to explain how your figures differ from his?

    • StephenP permalink
      October 28, 2021 7:03 am

      Who are the members of the CCC, who appointed them, why were they appointed, what are their backgrounds, both in scientific education/knowledge and affiliations?

  2. Robert Christopher permalink
    October 27, 2021 5:29 pm

    “We are sleep walking into a disaster, led by the CCC who seem oblivious of the fact.”

    They don’t care!

    Either that, or those that given them their orders don’t care.

    What other explanation is there? They either don’t care there won’t be a reliable energy supply – and that’s from any source as we won’t have any stored fuel for petrol/diesel generators/heating/refrigeration (apart from wood if you are in the country) – or you don’t care that you are ignorant to the point of not even knowing that fact!

    And these people haven’t bothered to check things out. Yet they have briefed their supporters effectively enough to parry all controversy.

    It’s a totally political project, with a veneer of Science to hide the true intention.

    • October 27, 2021 5:35 pm

      Cui bono?

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        October 27, 2021 9:37 pm

        Deben at al.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      October 27, 2021 6:42 pm

      They simply don’t believe they can be wrong. They should lead, they should be in charge, they should decide what is done. They want this to be done so it must be right and it must be doable. Sorting out what happens and how is of little importance. If it doesn’t work it will be because others messed it up, not because they were to blame in any way.

      “Among the intelligentsia, there have always been many who are ready to jump on virtually any bandwagon that will take them to the promised land, where the wise and noble few – like themselves – can take the rest of us poor dummies in hand and tell us how we had better change the way we live our lives.”

      Thomas Sowell, 2009, The Science Mantra

    • October 27, 2021 7:35 pm

      They don’t need to care as they are very amply rewarded (I’m alright Jack).

  3. John Hultquist permalink
    October 27, 2021 5:44 pm

    This is one of the best exposés of Climate Cult thinking I have ever seen.
    These sorts of reports will entail great amounts of time and money and they are worth less than scum on a pond.

  4. Joe Public permalink
    October 27, 2021 5:49 pm

    Today’s tweet from our-energy-future.com:

    “Wind load factor in 2021 to end Oct was just over 30%. Generation down over 15% on 2020 despite increased wind capacity.”

    • October 28, 2021 12:30 pm

      And the problem with that is you can only store ‘excess’, but there isn’t any!

  5. Les Johnson permalink
    October 27, 2021 5:56 pm

    More of a gap than even you state, Paul. Gas usage in the UK now, peaks at 350 GW in winter. (and some of your links are dead)

    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/peak-demand-for-natural-gas/

    https://web.archive.org/web/20170308222447/https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/image_thumb78.png?w=620&h=422

    • October 27, 2021 7:01 pm

      Yes I suspect you are right and the CCC have woefully underestimated generation

  6. October 27, 2021 6:05 pm

    Hi,
    I believe net zero target lacks legitimacy and without a referendum the current climate change policy lacks the explicit consent of the people, as argued by The Harrogate Agenda. This exposes a massive democratic deficit in our system of government.
    If you are a democrat, whether for or against the Net Zero target, you should want this government policy, costing the tax payer billions of pounds, put to a referendum of the people.
    Please sign it.
    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/599602
    Niall Warry.
    Director
    The Harrogate Agenda.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      October 27, 2021 6:23 pm

      Niall, I worry deeply about a referendum when we cannot control the question nor what government says about Net Zero (remember the Treasury’s absurd claims about even voting for Brexit?) & without a similar coalition of a long-standing party *(as per UKIP) with well-funded newer groups headed by well-known people. I also worry about the precedent losing would set for imposing drastic restrictions and controls on people simply because 50.1% think it’s fine. Referendums are a Tyranny of the Majority unless used very carefully and unless they can be “won” by those who wish to avoid the imposition.

      If we are to push for a referendum then we need to ensure very early on that we have a suitable question(s) to be put. A blanket “do you want to save the planet from fiery doom” will be the result otherwise. My suggestion is that we have a series of questions, e.g.:

      1. Should ICE cars be banned from manufacture from 2030?
      2. Should the use of ICE cars be banned from 2040?
      3. Should we replace with renewables gas powered electricity generation completely?
      4. Should gas boilers be banned from 2030?
      5. Should renewable electricity generation receive subsidies and other means of price support that increase the cost of electricity?

      And so on. Let us vote on the range of policies rather than a single overall policy that would allow government do pretty much anything it wanted.

      • October 27, 2021 8:48 pm

        The main demand we public must make is for (real) independently audited value of the huge sums involved, not to mention the inevitable costs per household, the civil disruption and its costs.

        I.e., is it all worth the vast expense and trouble, since we are already at net zero as a proportion of the world’s CO2 output?

        Obviously, the answer is NO, though the idiots in charge of it all do not seem to know or care.
        Guillotine should be there to frighten those and such as those into submission

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        October 27, 2021 9:45 pm

        When it comes to a Ref it is also the case that the Gov’s ‘friends’ in Zuckerbergs empire will control the level of info for those against NZC. Censorship will be BigBrotherCompounded (BBC, as it happens).

    • Phil O'Sophical permalink
      October 27, 2021 9:19 pm

      The idea of a referendum would simply entrench the scam that there is a problem to solve. That is simply conceding the playing field to the scammers.

      The problem is bogus, so It would mean a scientifically illiterate public choosing between bogus solutions on emotional or cost grounds – just opportunity for more misdirection and propaganda.

      How the false narrative can be broken and genuine science breakthrough to enough people I don’t know. But it took just one clear voice at a key moment, to show the emperor had no clothes.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        October 27, 2021 9:48 pm

        Over the next ten years, I think nature will come to our aid. Nothing like a few COLD Winters to focus some minds.

      • George Lawson permalink
        October 28, 2021 2:20 pm

        The other problem with a referendum is the fact that we would not be starting on a level playing field. The masses truly believe the lies and misinformation put out by the BBC, the media worldwide and governments. A referendum is never what it is supposed to be if only one side of the debate is presented.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      October 27, 2021 9:51 pm

      Niall, Phoenix44 and I have already put our views earlier today as to why we think a referendum would be a very bad idea. Virtually none of us has enough knowledge or forecasting ability to be sure of giving the right answer — and “right” in this context is not open to interpretation or finessing or changing in five years time.
      Which is also why the drive for a particular outcome by a particular date is also a very bad idea.
      There is only one “person” who has the right answer and that’s Mother Nature and she doesn’t give a stuff for referenda or annual climate gabfests or net-zero plans. She will do what she has done since forever and it’s up to us to go along with what she wants. The idea that we can dictate her is hubris of the first order!

  7. Derek Wood permalink
    October 27, 2021 6:28 pm

    I have signed to support a petition, but I doubt we’ll get one. Largely because a proper debate will be required, which the Climate Lobby cannot win. Lies cannot endure close scrutiny.

    • bobn permalink
      October 27, 2021 8:38 pm

      Alas the risk is they wont allow a proper debate. Given the censorship currently enforced on any dissent from climate alarm what guarantee is there that we will get a full and free debate? Best to wait a few more years for serial blackouts and cold disasters. Alas only when people are dying from the cold in the dark are we likely to get the censorship lifted.

  8. Phoenix44 permalink
    October 27, 2021 6:36 pm

    I’m confused. The Widespread Innovation scenario has 255GW of capacity but the Balanced Pathway has only 210 and the Headwinds only 185. How do they deal with the difference? By lower demand or by less electrification?

    The range is vast. I’m also somewhat confused as to why the cost of Nuclear is substantially higher under Widespread Innovation (105) than under the Balanced Pathway (85)? Why would the cost be higher with all this innovation going on?

    But frankly it’s all just numbers plucked out of thin air. Are they possible? Maybe. Are they likely/ Not in any way.

  9. October 27, 2021 7:13 pm

    A bogus objective, since we in UKalready have achieved virtual net zero,with a manmade CO2 output of 0.00845% of the planet’s total.

    herefore, call off the ruinous wildgoose chase to go further.

  10. Ray Sanders permalink
    October 27, 2021 7:44 pm

    In two words these sorts of “reports” are boll ocks.

  11. GeoffB permalink
    October 27, 2021 7:48 pm

    In summer 2060 when the wind blows really hard (like today) and too much power is available, will constraint payments still take place? I have also seen an article that there is no intention to upgrade the local electrical distribution network (substation to home at 415/250V). A new generation of smart meter controlled by your local substation will be able to load shed individual circuits in your home, particularly high power, your heat pump and car charger for starters. It is just not going to work, we have to have reliable 100% on power turning heat pumps off will kill and waking up to a flat battery is just plain unacceptable, as I have stated before, electricity theft will be common place, it is so simple to bypass the meters.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      October 28, 2021 12:31 pm

      Since the wind farm has to recover its costs to be viable there are two alternatives: charging much more for useful output if much of it is earning no income through being curtailed or even sold for negative value as exports, or charging for curtailment. In the end, same difference, except that as wind capacity increases, the marginal useful output (or inversely the marginal rate of curtailment) escalates alarmingly. It isn’t really helped by schemes like electrolysis either: the amount of surplus is highly variable and intermittent, and it will never be economic to capture more than the more regular smaller surpluses.

      AFAIK I am probably about the only person who has analysed this. Certainly no-one at the CCC, BEIS or their pet consultancies.

  12. cookers52 permalink
    October 27, 2021 8:48 pm

    I am not sure we will need any heat pump load for heating.

    The IPCC robust modelling indicates Heating degree days are falling precipitously so by 2050 we won’t need heating at all.

    There you are problem fixed!

  13. Coeur de Lion permalink
    October 27, 2021 9:14 pm

    I heard Lord Gummer on BBC4 the other day. Had an easy ride from the Beebmsn of course, but said something about hydrogen that showed he didn’t understand it. Oh dear.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      October 27, 2021 9:55 pm

      Read History at Cambridge. What else would you expect?

      • October 28, 2021 12:24 am

        Perhaps s studying some climate history might be a good idea, and I mean over centuries and millenia.

      • Duker permalink
        October 28, 2021 2:20 am

        They are usually children of the manse or vicarage. Thats where they learn faith can supersede any insurmountable hurdles.

  14. Harry Passfield permalink
    October 27, 2021 9:30 pm

    So, if one takes 20TWhs of ‘spare’ wind to create hydrogen with which to burn in gas plant’s to generate electricity (phew!) How many TWhs do we get at the end.
    Apart from that, how many more ‘spare’ TWhs will be needed to charge the batteries needed to support intermittent sync in mains supply? (What fools call ‘back-up’)
    Never more was the claim that robbing Peter to pay Paul a truer aphorism.

  15. Mike Jackson permalink
    October 27, 2021 9:38 pm

    “… produced from surplus wind power…”
    On these figures there ain’t gonna be no surplus wind power!! Will somebody please deal with these clowns before they cause some real damage.
    Starting with Deben who is the same age as me which, I think, gives me the right to say he should have been put out to pasture long ago!

  16. AZ1971 permalink
    October 27, 2021 9:59 pm

    led by the CCC who seem oblivious of the fact.

    Ohh make no bones about it, the CCC knows *exactly* what it’s doing. They are most certainly not oblivious.

  17. Graeme No.3 permalink
    October 27, 2021 10:29 pm

    Paul, 2 comments which in a very good article you may have missed; If offshore wind is only going to cost £40 per MWh why doesn’t the government introduce a flat rate of that now? Or even £25 per MWh if operators are going to build them for that in the future?
    Also I assume that Gas CCS refers to closed cycle generation, which is more expensive but lower emissions than coal-fired; but that process requires stable output. Wide fluctuations in demand result in less efficient open cycle operation (or shutdowns) with higher emissions and costs (esp. maintenance due to heat stress cracks). This makes CCS uneconomic, the main reason for ‘reluctance’ of businesses wanting to install CCS in the UK for the last 10 years, and several CCS plants being shut down in Germany, including 2 less than 2 years old which were disassembled and move to other countries.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      October 28, 2021 7:38 am

      Gas CCs, stands for Gas Carbon Capture & Storage.

    • October 28, 2021 9:20 am

      Sorry, Graeme, CCS is Carbon Capture and Storage

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        October 28, 2021 3:03 pm

        Thank you.
        I wonder why they set the price for that when the idea is not to use fossil fuels at all, and where that cost figure came from..

  18. 3x2 permalink
    October 28, 2021 9:50 am

    OT but may be of interest …

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/599602

  19. James Broadhurst permalink
    October 29, 2021 6:21 pm

    Chris Stark is the CCC Chief Executive. Just how large is this organisation that it needs a CEO? 18 months ago he offered this insight to his thinking:-

    “What we care about is the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. We know what causes them. It turns out that halting the economy causes emissions to drop like a stone.”

    As far as I know there has been no reduction in emissions.

    Stark was previously employed by the Scottish Government which explains his endorsement of inshore wind farms. He must have become a disciple of this religious cult.

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